I want to share with you what has rapidly become one of my most used cookery books. And I have many! Mrs Beeton remains my go to for when I want to know how to make, well, anything (jugged hare anyone?) But for when I want a quick, inexpensive, and healthy meal, that I already have the ingredients for, then this is the one! It’s quicker to cook most of these meals than get a takeaway. And if you want to count calories, or use a meal plan, then it’s all there.
So what is this book? Well, it took me a while to track it down. I’d come across publications by Mary Flynn, a prominent American nutritionist based at Brown University (and Associate Professor of Medicine (Clinical)), and kept seeing mentions of her plant based olive oil diet (PBOO). Yes, it was the olive oil bit that caught my eye! The book is called “The Pink Ribbon Diet”, and it’s based on her research study of women who were overweight and had undergone treatment for breast cancer. The study found that this higher fat, olive oil-based, Mediterranean diet resulted in more weight loss than the low-fat or low-carb diets. It also showed health benefits not seen in the low-fat diet, with improvements in blood lipids, blood sugar, and insulin, which are all biomarkers for breast cancer.
I’m in the fortunate position of not seeking out this book because I have cancer, but I am interested in how what I eat affects my health and wellbeing. I’ve also got a busy life, and I’m always on the lookout for recipes that make it easy to eat a healthy, tasty, filling meal.
I’d love to share some of the recipes in the book, and I emailed Dr Flynn to ask permission, but she replied that permission rests with the publishers, and unfortunately they haven’t replied to my emails! So I’ll give you a quick description of some of my favourites which I hope will whet your appetite (and not get me in trouble!), and a top 7 of reasons I love this book.
Porridge with walnuts and raisins: Mix rolled oats, water, brown sugar, and a little salt in a dish and microwave on medium until cooked. Add milk, chopped walnuts, and raisins and stir in. One of our neighbours has a walnut farm, so it’s easy to get yummy fresh walnuts 🙂
Tomato, zucchini (courgette), and potato casserole: Gently fry sliced tomatoes and courgettes in extra virgin olive oil. Add flour and milk to make a white sauce. Layer in a dish with sliced potatoes, and bake until cooked and golden. Love this in the summer when there’s a glut of tomatoes and courgettes. (For some reason WordPress won’t let me put these photos in chronological order, but I expect you can figure it out!)
Baked pasta with chickpeas: Gently fry fresh or frozen peppers and spinach in extra virgin olive oil, add chickpeas, a can of tomatoes, and cooked brown pasta. Transfer to a baking dish and bake until bubbly. This can be prepared as far as putting it in a baking dish, and then baked at a later time. As can the tomato-zucchini one above!
Black bean, corn, and tomato salad: Mix black beans, canned sweetcorn, chopped pepper, chopped fresh tomatoes and chopped red onion. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and lime juice. This is beautifully colourful, and doesn’t wilt on hot days 🙂 But I forgot to take a photo, so you’ll have to imagine the colourful bit!
My top 7 reasons to love the recipes in this book:
- They’re easy, quick, filling, and healthy.
- They can often be made from store cupboard ingredients,
- But I can also use fresh, and could grow a lot of the ingredients myself! If I ever actually planted a veggie garden, instead of just planning it…
- They can be adapted with different herbs and spices,
- They can be prepared in advance and made in bulk,
- They’re great on their own but also make fantastic accompaniments for a barbeque (one of my husband’s favourite hobbies!)
- And they use lots of EVOO!!
Happily, Mary has her own website with several other recipes, and I’d encourage you to take a look (http://medfooddiet.com/recipes/). There’s also a ton of information there about basic nutrition and the concept of food as medicine. Alternatively, seek out the book itself, on eBay or Amazon (click for links). I don’t think you’ll regret it!
I’d love to know what your favourite recipe books and go-to recipes are. If you’d like to share, please tell me in a comment. FFx