_bbR3iY5lLSjzaZNziPYc6VX6tk Inspiration CAN be found EVERYWHERE!: The Fresh Diet Cookbook

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Fresh Diet Cookbook

I really really was so very excited when I first heard that TFD was creating a cookbook of their wonderful recipes so that those of us who didn't live in their delivery area (or like me couldn't afford to continue on the plan) could still follow along with their healthy recipes.  I think the day it was available for sale ........ I rushed to purchase it.  I sent my almost $25 dollars for the book (almost as much for the "cheapest" shipping as the cost of the book) and waited.

And I waited because of some changes that were being made, per the email I received but that it would be here before the holidays......... And it was JUST before the holidays that I received my copy.  I did do a real quick look through and saw that it was signed by Chef Yos - was one of the "benefits" that was received for ordering early.  I was really excited because as the cover says it has "99 recipes from the Fresh Diet kitchens that will please your palate and your waistline"

In the last week or so I have been going through the book and trying to decide if it was a joke or if they could really be selling this program as a "healthy" way of eating.  To say I am upset is an understatement.  They start out by saying that they have "coded" the recipes as "vegetarian", "gluten-free" or "favorites" - I found quite a few recipes that had "no" coding ..... or which, when you look at the facebook page you would think is a "favorite" .... but not coded as such.  They have 3 cheesecake recipes ... but only one is coded as a "favorite" and its not even one I've seen noted anyplace as a favorite.  I also believe this really needed a good proof-reading that it didn't get - or if it did .. some proof-reader needs to be fired.

There are so many recipes that should have been "expanded" instead of telling you to buy an ingredient at the store.   For instance - the Toasted Granola with Diced Pears & Honey Almond Ricotta Cheese ...... NOT listed as a favorite, although it appears to be THE favorite of most Facebook Followers (and one of mine too, as this was my picture) and you are suppose to go buy granola that has less than 10g of sugar ........
Now you are to add 1/2 cup of store bought granola - but they give you the nutritional information as 319 calories, 21g of Fat, 356mg of sodium, 7g sugar, 3g fiber and 10g protein. Not sure how that can be if all you are looking for is granola that's less than 10g of sugar ......

Another breakfast option is Apricot Cream Cheese Crepes with Fresh Oranges & Raspberries. The above picture is from CA kitchen. You have to go buy the crepes from the store....no other suggestions. And what is evaporated can juice sugar? Seem to be a lot of recipes that include this but not even listed in the "Well Stocked Kitchen" list, let alone where to purchase it. And this serving size is 2 filled crepes, 1/2 an orange and 4 raspberries for  - 458 calories, 22g fat, 586mg sodium, 4g fiber, 24g sugar and 16g protein.
This is the same meal from the NY kitchen. Yes same breakfast, different kitchen.   So which one is the stats for?

This is the Breakfast Veggie Burrito from the CA kitchen. The recipe in the book is for 4 servings, with each serving having 400 calories, 18g fat, 716mg of sodium, 3g fiber, and 20g protein. Kind of scary amount of sodium for breakfast! Though the Southwestern Scrambled Eggs with 9 Grain Toast isn't much better in the sodium department ...... 705mg! In the recipe for Southwestern Scramble,  it calls for 1 tsp (teaspoon) of fresh salsa (no recipe) in the ingredients but the serving size says 4 Tbsp (tablespoons) of salsa mixture?  Hmmm which is it?

Then we move on to lunch entrees.
I almost wish I had a picture of the "lunch" entree - Maple Glazed Ham Salad with Diced Pears, Toasted Walnuts, Dried Cherries, Baby Lettuce & Raspberry Vinaigrette ....... but then maybe not since the stats are 537 calories, 33g fat (more than 1/2 of your entire day), 1,168mg sodium (almost 1/2 of your entire day!) 21g sugar and 24g protein.

Oh and they also have a Crab Salad Sandwich on 9 grain bread that is 273 calories, 6g fat, 1,734mg sodium, 5g sugar and 27g protein. And THAT is for HALF a sandwich! Seriously??  The picture above, was one of the lunches I had from the NY kitchen when I first started in 2010 - as you can see it was a WHOLE sandwich.  I did see pictures from the CA kitchen (probably from later in 2011 based on what was with it) that was also a whole sandwich but was actually on a bread that LOOKED like a grained bread ... this was looked more like a "soft white" whole wheat (MAYBE) that you can get in the grocery store (think Wonder)

The Philly Cheese Steak Whole Wheat Wrap with Sauteed Bell Peppers & Mozzarella is another favorite of many but again not listed as such in the book. This is one of the sandwich wraps I received when I was getting my meals, and was one of those that "sold" me on The Fresh Diet, although this is a picture after I had been receiving my meals for a while and was seriously deficient in anything in the way of filling.   I seriously doubt there was any "meat" in this wrap, but that was the NY kitchen all too often.   The stats say it has 406 calories, 16g fat, 842mg sodium, 0 fiber, 27g protein.

This is the Tarragon Infused Salmon and Cheddar Melt on Whole Wheat Wrap from CA kitchen The stats for this recipe are 375 calories, 18g fat, 836mg sodium, 8g fiber, 3g sugar and 35g protein.  Now the recipe ingredients call for 2 10" Whole Wheat Tortillas, that yields 2 servings.  Until you read the serving size which says 1/2 wrap.  So are the stats for a whole wrap or 1/2 wrap?

California's version of the Thai Turkey Burger with Sauteed Bok Choy and Peanut Sauce
And then same lunch that I received from the NY kitchen.  The book says it yields 2 servings 1/2 burger on 1/2 of a 4"x4" roll.  But the recipe says shape the 8 oz of ground turkey into 4 burgers.  And then there is no direction for creating the Peanut Sauce, so another thing to purchase at the store without guideline.  But this whole recipe is 287 calories, 4g fat, 957mg sodium, 2g fiber, 3g sugar and 33g protein.  So how did they figure out these stats?? Using 4 oz of turkey or 2 oz ......... so confusing.  As you can see again a MAJOR difference between kitchens!

Now we go onto some of the dinner items.

The Walnut Crusted Chicken with Apricot Roulade that goes for 264 calories, 13g fat, 459mg sodium 1g fiber, 2g sugar and 28g protein. Can't tell you about the other items on the plate since they aren't part of the book.  Though the ingredients call for 2 whole apricots cut in half, then the instructions call for 1/4 of the diced apricots ..... these look "undiced" to me.  But I guess this is why when I got my version of this dish I always had just a tiny bit of apricot ... pretty much just chicken to be honest.  Now is it NY or CA that isn't following the recipe?  Or is the recipe in the book that is confused?

Here we have the Spicy Chickpea Patty with Cilantro Lime & Green Chilies that requires 1/4 cup of fresh salsa ... but again no recipe. Since it uses 3 15oz cans of chickpeas that will be made into a paste, I can't tell you if the 12 2oz patties (6 servings) it says to make will be enough or too much. But it does say 2 patties has 287 calories, 3g fat, 808mg of sodium, 10g fiber 11g sugar and 12g protein. The directions also tell you to put all the ingredients into a bowl after pulsing the chickpeas ..... then it tells you to put the vegetable oil into a pan (more oil or shouldn't have been in the mix?) and cook the patties for 2 minutes per side then remove to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes ...... but it only takes 17 minutes to cook (2+2+15=17?) ??
Turkey Chili Con Carne was another one of those recipes that I really had to wonder about - and yes I did order this (that's my plate above) more than once, but always felt it needed something because it was bland (usually a little saved peanut sauce).   It requires 2 lbs of ground turkey?? so you can have 10 1/2 cup servings? Why would you make so much? And here's the stats JUST for the chili - 202 calories, 9g fat, 1,044mg sodium (again almost 1/2 of the daily values), 12g carbs, 3g, fiber, 6g, sugar and 21g protein.

Then we move on to snacks and desserts .... again a lot of OMG and missing ingredients.

Here we have Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa, is another one of those questionable ingredient/direction recipes.  Again you make 4 servings with the recipe that calls for 2 shrimp per serving but only lists 6 shrimp in the ingredients.  The stats are 20 calories, 182mg sodium, 2.8g sugar and 1.6g protein. 

Artichoke Bottoms with Creamy Garlic Cauliflower. This was one of my favorite snacks although I didn't get it as often as I should - I think it may have competed with the mini egg rolls with peanut sauce (that didn't get included in the book). It has 30 calories, 2g fat, 154mg sodium, 1g fiber, 2g protein.

Cucumber Cups with Herbed Cheese Topped with Capers was another one of those recipes that was missing an ingredient. It says to combine sour cream into the cream cheese ... but no sour cream listed in ingredients. The recipe is for 4 servings - each serving is 2 1/2" slices of cucumber. For this you get 77 calories, 6g fat, 184mg sodium, 0 fiber, 1g sugar and 2g protein. I had ordered this a few times but stopped because it was usually sitting in water in the container ....... did nothing for the cucumber slices.

Mini Sweet Potato and Turkey Shepherds Pie is another recipe that makes 8 servings (why?) that was never a favorite of mine to be sure. Sure didn't ever look all that appetizing either.  Although I will admit this is one of the better looking ones.  This is one I received early on in my meal delivery.  And to add to the wonderfulness of this dish - it has 134 calories, 5g fat, 234mg sodium, 1g fiber, 2g sugar and 13g protein

Cherry Maple Oatmeal Cookies, which appears to be 2 desserts not 1, based on the stats in the book. These cookies are made with 1 TBSP of dough each with a serving size of 2 cookies. For these 2 little cookies (remember this picture appears to be 2 servings) you get 197 calories, 4g fat, 142mg sodium, 2g fiber, 24g sugar, 3g protein.

Here we have Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookie, that really is a favorite (although not marked as such) and not offered very often. It has a lot of sugar in the ingredients including 1/2c of dulce de leche - which I guess you also have to buy at the store since there is no recipe for this either. AND you have to make 15 sandwich cookies but a serving is only 1 sandwich cookie! This one above is one that I received ... someplace in-between the cookies is the dulce de leche - I know I remember it there somewhere. For this cookie you get 176 calories, 4.6g fat, 118mg sodium, 0g figer, 19g sugar, 3g protein.

Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecake was one of those cheesecakes that I never got to try. For the most part it was only offered on the weekends when I didn't usually get my meals. You have to make 10 servings if you follow this recipe and to be honest I'm not sure if the nutritional information per serving includes the gingersnap crust or not. If it does then the stats are 282 calories, 15g fat, 260mg sodium, 1g fiber, 17g sugar, 8g protein. If not you have to add 116 calories, 6g fat, 120mg sodium, 7g sugar.

Key Lime Cheesecake is the only one of the 3 cheesecakes listed as a "favorite" Again we have that evaporated cane juice sugar and I still can't tell if the stats include the crust or not. You have to make 10 servings but you can only keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days...so hopefully this freezes well .. If it includes the crust the stats are 257 calories, 14g sugar, 289mg sodium, 1g fiber, 12g sugar and 8g protein. If not you have to add 89 calories, 5g fat, 148mg sodium, 1g fiber, 2g sugar and 1g protein.   If you don’t like the above cheesecake recipes, because of the high stats or serving sizes, you might want to check out culinary classes at accredited online schools, which should also be able to teach you how to make a low carb sugar-free truffle cheesecake.  Now that does sound good doesn't it?

I took a long time to do this post.  This review was in no way requested by The Fresh Diet, and they probably would have wished (if they see it at all) that I didn't post this review.  I really didn't want to give it a "bad" review, but I have to say there really wasn't anything more I could do.  There were so many things that proof-reading should have caught, way too many "store bought" items that gave no guidance,  and then some of the stats were soooo bad I'm not sure how this could be touted as "Calorie Controlled meals with an added unique twist to healthy cooking"  or even "anchors our belief that flavor and freshness are the fundamental ingredients in any healthy diet.  That's what makes our dishes not only healthy but inspiring!"    but way too much sugar and sodium from the look of the stats.

One of the things I may do, when I get a chance, is find a good program to recalculate these recipes and see if the stats are in fact correct or if this is another case of proof-reading gone bad.

Sorry Fresh Diet, this is a very sad "Fresh Take on Diets".  I almost wish this had been a "free" book I was given for review since the $25 I paid ($15 for book/$10 for shipping ) was too much for this considering you can get much better recipes from Taste of Home Diet Comfort Foods ANNUAL book  (380 recipes) for about what I paid before shipping.


Anonymous said...

Well this book just confirmed what I learned from 5 horrid months on The Fresh Diet - they spend as little as possible on the food, serving their customers tiny portions of high fat, low fiber, high sodium junk food. I'm just surprised that they were not ashamed to put it in a book.
In fact, the New York Kitchen served EVEN LESS fruits and vegetables than the cook book calls for.
Anybody in the New York/ Tri- State area should check out Nutropia - they deliver what the Fresh Diet Promises, but does not deliver! I changed to them a couple of months ago, and couldn't be happier or healthier!

Ruth said...

I was on this diet for 2 1/2yrs. In the beginning I was really pleased then got increasingly unhappy. I never lost an ounce, one of the reasons I subscribed was to lose weight, never happened.
The food became more and more inedible and reporting some of the problems resulted in absolutely no improvement. The owners are convinced they are perfect and do not need to improve the presentation. The cookbook is a joke and just another way for them to rook the public and make a few more bucks.

Terri's Little Haven said...

Oh wow how disappointing. I would try to see if I could get my money back but it don't sound like you would actually get it back due to the $10 it would cost to ship it back. I seldom order cookbooks, I like to look inside them before buying but there have been times I have if I see a really good review on it. I won't get this one. Thank you so much for sharing and saving others $25. I'm just sorry you are out of your money for this book.

Jennie Louise said...

WOW there seems to be alot of calories in these dishes for a "healthy" option.
Sometimes it's just better to make these up yourself.
This is a mammouth blog post and I can see the effort you have put into this one... good for you. ;-)
jennie. xx

Sasha said...

Thank you so much for writing this! There aren't many reviews of the cookbook out there and you just saved me $25! Fresh Diet doesn't deliver in my area and after reading this I won't be trying their recipes either!