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The Healing Kitchen (175+ Quick & Easy Paleo Recipes to Help You Thrive by Alaena Haber and Sarah Ballantyne  


Cookbooks centered around a Paleo theme are commonplace. The days of “Hey, a new Paleo cookbook is coming out!” are long gone. Everyone knows what Paleo is (or at least they think they do). 

The Healing Kitchen rises above many of the books crowding bookshelves featuring Paleo in the title. Yes, there are a hell of a lot of recipes in here. I’ve not tried any yet but a few look crazy good. Sweet & Savory Shepherd’s Pie caught my attention and will be my first creation from these pages.

There’s so much more to The Healing Kitchen. Shopping lists of food are taken to a level I’ve not seen before. Authors Sarah and Alaena created meal plans tailored to the style of life you live. If you’re always running, the shopping homework differs for you compared to someone sitting at a desk all day. Such a good idea.

Every plan, each recipe, all the information in The Healing Kitchen conforms to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. On top of that, the authors understand the need of most people to budget for grocery shopping. No exotic and overly-expensive ingredients are featured. There’s no necessity to purchase high-priced spices or foods rarely needed in the kitchen. Logic prevails.

I particularly enjoyed chapter two, Healing Through Food. A good deal of useful (and proven) help is in these pages, written clearly. Writing such as this goes a long way to make The Healing Kitchen essential in your life.

@VictoryBeltInc, @grazedandenthused, @thepaleomom, #TheHealingKitchen


Ditch the Wheat: 120 Paleo Recipes for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle by Carol Lovett  

I figured out what sets Ditch the Wheat apart from other Paleo cookbooks with similar titles. It’s not specifically the recipes (though I’m taken with the simple roasted leeks and will be trying them soon). For me, it’s the attitude. 

Author Lovett hasn’t merely compiled wheat-free recipes; it’s the “lifestyle” bit that’s key. As with many Paleo books, the first chapters are the best here. Readers learn about food, where it really comes from, how to make broth, what best to do in restaurants while maintaining a Paleo life.

Just what are the ingredients of Paleo food and cooking? Lovett provides three great pages breaking down coconut milk and cane sugar and the like. This is valuable help, as Paleo goes mainstream and the masses look for answers.

Make your own aioli, or maple butter, or BBQ sauce. Use the whole animal. Don’t drag it into your kitchen and open this book expecting answers, but read closely and you’ll learn everything you need to know about using every part of that animal. Lovett break down the tools and equipment you’ll want in your kitchen, all the primary spices and pieces of the Paleo pie 

Over time, Ditch the Wheat could take it’s place as one of the Julia Child-like building blocks of a strong Paleo kitchen. From this long-time Paleo guy, that’s high praise.

@VictoryBeltInc, @DitchTheWheat


Easy Paleo Meals by Kelly Brozyna

Yeah, the world is awash in Paleo-themed cookbooks. Not a problem for me, really, because is there such a thing as too many books about food and cooking? I think not. Other than the perennial not-enough-room-in-the-kitchen-bookcase situation (some of them migrate to the basement shelves).

 Kelly Brozyna has written a couple of cookbooks previous to Easy Paleo Meals, but one is about chocolate-based foods, and the other about ice cream, so they aren’t to be found in my house. Here’s why Easy Paleo Meals made the cut. To quote the author: 

“If I’ve proven anything with this book, it’s not that I’m a fan of cooking, it’s that I’m a fan of eating.

Hell yes! This is what I want to hear, a cookbook written by someone who enjoys eating food as much or more than preparing it. I’m no foodie, I aspire to be a better and more imaginative cook than I am, but I consistently find myself working hard to prepare lots of food, and get ahead with meals, rather than researching recipes and utilizing the spices and ingredients already to be found in my kitchen. 

Easy Paleo Meals helps me expand my horizons and try some things outside of my wheelhouse. Sure, Kelly includes lots of desserts and other pastry-type foods I won’t try, but the Sausage & Egg Pizza is in my sights!

Another keeper from Victory Belt Publishing, who seem intent on cornering the Paleo cookbook market.

@VictoryBeltinc, @spunkycoconut, #easypaleomeals


Paleo Home Cooking: Flavorful Recipes for a Healthy, Gluten-Free Lifestyle by Sonia Lacasse  

This book appears more useful and logical than the bland, cover-all-the-bases title made it appear to me. My first impression was that the world hardly needed another general, introduction-to-Paleo cooking book, but close examination has moved me slightly away from my “this is a waste” viewpoint.

If you are new to the Paleo world, or have very few cookbooks in your home featuring Paleo in the title, I would suggest Lacasse’s Paleo Home Cooking is a fine instrument for you to learn and practice from. I like her use of little graphics in the upper-left-hand corner of recipe pages, quickly alerting the page-skimmer whether this recipe is keto-friendly, egg-free, squeaky clean, can be prepared ahead, takes a long time to prepare, etc. Considering I believe most of us often dip into cookbooks at random and leaf through the pages, this is a useful feature. 

If you’ve “been Paleo” for long you’ll find Paleo Home Cooking redundant and unnecessary. Friends just gaining curiousity about a Paleo lifestyle will benefit from the friendly, easy-to-understand recipes and basic information.


Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind by Vanessa Barajas  

I’m no fan, today, of baked goods. Disclaimer: I grew up enjoying them, and in my 20s and 30s was quite a bread baker. This was the era of ‘low fat, eat all the grains you can’. I remember lunches consisting of plain yogurt, oat bran, Grape Nuts, dried fruit, etc., stirred together in a bowl!

For years the world of Paleo has harbored a baking niche, those who create Paleo cupcakes-treats-bars-breads-donuts, and fill Facebook with their recipes and photos. Hey, do what you want to do, but Paleo cake is still cake, whether it contains flour or not. I defy anyone to make the case that a Paleo cupcake will help you in the squat rack or extend your life span or even make your day that much better. 

Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind is a cleverly-titled, nicely written, well photographed, pretty cookbook full of stuff I won’t eat. Personally, I don’t see the point of spending time in the kitchen making ice cream and pie and other Paleo desserts. If this is something you want to delve into and master, I think Vanessa Barajas will guide you nicely. In the meantime, I’m firing up the grill, I’ve a side of beef coming in late October.