Real Food Has Curves by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough
Finally, a diet book that teaches cooking as a fun part of life, not a chore, and definitely not something to feel guilty about! My grandmother, (Grandmother Irene and her Sewing Machine), who cooked without a recipe book most of the time (she had only the original BH&G) would have approved of the concepts of this book: sit down and enjoy your food with friends and family, eat more vegetables and avoid unhealthy snacks. Grandmother Irene might have said this book was “preaching to the choir” for me, as it teaches the ways I have gradually started cooking: from scratch, fresh or frozen, clean and flavorful.
This book has a warm, joyful style that makes you want to cook something, but it’s so well-written, I often just kept on reading. It has a lot of information on food additives, their purpose and what harm they might do. I found the descriptions of “Real Food/Almost Real Food/Barely Real Food/Not Real Food” informative and helpful. It has a whole chapter on detoxing your taste buds from the salt, fat and sugar of the “not real food” you’ve been eating. The real food recipes are delectable! I have made my own version of their breakfast musesli twice, and I have fixed the wholegrain waffle mix, and several other recipes. But the best thing about this book is the good thoughts that fill it cover to cover: good food, good friends, good memories; just relax and cook together.
The Obesogen Effect by Bruce Blumberg, PHD.
This highly technical book is very affirming: so many of us try to “eat right” all the time, intensively “dieting” trying all or most of the popular ones, exercise regularly/almost daily, yet struggle to lose weight, even on extremely low calorie diets. If we do lose weight, as soon as we go back to a normal healthy diet, the pounds come back on, plus a few more. This book explains a possible reason why–too much plastic, unnatural food like corn syrup and “natural” artificial sweeteners, food additives like MSG, insecticides, pollution and chemicals.
I watch Dr. Oz, so I have already done many of the suggestions in this book, at least partially (I store foods in plastic, but I refuse to microwave in plastic), but I have slept much better since buying a chemical-filled foam mattress (encased in a hypoallergenic cover). The reminders about emissions from floorings, and the reminders to exercise were very helpful.
This book is a bit more technical than I expected, although Bruce Blumberg works hard to explain chemistry and epigenetic processes, and other factors which cause weight gain. As someone who has actually gained weight while dieting, I appreciated this book very much.
Speaking of Dr. Oz, YOU on a DIET, by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, is a good book that explains a lot of the physiology and psychology of eating, dieting and exercise, with flexible diet plans and many tasty recipes. It has many Oz-style illustrations for those who understand better with graphics. If you aren’t wanting a strict diet, but want a plan to eat a lot healthier and understand how it all works, this is the book for you.
Outsmarting the Female Fat Cell by Debra Waterhouse, M.P.H., R.D. is a book I have come back to several times. It helped me make exercise a part of my life, and could help anyone do just that, with a plan to get yourself able and in the habit of 40 minutes of steady aerobic exercise every day. It has a lot of practical advice for healthy eating, but it was last updated in 1999. Some of its dieting information is obsolete, but its guidance for starting an exercise program, even if you’ve never exercised before, is unsurpassed.
The last book I’m going to review for you today is probably the most important, as it is the diet I’m on now, The FAST Metabolism DIET, by nutritionist Haylie Pomroy. After two weeks, I’ve lost 10 pounds and my jeans fit looser. What was most interesting and convincing is that Haylie started college in agricultural science, intending to become a veterinarian. She changed her major, concentrating on wellness, using the muscle-producing feed techniques for race horses while keeping in mind the feed techniques used to produce highly marbled meat in a steer, becoming a Registered Wellness Consultant, with several clinics, then writing this book, as well as a few others.
This isn’t a stringent, calorie-counting diet, but it is challenging, low-fat and full of vegetables. You have to keep the book and your food plan handy, follow it and be organized. The best part (although most confusing), if you don’t like the phase you’re on, it only lasts two days. Phase 1 is suggested for Monday & Tuesday: Lots of healthy carbs and fruits, some protein. Phase 2, Wednesday & Thursday: Lots of protein and vegetables. Phase 3 is easier to like, Friday, Saturday & Sunday: Fruits, vegetables, healthy carbs and some healthy fat. Exercise is important part of this program, but is phase specific and easy to do. I think the point of this diet is to convince the over-dieted metabolism that everything is ok, starvation (more dieting) is not imminent, and that food is to be used and enjoyed (not stored for famine). For someone like me who has been on and off diets most of my life, this one seems doable, and I am losing weight, although I’ll admit there was one day last week when I really craved cheese!
My husband has enjoyed the following entrée I developed, taking up the challenge of cooking chicken without any added fat. Enjoy!
Phase 2 Chicken, with Variations
1 pound chicken breasts, defrosted and patted dry with paper towels. Cut each breast into 2 or 3 pieces, possibly “butterflying” thick sections, so all are approximately the same size.
Have chopped onion, optional celery or pepper ready–about 1 cup or more. You may add broccoli, any cabbage or asparagus the last 10 minutes of cook time, or cook them separately.
Sauce: 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice (or lemon, or any vinegar except rice vinegar)
2-3 Tablespoons minced parsley or other fresh herb (1/2 Tablespoon if using dried)
1/2 Teaspoon each, Sea Salt and Pepper
1-4 Tablespoons Dijon (or spicy mustard)
Options to choose from: fresh ginger, garlic, Bragg Aminos (organic soy sauce)
Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl, then toss chicken pieces in to distribute. Preheat oven to 375F.
Layer in a baking dish:
Chopped Onions, Celery and/or Peppers
Chicken Pieces, placing on top of vegetables
Pour remaining sauce on top
Bake uncovered 20-30 minutes, until chicken is done. To roast vegetables, add them the last 10 minutes. I recommend Nappa cabbage microwaved in covered casserole approximately 4 minutes, with your chosen seasonings.
I hope you enjoy this flexible recipe. I change it a bit every time!