a cookbook to buy!!! it doesn't use sugar or flour


It's only natural: Cookbook offers advice on eating Author promotes organic diet free of sugar, flour

Kate Nolan The Arizona Republic Jan. 9, 2006 12:00 AM

SCOTTSDALE - Just what you need, another diet book.

But it's not exactly a diet book. Dee's Mighty Cookbook: Tasty Cuisine for Flourless and Sugarless Living is for people who want to be healthy and trim.

Author Dee McCaffrey wrote it to show how easy it is to eat healthfully.

MacCaffrey's selling the book and giving classes at Wild Oats Natural Marketplace on Raintree Drive in Scottsdale, starting this month.

"They are intended for anyone interested in learning more about eating healthy and improving their diets," McCaffrey said of her book and classes.

"I call it a nutrition and weight-loss class because, using the information, you will lose weight. But a lot of people just want to eat healthfully," she said. The classes also cover pertinent topics, such as high cholesterol, preventing disease by eating right and overcoming emotional obstacles.

Lessons of experience

A diet counselor and organic chemist, McCaffrey is also the baker behind Dee's Mighty Muffins, sold around the Valley.

She started developing her recipes 14 years ago while shedding 100 pounds in 12 months.

At 4 feet 10 inches, McCaffrey is now a featherweight 110 pounds but still recalls the frustration from years of failed weight-loss attempts.

After yo-yo dieting herself into seemingly permanent obesity, McCaffrey ultimately employed her organic chemistry background to analyze her diet. She concluded that processed foods were making it harder to lose weight and leaching nutrients from her body.

The result was a rejection of refined sugar and white flour, and the development of her personal diet for health and weight loss.

Now she shares it via her "Health from the Heart" nutrition counseling service and in the classroom. Her classes range from a free introductory session to an eight-week series that costs $250. The cookbook ($16.95) makes it easier to stay on track.

The only downside of the class, said one attendee, was finding out how destructive his diet of heavily processed foods had been for most of his life.

The essence of McCaffrey's approach is to replace refined sugar and flour with whole foods, which contain more nutrients and are easier to digest because they contain the chemicals required to digest them. McCaffrey said eating refined products produces an acidic condition that keeps nutrients from being absorbed and causes weight gain.

Her recipes include only foods in their natural states.

A scientific explanation is provided in the introductory part of the cookbook, which is divided into the usual categories: breakfast, salads, soups and meats.

But there are also sections on whole grain dishes, "vegetarian delights" and other healthful fare.

One chapter covers the "six most important foods for weight loss and good health." To understand how they work, you have to read the book, but the list includes coconut oil, Stevia (an herbal sweetener), omega-3 fats, oat bran, flourless bread and apple cider vinegar.

Not a difficult program "None of these things is really hard," said Silvio Rone, a Scottsdale portrait photographer who has lost 47 pounds since he took McCaffrey's course in October. He weighs in at his doctor's office every two weeks.

A lifelong large person, Rone, 57, was more absorbed in other parts of his life until recently when his third and youngest child moved out.

"In the past year, my time seems more directed toward me," Rone said. He's learning how to eat again, excluding processed flour or sugar and adding organic foods.

"It costs more, but so does a doctor. I'd rather pay upfront now than later," Rone said. He considers cost a poor excuse for not eating right.

"My wife, Lynn, and I would go out and spend $70 for one meal. Why not pay what it takes to have organic fruits and vegetables?" he asked, adding that often organic products are competitively priced with others.

He calls the class a "good investment of 16 hours of time."

If for no other reason than the class segment McCaffrey provides to help navigate those $70 restaurant meals. She focuses on real Valley restaurants. For the record, she gives high marks to Baja Fresh, Pei Wei Asian Diner, P.F. Chang's China Bistro and Pita Jungle. She OKs steakhouses that offer lean cuts, but said you can go to most restaurants and get the right stuff if you ask questions.

Most of her dining tips, though, apply to the temptations of home.

For example, she offers a refrigerator meditation.

You put up a refrigerator magnet or picture as a reminder, and it stops you before you open the door to paradise.

"It tells you to be mindful of what you are really looking for - a boyfriend, a new job or just peace and quiet. The thing is, you can't get those things from the refrigerator," McCaffrey said.

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