Loving It Raw: Understanding the Raw Food Diet Jennifer Wells
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
A while back I reviewed a book of recipes based around a raw food diet. It was interesting and some sounded mouth-watering – it’s not all plain fruit and vegetables but delicious nut milks, smoothies, dips and dehydrated cakes and bread style foods. It didn’t really tell me how to incorporate raw foods into a daily regime though – this book does.
There’s a few simple recipes to get the reader started, but the main crux of the book is about why and how to incorporate raw foods into one’s lifestyle. What I found really interesting were the argumenta for and against. It was good to see the “cons” set out honestly, and not glossed over. Like all diets there are risks with raw foods and one needs to balance them against the benefits. Life is all about risk assessment and armed with honest information, and advice on how to minimize risk its easier to make a decision. Full marks to Jennifer for including this section – it would be easier to pretend its all beneficial but when an author is honest I’m far more inclined to trust his/her words.
The link between cooked foods and certain illnesses was interesting. I knew that, for instance, BBQ foods and its burned edges has been linked to carcinogenic properties, and yet every summer people get out the BBQ at the first hint of sun. If we accept that risk why then make a fuss about the very few raw food risks. The benefit certainly outweighs it to my mind, and shouldn’t put anyone wanting to go raw food off.
For anyone looking to add raw foods into their lifestyle, even if just part of their diet, this book is packed with sensible, down to earth advice on the practical side. It’s not a “diet” in the accepted sense, but more a healthier way of eating. It’s well worth buying and reading to help you decide why and how to do it.
Stars: Five, it’s a short read, but very honest and practical.
ARC supplied via author.
Eat Raw, Not Cooked. Stacy Stowers
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I’ve an extensive collection of cookery books, from some very old ones found in second-hand shops, to more recent ones based around different foods or chefs. At age nine my youngest child decided she would no longer eat anything that had to be killed for food, so the collection added much more vegetable and fruit based ones. She’s now early thirties BTW and still doesn’t eat anything that has to be killed. There’s a huge market now compared to the 80’s in vegetarian food, but looking at some of the ingredients I can see why they’re anything but healthy! So this book intrigued me – I always thing we – and I’m guilty too – don’t make enough of our vegetables, and though I love fruit raw the thought of raw veg, apart from traditional salads has me head shaking and thinking “what can I do with this to make it appetising???”
Well,this book was a real eye opener for me. There are some amazing photos, and when I read the recipes I would never have connected the ingredients to what I was seeing. I love the way Stacy has taken the ready fast foods everyone loves, and produced something that looks very similar but is far, far healthier. Presumably it tastes good too, from what I’d read. At first I thought I was just going to get a book of salads and more salads as that’s all I could thing of, but here we’ve a complete menu from starters and tasters, to Stacy’s version of pasta, chinese and thai traditionals, tortillas – even the ubiquitous Burger makes an appearance…and the desserts…. wonderful creations and the most mouthwatering chocolate delights.
Though there are few “gadgets” needed, Stacy does give her essential kitchen preparation implements, and for those who don’t have the all singing, all dancing, but very expensive blender, she recommends soaking certain foods beforehand – nuts mainly – so they are easier to blend. I was interested too in how to stop nuts becoming a nut butter or paste when you want them to become flour…If you want more than just a raw food as occasional meal it’s essential I think, from what I read, to buy a dehydrator. In the UK these tend to be a specialist thing – I don’t know if they’re more common in US? I guess maybe its another example of a “divided by a common language” thing. Again, same as for foods, a quick google search has shown me they’re easily available online. Many of the foods mentioned – chia seeds, and green papaya for example – are not commonly seen here in rural UK. Maybe in cities where there are lots of smaller specialist/ethnic food shops, but again the internet means its easy to get most things, or find an adequate substitute.
I’m glad Stacy won the battle to include soups in her Raw food book, like her I think a diet without something warming on a cold winters day would be sad…soups are a compromise and a great way of ensuring nothing is wasted too. That appeals to the side of me that hates food waste 🙂
I think this book is great for those of us who are thinking post Christmas about a more healthy diet, and the recipes are in the main very quick and simple. There’s some I’m determined to try out, and if the cash comes along and isn’t earmarked for something else, I’d love to but a dehydrator as I can see that it makes a more inclusive raw food diet easier to incorporate and so much more varied and interesting. I’m a yoghurt addict and Stacy points out how unhealthy many of the ingredients are in commercial versions, and her substitute looks so easy I’ll certainly try that out. There aren’t long lists of difficult to find ingredients, but mostly based around food that can be found locally, with a few more specialist things that can be ordered from the internet. I think by starting with the easily sourced ingredients and adding a few extras to our normal diet, it would be a small step to take things further and get more involved in a Raw diet. Certainly less of a shock to the average stomach! One of the great things in our hard pressed for time society is that many of these recipes can be partly prepared earlier and as they don’t need lots of cooking they’re incredibly quick to assemble.
Once again I think much as I love my kindle, this is a book that is best as a traditional print version. Until I’d read a few non fiction books I hadn’t thought about this, but its clear that for me fiction is best in ebook, but other books, reference ones, gardening and recipes etc, work best a print versions. Its easier to flick though and find what you want, and you do need colour to appreciate best these amazing, mouth watering illustrations.
Stars: five. One of those books where there really is something for everyone as far as food goes and one where anyone interested in food can learn so much.
ARC supplied by Netgalley
Eat Like a Woman. (and never diet again) Staness Jonekos, Marjorie Jenkins
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
This book isn’t just a “diet” book, full of low fat, low calorie or low carb recipes but a more holistic book, taking the approach that we need to look at our bodies, how they work, how we gain or lose weight and how we can best influence that. I found it very interesting because it mirrors much of what I’ve long believed, and seeing it in print validates some of my theories.
I was amazed at reading the prologue where the authors tell us that almost all our medical research was, until very recently, based on data using a 70kg white male as the basis. Even as recently as the 80’s research about oestrogen and breast cancer and links were done using men. Astonishing isn’t it?? This is based on what I read in the book about US research, I don’t know how UK compares but I’d guess its similar. Finally in the 90’s things began to change but it does mean there’s a dearth of historical data about women. Though we’re talking about medical research here, there’s a fine line between drugs and food, and how we metabolise them so research has slip-over points. We all moan when our men lose weight quicker then we do when on the same diet, and this books explains that not only do women taste food differently, but we metabolise it differently, and our bodies take nutrients from it differently. No surprise then that a book abased around men doesn’t fit women very well. This book looks at what we need to be healthy, what will help us to lose those excess pounds ( or stones in my case…) and use the way our bodies work to help us not hinder us.
There’s an interesting section on the mind-body-spirit connection, and as a long term cancer survivor when my odds of surviving were very, very low I’m a strong believer in that. It just makes sense to me that we help our bodies as best we can by thinking about what we eat, and by focussing on positive energies. Its like how when we’re stuffed up inside, sniffling and feeling awful with a cold, then take a trip out into the fresh air for half an hour, garden, woods, beach – whatever – we feel so much better. An online friend with a similar type of rare cancer to mine, but hormone based, decided to do her own research and radically change her diet to eliminate as much hormone containing foods as possible. She had at the time a terminal diagnosis, still has, but her approach has meant that the tumours have remained static for many years now, when typically the disease would have progressed much further. That has to be good, and shows how we can help our bodies to stay healthy. It sadly doesn’t always work, but we owe it to ourselves to give it our best chance.
In the book the foods are divided into sections, with handy charts showing the beneficial effects they have on our bodies. The recipes are divided into groups so its easy to pick and choose, mix and match and there are more recipes on the eatlikeawoman website. Its not a strict, set in stone, xx week diet book, but one where you tailor the approach to your own life using the book as a source reference and guide. By looking at ourselves, what health issues we have we can choose what foods will best affect them, and keep us healthy. There are lots of tips such as eating at certain times, carrying healthy snacks, adding in exercise, and of course the big one – portion control. To me the strength of this book is that its so different, not a rigid approach but one that makes sense, that uses our bodies the way we need to, and not in the way that makes it so hard for us to control weight. Its not just a weight loss book, a diet book, but one where looking at what we consume and choosing carefully helps us to stay healthy, and to let out bodies be the weight they should because we’re giving them what they need.
Stars: five. Interesting book with much to think about. Its again one where I’ve got e-book and am reading on my pc , but think that an actual print book would be far better. For fiction I love my kindle but some non fiction I’m finding is best in traditional format.
ARC supplied by Netgalley