The Garden of Eating: The Last Diet Book You'll Ever Need

Are you looking for a no-nonsense, simple way of eating that will make you lose weight and feel amazing? Do you want to eat the way pre-agricultural people, free of modern degenerative diseases ate? Look no further! This is the last cookbook/diet book that you'll ever need.

When I first heard about this cookbook, I was sure that nothing would knock my beloved Nourishing Traditions off of its seat of honor in my kitchen. Now, to be fair, I still LOVE Nourishing Traditions, but this cookbook goes one step beyond Nourishing Traditions and fleshes out a way of eating that is very helpful to one transitioning to a Paleo, Grain-Free diet.

At first glance, The Garden of Eating may seem very antithetical to the Nourishing Traditions way of eating. I have to say that I was a little skeptical about the book since I immediately noticed that it was a "dairy free" cookbook. Nourishing Traditions is huge on dairy (raw, pasture-fed), but when you read carefully in Rachel Albert-Matesz' book, you do find that she says the same thing. It's just that not everyone can a) tolerate dairy (in any form) nor do they b) have access to high quality raw dairy. I am fortunate to tolerate raw dairy products just fine, and thus it's very easy for me to adapt dairy to her recipes.

Whenever I see a cookbook that seeks to eliminate entire food groups, my first question in, inevitably, "what do they replace them with?". In this case, thankfully, it's nourishing coconut milk or almond milk (the homemade sort, of course!). No soy, no rice/oat/hemp milks. She also recommends ghee (clarified butter) as an option for a good quality fat.

The other food group that is conspicuously absent from these recipes is the bread/cereal/grain food group. Not only is this a gluten-free cookbook, but every delicious recipe is grain-free! Not technically a GAPS-certified cookbook, but practically every recipe (other than a few of the starchy veggies) can be used for your GAPS-healing regimen.

The best thing about this 581 page cookbook is that I've never found a recipe that was a "flop". Especially wonderful is that every recipe is delicious and simple to make!

But The Garden of Eating is more than simply a cookbook. The first 13 chapters are incredibly informative articles on Native Nutrition, which includes an in-depth analysis of Dr. Weston A. Price's work, as well as a primer on Fats, discussions of why "organic" really matters, and how to return to a more "paleo" way of eating.

Then, she takes you step-by-step through how to organize your kitchen, what tools you need, and how to effectively meal plan. Included is a sample month of menus and prep lists which makes transitioning to this type of diet even easier!

I've read lots of diet books, and almost all of them are "gimmicky" to me. But this book is simple, clear, and no frills. All of the ingredients are simply "real food" and nothing so fancy that you'll have to go to a specialty store to find. Sure, there are a few things you may need to buy once every six months (like a unique spice) but since all of the recipes are SO versatile, you can usually substitute an ingredient you don't have on hand.

This cookbook was recommended to me by my naturopath, Dr. Daniel Chong who is big into Native Nutrition/Paleo way of eating. In his professional opinion, this cookbook is all anyone should abide by for optimum health. I've got to say, even though I was skeptical at first, I totally feel amazing eating by these principles :

For a diet most similar to that of native people known to be practically
immune to degenerative diseases:

1) Make fresh, locally grown fruits and
vegetables 65-75% of the weight and volume of your meals/diet.

2) Make clean, lean, grass-fed animal products 20-35% of the weight and volume of your meals/diet.

3) Eliminate refined grain products, conventional dairy
products, mass-market meats, refined sugars, unfriendly vegetable oils

Source: The Garden of Eating

Like Nourishing Traditions, The Garden of Eating encourages you to make homemade bone broth and use it in soups and stir-fry. Some differences are that G of E does not include many recipes for cultured foods. As for nuts, she suggests toasting them, rather than soaking them, to neutralize phytic acids. Personally, I still defer to Sally Fallon's method when cooking nuts just because it feels a little more nutritious.

There are extensive chapters containing various tantalizing recipes for pork, chicken, buffalo, turkey, and seafood. All are simple and so nourishing but flavorful as well! The many different chapters on vegetables make is such a nice companion volume to Nourishing Traditions, as I think it tends to be a little weaker on the vegetable recipes. Her chapters on salad dressings, sauces, and condiments is amazing; as well as her chapter on delicious, healthy whole-food "treats" and snacks. G of E even features a delicious recipe that's exactly like Jennie's Macaroons!

Included in the book is a primer I found very helpful on the preparation of jerky and pemmican. For some reason, her explanations seem to demystify this process more for me than other books. I also love the chapter on healthy, nourishing beverages including homemade herbal coffee alternatives!

The only weak aspect of the book, in my opinion, is the recommended use of egg white protein powder. I'm just not that into "protein powders" of any kind, and fortunately she only uses it in some of her smoothie and dessert treat recipes.

Overall, I give this book two thumbs up. In fact, I can't imagine eating grain-free without it. This cookbook gives so many exciting, realistic recipes that fit right in to a Thrifty, Organic, grain-free lifestyle! And I must say, Rachel's book is guaranteed to make a veggie fan out of you!

For access to many of the recipes featured in The Garden of Eating, visit Rachel's website!

In addition, I'm really excited to let you in on a little surprise. Look for details soon on a giveaway I'm doing! Rachel Albert-Matesz is offering a FREE 1 hour personal phone consultation to one lucky Organic and Thrifty subscriber!!!! Details to follow, but keep checking back for more information!


Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home said...

Thanks for this recommendation! I will be getting this book as soon as possible.

Betsy said...

Thanks, Carrie, for the review--I've been reading my G of E and haven't known what to think when I come up against something anti-NT seeming. I appreciate your perspective so much!

Carrie @ OrganicThrifty said...

My pleasure! And if you're interested, here's Chef Rachel's reply:

"Thanks for the great review! FYI: In the time since the book came out Don and I let the egg white protein fall away from our diet. We had previously read and followed a lot of Barry Sears/Zone stuff and Jay Robb's work and that's how the protein powders came into our diet. We have made some other slight adjustments to our cooking as well (a little more fat for example and cutting out snacks/eating less often).

I really like Sally's crispy nuts and I have made them w/a dehydrator, however few of my cooking students own this tool, so I opted to use toasted nuts in the book and use them in many recipes as well. I do love the flavor from low temp drying at 140 F."

That was a great clarification!

Sarah said...

Thank you for the review!

My husband and I have just been researching the primal/paleo diet and he is gung ho for it. I, on the other hand, am excited, but wary as (since we don't HAVE to be gluten-free, let alone grain-free) I've relied on grains quite a bit recently as filler to a lot of meals. But I know that I do better with fewer grains (even whole grains) in my diet so I've been planning the plunge for once our new baby arrives.

I may just have to put this on my amazon wishlist! This is fantastic!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this review. I just found your blog via the NW Catholic Conference webpage. We have been moving toward a grain free diet for a while. Nourishing Traditions wasn't appealing to me as both my children are lactose intolerant, one more so than the other. We were dairy free before so we havn't had much trouble "dealing" with the lactose issue.

Anyway, I was about to research some grain free books. So your review was very timely for me. I just ordered it from the library to have a look at it.

I look forward to your giveaway. :)

DeAnn said...

I just bought this book and am looking forward to reading through it! I would love to make more smoothies for breakfast. Any recommendations for what type of protein to add to a smoothie that would replace the egg white powder? Thanks!

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I have one of those books, and it has helped me too much because I used to believe that eating vegetables and fruit is healthy, but we gotta know how to eat them too