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In 1999 at age 32, I hit a health wall after spending my twenties eating for convenience and serving my sweet tooth. I wanted to feel better, look better, and lose some weight. I knew in my heart (and my head) that changing what I ate—day to day, for the long term—would bring me closer to my goals. But the thought of actually learning how to eat differently was very daunting, to say the least!
But in time I did learn! And I've spent the last six years teaching cooking classes, helping others to learn as well. Last year I decided it was time to start writing Straight Up Food—the cookbook I wish I had back when I started out on this path!
This cookbook is full of delicious, health-promoting recipes, and is an extension of my teaching, guiding you in a friendly way as you explore a plant-based way of eating! This lifestyle can change the health game for you, as it has for me and so many others. Dr. Michael Greger speaks the truth in his book, How Not to Die: "Most deaths in the United States are preventable and they are related to what we eat."
All the recipes call for 100% plant foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and contain no animal-derived ingredients: meat (beef, pork, fowl, fish, or seafood), eggs, honey, or dairy products (cow’s milk, cream, butter, cheese, or yogurt). Recipes also emphasize the use of unprocessed foods, and are without added salt, oil and sugar.
This book gives you nearly 100 recipes that...
- Are high in flavor (even without added salt, oil and sugar; click here to see a PDF of the Table of Contents),
- Will be familiar to you; dishes like beef(less) stew, Caesar salad, split pea soup, potato salad, coleslaw, pancakes, blueberry muffins, and carrot cake,
- You can serve to people who don’t usually eat this way, and they will still enjoy the food,
- Emphasize using whole foods as opposed to overly processed packaged foods,
- Don’t call for hard-to-find ingredients,
- And are also gluten-free.
Above: Fruit Salad with Mint, Tu-No Salad, Curried Potato Salad, Beefless Stew, Black Bean and Rice Stew, and Curried French Lentils
This book makes cooking easier for you by...
- Giving you an easy book to use in your kitchen, due to it being hardcover with a spiral binding (so the book lays flat),
- Featuring full-color photos throughout the book, so you can see what you’ll be making and eating,
- Offering shopping tips at the start of most recipes,
- Using numbered instructions to make recipes very easy to follow,
- Offering serving amounts as well as volume amounts of completed recipes,
- Letting you know how long each recipe takes to prepare and cook,
- Including notes on substitutions and serving suggestions,
- Including comprehensive tables of contents, at the front of the book and at the beginning of each recipe chapter,
- And by providing an index that is cross referenced with individual ingredients (for example, if you wanted to know all the recipes that call for beans or blueberries).
This book offers plenty of support to people who are new to this way of eating, including...
- Information right up front as to why this way of eating is beneficial to health, including the specific reasons that salt, oil and sugar are not used in the recipes,
- A “Basics” introduction to each recipe chapter to give you a background on how these recipes differ from their traditional counterparts, as well as other tips and information to broaden your understanding of healthier cooking when you’re not using recipes,
- Detailed nutrient and calorie breakdowns for all recipes (in a chart at the end of the book),
- Support information on menu planning and grocery shopping with ease,
- Instructions on how to cook and bake without oil, as well as how to use dried herbs and spices in the absence of salt,
- Step-by-step instructions on how to read food labels (oh so important!),
- A detailed "road map" for making your own healthy salad dressings,
- The inside scoop on eating healthy when you’re away from home (at a restaurant, on the road, at events, at friends’ houses),
- My list of favorite "must-have" kitchen tools,
- A "Notes and Terms" section to get you up to speed on things that may be different to you with this way of eating,
- And my personal story of how I discovered plant-based eating and my journey to becoming a cooking instructor and recipe blogger.
As you can see, the Straight Up Food cookbook is much more than just a cookbook! I wrote this book to be the “go-to” resource for anyone who is interested in exploring or adopting a health-promoting plant-based diet. Think of this cookbook as your launch-pad to healthier and, therefore, happier living!
MY PATH TO HEALTHY LIVING
Growing up, I had more than my share of colds, earaches, sore throats, and stomachaches. By the time I was 13, I had already had pneumonia twice. In my thirties, still not feeling too good, I read a book by Dr. John McDougall, a medical doctor specializing in plant-based nutrition who promotes a starch-based diet free of animal foods and oils.
Eliminating meat was not hard, as it had always made me feel heavy and tired. Plus as an animal lover, giving up meat brought my values of loving animals and living as a compassionate person more into alignment. I had always cared about animals, but before I changed my diet and learned more about how poorly animals are treated before they become our food, it had never occurred to me that I could simply choose not to eat them.
After saying goodbye to meat and dairy foods, I felt so good that my new diet soon turned into a lifestyle. I also had other improvements: my skin looked better, I lost weight, and my digestion became regular. As for animal foods, I no longer considered them food at all. Today at age 49, I feel vibrant and healthy, and am facing no health issues and take no medications.
BECOMING A COOKING INSTRUCTOR
After eating a plant-based diet for many years, one courageous day in 2006 I contacted Dr. John McDougall, whose books had helped me a great deal, with the hope of landing a job that would allow me to gain experience in the field of plant-based nutrition. Geography and timing were on my side, and I began working in an administrative capacity for John and Mary McDougall part time at their 10-day, live-in nutrition education programs, and later as a cooking teacher. I’ll never forget the first time I met Dr. McDougall in person: He shook my hand and said, “Well, you look healthy!”
In 2010 I was given the opportunity to teach cooking classes at another wellness facility nearby called TrueNorth Health Center, which promotes a whole-food, plant-based diet that is free of added salt, oil, and sugar, and is gluten free. Soon after I started teaching classes (all of my culinary skills are self-taught), I set up my recipe blog StraightUpFood.com, featuring free recipes and articles on eating a 100% plant-based diet free of added salt, oil, and sugar.
My recipes have been featured in numerous books, including The Campbell Plan by Thomas Campbell, M.D., co-author of The China Study; Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau; Nutrition CHAMPS by Jill Nussinow, M.S., R.D.; and A Plant-Based Life by Micaela Cook Karlsen. My recipes and articles have also appeared on the websites ForksOverKnives.com, Engine2Diet.com, and DrMcDougall.com.
I decided to self-publish this cookbook because I wanted it produced in a way that was most helpful to you, the home cook, meaning creating a book that was beautiful, with lots of color photos throughout, and one that would lay flat when using it. In addition, I wanted to experience leading such a grand, creative project. I knew that it would be a long road, but I couldn't imagine doing anything else that would be as exciting and enriching at this point in my professional life. I also felt that my previous years of writing, editing, and working in magazine publishing afforded me a nice skill set from which to create a self-published book of my own. I have put my heart and soul into this cookbook, and I hope you enjoy it and reap all the benefits that are possible from it!
Above: Lemon-oatmeal Pancakes, Oil-Free Granola, Spiralized Hash Browns, Raw Apple Crumble, Carrot Cake Cupcakes, Almond-Poppy Seed Cake (with strawberries and Lemon Frosting)
“TrueNorth Health Center has been teaching patients to eat an exclusively plant food diet free of added salt, oil, and sugar for over 30 years. During this time the greatest challenge that our patients have faced is how to sustain the results they achieve at TrueNorth, through diet and fasting, once they return home. Cathy Fisher has helped solve this problem. Even the most resistant to dietary change will love her flavorful food and easy-to-follow recipes. This book can help save your life and the lives of the people you love.” —Dr. Alan Goldhamer, founder of TrueNorth Health Center and co-author of The Pleasure Trap
“Cathy Fisher is a very talented chef who has been helping people at the McDougall Program for many years to regain their lost health. Her recipes are delicious and easy to prepare, and we highly recommend that you prominently place Straight Up Food in your cookbook library.” —John and Mary McDougall, national bestselling authors and co-founders of the McDougall Program
“Cathy Fisher is a gentle and beautiful force of nature. We work together at TrueNorth Health Center, and people often comment to me that her SOS-free (without added salt, oil, or sugar) recipes are the best they have ever tasted. I have to agree. Her simple yet flavorful approach to cooking is exquisite. You'll be very happy that you brought her cookbook into your healthy kitchen.” —Douglas Lisle, Ph.D., co-author of The Pleasure Trap
"When my patients begin to appreciate the remarkable benefits of consuming a whole-food, plant-based diet, they immediately want to know how to put it into practice. For this, I've been telling them about Cathy Fisher for years. This is food the way nature intended it—as delicious as it is attractive.” —Thomas Campbell, M.D., Clinical Director, University of Rochester Program for Nutrition in Medicine, co-author, The China Study, author, The China Study Solution
“As a professional chef who has followed a plant-based, SOS-free (without added salt, oil, or sugar) diet for almost 10 years, I can honestly tell you that Cathy’s food is among the best I have ever tasted. You won’t notice what is missing, only what is present: familiar looking dishes that are full of flavor! If you don't believe me, try her Tu-No Salad, Creamy Coleslaw, or Carrot Cake. You can even serve her food to company—they won’t believe that food this delicious is also healthy!” —Chef AJ, host of the Foody TV show Healthy Living and author of Unprocessed
“The specialty of nutrition has been misunderstood for far too long. The future of health care worldwide requires a better understanding of a whole-food, plant-based diet and its enormous nutritional benefits. In making a transition to this dietary lifestyle, one of the biggest challenges is learning how to cook healthy food. Toward this end, I recommend Cathy Fisher’s excellent cookbook, Straight Up Food.” —T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Jacob Gould Sherman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry Cornell University, and co-author of the best-selling books, The China Study and Whole
“Let’s cut through all the hype and nonsense: Good health is the result of consuming natural foods without added salt, oil, concentrated sweeteners, or white flour. Cathy Fisher’s cookbook, Straight Up Food, is your recipe for ‘straight up’ good health!” —Joel Fuhrman, M.D., six-time New York Times Bestselling Author, including The End of Diabetes and The End of Heart Disease
"I love it! Plant-based, whole food-focused, no added sugar, oil, or salt—who knew healthy eating could be so easy and delicious!?” —Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM, creator of NutritionFacts.org
“Cathy’s recipes are always hearty, healthy, and full of flavor. I highly recommend Straight Up Food for your plant-based kitchen!” —Brian Wendel, Founder and President of Forks Over Knives
What ingredients do you avoid in your recipes? Animal foods and their ingredients, salt, oil, sugar, gluten (wheat, rye, barley), peanuts and their products, and caffeine (chocolate).
What nutrition information is included in the book? There is a comprehensive table in the back of the book with the nutritional information for each recipe. Information and data provided include: recipe; notes; serving size (volume and grams); calories per serving; calorie density; total fat and saturated fat grams; % calories from total fat and saturated fat; sodium mg; carbohydrate, protein, sugar, and fiber grams; and calcium mg.
Do you use common ingredients in your recipes? The ingredients I use are generally found in most grocery stores, however, availability may vary depending on where you live.
How many servings do the recipes offer? Servings vary, with a few recipes only serving 2 people, but most serving 4 to 6, or 6 to 8. Recipes are easily doubled or halved in most cases.
Do you offer a paperback version? Sorry, no; just the hard cover, spiral-bound version).
Is your book on Amazon? Yes it is: click here. Amazon is set up for U.S. shipments only at this time. If you are shipping to an international address, please purchase from this website.
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