Book Review: "The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking," by Hayley Mason and George Staley
At this point, paleo cookbooks are becoming more and more common and easy to find, which is a wonderful thing for people who already eat paleo. But if you’re new to the paleo diet, I would imagine all the options could be overwhelming. The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking, the new cookbook by Haley Mason and George Staley, is a perfect beginner’s guide to getting your feet wet with paleo eating.
If you've ever considered switching to paleo, you've probably heard the same advice: Give it a try for thirty days and see what happens. This book is designed to guide you through those first thirty days of paleo. To accomplish that end, it is divided into three parts:
This section covers all the basics and would be a huge help for paleo newcomers. Not only do the authors go through the basics of paleo eating, but they also give a nice rundown of oils and fats, beverages, nuts and seeds, and herbs. This section provided a helpful overview of what paleo looks like in real life – and what it doesn’t look like. I especially liked the photo of the junk food pantry on page thirty.
This is the shortest section in the book, but I’m sure a lot of people will find it most valuable. I know when we started on our clean eating journey, one of the most time-consuming parts of the process was making a menu and a grocery list. In this section, the authors provide five comprehensive grocery lists – a list of basic paleo ingredients and four weeks of shopping lists. I love the basic ingredient list and use it all the time. There are also weekly meal plans that plan out breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the first four weeks, using recipes from the book with page numbers provided.
Bill and Hayley top it all off with 75 recipes to get you through thirty days of paleo eating. Several of these recipes, including the Garlic Ginger Chicken, Sesame Beef Stir-fry, Harvest Spiced Drumsticks, and Beef Tagine, are perfect for quick and easy weeknight dinners when you’re in a rush, and have made frequent appearances on our own dinner table since I received this book. Also, don't forget to check out the "Express Eats" section in the back of the book, which has some great ideas for quick dinners and spice mixes to use to add some flavor to that broccoli and chicken.
While many of the recipes are quite simple, others allow you to get more creative in the kitchen on days you have more time to cook. Some of our favorite recipes that are a little bit more time-intensive include the Coffee-Marinated Flat Iron Steaks, which I wish I could eat for breakfast every day, Green Eggs and Ham with Kale Pesto, which my children like almost as much as Dr. Seuss himself, and the Pad Thai with Chicken, which calmed an emergency pad thai pregnancy craving I had last month without the noodles – a rare feat.
One thing to note about this book is that, depending on your family size, you might find you need to double or triple a lot of the recipes. Although we only have two children, which would probably be considered a rather small family, our daughters have ravenous appetites and I find that if a recipe doesn’t serve at least four, I usually have to double it, since we like to eat leftovers.
You’ll also find that a lot of the recipes in this book are very simple and don’t require a lot of exotic ingredients. To my mind, this is one of the book’s greatest strengths. People who are new to paleo eating also tend to be new to cooking, and if you’re looking for guidance and motivation in that department, it’s here.
A final note: if you are a seasoned paleo eater you will still love and use this book. Just because it’s geared toward people doing a thirty day paleo challenge doesn’t mean that it’s only a useful resource for beginners. In fact, we plan to embark on another thirty day paleo challenge, despite the fact that we’ve been eating paleo (or primal, to be more precise) for a while now. After all, beginners certainly aren’t the only ones who need a little inspiration now and then.
"The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking" is available for $21.91 at Amazon.com.