2

votes

Best single paleo primer?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 04, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Other threads have listed a variety of paleo references for newbies, but it's tough to pass on a whole list of references to non-paleo folks when introducing them to the concept.

So, if you could only recommend one book (eBook or print) to serve as a "proper" introduction to the paleo/primal lifestyle, what would it be, and why?

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on April 17, 2011
at 02:23 PM

Nevermind. Taubes ties it all together with his sugar article this weekend in the NYTimes Mag. (All he needs to tie in now is omega-6 fat and gluten grains and he's Paleo 2.0...) Fructose causes the insulin resistance in the first place; prior to that, glucose is probably a-ok, but once the damage is done, that needs to be watched too, he says in the reader comments.

Af939911afa817f79a4625d4f503c735

(552)

on April 05, 2011
at 03:56 PM

They recommend the same basic things, but I prefer Robb's approach and writing style. IIRC, Robb is also more scientific. Not overly so, for the lay-person, but he tells WHY this works, which I really like. Here's Robb's review of TPB: http://robbwolf.com/2011/01/15/book-review-the-primal-blueprint/

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:54 PM

@patrick3000: that sounds like a great question to me! I doubt that it is a pure 'either/or' question though. Which one of those is the problem is likely to be a touch different. Example: Adam thinks that my *problem-percentage* on SAD was 60% gluten and PUFA, 20% sucrose/fructose, and 20% chronically high insulin. *(but I think it is easiest to change my life by avoiding ALL of them!)*

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:45 PM

I did not like cordain's approach to science, it just seemed off to me, so I never finished reading it, and just put it back on the shelf on the bookstore. I later got it out of the library to make sure I was giving it a fair chance, but I could not stomach his low-fat stance. Sisson's website and book were my gateway into Paleo land

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on April 05, 2011
at 12:47 PM

Maybe I should create a separate question on this, but isn't it time we discuss a major dichotomy between low-carb and paleo in that Taubes says chronically high insulin is the killer and PaNu, Perfect Diet and others say it's fructose (which does not spike insulin) and PUFA (along with gluten grains, but not because of their carb content) that are the problems?

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on April 05, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Good to know. From their site it looked as though their book would have good explanations for their recommendations - with fewer problems than the Paleo Diet (which is anti-saturated fat) and a less strident tone than some of the Paleo Solution (even though he is often joking it may come off as harsh to the uninitiated).

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on April 05, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Good to know. From their site it looked as though their book would have good explanations for their recommendations - with fewer problems than the Paleo Diet (which anti-saturated fat) and a less strident tone than some of the Paleo Solution (even though he is often joking it may come off as harsh to the uninitiated).

Db81e8ac0ea987eef7b96c879381bff5

(0)

on April 04, 2011
at 04:38 PM

I started reading the Perfect Health Diet -- good information, but not as well-written or accessible as The Paleo Solution or The Paleo Diet.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 04, 2011
at 03:53 PM

We follow Robb's podcast and blog, but haven't actually read the book yet. Have you read Sisson's book? If so, how do you feel they compare?

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 04, 2011
at 03:51 PM

@Dave - Cordain's was the book that we first read, but we agree that it's not the best because of his take on fat. Wasn't a real fan of DeVany's either.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 04, 2011
at 03:22 PM

The PaNu get started link is all they need. (I sense no love for Cordain's book...)

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 04, 2011
at 02:21 PM

He keeps the scientific research list as well as some other appendixes online... That way you can actually click the hyperlink and jump right to the paper... I love this and think that it is even geekier than having it written... This way, he can also add new papers after the books publication.. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-book/references/ I also must generally agree with all of the resources he points out at http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-book/references/primal-blueprint-resources/ and it makes a wonderful general guide to the world of Paleo eating.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 04, 2011
at 02:16 PM

As I *adore* reading real books, I totally get this motive!

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on April 04, 2011
at 02:11 PM

Please note that while Kresser and the Perfect Diet are not fully compliant with standard Paleo (e.g. rice is allowed) they are quite in line with PaNu and the approach many here on PaleoHacks actually follow.

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:55 PM

Understandably, I gave them about 15 different links to check out, but they've hooked on little things instead of reading the overarching concept. I guess it depends on the people you're giving it to.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:52 PM

I don't have my copy in front of me (Kindle version), but are there plenty of references in the book? (I seem to recall them being light.)

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:50 PM

The problem with just handing out advice is that people often want references, and would be more prone to believing the advice if it's in print; for some reason, most people are more apt to follow the advice of something in print than what's on a blog, even though nowadays, blogs often have better information. Plus, for the audience we're making the recommendation to, they'd be more comfortable if I provided them a book than a URL. Otherwise, I agree that PaNu is arguably the best blog on the subject.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:47 PM

Yep, great threads. Was hoping for some "why" behind the answers, and some actual books instead of articles that I could conveniently gift to family. :)

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:29 PM

http://paleohacks.com/questions/2450/best-concise-article-on-paleo-diet and http://paleohacks.com/questions/24690/does-anyone-know-any-good-paleo-books-to-read would be a good start.

  • Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

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6 Answers

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7
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on April 04, 2011
at 01:53 PM

It really depends on the learning style and history of the targeted reader.

They are just looking a solid approach in an entertaining (tough-loveish) format? Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet

They have a science-minded bent, but just want the overview? Gary Taubes' Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

They have a science-minded bent, but want all the details? Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health

They need the friendly, easy access version. Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy

Personally, I started with Sisson's work and website, and then dove into GCBC and loved it... but I'm a huge science geek.

I would give Sisson to my ( not steeped in science ) relatives, and I would would set the rest up with Taubes' Why We Get Fat.

Make sure to tell them that this is the first stepping stone, and the start of a great journey.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:54 PM

@patrick3000: that sounds like a great question to me! I doubt that it is a pure 'either/or' question though. Which one of those is the problem is likely to be a touch different. Example: Adam thinks that my *problem-percentage* on SAD was 60% gluten and PUFA, 20% sucrose/fructose, and 20% chronically high insulin. *(but I think it is easiest to change my life by avoiding ALL of them!)*

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on April 05, 2011
at 12:47 PM

Maybe I should create a separate question on this, but isn't it time we discuss a major dichotomy between low-carb and paleo in that Taubes says chronically high insulin is the killer and PaNu, Perfect Diet and others say it's fructose (which does not spike insulin) and PUFA (along with gluten grains, but not because of their carb content) that are the problems?

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on April 17, 2011
at 02:23 PM

Nevermind. Taubes ties it all together with his sugar article this weekend in the NYTimes Mag. (All he needs to tie in now is omega-6 fat and gluten grains and he's Paleo 2.0...) Fructose causes the insulin resistance in the first place; prior to that, glucose is probably a-ok, but once the damage is done, that needs to be watched too, he says in the reader comments.

3
Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:42 PM

Primal Blueprint. It's the most user-friendly, reasonable, and concise book out there, imo.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:52 PM

I don't have my copy in front of me (Kindle version), but are there plenty of references in the book? (I seem to recall them being light.)

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 04, 2011
at 02:21 PM

He keeps the scientific research list as well as some other appendixes online... That way you can actually click the hyperlink and jump right to the paper... I love this and think that it is even geekier than having it written... This way, he can also add new papers after the books publication.. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-book/references/ I also must generally agree with all of the resources he points out at http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-book/references/primal-blueprint-resources/ and it makes a wonderful general guide to the world of Paleo eating.

2
Af939911afa817f79a4625d4f503c735

on April 04, 2011
at 03:16 PM

Primal Blueprint is simple and user-friendly.

Why We Get Fat is a great explanation of the science.

My personal favorite is The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf. It's entertaining and scientific enough for the skeptics. His podcast is also great and very accessible (and entertaining).

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 04, 2011
at 03:53 PM

We follow Robb's podcast and blog, but haven't actually read the book yet. Have you read Sisson's book? If so, how do you feel they compare?

Af939911afa817f79a4625d4f503c735

(552)

on April 05, 2011
at 03:56 PM

They recommend the same basic things, but I prefer Robb's approach and writing style. IIRC, Robb is also more scientific. Not overly so, for the lay-person, but he tells WHY this works, which I really like. Here's Robb's review of TPB: http://robbwolf.com/2011/01/15/book-review-the-primal-blueprint/

2
88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

on April 04, 2011
at 02:08 PM

Chris Kresser (thehealthyskeptic.org) has what sounds to me like a good answer:

"One complaint I???ve had for a long time is that there hasn???t been a single book I can recommend without reservation to friends and family that reflects my views on nutrition. There are certainly some great books out there, but there???s almost always something relatively significant I disagree with that keeps me from giving my full stamp of approval.

I had come to the conclusion that I???d have to write this book myself, but I simply don???t have the time and don???t anticipate that changing in the near future.

That???s why I was thrilled (and relieved) to discover the Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet, Ph.D and Shou-Ching Shih, Ph.D."

http://thehealthyskeptic.org/my-new-favorite-book-on-nutrition-and-health

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on April 04, 2011
at 02:11 PM

Please note that while Kresser and the Perfect Diet are not fully compliant with standard Paleo (e.g. rice is allowed) they are quite in line with PaNu and the approach many here on PaleoHacks actually follow.

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on April 05, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Good to know. From their site it looked as though their book would have good explanations for their recommendations - with fewer problems than the Paleo Diet (which is anti-saturated fat) and a less strident tone than some of the Paleo Solution (even though he is often joking it may come off as harsh to the uninitiated).

Db81e8ac0ea987eef7b96c879381bff5

(0)

on April 04, 2011
at 04:38 PM

I started reading the Perfect Health Diet -- good information, but not as well-written or accessible as The Paleo Solution or The Paleo Diet.

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on April 05, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Good to know. From their site it looked as though their book would have good explanations for their recommendations - with fewer problems than the Paleo Diet (which anti-saturated fat) and a less strident tone than some of the Paleo Solution (even though he is often joking it may come off as harsh to the uninitiated).

1
9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

on April 04, 2011
at 01:28 PM

The problem is that if you show them just ONE book, they'll think its the "law" and not look at other resources. For example, I showed my parents Marks Daily Apple and Robb Wolf and now they're like "but you can't eat butter, why are you eating butter?! I can't go without butter!!" And I've had to show them other resources and that's just left them confused.

Show them PaNu, I think that's the easiest one to understand coming from SAD.

Or you can just dumb it down to this:

Eat Real Food, Don't eat Sugar or Grains, Don't eat more than 100 - 150 carbs a day. Eat lots of fat.

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:55 PM

Understandably, I gave them about 15 different links to check out, but they've hooked on little things instead of reading the overarching concept. I guess it depends on the people you're giving it to.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:50 PM

The problem with just handing out advice is that people often want references, and would be more prone to believing the advice if it's in print; for some reason, most people are more apt to follow the advice of something in print than what's on a blog, even though nowadays, blogs often have better information. Plus, for the audience we're making the recommendation to, they'd be more comfortable if I provided them a book than a URL. Otherwise, I agree that PaNu is arguably the best blog on the subject.

0
Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:35 PM

Sorry, double post!

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