How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food: A Practical Guide by Chef Alain Braux
Alain Braux International Publishing, LLC
Link to Amazon that doesn't benefit me but which you need because this is a 5-star book
First the review, then the recipe! I'm going to post the pork chop recipe I've mentioned in previous posts separately because this post would be humongous if I threw a sample recipe and review together.
How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food has a title that screams "contrast", since French food has been known to be high-fat, although the cover shows very healthy foods. The French diet, says Chef Braux, was a healthy Mediterranean diet, heavy in fresh regional foods, until some time after WWII. Then, things changed and rich recipes became common fare. Eventually, the French returned to their old style of cooking. Chef Braux draws on the old, healthy style of French cooking and his study of nutrition to create recipes.
How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food is not just a cookbook, though. The first 166 pages are text. The author begins his book by talking about his own experience with high cholesterol and how he changed his diet in order to avoid the use of prescription medicine to lower his cholesterol.
Chef Braux is a classically trained French chef who worked in a variety of high-end restaurants for over 30 years. When he moved to Austin, Texas and started his own business, he was asked why he didn't serve vegetarian dishes. He realized he knew how to cook fabulous foods, but he didn't know a great deal about nutrition and that led to study at The Natural Epicurean Academy, followed by work to acquire a B. S. in Holistic Nutrition at the Clayton College of Holistic Health.
All that is just background, of course, to let you know that the author knows what he's talking about. In the text of the book, the author talks about such a broad variety of topics I can't list them all but the topics include foods to buy and avoid, info about fiber, grain, nuts, sugary drinks, fruits, and other foods, shopping tips, cooking tips, anecdotes from the author's life in France, and a lot more. He lists pantry, refrigerator and freezer staples and gives readers a sample week-long menu to get started if you want to dive right in and cook nothing but healthy food from his book, right away.
The best thing about the text of How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food is that it's all written in a tremendously accessible, chatty style. I've always found books on lowering cholesterol bored me to tears (although I love reading about nutrition) but this particular book is an absolute joy to read.
Some of his advice may horrify you a bit, as it did me. What? We're not supposed to reuse cooking oil, at all, ever? I spoke to my husband about that, after reading the author's advice on the best types of oil and how to cook with them. My husband said, "So, I can't reuse the oil from the last time I fried a turkey?" Of course, I told him he can't fry a turkey ever again, which pleases me greatly. Sorry, Huzzybuns. We'll have to leave the dangerous outdoor toys to someone else.
On to the recipes. I cannot even begin to tell you how much my family has been loving the recipes in this book. They're delicious but healthy, filling but light. We're actually finding that we're planning our meals ahead for the first time in a long time, simply because we're so eager to keep trying new recipes from the book and repeating the cooking of those we've already tried.
The only downfalls to this book are the lack of photos with the recipes (which, in this case, I can honestly say does not bother me, for once) and the fact that sometimes the author tells you to use a specific type of cookware that you may not own. Of course, you can look at his suggestions as "gift ideas" to hand to your relatives for the holidays. My husband detected one minor mistake in the pork chop recipe I'm about to post but it wasn't a problem and it's the only error he's found.
5+++++/5 - I added the plusses because I don't feel I can do this book justice. It's the best nutrition/cookbook I've ever found. Readable, useable nutrition, shopping and cooking advice paired with amazing recipes. How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food is not a book to be missed.