9780451495921Nourishing Meals: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Soy-Free Dishes by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre came in the mail the other day. I was really excited to see it, as it touts to contain “365 whole foods, allergy-free recipes for healing your family one meal at a time.” I was not disappointed.

I don’t always eat the way I should, when I should. Let’s just get that out there in the open. As a matter of fact, I cheat on my “diet” a lot, especially if I’m stressed, and that’s the worst time ever to cheat. I know that. But I try, and I think that’s a very important element to eating healthy foods that can’t be overlooked—the willingness to try. With enough “tries,” eventually you’ll find yourself eating healthily in general with a few slips here and there. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. 😉

I put “diet” in quotations because I don’t think diets work as a general rule. For the short term, sure. To spur a positive change in health, absolutely. But in order for the change to be permanent, for the choices to succeed, you have to embrace a chance in lifestyle. But “diet” is easier to say and type and explain, so “diet” it is.

If you’ve been looking for a book that has a lot of good general information, some excellent recipes, and is down-to-earth and easy to understand, this book is one you’re going to want to check out. Especially if you have kids that you’re trying to get on board. Here’s why.

Generally Speaking:

This is not a delicate flower of a book. It’s hefty, coming in at 8 x 10 inches and 511 pages. Speaking strictly as someone who is in the publishing industry, the book is laid out very well. The formatting is clear, the structure is easy to follow, and the book is easy to read from a technical point of view. Any technique or tip that might be the least unfamiliar to readers is explained well. You’re definitely going to get your money’s worth from this book.

First Impressions:

It isn’t the prettiest book in the world in that the colors on the front aren’t terrifically bold, but it’s appealing nonetheless. The cover isn’t glossy but matte, and I think that has a lot to do with the color choices being what they are. It’s not a sexy and sleek-looking book, but it has substance and good bones. That’s more important than sleek and sexy any day of the week.

Meat and Bones:

The book has, as mentioned, 365 recipes. If you’re not familiar with how to cook using alternatives to gluten and dairy and the like, some of the ingredients will be a bit alien. But don’t worry – the chapters that come before the recipes explain what goes where and why, the roles the unusual ingredients play. By the time you get to the recipes, assuming you read the introductory, educational chapters, you’ll be ready to roll.

As for the recipes themselves, some I wouldn’t make. I’m a very picky eater and it’s unusual for me to find ANY cookbook from which I’d try the majority of the recipes. But I’d most definitely try a good number of these, and I’m intrigued by several of them. Can you say dairy-free cream-cheese frosting? Oh, yeah. That’s high up on my ‘to-do’ list. There are also recipes here to suit any seasonal tastes, hearty soups and casseroles and the like for cooler weather, lighter, less heavy recipes for warmer days. Oh, summer, I miss you already…. Sorry. Got sidetracked. Anyhow, the recipes run the gamut from drinks to breakfast to dinners to dessert and pretty well everything in between. If you can’t find a recipe or six in here to try, it’s not the fault of the book.

Closing Argument:

If you’re looking at changing your lifestyle to a more whole-foods oriented way of thinking, this book would be an excellent reference volume to add to your library. It doesn’t preach but it is informative, and it isn’t lofty and snobbish but very approachable. I can recommend this one very comfortably and without hesitation.

Where Can You Get It:

Print: Amazon  |  BN.com                   E-book: Amazon  |  BN.com  | Apple

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.