At my first glance through A Recipe for Life I thought: What a beautiful and colorful book! The photography and illustrations were enticing enough to get me to start reading immediately. Then once I read the contents I noticed how the stunning photos parallel the delightfully organized structure and substance of the book.
Susan Dopart has created a detailed yet simple guide that emphasizes whole, natural, and unprocessed foods as part of a “healthy journey.” She begins by explaining how carbohydrate, protein, and fat are metabolized and how to properly balance the three macronutrients. Throughout this section and the remainder of the book, Dopart simplifies difficult physiological concepts through the use of illustrations, cartoons, and graphs.
Keeping the recommendations clear and achievable, the author cites research that supports the reasoning behind her recommendations. For example, in Part Three: Weight Management, she uses evidence-based research to explain why dieting, skipping meals, and starvation form a recipe for weight-loss failure and create long-term devastating effects on metabolism.
Part Four discusses obtaining vitamins and minerals through food versus pills. An outstanding chart in this section lists each micro- or macronutrient and its role in health, the recommended daily allowance (RDA)/recommended dietary intake (RDI), the best food sources containing that nutrient, and examples of quantities to eat to meet the RDA for the nutrient. A highlight of Part Four is the section on phytonutrients, which includes a thorough discussion on carotenoids, polyphenols and thiosulfonates and suggests how to incorporate more of these nutrients into the diet.
The book also guides readers on how to “eat clean” when away from home. Dopart offers tips throughout the book and has two chapters on applying these tips. “Organizing Your Cooking World” includes subsections on label reading, grocery store shopping, and a handy shopping list. “Recipes for Health and Good Eating” includes recipes for the carnivore, vegetarian, and vegan. (Warning: the photos in this section will make you salivate!)
Finally, Part Seven: Optimizing Your Longevity and Health offers recommendations on exercise, sleep, and stress. In addition, the author discusses diet and its effects on common diseases.
A Recipe for Life is perfect to recommend to your clients as a supplement to what you’re already teaching them. Its useful recipes, shopping lists, and tables make it a great nutrition resource for anyone who wants to create a “healthy journey.” It would also be a great addition to any dietitian’s nutrition library, because the graphs, tables and photos can be effectively used for teaching clients.
Susan B. Dopart, MS, RD, is a nutrition and fitness consultant in private practice in Los Angeles, CA. She specializes in medical nutrition-related issues including diabetes and endocrinology, heart disease, weight management, pregnancy, infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and exercise nutrition.
Reviewed by Nichole Dandrea, MS, RD, owner of Spa Candy LLC and nicobella vegan organic dark chocolate truffles.