5 Feb 2015 04:38pm

The best healthy cookbooks

Whether you want to eat like a caveman, a vegan or a fashionable foodie, Penelope Rance picks her favourite healthy cookbooks

Honestly Healthy

Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson

While carnivores will be unfulfilled with the alkaline diet, the science does make sense. Certain foods are acid-forming in the body, while others have an alkalising effect. An excess of acid has been linked to inflammation, a factor in many health problems, so staying alkaline can only be a good thing. While the focus on leafy green veg and fish at the expense of meat, sugar and coffee might feel like deprivation, Honestly Healthy is packed with genuinely tasty and beneficial recipes. Some ingredients are surprising too – acidic lemon juice has an alkalising effect, so is ideal in smoothies. Claiming to boost your immune system, level out blood sugar and sharpen the mind, this recipe book is a lifestyle guide too.


Nom Nom Paleo, food for humans

Michelle Tam and Henry Fong

Spawned by her successful blog, Michelle Tam’s first cookbook looks more like screen grabs. But the cartoons and jokes, colourful design and photography (courtesy of husband Henry Fong) and quick to master recipes are accessible and friendly. As a working mother, Tam has efficient meal making down to a fine art, while her devotion to the paleo diet – based on non-processed, natural ingredients that would (at a stretch) have been available to our paleolithic forebears – every recipe will leave you bursting with vitality. If you can’t digest it raw, it’s not in the book, but that’s no reason why you shouldn’t cook and combine it into something tastier.


Thug Kitchen, eat like you give a f**k


Smart, sarcastic, hilarious and crude – this vegan cookbook avoids the holier-than-thou approach that mars many vegan offerings. Thug Kitchen grew from a Tumblr site, a fact reflected in its rough-and-ready approach. Peppered with expletives, offering serving-size guidance in the form of “feeds your lonely ass for a couple of evenings”, its practical approach blends affordable, everyday ingredients into tasty, satisfying creations. Veganism isn’t an automatic marker of health (chips, anyone?), but the anonymous, foul-mouthed authors really do care about what they, and you, eat. Leaning towards US-style diner and street food, recipes include oat flour griddle cakes with blueberry sauce, baked spicy plantain chips, sweet potato, squash and black bean enchiladas and carrot cake cookies. Unsurprisingly, Jamie Oliver loves this sh*t.


The Art of Eating Well

Jasmine Hemsley & Melissa Hemsley

Forget celebrity endorsements, this pair are celebrities in their own right thanks to television appearances, a Vogue blog, model good looks and penning the health-conscious A-listers' go-to tome of the year. Everything about this aspirational book is gorgeous, from the authors to the food, photography and the (presumably fictional) kitchen in which all the aforementioned were shot. Although ingredients border on the obscure (or at least the staunchly upper-middle class) and recipes can be long and complicated, the health tenets of the book are solid. Aiming to reduce refined, processed carbs, including grains and sugar, they substitute pasta with spiralled vegetables, rice with quinoa and wheat flour with ground coconut. There are plenty of indulgent dishes and, if you have the time and energy, eating the Hemsley way promises a more efficient digestive system; just the thing to tell your guests as you pour the Blaufränkisch.



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