Review: Rich Food, Poor Food

Since we began Paleo Parents, we’ve been increasingly and routinely asked to review books and products by people in and adjacent to the paleo community. At this point, we get so many we are unable to actually do the reviews of the products in a timely manner! That’s why we recruited the Paleo Parents Review Team to fill in the gaps. Look forward to reviews on Tuesdays!

Kicking off our series, Kari Scott reviews Rich Food, Poor Food by Jayson and Mira Calton! We took a look at this book before passing it on to Kari and can say we think it’s genuinely a fantastic resource for people feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by what to choose in the grocery store. I mean, why else would two bestselling authors endorse this book? Also, after hanging with Mira and Jayson on the Low Carb Cruise last year we can say we endorse them personally, too.


While being interviewed by Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness (you can listen to the interview here), Jayson and Mira Calton stated that they wrote Rich Food Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS) as a followup to Naked Calories because people wanted to know more about the rich food poor food concept they introduced as one of three easy steps to becoming a “nutrivore.”


Rich Food Poor Food aims to provide readers with the skills and knowledge to selected the most micronutrient rich foods available.  The book is separated into two parts.  Part one is a quick overview defining rich foods and poor foods, describing “everyday micronutrient depleters (EMDs),” and providing a slew of ingredients to avoid and why.  Part two walks with you down each aisle of the grocery store guiding you to micronutrient rich food choices.  Each aisle provides you with definitions you commonly find on packaging.  For example, in the meat aisle you will learn the difference between “grass-fed,” “grass-finished,” and “organic.”  At the end of each food type, you will find a “Steer Here/Steer Clear” list of the best and worst options.  These lists provide you with brand examples that you can find in your local grocery.  If you cannot find the brand examples, they also provide a “Checkout Checklist” which outlines what good things to look for and what to avoid when selecting a food item.  Throughout the aisles, there are some “No Taste Like Home” recipes.  These recipes are alternatives to purchasing an item and usually more micronutrient rich.  By making their recipe for Five-Minute Mayonnaise instead of purchasing mayonnaise, you can avoid GMO oils, unnecessary sweeteners, and thickeners.

I personally loved the section “A Masterpiece of Colors” in Aisle Four: Produce.  In this section, the authors talk about each color of produce and what nutrients you can expect to find in that color group.  They then delve into various fruits and veggies in that color group to provide specifics.  For example, red produce contain the antioxidants lycopene and anthocyanin which cause their red hues.  Aside from lycopene and anthocyanin, tomatoes also provide vitamins B6 and iron; strawberries, ellagic acid and vitamin C.  Another highlight is Appendix One which is an awesome list providing non-GMO containing products.  The Caltons have set up an online resource center complete with coupons, recipes, and a real food locator to point you in the right direction.

Their punny writing style makes for an easy and enjoyable read.  This is a great book for someone currently eating the Standard American Diet who wants to transition to a real food, more micronutrient rich diet and is unsure where to begin.  It is also great for those who have just begun their real food journey and need some shopping guidance.  If you have not yet read Naked Calories, I would suggest reading Rich Food Poor Food first.  Naked Calories branches out from the rich food poor food concept, provides more details on EMDs, and dives deeper into the importance of micronutrient sufficiency with supported studies and research.

Once you read Rich Food Poor Food, let us know what you think!  Who would you recommend it to?

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