Home / Books / Book Reviews / Book Review: The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook – Great-Tasting Recipes That Keep You Lean by Tosca Reno

Book Review: The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook – Great-Tasting Recipes That Keep You Lean by Tosca Reno

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Tosca Reno's story is an inspirational one. At age 40, she weighed over 200 pounds, by age 46, she became a fitness model. How did she do it? And how can the rest of us do it too?

There were many things going wrong in Reno's life that finally made her decide to take control. One of the things she decided she needed to do was start "eating clean," and getting her weight under control. She also started exercising at least five days a week, and built up her body with weight training.

While I believe exercise is important for our health, I'm not interested in exercising to the point of having a "hard body" full of strong muscles; it's enough for me that I have a healthy, toned body. I study nutrition, and as such, I'm more interested in the aspect of health, specifically in nutrition. I was interested in Reno's The Eat-Clean Diet precisely because of the title, the concept of "eating clean" intriguing me.

After reading The Eat-Clean Diet, I feel that it may not be the best book for people whose primary focus is on their health and who are seriously looking for health or nutritional information. However, it is a great book for people whose primary focus is to lose weight and at the same time regain some of their health, and the recipes contained in both The Eat-Clean Diet and The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook are delicious and healthy.

The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook in particular has over 150 recipes. The book is full of pictures, tips, and delicious and easy-to-make recipes. It is divided into smaller sections for different categories: breakfast, soup, grains, proteins, sauces, one-dish-meals, vegetables, pasta, and dessert. I'm glad that Reno has included a category just for grains — I'm not accustomed to eating grains, but the recipes look so good that I feel I'm going to enjoy trying them out. I'm especially eager to try out the various quinoa dishes, as I've never had quinoa before. I just hope our local supermarket carries these high-protein dried fruits and seeds.

The one-dish-meals are great and easy to prepare. They are meant for cooks who don't have time to prepare elaborate meals and are great stand-alone dishes. The stews, "In A Canadian Stew" and "Slow Cooker Chestnut Stew," look particularly appetizing. I am also quite partial to the vegetables section, as I love vegetables, and Reno's recipes allow me to try different cooking styles with my favorite vegetables. The sauces, spreads and salsa section contains many great recipes that can add wonderful flavor to otherwise dry or bland food. Try the "Grapefruit Salsa" with grilled fish, or the "Lentil Tomato Sauce" with spaghetti. You can even make a healthy "Do-It-Yourself Olive Butter Spread."

What I like most about The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is the variety. It's always a good idea to eat a little of everything, and nothing in excess. Reno's recipes usually consist of many different ingredients working in synergy to make delicious dishes, and eating a variety of everything ensures that you get all sorts of different nutrients you might not get with a typical diet.

While I think that Reno's recipes are delicious, some of the nutritional information Reno shares in the book aren't completely accurate. Her book definitely works wonders for someone who wants to lose weight, but be careful if you're looking for nutritionally accurate information about food and diet, because not all her information is correct. One particular point that bothered me is the information about egg yolks and egg whites. Many of the recipes in The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook include the egg whites only as ingredients, or if there are egg yolks included, it's usually to a ratio of one egg yolk to five egg whites or something to that effect.

Reno states that eggs are one of the best food to eat because it contains whole proteins, but the egg yolks also contain a lot of cholesterol and fat, so it's better to eat only the egg whites, or only eat the yolks sparingly. In my opinion, that totally defeats the purpose. The whole proteins that eggs are known for are contained in the yolk — if you only eat the whites, what is the point of endorsing the proteins?

It's true that egg yolks are high in cholesterol, but they are also high in lecithin which dissolves cholesterol. Unfortunately, high heat destroys lecithin, so eating the yolks of hard-boiled eggs and fried eggs can be unhealthy for you. Eggs should be eaten half-boiled, poached, or raw to get the best of its nutrients.

That being said, Reno's recipes aren't unhealthy — it's just that her information isn't completely accurate. Eating a dish made out of egg whites makes sense when the dish calls for hard-boiled or fried eggs, but claims that eggs contain whole proteins doesn't make sense when you don't endorse eating the source of the protein.

All in all, I think The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is a wonderful source of healthy and delicious recipes, and definitely worth getting for anyone who wants more flavor and variety in their diet. Just keep in mind that while Reno may think up the best recipes, she's not an expert in nutrition and her book shouldn't be taken as a source of nutritional facts.

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About Betty Wong

Betty Wong grew up studying natural health and nutrition and is now a certified Master Herbalist. She believes that the health of the body, mind, and spirit are intrinsically linked and that nurturing all aspects of the self is essential to achieving true health. She is a naturally curious person who likes to ask questions and look for creative and unusual answers. She is also an avid reader and writer, and enjoys crafting in her free time.
  • Kara

    12.5% of the weight of the egg is protein and it is found in both the yolk and the albumen. Although protein is more concentrated around the yolk, there is in fact more protein in the albumen. Therefore, by substituting with egg whites you are consuming higher levels of protein and lower levels of fat/cholesterol.

  • Hi Kara,

    Thanks for the info, I didn’t know that there were more protein in the albumen. I’ll be sure to find out more about that.

    However, the issue is about the whole proteins in eggs. Reno endorses the eggs because they contain whole proteins, all the essential amino acids that the body needs, not just one or a few of them, but all of them. Again, not a valid endorsement if you don’t eat the whole egg.

    Protein in quantity can be gotten from any meat source. Eggs give you the quality protein, but not if you don’t eat the whole egg.

    As for the fat and cholesterol in the yolk, yolks are high in lecithin, which will not only dissolve the cholesterol you consumed from the egg, but is also good for dissolving the cholesterol you consume from other meat products.

    The important thing to remember about eating eggs isn’t which part of it you eat, the yolk or the white. It is how you eat it, hard boiled or half-boiled, fried or poached?