The Great Paleo and Primal Books I Like Roundup

I simply don’t have time to do substantial book reviews, anymore. Just impossible. On the other hand, there are a number of books that come out—amongst the many I receive—that bear mention and recommendation. So, I have decided to periodically mention those that meet my standards as well as point to other substantial reviews by others when I can.

Before I get started, I really have to give a word of thanks to all those hitting the Amazon link when they go shopping. It’s been phenomenal, very much appreciated, and as such, this blog has officially entered the realm of “small business,” rather than merely a hobby. Accordingly, I’m going to have to be more careful about how I work, just like in any business I’m involved in. Contrary to erroneous claims, this blog has never made a dime over hosting and developer costs—and especially when factoring in the few speaking deals at my own expense.

You’ll also notice to the right that I’ve added links to various other Amazon sites around the world (CA, UK, DE, FR, ES, IT). We’ll see if that’s worth the space. I’ve done away with all the affiliate stuff for info products. Not worth the space they take, especially on my conscience. In short, Amazon works for me because people are just buying what they want to buy, from a company they trust. It’s not “buy this eBook bundle for $49, a $5 million dollar value!!!” Sorry if that ruffles any feathers, but the whole thing is just silly on a number of levels and I hate it. And yes, I participated in one with my own eBook in it. It made $1,600 via my own promotions, which I split with my publisher 50/50. I declined to participate or promote it when it came around this year, with my best wishes for their success. Not my bag. Tried it. Hated it.

Here’s an honest eBook Bundle pitch that’ll go over like a lead balloon: “Hey, of these 30 titles, there’s probably 3, 4, maybe more you might be seriously interested in. At $49, you’ll save some money.”

…I’m also testing something out here. If all goes as it’s supposed to, there’s code associated with the book image and text links that looks at your IP address and should take you to your appropriate worldwide Amazon site and product page, if available. While I’m sure not all of these books are available on all those sites, what I’m most interested in is if you get to the site you expect to be on when you click the image. Feedback in comments will be most appreciated. And thanks again.


Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health. Naturally, Denise Minger’s book has to be the top of the top, if you remember this and this. I recall when she meekly emailed me that early July, 2010, asking if I might help her promote her takedown of Campbell’s The China Study. I clicked over to her post, and I’m like, No. Way! Rest is history. Eventually, she became famous, and now, she’s made a book. It’s so very cool, and just what you’d expect from Miss Sassy Pants. For a thorough review, Dr. Mike Eades is the go-to on this one.

Your Personal paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life. Chris Kresser has been around for a long time, now, is well respected, and very careful. He’s so successful helping actual patients in a clinical setting that he tells me his practice has been closed to new clients for the last two years and the waiting list is 300. He’s even hiring to help him help more people. So, when you see criticism of his credentials or his book, just keep that in mind. Since I’m not seeing tons of advertising, I’m thinking there’s a lot of mouth wording going on. He even thinks legumes are fine if they work for you personally. See Dr. Jeffrey Gerber’s review here.

The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using paleo Principles and Functional Medicine. Dr. Terry Wahls blasted onto the scene in 2011 with her TEDx presentation (you’ll note that your authorities have now flagged the video as outside of “curatorial” guidelines; whatever, you have your own brain). That got her invited to speak at the Ancestral Health Symposium 2011 at Harvard, and guess who Richard Nikoley got to speak opposite of, in the next room. A few months back, I was pleased to interview Dr. Wahls for this blog and what’s perhaps unique about it is that I asked her permission to discuss her partner lifestyle choice, and her son Zach Wahls who went viral with his speech before the Iowa State Legislature. Here’s a more substantive book review on some of the specifics. I also have a post by Dr. Wahls that’ll be up in a week or two.

Sexy by Nature: The Whole Foods Solution to Radiant Health, Life-Long Sex Appeal, and Soaring Confidence. Stephani Ruper emailed me in around 2010, I think. Paraphrasing: “Richard, I read your blog, am trying to start one of my own, getting nowhere. Can you help?” I looked at it and liked the sassy but philosophical bent right away. So I linked her up a few times. For a while, she was trying to out-f-bomb me, which was…touching. In the end, she dumped it, moved, and took up further studies. I thought she was gone. Nope. She came back with a ferocious vengeance aimed at women in particular and, in spite of the cool chicks admonishing her to denounce me before she would be allowed to play in their sandbox, she never has. In fact, she went one further and did a post for me. Womyn: hear me on this. You should just read the TOC, you’ll be hooked. Section 4: “Libido: Be ravenous,” Pg. 266. Section 5: “Self Love,” Pg. 284. You get the idea. Cornucopia of things women care about specifically in the context of a Paleoish diet. I got a very wonderful personal letter from her in addition to the publisher stock.

The South Asian Health Solution: A culturally tailored guide to lose fat, increase energy and avoid disease. This is really something. Just out today, published by Sisson. This is so very essential. Suffice to say, we have lots of dear Indian friends. In Marla & Zahid’s family, my wife had 3 of their 4 boys in her 5th grade elementary school class. We attend all of their parties and they, ours. At the last one just a couple of months ago I asked Mita, a mutual friend, once I’d seen her: “Where’s Sribash?” “He’s in India.” “Get him on the phone!” And so I got to have my usual conversation with him, as I always look forward to at such gatherings. I see so many Indians rather unhealthy looking and feeling. But given the age of the culture, I shy away from talking about it with them too much. I’m hoping Dr. Ronesh Sinha can do some real good here, for people I care so deeply about.


paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen. The thing about Julie and Charles Mayfield is that they already did a solid book and decided for the 2nd one, to go with a different publisher. I’ll leave it at that. I like their work, and I like that they wish to get paid what they’re worth. I’ll leave it at that. The book is in beautiful color and delectable. I like the very first sentence of Chapter 1: “The interesting thing here to us is that if you poll ten people who profess to follow a paleo lifestyle, chances are you’ll get ten different answers as to what the definition of paleo is.” Now, that might bother bloggers with a dozen readers, but I embrace it. What have I always said? “Equator to arctic, sea level to 16,000 feet.” Imagine if you could interview those migrating folks 20,000+ years ago. You might get an earful about the stupid dietary practices of others, elsewhere. paleo is a template.

Beyond Bacon: paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog. This is the most beautiful book of the entire bunch. Hardcover, so well designed. A collector’s piece, really. When I first laid my hands on it, and browsed, it was immediately reminiscent of one of the true classics: The River Cottage Meat Book, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I’m so happy for Stacy and Matthew. When I did the 2-part interview with them here and here, about not only their personal journey but those of their children, I had no idea they had designs on contributing themselves to the wilderness. But because the changes they saw in their children on real food were so profound, their first entry was for the kids: Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids. Now, they’ve outdone themselves.

The Ancestral Table: Traditional Recipes for a paleo Lifestyle. Did Russ Crandall come out of nowhere? I’d never heard of him. He has a blog, The Domestic Man. When he emailed me and asked I take a look, there was a singular message he wanted to get across to me and it’s why I saved his book for last.

So, this is not going to be a one paragraph entry. To my knowledge, this is the very fist cookbook making any reference to paleo, that doesn’t genuflect, kowtow, and get on its knees to pay homage to the ignorance of low-carb paleo, as though there’s nothing else. Beginning in Chapter 4, Starches, here are the recipes over the next 30 pages.

  • Basic Steamed Rice
  • Steamed Basmati Rice
  • Sticky Rice
  • Dirty Rice
  • Mexican Rice
  • Fried Rice
  • Congee
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Colcannon
  • Gnocchi
  • Sweet Potato Poi
  • Parsnip Puree
  • Tostones
  • Pão de Queijo
  • Pizza

Accordingly, from here out, last mention I ever give to a Paleoish cookbook that doesn’t have recipes for common starches.

By the way? Fittingly, the forward to the cookbook is by Paul Jaminet, PhD; or, by one ground breaker, for another. Paul, of course, is the safe starch pioneer in our Ancestral/Paleo circles, making it harder by the day for strict low carb enthusiasts to breathe. He blogs at Perfect Health Diet, and he and Shou-Ching, PhD as well, are co-authors of Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat.

Go early or go home. paleo is divorcing strict low carb and its waffling, feeling the pressure, now. Mark my words.

“We have no demands to present to you, no terms to bargain about, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you.” — John Galt (Atlas Srugged, by Ayn Rand)

Alright, that’s a wrap.

IMG 2232
What a Lovely Mess

Update: Well, it’s been pointed out to me that I have in fact heard of Russ Crandall. He actually did a very good post for me just about 2 years ago. Check it out. Good read, and you’ll understand why he broke new ground here. My apologies to Russ for not remembering.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Chris Sturdy on March 11, 2014 at 20:14

    Your top three were already on my list to buy/read, now I have two more to get – thanks, Richard!

  2. John Es on March 11, 2014 at 15:19

    The Wahls Protocol is next on my list. She recently did podcasts with Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf – should be easy to find.

  3. Lynn Wdowiak on March 11, 2014 at 16:59

    Your link automatically adds the hardcover version of the book to your shopping cart. I would like to see it offer the Kindle version also, and hope that you will still get credit if I replace the hardcover version with the Kindle version.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2014 at 10:33

      Hi Lynn

      Yes, sure will. Basically, anything you either purchase or add to your cart within 24 hours of going in the first time. Items you place in your cart will credit to me so long as you finalize purchase within 90 days.

      That said, I just changed my default setting to NOT put the item in the cart, but to instead go to the product page. Thanks for the feedback.

  4. Mike on March 11, 2014 at 17:32

    Death by Food Pyramid is the bees knees. I’d love to see Denise Minger on Daily Show/Colbert.

  5. EatLessMoveMoore on March 11, 2014 at 19:56

    What? No Cholesterol Clarity? Laf…

  6. MAS on March 11, 2014 at 21:03

    I really liked The Paleo Manifesto as well.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2014 at 08:24


      Yea, me two, but I’ve already posted twice about John’s book. So, don’t anyone think the omission in this post means anything more than that.

  7. Jack on March 11, 2014 at 21:47

    Thanks for the round-up! Denise Minger has done some amazing research.

    Tried clicking on the links, and they did not send me to the Japanese Amazon site based on my Japanese IP.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2014 at 11:01


      Yea, this I know. For China too. I could sign up with them but unfortunately, cannot read their language. Moreover, while my US login was recognized by the CA and all the Euro sites, not so for Japan or China, so it’s a bit difficult. Although, perhaps there’s a guide in pictures on the internet somewhere as to how to sign up.

  8. Jim on March 11, 2014 at 23:01

    BRM PS can be purchased for 1/2 the price at as compared to Amazon.

    I am sure you will delete this post. You apparently need the nickels and dimes.

    I like your blog. It is a form of internet exhibitionism. Instead of a rain coat you have your smart ass mouth.

    I do feel somewhat unclean after viewing your blog.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2014 at 10:58


      No worries. Posting links to alternative sites on whatever grounds (price, service, return policies, or whatever) is perfectly a-ok with me (see my probiotics post, where some did that in comments). Originally, I was going to have an iHerb affiliate account as well, but it’s too much bother. Amazon is a great company and more often then not, does have the best prices.

      I was pretty surprised to find that the LEF K2 complex I been buying at Vitamin Shoppe locally for all these years is $10 less on Amazon and now that I popped for Prime, shipping is free.

      Go with one great company, leave it at that, let people decide what they wish to do.

  9. Art on March 11, 2014 at 23:30

    The links take me to the .com site, not the UK one, Richard.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2014 at 10:37

      Hmm, thanks Art. Yea, I checked your IP address an sure enough, London area, so it ought to be taking you to the UK site.

      Can anyone else test this for me, i.e., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy?

    • LeonRover on March 12, 2014 at 10:46

      Hi Rich

      They all work.

      My 3PS comment below, timed at 07:38, was meant to show that I had made an order via this site on AND got the distribution charge I expected.

      Sorry about my obtuse message.


    • LeonRover on March 12, 2014 at 10:50

      PS Well it worked for an Irish IP.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2014 at 11:09

      Cool. Thanks Leon for checking that out.

      Of course, for anyone, if product links don’t work, the ones over on the right sidebar will, and then you’d just have to search for the product.

    • Robert on March 12, 2014 at 20:29

      Didn’t work for me either. Should have taken me to .ca but instead went to .com.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2014 at 21:07

      Thanks Robert.

      Weird. i’ve had reports from around the world. Looks like about 50/50 or so. Well, I suppose that’s better than 100/0,

  10. Stefani on March 12, 2014 at 01:44

    Because I fucking love you, Richard.


  11. Michele on March 12, 2014 at 03:02

    Richard, Liebling,…thanks a lot for putting the international links too. And so far, there’s a little organic super market in Munich that is also running out of PS 😉

    I’ll be happy to click on the amazon links through FTA from now on.

    Coucou de l’Allemagne, Michele

  12. LeonRover on March 12, 2014 at 04:22

    OH HO OH HO !!!

    The the progamming buggers GOTCHA.

    If each European partnership had its own box, then .DE would be associated with PARTNIERSCHAFT MIT.

    OTOH, it’s nice (but naive) to se ‘ .FR’ IN CALLABORAZIONE CON ‘ .IT; ‘

    What would Sarko & Silvio say ?


    • LeonRover on March 12, 2014 at 04:39


      I’ve probs with .CO.UK deliveries to Dublin.

      Hence the palindromic alkaline comment.

      I will see how .CO.UK will collaborate with .CA – a last resort, one might say.

    • LeonRover on March 12, 2014 at 04:45


      What a swift response. The DEBUGGERS are F A A A A S T –

      of course, we be in Lent.

    • LeonRover on March 12, 2014 at 07:38

      3PS AMAZIN probs solved – A MIRACLE

  13. gabriella kadar on March 12, 2014 at 04:39

    I read the guest post by Ronesh on Mark’s blog yesterday and thought ‘BINGO’. So great that someone has written a book for this community. We have an epidemic of Type 2 in the GTA among south Asians. My assistant is definitely going to order this book (which was ‘temporarily out of stock’ on the Amazon website yesterday, but understandable if it’s just now been published). This book is a must read. I’ve been crabbing for ages about how the ‘vegetarian diet’ isn’t really. More a sugar, grain, pulse and oil diet.

    I don’t know how enthusiastic the physicians are going to be about repeat testing for TG, LDL, HDL and especially CRP. We’ve got some reward system going on around here for minimizing costs and reducing testing. HgbA1c is still being done routinely but the rest of them? pffffff.

  14. Marc on March 12, 2014 at 05:20


    I have been anticipated this with trepidation
    “blog has officially entered the realm of “small business,” rather than merely a hobby. Accordingly, I’m going to have to be more careful about how I work,”

    Stay Richard and fuck the small business… Unless survival is at stake of course.

    This doesn’t take away from my love and appreciation for you by the way…..


    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2014 at 10:39


      Actually, I just had a phone con with Sisson last evening, asking how I can pull this off without losing my edge. He gave me some good advice.

      Don’t worry.

    • Shawn on March 12, 2014 at 14:01

      How are you able to make a living? I am not trying to be (too) nosey, but would like do do something like you or Mark Sisson are doing at some point. You are both great!

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2014 at 15:19


      Not making a living at this, exclusively. Just [now] another of a few side businesses I run that all together, constitute a living. It’s just that the relatively passive income from this now reached a level where it was noteworthy.

    • Shawn on March 12, 2014 at 16:12

      In any case congratulations! I’m kind of a slow writer it would probably take me 4 hours to create an average length post.

    • Q on March 12, 2014 at 19:20

      “The Animal Formerly Known as Free” 🙂

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2014 at 20:39

      Wait and see, Q. See the post I just put up and then tell me I’m going shy for money.

  15. Jim on March 12, 2014 at 18:28

    I saw in your picture The River Cottage Meat book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and that is one of my top 5 cookbooks. I spent the extra bucks to get the UK version and it was well worth it.

    While not a cookbook, I have found that Jo Robinson’s Eating on the Wildside to be one of the most informative books on the plants we eat. Complete with listings of the scientific references.

  16. LeonRover on March 13, 2014 at 05:10

    In relation to Terry Wahls, have you yet seen Dr Art @CoolingInflammation@ Ayers’ latest blogpost ?


  17. Jules on March 13, 2014 at 06:52

    Good roundup- I’m really enjoying the Ancestral Table also! Pretty sure you have indeed heard of Russ Crandall though; he did a fantastic guest post right here on your website a couple years ago-

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2014 at 14:12

      Ha, Jules, you scooped me. I recalled that he had emailed me about the book, alerting that it had starches, but I didn’t connect the dots. Good work.

      I guess with nearly 4,000 posts now, I tend to forget a few now & then. It’s a great post, too.

      [Sorry, Russ!]

  18. […] Update 3/12/14: This is a section reposted from a recent post. […]

  19. Clem on March 13, 2014 at 20:12

    Note that both South Asia and Wahls are pretty low carb. South Asia has 100 g limit and Wahls Paleo Plus goes as ketogenic as Jimmy Moore.

  20. […] 9) Richard Nikoley at Free the Animal […]

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