Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf

I've added this book review to my ongoing list of ME/CFS-related book reviews.  For the full book review page, click here.  

I had already been on a Peleo diet for about a year and a half when I started this book, but sometimes I just like to 'reaffirm my faith.'  Keeping such a strict diet requires a fair amount of willpower, so I find that it's good to remind myself of why I'm doing it in the first place.  The Paleo Solution did that and even taught me a few things I didn't already know.  

Drawbacks:  If you read the 1 star Amazon reviews of this book, almost none of them mention the diet itself.  They all seem to focus on Wolf's writing style, which can be annoying at first.  Wolf is really excited about paleo.  I mean, really excited.  And he wants everyone to know it.  So his writing style comes off as a little bit pushy and sales-y, like an infomercial.  To him, every reader is a whining, reluctant wimp who needs tough love.  Wolf likes to address you as "Buttercup" before he gives you some no-nonsense straight talk.  

But the writing style ceased to bother me after the first couple of chapters.  We all know people with quirky personalities.  After a time, I sort of adjusted to Wolf's idosyncrasies and accepted that "it's just Robb being Robb."  For me, it happened by Chapter 3.  But this is, of course, subjective.  A minority of people just won't be able to get past the style.

The only major substantive failure was that the book failed to explain why dairy should be minimized or avoided.  While Wolf makes the case against sugar and grains like a dogged prosecutor, dairy was hardly mentioned except to say that it should be avoided.  As someone who's on the fence about dairy and still eating/drinking it occasionally, I would have liked more informationmore scientific data, as in the grains sectionto make up my own mind.  

Pluses:  For a book with such a quirky style, the scientific content can seem out of place.  By Chapter 3, Wolf delves heavily into the scientific underpinnings of the Paleo diet.  This is the good stuff.  I've read much of this information before, but Wolf explained it in layman's terms perhaps better than anyone else. He makes a very convincing case.  Just like I did with Life Without Bread, I'm now trying to convince my loved ones to read this book because I want them to get it.  

The longest chapter in the book is on exercise.  Most PWMEs will want to skip that chapter since any real exercise, in conventional terms, is pretty much out of the question.  I read the exercise chapter anyway just for the information about the daily lives of cavemenalways fascinating to me.  

The second to last chapter contains several dozen paleo recipes as part of a proposed 30-day meal plan, including paleo pancakes and paleo pizza.  I suspect most people won't follow the 30-day meal plan day-by-day, but rather, will pick and choose a few of the best recipes.  Finally, the last chapter has some great information about supplements, like recommended doses, brands, and the importance of them.  This should be a popular chapter with PWME's.  I learned a few things about DHA/EPA ratios and the importance of quality in Omega-3 supplements.

It's fairly brain-fog friendly book and, at the same time, loaded with facts that will convince you (or reaffirm your faith) that paleo is the only way to go and rest of the world needs to get on board or continue slowly killing themselves.  (★★★½)

[5/30/13 edit:  The paleo pancake recipe is absolutely incredible.  I think they taste better than regular pancakes, and others who are NOT on paleo diets have agreed.  It's worth the price of the book just for that one recipe alone.  We now eat paleo pancakes about once a week for dinner.]


  1. For your answers to the dairy conundrum read It Starts with Food, which is another excellent Paleo book. The compromise I've done is to eat/drink dairy but it has to be raw as much as possible (Dr. Bell's patients mostly drank raw dairy since they were from a farming community) or low temp pasteurized and organic so the milk hasn't been killed dead. Also raw dairy helps with the production of glutathione in the body. For more reading on raw dairy look up the Weston Price website.

    1. Well you learn something new every day. That ^ was my one new thing for the day. Thanks for cluing me in on that. I'll try to read It Starts with Food some time.

  2. Having Trouble STICKING with the Paleo Diet?

    Want to munch on some delicious recipes TONIGHT?

    Check out the: Paleohacks Cookbook.