The task of revamping a normal family menu to bring about healing and health can be daunting. A diabetes diagnosis within the family often creates a sense of urgency in the task of healthy cooking and eating. Switch It Up: A Fresh Take on Quick and Easy Diabetes-friendly Recipes for a Balanced Life by Corinne Trang offers ideas, recipes, and a new approach to healthy eating.
In presenting her 10th cookbook, Trang writes in the introduction, “Imagine food that can be made ahead of time for convenience, and then mixed and matched to create colorful, perfectly portioned meals that are both healthful and flavorful. Switch It Up lets you discover how the concept of compartmentalizing can help you prepare balanced meals for every day of the week. Healthy eating starts with understanding balance. For instance, in Asian cultures the majority of the meal is made up of vegetables with much less animal or seafood protein than we are used to in the West. Anything with legs or fins is generally considered a flavor enhancer rather than the main course. Keeping that in mind, I have given you more vegetarian recipes than meat or seafood ones to give you the chance to incorporate more vegetables into your meals, reducing fat significantly along the way.”
Switch It Up contains 50 recipes with photos of each finished dish. The author writes, “I encourage you to visualize the content of this book as an actual dinner plate, noticing that it is about 70-75% vegetarian. Now start visualizing every meal this way, and you’re on your way to a healthier you.”
This 114-page paperback cookbook is organized into these categories:
Salads and Vegetables
Whole Grains and Legumes
Eggs, Seafood, and Meat
Fruit, Cheese, Nuts, and Seeds
I made the Raw Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad on page 26. The dressing has a light Asian taste, and the roasted sweet potatoes are a nice contrast in both color and texture. I think I’d like the salad better if I used baby kale. As it was, I found the kale very tough. (insert photo)
Avocado with Pink Grapefruit on page 104 is an interesting combination. It’s a good illustration of the book’s title, Switch it Up. Never in my life would I have thought about pairing avocado and grapefruit as a finishing dish for a dinner. I probably won’t do it again. I don’t have a house of grapefruit lovers, and although the avocado provides a nice contrast in color and texture, it didn’t do enough to sweeten the dominant taste of the citrus.
We enjoyed a sample of the Broiled Miso Salmon for lunch from page 80. I used light beer instead of sake, and the salmon marinated for two hours. The end result was tasty and certainly worth repeating. Corinne Trang recommends trying the marinade with all sorts of white fish and says that the longer the fish sits in the marinade, the sweeter and more candied-like in appearance it will be as it undergoes a curing process while in the sauce.
In this cookbook, written to help readers revamp their eating habits, desserts are largely absent. The author recommends fresh fruit or a simple cup of hot tea or herbal infusion at the end of the meal to aid digestion. Trang writes, “Desserts or sweet snacks should be considered ‘sometimes foods.’ The occasional bite will often soothe the soul.”
Cooking to prevent, diminish, or combat diabetes will be much easier with Switch It Up in your arsenal. – review by Lisa George, RFT Book Editor, Latigo Ranch, Colorado ; Photo by Hannah George