The cookbook and diet sections of the bookstore can be totally overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Recipes look good, but are they easy to follow? Diet and lifestyle books with wildly different paradigms share the same shelves, where do I start? There’s so much information, is it even digestible (ha!) or worth the price? These are some of the thoughts that ran through my head perusing my bookstore in years past and I usually walked away confused and hungry from looking at all the yummies.
Today I’m sharing two of my favorite books that I recommend you add to your shelf. These were two of the first books that I added to my collection a few years ago that were pretty much “gateway” books to what is now an overflowing real food reference library. One is a lighthearted, but informative introduction to real food that you could breeze through poolside and the other is so nice I’ve bought it twice.
Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe, NTP
This book tackles everything from clarifying modern Paleo, food propaganda, explaining each macronutrient (and clarifying the persistent fat conversation), to the importance of properly raised animals, and breaking down nutritional nuggets from other heavier resources.
“Paleo is not a diet. It’s not a fad. It’s not a rigid set of rules to follow. It’s not a sound bite. It’s an exploration of history, nutrition, the human diet, and, most important, our health.”
It even covers vegetarian and vegan diet myths that I’d love to throw at anyone who offers me a processed soy garbage burger. Liz’ writing is peppered with pop culture references and very conversational, but so educational. Fun fact: She went through the NTA’s nutritional therapy practitioner program!
Who is it for? Anyone new to the real food or Paleo community, especially anyone who’s ever counted calories, stopped eating red meat because it’s “bad”, followed a fat-free diet, eaten margarine, or bought packaged foods. It’s also a nice refresher for coaches or providers who want a light read. I know this will be a great resource for future nutrition clients.
Buy it on Amazon (it’s less than $10!)
Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC
This is the book I’ve bought a couple of times – I just had to have the expanded second edition! It feels like a textbook that you actually want to read with the added bonus of over 150 easy recipes and 30 day meal plans to support adrenal health, blood sugar regulation, digestion, and fat loss to name a few.
The front end of the book dispels diet myths, explains Paleo (including how to transition from a plant-based diet), and offers a digestion overview. It’s packed with guide sheets for things like pantry staples, food quality, proper cooking fats and oils, to navigating sweeteners on labels and understanding nutrient-dense carbs.
From there, Diane breaks down what can go wrong in digestion, frequently asked questions, how to eat healthy while traveling…and much more. This book is honestly a bargain for all of the information provided.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes:
+ All of the spices (especially the diner and sausage blends)
+ Apple Sage Sausage (I make these often!)
+ Mustard-Glazed Chicken Thighs (so easy)
+ Orange Sesame Meatballs
+ Lemon Rosemary Broiled Salmon
Who is it for? Everyone! Paleo newbies and seasoned foodies alike can benefit from this book.
Buy it on Amazon (2nd edition!)
The Balanced Bites Podcast
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about how I went from aimlessly wandering the bookstore to finding these shelf staples. Authors Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe are also hosts of Balanced Bites, one of my favorite podcasts – in fact, one of the first that I listened to weekly. Balanced Bites is an informative resource for paleo living that isn’t dense or dogmatic. I was hooked on their rapport, Q&A episodes, and awesome interview guests and really appreciated their genuine vibes when it came to recommending brands and products. There is also a fair amount of Mean Girls and movie references that kept me hooked.
It’s through their podcast that I discovered their books (and my Nutritional Therapy Consultant program).
If you don’t have time (or cash) to add the books to your shelf I highly recommend you check out the podcast. Some of my favorite recent episodes:
293: Mindset & Inner Strength with JJ Virgin
292: Nutrition Challenges & Mindset (and not just because of my shoutout!)
284: Women’s Health & Hormones with Melissa Ramos
268: All About Autoimmune Disease & Wellness with Mickey Trescott & Angie Alt
266: All About Digestion – Gut Microbiome, Antacids, Probiotics, Constipation & SIBO
Joining Team Real Food Liz
I started working with Liz this spring as her operations manager after a connection with Diane. Working with one of my nutrition heroes talking grassfed meat and safer skincare? Pinch me. Between studying for my NTC program and working with Liz I am breathing, eating, sleeping nutrition and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This year has been quite a whirlwind so far and I’m excited to be a part of her team. The Internet is truly saturated with all kinds of food accounts and nutrition (mis)information, but stumbling across Balanced Bites and these books was a breath of fresh air. I’ve learned so much from these two and, in turn, felt empowered to vastly improve my health over the past few years.
Regardless of that connection their books and podcast are still at the top of my recommendations list for anyone interested in learning more about nutrition and a real food approach to wellness.
More from Diane (Sanfilippo) and Liz
Beyond their books and podcast Diane and Liz share great content online:
You can find more from Liz on her website or following her on Instagram. If you’re a mama or thinking about being a mama in the future, you’ll want to keep an eye out for her latest project, Baby Making and Beyond (currently gestating!)