Book Review: The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno

The eat clean diet cookbookThis best selling cookbook (Robert Kennedy Publishing 2007) is the logical follow-up to the original Eat-Clean Diet book with recipes to support clean eating to get and stay lean.

If you happen to be perusing the bookstore and thinking about picking up this popular cookbook whatever you do don’t flip to page 231. Not only will you feel incredibly insulted but you will get a false impression of what lean and clean-eating really is.

Here’s why, and why you should most definitely have a copy of this cookbook on your healthy living book shelf.

Page 231 features a recipe for cucumber salad. Ingredients include sliced cucumbers, white vinegar and sea salt. Directions tell you to “add sliced cucumber and toss so vinegar so the mixture coats the cucumber”.

Although such a plain and simple recipe may seem like it belongs in a cookbook for the intellectually challenged or tastebud deficient, don’t take it personally or run away from clean eating just yet. Eating clean is really quite simple & very tasty and I assure you the rest of the recipes will inspire, satisfy and nurture.

(In fact a little container of such cucumber salad sits in my refrigerator waiting to become tomorrow’s midday snack, with a little protein too of course!)

Get this cookbook if…

You are a fabulous cook with a high level of mastery in the kitchen. Your mouth-watering cuisine has won the hearts of family and friends alike but unfortunately it has also expanded their waistlines and blood pressure with all of the butter, salt, cream and oils you use in your now famous concoctions. Clean it up!

You are like me…a health nut who is a complete stranger to the kitchen and really doesn’t know the difference between a dutch oven and a double-boiler or between cumin and coriander.

Your life in a sprawling metropolis with every type of food imaginable within a few block radius actually allows you to eat clean…when someone else prepares it. If the thought of something clean coming out of your refrigerator frightens you, these recipes will help you prepare those great ‘health bar’ meals at home.

Things I liked about this cookbook

4 massive bags of groceries full of eat-clean ingredients comes to under $30. Lean eating is economical.

I didn’t have to invest in any new kitchen gadgets to prepare anything.

Lunch packable recipes have made my lunches and snacks something to look forward to.

The recipes really do taste “clean”.

I eat such a great diversity of vegetables now and enjoy them all.

Very few not-so-everyday-ingredients. While most ingredient are fairly farmer’s market basic there are a few I have yet to hunt down and will have to head to some local specialty stores to find. I live in a big green city so this will actually be easier than for small town folks.

Great little tips and education bits throughout, such as “Eat-clean ways to make interesting smoothies” , “Stir-fry 101” and “what does 25 grams of protein look like?”.

Full per-serving nutritional value for every recipe.

Great images of each recipe.

One shopping trip of ingredients can cover several of the recipes.

Recipes are not at all complex. There are no 2 hour waits, over-nighters, multiple steps, meticulous timing or finicky concoctions.

Watch out for

The recipes with wheat. We are learning so much these days about the negative effects of wheat in our diet. Not only are wheat flour and oats common allergens they also act a lot like sugar in the body. Don’t think that just because the recipe is in a book called eat-clean that it is a top health choice.

Too much Tofu. There are several recipes featuring tofu which reinforces the notion that ‘tofu’ is healthier than meat or other protein sources. Like Tosca says “protein is the magic ingredient” when it comes to staying lean and tofu has a decent protein content however this does not give us license to go tofu crazy. Do your research on the state of soy crops and soy’s affect on the body before you convert fully.

Pasta alert. Pasta topped with fresh antioxidant rich vegetables and greens is still pasta. Make sure to go back for seconds of the topping and not the noodles!

A bit of chopping. A necessary requirement when incorporating more life-giving foods into your diet. Gotta get rid of those peels, vines & seeds. You might have to snap out of your North American ready-to-serve convenience mode.

Most recipes will probably not work for the hard core meat & potatos guy/gal. Getting rid of cheese, gravy, salt, butter and the like is a big change for many. Forcing these recipes on precontemplators with no desire to eat clean will not go over so well. Tread carefully.

My fave recipes so far

White Chicken chili

Sweet potatoe oven fries

Brown rice salad

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Scramble

Stuffed Peppers

Ove-roasted vegetables

Lentil stew

Black bean & rice salad

Couscous salad greek style

Eat-clean hummus

Enjoy eating clean with this cookbook, it is actually exactly what I had been looking for.  I wish I had a copy back when I was a university student. I would have choked down a whole lot less one-pot meals and chalky protein shakes.

Happy Training and Eating,

Shari

TALKBACK QUESTIONS

What is your favourite Eat-Clean Diet recipe?

Have you had success feeding any of these recipes to a hard core meat and potatoes guy or gal?

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