Braly: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends vegan cookbooks

Braly: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends vegan cookbooks

February 3rd, 2010 by Anne Braly in Blogsfood

After scolding such well-known cooks and cookbook authors as Julia Child and Paula Deen for contributing to the bad health of America, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine turned around and hailed five others in its Five Worst/Best Cookbooks of the Decade report. (See January 27th's blog if you missed the worst.)

You'll notice a common factor among all the recommended books. Each emphasizes adopting a vegan lifestyle, something which I don't feel is altogether a great idea. Before doing so, check with your doctor. I think some lean meats, not red all the time, but once a month, along with a steady diet that includes chicken and fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids, are important to include in your diet. The key thing to remember is moderation.

Here's the list:

* "The Kind Diet" (2009) but Alicia Silverstone makes me want to run and hide. The name alone brings on a guilt trip after my holiday gluttony. The book offers a full range of vegan recipes and details an outline for healthy eating. Vegan is OK, but nonvegetarians such as myself might have to go over to the bad side with Paula Deen's ham hocks on occasion.

* "Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap and Start Looking Hot!" (2007) by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. If the name of this cookbook doesn't attract attention, I don't know what will, except maybe the recipes for Bitchin' Breakfast Burrito to Cha Cha Chili. According to the physicians' group, abundant research has shown that people who maintain a healthy weight over the long-term tend to eat a plant-based diet. I'm thinking ham hocks again, but maybe could go a week without meat if the recipes are as good as these sound. And the book's a treat to read.

* "The Conscious Cook" (2009) by Tal Ronnen is another vegan offering. The author cooked for Oprah during her vegan cleanse and catered Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi's vegan wedding. This new cookbook shows how exciting and delicious a vegan lifestyle can be. "You won't miss the meat," the author says. I'm not buying it.

* "The Engine 2 Diet" (2009) by Rip Esselstyn is from a firefighter/cook who worked to improve the diets of his fellow Engine 2 firefighters in Austin, Texas. By following his plan, everyone lost weight, some more than 20 pounds, while lowering cholesterol. This book outlines the plan, based on, yes, once again, a vegan diet.

* "Cooking the Whole Foods Way" (2007) by Christina Pirello. Studies have found that a vegan diet can even reduce the risk of recurrence for some types of cancer. This book shows how readers can rid their diets of processed foods, meat and dairy to begin following a vegan lifestyle.