The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook

Loren Cordain, PH.D.


Editorial Concepting & Writing

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., is the author of The Paleo Diet—the original Paleo diet book—as well as a series of follow-up books, including one paperback, text-only cookbook. With the increasing popularity of the Paleo diet, Dr. Cordain wanted to publish a hardcover cookbook with full-color photos and delicious, interesting recipes. Waterbury was hired to outline and map the book in the way that made the most sense, given the concept of the diet. While Dr. Cordain wrote the front matter and chapter introductions that laid out the science behind the diet, Waterbury wrote all food- and cooking-related copy—including a section on flavor and equipment—and all recipe head notes.

Design & Photography

Market research has shown that a higher percentage of men than women follow the Paleo diet. For this reason, a darker color palette and moodier photography were used. Since this diet is ingredient-centric, we opened each chapter with a photo of ingredients that represented the chapter. Because the Paleo diet is based on our ancestors' diet, we incorporated stone surfaces into the photography to reinforce that theme. Since the author is the authority on this diet, typography was decidedly sophisticated and simple.

Recipe Development & Testing

Because Dr. Cordain is a scientist and not a chef, Waterbury was hired to develop and test 250 recipes to populate the book. Waterbury worked with a team of 10 developers from around the country. It took a coordinated effort to manage all team members and their rolling deadlines. In addition, we had to ensure there was no duplication of concepts, there was editorial balance in the types of recipes included, and that every recipe followed the guidelines of the diet. Waterbury then tested all 250 recipes to ensure that they worked, that they tasted great, and that they were achievable.

Dietary Considerations

There are many versions of the Paleo diet, but Dr. Cordain’s is the original and, it could be said, the purest. His Paleo diet is based on animal proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and no dairy, legumes, sugar, salt, or grains. While many Paleo diets allow the use of salt, honey, cured meats such as bacon, and baked goods made with ingredients such as almond flour and agave, Dr. Cordain does not. This strict version of the diet required developers to be very innovative in use of ingredient use, cooking methods, and flavor combinations.

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