I’ve been paleo (no grains, dairy, or refined sugar) since August and am about 3 weeks into autoimmune paleo (paleo + no seeds, nuts, eggs or nightshades). Since our big family diet overhaul / Operation Beat Eczema, I’ve discovered a few things about myself in the kitchen:
- I really love cookbooks. The more pictures the better! It makes meal planning a blast and let’s you know how close you were to being successful when it is done. In another life I’d like to be a cookbook photographer. I lose lots of time looking at the pictures in my cookbooks.
- I hate reading recipes from my phone or the computer. I will actually print them out and write all over them and put them in a binder for later.
- I don’t actually enjoy cooking. I LOVE to eat, and to make something that is simple, or that I have made 100 times before so I don’t have to think about it… but trying new recipes and being all detail oriented is not my favorite (and this is why my husband is amazing). I meal plan, grocery shop and lay all the ingredients out and he cooks. It’s a win-win.
The following books have been super helpful in our food journey so far. They not only have recipes, but many of them have lots of “science” information that explain different foods, why you should/should not eat them, ways to substitute items, and personal stories of those that authored them. All around, great reads, great recipes!
I’ve been interested in the concept of paleo for several years since reading It Starts With Food in 2012. Link to purchase on Amazon here. This book goes through the iconic “whole 30” and each food group included and not included and breaks down the science behind each. It was a fascinating read. It really made me question lots of things and a few months later I decided to do a Whole 30 challenge, and made it like 25 days. I lasted until my students did a food project in Spanish III and brought in cakes and cookies and brownies and I almost literally, “fell face first into a dessert buffet” (as Stacy Toth would say). After the fact I realized I wasn’t actually paleo (I ate a ton of legumes inadvertently) but I all in all slept a lot better and lost a ton of weight, which was really all I was after at the time. This was an excellent foundation for my postpartum days when I needed to cut out inflammatory foods, I knew exactly what to do! All in all, it’s a great “challenge” but I don’t recommend doing it if all you’re after is weight loss. If you go back to your old eating habits afterward you will feel worse and your world will be turned upside down. Ignorance is bliss, my friends.
The back of this book has meal plans and recipes, although I never used any of them. They also have a ton of great grocery shopping, meal planning and go-to guides on their website for free. Definitely a must-read before you start paleo-ing blind!
Against All Grain is amazing, and Danielle’s story is amazing. She has changed her life and is fighting ulcerative colitis, a GI autoimmune disorder with her mostly paleo diet. Personally, she has done extensive elimination dieting so she knows exactly what foods are triggers and healing for her, and her diet isn’t the cookie cutter paleo/whole 30 (nobody’s should be exactly the same — more on that later!) but her recipes are all grain, dairy and refined sugar free. Her heart is in this book! So much of our culture and childhood memories are about food, whether we like it or not. Baking cookies as a family, spaghetti night, chicken noodle soup when you’re sick… you name it, she has an AMAZING recipe for it. Her recipes are simple, fool proof and consistently good. I recommend getting this one first, as it has a lot of the “basics” in it (mayo, broth, nut cheese, etc.) and the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe. Link to purchase on Amazon here.
This sequel to Against All Grain, these are all grain and dairy recipes that are focused on batch cooking and simple, quick meals. Some of our absolute FAVORITES come from this book. There is also an allergen free chocolate chip cookie recipe for those that cannot have eggs. It comes with weekly grocery lists and plans, but I prefer to pick individual recipes. Just like her first cookbook, there is a consistency in excellence to all of her recipes. We’ve never had a flop!
Danielle has a huge social media following and has a ton of her recipes posted on her blog for free. Find her on Instagram @againstallgrain. Rumor has it that she has a cooking show in the works! Find Meals Made Simple on Amazon to purchase here.
This is the newest to our collection of cookbooks and all of the recipes are autoimmune protocol compliant, a great cookbook for those with nut or egg allergies! This book has more “out of the box” recipes, not a lot of recreations of classics, but we already have a few favorites (hello pesto chicken pizza, clam chowder, “cheesy” broccoli soup, oven fried chicken and turkey jerky). Our only complaint for this one is that it seems to make smaller portions which doesn’t leave a lot of leftovers, especially if you’re feeding one husband and one tiny toddler that eats like a teenage boy. There is talk of doubling recipes in the future. Many of these recipes are budget conscious and many are designed to be 5 ingredients or less or 30 minutes or less. Great for on-the-go busy people, and has some wonderful breakfast recipes (carrot + raisin n’oatmeal is the bomb!). Both authors have very active blogs and a social media presence, and I really love Sarah’s podcast The Paleo View. Click here to find The Healing Kitchen on Amazon.
There you have it, my favorite paleo cookbooks! Happy Friday!