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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pesto is a winner but not celery, 29 Dec 2011
This review is from: Medicinal Cookery: How You Can Benefit From Nature's Edible Pharmacy (Paperback)
This is a copy of the review I posted on my blog.

I was sent a free review copy of this book but the review below is entirely my own opinion, I do use a few phrases from the press release I received with the book to start (these are in quotation marks " ")

The book was published on 21st April by Right Way (an imprint of Constable and Robinson), retailing at 7.99 but it is currently 4.49 on Amazon.

"Dale Pinnock B.Sc (Hons), top health expert, nutritionist and the UK's First Medicinal Chef is proud to announce the launch of his first book, `Medicinal Cookery: How You Can Benefit From Nature's Edible Pharmacy'."

"In this new, accessible book, Dale helps readers to literally `eat themselves better', through fun and delicious recipes that target our healing needs for many common chronic disorders. Readers will also gain an understanding of the healing powers of Phytochemicals in food."

"Readers learn how many of these compounds, when delivered in the right way, can work in a very similar way to medicinal plants, and even pharmaceutical drugs (minus the side effects). These concepts are not bizarre pseudo-scientific ideas, but actual solid concepts based upon biochemistry and human Metabolic Physiology. "

"Dale Pinnock is the First in the UK to bring together three distinct strands: Herbal Medicine, nutrition and cookery, to create a radically new way to help combat a wide range of common health problems. The focus of Dale's Medicinal cookery is not nutrition. It is in fact the phytochemicals that are in the ingredients. Phytochemicals are non nutritional, but biologically and pharmacologically active compounds that are found in plants. These chemicals can be anything from the colour pigments, to substances that plants use like hormones, right through to unique chemicals that would provide a plant with food and fuel. The individual study of these compounds is a rapidly emerging science. "

The first thing to say about this is that the front cover is very eye-catching and inviting and that the book itself is more portable than your average cookbook (it has 186 pages and is potentially handbag size (depending on the size of your handbag that is!). The internal pages are full of colourful pictures of the raw ingredients.

This isn't a traditional cookery book, it is a book teaching you to understand the healing properties of the food we eat, there are some recipes in the book (not as many as I was expecting) but it's more about you understanding what foods to eat, when and why and maybe making your own recipes based on your own personal health needs.

Dale starts by introducing food as medicine and a chapter on phytochemicals (Phyto =plant)
Next he presents recipes designed to help address the health of the following body systems:
Skin, Digestion, Heart and Circulatory, Immune, Joints, Nervous.
Finally an A-Z guide of medicinal fruit, grains, nuts and seeds, culinary herbs and spices, vegetables - this includes tips on the best way to cook or utilise them in recipes.

As a vegetarian the fact that all of the listed foods are things I can eat is very appealing and looking through there are a number of recipes I would like to try (in fact this review is later than it should be is because I wanted to at least try one recipe before I posted the review). Most look pretty easy to make - my main criticism is that there are no pictures of the final product. This is just a personal preference though so that I can check how bad my versions look!

I found it interesting that Dale suggests that it was only when moving to a 'diet focused around fresh plant foods' compared to a diet with supplements that he noticed a shift in his health. I take a number of supplements and don't particularly feel that great, I'm getting all the nutrients I'm meant to need but what Dale suggests is that certain plants actually work as medicines on top of this through how their biochemistry works with our systems. Each recipe talks you through the medicinal properties of its raw ingredients.

So I decided to pick the Anti-Parasite Pesto to make, not I hasten to add that I have parasites that I know of, but because:

a) I like pesto (though clearly not as much as Dale who suggests he can sit and eat spoonfuls of the stuff)

b) It looked relatively easy and something I hopefully could make and eat quickly (pumpkin seeds, basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and crystal salt blended - Dale gives you quantities)

c) I bought a basil plant especially (that I managed to keep alive for a very long time - which is not like me at all).

I served the finished product with triple colour pasta. The pesto was quite thick (hence Dale eating it with a spoon ;o)) so if there are few of you eating you may need to play around with quantities to get good coverage on the pasta. And, despite me making it, it tasted pretty darn good and is something I would definitely make again.

Other recipes that are calling out to be made are: Omega Butter Crostinis, Apple Jacks, Chocolate Orange Truffle Torte, (I own agave nectar now too - which I use instead of sweetener or sugar in my tea, both which are too sweet now so I've occasionally been having it without anything), Garlic Honey (for use during colds, not everyday if you would like to keep friends - I have been totally won over by the very expensive but very expensive manuka honey recommended by Dale).

A number of the soup, risotto and other recipes calls for celery as an ingredient but I would have to substitute or leave this out because, I'm sorry Dale but no amount of telling me how detoxifying and cleansing celery will make me eat it (it's the devil's food - bleurgh - I was so mortified to spot it in my Winter Stew at my works Christmas Do, where it was promptly ejected into a water glass - luckily the flavour didn't hang around so I managed to eat the rest).

If you are interested in starting a healthier diet in the new year and knowing more about what you are putting into your bodies I would definitely recommend this book which I gave 4/5 stars (because of the lack of pictures of finished products).
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