Recipes and lifestyle advice are in Dr. Greger “How Not to Diet”

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Gail Ciampa
 
| The Providence Journal

There’s no lack of diet talk at this time of year. Even a pandemic can’t stop the flood of cookbooks that promise to help us start the year right to eat better and slim down.

Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. has written “The How Not to Diet Cookbook: 100+ Recipes for Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss.” He describes it as an “evidence-based” weight loss book.  It comes with more than 100 recipes, from Robin Robertson, to facilitate more healthful cooking.

A nutrition expert, founder of nutritionfacts.org and author of “How Not to Die,” Greger’s recommendations and strategies are densely explained.  They address dealing with calories, gut health, metabolism, circadian rhythms and more. Then they are summarized at the end of each chapter. You can look up the research that relates to each one.

Greger himself describes some of the strategies as scientific slam dunks and some as less certain. If you wish not to follow some advice, don’t, he writes.

His “Tweaks” suggest what to do at each meal. They include preloading with water and negative calorie foods; incorporating vinegar; having undistracted meals; and following a 20-minute rule that says eat and move on. He details the science relating to each one. 

He advocates taking daily doses of things ranging from black cumin and garlic powder to nutritional yeast and green tea. Every night, his recommendations including fasting after 7 p.m. and getting sufficient sleep.

I could go on and on, but you can check out the book published by Flatiron Books last month ($29.99).

You can tune in to The Providence Journal’s Facebook page for a live interview with Greger by Journal partner Robin Kall Homonoff. She’ll always be “Reading with Robin” to me from her local talk-radio program that launched her career.

She is happy to add reader questions to her interview. You can email her at robin@robinkall.com.

Robin’s chat with Greger is scheduled for Jan. 25 at 5:45 p.m. See you there.

In the meantime, here are some recipes from the book to try.

THREE SISTERS STEW

1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds), halved lengthwise

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

1 cup Light Vegetable Broth (see recipe) or water

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 large red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch dice

1 small fresh hot chile, seeded and minced, or 1 (4-ounce) BPA-free can salt-free chopped mild green chiles, drained

1 (14-ounce) BPA-free can salt-free diced tomatoes, undrained

3 cups cooked* or 2 (15-ounce) BPA free cans salt-free pinto beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Super-Charged Spice Blend (see recipe)

Ground black pepper

¼ cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Scrape out the seeds and fibers from the squash, then cut the squash into 1½-inch dice. Evenly spread the diced squash in a single layer on the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with the onion powder and paprika; then roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until just tender but not completely soft. (You should be able to pierce through a piece of squash with a knife and get a little resistance.) Set aside.

Heat the Light Vegetable Broth in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and chile and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes with their liquid, pinto beans, corn, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Season with Super-Charged Spice Blend and ground black pepper to taste. Add the roasted squash and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently until all the vegetables are tender and the flavors have developed, about 20 minutes. The stew should be thick, but if it thickens too much, add a little more broth. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve hot.

MAKES: 6 servings

SUPER-CHARGED SPICE BLEND

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 teaspoons ground thyme

2 teaspoons mustard powder

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground black cumin (nigella seeds)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon celery seeds

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a spice grinder to mix well and pulverize the dried herbs. Transfer the mixture to a shaker bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool, dry place.

MAKES: 2/3 cup

LIGHT VEGETABLE BROTH

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 Roma tomatoes, cored and halved

2 dried shiitake mushrooms

½ cup fresh, coarsely chopped parsley

2 bay leaves

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons white miso paste

Dr. Greger’s Special Spice Blend (see recipe)

In a large pot, heat 1 cup of water over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley, bay leaves, and black pepper. Add 7 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 1½ hours.

Remove from the heat, let cool slightly; then remove and discard the kombu if used. Transfer the broth to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Strain the blended broth through a fine-mesh sieve back into the pot or a large bowl, pressing the vegetables against the sieve to release their juices. Ladle about ⅓ cup of the broth into a small bowl or cup. Add the miso paste and Dr. Greger’s Special Spice Blend to taste and stir well before incorporating back into the broth.

Let the broth cool to room temperature before dividing into containers with tight-sealing lids and storing in the refrigerator or freezer. Properly stored, the broth will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.

MAKES: 6 cups

DR. GREGER’S SPECIAL SPICE BLEND

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 teaspoons ground thyme

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

Combine all the ingredients in a spice grinder to mix well and pulverize the dried herbs. Transfer the mixture to a shaker bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool, dry place.

MAKES: 1/2 cup

VEGETABLE PAELLA WITH GOLDEN BARLEY

3¼ cups Light Vegetable Broth (see recipe)

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 (28-ounce) BPA-free can salt-free diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup uncooked hulled barley, soaked overnight in water and then drained

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground fennel

1 (½-inch) piece fresh turmeric, grated, or ½ teaspoon ground

½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

1½ cups cooked* or 1 (15-ounce) BPA-free can salt-free cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14-ounce) BPA-free can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 cup green peas

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat ¼ cup of the Light Vegetable Broth in a large saucepan or paella pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until just softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the red and yellow or green bell peppers, tomatoes with their juices, barley, paprika, fennel, turmeric, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook until the barley is tender, 45 to 50 minutes.

Once the barley is tender, uncover, stir in the cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, and peas, and then cover and set aside for 10 minutes before serving. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Sprinkle with the parsley, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve hot.

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

Recipes excerpted from “The How Not to Diet Cookbook: 100+ Recipes for Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss.” Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books.

gciampa@providencejournal.com

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