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I love the idea of this book. It was about 10 years ago that I was eating badly already, so to lose some of the weight I had piled on, I went Atkins. Lots of meat and cheese? I was already eating like that, so I threw out the few vegetables I did eat (tomatoes, onions, etc) and went all in. I lost weight those first weeks but felt terrible! Then the weight started piling on, my heart started racing, and I had pre-diabetic symptoms. After a few other failed diets, I went vegan, lost 60 pounds, cleared up my skin, and 3 years later, I met a wonderful man who was also vegan.
Paleo is in some ways Atkins redone, wearing a disguise. The diet as it stands with tons of meat, some veggies and no legumes, grains or beans has been debunked by many dieticians. Enter Jones and Roettinger. They provide a sensible approach to a paleo diet that uses the ‘cheat’ calories to build back in those gains, legumes, and beans. Because refined oils are also a huge no-no on the diet, these tweaks turn paleo diets into a healthy vegan diets, something that Jones points out. She also offers suggestions and tweaks for those on raw diets so they can also feel welcomed by this book.
For those who like their information in a visual form, I must say I liked the charts provided in the Chapter 2, which explains the Paleo Vegan diet. On page 11 there is a nice chart of foods that both vegans and paleos can enjoy and on the following pages (13, 15, and 17) there are tables of vegan protein sources, vegan calcium sources, and vegan iron sources. I love charts like this because they are easy to read and make a quick reference for family and friends.
The recipes, provided by Mr. Roettinger are all relatively quick and easy. Many will come together in 30 minutes and there are several that will come together even more quickly. Many dishes use ingredients that are easy to find at the local supermarket and some that will expand many people’s pallets, such as sunchokes, bitter melon and dandelion greens, to name a few. Some may see these as a challenge to obtain, depending on what stores they have access to. There are lots of options that do not use these harder to obtain ingredients, too.
What the real charm of this book is taking away some of the argument “I want to lose weight so I am going paleo, which means I am eating all this meat”. When I first became vegan many years ago lots of people were still going with an Atkins diet. People left the healthy, compassionate lifestyle of veganism because they wanted to drop a few pounds quickly. Now people have the best of both worlds!
I would recommend this for vegans interested in adopting a paleo lifestyle and paleos who want to expand their pallet. This would also make a perfect present for vegans to give family members who are toying with the idea of becoming paleo. Or, if you would just like some new recipes that askew all processed foods, this would also be great!
Review by Chef Madelyn Pryor