The book starts by explaining a bit about why you should be eating paleo, and what it is. It gives you a super handy list of “What to eat and what not to eat,” as well as some answers to some commonly asked “is it paleo-friendly?” foods.
After that, Kenzie Stewart has a chapter on pantry essentials and what spices you should have in your spice rack, which is amazingly helpful. It’s made up of the cornerstone ingredients that are in all of the recipes in this book, so you should be sure you always have them on hand.
She talks a bit about kitchen tools and exercise, then dives right into the meal plan.
The cover of the book says: 4 weeks | 5 ingredients | 130 recipes
It sounds so incredibly easy when you word it like that. It almost seems like you’re only eating recipes made up of 5 ingredients for that entire month. But, of course, that would be unhealthy. You’d be missing all kinds of nutrients.
The first page of the book words it a bit more clearly: “a 28-day meal plan, and 130 foolproof recipes with five primary ingredients or fewer.” Okay, that makes more sense. But I admit, when I picked up the book initially, I was a bit mislead by the text on the cover. It certainly accomplished what it set out to accomplish, though: it sounded so simple, even a caveman could do it.
The plan itself is very well organized and laid out. It lists the menu week by week, and alongside it is the thing that really stood out to me: a weekly shopping list!
It made shopping incredibly easy each week. I’ve seen other meal plans that do this, and I would argue that it’s an essential list for any book with a meal plan in it. This one was 100% accurate, so far as I could tell. I was missing only a few ingredients when I went to go make my recipes, and I’m pretty sure it was my own error whenever that happened.
I did notice, however, that some of the fish/meats were starting to spoil by the end of the week. Paleo in 28 would greatly benefit from a shopping list for just the meats and fish that was broken up by the day (or every few days). That way, you could purchase your meats and fish more frequently so that they could be more fresh at the time of cooking.
Simply adding a day name in parentheses to the proteins listed in the shopping list would solve that problem. Then people could figure it out on their own.
The recipes were fantastic. Many of them are going to be added to my own recipe app to become staples of our household meals. There were really only a few recipes that just weren’t great, and nothing was inedible.
Even the fish was palatable! I was not raised on fish, and I don’t like fish, in general. Seafood, sure. But fish, no. It’s that “fishy taste” that gets me. Not a fan.
But the two times that the plan included fish on the menu, I stalwartly cooked them. Never you mind that I had some chicken wings in the fridge as a backup, just in case the fish was unpalatable. But both times, I was pleasantly surprised. No fishy taste. I would absolutely eat them again.
I also loved that she had recipes for, and ideas for, paleo snacks. I suspect that snacking will be one place where a lot of people new to paleo will be stuck. We are so used to snacking on processed foods and grains that it helps to have some other, healthier options.
The meal plan does an excellent job of placing the harder-to-cook recipes on weekends. It also allows for a lot of leftovers. Which is useful if you have a family. You’ll have enough to give them and still have leftovers for yourself later. But it will be frustrating if it’s just you eating this stuff. You will have more leftovers than you can eat.
One way to account for this is to look at the plan ahead of time and modify your shopping list for that week accordingly (and then cook only 1/4 of a recipe, for example). Time-consuming. Or, you could freeze it all and then eat it after the 28-day plan is over. Holds promise. Or pass out the leftovers amongst your city’s homeless. So noble!
I only tried a few of the recipes that were not included in the 28-day meal plan. Including a couple of desserts.
The desserts were decent. Some better than others, of course. The main thing it really came down to: if it was fruit-based, it was good. They’re naturally sweet.
But the only other type of sweeteners she used, other than fruit, were maple syrup and honey. They’re good. They’re natural. But they’re not great when it comes to trying to masquerade as sugar. So, if the recipe was trying to replicate something like brownies… well, it was mediocre. It wasn’t bad, mind you. But if you expect it to taste anything much like the brownies that you’re used to, you will be sorely disappointed.
Some other paleo recipes I’ve seen online are a bit more liberal in their use of allowed sugars and open up to things like coconut sugar. I assume it’s so that they can make more desserts that taste decent.
I should note, my husband followed this meal plan right alongside me, and he really enjoyed most of the meals, as well. As did our almost-2-year-old. She enjoyed everything we gave her, but she didn’t try the spicier recipes yet.
I did feel like the ratio of meat to vegetables on this particular meal plan was very high. I’m starting my second meal plan now, and I’m noticing it has a lot more vegetables alongside the meats. I assume that was due to the premise of this book, the whole “5 ingredients” deal. But it may mean that you’re not getting as many nutrients as you could be if you added a few more vegetables in on the side.
Paleo in 28 Book Rating: 4/5 Stars
The shortcomings of the book are few. Add in a menu plan made for one person and break up the proteins on the shopping list, and it’s almost perfect.
Be sure to follow along on my journey if you’re not already! You can subscribe to me on YouTube, my newsletter, join my Facebook group, or Instagram. I’ll be doing lots more reviews like this on various books and movies as I move through various nutritional lifestyle choices (paleo, vegan, etc.) and try them all out to see what works best for me!