Editor’s Note: As a vegetarian, I was hesitant to read Geoff Bond’s Paleo in a Nutshell. I almost turned down the request by Square One Publishers. I felt I could not be objective reading a book that embraced eating meat as the main part of the diet. (I learned I was wrong about that!) I am glad I took the assignment, if only to prove how narrow-minded I had been about Paleo. I am now someone who is convinced that Paleo has much to offer, no matter what food plan you follow.
Author Geoff Bond has written an eye-opening account about our early homo sapiens ancestors who lived on the Savannas of Africa in a mild climate, eating mostly plant foods. As a vegetarian, I read the first chapter with skepticism; but once I learned that the Paleo palate is ideally 75% alkalizing plant matter and 25% acidifying non-vegetarian acidic—resembling the percentage of alkalinity and acidity of each of our cells—I continued to read this book to learn more.
Perhaps the quickest way to demonstrate the “Bond Effect” of this book is to fast-forward to Appendix A: “Population Studies Supporting the Paleo Lifestyle.” Bond discusses life expectancy that features the Eskimos’ Diet, the diet of the Japanese, and the diet of the population on the island of Crete. In this Appendix, the author demonstrates how Paleo principles of mostly plant foods—fruits, non-starchy vegetables, salads, non-starchy tubers, berries, nuts in moderation, and animal foods in moderation—are not denatured by heavily processing them. Instead, a Paleo lifestyle can help thwart our modern-day diseases: arthritis, bowel diseases, cancers, constipation, diabetes, heart disease, indigestion, infectious diseases, obesity, and osteoporosis. Quite a list of accomplishments from eating what comes naturally!
The main part of the book consists of Part I (The Paleo Lifestyle) and Part II (Eating the Paleo Way). Because author Geoff Bond has a degree in Applied Sciences and uses both research and first-hand observation of tribal societies, his explanation in Part I is written on a scientific basis that is easily understood by the layperson. In this section, he explains such researched topics as: the human digestive system; forensic archeology (ancient bone composition); population studies; anthropology; and optimal foraging strategies, to name a few. (There are also 15 pages of Resources and References at the end of the book that back his statements and statistics.)
In this section, Bond also discusses the main features of the Paleo lifestyle, including: sleeping and feeding patterns; sunshine and sunlight; stress; and physical activity
He also emphasizes that we need to find everyday foods that have the same specifications as those foods that our ancestral homo sapiens ate; in the stores where we shop, he wants readers to focus on whole foods that are not found in boxes, cans, or otherwise “engineered” to feed us foods that profit the food giants instead of fueling our bodies.
Perhaps the most practical parts of this section are the charts on food groups that he rates from best to worse as green-green, green, amber, amber–red, and red. He ends this section of the book with his Golden Rules of eating, which emphasize eating mostly from the green groups, which are fresh fruits and veggies, and less of the foods from amber and red categories, and also avoiding industrial (processed) foods.
This is followed by a chapter on how to adopt a Paleo eating pattern, which includes meal ideas, snacks, eating away from home, preparing food, and dietary tips. This is done gradually in three stages so that you are not overwhelmed. Nevertheless, there is a lot to “digest” in this section, so reading it slowly and carefully will help make the changes more easily. ( I am planning to follow his suggestions for Vegetarians and Vegans.)
The last sentence in the Conclusion of Part II encapsulates the Bond Effect:
“Whether we age well, or age badly, is largely up to us and whether we adopt the way of living and eating that nature has intended for us all along” (p. 115). Wise words with which to live, and a good indication of the helpful healthy material that you will find in Paleo in a Nutshell. I recommend this book very highly.
Paleo in a Nutshell by Geoff Bond and is published by Square One Publishers. The soft-cover book has 168 pages and the cost is $15.95. Get the Bond Effect!