Click here to jump right to my review of Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids by Paleo Parents Matt and Stacy.

Before I get to my review, I need to vent about a couple things. We’ve had a base wide power outage this morning so I am experiencing a rare treat: people who normally meet elsewhere in private on base are having to go to Starbucks, the only place within 10 miles that has electricity.

This is what I am witnessing:

  • a base doctor, studying radiology and drinking diet Mountain Dew. I am itching to ask him if he knows the effects of the brominated vegetable oil he is drinking, but I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t care.
  • a pharmaceutical rep pushing a new drug on a hospital administrator. He even has fancy new toys for the doctors, stethoscopes and models of joints and bones. I’m not sure how that makes the drugs work better, or makes them safer, but they sure will look cool in the doctor’s office.
  • a nurse apologizing for showing emotion when faced with men returning from war without their limbs. She said she will “work on it.” In my experience, military doctors and hospital staff have even less emotion than civilian doctors. I was told by a nurse not to cry when I was in the ER, as it would result in them not helping me. Cause I’m crying. If I was hurt bad enough, I wouldn’t be able to cry. I guess.

I just want to stand up and scream. After being surrounded by Paleo physicians, naturopaths and success stories at PaleoFX, I am once again in the land of Big Government. Make no mistake, the United States Armed Forces is tightly pinned under the thumb of the pharmaceutical industry, the USDA and the FDA. Everything it does must fall directly in line with the guidelines imposed by those (and other) government agencies.

Play it again, Uncle Sam

This whole issue with ObamaCare and the government making us eat broccoli that’s all over FoxNews right now makes me want to pee myself laughing. The government already tells the military what to eat. I wish they would mandate the eating of broccoli. Like I said, the military has to follow the guidelines imposed by the USDA. That includes the food our troops eat overseas AND school lunches for our children. I have scanned in a copy of the 6-week menu served to the toddlers at the Child Development Center (the CDC ironically enough, although I lovingly call it the Center for Disease Creation). Here goes. Brace yourself. (Note the date in the lower left corner of each page. This was when this particular menu was approved. These menus have been in effect at this facility for almost three years. I tried to contact the person who had approved them and was told that she no longer works there. But her menus still exist. God, the lunch ladies must be tired of making this crap over and over.)

In case you can’t make them out, the pictures at the top of each menu are all of things my children don’t eat – (L to R) potatoes, spaghetti, crackers, pizza, sandwich – and wheat makes up the majority of the menu. After two weeks on this diet, my level-headed, patient, loving toddlers were a screaming, biting, tantrum-throwing mess, covered in psoriasis from head to toe. We couldn’t handle them at all. We tried to bring in foods to substitute the wheat and dairy but were told that we weren’t allowed to, in case another child had an allergy. So, we went to the doctors. We had him write up an official diagnosis of wheat and dairy allergy, so that our children became “special needs” cases. Then, we got into the habit of packing ALL their food ourselves. (Note: even though our kids have these “allergies,” it doesn’t stop the school from serving wheat and dairy in front of them.)

We had to come up with all sorts of creative substitutions, since the teachers told us it would be best if the kids were eating foods similar to those the other children were eating. The only catch was that we couldn’t send them to school with any nuts and that we had to loosely follow the USDA guidelines – 6-11 servings of “grains,” shitloads of “dairy” and something green or red that can pass for a “vegetable.” We spent weeks coming up with chicken nugget recipes, tomato-free Sloppy Joe imitations, wheat-free, nut-free cookies and breads and interesting breakfasts. We did that for about two months, then we couldn’t take it anymore. We don’t eat Sloppy Joes at home, not even Paleo ones, so I felt it was an incredible waste of time trying to imitate the SAD diet the USDA imposes. So, we just started sending them off to school with Paleo food. Instead of cupcakes, our kids got a date. The teachers can’t believe our kids reactions when they give them their date. They will ignore the candy, cookies, cake or whatever gluten-filled crap the other kids are eating and act as if though they were given a million bucks instead of something that looks like wrinkly tree poop. The teachers have even told me that they themselves have tried the kids lunches and that our children eat “the best out of every one at this school.” There are hundreds of kids, teachers and staff. We don’t feed our kids that well for lunch. You should see what they eat for dinner. ;)

Eat Like A Dinosaur

Which leads me to my review of Eat Like a Dinosaur by the Paleo Parents, Matt and Stacy. I’ve been pretty much going at this on my own as most gluten-free kids cookbooks don’t work for me. Too many recipes contain nightshades. Or nuts. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on buying this book. I was given a copy at PaleoFX and flipped through it on the plane.

The difference between this book and others I’ve read is that it is written by actual parents with young kids. Those of you that don’t have young kids do not understand how difficult it is to please them. Toddlers have the palates of, well, toddlers. Even though our kids have been mostly Primal since birth, they still want to eat simple foods. They ask for things like bagels, cake and hot dogs, since that’s what the other kids eat. They won’t touch bok choy, often spit out their steak and need a freakin’ dip for everything.

At first glance, I thought that this book had far too many desserts, snacks and treats. It was easy to judge from an adult perspective. However, when I took a closer look and thought about it from a mom’s point of view, I realized that Matt and Stacy have included recipes that their kids will actually eat. Kids want to eat crap. It is up to us as parents to disguise healthy food as “crap” so the kids think they are getting away with something, while at the same time providing top-notch nutrition and setting our children up for success later in life.

The first recipe I made was the “Anytime Cookies.” They are sweetened with a banana and an apple and that’s it. There aren’t even any eggs in them. They didn’t turn out anything like the pictures or the descriptions, but they held together. My husband said, “they taste like they’re good for me.” The kids didn’t care. To them, it was a cookie and they were eating it for dinner. To me (since I knew what was in it), it was a perfectly acceptable meal, along with some ham, olives, pickles and kale chips.

There are lots of tips for getting kids to help in this book and most of the recipes will appeal to both kids and parents. There are colorful pictures and great examples of Paleo lunches. (Hey Matt and Stacy, where did you get those great lunch boxes? I need a couple!) There are sauces, dips, creative drinks and lots of recipes I plan on making. The language used appeals to children, especially little boys who want nothing more than to actually be a dinosaur and eat dinosaur food. This book also contains a storybook, which my children love to read. In fact, it’s been difficult to actually use the book to cook anything – my kids keep stealing it so they can read “The Dinosaur Story” and I have to hunt through their toy boxes for it.

Unfortunately, a lot of these recipes use nuts so I can’t make them for the kid’s lunches. We can have them for dinner, though and on weekends. There are a few that use tomato (the hardest thing to substitute and a real kid favorite) that I wish didn’t, but I can hardly blame Matt and Stacy for including them. If my kids could eat tomatoes, they would be having Paleo Ketchup every day.

I think this is a great book for parents trying to raise Paleo kids. It’s colorful, creative and a great first edition from a couple of people that you should really keep on your radar. I would like to see an autoimmune Paleo cookbook from these two. If they don’t write one, perhaps I will. Adding the autoimmune component in is a real pain in the ass when it comes to options. But overall, I think Eat Like a Dinosaur is a great addition to your Paleo kitchen if you are cooking for children. Pick up your copy today!

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