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Cooking the RealAge Way: Turn back your biological clock with more than 80 delicious and easy recipes Hardcover – June 3, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Roizen and La Puma, who previously joined forces on The RealAge Diet, feature more than 80 recipes full of fresh produce and whole grains. As Roizen originally posited in 1999's RealAge, biological age can differ from chronological age; here the authors argue that eating certain types of foods, particularly healthy fats, whole grains and vegetables and fruits, will slow, halt or even reverse the aging process. (Eating an ounce of nuts per day, for example, "keeps the average 55-year-old man 3.3 years younger.") The authors encourage readers to increase their "Kitchen IQ"-purchasing and using a steamer, "retraining" themselves to like healthy fats and preparing more than one meal at time are a few of the strategies. Divided by season, and prefaced by a comprehensive explanation of the healthiest foods available at different times of year, the book includes recipes such as Roasted Pepper and Fresh Mozzarella Panini, Cajun Couscous-Crusted Monkfish and Apricot Breakfast Polenta. Information about healthy cooking methods and uses for produce, herbs and spices are also incorporated. The book is repetitive in spots (that handful of nuts reappears often) and the authors are not specific enough about the studies they reference. They may also underestimate the ease of getting the family on board, and their recommendations for eating out-bring fresh vegetables to snack on, have your dishes specially prepared-may be a trifle unrealistic. Little mention is made of the role exercise can, and should, play in a healthy lifestyle, and red-meat lovers are out of luck. Buy for the healthy and very appealing recipes; consider skimming the text, which makes big promises and seems to turn a blind eye to the inevitability of natural aging.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be? He is the chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic and chairman of the Wellness Institute.
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One feature of this volume that is kind of cool is a web site that provides for readers to assess their "Real Age." Basic questions on diet and life style produce an estimate of Real Age. It doesn't take that long and focuses one's attention on what you need to be doing. Much of this people already know, but it is a powerful mechanism--finding out Real Age--to make one focus on what you're not doing that you know you should be doing as much as feeling good about yourself for what you are doing right.
Some features of the book. . . . Pages 12-16 summarize the basic principles of eating right. Several chapters examine your kitchen--what should be in it and why? Nice aspects of this include what should go into "The Well Stocked RealAge Pantry." For the cooks among readers, Chapter 5 discusses best practices in Real Age cooking.
For those interested in actually doing the cooking, recipes that appear in chapter 9 will be of special interest. The book organizes recipes by season--from spring to winter. Examples? A spring dish might be Shiitake mushroom and asparagus frittata with smoked salmon and a winter dish might be rich and spicy black bean soup.
The book closes out with discussions of what ought to go into a RealAge garden, what herbs and spices make the most sense, and so on.
While much of what a person reads here is well known, there are some interesting twists, as already noted.
Cons: The recipes only occupy the second half of the book. They are organized by season, so if you want to look at breakfast dishes, for example, you need to flip backwards and forwards through the book as they are located in multiple places.
The first half of the book assumes you are a complete idiot from Mars, and is taken up with pages and pages of detailed descriptions of every conceivable kitchen tool and how to use it. If you have never used a corkscrew, purchased a cooking pot, or handled a pancake turner, this is the book for you. The authors proceed in the same fashion with their list of required "pantry" items. The list goes on for a seeming eternity, describing everything you never thought you would have to be told about salt, pepper, flour, rice, and other pantry staples.
Another gripe is about the recipes themselves. After extensive intros extolling the goal of simplifying meal preparation by use of simple methods and few ingredients, I find many of the recipes have too many ingredients and doubtful prep times. For example, a recipe with a prep time of 10 minutes may list ten different ingredients, many of which require washing, chopping, peeling, mixing, as well as grilling and other stove-top work. Not to mention the shopping, since you may not happen to have the 6 kalamata olives and 1 tablespoon of fresh basil in your pantry.
About one third of the book is taken up with pages and pages of dubious questionaires about your lifestyle choices and their supposed effect on your "real age." All of these questionaires are listed not once, but TWICE, effectively increasing the annoyance factor by tenfold, as well as doubling the weight of the book.
The basic premise of following a Mediterranean type diet seems to be upheld by dietary studies. But the "real age" concept (eg. eat 12 tablespoons of some ingredient 4 times per month will reduce your "real age" by say, 5 years) seems mainly an attention-getting device. Every recipe in the book is accompanied by a "real age" effect - eat this recipe 6 times per year and reduce your "real age" by, say, 2.7 years.
The book would be more effective by slimming down by about two thirds, simply extolling the virtues of a Mediterranean diet, cutting out all the questionaires, kitchen and pantry sections, and simply focusing on the recipes.
I probably should have returned it, but I'm terrible at making returns. I would not recommend this cookbook to a friend. I purchased it about 5 years ago and have not used it once.
NOTE I tend to like EASY to do things that are also common sense "brilliant"
and healthy, It's been fun going back and doing things right..I've ventured off into new areas of changing for the better because of this.