Clean Eating 28-Day Plan

Clean Eating 28-Day Plan. Berkley, California: Rockridge Press, 2014.

I don’t think I’ve ever explained the whole LibraryThing/Early Review gig before. Here’s how it works: every month LibraryThing lists books to be reviewed. As an Early Review member, I can request as many books as would interest me, in the hopes of winning one to review (although, sometimes there is a bonus book). In exchange for receiving the book, I promise to give an honest review. Recently, LibraryThing has been adding e-books. For the first time, I requested one and won. Two weeks ago I received Clean Eating in electronic format. Since the print has already been published (last August) my assumption was I was to review the book more for its electronic qualities than its original print content.

As an e-book, I am not thrilled with Clean Eating. If it isn’t downloaded on a portable/personal device it would be nearly impossible to work from. Having it on a personal device allows you to review the shopping list while at the store and follow the recipes right in the kitchen without having to copy/print them first. Since it is a step-by-step plan, designed to be followed for 28 days, one would expect it to be laid out in a simple, easy to follow format. Instead, it is a cookbook with an identity crisis. All of the recipes are grouped together instead of outlined in the “plan.” While there is a “Quick Start” plan, only week one of shopping is included. That is a disappointment because I could see the quick start page being the go-to page for each week. The “Menus at a Glance” outline your 28-day plan, hot-linking to the corresponding recipes, only you can’t jump back from the recipe to the plan.

Lesser important irritants include typos (“goat” in the title of a recipe but “feta” in the ingredient list, for example), photographs, which are gorgeous, but don’t correspond to the recipe on the same page, and inaccurate page numbers. This last detail is especially annoying when trying to jump back from the recipe section to the “menu at a glance” section.

As far as content is concerned, this is a great cookbook with amazing recipes but as a diet book, it is not an easy plan to follow. Portions per recipe vary wildly from two to eight and portion sizes are not always spelled out, so be super careful! For one recipe you cook a whole chicken but how much to use for the meal is indeterminate. For another recipe you will make eight pancakes but what constitutes a serving size isn’t spelled out (I guessed two pancakes per person, but who knows). Ingredients are vague as well. Most recipes call for a specific type of oil (mostly olive or coconut) but occasionally it will be only say “cooking oil.” Same with onions if they aren’t red. The recipe just says “onion” most of the time.

Confessional: I had wanted to follow the 28-day plan to the letter and then write my review. Epic fail. My biggest problem with the plan has been all the cooking that needs to be done in order to follow the meal-by-meal plan. Day two’s lunch of week one  is a lentil soup that needs to cook for at least 30 minutes. I planned ahead and made the soup at the same time as the roasted chicken, but I didn’t have enough energy to make the banana chocolate torte at the same time. I ended up skipping dessert on the very first day. Making the soup the morning it was on the menu was not an option. Making it at work on my break was out of the question.
I honestly thought I could pick up this book, do the shopping and start the plan right away, or at least within a few days of perusing it. Now, after trying it for exactly a week, I have determined it needs way more planning…in advance. So, speaking of planning, this is my new plan. I am going to look ahead, map out the recipes and actually schedule when each portion of a meal gets made. For starters, I’m going to make all of the dressings for week one BEFORE the week starts. I am going to make 2-3 of the baked goods in advance (rolls, granola, muffins, and so on), I am going to pre-chop most the vegetables for at least 3-4 meals, and NOT have a different dessert every single night. Who has time for that? As an aside, Because the chocolate fudge was pretty good, my husband agrees having that two nights in a row is not a bad thing. I’m thinking I’ll write another review after I successfully follow the plan.



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