A few readers have asked whether The Heritage Cookbook should be considered a Paleo or Primal book, like my previous two books.

While I didn’t deliberately tailor the book to any specific diet, the fact that the entire book relies on whole ingredients means that it is mostly adherent to many popular healthy eating trends. Flipping through the 303 total recipes in the book, I count 176 (58%) that are naturally Paleo or Primal friendly without any major adjustments, and the majority of those are also Whole30 compliant (you may have to omit or substitute a bit of butter, honey, or alcohol here and there). If you consider white rice to be okay, that’s another 26 to add to that list (so a total of 67%). Finally, 175 of the recipes are also low in starch and sugar, making them Keto or low-carb friendly. The rest of the recipes either feature some amount of traditionally-prepared corn and/or beans, or call for gluten-containing grains.

The presence of gluten in the book may throw you off, since this blog is 100% gluten-free. I continue to avoid gluten in my diet, but this is a good example to help describe the foundation of The Heritage Cookbook. The book investigates how genes affect our interactions with certain foods – including those that contain gluten (wheat, barley, and rye). Cutting out entire food groups can undermine the principle of the book, in that people with specific ancestry may be at an advantage to eat the historical ingredients of their ancestry group(s). But that doesn’t solve the issue we have with food interactions today outside of genetic predisposition – for example, my ancestors have a long history of wheat consumption, but learning that fact doesn’t make me able to eat wheat again without any adverse effects. After all, dietary reactions are the result of many factors, and genes are only one of those factors–albeit a very fascinating one! And since gluten reactions are one of the most prevalent digestive issues Americans face today, I made it a point to include gluten-free substitutions in every recipe (except a couple that specifically rely on bulgur or durum/semolina wheat).

Given the sheer volume of recipes in the book, another way to look at it is that these numbers nearly justify a cookbook of their own. For example, most Paleo cookbooks feature less recipes than the 176 that are found in this book (and same for the 175 keto recipes!). So there is still a lot of value to be had in these pages – and we haven’t even started talking about the 200+ pages of genetic and nutritional research, food history, and cultural observations found within the book!

So to recap:
58% of the book is Paleo/Primal friendly, and most of those are Whole30 compliant
67% of the book is Paleo/Primal + white rice (e.g. Perfect Health Diet) friendly
99% of the book is written to be adaptable to gluten-free
58% of the book is Keto or low-carb friendly

In answer to this article’s main question: is this book Paleo/Primal/Gluten-Free/Keto-friendly? I would say yes. But also no (way to make a decision, Russ). I’m not marketing it as aligned to any specific diet for a reason – and honestly, the variety of traditional foods found in our ancestral diets lean more towards eating a bit of everything around you (provided they are made from scratch and in a traditional context) than to eschew entire food groups. And that context matters; nowhere in the book do I call for someone to use wheat products (or really, any food product) as their main source of calories. Instead, I encourage the reader to eat along historical trends. Take a look at this graph below:

This indicates the changes in poultry consumption from the first year that global figures were calculated (1961, a time when more people were eating traditional foods than today), versus 2013. You can see that the landscape of food consumption has changed significantly over the past 52 years (I approached it as two generations, since generations are typically calculated as 25 years). An American looking at modern consumption trends around them may assume that eating 70kg/year of poultry meat is totally normal, but in 1961 the average was more like 17kg/year. Same goes for ingredients like corn, beans, and wheat – at the very least, the 1961 figures are a better indication of historical eating patterns than 2013 figures. But the key will be to look at the historcal eating trends of your ancestral origins. Are you an American of Italian origin? In 1961, Italians ate only 5kg/year (a little over 11 lbs, or 22 8oz servings a year!)–a far cry from the 70kg/year consumed by contemporary Americans.

And that’s one of the many insights and tools you’ll find in the book to help you figure out the best diet for your unique heritage.

More to come in the following weeks! And don’t forget that you only have until June 30th to grab a physical (hardcover) edition of The Heritage Cookbook!

Although my recipes principally follow a gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, and Perfect Health Diet framework, I often get requests to adapt my recipes for Whole30 and the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). These two eating styles in particular are further restrictive in that the former is intended to reset your eating habits, while the latter is designed to heal and reverse autoimmune symptoms.

I’m familiar enough with both eating parameters that I was able to go through every recipe in Paleo Takeout and make individual adjustments to comply with those requirements while still preserving the spirit of each recipe. So if you’re trying out a Whole30 or healing from autoimmunity, feel free to use this guide as a means to enjoy my book. I’m very proud of this guide, as it took me nearly a month to compile everything, and I was able to retain 94% of the recipes for Whole30 and 80% for AIP, which is pretty awesome. Plus this is definitely my longest post ever, over 7,000 words! Substitutions are referenced in order of appearance in the recipe.

Other helpful links:

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Last weekend, I did a couple book signings with my friends Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom) and Stacy Toth (of Paleo Parents). It was a lot of fun. On Saturday night, Sarah and Stacy slept over at our house, so I offered to make dinner for them; Sarah and Stacy follow a modified version of the Autoimmune Protocol (a more restrictive version of the Paleo diet meant to reverse autoimmunity, see this post or Sarah’s book for more info), so I knew I had my work cut out for me. How do you treat your friends (and food bloggers at that) to a delicious meal with a limited cupboard to work with?

For the main course I made a modified version of my Beef Rendang recipe, where I subbed some butternut squash puree for the bell and chili peppers, and used mace instead of nutmeg. I think the squash added a good amount of body to the dish; it turned out well. I served it with cauliflower rice saut̩ed in coconut milk, turmeric, cinnamon, and raisins Рalso good.

But I wanted to add another texture to the dish, so I tried out a more savory version of my pizza crust recipe, made AIP-friendly by eliminating the dairy and egg typically used in the recipe. I couldn’t have been happier with the results – the bread was nice and crisp, and adding nutritional yeast imparted a rich, buttery taste.

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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,
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