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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tosca Reno - The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook Book Review



The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook

(***Due to layout of this review, if viewed in an RSS reader, certain sections may seem duplicated.)

Before we begin, the review of the The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook normal disclaimer.

This book review was solicited by the publicists of the The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook and contains my personal opinion of the book. For kosher readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen - This is not a "kosher" cookbook though the majority of recipes in the The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook can be used as is, or with just a few sane and healthy substitutions, can be kept kosher. It is not that difficult to find equivalent and healthy kosher substitutes these days, especially in the United States.

Author & Book Details:

The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is part of the overall Eat-Clean Diet Books written by Tosca Reno.
They include:
  1. The Eat-Clean Diet: Fast Fat-Loss that lasts Forever!
  2. The Eat-Clean Diet Workout: Quick Routines for Your Best Body Ever
  3. The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook
Tosca Reno also has one other book worth mentioning here simply because I love the title and certainly if The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is any judge would be well worth checking out as well. The Butt Book: How to Build a Non-Cellulite and Fat-Free Butt in 9 Weeks and I think the title says it all, don't you?

The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is not just a dietary cookbook. This is a way of life. This is a commitment. This is a major life change if you are serious about making it. This is something that you must concentrate on all the time in order to reap the desired results.Unlike many other cookbook and recipe authors Tosca Reno comes to the arena of cooking from the vantage point of health, diet and workout. This is a plus in my eyes. Certainly much of The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is devoted to healthy living and eating and the recipes reflect as much. It is about a whole life-style and not just recipes. Tosca Reno herself, is one of those people who have serious credentials to write the book. In a bit of research on the author and her history, it is clear that she has become quite serious, dedicated and professional to the art of healthy living and cooking.
Tosca Reno, weighed over 200 pounds when she graduated from University in her 20s. At age 40 the still-overweight mother of three discovered eating clean. By 41 Tosca had become a fitness participant and swimsuit model, appearing in such magazines as American Curves. She now writes a regular over-40 column in Oxygen magazine and has written many articles for Reps! and Maximum Fitnss.
Her picture which graces all her books, and certainly does justice to The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook pages attests to the ability of one person to make a serious life-style change and adopt a mode of clean and healthy living.

There are a myriad of health lessons one can learn from this book without adopting the whole philosophy of "Clean-Eating" if one so wishes. Fresh vegetables and fruit are touted as critical aspects of any good diet. You will find little use for sugar in any of these recipes, a very good thing by the way. What oils to use in cooking and why? A Q&A section in the back of the book for the "Clean-Eating" lifestyle. All this is great information and important for our healthy lives.The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook contains over 150 recipes (though I did not manually count them.) Each recipe is accompanied by incredible, mouth-watering photographs. And let us face it - this is a big plus and important part of any recipe book. Actually the only photograph in this book not to my appeal, was the front cover as it just seems way too "busy" for me, but that is a matter of personal taste and I am far from being a book/graphic designer.

The philosophy behind The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is expressed in Reno's catchphrase, "Clean-Eating". Reno's eating and health world revolves around the "Clean-Eating" philosophy.

As in all excellent recipe books, and make no mistake this is an excellent recipe book for those who have healthy eating in mind and that is the audience, each recipe is divided into a few basic parts.
  1. A full page Color picture
  2. A note about the recipe and its historical and ingredients background. Something which is really a good addition to any cook book
  3. Ingredients Section
  4. Preparation Section - Written incredibly well without making it too short or long.
  5. A little Tip - sometimes worthwhile sometimes just a page filler
  6. How many servings and how long it takes to make - a big YES in my book
  7. Nutritional Value Per Serving which is certainly a must in such a book. Complete nutritional information accompanies every recipe. This includes:
  • Calories
  • Calories From Fat
  • Protein
  • Carbs
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Sugars
  • Fat
  • Sodium
The philosophy behind The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is expressed in Reno's catchphrase, "Clean-Eating". Reno's eating and health world revolves around the "Clean-Eating" philosophy. To actually eat according to the "Clean-Eating" plan, you must change your taste-buds. This is a hell of a lot harder than it sounds. You must be convinced, dedicated and totally centered around "Clean-Eating" in order to adopt the methods and many of the recipes in this book. You must have a hell of a lot of willpower as well and then some.From time to time the recipes are interrupted by full pages or health and dietary information. This too follows the theme of the book. For instance a whole two pages are devoted to the meaning of Protein in your diet. Tosca Reno finds this critical to any diet you adopt for "Clean-Eating" and gets her point across with facts and information. But actually my favorite two page spread has a picture of Reno with the following quote:
"I'll let you in on a little secret... I don't spend hours in the kitchen! One-dish meals are my favorite to save time and avoid doing dishes. They should be called one-dish wonders!"
The Recipes:

However, all this being said for the book, and its wonderful layout, we still have to look and judge the actual recipes. The categories are divided as follows:
  1. Breakfast
  2. Soup
  3. Grains
  4. Sauces, Spreads and Salsas
  5. One-Dish & Easy Meals
  6. Proteins
  7. Vegetables
  8. Pasta
  9. Sweets & Breads
  10. A Festive Occasion
One recipe we can reproduce here will give you an idea. (The headings in Purple are to show you how they are placed in the book) In it you will notice a good knowledge of grains and spices. The unsweetened applesauce (to avoid the sugar), the use of real oatmeal, and fresh products as well. (The only thing that I could even complain about here is in the alternative of using a Sweet Potato instead of pumpkin. Reno suggests zapping it in the microwave, to avoid the time consuming process of baking it I guess. Readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen know already how much I dislike zapping anything in the microwave.)

APPLESAUCE PUMPKIN MUFFINS



Tip: Everyone loves a delicious muffin, especially with a steaming cup of coffee, but few of us like the nasty calorie surprise that comes with most commercially made muffins. Did you know some popular coffee chains offer muffins that pack a whopping 600 plus calories? Try these little gems for your morning wake-up call.

Ingredients:
  1. 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal, not instant
  2. ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  3. ½ cup canned pumpkin
  4. 2 large egg whites + one yolk, lightly beaten
  5. 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp canola oil
  6. 1 Tbsp double acting baking powder
  7. ½ tsp baking soda
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  10. 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  11. ½ cup milk or milk alternative or ½ cup apple juice
  12. ½ cup amaranth or quinoa flour or flour of your choice
  13. ¼ cup whole-wheat flour
  14. ¼ cup maple sugar flakes
  15. ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Line muffin pan with paper or silicon liners or coat with nonfat cooking spray.
  2. Combine oatmeal, pumpkin, applesauce, juice or milk, eggs and oil. Mix until all ingredients are blended.
  3. Measure and mix all dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and pour wet ingredients into dry. Add dried fruit if using. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
  4. Alternative: If you don't have pumpkin you can use a sweet potato. Simply microwave the sweet potato and let cool. Remove the skin and mash the flesh. Measure out the required quantity. Voilà!
Yield: Makes 12 Muffins

Nutritional Value Per Muffin:

Calories: 189 | Calories from fat: 78 | Protein: 6g | Carbs: 21g | Dietary Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 25mg

There are a myriad of health lessons one can learn from this book without adopting the whole philosophy of "Clean-Eating" if one so wishes. Fresh vegetables and fruit are touted as critical aspects of any good diet. You will find little use for sugar in any of these recipes, a very good thing by the way. What oils to use in cooking and why? A Q&A section in the back of the book for the "Clean-Eating" lifestyle. All this is great information and important for our healthy lives.

The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook itself is expert in presentation, makes no excuses, and has beautiful photographs.

All in all between giving The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook the top 5 star rating or 4½ star rating is a difficult choice. If one is looking for a great recipe book without the health additions and substitutions, then it goes to a 4½ star rating. However, since Reno is clear in her motivation, clear about her objectives and clear about the lifestyle, we must give this recipe book a top 5 star rating as it has all the necessary ingredients of a professional, well done, well thought out, and informative recipe book, not to mention the fact that many of the recipes themselves are truly delicious.

Tosca Reno is an avid evangelist of a healthy lifestyle. The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook clearly makes this point and does so in a very distinct though easy manner. Reno does not preach - she explains. She gives the reasons; she shows; she tells of the upside - she motivates.

Certainly much of The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is devoted to healthy living and eating and the recipes reflect as much. It is about a whole life-style and not just recipes.She also does not promise you anything but a healthy lifestyle. Of course we would all love to have her curves and her smile. And that does not come from only from healthy eating, but from serious working out and exercise. But healthy eating is certainly critical. Remember the plus side:
Once an overweight mother of three, Reno discovered the Eat-Clean lifestyle at age forty; within a year she lost weight and gained body tone and overall fitness. She is now a forty-eight year-old cover girl and fitness model, and an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of women throughout North America.
In her own words:
"Having a cookbook filled with Clean-Eating recipes is like having life insurance ­ it's a plan for you to follow which gives you the rules, the results and the outcomes for a healthier life."
The Drawbacks:
  1. I guess I will say this again and again and get blue in the face from saying it. I personally believe cookbooks should, along with ingredients and directions have a section for Utensils You Need To Make This Recipe, on the page of the recipe itself. Beginning cooks and even those moderately experienced really do want to know how many pots, pans, grinders and special tools a recipe demands before they begin to prepare it! But this is really a general complaint I have with almost all cookbooks. Authors, editors and publishers should take note of this. Making a great cake, but having to pull out every pot, pan and 5 attachments for the Kitchenaid (assuming you own something close to a Kitchenaid) to do it, are those little details you should know beforehand.

  2. The other drawback has me vacillating between actually saying this and being branded as a killjoy or keeping my mouth shut. But hell - in for a penny in for a pound as they say. Reno is an avid evangelist of "Clean-Eating" and a "Healthy Lifestyle". Her methods certainly work for her and probably millions of her fans. When a person decides to work out, swim, run, or do exercise in any form - which all of you should be doing - that is a decision that effects your current lifestyle. You go to a gym or run in the park or join a pool or a gym. It takes time. It takes fortitude. And you have to silence that little voice in your head telling you it is much easier just to stay at home and chill out.

    When it comes to eating this is a bit different. To actually eat according to the "Clean-Eating" plan, you must change your taste-buds. This is a hell of a lot harder than it sounds. You must be convinced, dedicated and totally centered around "Clean-Eating" in order to adopt the methods and many of the recipes in this book. You must have a hell of a lot of willpower as well and then some.

    Since Reno is clear in her motivation, clear about her objectives and clear about the lifestyle, we must give this recipe book a top 5 star rating as it has all the necessary ingredients of a professional, well done, well thought out, and informative recipe book, not to mention the fact that many of the recipes themselves are truly delicious. I am one of those people who actually knows my metabolism. I know the key to loosing weight in my own body is very simple - exercise. If I don't exercise my body goes to hell; if I do my muscle mass gets better and the pounds slowly but surely go away. Indeed, I would rather swim my 100 laps a day and then run for an hour than change my taste buds. Whereas I do have the will power to not let a piece of cake or cookie in my house, and whereas some other things I can truly give up easily, I am not one of those people who will totally change my taste buds - even knowing that "Clean-Eating" is really incredibly good for me. (Hey, at least I admit it!)

    But "Clean-Eating" is not about only loosing weight. The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is not just a dietary cookbook. This is a way of life. This is a commitment. This is a major life change if you are serious about making it. This is something that you must concentrate on all the time in order to reap the desired results.
So I will personally use The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook to substitute recipes and I have already learned an incredible amount of information on food categories. And if you are like me, and are not going to adopt the whole philosophy in one swift kick to your body - The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is still an excellent choice in recipe books. More than excellent by the way.

If you are not yet a fan of Tosca Reno The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook will make you one. My advice would be to take it slow and easy. Decide what works for your taste buds and what does not. What works for your budget and what does not. Go slow. Work your way into it. And if you are already a fan, The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is simply a must have.







4 Fire Comments - Click To Post A Comment:

Paula's Poetry said...

What a great review, Ted

I love the time you take to break down all the pros and cons.. you make it easier to weed out the great, worthwhile cookbooks from those that are less than wonderful.

Novices and gourmet's alike benefit from the research.

Iron-Man said...

Great recipes and great reviews! Thanks for inspiring me in my search for healthy meals and healthy ideas!!

Anonymous said...

To the poster a few posts above get your facts straight

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