104 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2008
As a registered dietitian, chef, and fellow author, I find few diet books worthy of recommending. But The Flexitarian Diet is one that I do highly recommend. It's based on sound science. It's written in a witty, easy-to-follow style in a way in which you know that Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, is passionate about what she is suggesting.
I love that everything is based on straightforward fives--five food groupings, five-week meal plan, and more. But it's not based on a gimmick like so many diet books. And it's not really a "diet" as it's not based on avoidance. It's a positive, no-guilt approach to eating, which is the most effective approach to healthy eating for a lifetime. In fact, this fresh flexitarian approach is how I eat and what I tell those who are not already vegetarians to strive for. That means if you really want a little bit of meat, it's okay on occasion.
Plus, there are many, many recipes (with short ingredient lists!) and shopping checklists included that make eating healthfully and following a meal plan simple--without sacrificing flavor.
You will enjoy this smart book while getting healthier at the same time!
62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2008
This book could have been titled Healthier and Thinner in Five Easy Steps! The premise of this book is that you don't have to go to extremes to be healthy. As Dawn Jackson Blatner says on page 1, this diet isn't about rigid rules, it's about eating more plants and doing the best you can. She never judges you for what you eat, but makes suggestions about how to add healthy foods and habits to your busy life.
The Flexitarian Diet is filled with yummy recipes (most have no more than five ingredients!), shopping lists, and expert suggestions for curbing cravings and generally feeling good. The book focuses on five main areas of eating: meat alternatives (although meat is still "allowed"), fruits and veggies, grains, dairy, and sugar and spice. The author introduces one area per week, describing the nutritionist's favorite ways to incorporate new foods into your diet, or new ways to enjoy foods you already eat.
I tend to eat pretty healthily already, but I learned a lot from this book. I've tagged the pages with the recipes I've tried and loved, as well as at least a dozen I can't wait to try. But I think my favorite thing about it is that it supports the way I like to think about health and eating. I used to be a vegetarian, but I went back to eating meat a few years ago. I always felt a little guilty about it, as though I wasn't strong enough to resist the smell of a steak on the grill. Flexitarian eating is about trusting yourself and understanding that diet is flexible, and that flexibility is a strength, not a weakness. Thank you, Dawn Jackson Blatner!
67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2008
Book Review: The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life (McGraw-Hill, 2008) by Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN
A licensed and registered dietitian and a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, Dawn Jackson Blatner is also the hostess of a "Healthy Eating' segment on Chicago's Fox News in the Morning. Once referring to herself as a "closet meat eater, she now openly calls herself a flexitarian. Dawn is mainly a vegetarian who eats a little red meat on occasion--a flexitarian.
Dawn Blatner writes that the word "flexitarian" was chosen by the American Dialect Society as the Most Useful Word of the Year (2003). Also, a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition sampled 13,000 people and found that 2 of 3 vegetarians eat this way.
Key Points to The Flexitarian Diet:
* Eating a plant-based vegetarian diet is the smartest thing we can do for our health.
* The author has taught flexitarian eating to thousands of clients and has seen them lose 20-80lbs.
* Phytochemicals in plants protect us from all types of disease.
* Vegetarians live 3.6 years longer on average than non-vegetarians. (They have less disease.) They also weigh approximately 15% less than non-vegetarians.
* The Flexitarian Diet is a gradual shifting to a healthier way of eating. It promises a 15-30lb weight loss within 6-12 months. Benefits also include improved: energy, self-esteem, arthritis, blood pressure, cholesterol, sleep, triglyceride and glucose levels. Also associated with this type of diet is a reduced risk of: cancer, diabetes, heart disease.
* Contains 100 recipes, but no photos of them. Divided into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, it includes "swaps" for how to add poultry, fish, or red meat to a meal. Nutritional information is listed and the recipes are calorie-controlled, meet the American Heart Association's certification for sodium and saturated fat levels, contain no artificial ingredients, trans fat, or sugar substitutes. Shopping lists and meal plans are supposed to benefit the reader's weight loss.
Examples to try:
* Burger with Broccoli Raab
* Black Bean and Zucchini Quesadillas (with cheddar cheese)
* Pad-Thai-Style Tempeh
* Pinto and Cheese Poblanos
The Flexitarian Diet includes a fitness chapter covering the various aspects of how to get moving and get into shape. Advice is given regarding types of exercise, gym memberships, how to maintain motivation, type of shoe to be worn, and how to beat exercise barriers. (Excuses for not exercising)
Dawn Blatner has 10 pages of references and blocks of facts throughout highlighting important points. The meat of the book discusses vegetarian issues related to food groups, beans, tofu products, flavoring, cost control, organic vs. conventional, etc..
The Flexitarian Diet certainly catches the eye with a beautifully photographed cover which illustrates the book's content well. The Flexitarian Diet is a healthy way for the beginning weight-loss conscious person to start. And it is also for those who wish to really make a change for long-lasting health, taking a new approach to how they shop, prepare, and enjoy their food.
As diet books change into wellness books, more emphasis is put into total body health. The reader should be able to ask such questions as, "How will bad cholesterol be reduced? Will I be able to walk farther? Am I sleeping better?" The Flexitarian Diet hits this mark.
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
That's the number of daily meal combinations that you can create Dawn Jackson Blatner's mix and match menus/recipes. Part 1 explains her purpose behind the five by five by five plan: five is the average number of ingredients people run into the grocery store to buy after work for that night's dinner. Five small meals a day to fuel your metabolism: 300 calorie breakfast, 400 calorie lunch, 500 calorie dinner, and 2 150- calorie snacks which equals 1500 calories a day. Need only 1200 calories? No problem eliminate snacks. Need 1800 calories? No problem. Double up breakfast. That's the whole point of being FLEXIBLE. The calorie count design allows me to be lazy and have the occasional Amy's Mattar Paneer Tofu(vegan) with a broiled banana for dinner without feeling like I've blown anything. It even has a quiz where you can see where you are one the flexitarian scale.
Part 2: Introduces you to some vegetarian foods you may not be familiar with if you are a carnivore. She also talks to you about setting up your healthy pantry, getting in more fruits and veggies (even into the picky veggie-hating eaters in your family. Nuts, cheese, and barbeque or sweet and sour sauce anyone? There is a chart that tells you how long to cook different grains such as quinoa, teff, kasha etc. I love the fact that this info is all in handy chart form making it easy to use for those of us, like me, with short attention spans.
Part 3 has those mix-and-match meal plans that I love so much. She has 5 different week with 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners, and 7 snacks complete with shopping lists should you want to follow the plan exactly. Note: the shopping lists assume you've stocked your pantry so, if you skipped that part, you might want to go back and reread it.
All the recipes are for one person which it ideal for those of us who are the only vegetarians in our family. But, you can easily double, triple, or quadruple the recipes to fit your family needs. I consider this a plus. I've bought quite a few vegetarian cookbooks that make 4, 6, even 8 portions. WAY too much for me.
This book is great for anyone who wants to be vegetarian some, most, or all of the time, and is just too TIRED to plan it all out.
Incidentally, I tried this for 3 weeks before posting a review. I found that I ate vegan 20 out of 21 of those days simply because those are the recipes I picked. I substituted soy and almond milk for regular milk, scrambled tofu for scrambled eggs, and soy yogurt and vegan cheese (note: some "vegetarian cheeses have casein so read labels). My point being that you CAN use this book if you or someone in your family is vegan. Oh. And, I lost 8 lbs. Not too shabby.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2008
I got it over the weekend and have read it cover to cover!! I LOVE IT!!!!
I've recommended it to several people already.
As far as I'm concerned it is all anyone would need for an education of eating whole foods. This is exactly what the world needed.
It is so helpful. She explains so much in simple to understand terms. I found the section on whole grains particularly helpful. And the tip about using index cards to keep the recipes is brilliant.
I can't wait to start making the recipes for my family. Also going to start to make extra batches and sneak some nutrition into my picky mother!
As suggested in the book, I added pureed black beans into store bought brownie mix and my family loved them - the whole pan was gone in a matter of hours. They had no idea they were getting the extra fiber and protein.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2011
I was turned on to The Flexitarian Diet by an e-newsletter I receive from Hungry Girl, a popular Weight Watchers friendly chef. I had identified with the term "flexitarian" a few years earlier when Self magazine ran an article detailing all the different types of "vegetarian" out there. When I read the description of The Flexitarian Diet in the newsletter I thought it sounded exactly like what I was looking for, and it was!
Since adopting The Flexitarian Diet I have been able to donate blood because I am no longer anemic thanks to incorporating more non-meat proteins I was ignoring before, I lost the 7 pounds I was carrying around after the Weight Watchers plan, and I successfully ran my first marathon. I recommend this book without reservation to absolutely everyone; a lot of the women in my office asked me to bring it in after seeing my lunches every day and have since ordered it as well! It's great for cooking for families when one person "needs" meat and one doesn't since the book outlines what vegetarian ingredient to swap out for which meat and how much.
My favorite recipes (I may butcher the names a bit...) include the Sunflower Seed Salad (requested by my roommates at our next dinner party), edamame-red pepper stir fry (brought to an office Christmas party...it's red and green!), brown rice apricot breakfast (stay full for hours!), the barbecue tofu, kale and sweet potato (I make this at least twice/week), lemon-garlic butter spinach fettucine (perfect anytime I'm craving pasta), the Black Bean Taco salad (you'll want to lick the dressing out of the bottle!), and last but not least the Avocado Black Bean wraps (sometimes I just make the black bean mixture as a dip and it's gotten rave reviews by some very tough chef critics!).
Did I mention I love this book?!
I recommend sitting down and reading the beginning just as if it's a novel; I consider myself a very healthy eater and I learned so much and embraced so many new food items thanks to reading Dawn's book cover-to-cover. Next, I would go through and dog-ear whatever recipes catch your eye. I was surprised when I did this that my grocery list was relatively small! I often lose my motivation to try new recipes when I think about the cost of the new ingredients, that was not the case at all with this book! Dawn's book is great in that she reuses one ingredient many times, this is something I feel is missing from a lot of other recipe books and frustrates both me and my wallet. I never end up throwing out an ingredient when I purchase it for one of the recipes in this book (and most recipes only have a few ingredients!). I eat so many healthy fats that I was afraid of before and my cholesterol is fantastic because of it (my HDL is over 100). I still measure out everything using measuring cups and a food scale, but I am no longer afraid of using oils and butters (the ones recommended in the book of course) in my cooking.
If you're looking for a way to slowly incorporate new healthy ingredients into your cooking and still want to satisfy a family member, or even yourself, in their cravings for meat, this is the perfect book for you. I recommend signing up for Dawn Jackson Blatner's e-newsletter too; she has many new recipes and tips she e-mails out to subscribers that I've tried and loved as well!
Happy Flexitarian Cooking!!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2008
I bought this book after seeing it reviewed in a newspaper. I am
> enjoying trying all the recipes. I am 65 years young and what I
> love most is that the recipes are for one person. It makes my life
> so much easier. All the recipes I have tried so far this week are DELICIOUS!
> Even better I am down 2 pounds and sleeping better at night. This is a valuable purchase for anyone who wants to improve their health and save money at the same time. There are no left-overs and no wasted food.
> Sandra (California)
53 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2010
I will disclose that I am vegan and that I am looking for books that I can have at the ready to recommend to anyone asking me how to eat in a more vegetarian way. I, myself, am pretty intense in my beliefs against using animals and products made from them in my life, but I realize that not everyone who turns to me for advice is ready for this level of commitment (though it's not as difficult as you may think!). I picked up this book in pursuit of being able to offer something on the path to veganism without scaring people off; however, I was still puzzled by the philosophy espoused in the book.
The author refers to herself as a meat-eating vegetarian; that is an oxymoron that I don't find to be clever marketing. Vegetarians, by definition, do not eat the flesh of animals. If you eat animals, you are not vegetarian. That the author didn't want to forgo important meat-eating life events was also troublesome because she plainly admits that the vegetarian way of life is healthier. Politics aside, she would rather put her health on the back-burner and eat meat so as to not cause ripples at certain events. I'm not saying that she has to set out to turn everyone into a vegetarian or a vegan on Thanksgiving, but she gives up her principles of healthy eating in order to conform. To me, that doesn't sound like a good eating philosophy.
Going further into the book, however, I did find that her information on food was a good introduction for someone who may not be familiar with veggie white meats (tofu and tempeh) and the vast array of vegetables available besides those found in a garden or Cesar salad, or Chinese stir-fry. Though some of the recipes mention a meat swap, they don't focus on meat as the main ingredient. I wholeheartedly embrace this as someone could make the recipe as stated and leave out the meat entirely. A few of the recipes are simplistic in nature (jicama with hummus; pistachios), however, what I appreciate is that I never would have thought of some of the flavor combinations she presents. Additionally, since the book contains a complete five-week meal plan, keeping it simple is key and therefore the basic recipes are necessary.
Though this book is not vegan, I would still recommend it for the diet information (not the philosophy behind it, just skip to the recipes) for someone who isn't politically motivated by veganism or vegetarianism, but wants to adopt some of those principles for a healthier lifestyle. I would want people to do something, which this book offers, rather than nothing if they couldn't do everything. It's not an "all-or-nothing" proposition to become healthier. Do something because every little thing counts. Less meat consumption, however it is achieved, is a positive in my book.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2009
I have been interested in vegetarian diet plans for many years but have found it hard to stick to 100%. Vegan? Forget it. But vegetarian is easier to follow and enjoyable for me. However, I found that I was one of those people who needed more protein and found vegetarian ptotein substitutes just didn't work for me. This book gave me the option to have the "on again, off again" veggie lifestyle that I was looking for. The science made a lot of sense, the plan is extremely easy to stick to and took out some of the "guilt" of being the almost-veggie that I've been for years. This is a great plan for people like me who want healthy options but want a wider variety of foods.
69 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2012
This book is for people who don't like to cook, newbies looking for information regarding a more vegetarian approach to eating, while weaning themselves from meat, and folks that aren't really worrying about cooking well balanced, healthy meals. The actual information in the book regarding healthy food choices, healthy fats and meat alternatives is informative to a beginner. What disappoints me is that I do cook strictly from fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I don't buy processed foods, ie;, comes out of a can, jar or box, with the exception of pasta. Based on reviews, I expected to find healthy recipes. Especially since the author promotes eating fruits and vegetables 3-4 servings each a day. What I found was a lot of recipes that included packaged, processed foods such as frozen waffles, whole grain bread (which if you know how to read a label is good), jarred salsa, etc. Most of the recipes were extremely simple, so if you don't know how to cook this could be a great book for you.
One recipe calls for 1 slice of tofu, olive oil, light canola mayonnaise, ketchup, sweet relish, hot sauce, whole grain bread, canned or refrigerated sauerkraut and a slice of swiss cheese. Where's the fresh fruit and vege's here. Oh yeah, the catsup is a fruit and sodium loaded sauerkraut is the vege.
How does the author guarantee the calorie count or nutritional levels when anyone can purchase a variety of food products to create this recipe. According to the author this has 499 calories, 27 g of fat, (very high for 1 meal) 8 of which is saturated, 33 mg cholesterol, 865 mg of sodium, 45 g of carbs, 5g of fiber and 25 g of protein.
Note to seller: I bought this book used, for $9.38. The seller did not remove the $2. price sticker that they paid when they bought it at a garage sale. The book was in excellent condition because the previous owner never looked at it. I will be donating this book to a thrift shop.