Rating: Highly recommended.
Anabolic Cooking by Dave Ruel is great for people who demand that their food tastes good AND is bodybuilding-healthy at the same time. As you all know from my videos, my kitchen-skills are extremely limited so this book with all of its tasty, high protein, healthy meals is a great compliment to my website. When I do my “Healthy Meals” videos, I get lots of comments about them being so boring and gross that people could never eat them. For these people, the $47 for this book is money well spent because with these easy, flavorful recipes at your fingertips you will be far more likely to eat strict, healthy nutritional food all the time. On the other hand, if you are someone like myself who is happy eating beans with salsa five times a day then don’t waste your money on this book because you wont end up using the recipes. Nutrition is 75% of success in bodybuilding and by having an book like this makes it more likely that your nutritional house will remain in order. All successful bodybuilders know that you cant get stronger and gain muscle mass without strict, proper nutrition and these recipes make it much easier to achieve proper nutrition. So now, you have NO more excuses not to have flawless nutrition and maximize your bodybuilding gains. If you demand tasty, flavorful food then you can buy this book and follow its excellent recipes. If you have no time or patience for cooking and are happy with simple foods and flavors then you can follow my free recipes. A solution for everyone!
You can tell that Dave Ruel (the author) knows his nutritional stuff, you wont find a bag of enriched, bleached flour or a bag of granulated sugar in HIS kitchen! The cookbook is very well written and organized with sections for breakfast, chicken and poultry, beef, fish and seafood, salads soups and sides, and snacks & bars. Its funny, the author shies away from calling this a cookbook but that’s what it is – A cookbook for bodybuilders. Each recipe has a bubble telling you the nutritional content of the meal, you will need to adjust the quantities to give you the desired meal size.
So, here is where this book, and all others fall short – its just a static book. Lots of people have trouble with numbers, fractions and math – lets face it, as a nation we are mathematically deficient. What I would like to see is an interactive cookbook rather than a static cookbook, for example. When entering the cookbook, I fill out a short questionnaire about my current weight, my desired rate of weight loss, my current weight, the number of meals I eat in a day. Then when I go to a recipe the cookbook automatically recalculates the quantities of each ingredient to make the exact portion size I desire. How many times have you stood there in the kitchen with your brain hurting when you struggle to solve a puzzle suitable for any math test:
“Scooby wants a 230 calorie meal but the recipe is for a 550 calorie meal. The recipe calls for 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder, how much baking powder should he use?”
Yikes! Now you know why I stick to beans and salsa! As I mention, there are no cookbooks out there that do this yet so don’t hold this against Dave Ruel – this book is still great. Just be warned that you will need to adjust the amounts of each ingredient to get the desired portion size. One other warning, this cookbook is in english units – cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons. If you are used to the metric system for cooking, you will be hopelessly frustrated by the endless conversions. I strongly advice NOT buying this book if you use the metric system.
Many people seem to have trouble eating breakfast, I suspect that the breakfast section of this cookbook will get the most use. I suspect for the breakfast haters out there, these recipes will cure them of their anti-breakfast views. Yes, these take more effort than making a bowl of oatmeal but they are just as healthy and a lot tastier. I was very impressed by the creativity of his high protein pancakes, I always assumed that to make pancakes you had to use enriched bleached flour (bad simple carb). He has two recipes for pancakes and they both high in protein and are completely free of simple carbs, just healthy complex carbs. As you have all seen in my videos, I’m a complete kitchen klutz but even I can handle this. Dave Ruel knows that bodybuilders like myself need simple instructions, in the case of these pancake recipes it IS simple enough that I can do it. In this recipe, I was just dreading that he would do what most fussy cookbooks do and say something like “whip the egg whites in a metal mixing bowl 200 strokes by hand then fold in …” No, Dave Ruel is practical. For the pancakes the recipe says “mix all ingredients in a blender” – now THATS my kind of cookbook! Now a lot of people just don’t have time to cook pancakes every morning even though his are really easy, this is why I really like his five high-protein muffin recipes. You can make a batch of these muffins once a month and keep them in the freezer, then for those type A people who don’t even have time to sit and eat breakfast in the morning you can grab one of these muffins and eat it on your morning commute. The muffins are high in protein, high in fiber, have lots of Essential Fatty Acids EFAs, low in fat and low in simple carbs. I have to admit, I never thought of this before but healthy muffins like this are the healthy alternative to purchased protein bars.
OK, the cookbook has entire sections on Chicken, Beef, and Seafood. I’m going to skip these sections entirely because I’m a vegetarian and am not really interested in meals where the main component is meat.
One criticism of the book is that it doesn’t have a lot of vegetarian dishes with legumes as the main source of protein. Of course, not many people like these kinds of foods and recipes which is probably why they are not present. If you want the bean recipes, use mine. He does have two great vegetarian recipes though, a quinoa recipe and a humus recipe.
The section of the cookbook that got me the most excited, even MORE than the breakfast section if that’s possible, is the section titled “Snacks & Bar Recipes.”. Personally I would have changed the title to:
“How to make snack foods so healthy that you won’t ever need a cheat meal”
All these recipes are WAY healthier than any protein bars you can buy at the store and they are certainly far cheaper. In fact, with protein bars at the store costing from $1-$4, you could justify the cost of this cookbook just from your savings on protein bars. Of all the bar recipes, the “High Protein Granola Bars” is by far my favorite. High in protein, high in fiber, and low in simple carbs. There is also a very simple “cookie” recipe, I put cookie in quotes because it has absolutely none of the bad attributes of a traditional cookie, Dave’s high protein blueberry cookies are high in protein, have zero simple carbs and zero fat – I never thought that was possible in a cookie. OK, there is one recipe that looks so gross that only a bodybuilder could have dreamt it up – high protein jello, yuck! Sorry, I have no intention of making or tasting that one – you are on your own.
There is a whole desert section and again, I’m amazed at the number of healthy deserts one can make. Virtually all of these are high in protein, low in simple carbs and low in fat. Although these are all healthy, I just cant have them around because I would end up eating massive quantities and get fat because I just don’t have any willpower with good tasting things.
So again, I would give this book a strong buy recommendation. Its clear that the author put a lot of work into this book and he did an excellent job. Not only are the recipes good but the instructions are clear and easy as well. Its well organized and complete.
One thing that the author doesn’t mention that I would caution folks on is the baking of protein powders. I would check the list of ingredients on your protein powder very carefully and make sure there is nothing that shouldn’t be cooked. A lot of the cheap protein powders have a virtual kitchen sinks worth of junk added and a lot of that stuff shouldn’t be exposed to high temperatures (many artificial sweeteners for example). If in doubt, stick to a basic 100% natural protein powder with nothing else added.
OK, the cookbook is the most valuable thing that you get for your $40 but he also throws in a few other things. There are personalized meal plans for different daily caloric needs. For people that just don’t know how to put a meal plan together, this is a great value. I have to say, I was quite disappointed that at the bottom of the page he includes recommended supplements and a link to his website where he sells this. I feel that Dave Ruel has tarnished an otherwise great package by putting links to products he sells. OK, everybody does it but that doesn’t mean I like it. In his defense, the links he put were for a multivitamin and a EFA – at least he’s not pushing supplements.
Also included as a bonus are his post-workout shakes. Many people will find these extremely valuable although I personally don’t like them because most of them include creatine and I am anti-creatine, anti-supplement. I do wish that the author just put these protein shakes in with the main cookbook rather than as an additional PDF file.
Also included is a quickstart guide which covers the nutritional basics available for free anywhere on the internet, including my website. I’m glad he included it though because many beginners don’t know this stuff, its not taught in schools and most parents don’t understand it so they cant teach it to their kids.
The last thing he includes for free is a short book with the title “Ugly Truth About Supplements” that had me standing up shouting with delight! Finally someone who sees things like I do! I wish I read this first because it really sets the tone for his recipes. His basic premise (and mine too) is that if you have good solid nutrition, you do not need ANY supplements. He and I do differ a bit on the fine points though. He recommends five supplements, I only recommend one (protein powder). Again, I was a little put off that he sells the supplements he recommends and puts links to the in the book. Again, I know everyone does it but its bothers me. The most objectionable is that he is pushing a multivitamin that he sells and I strongly believe that if you are eating healthy food like the recipes in this book that you have no need for a multivitamin. I also am not convinced that the vitamins in pill form are nearly as valuable to the body as the vitamins in their natural state (i.e. in fresh vegetables).
Trying to lose fat and get ripped abs? Trying to gain muscle and get stronger? It’s all nutrition and these recipes make it easier!
Again, a strong “Buy” recommendation for Anabolic Cooking by Dave Ruel!
Review Date: May 9, 2010.
Don’t be turned off by the slightly sleazy purchase procedure of this eBook – it is legit. This book is infinitely higher quality than the sleazy sales methods would indicate. Personally, I find the 3 mile long web pages full of bold flashing text and never ending testimonials pretty offensive and even more annoying are the popups “Are you sure you want to navigate away?” when you try to leave the page without purchasing. Just grin and bear it, its worth it. I have purchased and reviewed this book and no mysterious charges have ever appeared on my credit cards, nor have I experienced any other problems. The money back guarantee is real. You can return these eBooks for any valid reason within 60 days. They do send weekly motivational and informational emails which I didn’t want but they have not sold/given my email address away to anyone – no mysterious influx of spam emails. If you buy this book and are not satisfied with it, please email me at the below address and let me know why! To the best of my ability, the review here is fair and accurate so your should be getting exactly what you expect based upon my review, and if not, I need to change my review. In four years of selling these books I have never had a single reader complaint, but if you are the first and need help getting your money back, email me at “books @ scoobysworkshop . com” – remove the spaces!
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