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The Balanced Plate: The Essential Elements of Whole Foods and Good Health Paperback – Sep 19 2006

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Loux's debut, Living Cuisine, was a raw foods (food perparation with low or no heat) primer. This follow-up has plenty of recipes that involve cooking, but retains the focus on "choosing balanced whole foods over processed, denatured foods" for wellness and for pleasure. To that end, Loux introduces the Ayurvedic system of classifying food, and gives advice on "finding out where it really comes from, and choosing the safest, most nutritious options." She begins with "The True Cost of Food," laying out the number of pounds-per-acre of pesticides used in growing everything from potatoes to strawberries-and cows-as well as the large amounts of fuel used in shipping imported goods and the potential dangers of genetically modified foods. From there, she covers seasonality, macrobiotics, the basics of a whole foods pantry (including safer cleaning products), and clean water issues. The last two thirds of the book is comprised of Loux's recipes for everything from Velvet Nutmeg Nog to Lotus Manitok Wild Rice with Mâche; also included are takes on Sheherd's Pie, Salad Niçoise and Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens. The whole is produced with passion and expertise.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

RENÉE LOUX is a celebrated raw foods chef and former co-owner of the Raw Experience restaurant in Maui. She facilitates health retreats and workshops worldwide which incorporate whole living foods into a balanced lifestyle. She lives in Maui.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Use the philsophy of this book every day but most of the recipes only a few times a week. Oct. 17 2006
By Jazzbrat - Published on
Format: Paperback
I just discovered this book and was really excited to read it. I must say that overall I wasn't disappointed. Her explanations on how we impact our bodies and the earth by the choices we make in food and even in the products we use is truly convincing. Her enthusiasm for food is contageous. The fact that she discusses various eating plans and the philosophy behind each is really wonderful. The amount of good information presented is amazing. That said, I was a little confused about the recipes. I am of Italian heritage so I was raised on olive oil, beans, nuts, grains, etc and continue to make them my basic food choices. But just because nuts and good quality oils have health benefits doesn't mean you can use them with wild abandon. Some of the recipes in this book have way too much fat per serving. Unless you're extremely active I truly can't imagine using most of these recipes on a regular basis and being able to control your weight. For example, there is a recipe for "Massaged Greens". This veg side dish has 11 grams of fat per serving (and only 150 calories). As someone who eats alot of greens, I can say first hand that a drizzle of good quality oil is all that you really need to season greens, anything more and you drown out their flavor. The "Walnut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies" are 400 calories and 21 grams of fat per cookie! To be fair, not all of the recipes are high in fat but the majority are. The other odd thing about many of these recipes are the copius amounts of sodium. Soy sauce (shoyu) seems to be the culprit here. The "Soba Noodle Salad" and the "Soba Noodle Soup" have 3,130 mg and 3,390 mg of sodium per serving respectively. And the above mentioned "Massaged Greens": 960 mg. of sodium per serving. Alot of recipes have 600 mg or higher (although not all recipes are high in sodium). So, I was baffled that Dean Ornish would write the Forward. Unless he's loosened his militant stance on the "proper" way to eat for health, he seemed like the last person who would herald most of the recipes in this tome. So maybe one should use the philosophy of this book every single day but the recipes only a few times a week.
All of this being said, I would still recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to live better and impact the environment less.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Too much seaweed, ume, and soy July 28 2008
By Catherine Schuyler - Published on
Format: Paperback
I expected this book to provide me with useful recipes and an overall healthy philosophy on food. There was some of what I expected, but far too many 'exotic' foods expected for every recipe, so that none of them looked interesting enough to try. I keep whole grains, fresh produce and herbs, and lots of basics in my pantry. What seemed to distinguish almost all of the recipes in the book were odd ingredients -- one-hit wonders, as it were -- that are expensive and ridiculous to keep around because I'll only use them once and the jar will take up refrigerator space. I didn't find it helpful, and I won't keep it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Spelt is NOT gluten-free! April 6 2008
By Amaya - Published on
Format: Paperback
The description of this book explains that the author writes with a "nod" toward gluten-free living. In one way, this is true. Many folks with gluten issues also have dairy issues, and this book cleanly sidesteps all dairy altogether, while providing workable recipes that sound like they would still taste good (especially the desserts, which sound delightful, although I haven't tried them yet). My big problem with the recipes in general is that she lists spelt as a gluten-free alternative. WRONG! Spelt contains gluten, and its use is an entirely inappropriate recommendation to individuals who are avoiding gluten. That being said, most experienced gluten-avoiders will know how to modify the few gluten-containing recipes (or skip them altogether), but for newbies, I cringe to think of the damage that could be caused.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great book for Daily Use, and as a General Reference Nov. 30 2007
By Erin C - Published on
Format: Paperback
As others here have stated, the use of oils tends to be a little much on occasion, as well as her use of sodium. There is one recipe (a greens recipe) that calls for umeboshi vinegar AND shoyu, the result is too salty to even put into your mouth (in my humble opinion). Ume vinegar on its own is salty without adding Shoyu....

SO, the lesson here: as with anything in life......use you own best judgement, and don't follow anything as blind religion. The recipes, and her book is fabulous, wonderful, I LOVE it and use it often. Do not be discouraged.

Just use your best judgement for those ingredients that REALLY alter the final taste...salty, sweet, spicy, etc. I have a tendency to add those sorts of ingredients on my own schedule (rather than following exactly what the recipe dictates), so that I can use my best judgement (and my tongue) to determine the amounts that taste good or suite my family.

One thing I really like about this book is that she also includes recipes for home cleaner, air freshener, etc. Including recipes for items like that if very forward thinking and deserves recognition....she has presented a well rounded book.

Great for reference and everyday use.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Guide to Wellness Jan. 10 2007
By W. Fanelli - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book was a recent Christmas gift and I must say that my mother and I have been unable to put it down since. Even non-vegetarians such as ourselves can enjoy the delicious variety of recipes. The first section of the book educates the reader on environmental issues and the importance of organics. We've always kept a conscious eye out for organic products, however after reading we've come to understand how important they really are.

My critique of cookbooks usually includes availability of ingredients. While not available in the average grocery store, I was able to conviently find almost everything in Wild Oats. Depending on your cooking style you may have many of these ingredients in your cabinet already.

This cookbook is a guide for healty living and delicious eating. Its a must for anyone's collection.