This review is going to start with a little bit of a personal rant (but don't let that detract you from getting to the really awesome recipes included below!). I'm not a fan of diets. Never have been. I like food too much and I'm not structured enough to subscribe to any eating plan that requires me to cut out specific foods or track calories or points. I do understand that there are certain instances (and certain personality types) that can benefit from a structured healthy eating plan, but generally speaking, I think diets are a bad idea.
The reason I don't like diets is because they essentially re-confirm negative relationships with food. It may sound counterintuitive, but even when diets provide healthy recipes or a few common sense eating guidelines, they also have a way of making food seem moralistic. Certain foods become "good" while others become "bad." Denial, self-deprivation and self-flagellation are the natural byproducts of the average diet plan. And, as someone who has overcome her own struggles with food, body image and over-exercising, everything in me wants to revolt when the focus on food becomes anything other than a means for healthy, enjoyable fuel for living.
That's why I found Sheila Viers' Eat Well 360 so refreshing. She starts by sharing her own journey with food - how she was able to stop moralizing it and start eating for health and enjoyment - before going on to share her tools for undertaking a personal food revolution. The goal is to help readers learn to eat for life, rather than spend their lives stressing over what they're eating.
The fact is, it's not rocket science. Eating isn't rocket science! But, we've become so fearful of food and so confused about healthy living practices that sometimes a solid, common sense approach to food is exactly the wake up call we need!
Here's a quick summary of the three-part e-book series. To learn more, check out the Eat Well 360 website and Sheila Viers' holistic life coaching website. And, don't miss out on the "teaser" recipes included below!
Healthy Eating Integration Guide
This quick bonus guide cuts to the heart of common barriers to healthy eating. It asks tough questions about the food choices you're making and provides a few solid guidelines for ending negative self-talk, one of the first steps to making over your relationship with food.
Another short-but-sweet bonus guide, the Substitution Guide provides basic information on how to substitute sugars, oils, flours, meat, milk, eggs and more. It also provides author-insight into some of the best substitutes, pointing out that in some cases, there's no real need to make a substitute. Sometimes, a sugary cookie should just be a sugary cookie!
Eat Well 360 Cookbook
If the two bonus guides are pretty cool, the cookbook is just plain great. I don't think I've ever read through the table of contents of a cookbook before and instantly started drooling! Now, I'm not a big cook, but if I were to cook, these are the exact type of recipes I'd be whipping up. They're healthy, but hearty; indulgent, but smart. Nothing's off-limits, but everything's within reason. If you want an "everything in moderation" cookbook, this is exactly what you're looking for. Here are just a few of the more than 140 mouth-watering recipe titles:
- Almond Joy Oatmeal
- Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Oatmeal
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Quinoa Turkey Stuffing
- Southwest Pork and Bean Stew
- Chicken Sausage, Green Pepper, Onion, Mushroom and Jalapeno Pizza
- Chicken Quesadillas
- Loaded Baked Potato Wedges
- Tilapia Lettuce Wraps with Mango Salsa
- Dark Chocolate Cashew Pecan Truffles
With the author's permission, I'm previewing a few of the recipes here. I hope you enjoy!
Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Oatmeal
- 1/2 cup rolled oats or 1/4 cup steel cut oats
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 medium banana, sliced
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon stevia
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon wheat germ
- 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup raspberries, separated
- 10 grams granola (a pinch or two)
- Cook oats using the Basic Steel Cut Oats Oatmeal recipe or Basic Rolled Oats Oatmeal recipe in the How To's section. (You can also follow the instructions provided on your oatmeal box.)
- One adjustment: When the oats begin to simmer and you remove the lid, lower the heat to medium-low and add the banana slices, stirring until they break down and the mixture thickens to your desired consistency.
- Turn the burner off and add salt, stevia, vanilla extract, half of the raspberries and wheat germ. Stir to incorporate.
- Mix in the mascarpone right before you get ready to serve the oats.
- Pour into a bowl and top with the remaining raspberries and granola.
- 330 calories; 10 grams fat; 50 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams protein; 9 grams fiber
Chicken Gyro with Homemade Tzatziki
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon dried marjoram
- 1/2 tablespoon dried mint
- 1/2 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 medium-sized whole-wheat pitas
- 1/4 cup onion, sweet, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup tomato, seeded and finely chopped
- Tzatziki sauce (see recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Turn it off after it has reached temperature. Wrap pitas in aluminum foil and place them in the oven to warm.
- Add spices to a small bowl and mix together with a fork.
- Place chicken on a cutting board and remove any visible fat with a knife. You may also want to put the chicken between two layers of plastic wrap and pound it to an even thickness using a mallet. This will help it cook more evenly.
- Coat both sides of the chicken with spices and pat the surface to make the spices stick.
- Heat a large skillet to medium-low and place the chicken breasts in the pan.
- Flip the chicken after approximately 7-8 minutes and cook for another 7-8 minutes on the opposite side (or until it's cooked through). It should have a nice sear on both sides.
- Remove chicken from the pan and let it sit for two to three minutes, so the juices redistribute. Slice on a biase into bite-sized pieces.
- Remove pitas from the oven and place three ounces of chicken in each.
- Top with onion, tomatoes and Tzatziki sauce.
Nutrition (not including Tzatziki)
- Per serving: 299 calories; 5 grams fat; 38 grams carbohydrates; 25 grams protein; 6 grams fiber
Homemade Tzatziki Cucumber Yogurt Dip and Dressing
Note: This recipe requires prep prior to the day you plan to use the dressing.
- 8 ounces fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1/4 large English cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely shredded using a cheese grater of food processor
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- Juice from 1/2 small lemon
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Two days ahead of time, place the yogurt in a tea towel (three to four layers of paper towels work as well), gather up the edges, suspend over a bowl, and drain for at least two hours, or preferably overnight, in the refrigerator.
- One day ahead of time place the shredded cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the liquid. Discard liquid.
- Combine the drained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, dried mint, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
- Cover and allow the flavors to meld in the refrigerator for at least two hours, but preferably overnight.
- On the day of serving, remove the dip from the fridge and transfer it to a serving bowl, garnishing with a slice of cucumber. You can store pre-made sauce in an airtight container for up to a week.
- Per serving: 36 calories; 0 grams fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0 grams fiber
Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 16 ounces sweet potatoes (2, medium sized)
- Preheat oven to 500 F and place baking sheet inside.
- In a small bowl, mix spices together with a fork, set aside.
- Cut sweet potatoes into 1/2" x 1/2" fries.
- In a large bowl, combine the cut potatoes and oil. Toss to coat, rubbing them individually to make sure they're coated thoroughly. Add the spice mixture a sprinkle at a time, and continue to toss until the potatoes are evenly coated.
- Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet (remember, it's hot!) and place on the middle rack of the oven.
- Bake until edges are crisp and potatoes are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Flip them once about halfway through.
- Per serving: 174 calories; 4 grams fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 5 grams fiber (with potato skins on)