Fast Feast Repeat by Gin Stephens

If you’ve heard of intermittent fasting and wondered what it’s all about, this book will help! It’s a good read for those curious about the science, those who just want a game plan, and everyone in between.

Gin Stephens has written two previous books about Intermittent Fasting: Delay, Don’t Deny and Feast without Fear. In Fast, Feast, Repeat she takes an in-depth, updated look at the science of intermittent fasting (the health plan with a side effect of weight loss) and how to customize it for any goal or body type. She covers the studies around metabolism, weight loss, nutrition, and fat burning, and she describes the many different ways of doing an Intermittent Fast. You can fast every day for 16 hours, and eat for 8, or you could narrow your “eating window” farther, and fast for more like 20 hours each day and eat for 4 – this is called Time Restricted Eating. There’s also Alternate Day Fasting, where a day of fasting (in some way) is followed by a day of eating normally. Stephens works hard to include many customizing options, alongside a number of testimonials from her fellow intermittent fasters.

The best thing about this book is Stephens’ honest self-description in the beginning of the book: she makes it clear she is not a scientist or dietitian, but a former teacher who’s used to taking scientific studies and translating them to a general audience, breaking down complicated science into digestible, understandable chunks. Throughout the text she encourages the reader to go and read the studies she references and draw their own conclusions. This gives her more credibility as she gives her recommendations and explanations – including her repeated reminders that intermittent fasting is a lifestyle, not a diet, which means “you have the rest of your life to get it right.” It also helps to counterbalance what would otherwise be a pretty aggressive sales pitch; Stephens clearly believes whole-heartedly in the power of the intermittent fast to vastly improve your health. She also understands that not everyone will read cover to cover, and regularly tells the reader which chapter to skip to to find the information they need, which is appreciated in a book packed with information of many types.

If you like to stay up to date on new nutritional discoveries and healthy lifestyles, or if you’re looking for a more achievable and less restrictive eating plan, I do recommend you try reading this book, if only for the encouragement, support, and enthusiasm Stephens offers to every reader striving to improve their health.

Giada’s Feel Good Food by Giada De Laurentis

giadas feel good foodFood Network’s star Giada De Laurentis reveals her secrets for staying fit and feeling great in Giada’s Feel Good Food, a gorgeous, practical book with healthy recipes including nutritional information, and personal lifestyle and beauty tips.

Finally answering the question her fans ask most often, “How do you stay so trim?,” Giada De Laurentiis shares the delicious easy recipes and tips she uses to maximize energy and remain fit. Here are 120 recipes for breakfasts, juices, lunches, snacks, dinners, and desserts that can be combined into a month of delicious feel-good meals. So that everyone can enjoy these dishes, many are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and/or vegan, with helpful icons to call them out – and, for the very first time, each recipe includes a calorie count and nutritional analysis. Special sections delve into Giada’s everyday life, including her beauty and exercise routines, how she satisfies sugar fixes, what’s always in her bag, and her ordering tips for eating in restaurants.

With 100 color photographs, Giada’s Feel Good Food is a beautiful guide to staying on track while still eating everything and enjoying life to its fullest. (description from publisher)

Hungry Girl

I’ve always struggled with trying to lose weight while still eating the delicious (and often fattening) foods that I love.  It got a little easier when I discovered the Hungry Girl cookbooks, written by “Hungry Girl” Lisa Lillien.  Her books Hungry Girl:  Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World and Hungry Girl 200 Under 200:  200 Recipes Under 200 Calories contain recipes for the foods we already love, but made in a more healthy way.  They’re also pretty easy to make; Hungry Girl’s recipes don’t contain a ton of ingredients or steps, so they’re not too difficult for someone like me whose preferred cooking steps are 1) Preheat oven 2) Insert frozen pizza.  I’ve tried out a few of her recipes so far, including the Krispymallow Treats and the Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla, and they were great!  I even made her recipe for a cupcake baked inside an ice cream cone for my family and they didn’t realize it was a “diet recipe”.

The Hungry Girl books contain more than just recipes.  Lilien has also made lists of products to use to make your cooking lighter and a series of “Survival Guides” for how to eat out at restaurants without gaining 10 pounds per meal.  Now that I’ve tried a few recipes and trust Hungry Girl’s directions, I might even try some of her more ambitious recipes, like the Kickin’ Chicken Tortilla Soup and Fiber-ific Fried Chicken Strips.  If you want to lose weight but don’t want to give up your favorite foods, I suggest checking out the Hungry Girl books to see if she has a solution.  I’ll bet she does!