By Analiese Paik
Every once in a while I encounter a cookbook that’s worth sharing with sophisticated green eaters, and The Clean Plates Cookbook is one of them. (We shared their sustainable restaurant app earlier this month.) The first 8 chapters are packed with practical guidance on clean eating that begins with making plants the foundation of one’s diet rather than the typical American slab of meat. The authors do not espouse vegetarianism or veganism, rather they apply the best nutrition wisdom to a wide range of delicious foods and allow readers to make the best individual choices, an approach knows as bio-individualty. They preach “mindfulness and moderation” when consuming animal food and that includes avoiding factory farmed meat, poultry, and dairy products by choosing local, grass-fed and organic instead. Amen!
Starting with organic vegetables, authors Jarod Koch and Jill Silverman Hough proceed to share facts and advice on healthy and sustainable grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, fats, and sweeteners. The cookbook introduces readers to less common ingredients including coconut nectar, kefir, quinoa, spelt flour, coconut palm sugar and ancient grains like kamut and farro. Fish, meat and dairy are expertly covered in 10 pages and they should be bookmarked for kids and spouses.
Recipes begin in chapter 9 and range from making your own smoothies and sauerkraut (yes to fermented foods!) to incorporating the above-mentioned ingredients into well-loved recipes like muffins (Carrot Quinoa Muffins are a winner), pancakes, soups, dips, salads, and vegetable sides (Braised Greens with Nori anyone?), entrees and desserts. The sample menus at the end of the book are helpful for anyone trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet, but unsure how. I was happy to see protein-rich menus, something particularly important for adults who want to preserve and build muscle mass. I recommend that anyone over 40 read The Metabolism Miracle from the latest issue of from Prevention Magazine to learn more about the importance of working proteins into our meals throughout the day, especially when trying to safely lose weight (fat not muscle).
I experimented with a few of the recipes and not only do they work, they’re keepers. I’ve made the bok choy over and over because it’s so tasty. The carrot quinoa muffins have become a running joke in my house because my youngest took one look at the ingredients and turned his nose up while I was making them, then proceeded to eat them with gusto for breakfast and snack over the next few days. Flourless chocolate cake is something I learned to make in cooking school and I feel I have the best recipe in the world for it, so I made it with some trepidation. But it came out great and I really do need the recipe because I’ve learned that even using organic sugar in place of conventional can ruin a recipe. This one uses coconut palm sugar, an ingredient I had to hunt down in Whole Foods Market, but the effort was well worth it.
This is a cookbook every green eater should have, so we at the Fairfield Green Food Guide are sponsoring a giveaway. Enter to win a copy of The Clean Plates Cookbook by subscribing to our award-winning weekly e-newsletter that recaps the week’s news (all our blog posts summarized) plus upcoming events each Friday. Sign up on our Facebook page or using the link on our home page (see Stay Connected! graphic). One winner will be chosen randomly from our list of active, registered e-newsletter subscribers on July 3 and will be notified by email and phone (if provided). A second winner will be chosen if we do not hear back from the first winner within 48 hours. Good luck!