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Customer Review

60 of 86 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing New Here, Good for "Health Noobs", 2 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Extra Virgin Kitchen (Hardcover)
I was quite excited about this book at pre-ordered it. Sadly I'm not overly impressed. If you are celiac or wheat intolerant or avoiding grains this is not the book for you.

The breakfast section is what I would call "health junk foods", different ways of making carb-y, bread-y things for breakfast. The book boasts the absence of unrefined sugars, but it makes up for that using dates, maple syrup and agave syrup. They may have a lower GI than refined table sugar, but it's still sugar to your body; its processed in the same way. The flapjacks, power balls etc, may make a nice treat, but I wouldn't recommend any of these items as a daily breakfast go-to. A lot of the recipes contain flour in some form, usually rye flour, she does suggest using coconut flour for gluten free (however the price of that stuff is horrific and I have never found a good way to use it, it makes your tongue furry!). Overall there's nothing new here that you can't find on the internet already, you can find tons of 'healthy' flapjack, powerball, granola and muesli recipes online.

Snacks - roasted nuts, dehydrated kale, more cookies and bombs & balls. It includes recipes for a load of nut spreads, which may have been interesting if I ate bread or grains. Since I eat a completely grain free diet I have nothing to use spreads.

The soup section is slightly better - its hard to go wrong here. Nothing particularly innovative and I have much better books for making a good soup. I was surprised that she discussed the health benefits of miso, yet asks that you pour boiling water over it - this would surely kill off all the gut friendly bacteria.

Salads - Again not particularly healthy, most recipes have dried fruit in (full of sugar) or sweetener of some kind, the recipes are quite basic but may be good for someone who doesn't know how to cook. There's a distinct lack of protein, or meat of any kind, I doubt these salads would keep you going very long. Perhaps good as a side salad, but I wouldn't make a habit of eating fruit every day, especially in the winter or if you are trying to lose weight.

Main meals - Slightly better, but I think only two recipes have meat! On the recipes that do have meat we have a chiding about how it is bad for you, of course there are no citations here. Having been vegan for several years myself and researched extensively on the subject I would take this advise with a pinch of salt and do your own well sourced research here to make your own decision.

Summary-
Too much sugar and sugary fruit in this book. The book is pretty much vegan - I would definitely recommend to vegans. Very disappointing if you are a meat eater or paleo inclined, in fact she actively discourages meat. At least the meat is saved by the use of healthy fats and I think you could probably lose weight following this book if you cut out the sugars and fruits. The recipes are very basic, a few ingredients (however not suitable if you don't have access to a health food store), good for people who are starting out, bad for people who already eat healthy and know how to cook but are looking for inspiration.

Too carb-y and grain-y for me to be able to eat this stuff (not celiac friendly). Great for people in the transition stage (trying to give up refined foods, bread, wheat etc) and craves that crunch or bready feeling as it has lots of mock pasta, breads etc.

Since I already eat healthy and can cook, I did not find anything new here or inspiring and will be returning the book. As previously mentioned the book is probably a useful resource for people at different stages or transitions in their diets hence 3 stars.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Mar 2014 11:31:11 GMT
Hello Seren,

I'm so saddened to hear you are not enjoying my book. It's not suitable for paleo diet, so I'm sorry you had hoped it would be.

I'm not paleo at all (my diet is full of whole grains) and I thought we made this obvious in the contents page of the book. Perhaps Danielle Walker's book would be more suitable for you?

Best wishes,

Susan Jane White

Posted on 10 Mar 2014 12:18:11 GMT
Ottalie says:
Lovely, inspiring book for people seeking to make a change in their diet and lives. Chock full of useful information for those starting out on a healthier life....

Posted on 5 May 2014 09:07:37 BDT
Perhaps you would share with us some book titles in the recipe/healthy eating genre you would recommend.

Katy Thompson - Home Economist & Nutritionist

Posted on 26 Jan 2016 13:33:37 GMT
Carlby says:
Thanks. You sound really knowledgeable, so I'd love to hear some book recommendations if you have time, thanks.
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Location: Brighton, UK

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