A diet rich in vegetables does a body good, health experts say.
If you need to boost your veggie intake - and your overall health - and need recipe inspiration, you're in luck. This year, many new healthy eating cookbooks have hit store shelves. Hot topics include vegan and vegetarian cooking and juicing. Here are a few of the new books that go heavy on the veggies:
"VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health ... for Good" by Mark Bittman (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, $26). This book is for those who have thought about or are trying to eat vegan - no animal products whatsoever. In this book, Bittman, a best-selling author and New York Times columnist, says he believes he has the answer. His message is simple: "Eat exclusively vegan meals for breakfast, lunch, and daytime snacks and enjoy the foods you crave, with no restrictions, for dinner."
Bittman was advised by his doctor to eat vegan after he was diagnosed with prediabetes and pre-heart disease. Having written much about food over the years, Bittman knew that was going to be difficult. So he developed "VB6" and after 30 days of following the diet, he writes that he lost 15 pounds. The book has 60 recipes and plenty of tips and strategies, including what to have in your pantry. While Bittman's book isn't necessarily going to make you run out and buy tofu, it will, however, provide a path for you to adopt some vegan in your life.
"Living the Good Long Life: A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others" by Martha Stewart (Clarkson Potter, $27.50). While this 335-page book covers topics beyond the kitchen, with chapters on topics ranging from Healthy Fitness to Healthy Home, there are a good amount of recipes and ideas for eating and preparing foods.
For example, Stewart recommends starting out the day with a green juice and provides several how-to's, from making a basic vinaigrette to learning how to cook in parchment paper. Stewart also provides the usual info on eating more fruits, vegetables and good fats. The recipes rely on lean proteins, legumes and grains. When it comes to eating vegetables, Stewart provides a primer on why it's important to vary them color-wise, because different hues provide different nutrients.
"The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation" by Mollie Katzen (Houghton Mifflin, $34.99). Most noted for her "Moosewood" and "Enchanted Broccoli Forest" cookbooks, Katzen is considered one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time. In this 464-page tome, Katzen delivers 250 exciting new recipes focused on how she cooks today, in a lighter way. In "The Heart of the Plate," she writes that "now when I cook, I want as much space on the plate as possible for my beloved garden vegetables."
Chapter topics include stews; rice and other grains; pasta and Asian noodles; suppers from the oven; burgers, and savory pancakes. In this book, Katzen succeeds in contrasting and complementing flavors and ingredients for delectable dishes. We also like that Katzen offers a selection of 35 menus, 15 of them vegan. And it's a pretty book with some full-color food photos and illustrations by Katzen.