Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind-A Paleo Cookbook Review

clean-eating-book-review.pngI don’t know about you, but when a new Paleo cookbook releases, I have to drop everything else I’m doing and download it to my Kindle that very moment. One of the most anticipated books of this fall for me was Vanessa Barajas’ Clean Eating With A Dirty Mind. I’ll admit that I’m one of those snobby people who totally judges books by their covers—and the cover of this book was slathered with chocolate donuts. Paleo chocolate donuts. It wouldn’t have really mattered what the title was at that point, they totally had me.

This Paleo cookbook contains more than 150 recipes that are all designed to tantalize the palate and give you the luxurious, decadent foods you might otherwise miss on a paleo diet. The photography is stunning and will literally make you wish these foods could jump off the page and straight into your belly.

The book opens with a helpful primer on what the Paleo diet is, perfect for anyone who is new to the concept or wants a quick refresher. (This means that it also makes a perfect gift for anyone you would like to introduce to Paleo living without scaring them away with “too healthy” recipes.) It also addresses the whole “Is dessert even Paleo?” question, and spoiler alert: it is!

The book then moves into what might be the most helpful aspect of it all: a complete guide to everything you need to turn your kitchen into a paleo baking sanctuary! It lists suggested appliances, tools, bakeware, and everything else you need to recreate the stunning recipes from the book. Best of all, it explains why each item is helpful and what it’s best used for. If you’re new to the Paleo baking game, this chapter will be worth its weight in gold and will spare you plenty of headaches.

The book also discusses various kinds of Paleo flours, sweeteners, fats, chocolates, dairy alternatives, and other ingredients you will find in the recipes. It’s extremely helpful for anyone who hasn’t gone deep into the rabbit hole of Paleo baking, and may not know the differences between tapioca flour and coconut flour. It also offers a glossary of baking terms, expert tips (like how to get the perfect whipped egg whites!), and a whole section devoted to troubleshooting. While I’ve always been a natural cook, I’m still no expert baker, and I really appreciated the pro advice in this section.

If you’re already a pro, or you’re just eager to get a glimpse of the gorgeous recipes, skipping to the recipe section will feel like entering the pages of a gourmet foodie magazine. The recipes themselves range from easy to difficult (or quick to more time-consuming), and there’s something for every level of cook and food mood! From breakfast recipes that taste like dessert, to savory sides (like duck fat fries!), and then a never-ending parade of heavenly desserts that you really might not believe could be Paleo—Clean Eating With A Dirty Mind delivers on every level.

This cookbook is perfect for:

  • Birthday cakes
  • Holiday desserts
  • Special occasions
  • Savory meals
  • Chocolate lovers
  • Anyone with food allergies

Between the brown-sugar bacon and the pumpkin bread, this book has already earned a place on my permanent baking bookshelf and will be revisited for months and years to come!

Just so you don’t miss out, Vanessa has graciously let us publish her Pumpkin Bread Recipe.  Try it out and let us know your thoughts.

Pumpkin-bread-Vanessa-Barajas-221x300.jpgPumpkin Bread Recipe

(From Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind, by Vanessa Barajas)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 mins
Read in: 1 hour 25 mins
Yield: One 9-by-5 inch loaf (12 servings)


  • 1 cup (92 g) fine-ground blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (150 g) coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoon canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325*F (162*C). Line the bottom of a 9 by 5-inch (23 by 12.75 cm) glass loaf pan with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Combine the flours, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cloves, and coconut sugar in the bowl of a large food processor. Pulse 10 times or until mixed. Then add the pumpkin puree, coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla bean seeds or extract, and eggs and process for 30 seconds or until combined. Scrape down the sides and process again if needed.
  3. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the mixture to the parchment-lined loaf pan. Bake for 70 to 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then use a knife to loosen the bread from the sides of the pan. Remove the loaf from the pan by lifting the parchment paper. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Notes: Glass and metal pans bake at different temperatures. If you have only a metal loaf pan to work with, try reducing the baking time to 45 to 50 minutes.

Aimee McNewAimee McNew

Aimee McNew, MNT, CNTP, is a certified nutritionist who specializes in women’s health, thyroid disorders, autoimmunity, and fertility. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: A Healing Plan for Managing Symptoms Naturally (Simon & Schuster, 2016). Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.