Book review: Optimum Health the Paleo Way by Claire Yates

Written by Tina Taylor | 15 January, 2014

A review of Claire Yates' new book "Optimum Health the Paleo Way" written by leading naturopath and nutritionist Tina Taylor.

As an evidence-based naturopath, nutritionist and health professional, I can’t say one dietary theory ever suits everyone. There are many aspects to take into account when recommending or considering a new dietary plan or theory. These include evaluating macronutrient and micronutrient requirements, and non-traditional nutrients (such as phytochemicals). In addition to this, the needs of the individual are paramount and multifactorial when considering dietary recommendations.

When I was asked to read Endeavour graduate Claire Yates’s book, I was wondering whether it would suggest one strict dietary theory is suitable for everyone and the only way to go. I was delighted to find this was not the case, as Claire offers an open-minded and evidence-based approach.

As the title suggests, there is a clear intention toward a Paleo style diet, and this style of eating is currently gaining popularity, and may be suitable for some. However, this book does not advocate a strict, rigid ‘you must only eat this, or else’ approach. Rather, it is a well devised and executed explanation of the factors that contribute to ill health, including stress, inflammation, blood sugar fluctuations, and hormones. Important issues such as lifestyle, exercise, and gastrointestinal health are discussed in detail, and the emphasis is on clean eating and consuming plenty of vegetables.

The Paleo diet gone wrong could include the overconsumption of animal protein, however with Claire’s guidance, including the transition to Paleo eating, and fabulous recipes, this won’t be the case.

We know eating well should not be a fad, but a lifelong plan. Appropriately, Claire discusses how sticking to a paleo way of eating 80-100% of the time should be determined by each individual, essentially giving the reader permission to integrate this eating plan with flexibility depending on their needs. To take a quote out of the book ‘Do not be so rigid or self-righteous about your diet as to annoy anyone. A bad relationship is more poisonous than one of Grandma’s sugar cookies’. Well said, and I agree! We know we need to eat well, but we shouldn’t be overstressing about food, as that’s not healthy either (see the chapter on Stress!).

When we are able to obtain sound dietary advice, good quality books such as this one can facilitate our journey to health in a safe and effective way, taking us to the next level in sustaining health and vitality, and making informed choices. It is also reassuring to see that there is a reference section toward the back of the book that lists the published journal articles utilised in the compilation of each chapter, which is not commonly found in retail health books today.

I love how this book doesn’t calorie count. Instead, and appropriately, the emphasis is on consuming nutrient dense foods. And on that note, the recipes look fantastic, with many accompanied by mouth-watering photos.

This a comprehensive and thorough guide toward a Paleo style diet, written by a qualified health professional in easy to understand language, with an all important balanced approach. Well done to Claire, the hard work put into the book is evident. This is a book I am happy to recommend, and I’ll certainly be trying out some of the recipes.

About Optimum Health The Paleo Way by Claire Yates

Perth based nutritionist and Endeavour alumnus Yates explains the key aspects of the Paleo lifestyle, the metabolic and hormonal changes that can occur from eating certain foods and the importance of food as medicine in her first book.

Drawing on evidence and science, Claire provides her take on fats, carbs, protein and fibre, and takes her readers through a 28-day reset protocol that includes weekly meal plans and more than 100 original Paleo recipes. Copies are available through

Tina Taylor

Tina Taylor is an experienced nutritionist and naturopath committed to supporting people to restore and boost their health and vitality. Tina practices evidence based medicine, incorporating the most credible, up to date published research into her clinical expertise.

She holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy and Nutritional Medicine and has lectured with Endeavour College of Natural Health for nearly five years. She is a member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association and practices at Brisbane clinic Herbs on the Hill.

Read more by Tina Taylor