Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Review: Everyday Paleo

I'm not sure when I was first introduced to the concept of Paleo eating... probably back when I was veggie and though there's no way I could ever eat a diet based on animal proteins and vegetables.  When I started eating meat again, I started researching a little bit here and there.  I stumbled on Sarah Fragoso's blog "Everyday Paleo".  Sarah seemed approachable to me.  She wasn't (and isn't) a paleo-proselytizer.  She takes a very "this is what works for my family, but you do what works for yours" approach and I really appreciated that.

Being a former member of the vegetarian police, I totally understand how easy it is to get on the soapbox and start shouting from the rooftops that YOUR position has all the science behind it... not to mention, the enzymes!

I started trying Sarah's recipes, one at a time.  Eventually, I found myself building my menus around her blog.  I decided it was time to pick up her new book, Everyday Paleo.  I've cooked out of it every day since.

What I LIKE:

1. The recipes are delicious!  They are made with whole ingredients and not too many.  The food is very flavorful and I never EVER feel guilty about putting her food in front of my husband and children.  Some favorites include:

  • Egg Cupcakes- I. HATE. EGGS.  I hate them.  A lot.  Have I mentioned that I hate eggs?  But I eat these and I LOVE THEM!!!  Okay??  I cannot stress enough what a huge deal getting me to eat eggs actually is.  This recipe gives eggs the foot in my door.
  • Albondigas Soup
  • Steak skewers
  • Paleo Tacos with Kids Love Cabbage Slaw
  • Bean-less Chili
  • Slow-cooker spice rubbed chicken
  • Paleo Pizza
2. So the recipes are amazing, but how much time do they take to prepare?  Almost NO TIME AT ALL!!  Seriously!  Sarah is a busy mom of three boys- she's not going to spend hours in the kitchen every night.  Her recipes can be made in a flash.  I can't think of one that takes more than 30 minutes from knife to table.

3. Sarah is a trainer with one of the top gyms in America- NorCal Strength and Conditioning so she knows her stuff.  The fitness section in the book is fantastic.  She includes beginner to advanced workouts, describes how to do each movement and includes a picture for each step.  You don't need any fancy equipment and all of the beginner exercises can be done at home.  The fitness section actually motivated me to exercise.  That's a huge feat!  The routines don't take very long to complete either, but they are very effective.

4. Her discussion on raising paleo kids is very helpful. She gives boxed lunch ideas as well as ways to get your kids to embrace this food.  What kid doesn't love meat?  For my family, its the veggies that are the most difficult.  But slowly but surely, my kids are eating them, and that is a miracle.

5. The 30 Day Meal Plan is helpful as well.  She gives breakfast, lunch and dinner plans along with SNACKS.  She also includes a shopping list.  Now, whether or not you'll actually need 4 dozen eggs for the first 5 days is debatable, but the meal plan isn't just for you as an individual- its for the whole family.  I've tweaked the meal plan and am not following it meal for meal... but its a great place to start.

6. There are some "transitional" paleo recipes in there for pancakes and cookies- those foods aren't really "paleo" but I think they are a good middle ground for people looking to have their cake and eat it too.  Sarah never encourages eating these foods on a regular basis, but I still like that she includes them for those of us still making the change.

What I DIDN'T Like:

1. I think the index could be better.  I don't like that I can't search for a recipe by name.  The index is basically divided up by ingredient and then page number.  So if you know what you're looking for, it takes less time to browse the section where you think the recipe might be then go through the index.

2. There are some typos and some repeated numbers in the index.  Its a first edition.  No biggie.

Finding Paleo has changed the way I look at preparing meals.  What's the meat, what will the veg be and what kind of dressing will I make for the salad.  It really is such a simple way to think about food.  I eat TONS more veg now than I did when I was a vegetarian.  I am so grateful to Sarah for her approachable attitude and the great information she's put together in Everyday Paleo.  

Do you need to be a Paleo eater in order to appreciate this book?  HECK NO!!  I think everyone would benefit from the information in this book, but even if eating paleo doesn't interest you, the recipes are great and take no time at all to prepare.  That fact alone is incentive enough to pick this book up yesterday!!


  1. as i sat here eating my homemade gluten-free bread while reading this, i know in the back of my mind how bloated and gross i will feel later on today for eating so many starchy carbs... The problem for me is that because of our paycheck coming once every two weeks, it is VERY hard to buy veggies that will last that long. we end up eating great for a week, then comes the dried grains and starches to get us through the next week. repeat cycle. do you have any suggestions on overcoming this? thanks!!

  2. How about frozen veg? Its not ideal, but only because it doesn't taste as good as fresh. Or maybe try sticking with the veggies that have long shelf lives like cabbage, kale, carrots... Or, how about buying all your veg at once, cooking a bunch at a time and then freezing it?

  3. I used to have OGF's same budgeting problem when I was cooking for a family of seven and my husband only got paid once a month. I used to try to save back some of the food money to buy produce later. Now that it's just two of us, it's a vegetable storage problem, i.e. buying too many vegetables and not having the time to prepare them before they go bad. What I've been doing lately is, a day or two before I am going to shop again I make a giant stir-fry with whatever won't keep for another week. Then those cooked veggies can be kept another few days and used as a side dish or added to an egg dish or soup course. If there are really a lot I freeze some. They taste a lot better warmed up than most frozen veggies from the store.