Thursday, April 2, 2015

Book Review: "The Paleo Chef" (Pete Evans)

U.S. News & World Report recently published its "Best Diets 2015," in which the thirty-five most popular diets have been evaluated against to a set criteria and then ranked accordingly, not only overall but also within categories like "Best Heart-Healthy Diet" and "Best Plant-Based Diets."

Perhaps it seems counter-intuitive to review a paleo diet cookbook, given that the aforementioned report ranked the paleo diet dead last out of the thirty-five diets analyzed (for a number of reasons, all available on the website).

On the other hand, the paleo diet is often called more of a lifestyle choice by its proponents, and given that it is a more recently developed diet than others (like Atkins, which has been around for decades) and that some people feel appreciably better while on the diet, perhaps despite the stance of the scientific community, maybe there is simply not enough information about paleo to start relegating it to the bottom of the pile just yet.

If asked, Pete Evans, author of The Paleo Chef: Quick, Flavorful Paleo Meals for Eating Well, would no doubt eschew the "Best Diets 2015" findings and stick with what he can personally attest to being most effective for him.

The work is mainly a cookbook, providing dozens of easy-to-follow recipes from appetizers and breakfast to main dishes and (yes, they exist on the diet) desserts in paleo-friendly format with (usually) relatively common ingredients (although you may have to scour your store to find gluten-free or wheat-free versions of things you used to buy without thinking about it).

The Paleo Chef plays up the foods that characterize the paleo diet most famously, including seafood, poultry, and fresh fruits and vegetables, with extravagant-sounding (but again, easy to make) recipes for salads, stir-fries, snacks, smoothies, and more.

In the back of the book, the "Basics" section features complete recipes for paleo-friendly versions of everyday ingredients for which you might not find ready equivalents in your local grocery store. These recipes include chicken stock, mayonnaise (yes, it can be made paleo-friendly), chocolate sauce, and nut cheeses (you'll have to check them out to believe them).

The book contains not only recipes but also extensive front matter in which author Evans discusses ingredients to use and avoid, the paleo lifestyle as a whole, and his own testimony. These sections are dense with information without being judgmental or condescending, as Evans readily admits that what works for him on the diet might not work for everyone.

Finally, what sold me on the book, actually, were the quick, conversational anecdotes that precede each and every recipe. The clips include guidance about the ingredients in each recipe, extra tidbits of useful and fascinating information that make the diet seem more like an adventure than a chore, and glimpses into Evans's personal life and experiences, all of which together serve to provide credibility to the work.

If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about the paleo diet and lifestyle, I highly encourage you to check out The Paleo Chef as an excellent resource on the basics.

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Author: Pete Evans
Title: The Paleo Chef
ISBN: 978-1-60774-743-7
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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