Pros: Fascinating information; wonderfully delicious recipes (easy, too!)
Cons: No recipe photos
Rating: 5 out of 5
To tell the truth, we’d cooked enough test recipes from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Superfood Cookbook (by Shelley Vaughan James and Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo, M.S., R.D., L.D.N.) as of sometime last week. However, I couldn’t stop saying “just one more!” every time I paged through this book. In fact, I still have about ten recipes marked off that I’m thinking of making for dinner or dessert tonight or this weekend.
That’s how delicious these recipes look—and taste!
The concept behind the book is that there are certain foods that provide an unusual abundance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. If we work these foods into more of our meals and snacks, we get more out of what we eat and we live healthier lives. Oats, for instance, can help to reduce cholesterol. The phytochemicals in various berries can help to keep our blood vessels healthy or reduce the chance of infections. There are specific proteins that strengthen our bodies’ connective tissues, and compounds in vegetables that reduce cellular damage. Each section of this book is very specific in laying out how these foods help us, which is a great motivator for working them into our diets.
If that isn’t enough, though, surely the recipes will do the trick! There’s a quinoa & berries recipe in here that surprised the heck out of me. Sure, I like quinoa well enough, and the recipe looked good, but it was one of those combinations of a few simple ingredients that ended up tasting like something more than the sum of its parts. The same was true of a marinated chicken recipe; it included some familiar seasonings and one that I had trouble believing would go with the rest—but again, the whole was more than the sum of its parts, and it was a delicious recipe. I’m not overly fond of chicken, but I loved it. There was also a couscous-stuffed tomatoes recipe that we made, and it was incredibly easy and delicious.
All of these recipes are kept as simple as possible, with enough (but not too many) ingredients. Most of them can be made in 10 or 20 minutes here or there (although of course there are exceptions). There are lots of smoothie recipes in here that I can’t wait to try (pumpkin smoothie? yum!), rice puddings, quick breads & muffins, bean recipes, and more. It’s hard to know what to try next.
The book also gave me ideas that I find easy to work into my daily meals. I toss a handful of blueberries, pumpkin seeds or even pureed pumpkin into my meusli and know that I’m getting a vitamin boost. I add a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon—it doesn’t just taste good; it’s good for you.
If you aren’t sure how to work more nutritious foods into your diet, this book is a wonderful resource. It not only tells you why it’s worth making the effort, but it reduces that effort to next to nothing!