I love food. I have always loved food. I started cooking for my family as a young girl. I loved baking cakes. By the time I was nine, I was making beef stroganoff for the family. It was one of the few places where I had self-confidence. I was good at cooking. I received positive feedback from feeding the people I loved. That love of food almost led me to another career. After several failed TV pilots in my twenties, I had decided to give up acting. I was going to do what I knew best: cook! Life, however, doesn’t always go as planned, and a little show called Three’s Company got in the way of my cooking career. But it didn’t stop my passion for food!
The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible marks my twenty-first book. You, my faithful readers, have been requesting this book for years. Many of you own some or all of my Somersize series of books with hundreds of recipes in different bindings, and you have been asking for one master book with all of them. HERE IT IS! I have taken the best of the best, revised, updated, organized, and categorized all of them to work with my amazing weight loss plan, Sexy Forever. This plan is very similar to Somersize, but with some great updates based on current science and newer discoveries related to losing weight and staying healthy.
My personal journey with weight and food began with a twiggy little body. I was one of those lucky people genetically hard-wired to be thin. Skinny. Ate whatever I wanted and didn’t gain weight. Then I hit my forties, and what I didn’t yet realize: the beginning of perimenopause. What were those handles on my hips? Why couldn’t I hold in my stomach? And when I was trying to lose weight for the camera, why weren’t the pounds flying off as they had in the past?
It wasn’t until the early ’90s that I discovered a weight loss program that allowed me to take off those nasty 15 pounds that had crept on in my forties, but without giving up the foods I loved. As a cook, it was a revelation to be able to lose weight and continue to eat incredible food--which has always been a huge part of the joy I find in each day. When you find a problem solver--especially something that can help others--I believe it is your duty to share it. This is how I became involved with weight loss and cookbooks.
The first of these books was published in 1996: Eat Great, Lose Weight. The message resonated with food lovers around the country. It was a New York Times bestseller. Not only were readers losing weight but, because of the recipes included in the book, they were learning to cook--and many told me they were eating the best food of their lives!
From there, “Somersize” took on a life of its own. Over the next fifteen years, I put out nine books on the subject, with more than 700 recipes. Plus, I developed numerous weight loss products, starting with a sweetener I could feel good about putting into my body: All Natural SomerSweet. With these recipes, millions have lost weight while cooking up a storm. And with each book, I updated the science, evolved the program, and added more delicious recipes.
My most recent book on health and weight loss, Sexy Forever, took the original Somersize premise, expanded it, and made it even more current by exploring the hidden obstacles to losing weight, including hormonal changes, gut health issues, and hidden food allergies. And I created an online version of the book at SexyForever.com so you can have the support you need on a daily basis. Only one thing was missing--updating the Somersize recipes to fit the revised program.
What you will notice is that none of these recipes reads like a “diet” recipe--because they aren’t! Each dish starts with real food. The selection of your ingredients is the most important part of any recipe. You will see in the following pages some of my favorite spots to get real food as close to its original source as possible. I love to support local farms, farmers’ markets, the neighborhood seafood market, and more. The vendors are so proud of their food, and I feel great about putting these clean, organic (whenever possible) ingredients into my recipes. And what a difference it makes in the taste! Many of the recipes are very simple because a perfectly grown tomato with olive oil and sea salt doesn’t need anything else. Others require a little more time to create something special. You’ll find everything you need for any given day, divided into these categories.
Breakfasts Soups Salads Appetizers, Sandwiches, and Sides Dressings, Sauces, and Pesto Vegetables Rice, Beans, Pasta, and Grains Poultry Fish and Seafood Beef, Pork, and Lamb Desserts
Those of you following the Sexy Forever Weight Loss Plan will recognize the titles under each recipe that identify the Sexy Forever Food Groups, such as Proteins, Healthy Fats, Vegetables, Carbohydrates, and Fruit. These groups are clearly explained in Sexy Forever, where you learn how to eat these foods in combinations that maximize health and weight loss. In addition, the recipes identify the phases or levels of the program, from Detox (when you are just getting started) to Level 1 (weight loss) to Level 2 (maintenance). Again, for those on the program, these indicators will help you use the recipes as part of your weight loss plan.
For those of you not following the plan, open the book and dive in to some spectacular food! No weight loss plan is needed to enjoy the wonderful creations within. Additionally, The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible is not only organized with all your favorites, it also includes a coding system so you can easily identify any food to which you are allergic, any foods for which you may have an intolerance, or any foods you simply don’t care to eat. Look for the following icons in the recipes.
gf(Gluten Free) It is now estimated that a shocking 43 percent of the population is gluten intolerant. That spectrum varies from people who are somewhat intolerant, meaning they can eat gluten only on rare occasions, all the way to those who suffer from celiac disease, the most severe form. Celiacs must avoid gluten for the rest of their lives or risk permanently damaging their intestinal lining. There is much more information on this subject in Sexy Forever, but the problem is so broad I felt it necessary to code the recipes here so you can enjoy incredible foods while avoiding obvious or hidden gluten. Of course, any of the recipes made with whole-grain flours may be made with a gluten-free flour of your choice. (Note: For the program, gluten-free flour is an Insulin Trigger, since it’s normally made with some combination of flours from rice, corn, tapioca, etc.) I find when I cook with gluten-free flour, I need a little less (maybe 10 percent less) than regular flour. Feel free to experiment.
df (Dairy Free) For those who cannot have dairy, I have also called out hundreds of dairy-free options. Note: I do not include butter as dairy, since the milk proteins are separated out and most people can tolerate butter, even if they cannot tolerate milk. Again, adjust the recipes to your own needs.
ef (Egg Free) Since I have a severe allergy to eggs (oh, how I miss my eggs!), I have included an icon for this food. In baking, I have experimented with replacing eggs with applesauce, but I think my best results have been with milled flaxseed and water. (See details in the “Desserts” chapter.) When you combine them, it creates a gelatinous consistency; this mix works pretty well for cakes. Again, experiment and let’s all share our best results!
v (Vegetarian) and vg (Vegan) For my numerous vegetarian friends and followers, again, there is a wide spectrum of people, some of whom eat fish and chicken and others who are much more strict about consuming animal proteins. I have identified vegetarian (no seafood, poultry, meat) and vegan options, and you will have no problem finding plenty of satisfying selections and making your own substitutions to fit your preferred lifestyle.
Throughout my life, I have tried to share my philosophy that being healthy doesn’t have to feel like work. I don’t diet. I don’t slave away in a gym. I do make excellent food choices. Clean, tasty, real foods do not come processed in boxes or bags. They come from the earth, the sea, the field, or the farm. Choose these real foods whenever possible. When I don’t or can’t, I try to make up for it with supplements or by eating really well after the fact. I try not to deprive myself too much and not to indulge too much. It’s a daily choice, and I know my life depends on it.
Food is thrilling. It’s to be enjoyed, respected, and savored slowly. With more than four hundred recipes in this comprehensive recipe bible, you can take a journey through tastes from around the globe, from the simple and sublime to the bold and spicy. And your grateful body will thank you for choosing this high-quality, delicious food by rewarding you with a trim figure and extended longevity. Making this choice is the best recipe of all to keep you SEXY FOREVER! Enjoy.
SF (SUGAR FREE)
Why is there no icon within the recipes to indicate sf (Sugar Free)?
Eliminating sugar and foods that are accepted by the body as sugar is a cornerstone of my Sexy Forever Weight Loss Plan. Why then, some have asked, have I not included a code to indicate recipes that don’t contain sugar? Since I don’t use sugar in any of my recipes, there is no reason to indicate the recipes that don’t include it! You can be certain that you will not find this ingredient anywhere in this book (unless you prefer to use it in place of the natural sweeteners I recommend). Just because I do not use sugar does not mean you have to give up sweet tastes. I use other sources for sweetening, and frankly, I don’t even notice the difference between refined sugar and the natural sweeteners I choose.
My sweeteners of choice include organic agave nectar and All Natural SomerSweet. There has been some controversy about agave nectar recently, with some believing it has similar qualities to high-fructose corn syrup. I believe this is both an overstatement and misleading. Agave still has a much lower glycemic index than sugar and is certainly a much better choice than high-fructose corn syrup. (Agave contains fructose, which is 20 on the glycemic index, as opposed to sugar [pure glucose] which is 100.) There has also been concern about the chemicals that may be used during the manufacturing process. I always choose organic agave nectar to be certain the product is free from such chemicals.
All Natural SomerSweet is made from inulin, a naturally occurring substance found in a large number of plants, such as dandelion, wild yam, Jerusalem artichoke, onion, agave, and chicory. The natural inulin used in All Natural SomerSweet comes from chicory, which is a prebiotic fiber (2 grams per serving). Fiber is something your body needs anyway! The product also includes erythritol, another natural substance found in pears, melons, grapes, mushrooms, wine, and cheese. While categorized as a sugar alcohol, erythritol has no gassy side effects. Additionally, there is a very small amount of fructose found in our inulin blend for a small pop of sweetness, but it’s such a low amount, our nutrition facts still boast 0 sugar grams per serving. Lastly, citrus peel extract adds a wonderful flavor to All Natural SomerSweet.
Best of all, it tastes, bakes, and acts like sugar, measuring spoon for spoon in coffee or tea and cup for cup in your favorite recipes. You will see it called for in many of these recipes, and feel free to try it in many more of your own. It is available in cans or portable packets at suzannesomers.com.
THE SEXY FOREVER WEIGHT LOSS PLAN
If you’ve read Sexy Forever, you’re already familiar with the precepts of the eating plan within its pages. If you haven’t yet read it, please do. There are so many hidden environmental factors that could be affecting your health and waistline, and the information there is both life-saving and weight-saving. Whichever the case, I thought a brief review/refresher wouldn’t hurt to have at hand while you are planning the meals you prepare from this book. And for those of you who are simply interested in fabulous recipes, dive right in and start cooking!
THE EATING PLAN
1. Eliminate Insulin Triggers and Bad Fats.
2. Commit to clean, real, organic food.
3. Choose Protein/Healthy Fats and Vegetables at most meals.
4. Eat the right Carbohydrates. If you are on Detox: 3 servings per day (not combined with any fats). If you are on Level 1: 4 servings per day (1 serving per day may be combined with a Protein/Healthy Fats and Vegetables meal). If you are on Level 2: Eat Carbohydrates at your discretion.
5. Eat Fruits alone, on an empty stomach.
6. Eat three meals a day, until satisfied and comfortably full. Add snacks as needed.
7. Drink eight 8‑ounce glasses of water each day.
8. Wait 2 hours between meals if switching from a Carbohydrate to a Protein/Healthy Fats meal or vice versa.
THE FOOD GROUPS
Eggs Meat Poultry Seafood
HEALTHY FATS Butter Cheese Cream Mayonnaise Olive oil Sour cream
VEGETABLES Asparagus Broccoli Cauliflower Celery Cucumber Eggplant Green beans Lettuce Mushrooms Spinach Tomato Zucchini
CARBOHYDRATES (1⁄2 CUP = 1 SERVING) Beans Brown rice Nonfat milk products 100 percent whole-grain bread, cereal, or pasta Wild rice
FRUITS Apples Apricots Berries Cherries Figs Grapefruit Grapes Kiwis Mangoes Melons Nectarines Oranges Papaya Peaches Pears Pineapple Plums Tangerines
ELIMINATE INSULIN TRIGGERS
Caffeine: allow 1 cup coffee or tea a day maximum, without other food
High-insulin fruits/vegetables: bananas; beets; carrots; corn; popcorn; potatoes; pumpkins; acorn, butternut, and winter squash; sweet potatoes
Pasta made from semolina or white flour
Sugars: white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses
ELIMINATE BAD FATS
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
For complete food lists and more information on my revolutionary weight loss program read Sexy Forever or visit SexyForever.com.
First coffee, then…
Every day begins with a choice. I wake each morning in my warm, safe bed next to Alan, my husband and partner of forty-three years. This is the gift in my life. How could I not choose to wake up feeling grateful? Any stage of life has its share of problems and angst, but I believe it’s easier to choose happiness each day. Look for the good. One gift of aging is the calm that comes with it--it has given me a cool, collected approach to life. When I was younger, I often chose to be stressed and overwhelmed. With the passage of time comes wisdom and a piercing awareness of how truly blessed I am.