Now Eat This! Diet [Review]

Image Courtesy of the publisher

I was thrilled on Thursday when I received a lovely package from Grand Central Publishing that included two books I had requested by Rocco DiSpirito, Now Eat This! Diet and Now Eat This! 100 Quick Calorie Cuts.

I’ll be honest in saying that Rocco is not one of my favorite celebrity chefs — no disrespect, but I prefer the likes of Hubert Keller, Rick Bayless, and Alton Brown — slightly less GQ-stylin’ than Rocco. That said, I do love his show on Bravo, Rocco’s Dinner Party, and so when I saw the books touted on the GCP Tumblr, I contacted the publicist to see if review copies were available. Lucky me, they were.

I read the Now Eat This! Diet on the LIRR yesterday as I trekked out to Glen Cove. (It’s really only an hour-long journey.)

The forward by Dr. Oz, and Rocco’s introduction really prepare readers (and dieters) for what to expect — good, normal food that’s cooked healthfully. I can’t stand diets that push their own products. Part of what I love about my plan is that while they have their frozen and pre-prepared products, 99% of the time, I’m cooking for myself.

In his introduction Rocco said something I really agreed with, “My Italian instincts tell me that you need to love what you eat and enjoy preparing it, sharing it, and talking about it to the fullest.” My instincts may be more grounded in my Jewish background as opposed to his Italian, but I find that if you don’t love the food, starting with the base ingredients in a dish, then you’re not going to love the meal. I will always love food, because I’m passionate about cooking, but because I love and savor the flavors of the dishes I prepare, I can practice healthy eating habits in any given setting.

Rocco starts his book by explaining his diet, and its crash-course 14-day plan. He shares the science behind it, which makes good enough sense, but then, on a more practical level, outlines sample menus for the plan, with a sample shopping list.

The most helpful chapters for those who are looking to learn the basics, are chapters 5 and 6. Chapter 5 goes over the must-have ingredients, things you may already stock in your kitchen, and things you may have never used before. The only product in Chapter 5 that I simply have no interest in buying, as a result of a bad experience in college, is Shiritaki Noodles. I simply have no taste for them.

Before the recipes start, he also includes sections on skills (Chapter 6) — which includes a great step-by-step instructional on chopping onions — as well as chapters one eating out and exercise.

I’d like to save some room to review the Now Eat This! 100 Quick Calorie Cuts, but I’d like to share some recipes that are on my to-cook list for this week:

  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes (pg. 221) – I love that Rocco used cauliflower in this recipe to lighten up the classic mashed potato recipe. He lightens up the recipe to 101 calories, and 1/2 gram of fat per serving.
  • Spicy Sweet Linguine alla Vodka (pg. 189) – I love vodka sauce, but I know how unhealthy it is. Rocco gives this Italian dish a makeover by using Greek yogurt instead of cream, and opts for whole wheat linguine as opposed to standard white-flour noodles.
  • Blueberry Graham Cheesecake Oatmeal (pg. 138) – Many healthy food bloggers blog about their breakfasts, and oatmeal is a popular choice. They often dress up their oats, like Cassie did here, and Rocco’s recipe for Blueberry Graham Cheesecake Oatmeal sounds delicious. Here again we find use of Greek yogurt (a personal favorite), as well as cream cheese (reduced fat).

Image courtesy of the publisher

Now, onto the Now Eat This! 100 Quick Calorie Cuts. Like it says in its title, it’s quick. But definitely helpful. My first favorite in the book, which has similar explanations of the diet as are found in Now Eat This! Diet, can be found on page 19, “Rocco’s Favorite Cheeses.” In the shredded/crumbled variety, he even gives a hat-tip to Weight Watchers’ shredded reduced-fat blends. I’ll be honest in saying that while I love 0% fat dairy like Greek yogurt and milk, I prefer reduced fat, low-moisture cheeses to their nonfat versions. Especially in feta. I am not a fan of fat-free feta. The rest of the book is fairly common-sense, but I would say that the workplace tips might be more helpful than the “at home” tips.

If you’re looking for a good guide to cutting calories in a way that doesn’t disrupt your day-to-day life, then I recommend checking out Rocco’s books, Now Eat This! 100 Quick Calorie Cuts and Now Eat This! Diet.

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