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Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life

by Bonnie Carroll

My meeting with Maggie Sheen, a food and nutrition writer/editor for the American Institute for Cancer Research, who was a contributing writer/editor for the New American Plate Cookbook, not only was a delightful and entertaining luncheon interview, but proved to be extremely informative on the new guidelines recognized as vital to a healthy diet in reducing the risk of some cancers. The author was in town to promote the second printing at area bookstores.

Sheen explained that The American Institute of Cancer Research released a second printing of the popular book to continue to make recommendations and encourage Americans who are becoming increasingly confused on how to implement the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2005. The "simple rule of thumb" is fill 2/3 of your plate with a variety of plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, leave only the remaining 1/3 on the plate for animal protein. This provides a clear, direct and effective way to eat in accordance with the 2005 Guidelines at every meal.

The daughter of a baker and a working mother who taught her how to cook at age 10, Maggie has studied culinary principles with and taken cooking lessons from a wide range of instructors. While living and working in Japan, Maggie conducted cooking classes and made guest appearance on television. Her programs focused on "How Americans Cook" and required her to adapt recipes for her Japanese audiences. It was during this period that she authored a restaurant guide to Tokyo for English-speaking visitors. Her book was the first of its kind to be published there in over a decade, and included over 140 restaurant reviews. Maggie Sheen joined the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) in 2000, as a food and nutrition writer, and her work includes implementing health-protective features and flavors to traditional recipes that follow the principles of healthful eating, as well as creating new recipes.

The New American Plate campaign encompasses the best available advice on lowering the risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke and other diseases. This simple plan reshapes meals so they are higher in fiber and lower in fat and calories than traditional American meals. This plan can assist in maintaining a healthy weight, and offers a healthy strategy for safe weight loss gradually and effectively.

According to Sheen "I began eating by the book without any intention of losing weight, but began to notice that I was losing weight, without any exercise or special effort. I really needed to take off some pounds, and began implementing the American Plate Guidelines, and doing some moderate exercise. I lost the weight, it was effortless, and it has stayed off" she said.

The only effort about eating according to The New American Plate is to take a hard look at your current plate, and make a decision to change the way it looks by implementing the proportions recommended in the book. The one-pot meal - a stew, stir-fry, casserole, pilaf, frittata, chili or dinner salad allows for a healthy 2/3 to 1/3 proportion. Numerous recipes are included among the 200 recipes in the cookbook to accommodate one-pot meals, and they are not only perfect for staying within the Guidelines, they are easy to prepare and delicious.

The book is available in bookstores and is published by the University of California Press. A brochure can be downloaded which contains an introduction of the New American Plate and 200 recipes to put into action. Proceeds from the book are donated to the American Institute of Cancer Research. For information call 1-800-842-8114, ext 460, or go to www.aicr.org to download the brochure.


© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved