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Healthy eating advocate Rose Reisman offers nutritious recipes, tips in new book

Jan. 14, 2013 — Rose Reisman says people are not only often in denial about how much weight they need to lose, but they also don't know how to change their ways to shed the pounds.


January 14, 2014
By Lois Abraham The Canadian Press

"They stop eating. They skip meals and they try to do a little bit of
starvation, which never works," she said. "People still don’t really
understand how to change their lifestyle."

In The Best of Rose
Reisman: 20 Years of Healthy Recipes
(Whitecap Books), the nutritional
consultant focuses on recipes using healthy ingredients along with tips
on how to cut excess fat, sugar and sodium. She also discusses the
detriments of processed foods and how they can contribute to food
addiction.

While those who opt to starve themselves will lose
weight, once they resume their normal eating habits they’ll start
packing on the pounds again, said Reisman, who does menu consulting for
Pickle Barrel and Glow restaurants.

"It’s like when you get the
flu or food poisoning. You feel great because you’ve lost five pounds.
You haven’t eaten anything in those days, but then what do you do? You
eat like there’s no tomorrow. It doesn’t stay with you and then you gain
that weight back quite quickly. So I’m telling people you’ve got to
start from scratch."

Reisman, who has a personal gourmet and
catering business, offers her own healthy take on foods that are trendy
or restaurant mainstays in her new book.

Of the 265 recipes
listed, 30 per cent are new and came from observing cultural trends. For
example, many ingredients in Thai and Korean food could only be
obtained in specialty stores 15 years ago — now they’re widely available
in local supermarkets, she said. The remaining recipes were also
updated, and include everything from breakfast dishes to decadent
desserts.

For those looking to lose weight in a healthy manner,
Reisman has some key recommendations — including the importance of
eating a healthy breakfast. The morning meal can be as simple as a piece
of whole-wheat bread, peanut butter and banana and some yogurt or milk.

"That’s
four food groups right there and that’s going to sustain you longer
than a bowl of Cheerios. And then at lunch, people don’t nearly eat
enough for lunch because they try to save up for dinner."

Reisman
also recommended toting snacks of more than one food group and eating
every two to three hours. An apple and nuts, cheese with whole-grain
crackers or a whole-wheat cracker with a little peanut butter and banana
are some possible options.

Reisman, 60, is the first to admit
it’s not easy to reverse eating habits. Her first book, written in the
late 1980s, focused on high-fat desserts.

"I was running three,
four, five miles a day and I was slim and I really thought, ‘Hey, this
is pretty good. I can eat desserts and I can eat all this cream stuff,
and I used to make my own ice cream every day in the summer."

Her
days of carefree eating came to a crashing halt when a routine medical
visit revealed her cholesterol level was that of someone twice her age.
"Everybody in my family has genetic heart disease, diabetes type 2,
cholesterol and obesity, so it wasn’t looking that positive.

"So
turning it around was really a whole new world to me and I wasn’t
positive about it at first. I thought it would be all about deprivation.
I really learned otherwise."

Refusing to give up dressings or
sacrifice her sweet tooth, Reisman learned how to cook differently and
has worked since then through books, blogs and TV and radio appearances
to educate others.

"It wasn’t like having a small little piece of
rich dessert. Could I make a dessert where I could have a decent-sized
piece and just know I wasn’t adding chemical sweeteners to it? It was
really a trajectory of trying to learn a whole new other skill of
cooking.

"What was harder for me is I really was enjoying what I
was doing, but I still had the passion when I looked at that other food.
It was an addiction."

Reisman said she used to drive to a movie
theatre midday to pick up a large size of popcorn to nosh for the rest
of the day, believing it was a healthy snack. Now she knows that it
clocks in at just under 2,000 calories.

"I was consuming my
entire calorie intake, just thinking that was decent, and I wasn’t even
getting butter on it. So when I started understanding that myself, I
went, ‘Oh, my God, I could have a piece of chicken and a grain or a
pasta or a salad and even a small piece of cake for way less calories
than that.’"

She says it took several years until she could look
at the foods she formerly ate without longing. "I can’t believe I used
to love them, but it takes a long time to get to that point."

Unless
a dish is totally dependent on brie cheese or butter, Reisman said
she’s able to reduce the calories by up to 50 per cent with her modified
cooking approach.

To add flavour she may develop a flavourful
salsa to accompany a meat or fish dish to satisfy the desire for sodium
and fat. She never deep-fries but instead sautees with a misting of
vegetable spray. For cakes or desserts, she decreases the amount of oil
or butter and makes up the difference with crushed pineapple, pureed
dates, light sour cream, light yogurt or Greek yogurt.

Reisman
likes to highlight recipes with nuts for a crunchy texture and burst of
flavour. While nuts are healthy, people tend to eat too many of them,
which is why she’ll opt to include a smattering of them in a dish, such
as a pistachio-crusted French toast or a cashew-crusted tilapia.

"If you can understand the principles, you’ll know how to look at any recipe you have in the past and make it healthier."


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