Wednesday, February 13, 2013

You Are What You Eat: Clean Cuisine Book Review and Giveaway!

Hey look.. it's a post about something other than running! :-)

You are what you eat. It really is true, and I've learned a lot about that over the last few years.  After reading Michael Pollan and others, it really hit me how the Standard American Diet (SAD) is so messed up.  SAD is an appropriate acronym.

In an effort to kick start healthier eating habits, I worked with my doctor at True Life Medicine. His practice is focused on Functional Medicine (which could be an entire blog post, but click here to learn more).  He started us with a 30 day "elimination" program, effectively removing just about all known inflammatory foods, and later reintroducing them one by one.  Anyway, we learned a lot from that process, and subsequently have changed our diet to avoid (as much as possible) processed foods, funky chemicals/preservatives, gluten, dairy etc.  And the results have been great.

Ok.. so you've heard this before...  let me get to what I meant to blog about!  During the journey to better health I'm always open to reading books, cookbooks, blogs and websites about clean eating.  So, I recently had the opportunity to read "Clean Cuisine" by Ivy and Andrew Larson which was just released last week. 

So, first and foremost, I did enjoy reading this book.  I think it has a lot to offer, and at various levels.  From a straight-up, keep it simple perspective, this book relays the message that always resonates with me. To be healthy means to eat "real" food.  Simple as that.   Real food as defined by the Larson's is "nutrient-dense whole food found in its most natural and unrefined state". 

I like that message, and when things become overwhelming, especially when you get wrapped up in looking at specific diets (Paleo, SCD, Gaps, Vegan, Vegetarian, Fruitarian), or trying to decide what foods work best for your body, it's good to just step back and realize that if you are avoiding fast foods, processed foods, and any other staple of the SAD diet, then you are way ahead of the curve in taking care of your self.

Now, on a more detailed and complex view, this book offers some really great information specifically about different types of foods (carbs, fats, protein) etc.  I struggled through some of these sections because they can be a little overwhelming.  But I found them to be good resources to go back and look at when I had a question etc. 

The book is divided up into sections and the following is a brief summary:

Part 1: This is the introductory section, and it speaks to the simple ideas I noted above about getting back to eating real food, the role of micronutrients, and plant based phytonutrients.  The gist is in line with Pollan's all encompassing mantra of, "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much".

Part 2: This really gets into the micro-level explanation of the components of clean cuisine and clean eating. Some really fascinating info, but not a quick read. 

Part 3: This section focuses on a prescribed 8-week Clean Cuisine program which incorporates their 30 minute "Full Fitness Fusion" workouts, along with a program to facilitate a transformation to clean eating. Unlike the elimination programs I've done, this one focuses on increasing the intake of clean foods, while making weekly changes to habits as you go along.  I like how each of the weeks provided 3 areas to focus on in terms of changes, and offers a lot of great tips. 

Part 4: This final section offers over 100 recipes to support clean eating. I haven't tried any yet, but after browsing through them, its obvious they are well thought out, and not overly complicated etc. 

As I noted at the beginning, I did enjoy reading this book and I think it has a lot to offer. Especially if you are just getting into making a change to your lifestyle.  And it is exactly that.. not a "diet", not a temporary fix or magic pill.  It's a permanent lifestyle change, and one for the better for sure!

At this point, I am happy with my current workout/running program, so am not looking to try the workout portion here, but if you are not on a program, I think this book has a great one to start with. It looks like a great balance between core and cardio, and of course, tied together with clean eating will certainly get you on the right track to being healthier and happier.  Notice I didn't say lose weight...    I learned this go around that you can't focus on that.  Forget counting calories, points and all that.  Eat what you want, as long as its real food.  Exercise along with it, and you will feel great.  Weight loss is just a nice fringe benefit to making a permanent lifestyle change for the better!

Ok...  if you stuck around this long... thank you!  And to thank you, I'm happy to provide a copy of this book to a lucky reader.  You know the drill.... complete entries via the Rafflecopter box below.  I'll run this contest until 10PM MST on February 20th.  Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, thank you for tuning in!  And if you have questions, comments, rants etc... feel free to leave them below. I try to respond to all questions.  You can also email me at

Happy Trails!



  1. great review, jeff, makes me want to read this book! I do love food...and by food I mean

  2. Thanks for the heads up on this book. My family and I are more committed than ever before to eat clean. In doing so, I have dropped significant weight in the last three months, and I feel a ton better than I ever have before. Thanks for your encouragement brother.

  3. I eat a lot more veggies and fruits but I am feeling the winter padding and sooooo ready to loose about 8 pounds.

  4. Thanks for the review! Love reading up on proper nutrition and exercise plans. It's hard to tell what's going to be quality information and what is a fad.

  5. I am trying SO hard to get to 100% Clean Eating - but I constantly fall off the wagon when I go out to eat. Its SO frustrating. I may check this book out - I gotta think SOMETHING will eventually click and I will quit sabotaging myself at restaurants lol

  6. Hi, I found you off the Blogging Planner blog hop and I love Clean Eating. We use a special diet to help my son who has autism and it has made the biggest difference in him. It showed us that he could actually recover and that nutrition is a huge part of his well being (and ours too)


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