We don’t do many book reviews, but when the fabulous Melissa Joulwan (of The Clothes Make the Girl and Well Fed fame) teamed up with Dr. Kellyann Petrucci to pen the next book in the famous “For Dummies” series, we were pretty excited.
Living Paleo for Dummies is in the tradition of Everyday Paleo, offering not only nutrition advice, but exercise and lifestyle recommendations, and (of course) delicious, easy Paleo recipes. The book is practical, easy to read, and doesn’t dive deep into the science, instead focusing on how to apply Paleo concepts in your own life.
Of course, we loved the book, but we wanted to get an honest review from an experienced Paleo person. Enter Chuck Charbeneau, a self-professed Paleo junkie (he’s read every book there is to read on the subject–really) and has transitioned his entire family (kids and all!) into a healthy Paleo lifestyle. Chuck’s review, interspersed with comments from Whole9’s Melissa Hartwig, is below.
You can also see a preview of Living Paleo for Dummies yourself on Amazon.com, or at your local Barnes & Noble store.
Living Paleo for Dummies
From Chuck: The book is straightforward and easy to follow. It is laid out in five simple sections covering the what, the why and the how of the Paleo Lifestyle in the “for Dummies” format, because really, it is that easy, and the authors prove it.
From Melissa: The book is pretty darn comprehensive, covering “The Power of Paleo”, “Embracing the Paleo Lifestyle”, “Paleo Recipes” (more than 50 recipes, most of which are Whole30 compliant), “Making Paleo Practical in the Modern World”, and “The Part of Tens” (detailing fun lists of ten to prepare you for living paleo). There is so much practical application here – everything from dining out and traveling to effective no-equipment exercises.
The Power of Paleo
From Chuck: “We don’t need to live life as a science experiment, trying to reenact everything our ancestors did or see the world through Paleo goggles. We just need to understand how our genes were programmed and try to model that as close as we can.” Living Paleo for Dummies doesn’t delve too deeply into the science of the Paleo lifestyle–for that you would want to read Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s It Starts With Food, or The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. What it does do is suggest the foods and behaviors that support a healthy mind and body with a brief explanation why, which should be enough to point you in the right direction.
From Melissa: This book isn’t about all the science-y technical details of why certain foods make you less heatlhy, or the reasons Paleo is, in fact, science-based. This makes it easy to skip right into the “doing” part. For those who need to know more about the “why,” you can always read the Science-y Stuff section of It Starts With Food for an easy, comprehensive, scientifically accurate primer.
Embracing the Paleo Lifestyle
From Chuck: Whether it’s fourteen, twenty-one, or thirty days, there’s nothing new here from a “how-to make change” perspective, but the authors did a great job of a laying out a week-to-week “what to do” and “what to expect” plan for your Living Paleo 30-day reset. Each of the four weeks has an easy-to-follow summary and also comes complete with tasks and assignments focused on small changes and goals to get you through the challenges that each week might hold, as well as the skills and knowledge you will need to continue to live Paleo beyond the thirty days.
From Melissa: For those familiar with the Whole30, the 30-day Reset outlined here isn’t anything new–but the resources they’ve built into each week are designed to see you through to success. Journaling recommendations, troubleshooting tips, and “homework” all help you solidify your new habits, and maximize results on your 30-day journey.
Paleo Recipes for Success
From Chuck: This section isn’t just about the food, it’s also about the process, which is the most important part of really eating to live. If you’ve read Melissa Joulwan’s other book (Well Fed), you’ll know that Melissa has a passion for good food and laying a tasty table. Some of the recipes are a little complex, but with a little preparation even the most complex of her creations is attainable.
From Melissa: These recipes range from the super simple (but still delicious) to slightly more fancypants, but they’re all 100% attainable for even novice chefs. It’s nice to have all your resources in one book, but if you add Well Fed to this mix, you’ll have more than enough Paleo meals to keep you on track and satisfied for well beyond your 30-day reset.
Making Paleo Practical in a Modern World
From Chuck: Starting with eight common roadblocks to success, this section of the book continues with larger potential problem situations like eating out, travel and special occasions; finishing off with a discussion on transitioning your family. Each of the sections is succinct and gives real world advice for overcoming the mental or environmental challenges to the roadblocks as well as broad discussions on making lifestyle choices easier; not to mention some great ideas on kicking up your heels from time-to-time without going off the Paleo rails.
From Melissa: The Eight Common Roadblocks really makes this chapter. They’ll disprove every excuse you (or your friends, family members, or co-workers) may have, from “It’s too hard” to “I don’t have time for this.” The dining out and traveling section is equally comprehensive, giving you all the resources you need to take your new habits out for a spin. Finally, transitioning the family will help you get everyone (even the kiddos) on board with your new healthy eating plan, making the maintanance of your habits that much easier.
From Chuck: I like this book. I don’t know that I would recommend it before others in the same vein, but it is a solid addition to the cannon and deserves its place on my bookshelf. If you haven’t read other Paleo books, this is a strong place to start, and should pique your interest enough to delve deeper…as any good for Dummies book should.
From Melissa: A great addition to your Paleo library, Living Paleo for Dummies is a truly comprehensive guide to changing nutritional and lifestyle habits long-term, in a way that feels easy and sustainable.
Chuck Charbeneau is a Software Engineer, ALM Specialist, Professional Improviser, and a CFLV 1 trainer. He has been “living Paleo” for three years with his wife and two daughters, and coaches others in being successful eating whole, unprocessed, nutritious foods. He blogs about living Paleo at http://nomoreneo.wordpress.com.
Melissa Hartwig is the co-founder of Whole9 and the Whole30® program, and the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book It Starts With Food. She did her first Whole30 in April 2009–and like the program says, it changed her life, too.
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