When Sasquatch Books, the publisher of Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy, reached out to me to ask for a review, I said yes right away. As migraine and Meniere’s disease are both considered inflammatory conditions, I wanted to learn more. I also deal with muscle and joint soreness on an ongoing basis, and was hoping the book would give me some ideas of what I needed to change. Sasquatch puts out very pretty, compact books, so I was expecting it to be visually appealing. The author, Michelle Babb, is a registered dietitian in Seattle. She specializes in mind-body nutrition, weight management, and inflammatory digestive disorders.
Layout and design:
The book begins with chapters on inflammation, tools for success, and provides a 21-day nutritional cleanse to combat inflammation. The 75 recipes come next: breakfasts, healthy snacks, soups & stews, salads & sides, vegetarian main dishes, pescatarian main dishes, hint-of-meat main dishes, and desserts. The design by Anna Goldstein is perfect; I wish more book designers would look at her books and follow her lead. Beautiful typeface combinations, decorative elements, and use of color. Books that look like this make me happy.
Gorgeous, full-color, full-page photographs of the recipes and ingredients fall every 2-3 pages, making the entire book bright and beautiful. Hilary McMullen shot the photographs, which were styled by Julie Hopper.
I love that the book includes a complete recipe list right up front, so user-friendly! Deliciousness includes breakfast burrito with chickpeas and avocado, shiitake mushroom and walnut paté, Mediterranean white bean soup, kale and kohlrabi salad with creamy avocado vinaigrette, Southwestern-style buckwheat polenta stacks, salmon en papillote with silky celery root purée, bison lettuce cups with garnet yam home fries, and rustic pear and fig crostatas.
What I liked about the book:
Babb gives readers excellent tools to be successful on her plan, including three weeks of meal plans that include a shopping list for each week. The recipes look tasty and the entire book is gluten-free. The recipes most closely follow the Mediterranean/pescatarian diet, with the exception of nightshades, which are excluded. I also love books this size, and the beautiful design is pleasing.
I wasn’t so keen on:
It is not clear up front that all the recipes are gluten-, dairy-, egg-, and nightshade-free, which would be helpful to readers. Nutritional analysis is not provided, which would be helpful for low-sodium eaters. I’ve recently read several in-depth books about inflammation and autoimmune disease, including The Wahl’s Protocol and The Paleo Approach. If you have an autoimmune condition, her approach might not go far enough. The recipes look delicious and certainly following this plan will help you if you are eating a standard American diet, and she has helped many people in her functional nutrition practice. The paleo books cite quite a lot of research that indicates that nuts, seeds, natural sugars, legumes, and grains (even gluten-free grains) all can have inflammatory properties and should be avoided (at least for a while) if you have an autoimmune condition.
Clean eating, pescatarian, vegetarian, celiac, dairy-free, gluten-free eaters
Not recommended for:
Migraine, paleo, autoimmune, or low-sodium diets
A note about my cookbook reviews: In the past, I tested at least three recipes from each book, took photos, and described my experience. Due to my dietary limitations (extremely-low-sodium for my Meniere’s Disease and trigger-free foods for migraine relief), it is no longer possible for me to test the recipes and do them justice.