Paleo bookshelves everywhere are filling up with all the new titles out now. Lots of smart folks out there are sharing their ancestral health knowledge and experiences for our benefit and spreading the message of good health. Here are a few I’ve checked out that you might find useful. All three are excellent additions to any Paleo bookshelf, new or veteran.
In the recent past, if you had digestive health issues, chances are you went to your doctor several times with no answers and little help, only to find yourself on some random online message board soliciting advice from strangers. You probably tried all sorts of crazy dietary hoop-jumping in the hopes of finding any measure of relief. When you found Paleo-style nutrition, you probably thought you’d cured yourself, but sometimes symptoms can linger and the rabbit hole of n=1 experimentation can be daunting. Is it nightshade intolerance? Leaky gut? IBS? Fructose intolerance? SIBO—who even knows?!
Luckily, Paleo dietitian Aglaée Jacob has put everything in one place for you. This is an encyclopedic guide book designed to help you improve your health with real food that nourishes you and can get you on the road to healing. Whether you have low stomach acid, GI infections, food sensitivities, or gut dysbiosis, Jacob explains it all in easy-to-understand language and gives you an action plan. If digestive troubles have been plaguing you, you’ll likely breathe a sigh of relief at being in such good hands.
Despite the title, Jacob doesn’t stop at food. She takes a holistic approach, discussing other issues that help determine digestive health, like sleep quality, stress, and personal care products. There’s a whole chapter devoted to troubleshooting so you’ll never have to chat up random strangers again. In addition, she gives several deliciously simple recipes that won’t irritate your poor besieged gut, and she tells you when they’re appropriate in your elimination diet. For example, the recipe for Grain-Free Chicken Pesto Pasta is precisely 5 ingredients long (zucchini, chicken, olive oil, fresh basil, and salt), but looks so delicious that it might just put your mind at ease about undertaking the elimination diet process.
Verdict: This is the book GI problem sufferers have been waiting for—great resource for humans with digestive issues seeking real solutions.
About two years ago, a few months after going Paleo, I decided to check out some of this fitness stuff I was hearing about. I had been trapped in the infernal hell of trying to run distances to “keep pounds off” and “burn calories”, and I wanted off that treadmill to Purgatory. Somehow I came across Darryl’s website, and I started incorporating some of his moves into my regimen and sharing them with friends. We were all pleasantly surprised by how deceptively difficult they were and, perhaps most shocking, how FUN working out could be.
Then I had the great pleasure of meeting Darryl at Paleo FX in Austin in 2012 and getting to experience his “playouts” (don’t call it a workout…) in person. Everyone there came away with some new perspective on movement, all while laughing and having a good time. And now he’s put all his wisdom into a book for the world to see.
This is a fantastic introduction for anyone looking to make a positive change in their lives, but perhaps the prospect of going Paleo and making an ass out of oneself in a park might seem like too much of an obstacle. Paleo Fitness lays it out in simple language and doesn’t get lost in too many technical details. I remember how overwhelming all of this was in the early days (O3 to O6 ratios? Should I eat “safe” starches? What would Mark Sisson do?), but this book makes it approachable and possible.
But this book isn’t just for beginners. It’s great for those of us who’ve already been introduced to functional fitness because there are new skills and moves to try. I can tell it’s going to come in handy for travel, since little equipment is required for many of the exercises. And because many of the recipes feature some seriously assertive spices going on, they’re sure to bust anyone, even Paleo kitchen veterans, out of their rut: T’ibs We’t (Ethiopian Beef Stir-Fry), Shirazi Salad, and Saffron-Infused Coconut Bark with Toasted Almonds and Pistachios. I’ve been waiting for my grocery co-op to restock the plantains so I can make Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Grilled Green Plantains.
Verdict: Need more fun and mental challenge in your workouts? Need more spice in your Paleo life? BUY THIS BOOK.
You know them as the Paleo Parents, but now you’ll also know them as your spirit guides to loving the whole hog, from oinky nose to curly little tail.
This gorgeous hardcover book is obviously a labor of love, with lickable photography, mouthwatering recipes, and an endorsement of a foreword by the high priest of farm-fresh food, Joel Salatin. If you’re unfamiliar with sourcing and using an entire animal, Stacy and Matthew take you step-by-step and walk you through it. You’ll get to know your local butcher, your pig cuts, and what to do with them. Your pay-off will be some of the most delicious food on the planet. I only hope your deep freezer can handle it.
I’ve spoken before about my sheer gratitude at living in a place where local, pastured pork is easy to find. And now I’m grateful to have some fun new tricks to try with my pork.
Here, I’ll just give you a smattering of recipe names: Asian Short Ribs, Southwestern Chorizo Burgers w/ Fried Eggs, Ham Pot Roast w/ Horseradish Mustard Glaze, Shaken and Baked Pork Chops, and Savory Bacon Jam. Lest you think it’s all about the pig, there are plenty of other recipes that will taste delicious with your pig: Cuban Spiced Plantains, Balsamic Summer Squash, Sautéed Cabbage, and Rosemary Carrot Mash (scroll down for recipe). And yes, there are even treats and desserts like Salted Caramel Bacon Sauce, Bacon Pumpkin Pancakes, and Yellow Lard Cake that take advantage of lard and bacon’s tendency to taste amazing in conjunction with sweets.
Verdict: It’s called “BEYOND BACON”! What are you waiting for?!