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Some Good Advice
on September 29, 2011
The Anti-Inflammation Diet for Dummies contains much advice on inflammation...how inflammation can contribute to disease, anti-inflammatory nutrition, recipes, anti-inflammatory supplements and herbs and more.
Much of the nutritional information is good, if not well known--like using olive oil instead of lard, butter or margarine; eating lean meats, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Still, all useful, especially for someone new to a change in eating healthier.
I have several issues, with the recipe section, however. My biggest gripe is that, even though this is a book on anti-inflammatory foods, the recipes DO NOT include the anti-inflammatory ratings (IF) of each recipe!You get the calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs and protein, but NO IF factor!
Another problem with the recipe section is that the portion sizes change in the oddest way. For example, compare the white bean salad and the red and black bean salad on the following page. Both recipes have olive oil and a couple of herbs/spices. The white bean salad--with 1 can of beans--serves 4. The red and black bean salad, with 2 cans of beans, serves 2! What? So the white bean salad has 186 calories a portion, the red and black has 528.
There are more examples of this throughout the book.
There is more: on beans, the authors recommend using dried beans over canned because canned beans have a high sodium level and dried have none. They write that according to the US Dept of Agriculture, 1 cup of navy beans has 1174 mg of sodium...Well, this "statistic" just sounded wrong, so I meandered to my cabinet and checked the sodium levels on what I had on hand:
Westbrae Natural lentil: 300 mg
Trader Joe's garbanzo beans: 780 mg
Westbrae Natural fava: 270 mg
Westbrae Natural kidney: 280 mg
(Note: you can rinse beans, thus getting rid of much of the salt.)
So, after recommending dried beans, they only give the amount to use in recipes of canned beans! (FYI...one 15 oz can of beans=1 1/2 cups.)
Another example is that several chicken recipes used the same amount of chicken with different servings. In addition, some recipes called for a whole chicken...my question is, how did they come up with the calories? Does it include the skin? Dark meat is higher in calories than white...Finally, in an anti-inflammatory cookbook, I would think only boneless white chicken would be used.
Finally, while they list 10 of their favorite anti-inflammation foods (salmon, flaxseeds, blueberries, almonds, mushrooms, broccoli, quinoa, brussels sprouts, onions, and green tea) they fail to give us the IF factor. (They do provide a list of 10 common foods, however.)They talk about nutritionist Monica Reinagel, the creator of the inflammation factor (IF) and tell the reader to go to her site for food ratings. Much more helpful would have been if they took some of their recipes and gave us examples of menus with the IF factors. According to Reinagel, we should strive for 50 + a day...well, show us how to do that!
I struggled with the rating for this book and considered going lower than 3 stars. However, there IS some sound advice in this book. There are also some terrific looking recipes (as a former professional and still avid cook, I am very good at looking at recipes and "getting" what they'll taste like)--all loaded with anti-inflammatory ingredients. The vast majority fo them are also pretty simple and quick to make. Reading them, you'll get how to make your own favorite recipes more anti-inflammatory (ie adding onions, garlic, turmeric, etc.)