selection of good paleo cookbooks

Today there are as many diets as there are micro organisms in the air. From the “eat nothing” diet to the “tie my shoelace” diet. However most have been discovered by self experimentation through trying different diets until finally one worked.

And this one works. The Paleo Diet, short for Palaeolithic Diet.

Its premise is based on returning to our roots, much like our ancestors. So if you’re the hunter gatherer type, then this diet should come as no surprise as to what you can eat.

In particular meats, vegetables and nuts take centre stage whilst avoiding everything that could not be gathered or hunted and eaten straight away. Since agriculture came into the mix, the evolution of our diets has not had the chance to play catch up. So we are told to eat everything that on paper looks good, but in reality is not so.

Top 5 Paleo cookbooks

As you are limited for choice on what you can eat on the Paleo diet, I would recommend reading a few paleo recipe books that take the best from the diet and help you choose the meals that best suite your lifestyle. Whether you need to make something quick, or have time preparing on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

All these I found had enough variety to never make the same meal twice:

Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

by Melissa Joulwan

best_paleo_cookbook_ Melissa Joulwan_WellFed

This is by far my favourite cookbook. Completely comprehensive. From the utensils you will most often need to use, to spices and their counterpart substitutions. ( In case you can’t get them at your local Paleo friendly store.)

This book is hands down the best Paleo cookbook I’ve read, although you should by now be a Paleo guru to enjoy this book. Well Fed is truly about eating the best types of food.

Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple

by Danielle Walker

Best Paleo cookbook Danielle Walkers Against All Grain

Here Danielle shares meals that only take one pot to cook in, and take a total of 30 minutes or less to prepare.

Although not entirely based on the Paleo Diet, she excludes many vegetables that can cause autoimmune issues such as tomatoes, eggplant and some hot peppers.

Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle

by Diane Sanfilippo

Best Paleo cookbook Practical Paleo Diane Sanfilippo

This book is a great starting place if you’re new to the Paleo diet. It has recipes for every day of the month, tailored on your dependence to the state of health you find yourself in.

What’s great is that she touches upon those who suffer with autoimmune problems, which are difficult to handle without nightshades or eggs. Although in the title “practical” was a little misleading, as the book was very comprehensive with plenty of theory as well.

Paleo Diet: 365 Days of Paleo Diet Recipes

by Emma Katie

best_paleo_cookbook_ Emma Katie_365 Days of Paleo Diet Recipes

Although I could not find a paperback edition, the kindle version was inexpensive. This book has has a ton of great recipes. One for each day as the book implies.

It’s not as broad as many others in the genre, but it carries all the useful information you’d expect to find in a cookbook. All in all, the recipes are quick and easy, without spending too much time in the kitchen.

The Frugal Paleo Cookbook: Affordable, Easy & Delicious Paleo Cooking

by Ciarra Hannah

best_paleo_cookbook_ CiarraHannah_FrugalPaleo

The main reason I like this cookbook so much is down to the recipes being within an affordable range. As much as I like duck and salmon, our ancestors did not have much to trade with. And like the book, there are fantastic recipes that can be bought by most anyone.

Ciarra has written the book as though you have been on the Paleo diet, expecting you to have gained your knowledge from other books. What it brings to the table are great recipes that are affordable and bursting with taste. Knowing what to buy, even if it’s the cheaper option can still taste just as delicious.

Where to buy Paleo food?

Where_to_buy_paleo_foodThere are a couple of things that you should always keep in the back of your mind when considering what foods to purchase and you don’t have a handy cookbook nearby:

  • Firstly, avoid dairy products, this includes milk, butter, cream, yoghurt, ice cream, cheese, etc.
  • Starches are also culprits – no corn products, no potatoes although sweet potatoes are an exception, no rice and no bread. They can all be substituted with vegetables, like cauliflowers.
  • All processed foods – ready made meals and the frozen section are a no go area. Avoid all grains as they contain gluten and supply your body with sugar too quickly.
  • Fruits are okay, but still contain sugar, and as such should be taken in moderation and in their most natural state, without blending. I’ve found “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf explains this in greater detail.


Paleo diet for weight loss


If you can generally answer YES to:

“Could I eat this raw?” 

then the likelihood is that it belongs within the Paleo palate. Hence most vegetables and nuts are good to go.

This does not mean that you have to eat them raw, as you can cook them and still get what you need from them.

During the Palaeolithic era, you would have to hunt for your food, and like all sensible diets, exercise is still a focus. Short bursts of energy such as quick sprints, or pull ups are great. Imagine what our ancestors were doing to get their food.

Basing your exercise on what they did when hunting and gathering will ensure your Paleo diet is working in tandem – and you’re losing weight!

Eating when you’re hungry is more important than keeping a calorie counting schedule. Our ancestors daily grind included running for their food, and gather berries and nuts.

They did not have the luxury of sitting comfortably behind a desk writing an article, and driving through a McDonald’s at their leisure for their food. Eating all day keeps your metabolism working, rather than kick-starting it 3 times a day.

On a final note, the best paleo diet cookbook out there belongs to the one you personally find enjoyable, informative, easy to read and fulfils your lifestyle requirements. Remember most of them come in a digital format which can be taken with you when you travel. So there is never an excuse not to cook right.

Get your inner caveman or woman out and get cooking the all natural way.

You’ll be glad you did. Bon appetite!

Image sources:

Photo 1 by Tim SacktonPhoto 2 by BurtmurnoPhoto 3 by Ugo Cutilli / CC BY