Had I decided not to call this blog Eat Spin Run Repeat, there are a number of other names that would have been equally as fitting:

  1. Running on Carrots (because I eat more carrots than anyone else you know – trust me, even more than your most carrot-loving friend)
  2. 365 Days of Salads (because I really do eat at least 1 salad every day)
  3. The Cookbook Junkie

Cookbooks are to me like Harry Potter and Twilight novels are to…. Harry Potter and Twilight fanatics. I can’t claim to have read a single Harry Potter book from cover to cover, nor have I seen Twilight, apart from maybe a few seconds which involved a lovely shot of Taylor Lautner’s abs. However, I know exactly what page to find the BBQ tempeh recipe on in my Fresh cookbook (it’s page 132) and page 71 in my copy of Clean Start by Terry Walters is stained purple because I’ve made her Chopped Salad with Blackberry Shallot Vinaigrette so many times.

favourite healthy cookbooks

When you write a blog that is approximately 40% focused on fitness and 60% focused on food, it’s difficult not to be thinking about it all.the.freaking.time. Add to that the stacks of cookbooks that sit on my bookshelves, and it’s no wonder why I have dreams about succulent fillets of cedar planked salmon and being the next Food Network star.

I’ll admit that I own cookbooks that I’ve never made a single recipe from, but I’m totally content with that. In my opinion, a cookbook with beautiful pictures and lists of ingredients that I can almost smell as I read them is better than any sort of fiction. You can’t go running to your kitchen and expect the gorgeous Taylor Lautner to be standing there, but you can go running to the kitchen and make Tosca Reno‘s eat-clean carrot cake from the Eat Clean Cookbook. And if you do, it will make your house smell amazing.

favourite healthy cookbooks 2

While there are a few books that I’ve only drooled over and have yet to actually use in my cooking endeavours, there are also many that I absolutely love and use over and over again. Here are a few of my favourites, as well as the most recent addition.

1. The Eat Clean series of cookbooks by Tosca Reno

Tosca, the Eat Clean Queen, has a whole bunch of books available, 4 of which have a spot on my bookshelf. In Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook, the focus is mostly recipes. In the Eat-Clean Diet® Cookbook, Eat-Clean Diet® Cookbook 2, and Eat-Clean Diet® Recharged, there’s a more emphasis on explaining what exactly clean eating is, how to incorporate it into your lifestyle, and how it can be adapted for vegans and vegetarians. All of them contain delicious recipes and I can’t say that any of them have ever steered me wrong!

eat clean diet books

2. Clean Start by Terry Walters

I LOVE this book. The photos are gorgeous, the recipes are amazing, full of colour, and totally drool-worthy. The book is also vegan and gluten free, so it’s a great option if you have these dietary preferences or are cooking for someone who does.

clean start by terry walters

It’s organized by seasons, which I think is particularly useful, especially since we’re so used to having produce shipped in to our groceries year round and sometimes it can be difficult to remember what’s in season vs what isn’t. My first review of Clean Start can be found here, and it’s a book that I constantly go back to for inspiration. It’s a follow-up to Terry’s first book, Clean Food, which I’ve yet to buy but I can certainly find room for it on my shelf!

clean start salad

3. Fresh by Jennifer Houston and Ruth Tal

I don’t live in Toronto, but if I did, I’m sure I could find an excuse to make my way to Fresh every single day, perhaps even more than once.

fresh cookbook

I can’t say enough about their food – it’s all absolutely delicious, as are the juices on the menu. I’m always re-creating dishes that I order there, and am so thankful that Jennifer and Ruth have published a few cookbooks (including the one that I own) to share some of the restaurant’s most popular recipes. BlogTO voted Fresh’s quinoa-battered onion rings some of the best in the city, and I wholeheartedly agree!

fresh cookbook raw italian bowl

4. Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr and Chef Chad Sarno

The cover of this book reads “150 plant-empowered recipes to ignite a mouthwatering revolution” and that’s a very accurate statement for what you’ll find inside!

crazy sexy kitchen

Chef Chad Sarno is the Lead Culinary Educator for the healthy eating program at Whole Foods Market (one of my favourite places on earth), and he’s co-written this book with Kris Carr. If you’re not familiar with Kris, she’s the woman behind the Crazy Sexy Diet, a “nutrient dense, plant-happy approach to eating and living“. She’s also a cancer survivor and director of the documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer. In Crazy Sexy Kitchen, Kris provides an explanation of why a plant based diet beneficial for everyone, tips for creating plant-based magic in your own kitchen, and advice on how to enjoy food to its fullest potential.

crazy sexy kitchen farmer's salad

The book also features recipes from guest chefs including Pam Brown, Fran Costigan, Richard Landau, Tal Ronnen, and Sarma Melngailis (co-founder of the famous Pure Food & Wine, a raw vegan restaurant in NYC that I dream of visiting some day.)

And now, a newcomer to the collection…

swap and drop diet cookbook

I was recently given a copy of Best Health’s Swap and Drop Diet Cookbook to review, and finally had a chance to sit down with it for a good read this past weekend. The book is all about showing Canadians that they can make healthy swaps without sacrificing flavour. It contains 160 recipes, all of which feature easy-to-find, wholesome ingredients.

grilled salmon salad from swap and drop

After  reading through it from cover to cover this weekend, these were my main thoughts:

  • A large emphasis on weight loss and weight maintenance, with nutrition information calculated for each recipe.
  • Beautiful, vibrant photos.
  • In addition to recipes, there are some great educational pages that cover topics such as healthy swaps for less-healthy foods, entertaining tips, meal planning, and keeping portion sizes in check.
  • Recipes don’t include prep times (just an FYI in case this is a make-or-break for you)
  • Not a ton of vegan-friendly recipes. This is the main drawback I noticed. There are 3 recipes for meatless sides and a good proportion of vegetarian dishes in the book, but vegans might be a little disappointed.
  • Great sidebar tips on each page that provide ideas for alternative ingredients and how to add variety to the recipes.

mango and juiced limes

I’ve been given permission to share one of the recipes from the book with you, and those of you who love salmon as much as I do are going to love this!

grilled salmon salad

Grilled Salmon Salad

from the Best Health Swap & Drop Cookbook

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 8 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 large orange
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4x4oz skinless salmon fillets
  • 4 cups romaine or mixed salad leaves
  • 1 mango, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into 1″ cubes (I substituted an orange because I forgot to buy a papaya!)
  • 1 orange, peeled and segmented
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Heat a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Scrape the seeds from the cardamom pods and add them to the hot pan with cumin seeds. Toast for a few seconds to release the aromas, then remove the seeds to a non-metallic dish.

Add lime zest and juice, orange juice, soy sauce, and honey to the seeds, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Lay the pieces of salmon in the dish. Turn them over to coat both sides. Cover and let marinate for about 30 mins.

Preheat a grill pan or oven broiler. (I cooked my salmon entirely on the barbeque.) Lift the salmon out of the marinade. Place on a grill pan or broiler pan, and brill or broil for 4-5 minutes on one side only; the salmon should still be slightly translucent in the center. Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Arrange the salad leaves in the middle of 4 plates. Scatter the mango, papaya and orange segments over the salad. Place the cooked salmon on top and drizzle with warm marinade. Serve immediately.

grilled salmon salad

Per serving: 313 calories, 26g protein, 10g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 77mg cholesterol, 30g carbohydrates, 4g fiber.
Source: The Best Health Swap and Drop Diet Cookbook.

grilled salmon salad

I thoroughly enjoyed every last bite, and I hope you do too!

And finally, the giveaway…

The folks at Best Health are incredibly generous and are allowing me to give away a copy of the Swap and Drop Diet Cookbook to one lucky Eat Spin Run Repeat reader. To enter, answer the following questions: 

  • What are your favourite healthy cookbooks? Any gems I should be checking out?
  • What are some of the key things you look for when buying a cookbook? If you get more of your inspiration online, what sites/blogs do you browse most often?

The giveaway is open to Canadian residents only and will close this Thursday, June 13th at midnight EST. I’ll announce the winner in Friday morning’s post. Good luck!