Foodist book review by Recipe RenovatorI first heard about this author, Darya Pino Rose, in Fast Company magazine. I tweeted her and her publicist got in touch and offered me a review copy of her book: Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting. Darya writes the uber-popular blog Summer Tomato and happens to have a Ph.D. in neuroscience. I love the book’s title and the author’s focus on real food and real science to lose weight.

We’ll be giving away one copy of this book on Friday, September 27th (our monthly giveaway for September).

One of the aspects of aging that’s less than ideal is the shift in metabolism. I used to be one of those annoying people who, when her pants got tight, just cut back a little and poof, back to my proper weight. Since achieving menopause, that has changed. Boy, has it changed. I can easily gain a pound a day on vacation, while it can take me a month to lose one of those pounds. Nothing seemed to work. So this book came to me at a terrific time. Since reading it and implementing her strategies, I have lost six pounds and am back within 1 pound of my ideal weight. I spent over a year trying to lose those pounds before reading this book, so I can testify that it works.

The book is organized in three parts. Part I: Healthstyle covers why “diet” is a four-lettter word (because they don’t work), the myth of willpower, defining “healthstyle” vs. being on a diet, and eating real food. The most important tips I got out of this section were that creating and crafting my habits is way more important than what I eat. I now weigh myself every morning, I bought a more accurate scale, I measure my portions, I use an app called Fooducate. These tools have helped me to make much better choices overall, while still eating what I want.

Part II: Getting Started describes how to learn what you’re eating now (getting a baseline), shopping and cooking, mindful eating, walking 10,000 steps, and troubleshooting. I had already bought the app Fooducate; after reading this section I started using it every day. (If you have food allergies or celiac disease, buy Fooducate for Allergies). I like that I can set it for weight loss or weight maintenance, I can update my weight daily, and it has an enormous database of foods. For foods with a bar code, you can scan the bar code with your phone and it will enter it for you. Nifty!

This might sound OCD, but for me it actually makes me less focused on my food. I can see what I’ve eaten already, whether I haven’t exercised enough, and can make better choices with my calories. She also talks about the importance of non-exercise movement (called NEAT)… people who walk a lot and fidget tend to be thinner. I wear a pedometer now, and am amazed at how many steps I take just walking around the house, doing chores, and walking Daisy. I also have friends that wear and love Fitbit. She gives a terrific overview of how to get started cooking, set up your pantry, and read labels. She does have a few recipes scattered throughout the book, like “How to make Brussels sprouts that aren’t gross.”

Part III: The Daily Foodist focuses one chapter each on home, office, restaurants, and friends and family. The tips for managing your intake at the office are great. I remember when I worked at an office it seemed like there was food out ALL DAY LONG. And between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, there was. She provides excellent tips for making restaurant food healthier as well, with some easy substitutions.

Fooducate weight loss trackingWhat I liked about the book:
I like the idea of having a “healthstyle” vs. being “on a diet.” No one wants to be on a diet, ever; it feels like you’re starting with deprivation, always. For me, implementing the pedometer and 10,000 steps a day was a big change in my perception of how active I was. Using Fooducate made a huge difference in both my food choices and my portion control. I also created a list describing my healthstyle, which put things in black and white for me. Darya’s research has found this to be incredibly helpful and I do too. Stating that “I only eat vegan food” for example, cuts out the gray areas of a little candy here, or some flavored potato chips there. But the healthstyle list is much broader than simply food. I detail when I get up, what my morning routine is, how many steps I take each day, what time I go to bed, etc. While I don’t follow it every single day to the letter, reviewing it regularly helps me stay on track.

I wasn’t so keen on:
No complaints about this book! It was inspiring and shared the research with a light, fun tone.

I recommend this for:
Anyone looking to lose weight or to change their relationship with food and activity.

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Tuesday reviews, Wednesday essays, Thursday how-to’s, and Flashback Friday recipes. We’ll have monthly giveaways on the last Friday of the month.
Here’s the book if you want to check it out: