When I think Mediterranean I think gorgeous sunshine, perfect holidays and…loads of delicious but hip-enhancing food! I love food especially when it is made with fresh produce, bought that same morning from the local, but in all the years we have been holidaying on Mediterranean shores I rarely found good, delicious food that would qualify as diet. So you can imagine that my interest was sparked instantly when I saw the two in the same title: Mediterranean food and diets? Although it sounds almost too good to be true, I would say a resounding “Yes, please!” to eating wonderful food without having to worry about my waist line any time you ask me!
For whom has The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook been written?
The book was first published in 1994 and proved to be, as one editorial review puts it, “arguably ahead of its time”, especially for an American audience that knew almost nothing of European cuisine and its benefits at the time. The first edition included nutritional data which was removed from subsequent versions, much to the detriment of its readers, in my opinion, as you can’t count your calorie intake properly.
Later versions, published during an age when the public had become aware of the benefits of a healthy Mediterranean diet, proved to be more popular due to its large array of recipes (over 250 traditional dishes, including Greek, Italian, French, Turkish, Lebanese and Moroccan classics) and laid-back writing style.
What do others say about The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook?
Well, the reviews are varied in their opinion but from the onset I noticed a trend I would like to note here: this diet cookbook differs from other diet and recipe books in one major aspect – the relaxed Mediterranean cooking and ultimately lifestyle it tries to emulate! I soon realised that the readers that grasped the concept that this is a book which encourages the reader to relax during cooking and take his time, enjoyed the book and benefited from the recipes. The readers who looked at the cookbook as a fast-fix and tried to adjust it to a busy lifestyle that allows for only 30-minutes meals felt frustrated because the cooking process and the outsourcing of ingredients took much longer.
The readers agreed that this is more of a reference book to be used at the weekend, when the time allows for more relaxed cooking alongside the family rather than a cookbook to be used every day of the week. In saying that, I must accentuate again the fact that this is indeed the Mediterranean lifestyle the book tried to present. Beautiful, complicated meals are cooked once a week to be enjoyed alongside family and friends and they are definitely not a daily occurrence.
Will The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook help me lose weight?
As stated above, the cookbook is not geared towards weight loss as such but towards promoting a healthier lifestyle among its readers and there are reports that it does bring about changes if used as such. J.D. Tucille reports a decrease of his wife’s cholesterol levels from 193 to 139 following their dietary changes recommended in the book. Cub 1 liked the book because it encouraged her to improve her health through a balanced diet which did not eliminate any food groups.
Pros and Cons
- As a change of lifestyle solution and with over 250 recipes to inspire the transformation, the book is one of the cheapest “dieting” solutions I have encountered.
- The book is written in a relaxed style which engages the reader and doesn’t put any pressure on losing weight. If you are considering a healthier lifestyle which will improve your long-term wellbeing and stamina, the Mediterranean diet is the place to start.
- If you get easily bored eating the same fad, cardboard-tasting diet food, you needn’t worry, as this book has been inspired by some of the richest culinary cultures and your papillae would never be disappointed.
- Since the book has been inspired by European cuisine, some of the American reviewers admitted having trouble outsourcing ingredients.
- There are very few pictures to accompany the recipes and for a novice cook this can be very daunting as they can’t tell how their meal should end up looking like.
- Some reviewers complained that the meal preparation is lengthy and tiresome and that they couldn’t use the book during the week, after work, for this reason.
- There are no nutritional tables with the recipes so if you are using this book in a conscious effort to lose weight then you would struggle to know how many calories you are ingesting per meal.
Is The New Mediterranean Diet better than similar dieting books?
In order to write a valid comparison, I have looked at similar Mediterranean-based diet books. The Mediterranean Prescription, written by a respected physician, has been designed specifically as a long term weight-loss plan so if you are looking for a book that would help you monitor your weight loss then this would be a better choice.
Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies features not only a wealth of recipes but also an exercise regimen to support the weight loss and meal planning strategies to help you stay on top of your calorie consumption. So if you are looking for a more informed approach to the Mediterranean diet then you should take a look at this before you make a purchase.
How does the book rate overall?
The book receives a 4.1 out of 5 star rating on Amazon. It is an enticing book that promises a healthier lifestyle and hours of fun cooking in the kitchen alongside your loved ones. It could probably be slightly improved by having some basic nutritional information with every recipe to assist the reader with the calorie intake and pictures for every recipe.