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Lose weight and eat lovely food
The Italian Diet - Gino D'Acampo
Member Name: jo@145
The Italian Diet - Gino D'Acampo
Advantages: Healthy recipes, great photos
Disadvantages: None if you like eating!
The recipes are easy to prepare, full of flavour and you don't think you are calorie counting so ideal if you are cooking for a family. His motto is...Minimum Effort, Maximum Satisfaction.
There is an introduction explaining the "I" diet, it is about pleasure in shopping, preparing and eating. Based on a traditional Italian diet, using fresh produce which is in season and easy to buy plus you can indulge in a glass of wine with meals! The first 20 or so pages are full of information and I actually did read it all, usually I would just flick through and look at the recipes, but it was interesting to see if I needed to lose weight (YES!) plus lots about the ingredients that will be used. How to eat your five a day the Italian way and how much you can safely drink, which makes interesting reading! Even a list of various activities showing what calories you may burn off - did you know half an hour of sex burns off more calories than shopping for groceries but fast dancing burns off twice as much! There are plans for a weeks menu for a 1,500 calorie plan and for a 2,000 plan.
The book itself is divided into sections and I'll give you a little information on each one.
Each recipe has a little information which is worth reading and the amount of calories, fat, saturates, sugars and salt. Then the recipe follows and the method and how many portions it serves. One of the breakfast recipes I actually like for dinner too as it is peaches baked with blueberries and raspberries, with a little honey and orange juice and served with plain yogurt. For people who don't eat breakfast there is bound to be something to tempt you.
Some of these recipes can be used for lunch too, especially the Grilled marinated peppers with garlic and Parma ham as this has 356 calories a portion! But grilled prawns with Baby leeks and asparagus has only 147 calories and is delicious.
Lunch to Go
Being on a diet can be really difficult if you are working and usually get a sandwich for lunch as they nearly always have mayonnaise and are high calories. A lovely pasta salad with baby mozzarella balls with have your colleagues wishing they were on a diet too!
Soups and Salads
A lovely butternut squash soup which can be taken to work and reheated or eaten at home is my favourite but there is a good choice of recipes. A seafood salad is delicious and only 274 calories a portion, although I miss out the squid!
Pasta, Pizza and Risotto
I expect you're thinking you can't eat pasta and pizza on a diet, but Italians have always eaten this kind of food at least once a day and still maintain good figures, you just have to watch portions and what you have on top!
One of my favourites in this section is Linguine with Garlic, Prawns and Spinach. You must use raw prawns to although the flavour to be absorbed, it's so quick to cook, the linguine needs to go on first and then you cook the rest at the same time and within 15 minutes, hey presto a fabulous dinner and under 450 calories.
Gino came from Naples and loves fish so found this his easiest chapter. A simple dish is Salmon cooked in a tomato, garlic and thyme sauce and served with some vegetables is another really quick meal to cook. I bought a whole Sea Bass from Tesco recently just so I could try out a recipe in the book baked with tomatoes, potatoes and fennel, wine, olives and capers give it a really Italian twist.
Chicken breasts are on sale in all the supermarkets these days but we all know that they can be dry if you're not careful but stuffing them with a mixture blitzed in a food processor with tomatoes, mushrooms, carrot, herbs etc helps keep it moist and delicious and is only 124 calories a portion. There are some unusual pork recipes which we enjoy, one is pork loin with white wine and sage pesto and another is using pork steaks which is half the calories and is cooked with mushrooms, orange, rosemary and a little chilli flakes, but a really simple one is using minced pork cooked with tinned tomatoes and sage and then used to fill pancakes or crepes and baked with sliced tomatoes and parmesan on top. They can be prepared and kept in the fridge for 24 hours and just take 15 minutes in the oven to heat through served with salad they make a tasty supper or lunch.
Does this section come as surprise? Lots of people love desserts and find diets without something sweet too hard to follow. Try a simple dessert wine set with gelatine and some summer berries added, grilled peaches with a butterscotch sauce, or a really low calorie lemon sorbet. And you can even have a slice of chestnut and chocolate cake.
These recipes have more calories, but Gino suggests being good for the rest of the week if you eat these or walk it off for 30 minutes or a naughtier suggestion! So it means you can indulge in a version of Spaghetti carbonara, Lasagne or even Limoncello cheesecake or Tiramisu. Not many diets allow that do they?
The book costs £12.99 and I think it is well worth it as there are lots of recipes I use and like as well as information that is useful and interesting. It can be bought for just over £7 at Amazon so worth shopping around for. There are lots of full page size coloured photos as well as some smaller ones, so you don't have to guess what the dish will look like! I admit I haven't stuck to a full week of eating the Italian diet, but I have used a lot of the recipes and have lost a little and then maintained my weight. It is a book I like to pick up and read as I love his easy way of writing and one I would recommend if you like Italian food, even if you don't want to diet.
Summary: Healthy Italian recipes
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