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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Weekend Cooking- Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal Cookbook

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food. 

Reader's Digest Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal Cookbook
Published by Reader's Digest ISBN 978-1-62145-058-0
Paperback, $19.99, 354 pages

Reader's Digest has published a companion to their guide Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal adding 250 recipes in their new book, Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal Cookbook. This is the kind of book that you can refer to frequently, and the clean, organized layout makes that so easy to do.

After an introduction that gives an nutritional guide, healthy cooking basics, and smart shopping tips, the first section lists food alphabetically, giving the serving size (including calorie counts), a quick chart as to how it harms, what conditions and illnesses it heals, and the nutrients contained in each food item.

It describes what to look for when buying it, how to store it, how to cook it, and recipes using the item. For example, under avocados, we learn that it can help with high cholesterol and blood sugar swings. You should look for one that is just slightly firm if you are using them right away but if you are using them later, they should be firm.

The second section gives you 250 healthy recipes in which to use your newfound information, divided into such categories Breakfast, Soups and Stews, Salads, Entrees,  and Desserts. Looking through the book, there are some recipes that caught my eye, including:

  • Summer Greens Scramble- a quick egg whites and kale breakfast
  • Broccoli Potato Soup- that adds yogurt instead of cream
  • Tuscan Veal Chops
Each recipe gives nutritional information as well as prep time, cook time, the healing foods included and the ailments it heals.

The third section list ailments (hay fever, constipation, jet lag) alphabetically and the foods that harm, foods that heal and foods to limit. It tells you how to eat to help your ailment, gives a sample day's meal plan (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert), as well as other recipes to try.

For example, anyone with eczema should avoid milk, eggs, and nuts and should eat carrots, mangoes, and green leafy vegetables. Adding flax seed and drinking three cups of oolong tea per day can give you the polyphenols that suppress allergic reactions. The comprehensive index lists ailments, recipes and more to help you find what you are looking for at a glance. 

The only complaint I have is using the term "foods that heal". While many foods will help heal ailments like jet lag, hay fever, to write that these foods can 'heal' depression, anorexia or cancer seems too simplistic; perhaps it would be better to say that these foods can harm or help, rather than harm or heal.

rating 4 of 5


  1. I love the help or heal concept! How interesting that people with eczema should avoid milk, eggs, and nuts! My son has slight eczema - I'm going to try this with him...

  2. Ah yes, I get your point about "healing," but this sounds fascinating. I have at least one book like this, but I bet it's way out of date. Thanks for this review, I think I'm going to see if the library has it.

  3. I imagine this book is very helpful.

  4. I am on the list at the library for this one. I know my brother in law changed his eating lifestyle and was able to kick over the counter anti acids and prescriptions. Sounds like a very good book.

  5. I'm looking for this at the library too!

  6. Yep, now on my library list. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

  7. This sounds like an interesting way to look at how we're eating.

  8. I love the concept of food as healing or harming - food has such an impact on health. But your point about food as healing complex ailments as simplistic is a good one - I am sure it augments other healing modalities but cannot heal completely on its own.

  9. This does sound really interesting. I've been trying to find more diet related remedies--for example I've been rather clumsy lately and as a result am peppered with little bruises. More spinach? Someone told me Greek yogurt. Though you do make a good point about "healing"