|| Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo ||

*Note: this is a long one folks… but worth the read and the book is so worth the buy, so go grab it now! Then get your coffee with coconut milk and let’s talk paleo.

Keeping with the paleo book theme, (read my last review: Eat Like a Dinosaur) I wanted to share with you a book that kept me busy in the kitchen this summer, and now I’ve picked it up again, to make some of the fall foods recipes  – Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites blog.

This was another book gifted to me by a publishing company – and I was thrilled when it showed up! Within the first day I had paged through it and used mini sticky notes to mark all the recipes I wanted to make. (it probably would have been easier to just mark the few I wasn’t interested in, but you know how I love sticky notes.)

But this book isn’t just recipes. It’s divided into three parts: The Why – Food and Your Body, 30-Day Meal Plans, and Recipes. The layout is beautiful – so organized and full of  tables, images, and smaller text boxes to emphasize and organize the (sometimes) complicated information.

When I use the word complicated, don’t you worry – Diane breaks down the oh-so-interesting science parts of the book so the information is easily understood. I’m a nerd for anything nutrition or digestive health, so I loved every minute of Part 1 about food and your body.

Maybe that’s not your thing. And that’s okay. She even gives you the go-ahead to skip through some of the information and jump right into the meal plans. You can make this book work for you, but in my opinion, it is more than worth it to read the whole thing.  (and my mother-in-law couldn’t put it down up north, staying up late and reading the whole book in a weekend)

Let me just say a few things about the book overall, some of the information that I found interesting, and then we’ll skip ahead to the food too. (or scroll down now if you are in a hurry and just want to see the tasty meals.)

 Did you know…

“…doctors are typically given less than a week of training in nutritional biochemistry? Yet people who are suffering as a result of long-term poor diet and lifestyle choices end up in their offices on a daily basis. Most dietitians are unable to help because they have been taught to promote and support the USDA recommendations, which have led us down a path of declining health for more than three decades.” (p.32)

I’ve joked about this before, telling people that I diagnosed myself with celiac, which is pretty much true. (with the help of my sister, we were diagnosed at the same time) It’s sad. But it also fuels me to continue educating people about digestive issues with the hope that someone, someday will be listening and it will help them to help their patients. (I have since changed doctors, but ironically my doctor who gave me my blood test… his wife now eats gluten free for other health reasons.

Makes so much sense…

Since 60-80% of your immune system is in your gut, improving digestive function is the first step to calming systemic inflammation. When digestion is working smoothly without irritation and with a healthy transit time, your body’s ability to maintain health will be optimized, and your immunity to infections will improve.” (p.74)

Isn’t this so true? Before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2008, I had been sick for years. (looking back, I had issues since I was quite young) And I was also sick more often in general, from the flu to the common cold to inner ear infections and yeast and bladder infections – but now that my gut has healed, I am sick much less often. (and considering I work at a university where students show up in class with gosh-knows-what kind of germs and viruses, I’m doing pretty good.)

What I am digging about this book:

  • Dining out choices: Diane walks you through eating at restaurants so you won’t miss out on your favorite cuisine. I was cringing thinking of NOT having sushi, but she suggests ordering the rolls sans rice… an “aha moment” for me, yeah, why they heck not?


  • She gives you a complete rundown on your digestive processes, (including poop) which we really should know to keep things running smoothly – this includes knowing that when you have heartburn or acid reflux, the cause of the problem is usually too little acid… so instead of grabbing Tums, we should be taking some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar! (who knew?)


  • The FAQ section – ask away, most of your inquiries are taken care of right there.


  • Part 2: Meal Plans – she will set you up for success regardless of your condition or health goals, whether you have an autoimmune condition, diabetes, MS, Parkinson’s, athletic performance goals, fat loss desires, or anything in between… this section is full of meal plan ideas.

Now, the part you’ve been waiting for – the FOOD!

 If you’re still with me, thank you for being a loyal reader. (or a hungry one)

Zucchini Pancakes

We think my husband is intolerant to eggs, so these were all mine! More like a flattened out omlette, these were filling and perfectly reheated for the next couple of days. You can also roll them up and eat them on your way out the door!

Italian Style Stuffed Peppers

Yum to the yum – these were stellar!

Summer Squash Caprese Noodle Salad

One of my favorite combos just got a make-over… I’m digging it!

Balsamic Braised Short Ribs

I’m all about anything that can do its cooking time in the slow-cooker. Our cut of meat wasn’t THE best I’ve had, so I wasn’t a huge fan (no fault to the recipe) – but I LOVE short ribs, so that surprised me, so I’m going to have to make them again!

The one good thing about me taking such a long time to post this? I was able to make recipes that were from the summer season, and now the fall. Like this Broc-cauli Chowder with Bacon.

This was pretty much the easiest soup I’ve ever made. For real. Diane knows how to get things done. A weeknight meal that came together in no time — and I already put some away in the freezer for an easy lunch to take to work on one of my “you’re lucky my hair is even combed” kind of mornings.

And finally — the sweets…

Carrot Gingerbread Muffins — no photo, sorry. 

This was the one recipe that didn’t do it for me. And I was so bummed! Gingerbread is a fave flavor of mine, so when these didn’t turn out, I was not only disappointed that I missed out on a breakfast treat, but that I had wasted all those carrots.

The recipe called for blackstrap molasses and I used regular molasses that I had in the cupboard — they were very dark, and the molasses flavor was super strong. Did I mess things up by using regular molasses? I need to do a little research there — if you are a pro, let me know. The idea of packing so much carrot goodness into one little muffin was very appealing to me, so I can see myself trying these again soon.

Chocolate Coconut Cookies

So maybe someone’s trying to tell me to lay off the sweets. Or maybe something went wrong with these, but for some reason, the batter was way too runny to “dollop” these cookies onto a cookie sheet. But I’m not one to waste, so I though these little muffin cups would be the perfect mold. Turns out I was right. A not-too-sweet-but-would-totally-take-care-of-a-chocolate-craving kind of treat. Maybe Diane will stop by and tell me where I went wrong with the sweets. (here’s hoping!) But even if she doesn’t, I would make them again.

This is a book that I’ll continue to use as a reference, I’ll be sharing it with friends and family, and I’m not even close to being done with all the other recipes.

Anything look good? Go get the book now! (or if you already have it, let me know your favorite recipe) 

 *Although this book was a gift from a publishing company, that does not in any way affect my opinions or reviews – as I’ve told you before, this blog is real life and I will keep it that way with you. I will be honest about my reviews (whether positive or negative) regardless of the product being a gift, or something I purchased on my own. I am extremely grateful for the perks I receive from companies from time to time, but will not allow that to influence my reviews. 

7 thoughts on “|| Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo ||

  1. Wow i’m way delayed on commenting but I just omit the molasses completly and didn’t replace with anything and tehy turned out amazing … the only reason I didn’t put the molasses is that i didn’t have any. But never have added it since.

  2. I found your blog because I just made the Carrot Gingerbread Muffins (they’re still in the oven), and when I peeked at them, they look REALLY dark… way darker than her photo in the book. I’m wondering if the molasses amount is off? I did use blackstrap, but that’s what is called for. hmmm…. 😦
    The other recipes in the book have been great, though! 🙂

  3. I just made the carrot gingerbread muffins- I am not sure where I went wrong ( I used the blackstrap molasses). But they were swimming in OIL!! I mean they were submerged in pools of oil when I finished. They taste good – but they were wet and dripping of oil ( note: I did use the right amount of Coconut Oil)

  4. I just made the carrot gingerbread muffins with regular molasses, and they were delicious! I used more spices than recommended, because that’s the way I cook. 🙂 I didn’t frost them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s