Super Foods for Super Health

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys

In his preface to The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook, Dr. Bradly Jacobs, an integrative medicine physician based in Sausalito, reflects that “Although we have long recognized the importance of food in promoting good health, only in the past ten years have we come to appreciate how food can damage our health.” Increased awareness of food allergies and sensitivities and a general interest in avoiding processed foods mean people are looking to eat more whole foods. Recipes in these new cookbooks involve just a handful of wholesome ingredients and generally don’t include refined sugars or other processed foods.


The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook:
the Delicious Way to Reduce Inflammation and Stay Healthy
By Amanda Haas with Dr. Bradly Jacobs
(Chronicle Books, 2016)

According to Amanda Haas and Dr. Bradly Jacobs in their upcoming cookbook, “At its most basic, inflammation is the body’s response to outside irritants and stresses.” When the inflammation becomes chronic, it can worsen heart disease and other conditions like migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease, diabetes, and many other maladies, including cancer. Some studies suggest that eating certain foods and avoiding others can be an effective way to diminish and manage inflammation. Haas and Jacobs explain which foods are beneficial for treating inflammation and why, offering 65 delicious, gluten-free recipes for all meals of the day, including basic pantry items. Includes a comprehensive list of common foods that cause inflammation as well as foods that help to soothe and reduce it.


The Whole Coconut Cookbook:
Vibrant Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Recipes
Featuring Nature’s Most Versatile Ingredient
By Nathalie Fraise
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

Nathalie Fraise is a natural foods chef and creator of the cooking app and food blog Vanille Verte. Fraise was raised in Madagascar on organic, seasonal foods. And a lot of coconut. Her diet changed radically when she moved to Northern California, and so did her health. Faced with chronic migraines, anxiety, and weight issues, she began eliminating foods, including gluten, and her health issues immediately cleared up. Coconuts, a versatile staple of traditional diets for thousands of years, remain a constant in her diet. Her cookbook features recipes that include coconut in all its many nutritious forms, from coconut water, oil, and sugar to coconut milk and aminos. Gluten- and dairy-free recipes include Coconut Yogurt with Raspberry Pomegranate Coulis and Toasted Seeds; Coconut Sesame Noodles with Baby Bok Choy and Tamarind Dressing; Coconut Orange Cookies; and a rich Hot Chocolate spiced with ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper and topped with Orange-Vanilla Whipped Cream. With a primer on the different parts of the fruit and a guide for using fresh coconuts at home, the book is a nice addition to any cook’s library. Many of the recipes include photos that highlight the beautiful, appetizing features of the dishes.


DIY Vegan: More than 100 Easy Recipes
to Create an Awesome Plant-Based Pantry

By Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman
(St. Marin’s Griffin, 2015)

Most vegans spend a lot of time reviewing food labels at the grocery store, ever on the lookout for the many animal-sourced ingredients that can often find their way into the most unlikely foods. Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman, seasoned cooks, long-time vegans, and contributing food and photography editors for VegNews magazine, want to help vegans avoid the often frustrating label review process and enjoy delicious homemade staples. They’ve created step-by-step instructions for making vegan versions of the pantry items cooks reach for daily. Using easy-to-find, whole food ingredients emphasizing flavor and nutrition, their comprehensive collections includes 100+ recipes, such as nut-based cultured cheeses, Ranch Dressing, Mac & Cheese Sauce (orange!), Worcestershire Sauce, and Garlic Cashew Mayonnaise. All of the recipes are vegan and have gluten-free options.


Super Foods Everyday:
Recipes Using Kale, Blueberries, Chia Seeds, Cacao,
and other Ingredients that Promote Whole-Body Health
By Sue Quinn
(Ten Speed Press, 2015)

Sue Quinn is the author of several cookbooks and has written extensively on food and cooking for newspapers and magazines. Her latest cookbook focuses on those foods that contain an abundance of vitamins, phytochemicals, and other nutrients, offering the potential to contribute to good health and disease prevention. Quinn presents illustrated lists and glossaries of the foods that contain these various elements and the way in which they can potentially affect health. The collection includes more than 60 simple and easily prepared recipes, most with fewer than six whole-food, easy-to-find ingredients, that showcase super foods, from kale and seaweed to cocoa and avocado. Find combinations like fruit and vegetable smoothies; Super Muesli made from oats and enhanced with pecans, chia, and goji berries; and Chocolate Chia Pudding from bananas, blueberries, and blackberries. Many dishes are enriched with cheese, yogurt, or milk from the dairy case. Photos accompany each recipe, showing the handful of ingredients and the finished dish.