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Old 09-17-2011, 12:18 AM   #1
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Should I buy a cook book to eat healthier?

I am an amateur cook. I don't really know too much, but I'd like to learn how to cook simple healthy meals. I was wondering if a cook book would teach me how to do that. Learn what products to buy, and how to prepare nutritional dishes,etc. I just want to eat healthier. Every single time I go to my local supermarket, I wander the aisles for hours never knowing what to buy because I simply do not know what to eat. I've recently started buying strictly whole grain and I think thats good but I can't live off of whole grain bread and whole grain spaghetti. That is just unacceptable. I just want to learn how to prepare great meals. Every time I go to my local Applebee's, I wish I could create something as delicious as what they serve there.

A usual dinner for me consists of Mashed Potato's with a side of smoked salmon. A usual breakfast consists of a bowl of organic cereal. I just don't think thats enough at all..


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Old 09-17-2011, 01:23 AM   #2
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Google: Dash Eating Plan

It is free and a good place to start.

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Old 09-17-2011, 11:33 AM   #3
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Eliminate heavily processed foods with tons of unrecognizable ingredients.

Make fresh vegetables (or frozen) the largest part of your meals. Whole food, or food in its natural form is best for you, so try to stick to foods that are as close to being what they were naturally to begin with, not processed with a lot of unnatural ingredients.

Choose healthy fats like olive oil, and replace unhealthy fats with that. When you want butter, eat butter not margarine, margarine still in most cases has hydrogenated fats in it (even when they tout "no trans fats per serving").

You are on the right track with whole grains. Shop the perimeter of the store, that is where you find the fresh meat, fresh veg, fresh dairy etc. Go down the aisles just to supplement what you have already bought.

If you are looking for cookbooks, go to a book store and grab a bunch and sit down with them, find some that have recipes along the lines of fresh wholesome foods, not fad diets. Buy the ones that have recipes that you are most likely to make.

The easiest way and cheapest way to find recipes is online.
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Old 09-17-2011, 12:29 PM   #4
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A healthy eating cookbook can help you learn the basics while giving you good recipes to eat. You can add to that by searching the internet and sticking around here.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:23 PM   #5
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I could tout what I've learned over the years. But a good nutritionist, and reputable online sites can help you learn the types of foods that will give your body what it needs.

Stick around here to learn how to cook them, and put them together to make delicious meals. But beware, we are food lovers and have been known to post a recipe or two that isn't so healthy, but tastes really good.

But, that being said, there are some very knowledgeable people on this site who do know how to make healthy meals that are truly great, even gourmet. And don't forget to move that body. active people process foods that they eat so much better than do sedentary people. Our bodies are designed for running, working, and playing hard, not for watching TV.

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Old 09-17-2011, 03:35 PM   #6
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About 3 months ago, after losing two close family members to cancer, and one other to heart disease, my wife and I made a commitment to trying to eat healthier. I started by reading every book on the subject I could find. Mostly I wanted to see if there was any consensus on what exactly constituted a healthy diet.

Just a few tips I can offer. These have all helped me.
  • Eat LOTS of fresh veggies, and eat things with a variety of color. What you'll start to notice after time is that many foods of similar color contain similar nutrients. So eat leafy greens, red tomatoes, purple foods like beets, eggplants, and cabbages, and yellow/orange foods like squash and carrots.
  • Veggies can be made more filling by drizzling a little olive or walnut oil over the top. Buy good quality finishing oil for topping foods. They are usually less processed and more nutrient rich.
  • Cut down on red meat in general. If you like it, you don't have to cut it out entirely, but make veggies the star, and think of meat more of a side dish. (This also saves a ton of money). My wife and I eat about 4 oz of beef a week. And when we have it, I prefer grass fed beef, as it contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than corn fed. Yes, we DO eat steak, just not very often, and not a big slab of it.
  • Buy eggs that state on the carton that they are omega-3 fortified.
  • Cut down on cheese and dairy.
  • Eat lots of fish - especially fatty, cold water varieties. Salmon is a good example. Herring is also good. Try to avoid species with high levels of Mercury. Again, we eat fish probably three times a week.
  • Take vitamin supplements as added insurance. In our house, we take fish oil (for the omega-3's), flaxseed oil, vitamin C, vitamin B, and a generic daily vitamin supplement.
  • When dining out, order off the appetizer menu, or share an entree with a friend. Restaurants can be real diet killers, since they all tend to super-size their portions. One place we eat a lot is Ruby Tuesday. They have a pretty good salad bar, and you can pair it up with sides of ala carte veggie items.
  • Don't obsess over food and don't feel guilty about over-eating once in awhile. If you focus on putting as much healthy food as you can into your daily routine, everything will fall into place.
  • Don't forget to excercise!
Maybe this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but so far it's really paid off for my wife and I. In just a short time, we both feel 1000% better than we used to and have lost over 30 lbs between the two of us, all without doing what I would call "dieting". I'm never hungry, which is the problem I always had with traditional diets.

One source I've found to be pretty good is this one:
The World's Healthiest Foods

If you sign up for the email subscription service, you will get a new recipe idea sent to you every day.
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:05 PM   #7
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As a general rule of thumb, the closer it is to nature the better it is for you. For example, a fresh carrot is better for you than one that is flash frozen and put in a single serving dish. A raw piece of chicken breast is healthier than one that is breaded, stuffed and precooked.

There are lots of good simple recipe books out there, look for ones that have lots of fresh veggies in them.

Avoid words like, "refined" "processed" "bleached" and look for "whole"
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:06 PM   #8
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Oh... and avoid white flour, white rice, and white pasta. These foods hit your bloodstream almost as quickly as if you ate pure sugar and result in a huge insulin surge. On top of that, they leave you feeling hungry much more quickly.

Try to eat whole grains and foods with a lower glycemic index. They take longer to digest and don't overwhelm your system like refined foods do.
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:25 PM   #9
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Some major grocery stores have nutritionists on staff. Their advice is free. They are a great resource for recommending a shopping list, menu, and recipes. We have HyVee here, a nurse friend with cholesterol issues speaks very highly of their nutritionist and has gotten great ideas.
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:36 PM   #10
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A problem with healthier cooking cookbooks is many are problem-specific (diabetic, heart disease, weight loss) and many are too extreme or "preach" a specific way of life that may not be practical for you. Are you cooking just for yourself, or a family? You really don't seem to have a specific goal in mind, so rather than buying a specific cook-book, I'd say to visit web sites. This one has a health and nutrition and many other threads. For example, if you're planning on a meal for tomorrow or in the next few days, look to the specific category of what you have in mind, and many of us will chime in with recipes using what you're thinking of buying. Don't get me wrong, I love cookbooks, have well over 100, and, yes, some are health-oriented.

But a lot of things are "baby steps." Salmon and potatoes are both good. But how much salmon, how much mashed potatoes, and where is the green?

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