Daphne Oz likes to eat. In fact, she loves to eat.
So, she wrote a book of 150 recipes that she hopes will help readers eat well and feel good, without compromising flavor and satisfaction. The recipes in “Eat Your Heart Out: All-Fun, No-Fuss Food to Celebrate Eating Clean” (out now) are free of gluten and refined sugar, but don’t call it a diet book. Oz describes her approach as a “reset plan,” five days on and two days off, “for people who love to eat… in order to continue to enjoy foods fully and savor life through food.”
This reset system helps Oz feel good without feeling deprived, she says. Oz, a mother of four, goes out to dinner and loves to indulge in dessert on her “off” days. The book’s focus isn’t to restrict or omit, she says, but instead find a balance. She recommends adding things to meals to up the flavor and the nutritional benefits, like tossing some greens or a handful of frozen cauliflower into a smoothie. It’s all about how you feel, not the numbers on the scale. “It recalibrates and gives me a place of center again to continue to love delicious food and do it in a way that also lets me feel really strong and confident in my skin, lets me fit in my clothes and lets me enjoy it while I’ m doing it” Oz says.
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Oz describes the recipes in the book as as jumping-off points; they are made to be riffed on and substituted. She wants readers to make them their own, use ingredients you have on hand and foods you know you love. Don’t like winter squash, no problem, use a sweet potato. Don’t have fresh kale? Try frozen spinach.
Like many of us, Oz has a full plate. Between raising young kids and her many jobs, she understands eating well takes time and dedication. Her tip: Every time she turns on the oven, she makes two of whatever she’s cooking. “Roasting a chicken or veg, baking lasagna, whatever it might be. I do two at a time, and that way, I have roast chicken to eat today. And I also take it off the bone and have roast chicken shredded up to have throughout the week,” she says.
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Oz emphasizes “Eat Your Heart Out” is a book about how to eat, not what not to eat. She urges readers to get the pages dirty and enjoy cooking. “The most important thing to me is that you enjoy every bite,” she says. “I want you to feel like you’re getting more than you’re ever giving up. And I want you to feel like you are savoring the moment and doing it in a way that is deliciously taking good care of yourself.”
Daphne Oz’s Creamy Cucumber Melon Gazpacho
From “Eat Your Heart Out”
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup blanched almonds
- 2 ½ English cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped, plus ½ cucumber thinly sliced into half-moons for garnish
- 5 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus 2 thinly sliced for garnish
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 cups roughly chopped honeydew melon or yellow bell pepper (for a more savory result)
- Juice from 2 or 3 lemons (about ⅓ cup)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 1 to 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- 10 to 12 fresh mint leaves
- ½ jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed for less heat (optional)
- Sea salt, to taste
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced, to garnish
Soak the almonds in 1 ¼ cups hot water for 1 to 2 hours to soften so they will blend into a creamy milk without being chunky.
Place the roughly chopped cucumbers, chopped scallions, garlic, almonds and soaking water, melon, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, mint, jalapeño (if using), and salt in the jar of a high-speed blender and blend until very smooth , working in batches as needed. Taste and adjust any seasoning.
Transfer to a container and refrigerate overnight, 8 to 12 hours, to allow the flavors to meld. This gets your gazpacho to the best consistency and flavor—but if you just cannot wait, it will delicious right away! If the soup happens to separate at all, just stir to combine again before serving.
Serve garnished with the cucumber slices, radishes, sliced scallions, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Note: For an ultra-creamy and slightly richer gazpacho, add 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk to the carafe before blending your soaked and drained almonds.