When Evan and I went Paleo over two and half years ago it was sort of by accident. We didn’t read any books about the philosophy, or tips about how to transition. We did a hard-core, slightly sketchy medical elimination diet. It worked, and when we added things back in, what made me sick was the non-Paleo items (grains, dairy, legumes). So, voila, we were Paleo.
But it was not the most graceful of processes; we had too many sweet berry smoothies, sweet potatoes, and nuts and not enough meat (we ate only wild game.) So while we are pretty vocal advocates for trying Paleo, especially if you are sick and don’t seem to be getting better, we did hope that people could have better resources than what we did.
Fortunately, the Paleo community has grown a lot in the past few years, and more and more people are putting together resource and recipe books to help you make informed choices about what to eat. So here are some of my favorite ancestral health eating books that I wish I had read before our transition. And in a few weeks I’ll be back with my favorite Paleo recipe books.
Four of My Favorite Paleo Books:
Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle by Diane Sanfilippo. Hands down the best overall introduction to Paleo. Sanfilippo is amazing; her book is thorough and readable. It’s like a textbook with personality. She has a lot of meal plans for people with different health goals, and she has supplement suggestions. If you are going to buy one book to learn about Paleo, buy this one. I am constantly checking this one out from the library and not-so-subtly asking for it for Christmas.
The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body by Sarah Ballantyne. Ballantyne’s book is as thorough as Sanfilippo’s but with more scientific studies and is specifically aimed at autoimmune conditions. If you have any of the many forms of autoimmune diseases , this is really the go-to resource. And it recently hit the New York Times Best sellers list! If I were given a thousand dollars to spend any way I wanted, I would just buy this book and give it away to anyone who is sick. This is also the book I wish that I had had when I was doing my elimination diet. It has great resources that explain how and why you should take certain foods out.
The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine by Terry Wahls & Eve Adamson. There is a lot of cross-over with Ballantyne’s book as far as autoimmune protocol. But this book has Dr. Wahl’s amazing story of recovery (see her awesome Tedx Talk) and her journey to eating whole foods. This is especially good for anyone with MS like Dr. Wahls. It’s a big book with a lot of information.
It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Melissa & Dallas Hartwig. The Hartwig’s smart and sassy book is a lot shorter and easier to read in a few sittings than the comprehensive books above. The Hartwig’s have helped to develop the Whole30 which is a 30 day strict Paleo diet/cleanse. It can be a lot like an elimination diet, if you wanted to remove some of the additional things (eggs, nuts, & nightshades) that the above books suggest for autoimmune and if you add them back slowly. But what I loved about the Hartwig’s book is that it is a really straight-forward and doable way to start Paleo.
On My To-Read List:
Eat the Yolks: Discover Paleo, fight food lies, and reclaim your health by Liz Wolfe. Wolfe is Diane Sanfilippo’s co-host on the Balanced Bites podcast. I think that this book is more Hartwig in length, and might be an even more readable introduction. I’ve only heard wonderful things about it.
Real Life Paleo: 175 Gluten-Free Recipes, Meal Ideas, and an Easy 3-Phased Approach to Lose Weight & Gain Health by Stacy Toth and Matt McCarry. I’m a big advocate of the elimination diet in all its forms (strict auto-immune or strict Whole30) but not everyone’s temperament or family can take that kind of radical and abrupt change. So I’m so excited for Toth and McCarry’s upcoming book that looks at a more gentle and slow transitions (their three phrases are “swap” “remove” and “heal” which guides people from starting out gluten free all the way to an intro to autoimmune protocol and healing foods (like bone broth and organ meats).
Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson. I’ve been on a quest to find ways to eat more and different kinds of vegetables, so I really want to read Robinson’s book. She looks at the domestication and cultivation of our crops, and the benefits from eating a wider variety of more wild foods.
Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life by Chris Kresser. Kresser has a lot of expertise in the Paleo and whole living sphere, and he’s boiled it down into this book with suggestions on how to customize Paleo to meet particular needs. Kresser is someone who I enjoy every time I hear from him, and I trust that he’s really done his research and is a trusted source.
What are your favorite Paleo books?
*Note* This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means if you were to buy a book, I’d get a tiny commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting Stories & Thyme!*
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