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The Ultimate Smoothie Book: 101 Delicious Recipes for Blender Drinks, Frozen Desserts, Shakes, and More! Paperback – August 1, 2001
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Of the two subjects of this review, the first, `The Smoothies Bible' is clearly the better book. In fact, it is also clearly superior to a similar book by the same publisher, `The Blender Bible' which has many fine attributes, but which simply does not stack up to the `Bible' title.
`The Smoothies Bible' includes everything that makes it deserve its honorific title. The most important aspect of the book's organization is that it looks at all sides of smoothie making and even gives us a lot more information on blender use than `The Blender Bible'.
The book begins with an excellent two page `Guidelines to Good Health' with a brief on what one should eat and especially what we should avoid such as white sugar and flour, red meat, shellfish, excess salt, coffee and strong tea, and excess alcohol. I simply do not agree with the bans on flour, shellfish, red meat, coffee and strong tea.
I believe unbleached flour is simply too important an ingredient, in reasonable amounts, as a source of gluten in yeast breads to ban entirely. The stricture against shellfish is not based on the animal but on contaminants it may pick up. This is something that may not be true of all shellfish and it may improve as time goes on. I suspect the benefits of carefully selected shellfish outweigh the dangers. I feel one or two four ounce portions of red meat a week, especially for women (source of iron), is a good thing (I am especially wary of soy as a substitute for meat on seeing some warnings on soy products for some eaters in Ms. Calbom's book. It seems that there is simply no concoction on the face of this earth that has not dangers for anyone.) On coffee and tea, I believe the final jury is still out and the weight of informed opinion on something as simple as caffeine is still flipping back and forth with each new study.
I am not an expert nutritionist, but I always wonder about certain health claims for some regimens since I have never once heard from a family doctor that I should burn all my beef recipes, eat lots of seaweed, and drink pureed, cooked rhubarb, as the authors of these books seem to suggest. I am a strong believer in the value of moderation and variety. If you avoid eating a lot of any one thing and eat a wide variety of all sorts of foods, I believe you simply cannot go wrong.
But, If you buy into the superior properties of certain foods, `The Blender Bible' gives you the very best rundown of how to make the best of these foods. It continues with an `The A to Z of Smoothies' which advises us on all the different types of smoothies and how they fit into a healthy diet.
The second major section on `Health Conditions' offers us an index to the smoothies that are best suited as an adjunct to the treatment of 63 different common conditions. And, most of these conditions are pretty common and some, such as Anemia, Constipation, Diarrhea, Flatulence, Hangover, Heartburn, Hypoglycemia, Indigestion, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Overweight, Peptic Ulcers, and Water Retention may even be effectively aided by this book's recommendations. I single these out because most are directly or indirectly related to our gastrointestinal or circulatory systems, which can be quickly influenced by what we eat. Each of these 63 sections contains a brief description of the problem, general food recommendations for the problem, general suggestions on how much to eat and drink of selected items, and one or more, usually several, smoothie recipes for relieving the condition or its symptoms. From what I can see, the book is pretty careful about recommending that one rely heavily on a doctor's advice for most of the conditions.
The next section is `Ingredient Profiles' which I find interesting, but just a bit more doctrinaire than the rest of the book. Of the 76 herbs, I commonly stock or use 24, and I have no interest whatsoever in tracking down sources for the other 52 to put into my smoothies. I also disagree with a few of the health claims for some ingredients, such as when the author states that carob is healthier than chocolate, which is another of those things whose nutritional reputation is on the rise.
I really like the smoothie recipes in this book, as they are simple and contain both English and Metric units. Important since many smoothie ingredients are liquid and metric liquid measurement is far easier to double or half than English units.
`The Ultimate Smoothie Book' simply does not deserve its title when compared to Crocker's `Bible'. Three things were especially annoying. The first was that the author used the book to push her juicing products and slant the smoothie recipes toward using output from a juicer. The second was that there were several simple grammatical errors in the text. Not acceptable from a major house such as Warner Books. The third suspicious content was the fact that potassium and some other nutrients was given as a major benefit for practically every other ingredient. While this may be true, it is unhelpful when you are looking for the very best food for potassium (probably bananas). Ms. Calbom's smoothie recipes are good with elaborate nutritional analyses, but not as clearly written as Ms. Crocker's `Bible'. I recommend Calbom's `Ultimate' book only if you have a good juicer and like using it.