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Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  8,123 ratings  ·  359 reviews
Our great-grandmothers didn't need nutrition lessons—then again, they weren't forced to wade through aisle after aisle of packaged foods touting outlandish health claims and confusing marketing jargon. Over the last few decades, we've forgotten what "real food" is—and we're left desperately seeking foods that will truly nourish our bodies. We're disillusioned with the "con ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Victory Belt Publishing (first published July 3rd 2012)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  8,123 ratings  ·  359 reviews

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Kris Irvin
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
I didn't think this book was very practical at all. Sure, it has some good information, but nothing you can't figure out in 30 seconds by Googling "Paleo."

The recipes seemed extremely time consuming and expensive. I'm a full time wife, mom and student. I don't have 4 hours to shred zucchini noodles while marinating hand-caught salmon in a sauce of dandelion pate and unicorn sparkles.

I really liked that all the recipes had pictures though. That was a very nice touch.

*Edit: After the very passi
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After studying up on Paleo (or whatever label you wish to use) through various books, websites, and podcasts, I'm glad to have found a "one-stop" resource that both verbally and visually explains the science in a clear, understandable way; provides guidance on special conditions and considerations; and also contains a bunch of tasty recipes that follow the guidelines (And also easily point out which recipes are good for which conditions). You can read my full review here: [...] or simply take th ...more
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If there's one book everyone should own to understand diet, nutrition, and health, this is it!

I've been following Diane's recommendations for over 2 years now, since long before she wrote a book. Her advice is sound, common sense backed by real science. Having read a significant number of Paleo/Primal books, from Gary Taubes to Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson, I find Diane's writing to be much more approachable for the common person. The title really does say it all. She has written a practical guide
So, there's two reviews, one for the diet and one for the cookbook.

As for the diet's pros, I have friends who swear by it, I was not hungry, and I ate a lot of vegetables. The cons included:
1. The overwhelming amount of meat. Week One's shopping list for two people includes: 3 dozen eggs, 1 lb. of bacon, 12 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, 1 1/2 - 2 lbs. flank steak, 2 large turkey legs, 1 lb. ground lamb, 1 lb. lemon sole, 12 ounces wild smoked salmon, 1 lb. skirt steak, ½ lb. ground pork, 1 l
Glenda Thistle
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My wife and I are new to paleo but we have been enjoying this presentation of the paleo lifestyle authored by a young expert who takes the pains to organize and present info that is also digestible!!! Yum! I especially love how I can quickly find a recipe that is organized by food group or by need. I need fat loss... She sets the plan. Great calendar, delicious recipes, and also a web site to cruise to for new ideas and support. Worth the bucks for the
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm going "Wow, wow, wow" as I'm reading this book! My eleven-year-old is helping choose recipes to try out. Have been more-or-less paleo since mid-January of this year and have seen a huge change in my health.
Blue Bates
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I adore this book. It really makes you want to change your life, and not just help you do a diet. This is perfect for beginners.

HOWEVER she does preach that Paleo is the solution to all health problems:
fart too much - paleo can fix that
twitching eye - paleo can fix that
gunshot wound to the chest that's bleeding profusely - paleo can fix that

Which is clearly bull, Paleo can't fix everything. Except farting (I loved to fart), Paleo gets rid of your toxic butt gas most excellently.
Lorene Cobb
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health

Being new to Paleo and all the food restrictions my family is following, I found this to be my favorite book on Paleo so far. It's more than a cookbook with recipes, it has many chapters dedicated to specific health issues and 30 day menu plans to to help the reader achieve their goal. It's been a life saver in my kitchen.
Loved this book so much I'm adding it to my wish list. If you could read/buy just one book on the Paleo diet, this is the one I would recommend. With the basic science, diet plans and lots of yummy recipes, this book covers all the bases.
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I consider this a really good intro to paleo book. It goes a little more into digestion and poop than "It starts with Food" but the pair of them are high on my "read this" for more info pile. And yes, Diane, I did learn something reading it, even after a year on paleo.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Honestly, you could do a Google search and see the same info. (Meaning, it's not all that new). However, if you are a beginner it might be useful. (She even shows and defines the ways of cutting veggies). Is it practical? Eh, not really. I did really like the sections on various elements/nutrients to add more of for specific health issues.
Pamela  Goloskie
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I have very mixed thoughts about this book, which was originally recommended to me by a nutritionist.
Lovely photography, great looking pages and layout
Recipes are fairly simple and easy to follow
The 30 day plans are varied and well thought out

I really don't get the 'science' behind this diet. Ms. Sanfilippo claims to debunk a lot of scientific theories and nutrition advice, but never goes on to provide any real scientific evidence for the Paleo plan that is much beyond 'our ancestor
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
Practical paleo is a one stop introduction into the world of paleo. New to this diet, I had no clue to begin. I'd browsed several websites and still had questions like: But what am I going to eat for breakfast? On what kind of science is this diet based on?

Practical paleo provided me with answers, background information and recipes. The book is divided in three parts. The first parts discusses the science behind food and your body, the second part lists several 30-day meal plans and the third pa
The text was very informative, but I fear that people will take her word as gold. Sanfilippo is not a registered dietician or a doctor. She's not even a nurse. She took a test that costs a couple hundred dollars and now gets to put initials after her name. Anyone can make a cookbook, but she is giving anatomy and physiology lessons and, at times, medical advice.

Anywho, the ideas are intriguing and the individual meal plans are well thought out, thorough, and easy to follow.

The recipes are kinda
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love how this book maps everything out! Its part instruction to the paleo lifestyle. Like how to survive in the "real world". The rest is chalk full of recipes with pretty pictures. Also, I love how she addresses a variety of mainstream diseases that afflict today's population. For each unique illness she describes a 30 day meal plan. She even has a plan for hypo/hyperthyroid. There are healthy desserts and comfort foodie stuff. I think I will purchase this book in the fall and do her prescrib ...more
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best Paleo cookbooks out there. Diane Sanfilippo gives an excellent, clear description of why the modern American diet is preventing us from achieving health, and how the Paleo way of eating can fix that. She offers multiple meal plans to help people with a variety of ailments. The cookbook portion of the book is fantastic - beautiful color photos, clear instructions. I've already made several of the recipes, and I've loved every single one.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Presented in an way that is easy to digest (pardon the pun) with 30-day meal plans to get you started no matter what health issues you may be dealing with. The recipes look flavor-filled yet simple and the photography is beautiful. The tear out copies of the guides are an added bonus and will likely soon be decorating my refrigerator door.
Oct 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
blah, blah, blah, with a few interesting tidbits; but some interesting recipes I''d like to try.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a very nice book with lots of information and wonderful pictures to go along with the recipes. Sadly I didn't find anything practical about the "plans". If you were to follow the plans with the given recipes it would be extremely expensive so nothing practical about that.
Bethany Irwin
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good explanation of what, why, how to apply, etc. Recipes have easy headers for any extra dietary concerns. Excellent base handbook.
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely a "Paleo Bible" of sorts! Super informative with sections on how to tweak the meal plans for various illnesses. Great recipes as well. A must have if you decide to pursue the paleo lifestyle .
Suzanne Barrett
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Diane Sanfilippo produced a runaway NYT bestseller with her first edition of Practical Paleo. Now she’s back with an updated and expanded second edition. I had wanted to get the original, but now I’m glad I didn’t because I LOVE this new expanded version. Congrats to Diane and Victory Belt Publishing.

Diane Sanfilippo holds a BS from Syracuse University and is a Certified Nutrition Consultant who specializes in blood sugar regulation and digestive health. Practical Paleo is not simply a cookbook
Farnoosh Brock
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
After years of doing all variety of "diets" or eating lifestyles, from raw vegan to vegan to vegetarian to omnivore with calorie counting to eating-at-home-only to regular juice fasting for quick weight loss, I was so ready for a major change.

I grew up on a Persian diet so lots of meats and vegetables and rice and moderate amounts of bread, cheese, but also a ton of fruits and salads and the usual sweets all cultures adore. So deep inside, I always craved the meats when I was on vegan or vegeta
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks, health
No worries. I'm not on a Paleo fad diet. I'm not going to forgo dairy or anything like that. I love local food too much to do that! However, in order to get control of some health issues I'm undergoing a detox starting tomorrow and the diet restricts about 20 common foods/ingredients that cause inflammation and digestive issues and when I started trying to find cookbooks to help me find things to make from the ingredients I can have (which by the way I can have a lot! but strangely am not used t ...more
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, cookbooks
I've been tweaking my diet to be tilted toward Primal eating--I know I won't go purely Paleo/Primal, but I'd like to be healthier. I bought this as an ebook from Kobo (love it when they have a 30% off code!). It's not the easiest way to read it, but I find it convenient to take my iPad to the kitchen when I make a cookbook recipe.

The first half of the book is all about the Paleo lifestyle. Ms. Sanfilippo is very vehemently Paleo. She seems to feel that everyone should be buying pure foods only--
Elyse  Walters
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one hell of a VERY complete resource book!!!

A heavy-thick-beautiful-easy-to read book ---with a customized approach to health and whole-foods lifestyle. The author has excellent suggestions of supportive type foods for people who have recovered from Cancer, heart health, autoimmune conditions, digestive health, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, athletic health, etc. etc. Plus....she has some yummy recipes! (with beautiful pictures).

Here are a few I like!!!

The Spinach salad with walnuts
Nov 01, 2012 rated it liked it
At first I was like I love this book, because it has good nutritional info in it, beautiful food photography and is laid out in a pleasing way. But by the time I finished (and skimmed about 1/3 of it), I felt that to eat this way (no dairy, unless the very rawest, grass-fed finest if you must do dairy, no sweets except very occasional maple syrup/honey, no grains at all - so that leaves meats and produce) doesn't seem like a lifestyle that you can keep up for long and be satisfied. And the one r ...more
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book can change lives! I'm slowly transitioning myself into more of the Paleo lifestyle after reading this book, and I have been a vegetarian for half of my life. Diane and her approach to this topic makes sense and left me feeling empowered to take control of my nutrition levels and heal myself. I recommend this book to anyone suffering from basically any chronic condition, from digestive stress and migraines to autoimmune diseases and skin problems, etc. There are things you can do (and e ...more
Denise Spicer
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Written by a nutritional consultant this handy reference book is full of loads of useful info. Diet and lifestyle recommendations for many different conditions – autoimmune, diabetes, thyroid, MS, fibromyalgia, heart disease and cancer. Also includes helpful 30 day meal plans and lots of lavishly illustrated recipes. There is an obvious emphasis on paleo and gluten free foods but this book is a good resource for anyone.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it
This book has A LOT of reminds me more of a college textbook than a cookbook. For me, one who is not new to Paleo and one who has garnered a lot of nutritional information over the years, I still found this book to be way too much information. It has some good recipes and some decent food plans but I find even those overwhelming with the symbols, disclaimers, etc. I personally prefer a more streamlined, cleaner look but I do think others might enjoy this.
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