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Book Review: ‘Eat Like A Dinosaur’ By The Paleo Parents

It has often been said that children are our future and it’s true. The legacy that parents leave their kids will be with them throughout their lifetime as they instill the values and principles that guide their lives into their own children and grandchildren someday. While most parents work hard to instill good moral conduct and other social habits into those little ones they’ve been blessed to raise, when it comes to nutrition and health far too many of them simply drop the ball. Awww, come on, they’re just kids! We had candy, soda and ice cream as children and we turned out fine, right? I suppose if you ignore the exponential swell in obesity and diabetes rates that have reached unprecedented levels that would be right. But in the real world, so much could be done to help curb this changing tide if parents simply grabbed ahold of something effective that could quite possibly change the course of their lives and those munchkins they’ve been entrusted with. That’s precisely what Matt McCarry and Stacy Toth decided to do.

Matt and Stacy, aka “The Paleo Parents,” were the typical American parents raising their boys and totally oblivious to the impact of their nutritional choices on their own health and the lessons they were passing along to their children. In early 2010 all of that changed when Stacy decided enough was enough and started eating Paleo and the changes impressed Matt so much he decided to give it a try for himself, too. Nearly a year later, they had shed over 200 pounds between them and totally changed their lives forever. No longer were they settling for a life of obesity and disease–it was a new day not just in Matt and Stacy’s lives, but in the lives of their three beautiful boys Cole, Finian and Wesley. That’s why they decided to write this book Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids.

Trying to explain something like the Paleo diet to very young children can be quite daunting. Matt and Stacy really wanted to come up with a way to explain it to their kids in a way that would get them excited about it and embrace it fully. When she started throwing out all of the old high-carbage food her family used to eat like Raisin Bran, Hamburger Helper, bread, cookies, crackers and more, Stacy came up with this mantra of “eating like a dinosaur” to help her 4-year old understand. Children are enamored by dinosaurs and understand they ate meat and veggies in their diet. If a dinosaur doesn’t eat it, then we don’t put it in our mouths. The idea clicked and thus was born the title of the book.

Lemme tell you something…this book isn’t just a frilly little kids book that you pick up and read to your children for 10 minutes at night and that’s the end of it. On the contrary, it’s got a little something for everyone in it. From the “Boring Chapter For Parents” providing practical advice for making permanent changes in the way your family eats as well as the specific ingredients that make up a healthy grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free kitchen to packing lunches and making food an event with your kids through farmer’s markets, making dishes together in the kitchen and more, this is arguably the most hands-on book explaining how to integrate and “normalize” Paleo low-carb living with your kids that I’ve ever seen! There’s so much great advice for newbies and long-time Paleo fans alike.

Of course, this is still a book geared towards kids. So what would a book like this be like without a fun story that parents can share over and over (and OVER!) again to their kids to reinforce these changes you are making? That’s what Chapter 2 is all about complete with illustrations and a fun tale about “eating like a dinosaur.” The brilliance of Eat Like A Dinosaur is how it doesn’t make eating this way seem out of the ordinary for the kids. They feel like how they eat is how everyone should be eating. And who knows what kind of influence they could have on their fellow classmates at school as they get older and the other kids notice how much fitter, smarter, and stronger the Paleo children who consume meat and veggies are? If we’re going to break this endless cycle of obese and diabetic kids, then it needs to start changing with the kids themselves. This book will help make that happen.

Most of the content in Eat Like A Dinosaur includes the amazing recipes that your kids will go bonkers over! I mean, what kid (or adult for that matter!) wouldn’t like a “50/50 Bacon Burger” with half of the recipe made with bacon?! Or how about “Mini Egg Pizzas,” “Rat On A Stick” (this one’s cute!) and even “Spaghetti With Meatballs” (made with spaghetti squash of course)? These recipes are downright fun and delicious and come perfectly photographed to tantalize your taste buds even before you start cooking. All the tools you’ll need along with the ingredients are listed right there for you, but here’s where the magic of this book comes into play. Matt and Stacy provide a cute story about the recipe followed by “Instructions And How Kids Can Help.” That’s right, these recipes aren’t just about the menial task of cooking meals for your family. They’re an event that INVOLVES your kids in the process. While that can sound daunting to some moms and perhaps impractical for busy families, it’s an essential part of the buy-in process to these changes that need to happen become fond memories of childhood centered around healthy living. What parent wouldn’t want that intimate relationship with their child?

Lest you are wondering, yes there are some sweet treats in here for the kiddos as well, but they still hold true to the gluten-free, dairy-free, legume-free principles that are the foundation of the book. “Chocolate Milkshake,” “Lava Fudge Cupcakes” and “Creamy Not Cheese Frosting” are just a few of the highlights that will make you wonder how you ever lived any other way but Paleo! The real secret behind Eat Like A Dinosaur isn’t the book itself (which is phenomenal if you haven’t guessed already). It’s in the enthusiasm and excitement of the parents who are willing to sell the idea to their kids while they’re still impressionable so that it can make a difference for a lifetime. Isn’t that something worth passing on to the next generation of adults who will be raising their own kids someday soon? I think so and the decision about what that future looks like is up to you. Let Matt and Stacy’s experience motivate and inspire you to follow their lead and help your kids learn how to “eat like a dinosaur” too!

  • http://paleospirit.com/ Lea

    I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of this book as well. My two boys, ages 11 and 7, both love it. My 7 year old especially enjoyed Chapter 2 which is the actual kid’s book part of Eat Like a Dinosaur. I cannot agree more how important it is to get kids onboard with eating the right way early on while they are still impressionable. This book really helps parents do just that.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t even have kids and this book got me excited. :D

  • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

    Wow, I don’t know if much of that is really true – but if we’re influencing half of what you’re saying, I’m happy to be a part of it! Thank you <3

    • Anonymous

      No need to be humble when you’re spot on with your work. THANK YOU for writing the book! :D