Kristina’s Bookshelf

Eat Your Way to Good Health

I’ve read many books in which someone evangelizes about their experience sliding into a terrible health crisis and turning around all their problems by radically changing their diet to remove sugar, carbs, gluten, and any number of other products. Accordingly, I was a little ho-hum when I received yet another book about a chef who trashed his gut, nearly died, changed up his diet, exercised more, and restored his health. But I started reading and was hooked. After reading and hearing so many testimonials and eating fairly simply myself, I grow increasingly convinced that there’s something to the gospel of clean eating: that sugar really does behave like a toxic chemical in the body, and that for some people, reducing gluten and other offending ingredients can improve energy and mood, reduce inflammation, stimulate weight loss, improve digestion and elimination, strengthen resistance to colds and flu, and bring a host of other health benefits. Have you ever experimented with changing up your diet? Remove all allegedly offending substances for a few days or a week. See how you feel. Then begin slowly reintroducing foods. See if any changes make a difference. You might be surprised.

Real Food Heals: Eat to Feel Younger + Stronger Every Day 
by Seamus Mullen with Genevieve Ko
(Avery, 2017)

Chef Seamus Mullen’s latest cookbook includes more than 125 recipes that avoid sugar, carbs, gluten, and beans, among other ingredients, and include meat and dairy in moderation. The recipes can be prepared easily on a weeknight. They include flavorful combinations like Fennel and Artichoke Salad with Grapefruit; Tamari-Glazed Chicken Salad with Avocado, Pepitas, and Hard-Boiled Eggs; Harissa Scallion Lamb Patties with Dandelion Greens; Seared Ground Lamb with Okra, Chilis, and Preserved Lemon; and Seared Flat-Iron Steak Salad with Radishes and Shitake Vinaigrette. The book includes no dessert recipes because, according to Mullen, “I believe you should avoid refined sugar.” 

The dishes grew out of Mullen’s own health crisis—a near-death experience brought on by autoimmune disease he’d struggled with for years. He changed the way he cooked and ate, at home and in his restaurant, turning to vegetables, fruits, meats, whole grains, and fermented foods, and his symptoms disappeared. Vigorous exercise was also part of Mullen’s recovery, and he uses recipes like Tropical Energy Bars made with macadamia nuts, chia seeds, and unsweetened dried coconut, and a smoothie with kale, avocado, and pear to fuel up and avoid sugar-filled and processed foods. Dishes are tasty and easy to assemble and should appeal to many palates.

Meet Chef Seamus Mullen
Wednesday October 18, 6:30–7:30pm
Omnivore Books on Food
3885a Cesar Chavez St, San Francisco

Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers.