The second book by foodie and Paleo advocate, Rebecca Field. A follow up to her first book, 'Introduction to Paleo' - but does it hit the spot?
This is the second book from serious foodie & Paleo advocate, Rebecca Field, owner of Paleo Diet & Fitness
. I've got to ‘know' Rebecca a little via Social Media (Paleo in the UK is still a relatively small place to be) and I've always been impressed by her commitment to Paleo and quality of her recipes so when asked to review her new book, I absolutely jumped at the chance.
Please note: This isn't a sponsored post, and Rebecca knows I'll be my usual very blunt and honest self!
Now, starting on a slight negative, parts of this book aren't for me. I'm an ‘experienced' Paleo lifestyler (Is that a word? Oh well, it is now!), so I don't need 12 weeks to change my life, I did that a few years back and so I haven't followed the 12 week plan, I've cherry picked the bits relevant to me (there were plenty to choose from).
That said, how I wish I'd had this book back when I moved over to Paleo! My transition was a mish-mash effort of different US books and US recipes with US measurements and ingredients, it was not efficient! It's awesome there's a book of this quality available for those in the UK (and beyond) looking to improve their health for good.
For those new to Paleo or looking to move over to a Paleo way of life, or just looking for more high-quality Paleo recipes, this book is an essential read – why I hear you cry?! Here's my top 5 reasons (I thought I'd better shut up after 5, I could go on!):
1. It's all UK ingredients and measurements – trust me, this is a big win and will save you time googling away to convert everything! As great as many of the US and Australian Paleo books are, the recipes can be frustrating if you can't source an ingredient or be faffed to convert the measurements.
2. It's easy to follow. I mean, really easy, with recipes anyone can do, from steam veggies up to more complex recipes – ideal in our time-starved existence. The ingredients are also fairly mainstream and easy to get hold of. The first half of the book dedicated to helping you through the 12 week program is also written in an easy-to-understand style, no big scary scientific words to scare you off.
3. It's two books in one and well worth the price tag. I admit, when I saw £34.99, I thought ‘ouch'. However, it's worth every penny and it will be your Paleo bible for 12 weeks and beyond. I mainly just use the recipes section as an old hand at Paleo, it's lovely to have some new recipe ideas to try (there's over 200 recipes to choose from). For those new to Paleo, it gives you everything you need:
• how to get a Paleo store cupboard
• choosing the ‘right' foods
• going beyond just food to look at exercise, sleep and stress
• 12 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists (think of the time saved!)
• Over 200 recipes
4. The recipes are *AWESOME* - genuinely, they are tasty, easy to make (whatever your cooking skill level) and my partner and kids have really enjoyed them too; that alone is worth its weight in gold! If you're moving to a Paleo lifestyle, you will be amazed at just how tasty and varied your diet will be. I can't even begin to imagine how much has gone into creating so many fabulous recipes. Some are *very* basic, so if you're an advanced cook and you've been doing Paleo for a while, then this book might not be for you. For me, it was the right level of recipes and as I've mentioned before, just great to have some new ideas of what to cook; as a mum of 3 I'm always looking for new things to try!
5. It's honest – without doubt, having been a Paleo fan for some years now, if you follow this plan for 12 weeks you will feel better, you will feel healthier, you'll more than likely be lighter too. It will reawaken your taste buds to real food and kill that addiction to sugar. It's been well thought out, it's varied and all the hard work is done for you. The shopping lists are for 2 people so easily doubled for a family of 4/5. I personally also love that the recipes aren't too fancy, just real food, real recipes that anyone can do.
There's also a lovely real life case study, Jenny, who pops up throughout the book to give you real feedback about how she found the 12 week programme. It felt very real and similar to many experiences I had when transitioning to a Paleo lifestyle. Her 12-week journey led to a 2 stone loss in weight, massively reduced pain and she felt better than ever.
I have made a selection of the recipes so far, here's my thoughts on each one:
• Persian chicken kebabs, roasted cauliflower and baba ganoush – I've made plenty kebabs and roasted cauliflower before but the spice blend here was perfect, truly delicious. Baba ganoush I'd never made and it was so simple and so tasty. A very satisfying dinner all round.
• Easy lamb curry
– I admit that I switched the rogan josh spice paste suggestion for a custom spice blend that I usually use (from Lajina's Masala Magic
- it totally rocks). It worked a treat and was a really simple and tasty midweek curry.
• Indian lamb burgers – so good, easy to make and addition of fresh herbs made all the difference!
• Blackened spiced salmon and avocado salsa – first time I'd cooked fish in goose fat, as per the recipe. I was dubious but oh my goodness did it work, stunning dinner that was a big winner for all the family.
• Sausage and pepper casserole – probably my leastr favourite out of all the recipes I've done so far, it was just a little unexciting but it was a good midweek supper and we had empty plates all round so no complaints from me!
• Sweet and sour pork – yum, yum, yum. When I looked through the ingredients for this one I wasn't convinced – what do I know?! It was light, refreshing, fruity and filling, total winner.
I don't want you thinking I'm only going to say good things, so although not many, here's a few (admittedly minor) gripes:
• The breakfast options become quite egg-heavy (4-5 times per week), some more alternative protein-options in the future would be good.
• A few of the recipes could do with a little more complexity (e.g. rather than just using curry powder, individual spices would add more individuality to the dish) – one for the next book maybe?
• The index could be more helpfully cut up into meal type/main ingredient etc. If I forget what ‘Persian chicken kebabs' is called I want to find all the Chicken recipes easily, even if it's just putting ‘Chicken' in bold.
• It's a BIG paperback (395 pages!) – when I'm using it for recipes it's not the easiest to keep propped open, so hardback would have been preferred (but I'm guessing budget said no, hardbacks aren't cheap).
So, there you go – would I recommend this book to you? Hell yes, with bells on!
Buy it for yourself or buy it for those you love and want to see in a healthier, happier place.
Buy it for the foodie who is a competent cook and wants some new recipe inspiration.
Buy it for the busy parent who wants their meal planning and shopping lists done for them.
Buy it for your friend who's overweight, has health issues and never has any energy.
Buy it for the Paleo fan who needs to rest and get back on track with it.
I think that's everyone covered ;-)