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 Post subject: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:38 am 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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Recently my dad had a heart attack and now he wants to eat healthier. I want to get him some cookbooks for Christmas but I'm having trouble deciding which ones. On the one hand he needs something really basic because he doesn't know how to to cook kale or quinoa, he also lives pretty far from a good health food store. On the other hand, he really loves eating at restaurants so he's used to really flavorful food. He loves Thai food, salads, margaritas, coffee, and seafood places.

I was thinking Color Me Vegan would be good because there is so much nutritional info, but it doesn't have a lot of entrees and I can see it being a turnoff that she uses so much hard to find produce like blue potatoes.

Then I was thinking about one of the Mark Bittman books because my dad is a lifelong daily new york times reader plus it seems like his recipes are very basic but I do not have any of his books so I'm not sure if they would be good choices and I'm not sure which one to get.

Then the other choice is Appetite for Reduction which I love but I don't know what dad would think of it. I think he might really enjoy it because the salads are all so good but... I don't know. Have any of you used this book with older omnis?

Then there is You Are What You Eat but those recipes all seem very plain and you are supposed to take a ton of vitamins and supplements.

Then there are probably others that I don't even know about.

Please advise!

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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:07 am 
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Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook might be a good fit. He tends to write very simple recipes that are still flavorful. It's not vegan (obviously), but the emphasis in the book is on healthy eating by reducing animal products and "junk food" and increasing produce.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:19 am 
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Bryanna Clark Grogan's books mostly all have nutritional info, and she definitely more or less focuses on healthifying recipes. I like her "almost no-fat" series because the recipes are actually really flavourful and not lacking anything, and the recipes seem to be a bit less finicky than some of her crazy ones.

I agree with Food Matters too--I bought that for my sister (who is not vegan) when she got pregnant and wanted to eat healthier but have easy recipes to follow. Maybe even V'Con or VEW, because of the helpful lower-fat icons, and v'con has that wonderful basics sections that teaches how to cook proteins/grains/beans/veggies.

I haven't really liked anything I've made from Color Me Vegan, but that could just be me.

I'm sorry to hear about your dad's heart attack, and I really hope his health improves. <3


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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:23 am 
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I'm sorry about your dad! It sounds like lots of colorful, appetizing photos would really help in getting him to actually use a book, i'll have to look through my collection when I get home to see which ones have a lot of pictures besides dessert books.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:24 am 
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What do you think he won't like about AFR? My mom didn't like it at first because she's not very adventurous with foods, so the curries and things turned her off. but once I cooked some of the dishes from it for her, she loved it. So maybe if you get it, you can also give him all the ingredients for one of the dishes you think he'll like (sort of like cookie mix in a jar).


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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:45 am 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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I really don't know about AFR, I think since I'm so in love with it it's hard to see it from another perspective. I tried to get both my mom and sister into it and they didn't seem very interested and they are both into food. I think maybe I'll get it for him anyway and the Food Matters one, cause that one sounds really perfect.

Colorful pictures would be good too!

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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:25 pm 
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LazySmurf, I've heard lots of good things about How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I just don't know if it would be appropriate for someone who just had a heart attack (like if it relies on lots of high fat dairy products) or if the recipes are too fussy. It might be worth checking out the index on Amazon.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:38 pm 
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Have you checked out Supermarket Vegan? I like that book for recipes containing foods easily found at the supermarket, and no odd ingredients. Nearly alll the recipes are really easy to make, and use everyday ingredients. It might be worth a try.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:40 pm 
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Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON Canada
If he's had a heart attack, I would recommend The Engine 2 Diet, Forks Over Knives, and anything by Dr. John McDougall and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Dr. McDougall has been treating lifestyle diseases with a low-fat vegan diet since the late 70s/early 80s. Dr. Essestyn specializes in a low-fat vegan lifestyle for heart patients.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:02 pm 
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I know a number of people who swear by Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (though the only recipes I've followed in it turned out to be total duds). If part of the plan is to get him hooked on cooking healthier food, then the NYT connection could be an effective segue into less familiar territory.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:42 am 
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I have How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I am not sure if it would be a good fit for your dad because it can be a little overwhelming. It is so full of recipes and information that the individual recipes themselves seem to get lost (at least for me). Also, the focus is not on healthy eating. I tend to be very mindful of the amount of oil, etc. I use, and from my perspective this book seems to be fairly generous with things like that and dairy products. But, I have found it to be a great reference source. I cook a lot and although I'm not a complete novice, I do still feel like I have a lot to learn and for that this book is great. I have opened it many times to look up an ingredient I've never worked with or a particular technique, but I've only cooked several recipes so far. In that respect it might be a good gift for him. I do think Bittman's style sounds like it would be a good fit, but I have no experience with his other books.

I am sorry about your dad. This is a very thoughtful gift!


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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:14 am 
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I agree with egarmon! I have it, and it's a great resource, but I really think of it as more of an encyclopedia and less like a cookbook.

It may not be the most intuitive first choice, but I think Cookin' Crunk could be a good transitional book if he doesn't fear the tofu or seitan...you could make him seitan for the freezer. But I was surprised at just how healthy most of the recipes are, especially compared to their traditional counterparts. Just rip out the breakfast chapter.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:20 am 
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I also have How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and it has lots of very basic, simple recipes that you can jazz up as you see fit. It's also really good as a reference resource like egarmon said. Also, although some recipes are heavy on the oil/dairy, there are an awful lot that aren't. His baked rice recipe is my go-to now, I rarely cook rice any other way. And although this may not be relevant for your dad, he includes a note on how-to make-it-vegan for most of the recipes.

I hope your dad's recovery is speedy!

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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:40 am 
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I had a couple go-to recipes in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian when I was a new vegetarian cook (mostly the chili and fried rice - stuff I don't use a recipe for anymore). It's definitely not my most-used book, and some of the recipes are a little time-consuming for the end result.

I'd go with AFR or something along those lines. Supermarket Vegan sounds like a great suggestion.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:51 pm 
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I think Supermarket Vegan might be good. I recommended it for a friend's mom who was suffering from health issues and seems like she used it a lot in her transition to healthier eating and she was able to find all the ingredients in her small town in Arkansas.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with healthy cookbook
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:32 am 
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I think Engine 2 cause it's firemen and shiitake.

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