Book Review: Boost Your Metabolism Cookbook

Author: Susan Irby and Rachel Laferriere
Publisher: Adams Media
Book Publication: 2010

Metabolism – the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy – tends to slow down as you age. If this is not addressed, increased body fat and overall weight gain is likely. Consequently, it makes sense to do everything possible to increase one’s metabolic rate.

How can we boost our metabolism, making it more efficient in helping to shed or avoid those unwanted pounds? According to Chef Susan Irby and Clinical Dietitian Rachel Laferriere, the answer is as simple as paying closer attention to what you eat and drink.

With their Boost Your Metabolism Cookbook, they have provided the means to “fire up your diet” with recipes that include fresh foods, increased fibre, and the right proteins and spices in the right quantities. With over 300 tempting recipes, Irby and Laferriere promise “to make every bite count for maximum metabolizing power… providing all you need to program your body to burn better and faster.”

The recipes include breakfasts, soups, salads, sandwiches, poultry, fish, meat, vegetarian dishes, snacks, and desserts. Cuisines from all around the world are also represented in the Boost Your Metabolism Cookbook. The key to success in revving up the metabolism is in how these foods are prepared, and with what they are combined. For example, the recipe for ‘Turkey Chili’ includes a half cup of coffee. Caffeine is known to increase the heart rate, respiratory rate, blood flow, and the metabolic rate for several hours after drinking.

(Ed note: Caffeine is also known to raise blood pressure and jolt the adrenals in susceptible individuals, so the health benefits of this recipe are debatable.)

This recipe also features red, green, and yellow bell peppers; jalapeño peppers; and chili powder. According to researchers at Laval University in Quebec, eating hot peppers can speed up the metabolism and cool your cravings. This is because they contain capsaicin (a chemical found in jalapeno and cayenne peppers), which temporarily stimulates your body to release more stress hormones, increasing your metabolism and causing you to burn more calories.

And of course, the recipe includes turkey – in this case, lean ground. Many studies have shown that protein can help you boost your metabolism, lose fat, and build lean muscle tissue so you burn more calories.

There is also much added value to the delicious-sounding, healthy-ingredient-laden recipes in this cookbook. Irby and Laferriere have included information explaining what metabolism really is, how it works, and its effect on weight loss and gain. In addition, there are plenty of interesting food facts that will help you make wiser, more nutritious food choices, particularly in the ‘Burn It Up’ sections scattered throughout the book. These provide nutritional nuggets such as: apples help to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL); spaghetti squash is a flavourful substitute for traditional spaghetti noodles, and even better for your metabolism; and the mineral chromium, which helps the body to metabolize fat and convert blood sugar into energy, making insulin work more efficiently, can be found in seafood.

I love reading cookbooks; cooking, maybe not so much. Moreover, I’m not very adventurous in regard to trying new recipes, usually sticking with what I know my family likes and will eat! With Boost Your Metabolism’s very appealing, and seemingly easy to prepare recipes for things like zesty lime pie, chestnut-filled pancakes, and grilled pork on a corn muffin with mango salsa, I will definitely try to overcome my ‘new recipe’ phobia to give my own metabolism some much needed boosting.

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