Friday, November 20, 2009

How to Lower Your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food by Chef Alain Braux

How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food: A Practical Guide by Chef Alain Braux
Copyright 2009
Alain Braux International Publishing, LLC
266 pages
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.


  1. Wow! This sounds like a cookbook I need to get hold of.

  2. Kathy,

    I just can't say enough good things about it. It's hard to find recipes that absolutely everyone loves, but this cookbook really works for our family.

  3. A cookbook without photos is not something I'd normally even consider, but after your rave review (and previous remarks in other posts), I'm seriously considering a little visit to Amazon to order a copy. I wonder why it's not available on B&N?

  4. Cool! I feel like our meals are stagnating a bit, or if we jump out with something new it's horribly horrible for us. This sounds like a good fix!

  5. Andi,

    We've had both those problems. We get in a rut and then we either try something new and it's just awful or we end up getting so sick of the same old thing that we start eating out more. This cookbook has been very good for us. We're eating at home more, just because we've got good things to cook.


    Me, either! Remember my last cookbook review? I thought the quiche was good but I jumped all over the book because there wasn't much else that I liked and it had no photos. I guess I learned that the recipes are what truly counts.

    It isn't available in stores because it's self-pubbed. I would love to see a major publisher pick this one up. It's so good -- both the nutrition advice and the recipes. That's pretty unusual. Also, if it had a major publisher behind it, maybe it would be affordable to add photos.

  6. It sounds pretty good, the pork chop recipe looks delicious. I think I'm on a cookbook binge, I just picked up Jam Today and Confessions of a Closet Master Baker.

  7. Carrie,

    We are in love with this cookbook because it's so practical and everything tastes great. David made the French Onion soup, today. Oh, man. To die for. I'm also reading How to Roast a Lamb and while I love the text and we were quite fond of the salad I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, it's just not as practical. I flipped through at lunch time, looking for something we could try. The one I liked best still involved mixing up a separate recipe to mix into the main recipe and there's one ingredient we can't get at all. The replacement, ricotta salita(sp?), he said can be ordered frozen from Italy and "supermarket ricotta simply won't do". Geez, scratch that unless we plan to cook it in a week or two, then. Confessions of a closet master baker has been tempting me.


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