From the Bookshelf – Practical Paleo


From-the-Bookshelf_smPeople often ask me about my favorite books, particularly about nutrition and autism/ADHD.  I have literally hundreds that overflow three bookshelves in my office. Most I’ve read cover to cover.  So, I decided to begin a NEW blog series called “From the Bookshelf,” and thought it would be fun to share the first of the series with my friends at The Autism Film Magazine (published here).  And to publish the expanded version on my blog for all of you… PRACTICAL PALEO FRONT COVERThe first book I want to share – Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo – I highly recommend it!  It’s one of my favorites. The book is beautiful, very informative, and packed with hundreds of recipes.  All of the pages are full color, with photos for all recipes, and tons of beautiful nutrition and food charts.  Also, it’s Paleo so it’s naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and grain-free so it provides many recipe choices for families on  GFCF (Gluten-Free Casein-Free), SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome), or Paleo Diets. Even when you don’t need a full grain-free diet, most of us can benefit by getting more vegetables and less grains.  Normally, so many snacks and recipes center around refined carbohydrates: breads, sandwiches, muffins, etc.  Paleo recipes are a great way to get inspired to make healthy and tasty recipes. NH_FoodPyramid_InfIn fact, if you’ve seen my Nourishing Hope Food Pyramid, you’ll notice that the “core” of the pyramid is Paleo (with only the small top bar and sidebar being outside of Paleo).  I created the pyramid to help children with autism eat the most nutrient dense, easy to digest, and healing foods. I discovered as I was creating a pyramid that could work with all special diets, since each person is unique and there is no one-diet-fits-all, that I had laid out the foods prioritizing the foods our ancestors (Paleo) ate – which was an exciting confirmation to me that the foods we evolved eating are the ones we should focus on! Paleo principles are wonderful nutrition concepts to include in an overall healthy diet – and Practical Paleo is one of the best resources I’ve found on the subject! Practical Paleo includes great nutrition information on digestion, leaky gut, and blood sugar regulation, and how dietary choices can help.  There are 30 day meal plans and so much more. Get this book – you won’t regret it!

Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant who received her master’s degree in medical nutrition with distinction from Arizona State University. She is also a published nutrition researcher and has specialized in complex neurological conditions, particularly autism spectrum disorders and ADHD for over 20 years. Julie is the award winning author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, co-author of a study proving the efficacy of nutrition and dietary intervention for autism published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients, and also the founder of Download her free guide, 12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.


  1. I just ordered Practical Paleo a few days ago and can’t wait until it’s arrival. We are now very close to eating paleo as a family. I’ve been reading your blog for the last year and half. My 8 year old daughter couldn’t perform the daily tasks of getting ready for school, let alone sit in a classroom and learn during her kindergarten and first grade years. She was beyond out of control, with signs of manic depression and severe oppositional defiant disorder and of course classic ADHD symptoms. I hate those labels but that is what labels she was given by Western Medicine. Her pediatrician referred us to psychiatry for evaluation to see if she was on the Spectrum. She did fit the diagnostic criteria but I stopped the appointments before the final diagnosis as what I was beggining to read on line was more encouraging. Before learning that nutrition might be a factor in her behavior, I even read, The Bipolar Child when she was in kindergarten. It was as if they were describing my child. But then I started reading online sources instead of listening to our western medicine doctor who had prescribed antibiotics to my daughter since her birth (for constant UTI’s). In her fourth year she had 8 rounds of antibiotics, one included a second round of CIPRO! She was also born C section, not breast fed, and given soy formula as an infant because she was so colicky. I now know she has severe gut dysbiosis. We first eliminated dairy, then gluten, then artificial flavors, colors and additives a couple years ago. Each elimination brought more improvement. But the daily melt downs continued. We switched to all pasture raised or organic meat, eggs, veggies and fruits, but it wasn’t until we removed sugar a couple months ago that her melt downs stopped. We are on the road to recovery now but with lots of work ahead to heal the damage caused by her leaky gut. I just want to thank you for the time and energy of sharing your knowledge with parents. Helping my daughter get well has helped our whole family as we all eat the same nutrient dense diet and are so much better for it. Thank you Julie

  2. i love practical paleo and her website, balancedbites. really great information and even better info-graphics, including some great ones to download on sugar and gluten free diets.

  3. i’ve had a few patients ask me about this book recently but haven’t had a chance to read it myself. It’s great to know that my favorite trusted expert (Julie Matthews!) recommends it so highly.

    I love that it includes variations that specifically address common health issues, ie blood sugar regulation is great for my patients with PCOS and addressing Leaky Gut is so key to overall health.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.