Eat, Drink & Weigh Less

Book Review by Norene Gilletz

Eat, Drink and Lose Weight – Really!

I met Dr. Walter C. Willett at a culinary conference a few years ago when he spoke on a panel on healthy eating and nutrition. Dr. Willett is the head of Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition. I was so impressed that I invested in an audio tape of the lecture. His sensible comments and advice has helped shape my thinking – and my waistline, as well!

I own a well-worn copy of his first book, Eat, Drink and Be Healthy and have been able to expand my nutritional knowledge and shrink my body size, in spite of all the recipe testing that goes on in my kitchen! Thank you, Dr. Willett!

As you can imagine, I was thrilled to learn about the release of his second book, Eat, Drink and Weigh Less: A Flexible and Delicious Way to Shrink Your Waist Without Going Hungry! (Hyperion, $32.95 Cdn), co-authored with well-known cookbook author Mollie Katzen. I absolutely love this book and recommend it highly!

Eat, Drink and Weigh Less is based on sound science and represents years of top research conducted by Dr. Willett. It blends science, creative thinking and practical applications to empower you to a new “weigh” of thinking.

This is not about what you can’t eat, it’s about what you can! Eat, Drink and Weigh Less is about making simple changes in your daily diet decisions. These small changes add up to big weight loss.

Willett and Katzen have teamed up to present what they refer to as the “Nine Turning Points” and include more than 100 easy, delicious recipes, requiring very little prep time. Recipes include Whole-Grain French Toast, Pistachio-Currant Halvah No-Bake Nuggets, Balsamic Glaze, Amazing Mushroom Gravy and Kasha Varnishkes.

This flexible diet is not a fad diet – it deprives you of absolutely nothing. The concept is simple but the science behind it is not. If you choose foods according to these nine principles, you’ll lose your weight for good. These points include:

1. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits.

2. Say yes to good fats.

3. Upgrade your carbohydrates.

4. Choose healthy proteins.

5. Stay hydrated.

6. Drink alcohol in moderation (optional).

7. Take a multi-vitamin every day.

8. Move more.

9. Eat mindfully all day long.

1. Try to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day. They are mostly low in calories and can be enjoyed in generous quantities. Unfortunately, potatoes and french fries are not counted in this category!

2. Don’t indiscriminately cut fat. Eat less saturated fat and avoid trans fat, but do eat plenty of unsaturated fat. They can improve levels of cholesterol and other fat particles in the blood, strengthen the heart against dangerous erratic heartbeats and fight the gradual clogging of arteries. Remember, fat isn’t any more fattening than other calorie sources.

3. All carbs are not created equal. Shift from more refined carbs (such as white bread) and quickly digested starches (such as potatoes and white rice) to whole-grain, high fiber foods (such as whole wheat bread and grains such as brown rice), beans and other legumes. They’ll give you longer-lasting energy and lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

4. Eat more protein from vegetable sources, such as beans and nuts – supplemented by fish and poultry – and less red meat and dairy products. You’ll consume less saturated fat and cholesterol and more fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy unsaturated fats.

5. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoid drinking empty calories, especially from sugared beverages.

6. For most adults (but not everyone), a daily glass of wine – or any alcohol in moderation – is actually beneficial to health.

7. Multivitamins can’t replace healthy eating but are a good, cheap “nutritional insurance” – a way to fill nutrient gaps that can show up from time to time, even in a healthy diet.

8. Getting about 30 minutes of just about any kind of physical activity is an important part of weight control – but it’s more than that. Other than not smoking and eating right, it’s the best thing you can do to get healthy – or stay healthy – and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

9. Eat a nourishing breakfast, lunch and dinner. If necessary, choose healthy, modest, nutritionally significant snacks between meals to keep your energy even. Eat slowly, savoring and enjoying your food. You’ll feel more satisfied and will probably eat less.

The book is packed with interesting sidebars and nutrition notes. Here are just two of many interesting facts that are peppered throughout the book:

Skin is in! If you are eating poultry in moderation, you really don’t need to skip the skin. Cook it with the skin on to keep the meat moist. You can remove the skin before serving to reduce the amount of calories you’re eating, but from a fat standpoint it’s okay to eat it because it contains mostly unsaturated fat. Fish skin is okay too.

Cracking the myth: Eggs are high in cholesterol but they are also very low in saturated fat and packed with valuable nutrients, including protein polyunsaturated fats, folic acid and other B-vitamins. Research has shown that people eating up to an egg a day are no more likely to have more heart attack or strokes than those who eat less than an egg a week. Enjoy them in moderation – about 7 a week.

Note: People with diabetes do metabolize cholesterol differently, so for them, limiting intake to 2 eggs per week makes sense.


Pureeing vegetables into soup is one of the easiest and most delightful ways to go greener with your diet. This is a terrific hunger-buster that will fill you up just the right amount. If it doesn’t fill you up on the first go-round, just help yourself to more. This soup is considered an “unlimited” item on the 21-Day Diet!

2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen (6 to 10 ounces)
Salt (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

1. Pour the broth into a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. Add the broccoli, partially cover and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes if the broccoli is fresh, or for 5 minutes if it’s frozen.

3. Remove from heat and let stand uncovered for 5 minutes.

4. Transfer to a blender and puree to your desired texture. (Or you can use an immersion blender to puree the soup directly in the pot.)

5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Yield: 2 servings

Protein: 5 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g, Monounsaturated Fat: <1 g, Dietary Fiber: 6 g, Calories: 77


This makes a lot. Refrigerate or freeze any extra in a tightly covered container. (Freezing it in individual serving-size containers can be very convenient for future spontaneous dinners.) It reheats well.

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced bell peppers (a mix of red, yellow and green is nice)
1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. minced or crushed garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
Big pinch of cayenne pepper
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes packed in tomato puree
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place a large saucepan or soup pot over medium-high heat and wait 2 minutes. Add oil and wait about 30 seconds, then add the onion, peppers and salt. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until onions are translucent and both the onions and peppers are beginning to soften.

2. Add the chili powder, garlic, cumin, oregano, basil and cayenne; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and vegetable broth; bring to a boil.

4. Add all the beans and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat, partially cover the pot and let the chili simmer gently for 20 minute – or as long as 1 hour. (If simmering longer, give it a stir every 10 minutes or so to see if it needs some additional stock.)

5. Grind in some black pepper and taste to adjust the salt. Serve hot.

Yield: 10 servings

Protein: 10 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Dietary Fiber: 10 g, Calories: 211.


These clouds of chocolate are not a dream – they are real! And you can really have them on this diet! The contrast of textures – and the initial crunch, followed by a moment of chewiness – is truly satisfying, and the really good news is you can have a second one.

Nonstick spray for the baking sheet (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup hazelnuts, pecans or almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites (from large eggs), in a medium-large bowl

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray or line it with parchment paper.

2. Place the sugar, cocoa, salt, nuts and chocolate chips in a food processor or blender and process in a few short bursts until the nuts and chocolate are coarsely ground.

3. Add the vanilla to the bowlful of egg whites and beat with an electric mixer at high speed, until they form stiff peaks.

4. Pour the dry mixture on top of the beaten egg whites and use a rubber spatula to fold everything together until reasonably well blended. (It doesn’t have to be perfect.)

5. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet.

6. Bake for 3 hours without opening the oven. Turn off the oven and leave the cookies in the oven for another 30 minutes. (If you forget they are there and accidentally leave them overnight, they’ll be fine.) Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet before gently removing them with a metal spatula.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen. (9 two-cookie servings)

Protein: 3 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Calories: 130.

Eat, Drink and Weigh Less: A Flexible and Delicious Way to Shrink Your Waist Without Going Hungry!
by Dr. Walter C. Willett



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