Thursday, 26 December 2013

Book Review - Happy Herbivore Light and Lean

I have reviewed Lindsay's previous books (here and here) and found this one to be very similar. As this is the day after Christmas, where there may or may not have been a little over indulgence, its a good time to talk about looking forward to healthy eating again and maybe the odd New Year Resolution or two?? This book fits well for those who are looking at dropping a few pounds but don't know where to start. I also feel that, like the previous books in the series, this suits the novice in the kitchen, and appears to be targeted at those who are not necessarily confident cooks. If you have kitchen experience and know about putting flavours together then you may not find all the recipes interesting or challenging.

The book is, as before, well laid out, logically grouped into chapters and illustrated with numerous full colour photographs. The recipes are easy to follow, are mainly one per page, and all come with nutritional breakdowns - which I would expect in a low-calorie book. The introductory chapters look at ingredients used, and the theory behind both Lindsay's eating style and the weight loss focus of this book. There is also quite a lengthy personal story which is neither here nor there for me, but some people may like to read it to feel a personal connection to the author.

I liked the way the exercise section in the back has been done - with photos showing the correct technique, and that both beginner and more advanced options are given. Simple things you can do at home. No excuses anymore!

Before you start thinking I'm going to do nothing about rave about this book - there were a few things I didn't like so much. I found, reading through, that many of the recipes are repeats from the other books - some have been adjusted to be lower calorie to fit this specific theme, but many are the same. I expected more new content rather than reworking of used ideas. Also, as I noted briefly above, I found many of the recipes super simple - so simple that I would not really feel a recipe is needed (Loaded Baked Potato for example) but, that said, if I were a new and inexperienced cook (more the target than I am) then this would fit the bill completely. I'm not entirely sure about the need for alcoholic drinks in the drinks chapter, being as the focus is on health - but can see that some may appreciate lower calorie ideas for indulging. The last thing I didn't like so much were the testimonials, and that in some parts the book reads like a great big advertisement for the Happy Herbivore Meal Plans (which I assume you have to pay for). However, I can appreciate that if you're an individual who needs to loose weight knowing that others have done so successfully would be a positive, and also knowing how they did it and where to get the same information would be a bonus. So for all the things I personally wasn't enthralled with, I can see the plus sides to others.

On to the recipes I made -
Page 30 - Granola
This was OK with milk and fruit. It wasn't super delicious to the point where I'd stand at the container and just eat it like some granola I have made in the past. I also found it very dry without liquid. OK but nothing great.

Page 60 - Sonoma "Chicken" Salad
This was lovely. I used my own mayo not Lindsay's recipe so I can't comment on that part of it, but the flavour combination was good, texture was more-ish with the grapes and celery, and I enjoyed this with a green salad.  I didn't add the optional nuts but could see them being great too.

Page 74 - Taco Burgers
Enjoyed these hot and cold. Would have preferred to use spices individually rather than be directed to buy a taco seasoning packet as this is something I don't usually do.

Page 140 - Thai Peanut Dressing
Nice, though thinner and less creamy than I had in my head to expect.

Page 153 - Chipotle Pasta
H loved this one. He must have said 3 or 4 times as he ate it "this is delicious!". High approval rating from him! I liked it, though not as much as H, nice flavour combinations and super easy.

Page 158 - Soba Peanut Noodles
This one I loved! I made it 2 days in a row. The sauce here is very thick (more like I was expecting above) and luscious from the texture of the yogurt. I served with sauteed broccoli one day and just green onions the next. Can see this one being made again!

Page 181 - Parmesan Greens
This was OK. Nothing super - and so simple.

Page 214 - Tofu Jerky
Tasty. Took a little more forward planning. Instead of discarding the marinade as directed I mixed it with some mayo and made a very tasty salad dressing. Not as chewy as commercial jerky but a tasty change to the usual soft tofu.

So, there you have it. Recommended?? If you're looking to loose weight, control your calorie intake, get some info about exercising at home, and are a relative kitchen newbie, you probably couldn't do better.

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