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Book Review: The Mediterranean Family Table by Angelo Acquista, M.D.

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You've no doubt heard talk of how healthy following a Mediterranean diet is—especially for your heart. But like any diet, you are probably wondering how easy it is to follow, how expensive it can be, and for those of you with children, will your kids eat it? The book "The Mediterranean Family Table" by Angelo Acquista, M.D. not only answers all of those questions for you, but gives you the reasoning behind eating Mediterranean and also over 100 recipes that are simple enough for everyday cooking.

The book is divided into three sections. In the first, Dr. Acquista introduces readers to the Mediterranean Diet and the specific reasons it is so good for you. Dr. Acquista is quick to point out that "people who ate a Mediterranean diet drenched in olive oil and laden with nuts had reduced the chance they would suffer a heart attack, stroke, or death attributable to cardiovascular disease by 30 percent", but he doesn't simply bombard the reader with statistics. He also delves into the Mediterranean "Inverted Food Pyramid", the particular foods that help make up the basis of the diet itself, and the way people should follow the diet at various stages of life from infants all the way up to the elderly, paying attention to specific life events such as pregnancy and menopause. All of the information is written in plain-speak and is easy for the average person to understand.

The second section of the book is all about the basis for your meals—the foods themselves. Dr. Acquista gives readers lists of the foods they will use regularly and should stock their pantries, freezers, and refrigerators with and also a list of the cooking equipment and utensils they will use most frequently. He also includes a section about snacks that fit in with the Mediterranean diet (i.e. those that don't involve added sugars, processed carbs, or other heavy amounts of unnecessary ingredients). Dr. Acquista also helps his readers with tips for buying, storing and cooking ingredients which is helpful when cooking large batches and buying in bulk.

The final section of the book contains the recipes themselves. Dr. Acquista has recipes for everything from smoothies to salads, from risotto to pizza, and from breakfast to dessert—with everything in between. For those unfamiliar with the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on eating a large amount of fruits and vegetables along with modest amounts of fish. In other words, if you are hoping to find a good steak recipe, you're barking up the wrong tree. There are large sections focused on vegetable and legume dishes along with a sizable seafood section, but only a handful of poultry and other meat recipes. However, this is extremely beneficial for those who need to learn how to incorporate larger portions of vegetables into their meals. The recipes are not too time-consuming or complex, and the majority are kid-friendly as well.

If you are looking to kick-start your new year with this heart-healthy diet, this book is an excellent place to start. Come by the Karen Yontz Center to check out your copy today!

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