It is time for me to do another review and giveaway! This time I am reviewing the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. This is a companion book to the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book pictured below. If you’ve been reading this blog lately you have seen that I am on a THM kick.
These books were written to replace a thicker book that had both the plan and the recipes all together in one book, pictured below.
I had to first get these books from interlibrary loan as my public library didn’t even have them here in southeast AZ. I wanted to preview them before I got my own copies. (I often do this with books. If you don’t know what interlibrary loan is, call up your public library and ask about it. It’s a way to check out any book even if your own public library doesn’t have a copy. Your local library can get the book from other public libraries, even if the library is out of state. You might have to pay a small fee to get pay for postage, like $1 to $3. You get to keep the book for about three weeks or so. This is such terrific news! It means that all the public libraries in the U.S. are your library! Amazing! Wouldn’t Benjamin Franklin be proud!? Okay back to the scheduled content of the post…) Now, here is a review of the cookbook.
The cookbook has over 300 recipes! The recipes are divided into the following sections:
- one pot meals
- hearty main dishes and sides
- breakfast, including muffins for single serve and family serve
- desserts, including single serve and family serve cakes with delightful frostings
- drinks, hot and cold
- snacks and condiments
Then the back of the book has a recap of the plan, so if you are new to the plan you can have a summary and learn the important portion guidelines. These recipes are all wheat free, except for the sprouted bread on p. 200, which calls for sprouted wheat flour. They are all sugar free and white potato free. Most are grain free. The video below gives a quick introduction to the plan.
Here is what I love about it:
-The cookbook is super mom-friendly and family-friendly. The authors know what it is like to cook for a big family. There are a ton of recipes that will please your husband and kids, even teenage boys. The S dinner meals are full of dense, chewy, or creamy comfort foods like ground beef, other meat, cheese, and sour cream. Some of them are: meatloaf, beef stew, lasagna, enchiladas, fake tater tot casserole, roast beef, chicken parmesan, cheeseburger pie, and fish tacos. Yum, yum, yum!
Here is the faker tot casserole that I served to the whole crew the first night my big kids were home for Christmas break. My 21 year old daughter declared it was absolutely delicious! I used leftover chicken from our Sunday chicken roast instead of ground beef. The faker tots come from cauliflower instead of tater tots.
-it has recipes that make enough servings to feed a big family and some recipes are labeled “single serve” so they are just for moms if you want to fix something just for you to stay on the diet plan, which is especially helpful when the rest of the family is given something that is off plan for you. Some of the soups and muffins and cakes are single serve recipes.
This is the cinnamon roll muffin single serve recipe. Very yummy!
-the recipes are labeled “E” or “S” to go with the diet plan they wrote. S stands for “satisfying” and E for “energizing.” Satisfying meals are those that are high in fat because they satisfy you. Energizing meals are those high in carbs and energize you. The authors teach in the plan that it’s best not to have meals high in fat and carbs at the same time, if you want to lose weight. If you have a meal high in fat and carbs you call that a crossover or “XO” meal. Those people who have high metabolisms, like kids, can afford to eat XO meals repeatedly and not gain weight. Some recipes indicate what you can do to make the meal a crossover for your kids. Then other recipes are called “FP” for “fuel pulls.” Those are foods low in carbs and fat, and higher in protein. I think the idea behind FPs are that they pull fuel in your body already stored, instead of adding fuel to it. The authors recommend that every meal have protein, and then you combine the protein with either high fat or high carbs but not both.
-that the authors are not afraid of whole, natural, God-made fat, like butter, sour cream, coconut oil, and olive oil. You won’t feel like you are eating cardboard or rabbit food on this diet!
-the photos are absolutely gorgeous, thanks to the the photographer, Rohnda Monroy. I have to admit when I first got the book I spent a night or two (ok, more than that) sitting up late poring over the recipes, drooling over the pictures.
– the fun names of the recipes, like Wigglemallow Pie and Volcano Mud Slide Muffin.
-that one of the authors, Serene, has been influenced by the Weston A. Price foundation diet so she recommends soaking oats and other grains for the cooked cereal recipes and of course, whole fat foods
-the fun chatty descriptions of how the two sisters came up with the recipes or the names of the recipes
-that the authors say that you can start the plan without any special ingredients. Some of the recipes do call for special ingredients like the baking blend, glucomannan powder, pristine whey powder, or the integral collagen. Don’t get overwhelmed by the mention of all these ingredients. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed as you read through the cookbook, thinking, I have to go out to the store or Amazon today and buy all of these ingredients! Take a big breath, slow down, and start out with just some almond flour and golden flax seed meal which you can find at Walmart. You can start out with the cinnamon roll muffin recipe with those ingredients. The recipes that don’t require special ingredients are labelled “NSI” for “no special ingredients.” You can find those easily in the book and get started with those. I will have to do another blog post about substituting things, but in the meantime, you can Google to find substitutions for the THM Baking Blend and Sweet Blends, and also how to get started on THM on a budget. Using salmon, oats, tuna, ground beef, chicken, sweet potatoes, skinny chocolate, raw greens, Greek yogurt, cheese, beans, and cheap cuts of meat is a very doable, inexpensive way of doing the diet. Here is how you can make your own Greek yogurt for half the cost of grocery store Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a staple of the THM diet.
If you can’t afford the “Not Naughty Noodles,” one of the special ingredients, just get spaghetti squash and cook it up. The flesh of the squash naturally separates as noodles. Very cheap, nutritious, and totally suitable for spaghetti!
Here’s what I don’t like quite so much about the cookbook:
-the repeated use of all the funky sweeteners, like xylitol and erythritol, sugar alcohols, which the two sisters/authors sell in the form of the Trim Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet and Super Sweet blends. Some purist health food nuts like Sarah Pope don’t recommend sugar alcohols, for reasons here. I have noticed that my stomach feels a little funny when I have baked goods that use erythritol. I recognize that they have their place, since they are lower on the glycemic index than whole sweeteners, as part of a weight loss/healing plan. So I am thinking, use them cautiously if you are super addicted to sugar, as a replacement. Notice any reactions. If you don’t have any short term reactions use them while on plan, and gradually wean yourself off them. Then when you hit goal weight transition to whole sweeteners like maple syrup and sucanat. Or use whole sweeteners the whole time in your weight loss journey, in small amounts. Eat plenty of fatty, S meals, and you will eliminate your sugar cravings.
This is the zapple recipe, which is a mock apple crumble made from zucchini. It is my least favorite of all the recipes I have tried. It did not taste as much like apple crumble as I had hoped. The texture was off. Zucchini just isn’t as firm and crisp as apples.
-that the only option to be grain free with all the baked goods (except for the sprouted wheat bread) that they give is using their baking blend, which is made chiefly of almond flour and coconut flour. What is a mom to do if she is allergic to these, like my son? One option I recommend is to learn to cook with natural yeast, which lowers the glycemic index of grains. I have been tracking my diet for months now. I notice when I eat natural yeast flour in the form of wheat sourdough bread I do not gain weight and can actually lose weight, if I follow the THM portion guidelines, still limiting carbs and fat and separating the fuels. So if you are allergic to coconut and almonds, and want baked goods, I recommend you get the books written by Melissa Richardson here. Those two books shown in the page on that link have recipes for most baked goods: bread, cookies, cake, etc. Hopefully you are not allergic to wheat, coconut, and almonds all at the same time!
The chocolate chip cookie recipe made from a copycat THM baking blend of equal parts almond flour and golden flaxseed meal. They definitely tasted good.
I give the THM cookbook four out of five stars. I am positive it will help you in your weight loss goals, if you follow the portion guidelines. So I am giving away a copy for the New Year! If you want to enter the random drawing please comment below as to what interests you the most about the book.
I have been tracking my diet and using the THM meal labels for over a month now. I’ve also weighed myself daily. I can vouch that when I eat lots of crossover meals in a row, I do start to gain weight. When I eat only S or E meals, at least three hours apart, according to the portion guidelines given in the back of the book, I do lose weight. I’m at the point where I don’t really need to lose weight for health reasons, after losing 70 pounds in 2015-2016, and then maintaining that loss for almost a year. I do have about 10 to 15 lbs to lose just to look better, or firm up my muscles, but I am happy with my size.
Most importantly, I am thrilled that by using the E meals in the book, I have been able to restore my sleep and my hormone balance, which is what drew me to the book. I came to it after my weight loss journey not in need of the “Trim” part of the equation but the “Healthy” part. Before I found this book, every time I introduced carbs back into my diet after being high fat for months, I would gain weight.
This book has taught me the following:
- that frozen cauliflower is a staple for me to have on hand to make fake rice and potatoes. I have made “fauxtatoes” in years past for my Thanksgiving mashed potatoes with raw cauliflower. It didn’t occur to me to keep frozen cauliflower on hand instead of fresh so that I can be more flexible in my cauliflower sub recipes, because I don’t worry the cauliflower is going to go bad (I use it so infrequently)
- that frozen okra is another staple to keep in my freezer because of its amazing properties. It can act as a thickener and binder in the recipe but then be a slimming agent for my body. I learned I can use it in grain-free brownies, in smoothies, and in soup.
- that wassail is a new Christmas tradition for me to start making on Thanksgiving day and continue through the holiday season! It was sooooo good! I’ve never been a fan of cranberries until I tried the recipe in this book.
- how much fun it is to make a muffin in a mug for breakfast or a dessert at the end of a long day. If my family happens to be having a dessert given to them, full of white sugar, then I can whip one of these muffins up and enjoy something sweet along side them.
- that I can make a wrap out of psyllium husks (still perfecting that one)
- that I can make crunchy “Cheetos” type puffs with a THM recipe called “Crunch Puffs”
- that radishes can be used both to color frosting pink and as a sub for potatoes in order to have low-carb hash browns
- that gluccie is an ingredient that will thicken puddings, gravies, and smoothies without adding carbs or calories.
- that turmeric makes a great drink called Singing Canary that I can just feel healing me as I drink it.
Overall, I have to say this cookbook is the best collection of recipes for weight loss ever for anyone, but especially for a mom. If you have a New Year’s goal to lose weight, break free of sugar addiction, or make more whole foods dinners from scratch for your family this book will help you!
Please comment below to enter the drawing. The drawing will be held on Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017.