I had mixed opinions about the paleo diet when my former blogger, Lisa Cantkier, asked me to review the cookbook she co-wrote with Jill Hillhouse – The Paleo Diabetes Diet Solution, Manage Your Blood Sugar with 125 Recipes plus a 30-Day Meal Plan ($27.95, Robert Rose).

The idea of a paleo diet, or the diet of our ancestors who lived during the Paleolithic era, a “period in time that began about 2.5 million years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago when agricultural began to take hold, didn’t make sense to me: Why would we want to eat a diet that our now-extinct ancestors enjoyed?

However, after reading the information in the cookbook, I learned the idea of the paleo diet is to enjoy food like our hunter-gather ancestors “who ate the meat they hunted, the fish they caught and the green shoots, berries, roots, eggs and nuts they gathered as they roamed” did – unprocessed whole, nutrient-dense foods.

According to Cantkier and Hillhouse, eating “humankind’s original diet optimizes our health.”

And I can buy into that. I completely agree we should take the time to cook real meals using fresh ingredients and eat less processed food. What I do not agree with is the fact that you have to say no to all types of grains and dairy, that fruit can replace a brownie and there is a three-page list of foods you need to avoid.

I don’t believe in any food lifestyle that removes so many choices from your diet. I believe moderation is the way to go even if that involves pizza made with a gluten crust or porridge with maple syrup.

While I don’t believe in the paleo lifestyle, I do appreciate people’s choice to eat how, and what they want.

And I also believe in information, and there is lots of it in here. From the problem of diabetes to what paleo is to things beyond food to consider for optimal health, the information is easy to read, informative and laid out with quick hits and short sidebars. I spent a lot of time reading this cookbook, and enjoyed the way it was written and the information provided.

There are also a number of recipes that look delicious, and which would be easily modified if you didn’t want to use coconut milk for example. While I prefer a photo for each recipe (the dishes that have photos look fabulous), the recipes themselves are nicely presented with nutritional tips as well as tips including cooking information or details about ingredients.

I am particularly looking forward to trying the Roasted Asparagus Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts; Roasted Black Cod with Warm Tomato Vinaigrette on Seared Rapini; and Kale and Sweet Potato Saute.

What do you think about the paleo lifestyle? Is it a way of eating you could embrace?

A copy of this cookbook was provided by Robert Rose for an honest review. The opinions are my own.