Review: Just Tell Me What to Eat!

by Erin

I’ve always been a believer in eating pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want it. But there’s a catch – most of the time these things enter my belly in moderation, and I try to work out for at least 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week. As a result I have maintained my weight throughout my life thus far and I’ve never truly been on any kind of diet (I went 3 months without fried food once, that’s as close as I got to a diet). What I’m trying to say is how and what you eat is a lifestyle, not a one-time-only 2 week solution. It’s like the Mad TV skit – “Eat Less, Move More”.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be scary or depressing, you just need knowledge of what to eat, instead of worrying about what foods to avoid. To address this, Emmy Award-winning chef-turned-physician Dr. Tim Harlan, AKA Dr. Gourmet is coming out with JUST TELL ME WHAT TO EAT! (June 2011; Da Capo Lifelong, ISBN 978-0-7382-1452-8; 320 pages; hardcover; $25.00), a 6-week program filled with recognizable, family-favorite meals, and realistic healthy options for those times when eating out and convenience foods are unavoidable.

Guess what? You can still eat that BBQ chicken pizza, fettucine alfredo, or sloppy joe. By focusing on making your meals from scratch you know what is going into your food. And if you are like me, cooking your own food can be a fun experience. Especially since he teaches you along the way about healthy eating and doesn’t shove it in your face all on day one. The weekly menus include health, nutrition and cooking info to fit into your schedule 4-6 night per week. And those leftovers from dinner? They make great lunches (I purposely cook more than I need at dinner for that very reason). But we all know that cooking every day of the week can get tiresome and you need a break. That’s why Dr. Harlan also gives suggestions on what to order when you don’t have the time or energy to cook and want someone else to cook it for you. Obviously he doesn’t include fast food as a going-out option, which isn’t a problem for me except that I need Taco Bell in my life sometimes (don’t judge me, it’s delicious).

Although there is no exercise plan laid out, he recommends that you strive for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Chose whatever activity gets you moving and keeps you from feeling like it’s a chore. Personally I like diversity. Changing things up prevents me from getting bored with working out. Some days I attend a spin class or core class at my gym. Other days I practice yoga or just go for a run. I even have a couple workout DVDs that I can do in my living room so I cannot use the excuse of bad weather preventing me from getting to the gym (which I’ve done a lot recently with the tornadoes and storms we’ve been having). Having a work-out buddy helps as well.

Overall, I think this is a great book and 6-week program that doesn’t truly end after 6 weeks, if you actually learned anything. Although I do not eat as much fish as he suggests (twice a week) and definitely eat too much cheese, but after trying some of his recipes I think I could happily dine from this book frequently. That being said, I do wish that the Breakfast options were more enticing. Breakfast is an important meal of the day.  I understand that the options he provides are quick and easy in order to convince people to not skip Breakfast, but it would be nice to have a good omelet or healthy pancake recipe in there, if only for weekends. For the person for which this book was written, I think they could benefit from such additions. Dinner shouldn’t be the only meal focused upon (although I confess that I probably spend hours a day dreaming up menus for dinner each night).

Two recipes from the book I tried and both Brent and I loved them:

Cajun Cheeseburgers

Fusilli with Smoked Gouda and Chicken

Am I a nerd for getting excited about the fact that I got to use my kitchen scale when preparing these meals?

1 comment

Nursing May 10, 2011 - 5:32 pm

These days I’ve been looking for articles on how to stay healthier, you just helped me in the correct direction, because I know nurses are underappreciated! I like your blog, I have it bookmarked now.


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