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Book Review & A Delish Summer Dinner

by Courtney on July 26, 2010

Whoever it was that invented the Slow Cooker is a pure genius. This appliance is probably one of my favorite, most convenient kitchen tools I own – so why don’t I use it more often?? :roll:

Tonight’s dinner was one of my favorite, tried and true recipes: Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

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I cut the recipe in half, since I only had 2 chicken breasts to use, but we still have enough leftover for another whole sandwich. :-D On the side, we had another summertime favorite of mine: Corn on the Cob.

I usually just boil my corn on the cob, but after seeing the guest post on Trading Up Downtown today, I was inspired to roast it.

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I simply preheated the oven to 400 degrees, sprinkled the ears with some salt, and popped ‘em in the oven for about 20 minutes, when I saw them starting to get brown. To go along with the corn, I also made some cinnamon honey butter. (I used 2 tbsp light whipped butter, 2 tbsp. honey, & a 1/4 tsp. each of cinnamon & salt – I would recommend using real butter if you have it, since the texture of the whipped butter just didn’t seem to incorporate everything as nicely as it should.) The taste of the butter was out of this world, but it looked pretty ugly, so it got a little camera shy.

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The hubby said that regular bread just would not do for the sandwiches, so (being the good wife that I am), I ran out quickly to grab some rolls. Unfortunately, the only ones left at the bakery were these enormous torpedo rolls. I probably only ate about half of the roll – it was just too overpowering for my chicken! :)

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Now we’re off to go get the hubby some new running shoes so he can start his Couch to 5k program!! :-D

As promised, I put together my review of the book I just recently finished. It’s a little lengthy, but all important info. Since we all know we like a visual when we read, I tried to incorporate some pretty pictures. Hopefully you find the review helpful!

 

Book Review: The End of Overeating by David Kessler

Back in April (yes, April) I picked up this book after hearing about it from a couple friends, and just finally finished it. Initially, I think I was drawn to the book in hopes that it would be a “quick fix,” to help me solve my sometimes overwhelming urges to want to eat sweets. However, that was not the intention of this book.

Kessler’s writing was a little bit on the “sciency” side for me, and I would sometimes catch my mind wandering while reading. However, he does actually go through quite a fascinating account of what leads us to overeat – a combination of brain chemistry, appetite, and manipulation by the food industry.

The book is divided into six different parts:

Part One: Sugar, Fat, Salt

Part Two: The Food Industry

Part Three: Conditioned Hypereating Emerges

Part Four: The Theory of Treatment

Part Five: Food Rehab

Part Six: The End of Overeating

A few main points from the book:

  • Each of these parts had its own interesting and informative points. The first section of the book mainly discusses what influences our eating habits, including how the food industry uses our own biological impulses to make food we like, whether it’s healthy or not. Also in this section were some very complex, detailed accounts focusing on how the brain works. Kessler often referred to our relationship with food as a hostage situation, with the brain requiring strong negotiating techniques to steer us past countless temptations. The problem is, we either don’t have those skills or don’t know how to use them effectively.
  • The concept of "eating promotes more eating," is prominent throughout the book. Kessler explains that what drives us to eat too much is a combination of brain chemistry and the availability of food that has the perfect balance of sugar, fat, and salt. As Kessler says, "Chronic exposure to highly palatable foods changes our brains, conditioning us to seek continued stimulation. Over time, a powerful drive for a combination of sugar, fat, and salt competes with our conscious capacity to say no."

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  • Kessler also talked about ways to “Reverse the Habit” of overeating with four steps: Awareness, engaging in competing behaviors, formulating thoughts to compete with the old ones, and support.
  • The Food Rehab section of the book offered some very interesting insights into how we lose control of eating in the first place, and how we can use that knowledge to our advantage. Kessler goes through several steps that can help readers change their perception of food and how they eat. Some of these steps, such as learning to eat “just-right” meals and figuring out what foods keep you satisfied yet are still enjoyable, are nothing new. But he does focus on the need to let go of past actions and realize that it takes time to overcome such long-established habits.

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  • Kessler does not offer any kinds of diet or meal plans in this book; instead, he offers advice on how to take control of food decisions by figuring out what leads to overeating, limiting your exposure to “trigger” foods, and using certain techniques for dealing with the urges.

My opinions on the book:

I found a lot of the information give
n in this book to be very interesting, and totally relatable. Some of the sections where Kessler talks with various food industry insiders were a total eye-opener, and actually a little disgusting at times.

But what I liked about the book is that Kessler acknowledges that most people already know how to eat healthfully. I would say that I tend to eat fairly healthy, with the occasional treats here and there; but I still struggle with urges when it comes to foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat.

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After reading the book, it finally started to make sense as to why I crave sweets immediately after dinner: it’s because I have hardwired my brain to expect a sweet treat after eating dinner. I can eat lunch without needing a sweet treat no problem. But once I’m finished with dinner, it’s like an immediate reaction… “Bring on the sweet stuff"!” This is where I could relate to Kessler’s advice on learning on how to deal with the cravings, temptations, and ingrained habits that cause us to overeat.

 

Question for the Night:
Do you think you would ever read this book? Did you find anything in this review interesting or useful?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shanna, like Banana July 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Ooo now I want corn on the cob! I probably wouldn’t tear the book since I get too much science daily. I like my reads fluffier bur thanks for the crib notes:)

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2 ellaroo88 July 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm

MMMMM looks good- this is my plan for dinner tuesday night- bbq in the croc pot. I actually really liked the book but I feel like it’s something I should read again and again to get all the info straight

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3 Olivia July 26, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Hi Courtney. I stumbled upon your blog a few days ago, and have been following along-I really enjoy it. Your review on the book was very interesting. I don’t know if I would read the book myself-your review reiterates my reasons for not: while very informative, and I am sure the book would bring some new points to light for me, I think the majority of what the book purports is information I am already aware of. I did find your comment though, about the brain being hardwired to expect certain types of food at certain intervals or times during the day to be interesting. I think I had read an article that addressed this idea in Oxygen magazine a while back. It’s amazing what we end up being trained into thinking though-and I know the sweet item following dinner rings true for me. Great blog! Thanks for sharing :)

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4 Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] July 26, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Beautiful corn!!

I’m definitely interested in reading this bk – thx for the review. Just curious, why did this book appeal to you? Didn’t you used to have a little bit an issue under-eating?

Have a great night, Court! Yay, Bachelorette =]

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5 TheKetchupDiaries July 26, 2010 at 7:51 pm

I hardly ever use my slow cooker either, but mostly because I’m out of the house 13 hours every work day and most recipes won’t last that long! Looks totally devine! Perhaps this is a Sunday meal for me!!

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6 Julie @SavvyEats July 26, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Thanks for this review! I’ve been thinking of reading this one — glad to hear it is worth it.

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7 Lizzy @ LBBakes July 26, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Thanks for the book review! I am not a huge reader but I may have to give that one a try. I completely relate to you in the after-inner sweets craving. I guess I gotta train myself to control those thoughts!

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8 Adriana July 26, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I would be interested in reading this book. I am a dietetics major and we learn a lot of similar things in class. The plate diagram is a good indicator of what to eat! I truly believe everyone has a “healthy thinking” version of themselves and that’s it’s only society and your own temptations that take you into a life not focusing on your own health. Everyone starts off healthy! It’s only until you choose the wrong foods constantly and live a fully sedentary lifestyle that you are considered unhealthy.

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9 Mae July 26, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Thank you for the review! I requested it at the library, I can’t wait to read it.

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10 lisaou11 July 26, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I’m glad you reviewed this. I picked it up at the book store once and read a bit and found it too boring for me, but I was still interested in it.

I think habits and definitely the way food is made now can help create overeating for sure.

and love your dinner. you cant ever go wrong with that.

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11 Amelia July 26, 2010 at 10:57 pm

This is one of my favorite books! After I read it, packaged junk food became much less appealing, because I felt like if I bought & ate it, the food industry had won me over. That feeling, along with the feeling of knowing that it’s not our fault we crave fat+sugar+salt, is enough to make reading this book worthwhile! It’s fascinating.

p.s. so happy to see you tried the roasted corn w/ cinnamon honey butter :)
http://www.eating-made-easy.com

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12 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine July 27, 2010 at 7:29 am

I actually saw that book at Borders yesterday and was tempted to buy it. It sounds interesting, but I don’t know how much new stuff I would learn! I feel like we all look for the “quick fix” book, when in reality the only thing that really makes us eat healthy is a strong will. Thanks for sharing your opinion!

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13 Autumn @ Good Eats Girl July 27, 2010 at 9:25 am

Dinner looks great! Good luck to your hubby with the Couch to 5K! I’ve heard great things about that program!

The book sounds interesting for sure….I love the last point you make about the brain being hardwired for sweets after dinner. I’m the exact same way!

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14 Holly at Greek Yogurt and Apple Slices July 27, 2010 at 9:42 am

Yummm love your bbq crock pot chicken :D We had it w/ corn too- delish!
I have not read that book, but honestly, I don’t think I would- only because, I agree with you- it’s like I already know to eat healthy…BUT I can TOTALLY agree with wiring my brain to think that I must have a sweet treat after dinner..I’m always on the hunt for SOMETHING after dinner…typically frozen yogurt :)
Great review though!!

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15 CK July 27, 2010 at 10:09 am

Nah, I probably wouldn’t read it. I did however take part in the “Standard Process” 21 day cleanse for thyroid and adrenal benefits, and it really helped me be more conscious as to what I eat and why. Apparently I’m an “Adrenal” body type (sweets craver). It was very eye opening. My chiropractor is also part of a health/wellness center with a nutritionist on staff, so I gave it a whirl.

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16 Courtney July 27, 2010 at 10:10 am

That’s so interesting…I bet I would be “Adrenal” too. Any advice you could send along from that? :)

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17 CK July 27, 2010 at 10:43 am

Well the cleanse itself was about getting back to basics because over time processed foods, etc, really take a toll on how your body metabolizes things. The first ten days all I could eat was organic veggies and fruits (no limit to how many veggies, but only half as much fruit as veggies) as well as taking daily organic supplements (one was SP Complete which was an additive for shakes like your Green Monsters). After ten days I could incorporate chicken and/or fish, whole wheat pasta and brown rice. I am still on a daily vitamin (Catalyn) and a supplement for my adrenal glands (Drenamin). I have become much more of a “label reader” now and I try to avoid things with too many preservatives and artificial fillers. You can find out more about the cleanse or participating clinics via: http://www.standardprocess.com.

As for the adrenal body type – we are the epitome of instant gratification seekers. We crave sweets because it’s a quick burn providing a quick burst of energy… however, in going for something that’s a quick burn and not necessarily nutritional, our body gets lazy when it comes to actually metabolizing everything else we’ve taken in (and then we tend to store it on our bellies, hips…etc). For the longest time I was so concerned about calories, fat content, etc, but I was told it’s not about the fat content. Adrenals specifically need healthy fats to get through the day without that sugar craving. So not to worry about low fat cottage cheese as a side with cubed up fruit, the 4% is just fine (it’s not like you’re eating a whole tub of it.) And then of course, eating throughout the day to keep your metabolism on an even keel and reduce cravings.

I feel like I’m leaving stuff out, but that’s the gist (sorry for the novel.)

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18 Courtney July 27, 2010 at 11:07 am

Wow, very interesting! Thanks for the info. :)

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19 Meg July 27, 2010 at 10:12 am

Oh my goodness…slow cookers are miracle makers, haha :D that pulled sammie looks amazing. I’ve seen that book before but I usually like to read stuff like that online to get a more varied opinion and facts :) Also – I crave sweets after meals, especially dinner! It’s just what makes me happy, haha :)

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