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Mediterranean Paleo Cooking by Diane Sanfilippo, Caitlin Weeks and Chef Boumrar

Forgive me for thinking of this beautiful book as as a new Diane Sanfilippo work. I get excited. Now that I’ve read through the introductory portions, I have respect for Weeks and Chef Boumrar. That being said: “hey, a new Diane Sanfilippo book is here!”

My first comments out loud to my wife were about the photographs. Yeah, many cookbooks rightly are praised for wonderful photos. All the time. Justifiably. But damn, the bar has been raised with Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. These pages flow by the eyes; in this age of odd Instagram filters and goofball “I’m a graphic designer ‘cause I own a Mac” keyboard jockeys, here I find brilliant and beautiful design. Heck, look at the book from the right side and thoughtful design touches stand out immediately. Every photograph is clear, colorful, and set up with effective little touches. Whether an herb, a serving piece, or the composition, these are the best food photographs I’ve seen in a book. 

And guess who designed Mediterranean Paleo Cooking and took all the photographs? Diane Sanfilippo!

My favorite elements are the indexes at the back of the book. Using postage-stamp photos, and creating categories along the lines of “food nerd party”, is genius. I’ll be referencing this area often. “The basics” is clearly pointed right at kitchen people such as myself - I’m learning but always stressed for time. Diane helps me feel I can effectively create ingredients such as olive oil mayo, or roast my own peppers.

Diane speaks out on one of my personal favorite complaints about Paleo people. I am bombarded on Facebook, Instagram and via my client’s meal plans with “Paleo crap fake food.” Clearly Sanfilippo is well aware and experiencing the same thing. On page 61 she features “A word on treats and desserts.” Read both paragraphs and absorb her warning. She closes with these words: “Be honest with yourself about how many sweets and treats - even if they’re Paleo - are too many for your health goals.”

Nicely said, Diane.

Clearly I’m fully over the top about Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. I plan to have food stains on my copy pretty quick! This is your “go to” gift for everyone in your life concerned with their food, preparation and taste buds.

 #mediterraneanpaleocooking, #dianesanfilippo, @balancedbites, @victorybeltinc


Perfecting Paleo by Ashley Tudor

Next time someone you know asks you weird, detailed questions about why you eat Paleo, and throws some biased, “read it on the Internet” anti-Paleo crap at you, tell them to head to Amazon and buy Tudor’s eye-opening Perfecting Paleo. She’s about the science, not the mythology or religion of Paleo.

“Personalize your diet rules” - Tudor brings Paleo into your life on a personal basis. There are no rules, not really, but there’s a hell of a lot of science to apply.

“Ancient wisdom meets self-testing” - Again, the knowledge of how to take the strict guidelines of Paleo and make them work in your life are made clear in the pages of Perfecting Paleo

Ashley Tudor is a wizard. She takes science, the framework of how the human body’s systems work, and breaks it down and explains. With the tools in this book, using her quick reference guides, you will easily uncover the diet rules specific to you and your unique biology.

Have you ever wondered why some people “eat Paleo” yet remain fat? Or did you rack your brains counting calories, found it a useless exercise, and wonder what to do next?

Get smarter, understand the timeless science of why Paleo makes sense to the human body, by reading Perfecting Paleo. Even if you don’t read it cover to cover, having this book shelved in your home will smarten you up!

Allow Tudor to drop a load of knowledge on you; she wants you to look and feel your best.

@VictoryBelt, @ashleytudor


Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine: Authentic Recipes Made Gluten-Free by Sarah Fragoso

Paleo lifestyle, eating Paleo, strict Paleo - many people are beginning to tire of Paleo itself, the term, being touted as the ultimate answer to everything. Long ago I discontinued strict Paleo eating; for my lifestyle and exercise load living “near-Paleo” but “all real food” works best.

Sarah Fragoso is one of my Paleo movement heroes. She lives the life, travels the Paleo path with her family, and throws herself into the business of teaching people the life-enhancing benefits of a dairy, grain, gluten and legume-free life. Her podcasts, website, writing and teaching makes a difference for untold numbers.

Time in Thailand with her family, immersing themselves in the cuisine and people, learning how to live with Thai food, helped spur the creation of Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine. I frankly find the book compelling as hell. I like Thai food, but I’m convinced reading these pages I’m going to love Thai meals prepared in this manner. 

Fragoso knows how to reach people with her message; her recipes are clear and flavorful and appear manageable. If I think I can use them, so can you. Her earlier books remain mainstays in my kitchen, are nicely spattered with food and wine stains, and welcome Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine to the kitchen bookcase. 

Victory Belt Publishing,

@VictoryBeltInc, @TheSarahFragoso


From a Tidal Wave of new Paleo Cookbooks... A Few Good Ones

Paleo cookbooks, Paleo "lifestyle" guides, Paleo foods... I'm surrounded by them. Here are a few notable recently released Paleo cookbooks:

The Real Food Cookbook: Traditional Dishes for Modern Cooks is Nina Planck’s beautiful look at simple, from-the-land recipes and food usage. A Virginian who founded London, England’s first farmer’s market, her book is a useful guide to creating dishes that actually may find themselves onto your dinner table. There’s a meatloaf recipe in here, for instance! I found myself encouraged that earlier in her life the author was a low-fat vegetarian. Now she’s gone full circle and is using organ meats in her cooking! In this world of pretty, fluffy, semi-useful cookbooks, Planck’s Real Food Cookbook earns it’s spot on my kitchen shelf. (Bloomsbury)


Steven Raichlen may prove to be Julia Child for the modern man. His new Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook For Guys is vibrant with energy. Raichlen teaches readers how to use knives, why food and drink kick up so much passion within us, and what to do about it. His personality and real-life attitude help make Man Made Meals a cover-to-cover read; there is much more here than recipes. By the time you get to the back cover you’ll be passionately engaged with your kitchen. Man up and cook, indeed! (Workman)

Joshua Weissman tells an unusual story. The teenage author of The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook (and the Slim Palate blog), he turned his life around after too many years living massively overweight. Learning how to eat and prepare food helped Weissman lose more than 100 pounds, and now as a high school senior he’s living an entirely different, healthier and happier, life. Now I know why the recipes in here appeal to me so much; my inner teenager, the guy who chowed bowls of cereal and ate sandwiches, relates to what’s going on in the Slim Palate book. Useful, simple and delicious recipes abound. I like this cookbook a hell of a lot. (Victory Belt)

I love ice cream, but only indulge once a month or so. Ben & Jerry’s is my traditional go-to, and I’m known to mess it up adding protein powder and stirring it all together. Then Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Ice Cream arrived, reminding me how many tasty versions of ice cream are possible, without eggs, gluten, soy or refined sugar. I appreciate a book such as this, I applaud Brozyna’s effort at teaching the preparation of healthier ice cream dishes, but frankly I’ll never make any of these, nor do I have a taste for them. Over the years I’ve successfully programmed my mind to eliminate desire for sugar. (Primal Blueprint)


Paleo Girl is an interesting shot at helping teenage girls attain better physical condition, and learn to take care of themselves, throughout their difficult puberty years. Insight from teenagers portrayed by author Leslie Klenke, fun and interesting conversations, help Paleo Girl introduce the Paleo diet and lifestyle to a new audience. Another lesson concerns navigating today’s intense world of social media, peer pressure and the bullying culture. I cannot applaud Leslie Klenke enough for the classy Paleo Girl. I’m hoping she gets copies into the hands of those who will benefit the most. (Primal Blueprint)

When Paleo By Season: A Chef’s Approach to Paleo Cooking appeared, my initial impression was that Peter Servold’s book would be useful only to vastly experienced foodie-cooks with Food Network-worthy kitchens. Hell, someone’s using chopsticks in the cover photo! I’m a fork and sharp-knife guy, but I relaxed and dug into the pages. Turns out that once I got past the art-book-quality photography, and some of his recipes that appear to be for tiny people, I found a series of recipes I’m ready to try. I’m most impressed with the seasonality of Servold’s approach, and the simplicity of his recipes. Give Paleo By Season a real try; I see food stains in my copies’ future. (Victory Belt)




















My Current Kale Shake Recipe

"What's in that shake you're drinking?" is a constant question for me. Whether I'm at CrossFit or the globo-gym, just what's inside those green shakes I drink generates questions. Here's what I'm doing lately. Keep in mind, using a blender for meal shakes is an exercise in flexibility, imagination and taste buds. There are no rules!

Assume a full blender creates two meal shakes; that's how I approach this. Dump in a half can of coconut milk (love that fat!). A couple of tablespoons of almond butter follows, then a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes, some Fiberlyze (from Species Nutrition), four scoops of whey protein (I use vanilla, haven't used chocolate with kale yet), filtered water, a handful of strawberries, blueberries in season, a cored apple, sometimes a carrot. Oh yeah, and a hell of a lot of kale! Cut the kale from the stems, build a pyramid of it, use a ton, as the blender will bring it down to size.

Sure, your shake is bright green. Your insides, your digestive system, your muscles, your body will be happy as hell. Maybe people will ask you "what's in your shake?" too.