Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cookbook Club: Appetite for Reduction Review

I reviewed this book as part of Cook Vegan Lover's Cookbook Club. In a nutshell, this is probably my all-time favorite cookbook. I felt like it was written just for me. I give it 10 out of 5 stars; it's really that fantastic. The breakdown...

I Loved...
  • The recipes. Usually there will be many recipes in a cookbook that appeal to me, but many others that don't. Of the 125 recipes in this book, there are maybe 5 that I don't want to try.
  • The taste. Almost all of the 25 recipes I tried were delicious; others were just good. There were only two I didn't like.
  • The low fat. All of the recipes were between 200 and 400 calories a serving. Because I'm maintaining a large weight loss, this was really important to me. (My biggest criticism of Veganomicon was that the recipes were definitely not low fat!)
  • The nutrition combinations. Perhaps what I liked most was that this cookbook taught me how to easily combine veggies, protein, and whole grains to make a complete, filling, satisfying meal, which is a key to weight loss and maintenance, as I explain here. I loved both the recipes that did this and the ideas for building bowls, sandwiches, and salads.
  • The nutrition information. I'm maintaining my weight on WeightWatchers so continue to use their PointsPlus value system. It was really easy to calculate the Points of foods with the provided nutrition information.
  • Ideas for other combinations. I really loved the sections on bowls and sandwiches, because although the cookbook contained 125 recipes, the options for new meals based on Isa's ideas are endless.
  • The breakdown of sections. I loved how this book was broken down into salads, sides, veggies, beans, tofu & tempeh, pasta, soups, and curries, chili & stews. That's pretty much exactly how I think of meals, so the breakdown was intuitive.
  • The lack of desserts. If there's one thing I've learned in my life, it's that full-fat desserts are worth it. Low-fat desserts just don't taste as good and, on WeightWatchers, are only 1 or 2 points less than their full-fat cousins. I'd rather use the extra points to have a better dessert. I love that Isa didn't even go there in AFR.
  • The time. I really, really loved how little time most of the recipes took. That was my other criticism of Veganomicon--that I'd spend all day one one dish. Most of these recipes were really easy to prepare on weeknights after work.
  • The helpful intros, notes, and tips. The book is filled with helpful nuggets of wisdom. I loved that Isa would advise not to cook a dish to bring to a potluck but to make if you wanted to throw something quickly together. And notes like "the dressing may seem thin at first but thickens as it chills" were good guidelines to let me know my recipes were turning out right.
  • The tone. As with Veganomicon, I loved the humor and wit and often laughed aloud.
I Didn't Love...
There's not much I didn't love. If I had to pick one thing, it would be that some of the nutrition information was missing, but I found it on Isa's website.

Who I Think Would Love This Book Too...
Everyone with an interest in eating healthy, good, filling meals. You don't have to be watching your weight to love this book. I think omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike would like the creative combinations of ingredients, the range of types of cuisines, the cooking techniques, and the ideas for building healthy meals. My omnivore husband doesn't like anything that tastes like diet food, and he liked nearly everything he tried from this book.

Review of Recipes I tried
Other Reviews
  • The layout. I said how I liked the breakdown of sections and the notes and tips. I also like the breakdown telling how much active versus total time each recipe took.
  • Aesthetics. I would have liked to see more food pictures, but the ones that were included were helpful. And I loved the font for the recipe titles and the cover art.
  • Ingredients. All of the recipes I tried called for basic ingredients I could easily find.
The Final Word
I will use Appetite for Reduction for life. Even though the official review is over, I'm still planning on trying so many more recipes and making most of my meals from this cookbook. I love that the recipes are easy, quick, delicious, filling, and helping me maintain my weight while being completely satisfied. LOVE this cookbook. Thanks, Isa! If you're playing an AFR sequel, I'll be the first person to buy it!


  1. I recently bought this book and am really loving it so far! Every recipe I've made has been unique, easy to prepare, and totally delicious. It's really helping me transition into a vegan lifestyle! Thanks for sharing on your blog....I think I first heard about this cookbook from you :-)

  2. Glad you're loving the book too! Excited to hear your reviews of what you make.