Showing posts with label cookbook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cookbook. Show all posts

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review: The 3-Day Reset by Pooja Mottl


Title: The 3-Day Reset
Author: Pooja Mottl
Publisher: Seal Press
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Source: copy received for honest review through TLC Book Tours

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

Eating healthy can be a struggle. It’s hard to pick broccoli and brown rice over hot, cheesy pizza, and 21- or 28-day diets often ask you to cut out different foods all at once, leaving you feeling deprived.

In 3-Day Resets, Pooja Mottl outlines 10 different ways to change your cravings and start eating whole, healthy foods—foods that are also delicious—three days at a time. Each reset takes 72 hours to complete and consists of three simple steps, which means you’ll be able to stay focused on healthy eating.

“Awareness” resets target your consumption of certain ingredients like sugar, wheat, and salt.

“Discovery” resets teach you new ways to drink beverages (including tea) and eat chocolate, yogurt, and chicken.

“Change” resets shift how you view eating breakfast, salads, and take-out.

Packed with delicious recipes and nutritional information to support why you should eat whole foods like quinoa instead of processed, frozen, or packaged foods, 3-Day Resets will set you on the path to healthy eating… and help you stay there for good.


My Review:
This book review is going to be a bit different than my others.  You may remember my "teaser" post about this book back in May.  Since then, I've read the book and actually tried one of the resets for myself--because what better way to review it, than to actually do it??  As a result, I'm going to take you through my experience with the 3 Day Reset that I tried (sugar!) and let that frame my commentary on the book.  I will detail one full day of the reset, and then summarize the other two (for length's sake!).

Just to remind you what this reset entailed: cut out ALL refined sugar for three days.  The purpose is not to have you give up processed sugar for the rest of your life.  Instead, it's meant to show you how your body can react (in positive ways) to less refined sugar.  According to Mottl, your taste buds should start to better appreciate the natural sugars in things like bananas, apples, etc. and make you less inclined to jump for candy, cookies, etc.  Plus, it will just make you more aware of what everyday foods contain sugar, because you'll be more conscious of it.  Mottl actually suggests using an 80/20 rule after the reset (eat without refined sugar 80% of the time, while the other 20% is your wiggle room).  In this day and age, it's very hard to subsist without any refined sugar EVER, and I'm glad the book acknowledges this.

Okay, so...3-Day Sugar Reset: GO!

I actually started this reset on May 27--the day after Memorial Day.  Why?  Because I ate TOTAL AND COMPLETE CRAP for the entire Memorial Day weekend.  What better time to reset my eating habits?  I topped it off with some pizza and wings for dinner on Monday night, then had 2 bite size pieces of Hershey's chocolate for dessert before saying siyonara to refined sugar for 3 whole days.

Let's talk for a quick minute about shopping for this reset.  I wanted to make a couple of the recipes that Mottl suggested (namely 2 desserts that do not include refined sugar), so I went to my beloved Wegman's to pick up the ingredients the night before.  This included dates, raw honey, Sucanat, coconut milk, and cacao powder.  It took me FOREVER to find them...I was going totally insane in the "Nature's Marketplace" area of the store for almost 45 minutes.  But I did find them, and now that I know where they are, hopefully they will be easier to find again,  Even though this was a total pain in the butt (and not at all something I could have done with the kids--thank goodness I was alone), I am glad that I got better acquainted with this area of the store.

Tuesday, May 27: I woke up at 5:30am to do my morning run.  Normally, I down 1/3 of a Clif bar and a bunch of water before a morning run, but the label on the Clif Bar said it contained organic cane syrup and a few other things that sounded an awful lot like sugar, so I skipped it (still not sure if that is OK for the reset or not?).  I ate some raw almonds instead.  Seemed to do the trick!

Breakfast was rough.  I normally eat a bowl of oats and honey cereal that is decidedly FULL of sugar.  Today, I switched it up and made scrambled eggs (for both me and Small Fry), topped with cheddar cheese, plus some strawberries on the side.  I was even super good and did away with the ketchup I normally dip my eggs in (has high fructose corn syrup).  I also had my morning cup of coffee, which I sweetened with Sucanat (dehydrated whole cane sugar) instead of table sugar.  I honestly didn't notice a flavor difference at all.

I had a peach for my morning snack.  This was a wake-up call, because normally I grab a pre-packaged cereal or granola bar when I am out and about with the kids, but that wasn't going to fly today.  Had to really make a conscious effort to avoid them!  Also, so hard not to automatically finish off Small Fry's snacks when he doesn't finish them.  It's amazing how much more conscious this made me of the things I absentmindedly stick in my mouth each day.

Lunch, another tough one.  I usually make a sandwich of some kind, but our bread has brown sugar in it!  So instead, I made this really yummy southwestern bean salad that I found a recipe for at Wegman's.  It was delicious, filled me up no problem, and made enough to have more tomorrow.  Score.

Afternoon snack: raisins.  I wanted chocolate in the worst way after lunch!!  This was definitely the hardest time of day for me to resist the sugary stuff.

Dinner, my husband was making chicken quesadillas, but the tortillas (and the taco sauce) had sugar in them.  So, he set aside my portion of the chicken and I put it on top of a big salad instead.  Which I dressed with oil-and-vinegar instead of my usual bottled balsamic vinagrette.

After dinner, I decided to try one of Pooja's suggested refined-sugar-free desserts.  I made a strawberry mousse, which consisted of strawberries, avocado, cacao powder, Sucanat, and coconut milk.  Throw it all in the blender and DONE.  It was SO GOOD.  My husband agreed, though Small Fry totally hated it.  Which made me a little sad, because I think when he heard "chocolate" and "dessert" his palate was totally expecting a Hershey's-type flavor.  I think he would have enjoyed this if he wasn't so accustomed to the processed sugar of regular chocolate.  Oh well.  Something to work on.

Day One: COMPLETE!

I won't give you as detailed of an analysis with the other two days (this post would be tooooo long), but I'll summarize it like this: the reset was good because it made me SO much more aware of how much sugar I eat on a daily basis (hint: way too much).  It also pushed me to start reaching for healthier snacks during the day, because that definitely showed itself to be my sugar-weakness (moreso than meal times).  That is a change that I was able to make long-term (still doing that now, a month later).

However--I found that a full switch to no processed sugar (even at an 80/20 ratio) was very difficult for me.  I think a lot of it is lifestyle--rushing around all day with two kids, one of whom is a VERY picky toddler (hi, the only vegetable he will willingly eat is a carrot, and that's only because Sven eats them in Frozen), makes it hard for me to avoid a lot of processed sugar.  If I'm being 100% honest, I just don't have it in me right now to research and try a bunch of new dinner recipes, which is what would have to happen for me to really follow this lifestyle change.  However, because the reset made me more conscious of the sugar issue, I am making a better effort to avoid the sugary "extras" in my meals (salad dressings, sauces, etc.).

Another thing to note: I didn't find that the reset turned me off to the overly-sweet nature of table sugar (as Mottl had said might happen).  My first day after the reset, I ate an Oreo expecting to feel nauseous afterwards.  But you know what?  I didn't.  It was good.  Oreos will always be good.  So that part definitely didn't happen for me...haha.

After reading through the rest of the resets, my guess is that (at least for me), my results would be similar.  The bottom line is this: I think that The 3-Day Reset is a great way to make you more conscious of your eating habits.  Even though I have not sworn off sugar for good, my reset made me more aware of the high amount of sugar I ate on a daily basis, and as a result, I have definitely made changes to my snacking habits.  That's a change that has been helpful and sustainable for me.  I also learned two new great recipes for desserts that I have occasionally turned to at night for something sweet, instead of my usual ice cream or cookies.  However, a lifestyle of 80% no sugar/20% sugar (recommended after completing the reset) is difficult for me to sustain--you will need to make a very conscious effort to do so, and I think if you combine this change with some of the other resets, you're going to find that your diet needs a major overhaul.  I think it would be a possibility if I was single, and had lots of time to grocery shop and avoid the foods in these resets (sugar, wheat, salt, etc), but I'm not and I don't.

Even if the results were not 100% for me, I definitely recommend giving The 3-Day Reset a try!  It helped me make some important changes to my diet, and its important reminders about eating whole foods have stuck with me long after I finished my reset.

As always, much thanks to Lisa and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour!
Check out the other blogs on this book tour HERE.  And connect with Pooja Mottl on her websiteTwitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Friday, May 9, 2014

It's Teaser Time! The 3-Day Reset by Pooja Mottl

I know what you're thinking.  "Uh, Kelly's doing a teaser tour?  She never does those." (True.)  "And for a cookbook?  Has she ever even reviewed a cookbook?"  (Only one.)  "Does she even know how to cook?" (Ummm...kind of?)

Yes, I've shaken things up a little here, doing a teaser (which I don't normally do) for a cookbook-ish book (thought it's not really).  But The 3-Day Reset has a pretty awesome premise, so a little shaking-up is called for!

Why did I pick this book for review?  Top reason: I know FO' SHO' that I have a chocolate addiction.  No use denying it!  If I go without chocolate for a day, I get insane cravings.  I always have chocolate in the house for that reason.  (Luckily I also have really good self-control with portions, otherwise I'd be in disaster status over here.)

Here's the thing: Pooja Mottl claims she can cure me of that.  IN THREE DAYS.  Say whaaaaat!

Here's the full description:
Eating healthy can be a struggle. It’s hard to choose broccoli and brown rice instead of hot, cheesy pizza. And diets often ask you to cut out different foods all at once, leaving you feeling deprived.
In The 3-Day Reset, Pooja Mottl outlines 10 simple ways you can change your cravings and start eating whole, healthy, delicious foods—three days at a time. Each reset takes only 72 hours to complete, which means you’ll be able to stay focused on healthy eating from start to finish.
Resets include: sugar, wheat, salt, chocolate, yogurt, chicken, beverages, breakfast, salad, and takeout.
Accessible, fun, engaging, and packed with over 30 delicious recipes, pantry makeover lists, shopping guides, tidbits on food history, and other smart tools, The 3-Day Reset will set you on the course to healthy eating… and help you stay there for good.
So I read that, and I was like, HOLD THE PHONE, she can get me to eat something other than giant bowls of cold cereal for breakfast too?  This I must see.

Mottl's book is all about helping us harness "the power of WAMP" = Whole And Minimally Processed food.  And a big part of that is pinpointing what exactly these processed foods are...and how their ingredients hide within foods that we might otherwise think are healthy.  Here's an excerpt from the Sugar Reset chapter, to give you an idea:

1)  Beware of the various names that “ADDED SUGARS” masquerade under on ingredient lists. Here are some that commonly pop-up on a broad range of packaged, bottled, and boxed foods and beverages:

·         Corn-syrup solids
·         Dextrose
·         Fructose
·         Crystalline fructose
·         Glucose
·         Sucrose
·         Evaporated cane juice
·         Fruit juice concentrates
·         Demerara

2)  Don’t forget that added sugars aren’t just in sweet foods and drinks, they can also be found in a broad range of savory foods such as cured meats, almond milk, ketchup, tomato sauce, and chicken broth. Attached is an infographic to help guide you when you’re grocery shopping!

3) Try to eat whole, unrefined sources of sweetness, in moderation, about 80% of the time. The best sources for healthy sweetness are:

·         Whole, ripe, fresh fruits
·         Dried fruits and vegetables such as dates, pineapple, and tomatoes
·         Raw, unpasteurized honey
·         100% maple syrup
    Whole dried cane sugar or coconut palm sugar granulated crystals

So here's the dealio.  This month, I'm going to read the book and try a few of these resets.  At the end of June, I'll be back here with a full review (and hopefully less chocolate in my house).  In the meantime, you can find out more at these links:
Book Trailer
And yes, we have a GIVEAWAY!  One SIGNED copy of The 3-Day Reset for a lucky winner (US or Canada only please).  Just enter using the Rafflecopter below!  Contest ends May 16.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 25, 2013

(Cook)Book Review: Weelicious by Catherine McCord



Title: Weelicious
Author: Catherine McCord
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Source: borrowed from the good ol' public library

Summary from Goodreads:

Every parent knows how difficult it is to get to get kids eating happily and healthily. Catherine McCord has the answer: Weelicious. Creator of the wildly popular blog Weelicious.com, Catherine, who honed her cooking skills at Manhattan's Institute of Culinary Education, strongly believes in the "one family/one meal" idea--preparing a single, scrumptious meal the entire family can sit down and enjoy together rather than having to act as "short order cook" for kids who each want something different. In Weelicious, she offers dozens of recipes and tips for creating quick, easy, healthy, and fun food that moms, dads, and young children of any age will absolutely adore--from the most persnickety infants to the pickiest grade-schoolers.

My Review:

When I started this blog, I never thought I would review a cookbook.  Mostly because I don't read cookbooks--I may look through them for a good recipe now and then, but I don't read the intros or pour through all the recipes or anything like that.  Also, let's remember that I am, for the most part, utterly hopeless in the kitchen.

However, after continuous battles with Small Fry (aka World's Pickiest Eater), someone mentioned Weelicious to me and I decided to read it, back to front.  Because I'm willing to try anything at this point.  I had never been to weelicious.com, but I knew about it and had heard a few raves.  Catherine McCord is supposed to be the guru of curing Picky Toddler syndrome, and I hoped she could help me out.

Small Fry cheerfully dismantles the Huevos Rancheros I made for him.  Mother is not pleased.
The philosophy of Weelicious is that you should get your kids involved with food/cooking in your house as early as possible.  You would hate it if you never got to choose what you ate for a meal, right?  If it was just plunked down in front of you three times a day?  That's what most kids experience with their parents (something that never occurred to me before, but yes, I'll concede that point).  Catherine McCord suggests fixing this dynamic in a few ways.  For example, letting your kids assist with grocery shopping, or press the button on the food processor, or choose between two different meal options for dinner that night.

McCord does NOT advocate the philosophy that a lot of other parents have suggested to me:  hiding vegetables in other food (like making brownies but mixing carrots/broccoli/whatever in the batter).  She says that this is deceitful and that we should treat our kids with more honesty than this method suggests.  Okay, I get that too, and I'll admit I've tried this a few times (rarely with favorable results anyway).  I also like her reminder that just because YOU don't like a food, doesn't mean your kid won't--so add variety to their diet by letting them try everything.

Also (I know, I'm recapping everything for you here, but there is so much to share!), McCord has a section debunking the "my kid only eats chicken nuggets!"-type myths.  Your kid only eats those things if you make them available.  I will admit I have totally fallen into this trap before, with things like mac n cheese and fish sticks.  The book reminded me that Small Fry WILL eat other things, as long as I don't resort to these easy options every time he gets persnickety.

Before the recipes, McCord has a large section that talks about the importance of buying organic as much as possible, something that I understand and believe in, but I continue to maintain (despite McCord's claims otherwise) that it is near-impossible to feed a family affordably if you buy all organic.  However, I like the spirit of her message and I do think it's good to keep it in mind as much as feasibly possible.

So what about the recipes?

Well, I made a point of trying quite a few of them during my 4-week loan of the book from the library. Some went over GREAT with Small Fry--others, not so much.  He was a particular fan of the Stuffed French Toast, as well as the pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Pesto (which is REALLY FREAKING DELICIOUS and easy to make).  Hubs and I loved the Shrimp Tacos, but Small Fry was not a fan (picked out all the shrimp...sigh).
Stuffed French Toast = NOMS
Some of the recipes were okay, but lacked flavor, in my opinion--the Brown Rice and Veggie Casserole was good, but a little bland.  Same goes for the Slow Cooker Apple Streusel Oatmeal, and the Oatmeal On The Go Bars.  They were good, but in McCord's quest to keep extra sugar out of the recipes, you get kind of a bland outcome.  I ended up adding some brown sugar to the streusel oatmeal, and topping the oatmeal bars with some raspberry preserves to liven them up.

Overall: Weelicious did not completely cure Small Fry's finicky food preferences.  He still picks everything green off his plate with brain-surgeon-like precision.  And I don't necessarily think that all of McCord's suggestions for rehabbing your kid's eating habits are as easy as she makes them sound.  However, this did give me some great suggestions for how to include him in the kitchen, and add more variety to his diet.  I've been really good about not running to the mac n cheese every time he throws a fit, and that alone is a win for me.  I'd say that if you have a picky eater in your household, Weelicious is worth a perusal--you might find a few new, healthy go-to meals for your kiddos!

Other reviews of Weelicious:
Reading For Sanity
Fed Up With Lunch
Cafe Johnsonia

Do you have any favorite cookbooks?  Or really smart ways to get my son to eat green things?
 
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