Diet Cookbooks: What's Left After the Fad Passes?

Diet Cookbooks: What's Left After the Fad Passes?

Joanna Miller
Oct 4, 2008

We'll admit to having an occasional weakness for fad diet cookbooks, especially when it's something that falls in line with our already established eating preferences. Lots of vegetables and whole grains? OK. Fruit smoothies for breakfast? Sure. Daily glass of red wine? Yes, please.

Inevitably, though, our interest wanes or the plan becomes unmanageable and the books find their way back to the shelf. Some, we get rid of all together, but others are still good sources for recipes and tips, even if we're not following their eating plans.

My first diet cookbook (or "healthy eating plan cookbook") was Fit for Life, Harvey and Marilyn Diamond's 1985 manual for vegetable-centric eating that espouses, among other things, eating nothing but fruit before noon and never combining carbohydrates, meat and/or cheese in any one meal. I enjoyed following the plan, which never really felt like a diet, but a change in job and schedule made it impractical for me.

Eating nothing but fruit before noon was fine when I was making my own schedule and working from home, but it just didn't cut it when I made the switch to office life. And yet, to this day, I still like to start our day with a fruit smoothie. And I sometimes find myself craving some of the book's recipes like the vegetarian Shepherd's Pie, the Award-Winning Potato-Lover's Salad or the Cauliflower Toastie sandwich – essentially steamed cauliflower mashed together with chopped celery, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, slathered on whole-grain bread and grilled. Yum.

Skinny Bitch in the Kitch helped me quickly realize that vegan life wasn't for me, but also inspired me to start making my own vegetable-stuffed sushi rolls. The Red Wine Diet sounded great at first, but after about a week, when I found myself drinking a recommended daily glass of wine that I really didn't want, I knew it was time to quit that plan. And the cost of drinking wine every day? (The recommendations in the book aren't exactly Two-Buck Chuck) Just too much. But I'm still a fan of the book's Mediterranean-style recipes and healthy eating arguments.

How about you? Do you buy diet cookbooks? Which ones do you keep around?

Related: Diet Conscious: How Do You Keep Daily Meals Healthy?

(Image: Joanna Miller)

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