Cookbook Review: No Excuses Diet by Megan Gilmore

No Excuses Detox https://www.amazon.com/No-Excuses-Detox-Recipes-Healthy/dp/0399579028

I love cookbooks, and used to have a nice collection of them before I moved and had to downsize. I loved those old cookbooks, but they didn’t necessarily include many recipes that I would now consider healthy. I love that I was able to add the No Excuses Detox: 100 Recipes to Help You Eat Healthy Every Day by Megan Gilmore (author of Everyday Detox) to my newly started cookbook collection. I want cookbooks that fall in line with my desire to eat healthier, and this book does just that.

We are all so busy these days, and it is often difficult to find the time for meal planning, shopping, and preparing foods for a healthy lifestyle. Megan shows how you can accomplish this by including shopping lists, meal plans, recipes, and even make-ahead tips.

One of my favorite things about this book, besides the recipes, is that it tells you how to prepare healthy meals in a less toxic way. We’re all aware of the pesticides in so many food items and the BPA-lined cans, and how these things are not good for us. I want to get away from that kind of thing as much as possible, and Megan helps us with this by discussing how to avoid things like preservatives, toxic packaging, and chemical dyes.

This is not detox in the sense that you do it for 30 or 60 days and then you’re finished. What Megan hopes is that we will follow her lead and eat whole foods year round. Organic, fresh foods have wonderful flavor, and are so good for you. By reducing your consumption of processed and refined foods, you’ll really be doing good things for your body and your mind. This book is about making changes that will last a lifetime. It is imperative that we feed our bodies in a healthy way regularly, not only for a month or two at a time.

The recipes in Megan’s book take into consideration a number of factors, including price, speed, and convenience, that will help to make meal prep easy. No Excuses Detox guides you through the process of beginning this healthy lifestyle by discussing concerns such as time, expense, picky eaters, and cravings.

I love that she covers eating on-the-go! Even on my days off from work, I’m gone part of the day. It’s far easier to eat healthy if I’m prepared for each day as it comes.

Another feature I like is the discussion of freezer planning. Having foods prepared and frozen is a good way to save money. Simply take something out of the freezer the night before if you know you’ll have a busy day. That way, you wont have to order out. This book also mentions freezing in single-serve portions, which is great for me because I live alone.

Megan’s No Excuses Meal Plans are wonderful. Choose the speedy plan, the beginner’s plan, or the one for the budget-minded (my favorite!). Use them for menu planning and shopping. Each plan tells which recipes can be made ahead for easier meal prep.

She even provides useful information at the end of the book. That is where you’ll find nutritional information for each recipe, handy conversion charts, and a list of other resources to help you along the way.

I tried four of the recipes in this book to prepare for writing this review. I wanted to be able to say that the foods could be made with minimal effort and time, and that the finished recipes are tasty. Also, I needed to be able to do it on a budget. My treat for this venture? Almond butter. The first time I’ve had it. It is good, but a little outside my budget. $6.99 a jar, and I needed two. I’m hoping to find other sources that don’t cost as much. I did, however, find two coupons for a dollar off, so I paid $5.99 per jar.

I’ve wanted to learn how to make refrigerator pickles for some time, so I took this opportunity to make the Quick Bread and Butter Pickles. I love bread and butter pickles. I don’t know what I was thinking all the years. I guess I thought it would be too time-consuming to make them. But it really wasn’t, and the finished product is delicious. They sat in my refrigerator a couple of days before I tried them, and then I brought them to work to test out on a coworker. She also loved them. I made two quarts, and the recipe says they’ll last a month.

Then I wanted snacks for work. I decided to make the Nut-Free Gingerbread Granola next. The prep for this takes no time at all, but the bake time is a little long. I was able to do other things while waiting, as I was preparing meals for my weekend at work. The granola is very good. I used it top my banana cereal, and I put some in a container to have for snacks at work.

And the Chewy Vegan Ginger Cookies are simply wonderful. I’ll be making these at the holidays. I tried them out on a coworker as well, and she loved them as much as I do.

I then made the 5-Minute Freezer Fudge, and it is so rich and chocolatey. I’m planning to make it again at the holidays so I can try it out on my family. My mother and I were discussing the need for healthier alternatives to all the sweets we usually have at the get-together. This might be a winner!

I’d like to share a few recipes from the cookbook with you, so you can try them out before buying No Excuses Detox. I know you’ll be pleased.

deep-dish chocolate chip cookie

No Excuses Detox https://www.amazon.com/No-Excuses-Detox-Recipes-Healthy/dp/0399579028SERVES 12 | $0.64 PER SLICE

If I were asked what my “last supper” would be, this deep-dish chocolate chip cookie would make the cut. It’s warm and gooey right out of the oven and tastes unbelievably decadent when topped with a scoop of Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream (page 178). No one will believe this delight is made without white flour or sugar!

Coconut oil, for greasing

1 tablespoon ground chia seeds

3 tablespoons water

1 cup creamy cashew butter (see Note)

¾ cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

¾ cup dark chocolate chips

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with coconut oil.

2 In a large bowl, combine the ground chia seeds and water and stir well to combine. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes to thicken.

3 At this point, stir any separated oil back into your store-bought cashew butter. Add the cashew butter, coconut sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt to the chia mixture and stir well to form a thick and sticky dough. Fold in the chocolate chips.

4 Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared skillet. Wet your hands with water (to prevent them from sticking to the dough) and press the dough evenly into the bottom of the skillet.

5 Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookie rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. The hotter the cookie, the more soft and difficult it is to cut, although either way, it’s delicious. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

NOTE: For this recipe, I always use store-bought roasted cashew butter rather than my usual raw homemade version. Since this cookie is baked in a hot oven anyway, I think it’s a waste of money to use expensive raw cashew butter, when the roasted variety is cheaper and more readily available. The store-bought option usually contains a bit of added oil and salt, so this recipe accounts for that. If you happen to find a brand with no added salt, increase the salt in this recipe to ½ teaspoon.

Credit: Reprinted with permission from No Excuses Detox, copyright © 2017 by Megan Gilmore, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photography copyright © 2017 by Erin Scott

easy party mix

No Excuses Detox https://www.amazon.com/No-Excuses-Detox-Recipes-Healthy/dp/039957902815-MINUTE PREP

KID-FRIENDLY

MAKES 2 CUPS | $0.44 PER SERVING

If you tend to crave that popular party mix, you are going to love this grain-free version. It tastes surprisingly similar to the kind made with rice cereal and is incredibly easy to prepare using any nuts or seeds you have on hand. Because this crispy mix can be stored at room temperature, it also makes a great snack on the go! Feel free to double the recipe because it will go fast.

½ cup raw almonds

½ cup raw pecans

1 cup hulled sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon maple syrup

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, maple syrup, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet in a flat, single layer without too many clumps.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes, then cool completely (the nuts will be crunchy once completely cool). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Cut Your Cancer Risk

The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers acrylamide to be a “probable human carcinogen,” since it has been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. This chemical is not added to food but is created naturally when certain foods are roasted, fried, or baked, particularly fries, potato chips, coffee, almonds, crackers, and bread. It is nearly impossible to avoid this chemical altogether, since it occurs naturally in a wide range of plant foods and animal products, but you can limit your exposure by using safer cooking methods, such as steaming and boiling, cooking susceptible foods at lower temperatures, and avoiding meats, vegetables, and starches that are darkly browned or charred. You’ll notice that all of the recipes in this book that call for heating raw nuts are kept to temperatures of 250°F or lower to avoid browning and to reduce the potential formation of acrylamide.

Credit: Reprinted with permission from No Excuses Detox, copyright © 2017 by Megan Gilmore, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photography copyright © 2017 by Erin Scott

creamy herb dressing

30-MINUTE RECIPE

15-MINUTE PREP

MAKES A GENEROUS 1 CUP | $0.39 PER SERVING

This oil-free dressing is a great alternative to traditional creamy dressings because it’s allergy-friendly and loaded with calcium, thanks to the use of raw tahini, a paste made from raw sesame seeds. It’s hard to beat the flavor of fresh herbs in this recipe, but feel free to replace them with dried herbs if they are easier to find. When using dried herbs, be sure to reduce the amount you use by two-thirds, as their flavor is much more concentrated than the fresh variety. In general, 1 teaspoon of dried herbs is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs. You can taste as you go. Keep this creamy dressing on hand all week long for an easy ranchlike salad or quick veggie dip.

½ cup raw tahini (see Note)

½ cup water

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

In a blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. (Depending on the thickness of your tahini, you may want to add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons water to help make the dressing more pourable.) Taste and adjust any seasoning. Serve immediately, or allow the dressing to chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will thicken a bit when chilled, making a thick dressing or veggie dip, but you can easily thin it out with additional water or lemon juice, as desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

NOTE: Be sure to use raw tahini for this recipe, if possible. Raw tahini is very light in color and mild in flavor, unlike roasted tahini, which is runny and very bitter. If you can’t find the raw version with no added oil in your local store, you can order it online or make your own by grinding hulled raw sesame seeds in a food processor until smooth. (I buy my hulled raw seeds on Amazon—make sure they are hulled, though, or you’ll wind up with inedible results.)

Credit: Reprinted with permission from No Excuses Detox, copyright © 2017 by Megan Gilmore, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photography copyright © 2017 by Erin Scott

enjoy the recipes, and No Excuses Detox!

I sure did. Megan has a nice writing style, and provides useful information. I know I’ll be trying more of the recipes. I’m happy I got to check the book out and provide a review. Visit Megan’s site at Detoxinista.com.

Have you read this book yet? Feel free to share links to your reviews, or tell us what you thought of the book or a recipe.

Shannon

Note: The links in this article are not affiliate ones.

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Categories: Condiments, Etc., Desserts, Reviews, Sides, Snacks

Author:Shannon L. Buck

Hi all! My name is Shannon. I'm a single mother of two young adult daughters and a Memay to one precious Little Man. I work as a writer from my home in Orono, Maine, and as a Front Desk Agent at an inn in Bangor. Writing is my life, second only to my daughters and grandson. I enjoy writing nonfiction, as well as fiction in a number of genres.

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