Monday, August 30, 2010

Book Review and Cardamom Scented Warm Slaw

This week and next week are going to be far more busy than usual. There are far too many appointments and errands lined up in the coming days. I should be able to find time to post everyday but in case I don’t I wanted you to know that I will be back as soon as I have a chance to catch my breath. I hope to be able to keep all my balls in the air but sometimes time gets away from me.

I wanted to start this post with a book review since I literally just finished reading it. The book needs to go back to the library so I needed to get it knocked out.

Book Review: The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged by Tosca Reno

Some of you know that I think Tosca Reno is a great role model for women our age. She is three years older than I am and looks like a million bucks, IMO. It is impossible to see her and not think she appears much more youthful than someone with a birthday in 1959. I appreciate her emphasis on whole foods and exercise to be healthy. She is not a vegetarian but she has a plan for vegans in her latest book which I was quite happy to see.

Her book is organized as follows:

1. The Eat-Clean Diet Principles
2. What to Expect
3. Breakfast – An Entire Chapter
4. The Basics of Metabolism
5. Hydration – The Power of Water
6. Reclaiming Your Life
7. Shopping Clean
8. Eating Clean On the Go
9. Eating Clean in Social Situations
10. Getting Started with Exercise
11. Cellulite, Loose Skin and Saggy Bits
12. Longevity
13. Making the Most of Superfoods
14. Meals and Grocery Shopping Lists
15. Recipes
16. Frequently Asked Questions
17. The Eat-Clean Diet at a Glance

Things I liked:

This is a substantial book coming in at 415 pages. The author covers many topics and does a nice job of sources many of the facts she tosses out. I really appreciate that she focuses on whole natural food. Her chapter on “Eating on the Go” is useful to anyone that finds themselves out of the house for extended periods of time. She offers some great prep ahead tips that any busy person would find useful. I think it is terrific that she gives options for various levels of weight loss as well as a family, vegan and gluten free plans. The grocery lists that are included are a nice addition. I love that the author is down on sugar and refined foods. I wanted to shout “you go girl” when she was outlining the problems with both. Overall I think her program is a sensible whole food based plan. But there are a few things I would tweak. You had to know that was coming. My husband doesn’t call me “The Nutrition Nazi” for nothing. ;-)

Things I find less than ideal:

I do not agree that animal products are healthy or that they can be part of a “healthy” diet. There is a lot of science out there that backs me up but most people are unable to give up the SAD. As you all know I am not a fan of adding oil to food and the author does (though not much) so as you would expect I am not fond of that aspect either. I was very surprised to see TVP mentioned positively as an option for vegans. *sigh* Seriously soy protein isolates are not good for anyone. I also disagree with relying on protein powder. Finally my gut reaction reading the book was the author was pushing too much protein. However, when I looked at the sample meal plan for vegans it actually didn’t seem out of line so I am probably being a little harsh on this aspect. ;-)

In conclusion:

To be fair this book promotes itself as a way to lose weight not get healthy. In my mind it doesn’t matter what you weigh if you aren’t healthy which is the why the two ideas go together for me. This book focuses on food and not exercise. There is some discussion of exercise but it is in the periphery. I agree completely with the author that diet is 80% of being healthy with the remaining 20% being evenly split between training and genetics. I am not trying to suggest that exercise isn’t important only that nutrition has a greater overall impact. The authors overall approach to whole food (not refined processed garbage) is very refreshing and I think would benefit most people. Now if only we could get her to go vegan. ;-)

Monday, Monday:

Why are Monday mornings always so hectic? No matter how much I have gotten ready the evening before Mondays always have a frenetic rhythm all their own. After I made fresh veggie and fruit juice for Dan, his breakfast and packed his lunch I was almost awake, LOL. I used the end of the carrots in his juice this morning so I walked to the grocery store before it got too hot. Our fall weather has disappeared and summer has returned. It was 90 degrees by 11 am was 95 when I checked at 5pm.

This morning I opted to do a little step aerobics for cardio instead of heading outside. With the heat outside staying inside made the more sense today. After exercising it was time for my breakfast. With the heat outside I decided a smoothie would be nice but had no idea what I wanted. It ended up being what I saw when I opened the refrigerator. I would have added kale this morning but our refrigerator is packed and I didn’t feel like digging it out. Can you say lazy? ;-)

My smoothie this morning contained the following: 2 tablespoons oats (grind into flour first if not using a high powered blender), 1 tablespoon chia seeds (for omega 3’s), 1 peach, 1 frozen banana, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger, 2 frozen strawberries, water and ice to taste. I always add cinnamon and ginger to my smoothies. Cinnamon helps the body process the sugar found naturally in the fruit. Powdered ginger is known to be anti-inflammatory. Both cinnamon and ginger also add antioxidants and flavor the smoothie in a way that I particularly like.

Lunch was a bit of leftover brown rice topped with the tomato artichoke sauce from last night. I have been saving the leftover lasagna for Dan to have for lunch since he likes it much more than I do.

To accompany the rice dish I lightly warmed the curried bean dish I made yesterday and had it on top of shredded romaine and topped it with yellow tomato and cashews. I liked the curried beans and shitakes on salad. Since Dan is at work I don’t know what he thought of it. But he will let me know if it isn’t one of his favorites. ;-)

For my afternoon snack I had my usual frozen grapes.I also added a few walnuts (unpictured). This was washed down with iced green tea with powdered ascorbate C.

Today I decided to make one of my favorite foods, warm cabbage slaw with apples. This is one of those dishes that could eat any time of day I just love it. Cabbage is one of those comfort foods for me. I also like knowing that it is filling, nutritious (especially when raw or lightly cooked) and low in calories. This is a dish you can eat mountains of and not put on weight. ;-) To make this serious comfort food serve it with potatoes. Here is how I made it:

Cardamom Scented Warm Slaw
Serves 6


½ large yellow onion, thinly sliced (allow to stand 10 minutes)
½ inch fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup water
3 carrots, julienned
6 cups thinly sliced cabbage (about ½ head)
1 crisp apple, julienned
¼ cup dried fruit (could be golden raisins, julienned apricots, julienned pineapple or julienned pear, I used pear)
cardamom, to taste (I used about ¼ teaspoon)
stevia, to taste (if you think it needs to be more sweet than sour)
2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal for garnish


Cook the onions, ginger and carrot in the vinegar and water. Add the cabbage after two or three minutes and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. You want the cabbage to still have some body to it so that it retains more nutrition. The apple and dried fruit at added for the last minute of cooking. Season with cardamom and stevia to taste. The stevia is optional if you prefer this dish to be more sweet than sour. Top with green onions when you serve it.


Amount Per Serving
Calories - 73.14
Calories From Fat (4%) - 2.74

Total Fat - 0.33g
Saturated Fat-  0.06g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium-  43.75mg
Potassium - 416.44mg
Total Carbohydrates - 17.59g
Fiber - 3.9g
Sugar - 8.51g
Protein - 1.74g


As you can see this stuff has a ridiculously low amount of calories. If you are not a fan of cardamom you can flavor this with fennel seeds, poppy seeds or caraway seeds any of them would work. If you use the fennel or caraway I would leave out the ginger.

If you want to make this a meal serve it over sweet potatoes. It would also be good with a cooked whole grain or soft polenta.

Dinner tonight:

Dan is still swamped at work and ended up getting home later than I like to eat a big meal. I had a plate of the warm slaw to keep my hunger under control until he got home (pictured above). Once he got home we had a salad with: shredded romaine, shredded kale, cucumber, red bell pepper, fat free roasted red pepper hummus, shredded carrot, a few falafel from the freezer and a drizzle of cashew crème fraiche that I always keep on hand in the refrigerator in a squirt bottle. I also added a few raw sunflower seeds because I like the texture on salad.


I have a number of things on my agenda tomorrow. Given my schedule I know I won’t be on-line until later in the day.

I hope everyone had the best Monday possible. Initially I wrote I hope everyone had a good Monday but really is there such a thing? ;-) Talk to you all again tomorrow.


  1. I'm curious as to what you think is an appropriate amount of protein? I find that without using soy products I can't even come close to the lowest recommended amount.

  2. She Woke Up,

    I believe that protein needs are a bit individual. In general I think Americans overestimate how much protein they actually need. I know my protein is fine when I am maintaining or building muscle (depending on how I am working out) and my nails are strong. Those are the measures I use. Also if you are tall person (which translates into more muscle mass) you will need more protein.

    Legumes are something we eat most days because they are a good veggie source of protein. The same goes for dark leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and quinoa. In general I get anywhere from 40 to 60 grams per day and that is fine for me. But I am only 5' 2 1/2".

    I would say calculate your lean body mass (I use a scale that gives fat %), and then start a food journal. If you are working out to build muscle and you are getting adequate protein you should see a small gain in a month. Muscle gains are slow you should not expect to gain much more than a pound of muscle at a time. Did that help at all?


  3. Thanks for the review on the book. I didn't know she even addressed a vegan diet. I agree with you, the woman looks freaking awesome!

  4. Heather,

    I was shocked Tosca had a vegan option in her book. I grabbed it from the library because I think she is so inspirational for older gals like myself. I have her earlier book on training and the first Eat Clean diet book. In terms of diet and background science this one is the much better. It is hard to argue with her results. ;-)


  5. Thank you for warm coleslaw idea. I have too much cabbage in the fridge and was running out of ideas what to do with them. That decides it.

  6. VLD,

    I frequently have too much cabbage in the frig too. That is probably where the original idea came from. ;-)


  7. I love Tosca, too. I have always been against getting too much protein, but sometimes I wonder - the bodybuilders look great, but this 47 year old vegetarian (for 30 years) doesn't, even though I lift weight consistently! The bodybuilding books recommend 1 gram of protein for every pound of (desired) body weight. For me that means 100 grams, and even more for a taller person. Can't even imagine trying to get that much - I hate supplements and fake soy food, too.

  8. I keep hearing that soy products are not good for you...looks like I am going to have to do some research. I haven't made anything with cabbage yet. I used to not like cabbage, but I think I will give your recipe a looks delicious. I say used to because I haven't really tried it since I became vegan. Oh, I tried ginger in my smoothie this morning because of you. :o) I liked it, but forgot the cinnamon...darn. I will be sure and put both tomorrow. :o)

  9. Susan G,

    I think Tosca said 0.36grams of protein per lb (not sure if it was total body weight or lean body mass). But that seems much more reasonable than most. If you are working out heavy and not building muscle maybe you should add more beans. That would be what I would do. ;-) I love to use myself as a "lab rat" as my husband calls it. That man has a way with words, LOL.

    Fake food is something I feel really strongly about. If it doesn't grow that way or I can't make it I don't want it on my plate. :-P Nice to know I am not alone.


  10. Michelle,

    Whole soy food is fine, in fact it is good for you. But fake soy food is another matter completely. It elevates IGF-1 and has been linked to tumor growth. That is why I won't eat it. Additionally it is a chemical cocktail which I find unappealing. It is everywhere in processed vegan and vegetarian food. Look at the labels for fake dairy and meat it is in most brands though some to try hide it by calling it soy protein or other non specific names. I make my own seitan or cheeze instead so I know what is in it.

    Glad you liked the ginger in your smoothie, good and good for you as I like to say. ;-)

    Cabbage is a bit of an acquired taste I think. I prefer it warm and slightly wilted, it seems to soften the flavor. :-) I hope you like it that way too.


  11. The food looks good; especially those chickpeas and that slaw.

  12. Rose,

    Thanks! I really like warm slaw, though it isn't traditional. The flavor of the cabbage softens when it is warm I think.

    As Dan said the curried beans on the salad turned out "odd but good". That is a fair description. It certainly isn't traditional. LOL ;-)


  13. I wonder sometimes if an author's message can get twisted a little bit to be something that publishers or producers think will sell. I would hope that accounts for the conflation of being healthy and losing weight. Maybe I'm just being too optimistic?

  14. she is beautiful! you are right about that. also about the fact that she thinks that a little animal protein is ok in a healthy diet, i feel like some people just cant cut the "apron strings" and fall back on "everything in moderation is ok"

  15. "I would have added kale this morning but our refrigerator is packed and I didn’t feel like digging it out. Can you say lazy? ;-)"

    oh ALicia!! lol that is lazy!...and im guilty too:(

    "I have been saving the leftover lasagna for Dan to have for lunch since he likes it much more than I do."

    very sweet ♥ , we'll do that too with our fav foods. sometimes we try so hard to get the other person to eat it that its goes bad,lol.really! we both love dolmas and we had to throw the last one out. losers or lovers?:)

    "This is a dish you can eat mountains of and not put on weight. ;-) "

    my kind of dish! maybe without the apples though for me. i know you have like half a ton to use though!

  16. Jessica,

    That is a very nice thought and it may be the case for many books but probably not this time since I think her husband is the publisher. But it could still be a business decision. Veganism seems to have a stigma attached to it that I don't understand. Most North Americans think veganism is on the fringe. It is a shame veganism is veiwed in such a "granola" way.


  17. Michelle,

    I cringe everyime I hear the "everything in moderation" used. It seems to obvious to me that if something bad happens (like cancer or heart disease) that it is going to take drastic changes to turn it around. Why that is so hard for others I have no idea.

    Tosca is crazy fit you can't take that away from her. It is fascinating to me that she didn't start lifting until she was 40 and at that time she was overweight.


  18. Michelle,

    I know it was lazy LOL I was a bit ashamed of myself but that is real life. Sometimes it is just too much work to dig things out early in the morning. Thanks for letting me know you do that too. ;-)

    Dan LOVES lasagna. He got the end of it today in his lunch. Somehow I don't think it will ever go bad at our house.

    The slaw dish is good, you should try it. You don't like apples? I would suggest you add something else sweet since the dish is meant to be a little sweet and sour.

    talk to you later,

  19. I love the cardamon scented slaw! I also enjoy reading your book reviews. I am becoming more scientifically oriented myself:)

  20. Aimee,

    I prefer warm slaw to cold, I guess I am just a little odd. ;-) and ... you know my love of cardamom, LOL.

    Thanks for the book review compliment. I appreciate it.

    Oddly I was never scientific before the cancer. I ran away from science classes in high school and college. Now I kick myself for skipping them.

    talk to you later,

  21. Ali,
    Thanks for all the work you have done with your blog! It is awesome...I am just starting the E2L business..I have to go through the withdrawal from Sad seems like you can eat a lot of you gain weight easily or does this way of eating solve that problem?

    You ought to put your posts in a are an amazing writer and scientist...heh Coco

  22. Coco,

    Thank you for your kind words. I am glad I can help.

    Withdrawal will take a little while. I think I missed my SAD foods with about 6 - 8 weeks, it was much easier after that. I still think about them, but now I don't actually crave them because I know how unhealthy they are. Having that knowledge makes it much easier to resist those foods.

    I can't eat all the food Dr. F recommends in his books. But I am only 5' 2 1/2" tall. It isn't that I would gain weight, just that there isn't enough room in my stomach for all that produce. My husband needs to eat extra nuts and seeds to keep from losing weight. I can't imagine anyone gaining weight on this program if they follow it. However when we were doing the 90/10 thing that didn't work well. Our 10% was always much more and didn't result in the blood pressure and total cholesterol we wanted. The 10% is supposed to be calories not volume and I think that is how people get into trouble since unhealthy foods are much more calorie dense so a tiny amount of it can easily exceed 10%. I hope that made sense.

    If you have any other questions as you progress through E2L don't hesitate to ask. If I know the answer I will share.

    thanks again,


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