The Naked Foods Cookbook by Margaret Floyd and James Barry is a natural, whole foods approach to eating. I’ve said before that I’m not one to embrace a particular method of dieting, but instead I believe in eating sensibly for life. This cookbook does a good job of presenting a lifestyle that focuses on good health and not on losing weight. The cookbook is a follow-up to Floyd’s earlier book, Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You.
The idea behind Naked Foods is that the healthiest diet is one that involves “eating clean, whole unprocessed food,” with an emphasis on healthy fats and no gluten. If you’re on a gluten-restricted diet, you should know that all of the recipes included in the book are gluten-free. The other thing that stands out is that there is no caloric information provided with the recipes–according to the author, worrying about calories just takes away from what’s really important, like the nutritional value of the food.
The cookbook is broken into two parts: Let’s Talk Shop and Let’s Get Cooking. In the first part, the authors talk about how to eat naked–what kinds of food qualify and the important questions we should all ask ourselves about where our food comes from. They go on to talk about how to organize your pantry and refrigerator, as well as what kinds of kitchen tools are important to have and what food preparation techniques are needed to handle naked food, from knife skills to bean soaking. I found this section of the book to be very useful but you would need to have a copy of the book at home to refer to in order to really take advantage of it; this isn’t the kind of book you can copy a few recipes out of at the library and be done with it.
In Let’s Get Cooking, the authors share their recipes for naked food. Recipes are categorized as ‘in a rush’ (taking less than 10 minutes to prepare), ‘everyday’ (10-30 minutes), and ‘impress the neighbors’ (no time factor). Because the emphasis is on unprocessed food, there are lots of recipes for making your own basics, including things like condiments, dairy products, and even different nut milks. The authors also specify with each recipe if it is appropriate for vegetarian, vegan, or raw diets.
There are two appendices to the book, one which includes One-Week Naked Menus and the other Eat Naked Food Tables. I always appreciate cookbooks that take into consideration the effort of meal planning, and it’s nice to have a weekly menu already prepared and ready to use as a kick-start to a healthy eating plan. The Eat Naked Food Tables include information about how to choose the best naked food, and I found them to be really useful, particularly the one about the best sweeteners to use–I’ve been struggling with all the options available, and it was nice to see them laid out in an easy-to-follow list.
I think the most important thing I took away from having read The Naked Foods Cookbook is that healthy eating is a lifestyle and it takes time and effort. I would never have considered making homemade some of the staples that are included as recipes, but I suppose like anything else it’s a matter of getting into good habits. And although I read the cookbook in its e-version, I would like to have a paper copy to keep close at hand in the kitchen.
If you’re interested in learning more, Floyd has a website with lots of information and resources. Happy (naked) eating!
Thanks to NetGalley and New Harbinger Publications for providing me with a review copy of this book.
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