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Just Tell Me What to Eat!: The Delicious 6-Week Weight Loss Plan for the Real World Hardcover – June 7, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


This book offers a different approach than other diet books on the market in addition to valuable health information. Recommended for public libraries and anyone looking to lose weight and adopt healthy food practices.

--Library Journal -- Lisa Felix

"Recipes are simple, easy to follow and alternatives are included for every recipe. The Medical Science of cooking is presented in a way for everyone to comprehend."
--Karl J. Guggenmos - Dean of Culinary Education Johnson & Wales Univ.

"Doctor Harlan lays out the choices for a healthy lifestyle without ever bending the rules of physiology-- I've never read a book about food choices that was based so firmly on the facts."
--Campbell Patterson, MD - UNC School of Medicine

"Does a masterful job of matching good, up-to-the moment science with good old-fashioned taste."

--Graham Kerr - The Galloping Gourmet

"The first recipe in this food-focused title--Fettuccini Alfredo--should reassure readers that his six-week diet is not about deprivation."

--Publishers Weekly

Library Journal, 5/1/11
“Offers a different approach than other diet books on the market in addition to valuable health information. Recommended for…anyone looking to lose weight and adopt healthy food practices.”

Publishers Weekly, 5/2/11
“The first recipe in this food-focused title—fettuccini Alfredo—should reassure readers that [Harlan’s] six-week diet (with eight weeks of meals and recipes) is not about deprivation. In this accessible guidebook, Harlan helps readers to achieve daily goals…as they learn to cook tasty Mediterranean diet dishes, a variety of ethnic favorites, and comfort foods. While Harlan's suggested two- to four-pound loss per month might pale before fad-diet promises, his solutions are simple…and his recipes, satisfying.”
Kirkus Reviews, 6/1/11
“A winning, easily implemented blend of medically sound weight-loss advice and recipes for delicious, nutritious food…Clear, simple directives tell readers not only what to eat, but when, how and why…Recommended for those who need meal-by-meal guidance and aren’t willing to forgo their favorite foods—the perfect marriage of medical knowledge and gourmet cooking.”
TheSpiffyCookie.com, 5/3/11
“Filled with recognizable, family-favorite meals, and realistic healthy options for those times when eating out and convenience foods are unavoidable…A great book.”
EveryDiet.org, 5/30/11
“When you get to the end of Just Tell Me What to Eat!, you will have dramatically changed your eating habits and naturally reduced your weight.” 
Newsday, 6/14/11
“Harlan has a different emphasis than most diet-book writers…His Big Easy background means recipes are anything but bland.”
Internet Review of Books, 6/15/11
“Chef-turned-doctor-turned-author Timothy Harlan is in a position to know the ins and outs of healthful eating. He not only tells us why certain foods are good for us, but he provides menus and shopping lists to help us stay on track…[Harlan] even knows which foods you can get away with eating more of.”
Blogcritics.org, 6/11/11
“If you like deprivation diets, then this book is NOT for you. Rather, Just Tell Me What to Eat! is so chock full of deliciously healthy recipes, I feel as though I'm getting away with something every time I crack open the book. Who wouldn't want to follow a six-week plan that not only delivers the goods, but does it in a way that leaves you feeling satisfied?...If you're looking for a simple, medically-based action plan, then Dr. Gourmet's delicious prescription was written for you.”
DietsInReview.com, 6/7/11
“Offers a refreshingly real approach to eating healthier and losing weight…Dieters will find that this book offers everything needed to get healthy and start eating well…Anyone that doesn’t mind cooking and that has a desire to lose weight can benefit from this book.”

FamilyCircle.com, 6/22/11
“Dr. Harlan is trying to simplify the confusing dieting guidelines out there, and he manages to do it without limiting our options.” 

Asbury Park Press, 6/25/11
“There are only about 63,000 diet books…But this author is both a physician and chef and tells us bluntly what food to buy, how to cook it and when to eat it.”
Publishers Weekly (Twitter post), 6/25/11
“[Harlan’s] cooking demo has librarians eating it up.”
Technorati.com, 6/27/11
“Filled with useful tips to help dieters stay on track…Amazingly, some very popular dishes often thought to be off-limits for dieters are included: pizza, cheese steak, sloppy joes, spaghetti, ziti, crème brulee (!), fried chicken. With choices like these, dieting is suddenly more appealing.”
EatDrinkBetter.com, 6/20/11
“With nearly sixty dinner recipes, this is as much a cookbook as a diet book.”
Two Belles, Four Biceps and the Pursuit of Fitness, 6/23/11
“Offers a practical and achievable solution designed to fit into event the busiest of lifestyles…Delicious recipes…Laid out in an easy-to-follow, easy-to-read manner.”
Tucson Citizen, 7/1/11
“Dr. Harlan shares delicious recipes from a variety of cuisines including Italian, Mediterranean, Spanish, French, and American. They range from a tasty Herbed Zucchini to a White Bean Chili, a delightful change of pace from the red bean and meat variety.”

InfoDad.com, 7/7/11
“An exceptionally clever idea.”
BestOfYouToday.com, 7/14/11
“Harlan has an interesting perspective on the whole notion of eating well.”

Kingman Daily Miner,
“An outstanding feature of this book is that in simple terms you are shown how to change your eating habits by putting a variety of healthy food items into meal planning…Just Tell Me What to Eat! is just what the doctor ordered.”

Deseret News, 7/20/11
“If you are looking for a diet that includes fettuccine alfredo with shrimp and broccoli, barbecue chicken pizza and chocolate cheesecake, look no further…This diet is not a short-term fad; it’s a lifestyle change. If you are looking for guidelines and tips to healthy eating based on current scientific knowledge and an emphasis on plant-based whole foods, this book is worth looking at.”

New Orleans Magazine, July 2011
“Takes a crack at making dieting goof-proof.”
January Magazine, 7/20/11
“What Harlan does is revolutionary…yet stunningly simple. Just Tell Me What to Eat! isn’t a diet plan or fad diet. It just looks at good, wholesome food and how to prepare it and what it’s made of and how it will manifest inside your body…Great, easy to follow recipes indicate that this one should be added to many people’s cookbook shelves. If you have more questions than answers about diet and dieting, Just Tell Me What to Eat! is a terrific idea.”
Bookviews, August 2011
“An informed and informative book about dieting that should prove helpful to take its advice and stick to it.”
Midwest Book Review, August 2011
“An encouraging, supportive guide dieters will relish.”

WomanAroundTown.com, 9/20/11
“A six week weight loss plan for those of us who have to exist in the real world. What’s special about this book are the tips on how to read a label, how to understand dietary cholesterol, and the fact that he provides info on meals you can eat in restaurants without going off the plan. Recipes like Roasted Yams With Rosemary help ease the way to healthier eating.”

Suite101.com, 9/25/11
“The easy-to-follow menu guide approach for weight loss makes Just Tell Me What to Eat a great one for those who have never put a menu together, let alone one for healthy cooking…The recipes include a wide variety of cuisines…so there is no flavor burnout during the 6-week diet plan.”

Gumbo Entertainment Guide, January 2012
“Shows just how you can eat food you love and still lose two to four pounds per month.”

Taste for Life, March 2012
“Not a fad diet or a typical weight-loss plan, this book offers a solution for those who are tired of being told what they can’t eat.”

From the Author

In many ways I've been writing Just Tell Me What To Eat for about 25 years. Ever since my first book I have been writing what I have affectionately called "The Book." I've wanted to bring together sound science with real food to offer people a realistic alternative to a long line of fad diets that have failed them.
The problem has been the state of the scientific research into diet and nutrition. Only in the last decade or so have we really had a significant body of good, reliable research into the relationship between diet and diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. That's what has allowed me to write Just Tell Me What to Eat.
Without the benefit of sound science, in the last 40 years we've seen an explosion of well-meaning authors who created diets that focused on the wrong thing - not food but the macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These diets have stolen food from us and changed the conversation in such a way that we no longer think of food as food. Now people think about food in terms of macronutrients, which are either "good" or "bad" with no grey areas. First carbs were demonized - essentially stolen from us for no good reason - and then fats were labeled "bad" based on incomplete science.
That's been unfortunate because the recent boom of research into food and nutrition tells us that the right diet is not about any one macronutrient - it's about food and moderation. Those who eat real food and in the right balance do well. They lose weight and have fewer heart attacks, less diabetes and lower risk of cancer.
In our day to day lives, eating is not about macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats, it's about food! We don't go to the store and look for carbs. When we're there we don't ask the butcher for protein. No one opens their fridge and says "hmmm, what fat will I have for dinner?" What we look for is food - pasta, rice, corn, pork tenderloin, shrimp, olive oil and butter. 
And the best way to eat healthy is to start thinking of food as food. Protein, carbohydrates and fats are important, but what's really key is great quality tuna and flank steak, tomatoes, apples, pecans, beans, corn, olive oil and yogurt.
In the last 25 years, as I've been writing about nutrition and reviewing the research, it has become clear to me that the discussion we need to be having is about ingredients, not macronutrients, and Just Tell Me What To Eat does just that. It shows readers why each of the macronutrients are necessary and good for you and how to use the best quality ingredients to make great food.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; 1 edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738214523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738214528
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, aka Dr. Gourmet, is Medical Director at the Tulane University School of Medicine and a chef, professor, and Emmy-winning television personality. He lives in New Orleans.
A practicing, board-certified Internist, Dr. Tim's love of food preparation began as a teenager working in the restaurant business. Starting as a dishwasher, he worked his way up to managing his first restaurant by the age of eighteen and at age twenty-two opened his own restaurant: a small French bistro.

Three years operating Le Petit Café--creating menus, being a chef and teaching cooking classes--were challenging and creative. Closing the restaurant to return to school was an important turning point. Dr. Harlan originally intended to pursue a degree in hotel and restaurant management, but events led him toward medicine and the decision to become a physician.

After finishing an undergraduate degree in anthropology and biology, Dr. Harlan went on to study at Emory University School of Medicine. Working as a caterer throughout school, he continued to be involved with food and cooking but noticed a lack of knowledge in the medical field about eating healthy and eating well. Neither patients nor health care providers understood much about a healthful diet. Patients, it seemed, were usually told not what they could eat but, rather, what they could not eat.

In medical school, Dr. Harlan wrote It's Heartly Fare, a book best characterized as a food manual for patients with cardiovascular disease. He has published other books including, Hand on Heat: A Perfectly Ordinary Cookbook and The Dr. Gourmet Diet for Coumadin Users.

He is publisher and editor of the popular web site DrGourmet.com.

Dr. Gourmet has been an on air consultant to the TV Food Network show Cooking Thin and a host on the DIY network show AskDIY. In 2002 The Dr. Gourmet Show, which aired on regional public television, won an Emmy® award.

You can find more at drgourmet.com/tellmewhattoeat

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
At last! An evidence-based instruction manual on HOW TO eat Mediterranean-style in the context of American culinary sensibilities and preferences. Genius! The salmon and chick pea salad is not only delicious and takes 30 minutes, but it uses the salmon skin so there is no smell in the garbage can the next day! [...]. I'm on Day 26 and each evening meal we've prepared takes about 30 minutes to prepare and is easily followed by my husband. So in addition to getting healthier, he is learning how to cook following Dr. Gourmet's recipes! Imagine coming home to oven-fried chicken, roasted corn and pan-grilled broccoli! This book is so much more than good advice about food: it's a cookbook with carefully-constructed and TESTED recipes which are each delicious; it's excellent instruction about all things related to cooking such as how to season a cast-iron skillet and prepare dried beans/legumes. It's just plain good information about all things dietary, such as an explanation about how to find and what to do about all the hidden sodium in processed foods (hint: don't buy any more canned beans).

This book is the one you want to buy for all your friends this Christmas.
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Format: Hardcover
This isn't a fad diet book, and yet it does sound to good to be true: food that's easy to cook, tastes fabulous, AND is healthy? Nope, it's for real. My husband and I have cooked from the recipes on the DrGourmet Web site before, and this book brings all of that expertise together into a great weight loss plan. Love the recipes (which don't require you to graduate from culinary school), love the organization, love the combination of "doctor tips" and "chef tips" and the easy advice on suitable frozen or out-to-eat substitutions for nights when you can't cook at home. We have three kids five and under, demanding careers and busy lives and we can still make this plan work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I discovered Dr. Gourmet when my mother was put on Coumadin and didn't know what to NOT eat. Dr. Gourmet's attitude of what TO eat won me as a fan. I have cooked many of his recipes and loved them all. I got the Kindle version of the book thinking it would be easy to take everywhere I go. I love the premise of "just tell me what to eat". I love food and love cooking but don't always have the time to plan the meals I would like, so end up without balance and portion control. These menus, recipes, and information are great and very motivational. My only issue is with the Kindle format. The recipes don't show on one page so are a little cumbersome to use. I am considering buying the book.
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Format: Hardcover
I lost 22 pounds following this diet for the last 6 weeks! I have learned some fantastic recipes and did not feel deprived at all! Moving on to the next stage in the game, I feel confident that I can continue to make great choices and lose even more! This was the perfect way for me to jumpstart my weight loss!
The one recipe I was terrified of (Thai peanut & scallop pizza) ended up being my favorite!! I have made it 3x so far! And the Lentil Chili is my go-to lunch. I keep it stocked in my freezer! YUM!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Harlan has managed to take complex nutritional research and make it user friendly for all. As a physician myself, I am happy to have a book that I can recommend without reservation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband has lost over 20lbs in a month. The book has day to day recipes to follow with the necessary information to educate about weight loss. Someone has to have the time to shop and prepare the meals either daily or in advance. Great recipes!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like the ideal of a simple way of losing weight, taking the guess work out of how to plan a meal from a sample diet in other books to this one just laying out the guidelines and telling you what to eat. You can also get more easy simple recipes on drgourmet.com. Since the purchase I've lost 8 lbs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love to eat "clean", yet somtimes the ingredients are like what? So I gave this a try seemed close. It is very close, if you cook not use the frozen or restaurant replacements all the time. But let's face it who always has time or wants to cook 7 days a week. The suggestions work, although I'm just finishing my first week and I did cook I've lost 1.5 lbs. Your left to your own on breakfast and lunch. What I mean is no recipe, but follow the guidelines and your good. Filling, satisfying meals. This is the way to go real life, real food eating. Don't forget to exercise to bring it all together.
P.S. I didn't exercise my first week still lost 1.5 lbs. That's a great loss. Good Luck
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