365 Skinny Smoothies by Daniella Chace is geared towards weight-loss and better health through nutrition. Arranged by month, it takes advantage of fresh seasonal produce. Some smoothies are to be used as snacks, while more caloric ones are meals. (It might have been more helpful to organize the book by this information instead of month, as each recipe has to be examined in order to separate the snacks from the meals.)
Will you need to buy any weird, expensive, or hard-to-find ingredients? Not as much as other similar books. Chace relies mostly on whole fruits and vegetables, along with liquid sources like coconut water, teas, nectars and juices. Frozen fruits can be used and are easily available. Certain protein sources (powders, hemp or chia seeds) might be unfamiliar to some folks, but they ARE find-able, especially on Amazon.
What about food allergies? Chace supplies substitutions and a wide variety of ingredients. She strongly encourages tweaking the recipes for your own tastes and needs.
Will you have to buy a new kitchen apparatus for these recipes? Probably not; just a high-setting blender or a food processor is needed. However, when sampling some of the recipes, I found there was not enough food volume for my food processor to work effectively on.
Is this too preachy, gimmicky, or new-age-y? Not at all. In fact, Chace's approach is as refreshing as her recipes. She is an informed nutritionist and health is her chief concern. The first sections of the book have some really good information without being overwhelming or dull. And she knows her stuff from research and experience: store items in glass containers to (avoid BPAs in plastic), buy only non-GMO foods (to avoid chemicals), milled flaxseed may mess with one's hormone levels (whereas chia seeds do not), and certain foods can fight inflammation. She also states that fiber not only helps to slow the carbohydrate load, but it can also impart sweetness. Some taste buds may not be convinced by that last point; a small amount of additional sweetener can be added, within reason.
Is this truly a low-carb cookbook? According to the author, the CDC, the FDA, and the American Diabetics Association, yes. But from an Atkins-like induction/ketosis point of view, no. The carb counts range from 10 to 30 grams per serving. (And take note that many of the recipes are for _2_ servings each.) Diabetics and dieters will still need to factor these smoothies into their daily allowances, making changes in other meals as necessary to accommodate.
But will these smoothies taste good? Quite simply, they taste like their ingredients. In other words, they are different than their monster-portioned high-fructose veritable milkshake imposters. Don't be tempted to add too much additional sugar or sugar-substitutes; doing so can undo the intent of this book, which is to control calories, reduce inflammation, and provide a sane solution to snacking.
Here are some I tried, with (allowed) substitutions and results as indicated:
May 2: Strawberry Basil Icy - Very nice flavor, although the basil leaves left bits of green in my mouth and their texture was also unpleasantly noticeable during consumption. (Maybe more blending/processing next time?)
September 25: Fuji Mint Crush - I had to switch out the Greek yogurt for coconut milk. Very mild: the flavor of the apple juice and the Fuji apple was lost to the coconut milk and mint leaves.
November 13: Mexican Chocolate - Quite good. Again, I made the same substitution as for the Fuji Mint Crush. Also, I doubled the cocoa from 1 teaspoon to 2, because I just knew it would be mild despite the cayenne and cinnamon. (Who uses only 1 teaspoon of cocoa for anything??)