Once upon a time I was a girl who thought she knew what she was doing. Armed with low fat, sugar-free yogurts and a soy protein shake, I was ready to tackle those 90 minute cardio sessions. And tackle I did. Tackle, attack, endure, persevere and eventually collapse.
We all reach a point where we realize something has got to give. Mine was the summer of 2012. I had just run my first 10k and had been partaking in the standard diet fare generally recommended for properly fueling a semi-athletic lifestyle. Problem was it wasn’t fully working.
For as much running as I was doing, I should have been faster. I should have slept better. I should have had more energy. My gut should have felt better. Frankly, I should have been thinner. And my thyroid had finally gone kaput after my body turned on itself… Hello, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Ugh. Autoimmune conditions are not fun.
Looking for ways to get to the heart of my health issues, I had toyed around with Paleo the year prior. I read Dr. Cordain’s The Paleo Diet (seemed like a reasonable place to start, right?) and accompanying cookbook. While the science totally resonated with me, the recipes did not. Not in the slightest. No way, Jose. Not happening. Sometimes despite knowing how beneficial a lifestyle change would be, there are certain things we can’t envision ourselves without. Having a slight love affair with spending hours in my kitchen cooking classic gluteny, sugary, dairy-laden foods, the idea of giving that up for sautéed greens and broiled fish for breakfast was just too much of a sacrifice.
Enter Well Fed, by Melissa Joulwan. When this book hit my kitchen counter my life changed course. “You mean to tell me Paleo tastes like THIS!?” I thought. I learned how to perfectly roast a spaghetti squash, I discovered how delicious eggplant can be in her Italian Sausage & Eggplant Strata, and I became addicted to Sunshine Sauce! And three words: Bora Bora Fireballs. In October 2012 I felt confident to make my leap to Paleo thanks to Well Fed. That’s saying a lot coming from this Italian-Chinese cooking fool!
Fast forward a year later and now I get to write about the sequel to the book that changed my life, Well Fed 2. If this book contained no recipes, I would still buy it for the pages that precede those chapters. Melissa takes so much care to prepare and equip you to be successful in practicing a Paleo lifestyle — something that can be a bit tricky to get the hang of, if I’m being honest. Buuut thankfully it does contain recipes. Lots and lots of them. They are so creative, boasting the big flavors that come with international cuisine. I’d eat this stuff even if I wasn’t Paleo!
This book does a good job of balancing between fancier dishes that rival anything in a non-Paleo cookbook, like with her Taj Mahal Chicken, and simple recipes calling for a handful of basic ingredients which manage to throw your taste buds into a different world–like Pear + Bacon Bites. I refuse to eat pears without bacon (and her other secret ingredients) anymore. I’ve been ruined! Well Fed’s food is my kind of food. Straight up.
In Well Fed 2 you’ll learn how to think, cook, eat, and live Paleo. Her down to earth approach speaks to me as a normal 30-something CrossFitting momma of two kiddos wanting to live a life in which I am wholly nourished. We need more than just a go-to recipe for Tuesday night dinner — am I right, ladies? You can get a decent recipe pretty much anywhere these days, it seems. Since we have a lot of pressure on us to keep our bodies fit, our attitudes positive, our meals tasty, our kids healthy and our budgets balanced, I’m looking for books that give me more of what I need to know for real life. This book has it!
Well Fed 2 goes beyond awesome food and teaches you how to thrive with Paleo:
- Essential kitchen tools that help prepare recipes you’ll depend on
- What to stock in your pantry; a Paleo pantry is a different animal.
- Cooking basics like the difference between dice and mince and what makes braising different from boiling; she’s got you covered.
- A TON of tasty and diverse spice blends (really unique flavors here!)
- A summary of quick snacks to whip up when you need something fast
- Pages of different ideas for burgers and meatballs to keep it from getting old
- She gives you 11 things to put on eggs — genius.
- There’s even a section for 11 different ways to hook up broccoli!
Ok, so in addition to being a superior collection of Paleo recipes and lifestyle information, you need to know that ALL but two of the recipes in Well Fed 2 are Whole30 friendly (you may remember my attempt at the elimination diet based on the book It Starts With Food back in October of this year). An entire cookbook to base your meals on. This is huge!
Another significant element in this book is her consideration for autoimmune protocol adaptations. If you are currently following or are looking into an autoimmune protocol to support an autoimmune condition through focused nutrition, Melissa has incorporated a section dedicated to AIP adaptions. I take my hat off to anyone who has adopted this protocol. Excluding eggs, dairy/ghee, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, eggplant and other nightshades including many spices in addition to what’s already eliminated in Paleo is not an easy thing to do. I’m still not brave enough to embark on it myself, though I know I would benefit from it. So while not every recipe can be adjusted, over 100 of them can…and she shows you how. Incredibly thoughtful. And should I choose to give AIP a try, I know that Well Fed 2 will be my go-to cookbook then as well.
Please also follow Melissa’s blog The Clothes Make the Girl and as well as her Facebook page and on Twitter. I hope you will be as inspired by her as I have been! You can get your copy of this book here: