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Title:  Flat Belly Diet Cookbook
Author:  Liz Vaccariello
Release Date:  August 18, 2009
Publisher:  Rodale Books
Page Count:  368
Genre:  Nonfiction, Cookbook
Source:  Basil and Spice

I have never reviewed a cookbook on this blog before.  The primary reason for that being that I don’t cook very much.  I LIKE to cook, and I certainly like to eat, but I just don’t have a lot of time in each day with which to make delicious meals, much as I’d like to.  But when I was presented with the opportunity to review Flat Belly Diet Cookbook, I saw the words “flat belly” (wouldn’t we all like one of those?) and saw those cupcakes (YUM!) and had a difficult time resisting.  So I figured I’d try it out.

I actually feel sort of silly reviewing this one because technically, I don’t believe in diets.  I definitely don’t “do” diets myself.  But I really wanted to see the recipes in this book for myself.  This cookbook is both a description of the Flat Belly Diet itself and a cookbook filled with recipes that follow the diet.

Flat Belly Diet Cookbook first describes the Flat Belly Diet itself.  Basically, the idea is that there are certain foods that help reduce belly fat (the most dangerous type of fat there is, in terms of health risks) – such as nuts and seeds, olive oils, avocados, olives, and dark chocolate.  The diet finds ways to incorporate these foods into each meal, while at the same time eating only a precise amount of calories throughout the day and leaving out certain other foods that are detrimental to the goals of the diet.  Later in the diet, those “bad” foods are allowed back in, but at the beginning there are certain foods you just can’t touch.  Along with describing the diet, Liz Vaccariello goes one step further and actually shows the reader how to plan for a week’s worth of meals, how to grocery shop for each week to save both time and money, and how to live this lifestyle amidst a regular person’s life.  It really is helpful, and I think if I did want to follow the diet this book would definitely make that possible and I could absolutely make it happen.

The cookbook itself is full of delicious-sounding recipes.  A few of the ones that caught my eye are:  Mango Surprise Smoothie, Thai Corn and Crab Soup, Southwestern Fried Rice, Steamed Snapper with Pesto, Turkey Meat Loaf, and Pineapple and Pork Tacos.  So far, I’ve only actually made one dish from the cookbook – Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast – and it was delicious!  I’d never even thought to add peanut butter to french toast, but man was it amazing.  And don’t worry, you’re allowed to use (a little) syrup with it!

Not all of the recipes are meal-sized portions, but the nice thing about the cookbook is that it gives you substitution suggestions, as well as ideas on how to make some of the snack-sized recipes into meals.  This cookbook would also be an excellent choice for an overall healthy lifestyle, even if you’re not following this diet, because each recipe provides complete nutritional information.

I would definitely recommend Flat Belly Diet Cookbook for anyone who is interested in pursuing healthy cooking options and definitely anyone interested in following the Flat Belly Diet!