Now that the paleo diet is becoming more mainstream, I thought I put together a list ranking the paleo books. This list is for the person new to the diet and not my fellow nutritional geeks. Since I expect more books will be released in the coming years, I added “March 2011” in the post title.
#1 The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy by Mark Sisson
In my opinion, The Primal Blueprint is still the gold standard for explaining the paleo diet to the average person. It is brilliantly edited into 10 Primal Blueprint Laws. This book proves that the paleo diet isn’t that complicated. Although Mark Sisson’s blog tends to be long and technical, his book is extremely accessible.
#2 Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas
Primal Body-Primal Mind: Empower Your Total Health The Way Evolution Intended (…And Didn’t) by Nora Teresa Gedgaudas
I really loved this book. It goes into greater detail than The Primal Blueprint and covers supplementation options to accelerate healing from certain conditions. I emailed the author with a question and received a detailed response a day later. This book had some editing issues and will be republished with new information later this year.
#3 The New Evolution Diet by Art De Vany
The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging by Arthur De Vany
Art De Vany is my mentor. It was his influence that started me down the paleo path. I love his writing and interviews. There were some misprints in the book that De Vany has addressed in interviews since the publication. It is still an excellent read. Just know that castor oil and canola oil should be on the NO list. De Vany’s approach to the paleo diet is lower in fat than others. His section on exercise is outstanding.
#4 The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf
The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf
If you really dig scientific details and want to understand the evils of grains, then this is the book for you. I liked the detail, but some may find it overwhelming. For most people who want some basic knowledge and recommendations, I would recommend one of the three books above. The 30 days Paleo Challenge is admirable, but most people will fail in days trying to give everything up at once. The “all or nothing” approach tends to only work with people who have already had success with restrictive diets in the past. If you try the challenge and fail, be kind to yourself. Instead of changing everything at once, fix one thing a month. Sugar one month, grains another month, etc.
#5 Neaderthin by Ray Audette
NeanderThin: Eat Like a Caveman to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body by Ray Audette
The first 60 pages of this book are pretty good. I don’t like how the author attacked coffee, but the rest of the nutritional stuff is the basis for what we know about what the paleolithic man ate. The second half of this book is a poorly written exercise manual. Ignore that section. Check the library or look for a cheap used copy of this book.
I never read the original 2002 Paleo Diet by Cordain. A new edition was just released in December 2010. Might be worth checking out. Mark Sisson also released The Primal Cookbook. I gave mine away. I thought it was cheaply put together with poor photography.
The Best Book For You?
My above rankings are for the average person. Below are more customized recommendations.
- Give Me Some Facts and a Plan – The Primal Blueprint
- Give Me More Facts and a Plan – Primal Body, Primal Mind
- Supplement Questions – Primal Body, Primal Mind
- A High Fat Approach to Paleo – Primal Body, Primal Mind
- A Lower Fat Approach to Paleo – The New Evolution Diet
- Best Exercise Section – The New Evolution Diet
- Best Case to Cut Out Grains – The Paleo Solution
- Easiest Read – The Primal Blueprint
- Best Edited – The Primal Blueprint