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Book Review & Interview with Sylvie McCracken, Author of The Paleo Survival Guide

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The Paleo Survival Guide is a brand new book by Sylvie McCracken from the blog, Hollywood Homestead. Sylvie is a real hoot. If you haven’t checked out her blog and her adorable family, you should. I’ve been following Hollywood Homestead for a few months and I adore Sylvie’s laid back and fun approach to having a busy family while eating Paleo. We share many of the same philosophies about the Paleo lifestyle and I was quite sure I was going to like her book.

And wow, was I right! I didn’t just like it, I loved it!

The Paleo Survival Guide is such a fabulous resource for someone who is ready to transition into Paleo, yet overwhelmed with questions and doesn’t know where to start. If you think you could never succeed at Paleo because you and your kids are addicted to pizza or if you think eating Paleo means spending hours in your kitchen and thousands of dollars on food, you will love, love, love this book. Sylvie lays out practical and realistic advice to make Paleo attainable to anyone for the long haul.

Sylvie says, “I’ve been there, in your shoes. I’ve spent the last 18 months researching and tweaking and creating a guide that will help save you months of frustration so you can can simply succeed.”

paleosurvivalguide What you’ll learn:

  • What paleo is and what types of foods to purchase and where

  • How to transition your loved ones (spouses, kids and teens) to paleo

  • How to fit paleo into your schedule and budget

  • Survival skills for each curveball life throws your way (travel, sickness, hospital, and parties)

  • Beyond the food: How to manage stress, sleep soundly and exercise basics

  • You’ll also have over 45 recipes at your fingertips so you can get started today!

After reading The Paleo Survival Guide (Click HERE to get it!), I asked Sylvie if I could do an interview with her so she could give some of her great advice and tips to you. Enjoy! 

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I was totally inspired at how you were able to heal some pretty major health issues, including thyroid, PCOS, and more by following a Paleo diet. You even lost 65 pounds without focusing on losing weight! If someone today decides they want to start Paleo, what’s the first thing you suggest they should do?

Thanks! It depends if they’re the type of person that does better with a “cold turkey” approach or a “baby steps” approach. For kids I would definitely recommend the latter. Start by eliminating gluten even if that means switching to rice or quinoa pasta and tortillas at first and reduce the frequency of those grain heavy meals. You can also work on changing one meal at a time, for instance, switching out your morning cereal for eggs or leftovers, then work on dinners when you’re ready and so on. Another easy yet very significant first step is swapping out cooking fats like canola oil and other seed oils for healthier nutrient dense delicious fats like coconut oil, butter, ghee and lard among others.

 

You also mention in your book that you are seeing a naturopath. Can you briefly explain what that is to people who are unfamiliar with naturopathic doctors and why you decided to seek one?

A Naturopath or Naturopahtic Doctor (N.D) is a practitioner that combines modern science with the wisdom of nature. Compared to a traditional medical doctor they treat the individual as a whole and focus on treating the problem, not just the symptom of the problem. I’ve worked with traditional doctors all my life and 98% of them in my experience recommend a prescription or surgery. In their defense, it is how they are taught to treat patients. Although following a paleo diet reversed most of my conditions in a very significant way I am now ready to take my health up another notch and my naturopath with testing and supplements will help me repair the years of damage I did to my body through inadequate nutrition.

 

I love the section in your book about how to get your kids and spouse to eat Paleo. Your teenage daughter even chimes in with her perspective, which I think is awesome. What’s one piece of advice you can give to moms with especially strong willed and very picky kids?

Kids are definitely a whole different ballgame. It depends on the age but since my kids range from almost 15 years old to 2 years old I have a few pointers. For the little guys, they have very little say in their diet so after the first few weeks of crossed arms, pouts and perhaps even tantrums you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is. I would definitely swap things out one at a time, hold your ground and know that you are making these changes because you believe it is the best thing for your child. The biggest feedback I get when it comes to kids is “but he just won’t eat anything but quesadillas”. Guess what, they won’t starve, I promise. Palates take time to change. Keep offering the same food several times and don’t play short order cook. Now if they just refuse to eat asparagus but they devour brussels sprouts with bacon then have that make a regular appearance and forget the asparagus! For teenagers just focus on the meals you do have control over, like dinner and stocking the house with amazing food. Over time they’ll learn what foods affect them in what way and that’s an important individual lesson. You’ll be surprised after a few belly aches and zits after pizza with their friends what changes they’ll be willing to make without you saying a word. If I had to sum it up in one word I’d tell parents to relax. Change is not gonna happen overnight but this is definitely doable.

 

One of my favorite quotes in your book is “diet doesn’t matter if you aren’t also handling your stress levels.” I couldn’t agree more and find it so refreshing that you address total health and not just food. I am a huge advocate of the importance of finding ways to de-stress every single day and was super pumped to see a whole section dedicated to this. So what’s your favorite way to de-stress and how do you, as a busy mom, blogger and full time worker make time for this everyday?

I learned this one the hard way. In the beginning of my journey I was actually stressing out about food. I was trying to be paleo perfect and eliminating foods constantly thinking I might be reacting to eggs or nightshades when what I really needed to be focusing on was my breath, gratitude and the amazing progress I had already accomplished. As mothers we tend to always put our children first, and when you add a full time job to the mix and in my case the blog as well the time “leftovers” are pretty meager. Sarah Fragoso’s talk at Paleo Fx really hit home for me. She made the comparison of what flight attendants tell us each time we get on a plane: “put your oxygen mask on first before helping others”. The truth is if we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t adequately take care of our families. I have an alarm set on my phone each day for an hour before I go to bed, to shut off the computer, take a bath, read and unwind before going to bed. I also go to yoga at least once a week and 1-2 times a month I go out with my girlfriends.

 

You state, that exercise is “a cornerstone of mood and psychological well being.” What’s a tip you would give to someone who doesn’t like working out?

I would say try several things until you find something you like, that fits into your schedule and budget. Also, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I often hear readers say they don’t have time to spend an hour at the gym 3 times a week. I totally get the time crunch but even fitting in 15 minutes during your lunch break or walking around the block while you’re on the phone can really help. My treadmill desk and fitbit have really helped get me moving during the week so the only exercise I fit in on top of that is very few minutes of kettlebell workouts and yoga once a week. It’s plenty!

 

You have sections in your book about how to eat Paleo in times of illness, eating Paleo on a budget, while traveling, while at restaurants and even social functions. Do your friends understand your commitment to Paleo living or do they think you’re nuts?

At first they thought I was nuts. Now I’ve converted a few people to the dark side 🙂 They’ve witnessed the weight loss and health improvements and they notice how seldom our kids are sick. Some of them still think we’re nuts but I suppose a commercial freezer full of all kinds of organ meats and liver pills (your recipe!) in your hallway will do that.

 

Any parting words, advice or inspiration you’d like to share with my readers?

First of all I’d like to say I’ve always been inspired (pun totally intended) by your blog and I’m honored you’ve asked me to share a bit of my story in order to help others. The biggest piece of advice for your readers would be not to focus on being perfect. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Some change is better than no change. Improvement is a life long journey. The sooner you start the sooner you’ll be able to reap the benefits of looking, feeling and performing (both mentally and physically) like a million bucks.

 

sylvie About Hollywood Homestead: Sylvie is a celebrity personal assistant and mom of 3 by day, paleo enthusiast and blogger by night.  She and SAHD hubby, Eric, each lost over 60 lbs with paleo and continue to improve their family’s health with food and lifestyle tweaks.  Sign up for her newsletter at www.hollywoodhomestead.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

 

I hope now you can see why I’m such a big fan of Sylvie and her new book. 🙂 The Paleo Survival Guide is chock full of practical tips and delicious Paleo recipes. I think it’s such a valuable resource to have in your health arsenal and this will be the first book I recommend to anyone who is overwhelmed or wants to  get started with Paleo.

*You can find the Paleo Survival Guide HERE.

Click HERE to learn more or purchase it.

  lovekelly

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