Paleo Book Reviews

Paleo Book Review: Deep Nutrition

deep nutrition catherine shanahan

Book Title:

Deep Nutrition – Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food


Catherine Shanahan MD and Luke Shanahan

Producing Healthy and Beautiful Children through Traditional Foods

I, like many people, had resigned myself to the fact that I had not won the genetics lottery for beauty. And like many people, I had truly believed that external beauty was mostly due to random selection and wasn’t something I (or my parents) could do too much about.

Catherine’s book really opened my eyes to a completely new way of understanding beauty and what causes it. In short, Catherine advises that “there are nutritional choices you can make to help ensure that your baby be born healthy and beautiful if that is what you desire.”

There is a symmetry in all of nature that we typically associate with “beauty,” and a healthy embryo will develop according to those same rules of symmetry that allows the baby to be truly beautiful both inside and out!

Most Mothers-To-Be Are Deficient in Nutrients

A 2006 study that is cited in the book states that “[o]verall, 74% of women are falling short on nutrients from their diet.”

And so the body draws on the woman’s own nutrients in order to grow her baby. “If mom’s diet is deficient in calcium, it will be robbed from her bones. If deficient in brain-building fats – as horrible as this sounds – the fats that make up the mother’s own brain will be sought out and extracted….Studies show maternal brains can actually shrink, primarily in the hippocampal and temporal lobe areas, which control short-term memory and emotion.”

This was definitely the part of the book that worried me the most since I haven’t started to have children yet – how awful would it be to harm my own child and myself just by not eating well before and during and after pregnancy (before pregnancy is just as important as during), and as Catherine explains later in the book, eating well after pregnancy can significantly affect the health of your second child. Most mothers have lost so many nutrients after their first child that a second child following in quick session will result in a much more sickly child (and often, less beautiful as well!).

Eat Like Our Recent Ancestors

The nutritional guidelines Catherine suggests differ slightly from Paleo (her recommendations follow more of a Western A. Price approach). In particular, Catherine recommends sprouted grains and raw diary as both these foods are common to many of our near-ancestors across the globe. She also places great emphasis on offal (organ meats) and fermented foods, which many people new to Paleo fail to realize is a huge part of Paleo!

Eat Tons of Healthy Fats

No good nutrition book can be complete without a section on healthy and unhealthy fats, and I thought the chapter on fats was explained extraordinarily well (especially how unhealthy fats can cause heart attacks). The history of why polyunsaturated fats became associated with “heart-healthy” despite tons of evidence to the contrary is a fascinating read!

Who is Dr. Cate?

I’m lucky in that Catherine is actually my primary care provider (her office is up in Napa, California, and I’ll happily make the 2 hour drive just to see her!). She’s spoken at so many conferences across the world and provides excellent care for all her patients.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book, and the links to the book are Amazon affiliate links.

Book Review:  Cooking For The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Book Title:

Cooking For The Specific Carbohydrate Diet


Erica Kerwien of Comfy Belly

What is The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)?

When I first started reading about Paleo, I kept hearing about SCD, and I was really confused about what it was. Erica’s book covers all the basics of SCD and provides the essential recipes and know-how to get you well on your way to healing your gut through SCD. (Steve and Jordan from first explained SCD to me, so a special shout-out to them)!

Basically, SCD is a diet publicized by Elaine Gottschall after it healed her young daughter of ulcerative colitis (back in 1955). Elaine Gottschall’s book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health through Diet, is still a seminal work for improving gut health. As Erica describes at the beginning of her book, “[t]he goal [of SCD] is to repair the injured intestinal lining, achieve a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria, improve absorption of nutrients from food, and quiet the immune system’s inflammatory response that occurs with many digestive issues and diseases.”

The diet eliminates the complex carbohydrates that requires digestion in your body (e.g. lactose in some dairy, polysaccharides in rice, sweet potatoes, grains, and some vegetables, processed sugars, and fiber in grains). However, unlike Paleo, some beans, pure fruit juices, and low-lactose dairy products are permitted on SCD (as described in Erica’s book). There’s a handy chart of allowed and not allowed foods on pages 4 and 5 of the book.

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nom nom paleo book

Book Title:

Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans


Michelle Tam and Henry Fong

Too Much Excitement!

I was really excited when Michelle from Nom Nom Paleo sent me her new cookbook. Who wouldn’t be excited to find a large red box on their doorstep :)

And my excitement continued when I opened the book, since – in addition to pages upon pages of recipes and yummy photos – there were also super-cool illustrations of Michelle and her family (including her kids, Big O and Little O, and her husband, Henry).

My Favorite Chapter

This book is filled with over 100 delicious recipes, but my favorite chapter is definitely the very first one, which is entitled “Building Blocks,” since most of the recipes in this chapter can be used to enhance other recipes or dishes. There are recipes for Dukkah (an Egyptian spice blend), Magic Mushroom Powder, her famous Paleo Sriracha sauce, Macadamia Nut “Ricotta”, Bacon Aioli, and a ton more!

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30-Minute Paleo Dessert Recipes: Simple Gluten-Free and Paleo Desserts for Improved Weight-Loss

In case you missed this, I released a Paleo Desserts Cookbook last week. It’s in Kindle and Print format, and you can get a free Kindle copy Today and Tomorrow ONLY. Go grab your copy free now by clicking here.

It’s #1 in Amazon Bestsellers for Baking, Desserts, and Women’s Health!

Amazon bestseller paleo cookbook

And a HUGE thank you to everyone that reviewed the book :) There are 64 Five-Star reviews and counting! You are making all my dreams come true.

Merry Christmas!

The Modern No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo Giveaway

Alison Golden’s Book, The Modern No-Nonsense Guide To Paleo, is THE BOOK you need to jump start your Paleo diet. I love this book, and wrote a review of it here.

What’s wonderful about the book is that you can avoid making the mistakes most people coming to Paleo make and learn some great tips for making sure you stick to Paleo always!

That’s why I’m so happy that Alison said yes to giving away a copy of her book! (And, as always, you can buy this on Amazon now – just click here.)

Plus, watch out for some Facebook Flash Giveaways of this book!
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no nonsense guide to paleo alison golden

Book Title:

The Modern No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo


Alison Golden

Have you ever felt like Paleo is just too hard to follow?

Or maybe you feel like you’re getting nowhere despite giving up all that bread, pasta, and chocolate cake! Not to even mention ice-cream.

I’ve definitely been there before, and somehow managed to pull myself through it all. My journey was haphazard, rollercoaster-ish, full of drama and not to mention even some tears! Yes, some parts of the month are emotional!!!

So, what am I getting at? Simply this – that there are certain tips, skills, and facts to going Paleo that will make your lifestyle change so much easier with fewer tears and way less pain. And Alison Golden (a fellow Brit living in the US) has got these all down pat (she’s the blogger at Paleo Non Paleo!
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Beyond bacon book review

Book Title:

Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog


Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry (The Paleo Parents)

1. “A Pig is More Than Bacon” ~ Joel Salatin

Wait, isn’t Paleo all about eating Bacon?

I know that I used to think Paleo was just about bacon and eggs. But, I was quite wrong!

Not only is Paleo about so so so much more, but eating pork is about so much more too.

As Joel Salatin explains in the foreword of the book, a 200lb hog carcass only has about 25 lbs of bacon – that’s 175lbs of “beyond bacon!”

Maybe you’re like me, and you’re thinking “What the heck is ‘beyond bacon’??”
Discover Beyond Bacon

Paleo Primer Book Review

Book Title:

The Paleo Primer


Keris Marsden and Matt Whitmore

How To Eat Your Way To Less Stress

1. Your Daily Brew
I’ve been on a bit of a coffee craze since meeting Dave Asprey (the Bulletproof coffee guy) a few months ago.

From barely being able to make instant coffee, I now buy cool “third-wave” coffee and own a grinder and coffee maker!

But is coffee good for you? Is coffee even Paleo?
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paleo lunches and breakfasts on the go by diana rodgers - book review

From NYC to Massachusetts Farm

Diana and her husband, Andrew, didn’t come from farming backgrounds. Diana was an Art Education major and Andrew was an English major, but both of them became more and more passionate about food and agriculture over the years.

What I love about them is that they discovered something they were interested in and just went out and pursued it!

Andrew went back to school to get a Masters in Soil Science, and Diana got a certification in Nutritional Therapy.
Win A Signed Copy

Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry
I’ve already posted 2 recipes from Elana’s new book (here and here), and this is a quick review and Giveaway of Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry! It’s your chance to win a copy of this amazing Paleo cookbook.

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Paleo Cookbook

paleo cookbook

Ok, I have some news…I am writing a cookbook!  It’s a slow process, but hopefully it’ll be out soon.  So, for this post, I thought I would list some of the other great Paleo cookbooks out there in case you missed them!

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Are you sure you know what’s in those foods you’re buying?
Chemicals in food

Even if you only buy non-packaged foods (e.g., fresh fruits and veggies or meat from the butcher), you might still be surprised to learn what’s really in your foods!

Your coconut milk, apples, and nuts may not be the bastion of healthiness that you currently believe.

This is what I’ve been discovering while reading Rich Food Poor Food – a superb new book from Mira and Jayson Calton set to be released on Feb. 26th (you can pre-order it on

Here are just a few things I discovered:

Which Brand of Coconut Milk is Best?

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Truly Paleo Indulgences

paleo thyme biscuits
I don’t often make Paleo desserts, mostly because I tend to eat a little too much of it. But when I saw all the amazing recipes Tammy Credicott put into Paleo Indulgences, I just couldn’t resist – I made 2 in the space of a week!

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Book Review: Naked Calories

naked-calories-bookMeet the Caltons – Mira and Jayson. They are two very fascinating individuals who spent 6 years travelling the world researching health and nutrition.  Now that they’re back in the US, they are trying to alert the world to the dire epidemic of micronutrient deficiency.

Naked Calories is the first part of their solution to this growing world-wide problem. 

To take a quick step back, most people know micronutrients by the names ‘vitamins’ and ‘minerals.’ Although we’ve all heard that vitamins and minerals are important, most of us have spent our lives focusing on macronutrients – such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats – and we often forget that our body is extremely complex and requires a wealth of micronutrients. The first part of Naked Calories helpfully reminds us that we really do need sufficient amounts of a lot of vitamins and minerals in order to avoid potentially serious health problems.  Even if you think you might be taking in sufficient amounts, there are so many ways in which these essential micronutrients can become depleted, many of them things I know I do often (like not sleeping enough, stressing at work, and having that glass of wine with dinner).

Personally, I became acutely aware of micronutrient deficiencies a few years ago when, during a routine checkup, I found out that my Vitamin D levels were seriously low. x-defaultLike most people in that situation, I started taking a multivitamin (along with high doses of vitamin D), but I gave little or no consideration to how well the supplements would work.

Naked Calories really opened my eyes to the issue of multivitamins and supplements not necessarily working in all the ways we want them to (although I did regain normal levels of vitamin D 6 months later).  The Caltons raise very critical questions, such as “Am I actually absorbing that 1000% RDA of vitamin C my multivitamin claims to have?” and “Are some micronutrients in my multivitamin preventing other micronutrients from being absorbed?” These are just some of the questions the book poses and addresses.Cod liver oil capsules

I’ve found from talking to people recently about micronutrients and supplements that people either love supplements or hate them.  Some people – one of my friends, in particular – refuse to take vitamin pills. She claims that we absorb very little from vitamin pills and that it’s much better to get all your nutrients from whole foods. 

I wholeheartedly agree with her regarding the fact that we should try to eat whole foods whenever possible, but I also think we should take supplements if we’ve got a micronutrient deficiency (like I did with Vitamin D). Naked Calories goes a step further and points out that getting ideal amounts of micronutrients is pretty much impossible from our food alone. We would need to consume over 20,000 calories per day on most diet plans in order to achieve this – something that we are all unlikely to be able to do, even if we wanted to!

At some point, all of this starts to seem a little like a lose-lose situation.  On one hand, if you are taking a vitamin supplement, it might not be working as well as it should.  On the other hand, if you are not taking any supplements, then you’re definitely missing out on some essential nutrients. That brings me to the best part about this book….

The Caltons actually provide us with a solution. Naked Calories doesn’t describe this solution in great detail, but if you visit their website, you’ll see that Mira and Jayson have actually developed a multivitamin that solves all of the problems they detail in their book, such as absorption issues and competition between micronutrients.

Of course, everything can be improved, and my main gripe with Naked Calories is that I would have liked to have read more about the Calton Project, their 6 year around-the-world trip visiting indigenous populations and learning more about nutrition and health from a variety of cultural perspectives. Perhaps we will hear more about this in their coming books (Naked Calories is the first of a trilogy, and Mira tells me that their second book will be coming out in October).

naked-calories-bookSo, head over to Amazon and check out Naked Calories, or if you want to skip the reading and just get the solution, you can buy their multivitamin, Nutreince, here.

Have you read Naked Calories or have you tried Nutreince?  If so, let me know what you think below.

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Louise Yang Ancestral Chef

Hi! I'm Louise - I am "beyond gluten-free," grain-free, paleo/primal, a lawyer, an ex-physicist, a cook, a blogger, a Brit living in the US, an ex-violin player, an occasional crossfitter, a mystery book junkie, and of course, I am the Ancestral Chef :) Read my About Me Page for more!

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