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Cooking the Whole Foods Way: Your Complete, Everyday Guide to Healthy Eating Paperback – March 1, 1997

45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Christina Pirello turned to a whole-foods diet after being diagnosed with terminal leukemia at age 26. To the shock of her doctors, and without any medical treatment, she went into complete remission. She was surprised herself, as she'd been a vegetarian for more than 10 years and wasn't convinced that cutting prepackaged foods, sugar, and dairy from her diet would make that much of a difference to her health.

Pirello says, "Macrobiotics is an understanding that that food is energy, that everything we eat becomes part of us and helps create who we become." With this philosophy in mind, she advises how to plan menus, shop for quality ingredients, and combine foods for optimum energy. She then jumps right into her collection of more than 500 recipes, among them Fresh Corn Chowder, Béchamel Sauce, and Chocolate Hazelnut Torte. They should appeal to entire families; beans, tofu, and sea vegetables do figure prominently in many dishes, but rarely have these much-maligned ingredients sounded so tantalizing. Pirello's sassiness, adventuring spirit, and lust for life are readily apparent in these recipes, and her book should certainly help make the transition to a whole-foods lifestyle a smooth one. --Erica Jorgensen

From Library Journal

Fifteen years ago, Pirello was diagnosed with terminal leukemia and given fewer than six months to live; with no other real options, she reluctantly listened to a friend who introduced her to macrobiotic cooking. She eventually adopted that diet and within months was in total remission?so it's understandable that she has become a champion of macrobiotics. She and her husband run a cooking school in Philadelphia, and this cookbook is a companion to her new PBS series. Pirello's recipes demonstrate that there's more to a macrobiotic diet than brown rice, and her exuberance and sense of fun show that macrobiotics doesn't have to be dreary. It's too bad that the headnotes often refer to various healing and other properties of certain foods without explaining the basis of such beliefs. Nevertheless, subject and other large cookbook collections will want Pirello's natural foods guide.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: HP Trade; 1 edition (March 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557882622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557882622
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christina Pirello is the Emmy Award-winning host of the national public television cooking show Christina Cooks!. She teaches whole foods cooking classes and lectures nationwide. Christina lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Deb Nam-Krane VINE VOICE on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
This cookbook is the solution for those "health-seekers" who want to eat by the rules (more fiber, more whole grains, less refined sugar, more vegetables). Many of the recipes are delicious, and it's nice to make something that tastes good but that won't give you pangs of food-guilt later.
A few caveats: 1. This is not a pure vegetarian cookbook. She has a whole section on fish. The author does not eat fish herself, but wanted to more fully represent the macrobiotic philosophy. 2. This doesn't give a good look at the full spectrum of macrobiotics. I'm not an expert by any stretch, but from what I've read of some of the other macrobiotics founders, this seemed very incomplete. She seems to concentrate primarily on the yin-yang principle (in her next book she talks about the elements), but doesn't give a comprehensive overview of how those can affect certain conditions. Also, as another reviewer pointed out, she includes a lot of ingredients most macrobiotics shun (chocolate, garlic, etc.) She seems to bend the rules a lot when it comes to desserts. 3. Having said that, when the author thinks a rule is important, she runs with it. Don't even think of eating raw vegetables or fruits, any white flour, or certain vegetables, like tomatoes.
All in all, I thought this cookbook was a valuable addition to my collection, but I didn't think it was a very good lifestyle guideline.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
Wow! Not since reading Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy by Dirk Benedict has a book about nutrition (in the case of Cooking the Whole Foods Way, a Cookbook!) changed my life so completely!. I've been a vegetariian since 1993, but had always believed marcobiotics was "pushing it" a little. I was so wrong! Christina Pirello has eliminated all fears of unfamiliar and unknown foods. She doesn't simply give you recipes; she tells you what the ingredients will do for your health and (finally!) explains WHY some foods are not good for you and some are! Exactly what do carrots do for your health? What makes mushrooms good for you? What vegetable grows through rock--not around it? How can an onion help satisfy a craving for sweets? Why do we crave certain foods? Why is garlic a healthier choice for meat-eaters than for vegetarians? How does food influence your mood? Learn to take control of your life and become healthier and happier for it! Don't want to be vegetaria? That's okay. Christina Pirello isn't trying to turn you into one. She's just giving carnivores and omnivores a chance to balance the meat in their diets. If you are vegetarian, you just may end up macrobiotic. Funny, that's not as scary a thought as it was before I read this book!
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Andy Gaus on December 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have sampled a number of recipes from this book and been quite happy with them. Many cookbooks offer healthful recipes, but this one, more than most, offers healthful recipes that are actually edible and have some character--mostly Italian. The scope is vegetables plus fish, so it offers an excellent guide for heart patients and those who cook for them.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I love this cookbook, which I have been using for about 3 weeks now, nearly everyday! The recipes are very easy for me to follow. I have been vegetarian or vegan for many years with some breaks, so many of these ingredients are familiar to me, but some are new, too. The main thing that I love about Christina's style is her sense of flavor & husband is Italian-American, & loves to cook, too, I'm Irish-American, & learned alot of Italian cooking from his family, in addition to my own vegetarian foods. This is really the first time my husband has 'fallen in love' with so many whole foods dishes. We have enjoyed nearly every recipe I've made from this book. This book is jam-packed with recipes & ideas-- it could be overwhelming, but as we love to cook, it is an adventure in pleasurable good health. I've been losing weight, which I needed to, also, without even trying. I have nearly no cravings for things I previously was tempted by which were unhealthy, because I love the food we eat at mealtimes so much. Thank you Christina!
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Zalewski on November 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
I bought this book a few years ago, just because I was trying to adapt a more healthy lifestyle, and for the immense amount of recipes in the book (a lot!).
I really don't see how Christina could have possibly tried all of these recipes! The several that I've tried have seemed relatively tasteless and almost inedible! The only reason why I'm giving it 3 stars is because the entire beginning section has some wonderful explanations on macrobiotics and a glossary of some different ingredients that most cooks wouldn't know on their own.
As for the recipes, I can honestly say that in my ever growing repertoire of vegan cookbooks, I very rarely refer to this one. If you're looking to go macrobiotic, maybe it would be useful, but if you're a vegan/vegetarian looking at this book because of the number of recipes....don't bother.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like this book because it gave me a good introduction to macrobiotics. Along with an extremely helpful glossary, there is a list of vendors who have catalogs for uncommon items.
So, why did I give it three stars? Two reasons:
1. Some of the recipes made me wonder if they had tried them before they put them in the book. I figured that every cookbook is bound to have a couple of bad recipes, but I would say less than half of the recipes had a good taste and maybe a handful were recipes I would cook again.
2. The consistency was off on a lot of the recipes that were supposed to be like dough. Actually, all of the dough-like recipes I have tried have been too runny. That goes for cookies, bread, and pancakes.
I would not recommend the sourdough or South of the Border Salad. Those were the two you could not pay me to eat again. Good items included the Oriental Noodle Salad with Cashews, Penne With Black Beans & Mango, Baked Beans With Miso & Apple Butter. I am very new to this macrobiotic thing and I could be wrong, but aren't tropical fruits a no-no (penne referred to above)? And again with those Baked Beans, add more beans or you will have soup - and a very runny soup at that.
I would recommend this book if you are patient, adventurous & just starting in on macrobiotics. If you are looking to improve your cookbook collection, however, I would think twice.
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