Although most people love Rachael and her recipes, I occasionally hear one of three gripes:
1. You'll gain 40 pounds a year on those menus.
2. I can open cans and stir them together while throwing in a few seasonings and an occasional onion and tomato. What do I need Rachael's recipes for?
3. I chop slowly and carefully. These are not 30-minute recipes.
For those who have concerns in these three areas, I found that many of the recipes in Rachael Ray: 30-Minute GET REAL Meals are reasonably low in harmful fats and high glycemic carbs, don't mostly come from cans, and have reasonable amounts of chopping involved. Although the South Beach Diet people wouldn't approve of many recipes in this book, Rachael has made a big bow towards good food that won't put unnecessary pounds on you.
In many cases, it's pretty simple: Instead of coming in bread or a tortilla or combined with pasta, you are encouraged to wrap a lettuce leaf around the food and still enjoy the zesty tastes of Mexico and Europe. You also dip with veggies rather than crackers. Burgers show up in salads or on Portobello mushrooms. Kebobs are featured with lean meats and fish combined with veggies. Many dishes simply take meat or fish and add a sauce.
Unlike some of her later books, this one is mostly recipes rather than menus. But you'll have no trouble matching things together.
For those of you who want to eat the Atkins diet, there are plenty of carbless dishes. But many of those dishes feature lots of oils, butter, and other fats that aren't healthy in too big quantities. So watch yourself!
Rachael deliberately backslides a little for those who don't want to go carbless all the time and has some dishes that include a few carbs (pasta especially while replacing most of the carbs with veggies. I thought that many of those items looked especially appealing. Rachael dedicates the book to her Gran'pa Emmanuel who struggled with diabetes while he was alive and always kept his carbs down. You can see his influence especially in this lower-carb section.
If you only are going to buy one of Rachael's books, I wouldn't recommend this one. But if you are going to buy six, this one's a keeper!