An ideology-free outline of the paleo approach to dining, focusing on why certain foods are invited, or snubbed, at the paleo table.
Spivey is after one all-embracing quality: to be healthy in body and mind. She makes no outlandish claims for the paleo way of eating—to call it a “diet” conveys that it is a weight-loss program, which may or not happen depending on personal circumstances. Rather, she provides a simple introduction to the paleo larder in the fashion of a Q-and-A, with intervening paragraphs that probe modestly into both the paleo way and what feeling healthy leads to. The argument is “to eat unprocessed, whole foods that are rich in nutrients (‘nutrient dense’) and avoid eating foods that can contribute to poor health.” This could easily lead into the great food debates and the various understanding/misunderstanding of proteins, carbs, fats, sugars, and salt, but Spivey sidesteps those issues. She sets a table for readers, giving short explanations why there are plenty of vegetables, animal protein, some fruits and berries, a small square of dark chocolate—and nothing refined, processed, or possessing grain or sugar. The author skims over genetically modified organisms, the balancing of acid with alkaline, and intestinal leakage, but she capably fields questions of constipation, inflammation, vegetarianism, and veganism. Critically, she wrings the zealotry out of the paleo approach, the holier-than-thou attitude that sometimes plagues its devotees. The paleo table is a cloth of many colors, out of which you can fashion bespoke mealtimes; it is a lifestyle, not some guru shilling a diet. “Be consistent, not obsessed,” writes Spivey. “If you feel great ending your meal with some cheese and apple slices, then have it!” Go for nutrients per calorie, and be moderate in your moderation. The author also doesn’t forget about the importance of sunshine, exercise, sex, and sleep.
A brief, useful primer with enough provocative food for thought for newcomers and veterans alike.