Dr. Andrew Weil on Healthy Fast Food

andrew-weil-585What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you read the phrase “fast food?” Paper-wrapped burgers? A bag of tacos? A cardboard cone of french fries? Dr. Andrew Weil would like to change your perception of fast food in his new cookbook Fast Food, Good Food: More Than 150 Quick and Easy Ways to Put Healthy, Delicious Food on the Table.

The oversized hardcover book, written by the pioneering integrative medicine physician, makes quick and easy cooking look downright luxurious with its simple design and plentiful full-page color photos. All the recipes take 30 minutes or less to prepare and feature whole, unprocessed foods. Talk about healthy fast food!

“The book is based on my anti-inflammatory diet, which avoids processed meat, uses meat and sugar minimally and emphasizes ingredients that have health-protective qualities,” Dr. Weil told us in an interview. “That’s what people want — food that can be made quickly.”

Many of the creations are vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free and are labeled as such, and literally goes from soup to nuts. Plus there are drinks, desserts, sides and main dishes. Think dishes like Buffalo Mozzarella Bruschetta, Dark Chocolate Date and Nut Truffles, Quick Bison Bolognese, and Yam and Peanut Soup — all whipped up in a flash.

Dr. Weil says the simple act of home cooking is good for body and soul, and that’s the emphasis of the book. “It can help improve concentration and attention, put you in a good mental state and result in food that is better than anything you can buy,” he said.

Making your own snacks can be healthier and a lot cheaper than packaged snacks — even the ones labeled all-natural and healthy. Here’s a recipe from Fast Food, Good Food that makes a great snack and an even better holiday gift packed into a festive jar.

Curried Spiced Mixed Nuts

Serves: 2 cups

Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grade B maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup raw walnuts
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • ⅓ cup raw cashews
  • ⅓ cup raw pistachios
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, curry powder, salt and cayenne. Add the nuts and toss with a spatula until evenly coated. Spread the nuts evenly on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes and stir them about halfway through. Nuts are done when they are aromatic and slightly golden. Let them cool to room temperature, then use a metal spatula to loosen them from the parchment.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish or an airtight container. Store in the freezer for up to a month.

Do any of these recipes have you itching to get in the kitchen? —Gail

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