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Like her or loathe her, the book's alright!
You Are What You Eat Cookbook - Gillian McKeith
Member Name: PlaysNicely
You Are What You Eat Cookbook - Gillian McKeith
Advantages: Not only a cookbook, also a good all round guide-book for venturing into a more healthy diet!
Disadvantages: A bit tricky to keep open on the worktop!
I've had this cook book for quite a while now, since I had to rethink my diet due to health and dietary issues - can't have one without the other it seems!
I wasn't drawn to this book because of it's 'Dr' element and I'll happily leave aside any discussion on Gillian McKeith, who appears to be the Marmite of the nutrition world: the truth is, I was drawn to this book because, out of all of those in my price range that I picked up in the bookshop, this one seemed to be, at the same time, the most understanding of my nutritional quandry and the most easy to understand and use. I'll explain why ...
* There's enough background, but not too much, on both where Dr. GM is coming from in terms of nutrition and on the basic principles of having a healthy food philosophy. I had already returned to the bookshelf tomes that seemed to have more intro and principles to follow that it offered in recipes and solutions. Although this book does offer guiding principles, these are in fact very simple and very sensible, although one is a little too anecdotal for my liking, but it does make the point that if you are serious about your health then a positive change can be achieved if you stick to the main principles. I especially liked the guide on not getting fixated on weight, as I know that being hung up on this issue can quickly negate any positive effects that a healthier diet can be starting to achieve.
* The principle on starting with a body check and a detox is a sound one and these are very clearly explained in the book, are easy to follow and do of course include the suggestion that a radical diet change should be discussed with the GP - sound advice indeed. I also particularly liked that the self- check for areas of your health immediately offered you points of reference for recipes in the book to help address the issue, so that you could get started in small steps immediately if you wanted.
* The section to help you get organized to start the revamp of your diet is also useful, but did have one glaring ommision where I was concerned (see my even better if comments below)! However, there are lots of useful lists as to what might be needed to create a basic, healthy store cupboard.
* The book also offers good general overviews on useful herbs, different teas and their uses as well as spices and natural flavourings that could be used - vital if you are withdrawing salt-laden convenience foods from your diet.
* There's also a useful menu plan before you get to the recipes themselves, which is a great starting point. I quickly adapted this to fit the fact that I'm a vegetarian and have food allergies, but this wasn't too difficult as the book offers lots of alternative recipes. In fact, the thing this book did get me doing was making home-made soups in advance and taking them in a flask to work , something that has made a real difference to my health and energy levels.
* Recipes are sectioned out and include:
- juices & smoothies
- salads and lunch boxes
- main meals
- quick bites
- stocks, sauces and dressings
This generally covers most meal areas and additionally covers most of the basics for organising your workday lunches so that you don't have to compromise on your good work with the diet by having to get a soggy canteen sarnie. The 'fresh start' approach that comes through from the getting organised section earlier in the book certainly does help to actually get you into the routine of doing this.
As a veggie, I found that the recipe section was not too heavily weighted towards meat eaters and does include a lot of veggie options, another reason why I chose to buy this one rather than others that were available around a similar price range.
Recipes are colourful, clearly set out, instructions and quantities are all very clear, whilst there are plenty of images and blank areas on pages for scribbling your own notes about substitutions you make etc (doesn't everyone do this or is it just me)? No problems here at all - as a cookbook this gives you everything you need.
* The book's a useful worktop / shelf size, easy to grab for reference. The only thing is that because it's softback and the spine's not overly wide, it's a bit tricky to keep the book open where you want in when following recipes - I usually have to put a tin on one side to stop it flipping shut!
* Finally, although I know that some people have an issue with Dr. GM's general tone and turn of phrase, I think that for this book the tone of her narrative is right (if just a little anecdotally heavy and wearing in places). For a book like this, I feel her slightly bossy tone is needed to instil confidence and a sense of purpose when making what can be really dramatic changes to your diet (and lifestyle).
Even better if:
Taking the idea that someone might buy this book because they want to effect positive change where their health / diet is concerned, I was surprised that, whilst the early guidance recommended speaking to your GP, it didn't include a note on speaking to your family or others in the household. Particularly as a busy wife and mum, I couldn't really make the adaptations I needed without tweaking everyone else's diets and meals in some ways (as I wasn't about to cook three or four different dinners a night) so speaking to your family, for support on those off days if nothing else, would seem to me to be a vital step.
So, I'd recommend this book if you are looking to revamp your diet into a more health-conscious one or for if like me, it's already fairly healthy but medical issues mean that you need to seek out more appropriate foods to include regularly within your diet.
Summary: One of the more useful books in this genre around this price range.
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