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Jan 8, 2007 12:07 AM

healthy cooking -- cookbooks

I've decided to launch into healthy cooking -- for at least one or two months, focusing on whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits as a major part of my diet (and less meat and fat)

I've always cooked for flavor (with occasional forays into vegetarian cooking), but as my AARP invitation has arrived and I, er, have some extra pounds, I've starting thinking I would start cooking differently -- based on healthy foods as ingredients rather than backwards from a cookbook I like.

I have found several books that do not read as medical texts, but contain recommended foods and have what appear to be good recipes. I'll list them below, and would welcome your advice and suggestions.

New Mayo Clinic Cookbook
New American Plate cookbook by American Institute for Cancer Research
12 best foods cookbook: over 200 delicious recipes featuring the 12 healthiest foods, by Dana Jacobi
Spices of life: simple and delicious recipes for great health by Nina Simonds
Superfoods by Michael Van Straten

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  1. I find that the old fashioned ethnic cooking can be very healthy, especially the one dish type.

    1. You really don't need a book. Healthy is relative. Right now the bandwagon is pushing a diet of high carbs and low fat as healthy and that may not be right for your body. You need to find out what is best for you. I donated all of my Eating Well etc. cookbooks and have ditched the pasta, sugar, potatoes, sugar, rice, sugar, pasta, sugar etc. It was making us fat and unhappy. I keep mentioning sugar because it is so prevalent in so many foods. I almost never drink oj that is a glass full of sugar, bananas? Oh no, more sugar there and too much to make up for the postssium you get there. AARP has been after me to join for a number of years, back when I was buying in to the so called "healthy" diet Our MD convinced us that was so so wrong and though he practices as a family MD he has a bariatric specialist background. We are much "healthier" as a result. I'm not saying do this but examine what you are eating. Read lables. See what foods effect your blood sugar levels, are you hungry again after eating some particular food? If so that food needs to go away. Start really paying attention to what you are eating and how it affects you. You might be surprised.

      Do I cut out all simple carbs? No but I am really careful about them. 1 square of 70% chocolate can satisfy me better than a whole bar of milk chocolate, sometimes I buy 1 med. potato and we split it, I may occasionally make a bit of rice and we split it, not even a 1/4 C. raw total cooked. Read lables religiously and watch for anything in it that ends in 'ose' like fructose, sucrose, lactose etc. all are sugars and of course the much discussed HFCS, high fructose corn syrup.

      1. I, too, like that Mayo Clinic cookbook. Also, they have one they co-wrote with Williams Sonoma a couple of years ago. Both books have very simple recipes.


        1. I'm a big fan of Eat, Shrink & Be Merry - it's not so much a textbook/guidebook of healthy eating. It's more a recipe book incorporating many different flavours and cuisines and all of the recipes happen to use healthy ingredients.

          It doesn't advocate cutting food groups or combining certain foods or anything like that, but I've really enjoyed it. :)

          1. Stop reading labels. Buy food that doesn't have them. Fresh foods don't. The more you avoid processed foods the healthier you will be.
            All the "healthy eating" cookbooks have a point of view that may not be right for you. I found that I wasn't going to read and follow anybody's instructions for very long. I had to find my own path - what worked for my life. Mostly, I had to stop listing to the noise. Atkins, South Beach, low carb, legumes, whole grains, vegetarian, yadda-yadda. The latest health fad. Who ever decided that anyone can eat 10 almonds for a mid-afternoon snack?
            Candy is right. Fruit juice is a glass of sugar. Whole grains and legumes can be calorie disasters. Some vegetarian dishes have more fat than a good steak.
            Surprisingly what I settled into is probably best described as a modified diabetic diet even though I'm not diabetic or even pre-diabetic. Like Candy, I avoid "pasta, sugar, potatoes, sugar, rice, sugar, pasta, sugar" and bread, concentrating on veggies and lean meats. I eat real butter, cream and cheese but don't have problems with weight because the food satisfies me. Avoiding the -ose (sugars) foods keeps my blood sugar stable and I don't get tired or hungry between meals.
            If you are willing to cook, you are halfway home. Simple grilled meats with interesting marinades to vary the flavors. Steamed or roasted veggies, changing with the seasons. Great salads with homemade dressings. You don't need cookbooks, just ideas.
            There are so many things in the markets today that you don't have to have the same thing twice in a month if you don't want to. You won't get bored but you'll get healthy