The feasting of holidays will pass, but chances are good that the extra padding you accumulate while on a break from the gym will not. For the armchair nutritionists and exercise monkeys in the family (or to get yourself back on track in new year), look to 2012’s top health-conscious cookbooks. Far from rigid calorie-counting, this year’s slate of diet recipe guides offer more comprehensive and lifestyle-building approaches to healthy eating. Whether you decide to go “paleo” or opt for a juice-based diet, these books will help you bid the holiday excess adieu while offering wisdom on cultivating a healthier mind-body connection in the new year.
Preventative cardiologist William Davis has already mounted a crusade against wheat in “Wheat Belly.” Nixing the ingredient from your food, he argues, can lower blood sugar and help you eliminate stubborn belly fat, among other health benefits. Now he’s putting recipes to the philosophy in “Wheat Belly Cookbook.” The volume offers 150 dishes—from braised pot roast to breakfast quesadillas—free of wheat, but full of flavor.
Whole and organic
Alternative medicine guru Andrew Weil makes a foray into cookbooks with “True Food,” a collection of recipes based on a philosophy of cooking with local, seasonal and organic ingredients. Drawing on his expert knowledge of natural healing, Weil goes further than your average health-food cookbook author, with insights into on the spiritual benefits of the whole-food lifestyle.
For a spunkier take, look to Jessica Porter‘s “The MILF Diet.” Porter argues that whole-ingredient cooking can revitalize the mind-body connection and leave you feeling younger and sexier, and her recipes are appropriately zesty: Lemony Quinoa Salad, Edamame Dip and Poached Pears with Raspberry Sauce are just a few of the dishes within.
The Paleo Diet, which aims to return us to simpler-times fare of wild animals and plants, has gained popularity in recent years—in large part because its recipes are typically gluten-free. Several new cookbooks have diversified the trend. “Paleo Slow Cooking,” by Chrissy Gower, combines the health benefits of the diet with the ease of the slow-cooking technique, offering hearty and nutritious recipes that require little work beyond the flip of a crock pot switch. And “Paleo Indulgences,” by Tammy Credicott, offers recipes for “off limits” treats—from onion rings and sweet potato fries to cupcakes and ice cream—that adhere to the principles of the diet.
Kris Carr‘s “Crazy Sexy Diet” won readers over with its candid and enthusiastic take on the vegetarian diet. Scrapping its reputation as simply food without meat, Carr reimagined vegetarianism as a “plant-powered” lifestyle with benefits for one’s body, mind, soul and the Earth. Now, in “Crazy Sexy Kitchen,” she’s delivered 150 veggie-based recipes that attest to the diversity and excitement of vegetarian cooking.
Juices have gained popularity in recent years as light but robust meal alternatives. John Chatham‘s “Juice” offers 97 recipes for weight loss, with a full rundown of different techniques and the equipment you’ll need. Cherie Calbom, whose juice expertise has landed her in the pages of Vogue and Marie Claire, as well as on CNN, gives readers 400 recipes—both vegetable-centric and fruity—in “The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies.” Jason Manheim‘s “The Healthy Green Drink Diet” focuses on smoothies made from leafy green vegetables, with information on the health benefits of alkaline and fiber.