I really like cookbooks – all cookbooks. I especially enjoy ethnic and international cookbooks. They are my favorite especially the really nice ones that make it feel like a culinary travelogue or a lesson on food anthropology. I love reading those types of books and making dishes that to me are exotic like authentic Persian Rice dishes, a pickled tongue, etc.
There has been an emphasis in weekly meal planning and a proliferation of special diet books flooding the market lately. I don’t mean like the weight watchers recipe books my mother still has from the 80’s on her shelf. Books that are not so much for weight loss but to highlight a specific way of eating – clean eating, less processed, allergy free, etc…
I don’t eat healthy enough and I know it. My friends find it funny that often I will make a meal from scratch not using one shortcut. I will grind nuts myself instead of nut butter, cook apples instead of applesauce in a recipe, toast and grind my own spices into a spice mix. But I also love white rice, white pasta, love Taco Bell and Hot Pockets.
I wanted to step out of my comfort zone a bit and do something different. If I am not cooking something off the top of my head I usually pick a book and use a recipe as base and tweak it as per what I have available and my tastes so I am not really a follow a recipe to a T type of girl. But I have about a half dozen special diet books I have collected over the years and wanted to really follow one (or more if I find this fun). No cheating, little substitutions, I am just going to follow the recipe and write about it. The author says you can mix and match the meals all you want and replace one anti-inflammatory food with another (i.e. swapping out turmeric for ginger in a recipe if desired) but I am going to try to stick to the meal plan as is as much as possible at least for simplicity sake right now.
I decided on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet in 21 by Sondi Bruner. I actually won this off her blog (thank you for that!) but its available at Amazon. I chose it for several reasons:
- I am a bit “inflamed” right now I suppose. I had surgery a few weeks ago (hence a lull in posting) and between the adhesive allergy and the skin healing I am pretty red, itchy, and swollen.
- This was the easiest out of all the books I have which I prefer right now. I like the way she set up the book. She literally tells you what to eat every day and gives you a shopping list. She also limits the ingredients to 5 to help in ease of preparation.
- I ideally want to be 10 lbs thinner – I don’t expect 10 lbs to come off in 3 weeks but this could be motivation to get started. I know I said this is not a diet book but its a healthy book and I am pretty sure cutting out the Taco Bell and replacing it with zucchini noodles will help. This book gives you the calories for each meal so I don’t have to calculate the calories of each meal myself. The way it works is that the author gives you a meal plan for the week for 3 meals a day and suggests optional snacks so depending on if you want to lose weight or stay the same you can add in as many snacks as you like or eat a larger serving size. This is a great concept in my opinion by knowing the calories of each serving you can customize the optional snacks (or serving sizes) to fit your needs.
- The ingredients do not seem hard to get, expensive, gimmicky, or excessive. You can mix and match the meals all you want and replace one anti-inflammatory food with another (i.e. swapping out turmeric for ginger in a recipe if desired)
I am going to start in a few days so I perused the book and made a shopping list for the first week. It took me about 1.5-2 hours to do this. I do like the idea that a shopping list is provided but she must have made some editing errors as certain things were on the list that did not need to be there and some items were left off so I had to go through every recipe for the first week and make my own list (bummer!). Also, the serving sizes are varied. She gives a recipe for a smoothie or breakfast for 1 person but soup for 6-8. I know she is an advocate for leftovers (me too!) but if there are two of you on the diet for example you need to see what recipes you need to double. If there is one of you there is no reason to make 8 servings of fish. I just wish it was more uniform. Like every recipe was for x people so you can just add up all the carrots, celery, and quinoa called for and halve or double the amounts as needed as opposed to do this on a recipe by recipe basis. But I did it and I have a list and I am going shopping tomorrow!