I am a longtime fan of the work of Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a cookbook author, whose punk flair penetrates her writing style and recipes, making her cookbooks not only delicious, but fun to read. I own Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Vegan Brunch, which I have mostly used as an excuse to eat pancakes. I have been vegan for two years now, and the welfare of animals and the environment has always been more important to me than being healthy. However I, like most women, do occasionally wish that I had the motivation to lose some weight. For me, Appetite for Reduction, the newest cookbook from Moskowitz, was that motivation.
Appetite for Reduction, Isa’s first low-fat book, was inspired by a personal need to switch to a low-fat diet, which she then decided to share with the rest of the world. I bought the book more for the author than for weight-loss, figuring that I might get lucky and kill two birds with one stone. The book turned out to be so much better than I could have expected. Isa’s recipe writing style has improved since the other books I own, making them feel much less daunting and complex. This book has a huge emphasis on meals you can make in a half hour, or can make without having to hover over the stove, watching everything. Many of her other books seem to be filled with cooking “projects,” while this one just contains meals. I can cook from it on weeknights with very little stress or effort.
Not only does this book make cooking low-fat easy, it makes it delicious. I tend to value taste over health, but with Appetite for Reduction, I don’t feel like I am sacrificing either. I have never had to qualify my opinion with “Well, it’s good, for low fat.” The food is just good, plain and simple. With nutritional information for every recipe (with generous serving sizes), I know exactly what I’m putting into my body, and it feels great.
The cookbook is separated by genre of food, so you can look for exactly what you’re craving. There’s a section for salads, one for pasta and noodles, one for beans, one for soups…well, you get the picture. Appetite for Reduction is sorely lacking a dessert section, however, and since I am not one to give up sweets, I’ve just been continuing to make cookies and cupcakes from Isa’s other books.
I have not yet made everything in the book, but I do have a few I keep repeating over and over again. The Everyday Chickpea Quinoa Salad is absolutely amazing, and it is my favorite thing to bring to work. It includes a recipe for balsamic vinaigrette, made with no oil. I have no idea how it works, but it does, and it is delicious. A dish my boyfriend keeps asking me to make is the Mango Barbecue Beans, which take about an hour on the stove, but are completely worth it. They are sweet, tangy, and surprisingly fancy for a pot full of kidney beans.
If you have ever had even the slightest interest in losing weight, I recommend Appetite for Reduction. I eat these meals for dinner every night and have lost about ten pounds (still eating cookies and French fries on the side, mind you). Nothing in this book feels like a sacrifice, and you will be amazed at the delicious things you create, at under 400 calories a serving. Check out Isa’s site for some sample recipes, and happy cooking!