Book Review: Practical Paleo


My 7 regular readers may have noticed I have referred to Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo several times.  Here’s my review:  All my life I’ve been waiting for a cookbook called Jill, Make This for Dinner.  This is that book.  I love this book.  I wish Diane was my friend.

I have used the autoimmune protocol meal plan as a guide for myself as I navigate my own health challenges and appreciate the use of leftovers and a list of alternative.  My own sad self has myriad food allergies and can’t follow the meal plan as written, but it has been invaluable in pointing me in the right direction and supporting these wacky food restrictions.  (Also, I contacted Diane through her Facebook page asking about substitutes for coconut and she sent me links to both plantain and sweet potato flours.  She’s a peach!)

You can see my copy is getting a little dog-eared.  🙂

The book is divided into three sections, each of which would be a great book in and of itself, plus 8 pages of tear-out guides you can tote to the grocery store:  food quality, stocking your pantry, gluten, healthy oils, avoiding sugar….  She does everything for you–short of bitch-slapping the Fruit Loops out of your hand.


Part 1: The Why — Food and Your Body 

This section is easy to read and easy to understand.  It’s a lovely summary of “this is your body on food.”  She covers digestion, food quality, insulin resistance, how to shop, how to eat out, and how to eat for true health.  Did you know about FODMAPS?  Do you worry your cholesterol will go up if you eat the whole egg? Diane’s got your answers in a comprehensive and smart Q&A section.


Part 2: 30-Day Meal Plans

This is worth the price of the whole book.  Diane has 30-day meal plans optimized for a variety of health challenges and goals, from athletic performance support and fat loss, to support for autoimmune conditions, blood sugar regulation, digestive health, thyroid health, MS and fibromyalgia, neurological health…even heart health and cancer recovery.   All the plans feature real food, a generous allotment of veggies, and recipes, plus additional lifestyle and supplement recommendations.  For instance, someone on the MS and fibromyalgia protocol is urged to stick to gentle stretching or yoga and leisurely walks for exercise in order to reduce systemic stress and cortisol that can be triggered by more intense exercise.


Part 3: Recipes

Recipes I’ve tried:

  • Chicken wings, two ways
  • Savory baked chicken legs
  • Mustard glazed chicken thighs
  • Balsamic braised short ribs (twice)
  • Bison and butternut cocoa chili
  • Balsamic-fig compote
  • Quick & easy salmon cakes — subbed chicken for salmon

Everything was muy beuno.  The only disappointment I had was trying to make the teriyaki sauce for the chicken wings…with completely different ingredients.  I can’t have coconut aminos or pineapple, so I tried wheat-free tamari and frozen mango.  No beuno and 100% my bad.

As I move my family toward a more primal diet profile, I will lean heavily on this hefty, smart tome.


About Jill R.

Mom, mostly tired, to 3 boys, mostly wired. Pretty much obsessed with healing foods for healthy brains.
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