First of all, let me just say -- cooking healthy is challenging, especially if you are looking for food that is both flavorful, healthy, and light on the calories.
I've seen too many "diet" cookbooks that use too many weird "diet" ingredients, calling for ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, fat free dairy, and so on (ie. Rocco Dispirito in his "Now Eat this!" series -- although his Now Eat This! Italian is pretty awesome). I've always thought that they were pretty redundant, because I could have just substituted fat free/sugar free ingredients with normal recipes and get similar results.
Then there are these other cookbooks that emphasize on "a healthy twist on COMFORT foods". Seriously --I understand the whole need for comfort food recipes and all (because they are awesome of course), but I really don't need 10 "healthy" cookbooks that basically have different versions of the same old Mac & Cheese, Chilli, Sloppy Joes. It's like they (the cookbook writers) have to have a check list to check off when they are writing these cookbooks, instead of using a bit of creativity to maybe give their own twist onto them.
Giada's Feel Good Food is great because she is very creative in coming up flavor combinations for her recipes, often giving her own twist on the classics. So, instead of the oh-so-boring "miso/ ginger-soy salmon" that a lot of the diet cookbooks tend to include, she comes up with a "Grilled salmon and pineapple with avocado dressing" that has the crunchiness from the seared salmon, the sweet and tangy-ness from the pineapple, and the creaminess from the avocado dressing.
Typical to Giada's style, the recipes here tend to have a slightly "sweet", "tangy", or crunchy component to them. By that I mean she really loves adding fruits, citrus zest/ juice, and toasted nuts into her dishes -- which I think are absolutely great because they lighten up a dish, and provide a textural contrast without having to add empty calories.
I've also noticed that -- in concocting her recipes -- Giada has taken the time to include a combination of proteins, carbs, and fats in her recipes. Ie., most of her recipes are bursting full of healthy grains, veggies, and lean protein. Combine that with a low fat-yet creamy dressing, the tangy-ness of fruits, and perhaps a bit of crunch from the veg/ nuts, her meals tend to be quite "complete" nutritionally and flavor-wise. I could probably just whip up on of her recipes and not have to worry about side-dishes or having to make an extra salad.
Regarding the concern about the exotic ingredients like quinoa, I personally think it's not been such a concern for me. The most "exotic" ingredients in the book are quinoa, soba noodles, or veggies like kale, which are a little bit harder to find but are still available in most supermarkets.
All in all, I highly recommend this cookbook to people who are interested in cooking healthier, but still flavorful food.