Lyn Potter reviews: Three healthy cookbooks

the-energy-guideThe Energy Guide

If you have been feeling rather tired lately and want to be re-energised don’t just blame it on old age! Have a go at getting some of that energy back!

Your energy level is the most important benchmark of your overall health according to Dr Libby, a nutritional biochemist who draws on decades of academic and clinical experience.

She sees people every day in her practice who are otherwise healthy but say they feel exhausted and overwhelmed. “It doesn’t have to be like that “she says

Low energy can often be the result of the interplay between our biochemistry, our nutrition and our emotions. Dr Libby calls these the ‘three pillars’ of health and wellbeing.

So it not just a matter of going on a diet and losing weight. Inevitably the weight goes back on. We need to take a more holistic approach. She shows us how to do this through rebooting our diets, improving our sleep, understanding our hormones, reducing our stress, and managing demands on our time in a better way.

There are also over 100 nutritious recipes in the second part of the book. One thing I especially liked was that although most of the recipes are vegetarian there are also a handful of recipes which will appeal to my carnivorous partner such as the Spiced Middle Eastern Lamb with Hummus and Beetroot salad, a quickly made Pepper Beef Stir Fry and the Roast Lemon Chicken.

I thought this book was well worth reading. It is filled to the brim with good advice. So much so that it would be impossible to make all the changes she suggests immediately. Taking it one step at a time would be more achievable.

We may be too old to run a marathon but doing our best to be as energetic and healthy as possible is important at any age!

Title: The Energy Guide .Author: Dr Libby Weaver Publisher: MacMillan RRP: $39.99

Living the Healthy Life

living-the-healthy-lifeWorking on the principle that two pairs of old hands are better than one I invited my good friend and neighbour Gill over to test some of the recipes from Living the Healthy Life with me. She arrived with a set of sharp kitchen knives wrapped in a tea towel and a bunch of fresh produce from her garden, ready for action!

I had earmarked six quick and easy recipes for us to try. My partner who was busy doing Sudoku in the lounge had also agreed to be one of the taste testers.

Jessica Sepel is Australia’s top food blogger and a trained dietician. She overcame a serious health problem which inspired her to follow a healthier Wholefood Plant based diet.

The recipes in Living the Healthy Life are based around what she calls her REAL wholefood philosophy i.e. clean, unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.

Both of us liked every recipe we tried, especially the pesto chicken bowl with broccoli and pumpkin seeds, the salted caramel breakfast smoothie and the berry breakfast crumble.

But my partner, who had liked every other recipe, took one mouthful of the miso eggplant and made a very unfavourable comment which I shall not repeat here. I made a mental note to myself not to put this dish on the family table too often! Miso is an acquired taste and I think that he will eventually come round to it.

That afternoon I perused the first half of the book in which Jessica has shared her own food journey, and also gives loads of advice and created meal plans based on her knowledge as a dietician.

‘Quit fad dieting forever,’ she says. ‘Give yourself the freedom to stop feeling guilty about food. If we eat more of the good stuff it will stop us craving the processed foods that make us unwell. And have the occasional treat and takeaway. It won’t harm you.’ That resonated with me!

I’m even ready to ditch my scales as she suggests but there’s one little habit I can’t quit. Restricting myself to one cup of coffee a day would also be too much to ask! Jessica would probably understand.

Title: Living the Healthy Life, Author: Jessica Sepel.  Publisher: McMillan. RRP $39.99

The Revive Café Cookbook 6

revive-6When one of my daughters rang to say she was now a vegan I just thought “Oh well, just another one to add the list of the many food allergies and preferences we have in our family!” Vegans eat only plant-derived foods and don’t consume any animals or animal products including flesh from land or sea animals, milk, eggs, or honey.

Being a Wellingtonian she is frequently to be found in cafés. And as she has a busy career, when she does cook, she likes to cook healthy food that can be put together quickly.

Jeremy Dixon, the owner of the two popular Revive Cafes in Auckland’s Central Business District, is a prolific author. He has just published The Revive Café Cookbook 6. His cookbook is vegetarian but a great many of the recipes are also vegan. Salads, Hotpots and Stir-fries, Main Meals, and Flavour Boosters are covered. And, due to popular demand, for the first time he has included Healthy Desserts and Sweet Treats as well (all without refined sugar)

Jeremy has a talent for combining ingredients in surprising ways and his food looks vibrant, colourful and appetising. It is a New Zealand cookbook so the ingredients are readily available. I think his recipes will be to her taste.

But can you really create a cheesy flavour without using cheese? Jeremy has done it in his recipe for Scrummy Cheezy Pasta Bake. I think it’s worth a try because the price of tasty cheddar is going through the roof. Last week it was priced at 16 dollars for a kg in our local supermarket.

Two standout recipes from The Revive Café Cookbook 6 are the Curried Spinach and Butternut Fritters with Moroccan Tomato Sauce and the Moist Raw Carrot and Ginger Cake with Orange Icing.

Jeremy has always been generous and community minded. He recently set up an online fundraising initiative through which his healthy frooze balls, zoaties (healthy fruit and nut balls) and his recipe books (including The Revive Café Cookbook 6) can be delivered direct to the customer. This makes fundraising much easier for schools, sports clubs, churches and other groups (both large and small) as there is no stock to handle and the profits are paid automatically.

The Revive Café Cookbook 6 is also available in bookshops.

Title: The Revive Café Cookbook 6. Author: Jeremy Dixon. Publisher: Revive Concepts Ltd. RRP: $30.00


Reviews by Lyn Potter

Parent and grandparent, Avid traveller, writer & passionate home cook

Read more by Lyn here.