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While I was busy moving, Sarah Ballantyne released The Paleo Approach Cookbook, the master-recipe guide to the Autoimmune Protocol we have all been waiting for. In case you don’t know who Sarah is, she is the author of The Paleo Approach, the first book detailing the hard science behind the Autoimmune Protocol (which recently became a New York Times Bestseller—not a small feat for a book written about a “fringe” diet protocol!). This book is an incredible resource for anyone looking to diet to live better in the face of autoimmunity, and will go down in history as a classic that will continually change lives with the information it empowers patients with (you can see my review here).
As if writing one ground-breaking, life-changing book a year wasn’t enough for Sarah, she was kind enough to gift us with The Paleo Approach Cookbook, a book that started out as a companion recipe book to The Paleo Approach but turned into much more. While The Paleo Approach is all about the science and the nitty-gritty of the protocol, The Paleo Approach Cookbook is all about the practical steps necessary to make this happen—mainly, how to keep delicious, nourishing, and allergen-free food on the table at all times.
At first glance, it is apparent that this cookbook is like nothing we have ever seen before. I hesitate to even call it a cookbook—It is more like a roadmap to recovery from autoimmune disease using food. Inside you will find all of the protocol details, exhaustive food lists and guides, variations for all sorts of modified restrictions, nutrition facts, and more. Sarah has presented an incredible amount of recipes, over 207, and possibly a hundred more if you count all of the variations, all composed of ingredients that are safe for the strictest phase of the elimination diet.
If you are looking for comprehensive lists of what to eat and avoid, just like in The Paleo Approach, you will find them in The Paleo Approach Cookbook. It made me happy to see 8 pages of foods to include on the protocol. To anyone who believes there isn’t a lot of variety on the Autoimmune Protocol, just one glance at that list is enough to change their mind! Also, for easy reference, Sarah has included a section in the back of the book with an alphabetical listing of all foods and if they are a “yes”, “no”, “maybe”, or “moderation”.
One of Sarah’s true talents is her way of easing us into eating some of the most nutrient-dense foods. I’m not just talking about organ meats here—the variety of vegetables, fruits, and meats she presents is really refreshing, and ideal for health and to not get bored with the protocol. She introduces us to a lot of nutrient-dense foods that we may not have heard of before, but might be affordable and available in our area. In addition, she has sections highlighting food quality and variety, where to shop, budget concerns, and how to prioritize when shopping. All very practical knowledge for anyone starting the protocol.
In addition to this, readers will learn how to stock their pantry, how to store different foods appropriately, the definitions of different cooking terms, which tools you will need to get started cooking, and how to time things properly. A lot of us who come from a cooking background might already have this knowledge, but for those who subsist on processed food and restaurant meals for their sustenance and are overwhelmed at the idea of learning how to cook will find these sections particularly helpful. If you want to get started right away, Sarah has included 4 weeks of meal plans for the elimination diet, with a bonus of 2 weeks of low-FODMAP meal plans. I have heard a lot of you out there are struggling with resources for a low-FODMAP/AIP approach, so you are bound to find these useful!
Next are the recipes… like I said, this book is packed to the brim with content and the recipe pages are no exception. Some recipes have many variations (like the Homemade Sausage on p. 131), which means you end up with an endless variety of meal idea. Every recipe has a photo, and they even include nutrition facts, which must have been an incredible undertaking on Sarah’s part. I’m no stranger to Sarah’s recipes, having been cooking some of her blog hits for years now, as well as being a recipe-tester for her book—they are flavorful and creative! Those of you who have my cookbook will love knowing that we have very different recipe-writing styles, which means that there isn’t a lot of overlap between our books.
Going through the recipe section, it is clear that there really is something for everyone—if you are looking for a quick recipe that take less than 30 minutes to prepare, try the Cream of Broccoli Soup (p.183), Greek-Inspired Lamb Chops (p.217), Lemon and Thyme Broiled Pork Chops (p.230), or Teriyaki-Poached Trout (p.250). Do you need a recipe that is easy enough for a beginner? Try the Carrot-Ginger Soup (p.189), Roasted Chicken (p.209), Cauliflower Rice (p.298), or Balsamic-Roasted Beets (p.304). Are you are more experienced cook looking for a challenge as well as some unique flavors? Make the Rabbit and Wild Mushroom Stew (p.200) or the Sweet Potato Linguine with Bolognese Sauce (p.226). Want to make a one-pot meal to cut down on dishes and batch-cook for later meals? The Beef Cheek and Diakon Radish Stew (p.198), Rustic Bison Pot Roast (p.212), and Steak and Kidney Pot Pie (p.272) are just what you are looking for. For those that are more adventurous, try the Deep-Fried Fish Heads (p.285) or Rocky Mountain Oysters, (p.288). While every recipe may not speak to exactly what you are looking for, there are such a variety of recipes in this book, all of them clearly-written, flavorful, and nutrient-dense, that everyone will find meals to make suiting their experience and preference.
As if that isn’t enough, in the back of the book Sarah has included some incredible resources, including a section on label reading, a photographic recipe index, tear out versions of the meal plans and shopping lists, and my personal favorite, a “recipe top ten” in a given nutrient. Looking for more iron, Vitamin A, or zinc? In this section, readers can look up the nutrient they are looking for and find the recipes in the book that have the highest amount of that nutrient. How cool is that?
Suffice to say, if you are on the Autoimmune Protocol, or even remotely interested in eating better to manage your autoimmune disease, The Paleo Approach Cookbook is more than worth adding to your collection. We are so lucky to have a resource like Sarah, who is out there giving people the tools they need to get healthy.
Do you have a copy of The Paleo Approach Cookbook yet? What is your favorite part about it?