In Living a Real Life with Real Food, registered dietician and certified nutritionist Beth Warren writes with a kosher perspective and relies on science and her clients’ experiences to show that the best way to lose weight, build strength, and help fight obesity-related diseases is to eat the natural, organic, whole foods that people have been eating for centuries—before fad diets and America’s food system got in the way.
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”Review by Karen Berman, TheWeiserKitchen.com (April 2015)”
If ever there was a winter for those of us in cold climes to hibernate, this past one was it. But spring is here, and we are shedding parkas and sweaters and thinking about lightening up in all sorts of ways. If spring inspires you to to lighten up your diet and emphasize healthful eating while keeping kosher, Beth Warren, MS, RD, CDN, has a book for that.
Living a Real Life with Real Food: How to Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Stay Energized—the Kosher Way (Skyhorse Publishing) mingles nutrition science with scripture and seminal Jewish texts. It even has recipes.
Warren’s premise is simple. She writes, “The secret to health—the one nondebatable concept from any health point-of-view is a simple message that is subdued by the chaos of what has become the world of nutrition: Eat real food.”
For the Brooklyn-based dietitian, that means grass-fed beef and chicken (which “ensures the animals are not fed pro-inflammatory soy or corn, make more vitamin D from sunlight and … [are] higher in other fat-soluble vitamins and the anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids). It means pastured eggs (likewise high in Omega-3s). It means more fermented dairy (which “incorporates enzymes and natural probiotics that feed our gut with disease-fighting bacteria and help promote easier digestion and immune health”). It means whole grains, plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Warren offers readers a primer on each of these, with explanations on how the laws of kashruth apply. After all, she points out, these laws were in place long before processed, mass-produced food entered the human diet: “Eating the whole foods of biblical days would leave our bodies fully nourished and healthy, and our minds clear and focused.”
Warren advises us to fill our plates half full with non-starchy vegetables, one-fourth with whole grains, and one-fourth with healthy proteins, an approach that she acknowledges is shared with other nutrition experts. She explains the rationale behind this formula in the language of dietetics; to cite one example, she advises starting the meal with that half-plate of vegetables because the fiber they contain gives a feeling of satiety, which means we’re less likely to ask for seconds. What sets her apart from other nutrition experts, however, is that she grounds the science in a variety of Jewish texts; she associates that first course of veggies with no less than Rambam—Moses ben Maimon, better known as Moses Maimonides, the venerated Jewish philosopher of the 12th century—who wrote in The Laws of Understanding, “One should always begin with the lighter food and finish with the heavier.”
The book is a trove of up-to-the-minute nutrition science (backed by 12 pages of bibliography, largely medical journals). One example: those who opt for egg whites as a more healthful choice might be shocked at Warren’s assertion that the long vilified yolk is actually good for you, as it contains a lion’s share of nutrition. This includes hard-to-get choline, which is critical to healthy functioning of the brain and central nervous system, and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes, and cognitive decline.
That’s quite a recommendation for a once verboten food, and it’s just one of the interesting facts and useful features that you’ll find in this book. Warren also offers tips for dining out (ask for substitutions, especially veggie sides), ways to deal with snack attacks (stick to real foods and if you give in to a processed snack, make it the only thing you eat), and strategies to avoid binge eating (count your breaths, think of 20 things you love about Shabbat, tell a joke, give thanks). Throughout, she cites Jewish sources on healthful eating that will banish any misconception that kosher dining need be heavy or old-fashioned. Warren’s recipes emphasize the principles presented in the book, and all are simple to prepare.
Some of her advice might seem strict to the modern diner, but whether you change your way of life as a result of reading it, or just take away a few strategies and recipes for more healthful eating, there’s much to learn from this book.
The Cookbook Shelf
More than just another cookbook, “Living a Real Life with Real Food: How to Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Stay Energized — the Kosher Way” is a 336 page illustrated compendium that combines dietary and nutrition information for optimum human health with a selection of palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, kitchen cook recipes — each of which is in full compliance with Judaic kosher rules. “Living A Real Life With Real Food” is deftly organized into four major sections: The Kosher Real-Food Diet Foundations; You Are What You Eat: Detailed Look into Real Foods; Living a Real Life with Real Food; and Applying What You’ve Learned (the recipe collection) The recipes range from a Syrian Potato Salad; Pesto Crusted Salmon; Veggie Burger; and Fennel Soup; to Popcorn with Dark Chocolate Drizzle; Hummus with Peanut Butter; Beef Goulash; and Artichoke Gibbon. While “Living A Real Life With Real Food” is an invaluable and enduringly useful addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted that “Living A Real Life With Real Food” is also available in a Kindle edition ($13.99).
You don’t need to be Jewish — or keep kosher — to take advice from
Brooklyn’s Beth Warren, a registered dietitian and certified
dietitian-nutritionist. She writes on how to read a nutrition label,
fat as an essential nutrient, grass-fed versus grain-fed beef and
Her “Seven Commandments” to “living a real life with real food” range
from eating about every three hours to keeping “a daily food, hunger,
and mood diary.”
Warren writes that a kosher diet “allows you to focus on fewer items
to make a more healthful choice.” It also “teaches you a sense of
discipline when it comes to how to eat . . . and acclimates you to
saying no to some food choices.”
THE SCOOP Recipes include Syrian potato salad, Moroccan fish, and
popcorn with “dark chocolate drizzle.”
THE BOTTOM LINE “It is vital to understand that foods with a kosher
symbol do not make them automatically more healthful” — there’s
kosher junk food, too.
Living a Real Life with Real Food is a bible full of both information and inspiration. Beth educates us about our food and its nutritional content and then arms us with practical tips how to actually choose, purchase, prepare and eat healthier food. Her recipe section is full of flavorful options for easy, everyday meals. This book is a gift to a Jewish community that often opts for nostalgic over healthy food. Bravo to Beth Warren for changing that culture.
”Review by Paula Shoyer, The Holiday Kosher Baker (Sterling 2013)”
Beth Warren’s new book, Real Life with Real Food, couldn’t be more aptly titled. Not only is it real, but thoroughly demystified and clarified on all fronts: Snacks, fats, meat, poultry, etc… The scoop on all those foods that the powers-that-be never tire of presenting as your best friend one day and worst enemy the next, creating for the public nothing but confusion and still more poor health, is all there, real and unafraid, here to stay! So we can have snacks, and nuts, and a nice piece of roast chicken, and much more, only all natural. Suddenly real food becomes again what it always was: Your ally. No Diet Talk, only Real Food Talk. How liberating, and how delicious! Don’t look dejectedly all over the Web, articles and books for caloric contents, nutrition guidelines, the skinny on Kosher, menu planning, pantry ingredient list, shopping lists, and much more. It’s all in this precious volume, with about 50 sample recipes: It’s the only resource you will need!
”Levana Kirschenbaum, Cooking Instructor, Cookbook Author: Levana’s Table: Kosher Cooking for Everyone, Levana Cooks Dairy-Free: Natural and Delicious Recipes for Your Favorite “Forbidden” Foods; The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen: Glorious Meals Pure and Simple.”www.Levanacooks.com
The approach that Beth Warren, MS, RD, CDN, takes in promoting good health in her sensible new book, Living a Real Life With Real Food: How to Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Stay Energized—the Kosher Way, is rooted in ancient times: It is the concept of keeping kosher, the name given to food that adheres to Jewish dietary laws.
The author calls upon both her lifelong Jewish observance and her credentials as a registered dietician and certified dietician-nutritionist to present a fascinating hybrid approach to health. And, for those who remember the old rye bread commercial, you don’t have to be Jewish to embrace it.
”EnergyTimes.com Review Posted 3-21-14″