Good books for good health
Eat Less, Live Long looks at research studies on some of the world’s healthiest and oldest populations who tend to eat unrefined, mostly plant- based diets that are also low in calories, sugar and salt. The author Jason Shon Bennett has regularly fasted for 25 years, from one day to a huge 33 days, and he describes the benefits of eating less (but well), how fasting improved his own health (and helped him lose weight) and how to prepare and go about it yourself. Self- published available at jasonshonbennett.com, $34.99.
Following the success of cookbooks one, two and three, Jeremy Dixon has released The Revive Cafe Cookbook 4 with its 78 easy-to-follow vegetarian recipes. Most recipes are vegan, too, if you want to sweeten with the given option of dates instead of honey and use nut or soy milks instead of dairy. All recipes share the food philosophy from Revive’s two Auckland cafes: dishing up tasty but healthy fare. There is a useful step-by-step feature showing how to create your own sweet pies, burgers etc and a guide to cooking beans, lentils and grains. Self published, available at Revive Cafes, online at revive.co.nz and amazon.com and at bookstores, $29.99.
After his River Cottage Veg Everyday book Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is back, this time with recipes that eschew wheat and dairy. River Cottage Light & Easy is not a diet book but it does promote healthy eating. Not all recipes are gluten-free and nor are they all meat-free. Where meat is used there is an equal emphasis given to the vegetable component in the dish. A symbol marks recipes suitable for vegans and also those dishes that can be made in 20 minutes. Recipes range from rye crackers to pumpkin seed drop scones, aromatic nutty chicken and strawberry cashew ice cream. There’s also a wheat and dairy-free pantry guide. Allen & Unwin, RRP $59.99.
Anna Jones completed Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen apprentice programme and went on to work as part of his team. She is a vegetarian; A Modern Way to Eat is her first book and appropriately it deals with everyday vegetarian food in a fresh, modern way. There is cheese and dairy and wheat (spelt flour is her baking choice) but not too much of each and alternatives such as coconut oil and coconut flour are frequently offered. Expect recipes such as tomato and coconut cassoulet, California miso, avocado and butter bean salad and pistachio and elderflower cordial cake. HarperCollins, RRP $59.99.
Belle Gibson is the young Australian creator of the very successful app The Whole Pantry. Her book, of the same name, tells the story of her fight with brain cancer (it’s stable right now) and her food philosophy: no dairy, gluten, preservatives or refined sugar. It offers recipes such as coconut water paleo bread and enchiladas with quinoa tortillas. It also provides a reference for people keen to change the way they eat and live, listing pantry staples and offering techniques like fermenting vegetables and making coconut kefir (a dairy- free alternative to sour cream and yoghurt). Penguin, $45.
Based on his own paleo approach to eating, the recipes in Healthy Every Day from My Kitchen Rules chef and host Pete Evans are free of gluten, sugar and dairy but they do contain meat, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Pete does take pains to stress that what works for someone diet- and digestion-wise may not work for another. He doesn’t eat dairy but milk can be swapped for nut milks etc. Many of the dishes, such as beef bibimbap on cauliflower rice and grilled fish with miso, draw on his love of Asian and Moroccan cuisines. There’s also a chapter on making cultured vegetables and one on smoothies. Macmillan, RRP $49.99.
There’s a lot of drinking in 1000 Juices, Green Drinks & Smoothies, from breakfast blends to restorative drinks and energy boosters, milkshakes and frozen smoothies to mocktails and party drinks. There are serving and nutritional tips and, in the front, the calorie count of 100g of each listed fruit and vegetable and how much is needed to make 100ml of juice. Deborah Gray, New Holland, $34.99.
The recipes in The Unbakery: raw organic goodness, from the Little Bird cafes in Auckland, are raw (nothing is heated above 46C). That said, Megan May admits to using the occasional ingredient that is not raw and advises omitting them if you are following a strictly raw diet. All 130 recipes use organic, plant-based ingredients and are made without gluten, dairy or cane sugar. Dishes include the signature pad Thai with coconut noodles, spicy almond and cashew sauce, or their Bird Bowl of mixed salads. Desserts include a raw Christmas cake. There’s a useful glossary, notes on activating nuts and sprouting seeds and instructions on how to make nut, hemp and coconut milk and yoghurt. Beatnik, $59.99.