Tag Archives: diet

Book Review Roundup – Spring 2014

28 Mar

Man, there are a lot of new books out right now. I have a mounting pile that needed some attention, some that I personally bought and others that were sent for me to review. I thought I’d take a moment and briefly look at these additions to my growing library.

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The Ancestral Table and the Autoimmune Protocol

20 Feb

Since I personally have an autoimmune condition, I have a lot of respect for the Autoimmune Protocol. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the protocol is aligned with the Paleo Diet (you know the drill – meats, seafood, veggies, fruits) but also eliminates other troublesome foods in an effort to further reverse autoimmune issues. The main culprits are nightshades (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes), eggs (especially the whites), dairy, alcohol, and most nuts and seeds.

I’ve dabbled in the protocol over the past couple of years, eliminating certain foods for months at a time and then re-introducing them to see how I react to them. Most recently I eliminated eggs for about four months because I found myself feeling tired after eating them; I started eating eggs again this month without any issue. There are a ton of factors involved in diet and health, so I’m not saying outright that eliminating eggs for a short period of time directly affected my resiliency, but I think there is good reason to abstain from certain foods from time to time. After all, this mimics the seasonality of human diets preceding our modern era, as well as many religious practices that have endured over the years.

When I wrote The Ancestral Table I didn’t necessarily keep the Autoimmune Protocol (“AIP”) in mind, especially since two incredible-looking cookbooks on the subject are coming out this year (see: The Paleo Approach Cookbook and The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook). After doing the math, 55 of the 112 recipes found in my cookbook are AIP-friendly or easily modified to be so. While at first I thought this number was pretty low, after talking with some experts I was happy to find that 55 is actually a fairly high number compared to many of the Paleo cookbooks out there, since many of them rely on nut-based flours for texture, something that is rarely found in The Ancestral Table.

So I thought it would be worth your time to publish an AIP guide for anyone looking to buy my book while on an elimination diet. For more information on the Autoimmune Protocol, check out my friend Sarah’s site, ThePaleoMom.com.
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The Ancestral Table Recipe List

11 Jan


Holy smokes, my cookbook will be out in one month! That is pretty crazy. I figure that some of you would like to see a little more about the book before committing to buy – I don’t blame you, I’d want the same thing – so here is a list of every recipe in the book, as well as some pretty pictures to look at.

Some longtime readers may notice recipes that I’ve already published here on the site; don’t worry – every dish in the book has been redeveloped from scratch, so every taste you encounter will be new!

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Three Years Paleo – Nine Lessons Learned and Tips for Sustained Eating

4 Jan


Cacao-Rubbed Steak

Yep, last month I quietly celebrated the three-year anniversary of switching my diet and regaining my health. It’s been a crazy ride, and I thought it was time to update you on some of my experiences over the years, and share some quick fundamentals that I’ve learned along the way.

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Review: Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser

26 Dec

My path to a Paleo-style way of eating wasn’t perfectly straightforward. After years of health issues, in late 2010 I came upon an article describing a recently-published book called The Paleo Solution, written by a guy who obviously knows a thing or two about prehistory since his last name is Wolf. The book promised to demonstrate positive results for a number of health issues, including autoimmune diseases. Feeling like I was at a dead end with my own issues with autoimmunity, I bought the book at the very first opportunity, devoured it, and switched my diet within days.

While I’m very grateful to Robb Wolf and his Paleo Solution, it only gave me a glimpse of the journey I would need to take in order to restore my health. Much of the eating advice in the book was based on low-carb principles, which is understandable since the book is geared towards those who are looking to lose weight. But after losing an initial 30 pounds (likely due to discontinuing steroid therapy at that same time), I struggled with maintaining my weight, and had consistently low energy. It wasn’t until I reintroduced white rice and potatoes, foods promoted by The Perfect Health Diet, that I really started to feel like I had figured out an ideal way of eating for me (and one that I’ve maintained since). Dairy was also something I had to figure out on my own, as I found that I better tolerated certain types of dairy (mainly heavy cream, butter, and fermented products), and that my tolerance improved as my health improved. Dairy just didn’t warrant a blanket “avoid” stamp since individual tolerance was a better determining factor.

So over the years, I have had a hard time answering when people asked me where to start reading if they wanted to learn about the Paleo diet. The Paleo Solution is fairly inflexible, and was quickly becoming outdated as new voices entered the scene and brought new ideas with them. The Perfect Health Diet is a superior work, and provides an excellent template for sustained eating, but its lifelong approach to diet can be intimidating to those who aren’t ready for such a long commitment right out of the gate.

And in steps Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser.

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Chicken Marbella

19 Feb


Chicken Marbella is a dish first introduced in The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1982. Its unique combination of prunes, capers, and green olives quickly captured the hearts of home chefs and remains a family favorite in many households throughout the United States today. So when a friend requested that I make an adaptation of the recipe, I was happy to give it a shot and see what I could do.

And truth be told, I didn’t make many changes from the original recipe, because it’s already delicious and uses whole ingredients. However, I only used dark meat (instead of a quartered whole bird) to make sure all of the pieces cooked evenly. I also made some minor ingredient changes, like adding half an onion and using a butter and honey glaze instead of a brown sugar coating typically used in this recipe. Altogether, it all adds up to a slightly magical experience: a gourmet-tasting dish that’s dead simple to make!

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Attukal Paya (Lamb’s Feet Soup)

8 Jan


Attukal Paya (sometimes spelled as Aattukaal Paya or just Paya) is a hearty soup made with lamb, sheep, or goat feet served in South India. What fascinates me about this dish is that it’s often served for breakfast – initially this sounded strange to me, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense; why not start your day out with some nutritious bone broth soup?

I also love the idea of throwing together a bunch of ingredients at night and waking up to breakfast already made!

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Sausage and Sauerkraut

3 Jan


To start off the New Year, I’ll be posting only Whole30-compliant recipes this month. What is the Whole30 Program? It’s very similar to what I eat already, but with a few more restrictions: no dairy (except ghee), no white potatoes, no rice, no alcohol, no sugars or sweeteners of any kind. It’s a great way to jump headfirst into an ancestral diet (although easing into a Paleo diet is just fine, too) and see some dramatic changes in your health.

For my first January recipe I wanted to share one of my go-to comfort foods: sausage and sauerkraut. It can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes and always hits the spot! Sauerkraut is a superfood thanks to its healthy bacteria; Genghis Kahn took it with him as he conquered Eurasia, and Germans brought it with them on ships as they traveled to America, in order to fight off disease. Admittedly, many of its healthy bacteria are destroyed in the cooking process of this dish, but don’t let it deter you from chowing down on this tasty recipe! When shopping for sauerkraut, be sure to buy some that only has water, salt and cabbage as its ingredients. You can always make it yourself, too; it’s one of the easiest pickling endeavors you could undertake.

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Perfect Health Diet (Signed Copy) Giveaway!

11 Dec

UPDATE: Congratulations to Heather M., who won the giveaway!

Today I’m taking a break from my regularly scheduled recipe to host another giveaway. I feel like Father Christmas – two giveaways in one month! Don’t worry though, I will still be posting a recipe this week (on Thursday). And it’s a doozy.

The new edition of Perfect Health Diet comes out today, and I’m proud to say that I’m teaming up with Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet to host a giveaway: a signed copy of their new book! The Perfect Health Diet is the template I use to guide my own dietary habits, and it’s quite a coincidence that this book is coming out on the same week as my two-year anniversary of switching my own diet.

The Perfect Health Diet is a simple and thoughtful approach to eating, which could probably be summed up as 3/4 vegetables and safe starches, and 1/4 meats, with healthy fats and acids to taste. The diet avoids the same foods as a Paleo diet (cereal grains, legumes, added sugar, grain-derived oils) with the exception of white rice, which is considered a safe starch.

Here’s how to enter the giveaway (first one is required, second is optional):

1. Sign up for the Perfect Health Diet RSS feed and leave a comment on this post letting me know you did it. If you don’t use RSS feeds, you can “like” the PHD FB page or follow Paul on Twitter instead.
2. Sign up for my newsletter (on the right sidebar of this page) and leave a comment on this post letting me know you did it.

If you do both options, I’ll give you two entries into the giveaway! You can tell me which options you did in one comment to save time. The giveaway ends midnight Saturday, December 15th (EST), and I will select a winner using a random number generator on Sunday. Good luck!

Giveaway not restricted to US residents – international entrants are welcome!
Giveaway graphic by Alex Boake Illustration.

Brazilian Cheese Buns (Pão de Queijo)

30 Oct


NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

Pão de Queijo is a traditional cheese bun popular in South America, most especially in Brazil. The dish has been around since the 17th century, and was made with just tapioca starch and water before the widespread domestication of cattle in Brazil in the 1800s. Today, it’s a popular breakfast food and can be found in most bakeries in Brazil.

Cheese buns are some of our favorite non-bread breads to make. They’re dead simple – mostly tapioca starch and hard cheese – and are a great complement to many meals (not just breakfast). We first discovered them in our pre-Paleo days at a Fogo de Chao Brazilian steakhouse. Later we started making them using pre-packaged Chebe brand dry mixes, until we found out that the Jaminets over at Perfect Health Diet had posted a recipe of their own. My recipe is very close to theirs, the only main difference being that I use a combination of cream and water instead of milk (there’s nothing wrong with making it with milk, but I have an easier time digesting cream than milk). I’ve also adjusted the portion sizes so that our recipe only makes 15-20 cheese balls – otherwise, that’s all we would be eating at every meal!

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