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Cookbook review: The Dude Diet

The Dude Diet book review

After graduating from college, Serena Wolf packed up and headed to Paris for a three-month basic culinary course at Le Cordon Bleu. Not because she loved cooking — she was only semi-adept at making grilled cheese sandwiches — but she went there on a whim, expecting to figure out what she really wanted to do with the rest of her life.

But she fell in love with cooking, and ended up staying and completing the full diploma program. Oh, and she also started a food blog.

Fast forward a few years, with Serena back in the States: when her boyfriend Logan decided he needed to lose a few pounds, she challenged herself with creating some dishes that were both healthy and appealing to her junk-food-loving, vegetable-averse boyfriend’s palate. She called it “The Dude Diet,” and posted recipes on her blog. Soon, she received an overwhelming response from men and women alike.

Now it’s a cookbook. In The Dude Diet – Clean(ish) Food for People Who Like to Eat Dirty, Serena shares more than 125 dude-friendly recipes that replace refined flour with whole grain alternatives, minimize sugar, and minimize fats.

If you’ve read my blog much lately, you know that I don’t have a problem with fat, and I do like to minimize grains. But I’m on the same page as Serena in regards to replacing factory-made food with whole foods. I’m also a huge proponent of baby steps and starting where you are with what you have, so I think this cookbook would be a great first step for someone who’s hooked on fast food, carryout, and bar food, and not ready or willing to make drastic changes in their food landscape.

And the recipes are undeniably appealing! Categories include Game Day Eats, On the Grill, Serious Salads, Take Out Favorites, Sexy Sides, and Chronic Cocktails. Here are a few dishes that should appeal to any dude or dudette:

  • Dude Diet Philly Cheesesteaks
  • Chicken Parmesan
  • Super Sloppy Joes
  • Sausage and Peppers Skillet
  • Cauliflower Puree with Parmesan and Chives

I’ve made a few of the recipes; here are a couple definite keepers we’ll make again and again:

Maple Bourbon Almonds

Maple Bourbon Almonds from The Dude Diet

This one is definitely in the “occasional treat” category. In fact, they’re a little too addictive for me! Anything that combines sweetness and nuts is kryptonite for me (or, in Whole30 parlance, “food with no brakes”), so I make these for my hubs to take to work for a snack that’s still healthier than anything in the vending machine. They’re a big hit with his coworkers, too.

By the way, if you’re opposed to bourbon, you can substitute vanilla extract. I’ve made it both ways. I like the flavor a bit better with bourbon, but it’s not a huge difference.


Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad from The Dude Diet

I’d never made a cold salad with sweet potatoes before, but I loved this! The original recipe called for black beans, but I subbed avocado for some healthier fat with a similar texture. The original recipe would be easy to make ahead, either for dinner on a rushed night, or for a potluck. If you make it with avocados, though, you’ll need to cut and add those just before serving.

I also appreciate the well-done photography, typography, and book design!

The Dude Diet book review

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Purchase Links:

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The 5 books that started my journey on healing nutrition

5 books on healing food

books on healing nutrition

Today, I’m going to share with you the books that changed my understanding of just how significant our diet is in regards to our health. I’ll give a full review on three of the books, with other reviews to come later.

And to keep things upfront, I want you to know that if you buy any of these books by clicking the links on this page, I’ll get 4-6% of the price — but that doesn’t affect your cost at all, and it helps keep this blog viable! So if you decide to do that, thanks! (But feel free to buy local, too!)


Book reviews:

The Schwarzbein Principle



The Schwarzbein Principle 

“The truth about losing weight, being healthy and feeling younger”



The Schwarzbein Principle IIThe Schwarzbein Principle II, The Transition

“A regeneration program to prevent and reverse accelerated aging”

Both by Diana Schwarzbein, MD


I read these books in the 1990’s, and they were my first introduction to the idea that the low-fat high-carb diet which had been recommended to the public for the past few decades was in fact causing some of our diseases. The first book focuses mainly on heart disease, the second on Type 2 Diabetes, and how an unhealthy diet ages you faster.

I appreciate that she: 1. doesn’t promise a quick easy fix; and 2. doesn’t recommend an extremely low-carb diet, but instead a balanced diet with the amount of carb determined by how active or sedentary your lifestyle is.

The first book includes some recipes and suggested diet plans.

How these books helped me:

Got me off the low-fat, high-carb, hungry-all-the-time cycle. Which made a difference in my mood and energy within one month, and in three months, helped me lose eight pounds (with zero exercise).

Also and more significantly, they helped me understand how carbs, fat and protein affect the body, mind, and overall health on a molecular/chemical level. < THIS WAS SO HELPFUL AND LIFE-CHANGING!


Digestive Health with Real Food

Digestive Health with REAL Food 

“A practical guide to an anti-inflammatory, low-irritant, nutrient-dense diet for IBS and other digestive issues”

by Aglaee Jacob, MS, RD

“An evidence-based, holistic, cutomized nutritional approach. Learn about FODMAPs, SIBO, non-responsive celiac disease, food sensitivities and more.”

This book is thorough — almost to its detriment. I appreciate that she has a careful, thoughtful approach, not being quick to slap a one-size-fits-all solution on all digestive issues. But it can be a little overwhelming, because similar symptoms may have very different causes requiring very different treatments.

If you know for certain what your food-related issue is and just need specific advice, this is a great resource. Or if you don’t, but you’re ready to wade through lots of information and are motivated to do some testing on your own, this could be helpful for you, too.

In this book, the author explains:

– The basics of digestion; what fats, proteins, and carbs are and what they do; gut flora and why it’s so important; intestinal permeability and leaky gut

– GI infections, IBS, food sensitivities, gluten, FODMAPs, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), Celiac disease, GERD, constipation, and more

– The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, the GAPS diet, ancestral diets, developing your own customized diet

– Potential irritants (don’t worry; she’s not saying everyone should eliminat all of these!): gluten, fructans, fiber, dairy, legumes, nuts, seeds, refined oils, nightshades, yeasts, molds, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods

– Nourishing foods and other healing solutions

How this book helped me:

Between this book and Chris Kresser’s website, I discovered that one of my problems was SIBO, and have found significant relief with minor changes to diet and food timing.


Other books I recommend; reviews to come:

The Paleo Cure, by Chris Kresser

It Starts With Food, by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig


5 books on healing food