Think medically restricted diets are bland and boring? A grocery bag full of new cookbooks will make you eat your words.
Nutritionists at the National Institutes of Health say a healthful eating plan can help control high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, diabetes, heart disease and other common conditions and disorders. In the past, special diets meant steamed veggies, rubbery gelatin and dry, grilled chicken breasts.
Not anymore. These creative recipe collections are designed to appeal to discriminating palates with or without dietary limitations.
Caterer Stacey Harris was diagnosed with diabetes while training to be a pastry chef and thought her career and her lifelong love affair with desserts were over. She began experimenting with different combinations of flours and sweeteners, eliminating transfats and cutting milk and carbohydrates to create new recipes that satisfied her sweet tooth without compromising her health.
The result is "The Diabetic Pastry Chef: Because Everyone Deserves Sweets!" (Pelican, $24.95). Organized by goodie type, the collection features recipes for sour-cream pound cake, oatmeal peanut-butter chocolate chip cookies, sweet-potato pie, strawberry panna cotta and more than 100 other creative desserts.
The "Healthy Eating" cookbook series, published by Kyle Books, includes such titles as "Healthy Eating for IBS" (irritable bowel syndrome), "Healthy Eating For Prostate Care," "Healthy Dairy-Free Eating," "Healthy Eating During Menopause" and "Healthy Eating During Chemotherapy." Joining the series in February was "Healthy Eating For Your Heart" by Paul Gayler and Jacqui Lynas ($16.95). The books include diet and lifestyle information and recipes for everything from breakfast and brunch to soups and appetizers.
Named one of the 13 most influential restaurants of the 20th century by Bon Appetit magazine, Moosewood in Ithaca, N.Y., is known for sophisticated vegetarian cooking and its line of popular cookbooks. (The New York Times included the original Moosewood Cookbook in its list of the top 10 best-selling cookbooks of all time.)
"The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking For Health: More Than 200 New Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes for Delicious and Nutrient-Rich Dishes" (Simon & Schuster, $24.99), the latest offering from the Moosewood Collective, features more than 200 innovative, easy-to-prepare vegetarian, gluten-free, raw and vegan recipes.
"You Don't Have To Be Diabetic To Love This Cookbook: 250 Amazing Dishes for People With Diabetes and Their Families and Friends" (Workman Publishing Co., $19.95) by chef/restaurateur Tom Valenti, turns the burden of following a diabetic regimen into a celebration of food. Valenti, who was diagnosed with diabetes 14 years ago, entices taste buds with such offerings as salmon with leeks and caviar, mushroom and goat-cheese turnovers with arugula and beet salad, bananas Foster and mocha pots de creme.
Tuna casserole, meatloaf, pizza, tacos and apple pie as health food? "Symply Too Good To Be True: Over 150 Ways to Tasty, Low-Fat Healthy Recipes" (Symply Too Good Ltd., $19.95) by best-selling Australian cookbook author Annette Sym, is a compendium of reformulated comfort food recipes designed to help people manage diabetes and cholesterol levels.
This fall, Chronicle Books will release its first cookbook targeting a specific medical condition. "Blackbird Bakery: The Art of Gluten-Free Cooking" by Karen Morgan, is a collection of recipes for people with wheat allergies, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.
"These days, people are more and more aware of health and dietary issues," says Bill LeBlond, editorial director of food and wine at Chronicle Books. "They want to eat a diet that's better for them, but they still want it to taste great."
— McClatchy-Tribune News Service