I’m going to give you a disclaimer. I love this cook book. And Stephanie Gaudreau at Stupid Easy Paleo. I dig what she’s doing and her point of view. This is going to be a lot of gushing. Just be ready. It’s going to be OK.

To just further my need to tell you how great this book is, I was able to track down and meet Stephanie briefly at this year’s Paleof(x) as well as see her speak on a panel regarding supplementation for paleo athletes. Shocker: she suggests sticking to real food as much as possible. Just another reason why this chick is totally speaking my language. Heavy lifts, all the food, no BS. I love it.

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I’m a little bit obsessed with StupidEasyPaleo. If you are on my meal plan mailing list, you know I include something of hers almost every week. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I was on a complete crack-head obsession with the garlic-ginger bok choy from the website. I just friggin like all of it. It’s embarrassing.

Let’s talk a little bit about why this book is unique. With Performance Paleo, Stephanie addresses a group of people who were in desperate need of a little TLC: The paleo athlete. Here’s the funny thing, though. I don’t know about you guys, but I found Paleo through CrossFit. Most of the “Paleo-people” I know found it through CrossFit. Yes, there’s a HUGE community of people who arrived at the paleo approach to food after a battle with autoimmunity, disordered eating, hormonal issues, or problems with weight. I was not one of those people (well, I was….I just didn’t know it yet).

One of the things that happens when you cut out grains, oats, white potatoes and rice is you can accidentally end up in a very low carbohydrate place. For some, that’s totes kosh. For others, it can result in accidental ketosis, fatigue, metabolic breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, and loss of athletic performance…and #gainz. I had a great run with very low carb-very high fat, but went too hard for too long and the wheels came flying off, as discussed in my previous post. I needed more carbs to sustain my lifting endeavors. For those of us who like to stick with real food, but don’t want to lose strength in the gym (or low carb just isn’t cutting it for whatever reason), now we have Performance Paleo. It’s not all carb-heavy recipes filled with bananas, rice and potatoes. It’s got protein-packed muscle building recipes, carby sides to refuel, and nutrient-dense veggies that you can use to put your meals together. And that’s how she divides up the chapters. Their purpose. Not their course.

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Speaking of putting meals together, this is probably my absolute favorite thing in this book that it kind of pisses me off that doesn’t exist as a standard in every cook book ever. There are three whole pages of meal ideas. Whole MEALS. One of the things the drives me crazy about cookbooks is when the recipes are great, but I’m trying to plan my meals for the week and I end up endlessly flipping through seven of them to jig-saw puzzle my days together.

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OH! Speaking of planning! I get so many questions of, ‘What do I eat before my workout?”, “How much should I eat after?” Along with our general meal plans here, Stephanie also gives a basic structure for how to set your meals based around your training schedule. At the gym before the sun? Here’s what you can do. Late night lifter? Got you covered. I’ve never seen any of these PLANNING basics in cookbooks and I’m absolutely ape-shit for it. I’ve used this book meal planning more than any other book I have on my shelf. Seriously. I use recipes from everything up there, but I love a chart, and these charts just make it so dang simple.

I like hearing everyone’s life story. I do. I tell you guys my every thought all the time. Still… sometimes, I just want to get to the damn recipes. How many cook books have you bought that are 756 pages, then you open it and 527 of them are the authors story and explanation of each ingredient in each recipe? Not so here! A page of Robb Wolf’s approval, a page of Stephanie’s back story, a few pages of planning suggestion and then it’s wham, bam, RECIPES! The cookbook is full of great ideas but it’s not an encyclopedia. Those books have their place, and I own some and love them, but the way Performance Paleo was put together is easy and frankly super refreshing.

Speaking of not blabbing on and on and getting to the recipes, let’s get to those recipes.

The first thing I made out of the book was the Smoked Salmon Egg Bake. I also shared this recipe with my email subscribers.  I was kind of weirded out by the idea of smoked salmon baked into eggs…but I hear that’s actually pretty common…but usually on a bagel. Whatever. Either way, I trusted, I won. It was one of the easiest things I’ve ever put together and it lasted for days and days. If you’re in a rush in the morning, this is something you should probably make and just keep in the fridge for grab and go breakfasts.

Here’s some more of what I made from the book:

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Lemon Garlic Shrimp with (cauliflower) Grits

 

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Chicken Salad packed with crunchy veggies

 

If you want to look super fancy and seem like you really know what you’re doing in the kitchen but want to put in virtually zero effort: enter prosciutto wrapped salmon. Literally. No work. Zero work done.

 

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These fudge pops are GREAT! Sweetened with dates and thanks to the banana they have the texture of an actual fudge pop. I was super happy with them and they have become my new favorite after-gym treat. I mean, it’s in the ‘treat’ section but contrary to most Paleo-treat recipes, it’s not loaded with honey or coconut sugar. It’s so simple and is even compliant for the Whole Life Challenge or other nutrition plans that eliminate sweeteners. They even have a nice hit of fiber. All in a ‘dessert’. Stephanie, you’re a goddam genius.

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So there you have it. You guys know I’ll never tell you to spend your hard earned dollars on something unless I really think you’re getting some bang for your buck. This book is beyond worth spending a few of those bills on. If you’re struggling to find Paleo recipes that support an athletic lifestyle, or relatively intense training, then I cannot recommend this book enough. The recipes are inventive, yet easy to follow and simple to put together. The flavors are familiar enough not to be overwhelming to kitchen newbies but interesting enough to keep the most seasoned veteran excited for what’s coming out of the oven. 

You officially have no excuses. Fuel your body well, and appropriately for your sport (or your athlete-wannabe-ness like all of us intermediate athlete CrossFitters), but don’t skimp on the delicious factor. Never skimp on the delicious.