Ina. Emeril. Giada. With certain celebrity chefs, you need hear only one name to know who we’re talking about. Giada De Laurentiis, known for her prowess with Italian food, six Food Network shows, three restaurants and lifestyle blog, is a top-tier talent with a new cookbook. Its goal? Making you feel better.
In her new book, the New York Times best-selling author takes aim at inflammation. Somewhere between her 40th and 50th birthdays, she writes, as a single mom with cooking shows in L.A., New York and Italy, she realized she was chronically sleep-deprived, ill-fed and under-exercised. She was constantly on antibiotics. Every flight seemed to make her sick.
“I just felt like I had nothing left in the tank,” she wrote. After meeting the right doctor (which she suggests for every reader), she finally targeted the likely culprit: her diet. Giada had a long history of debilitating digestive issues, and she wasn’t liking how she felt when she woke up after rich pastas, fried foods, ice cream or a grilled four-cheese sandwich. “They started to feel more like punishments than indulgences when I woke up feeling frankly lousy the next day, no matter how delicious they were.”
She started learning about anti-inflammatory foods: those reputed to reduce inflammatory reactions in the body. Her cooking took a revised (but still deliciously Italian) turn. Sugar, dairy, red meat, refined grains, gluten, caffeine, booze and nightshades—all possible culprits of her gut issues and general sluggishness—took a back seat. Giada embraced dark greens, olives oil, dark chocolate, whole grains, olives, baby arugula, fennel, capers, and fresh herbs.
And she started feeling great. She realized, “I had to think before I ate. Now foods that are nutritionally dense, that are free of contaminants and environmental toxins, and that don’t put a strain on my immune system are the backbone of my diet.” Anything that doesn’t reach that high bar, she adds, such as fried foods, sugary treats and rich cream sauces, go into a “proceed with caution” category. “Now that I understand how they affect me, most of the time (well, at least a lot of the time) I choose feeling good over the momentary pleasure of a chocolate chip cookie.”
Giada’s fabulous new cookbook, Eat Better, Feel Better: My Recipes for Wellness and Healing, Inside and Out, is the result of her revelations. She packed in 100 recipes for healthy meals, a 21-day meal plan and a three-day dietary reboot. Look for flavor-forward recipes like Baked Coriander Sweet Potatoes, Sheet Pan Parmesan Shrimp and Veggies, and Roasted Cauliflower & Baby Kale Salad. Expect plenty of fish and olives, capers and fresh herbs, and the ease of preparation that has become a Giada signature.
Join us on Tuesday, March 16, at 5 pm PST in conversation with Giada and health-minded entrepreneur, actress, and podcast host Kate Hudson as they discuss wholesome, good-for-you choices we can make every day.
The busy mother of three recently launched InBloom herbal blends. Author of Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body and part-owner of Fabletics athleisure brand, Kate has a similar focus on health and wellness that’s sure to give the two friends much to discuss.
Kate’s been cooking up a storm during quarantine and, with three kids having a variety of tastes, chicken is a go-to ingredient in her household. Giada’s new 5-ingredient lemon chicken recipe (below) is up next on the family-friendly meal rotation.
Amalfi Lemon Chicken
Lemon? Check. Crispy skin? The delicious smell of fresh herbs as the bird roasts? Easy enough to make on a weeknight? Check, check, and check again. This recipe ticks all the boxes for me, and I’m sure it will for you as well. Many markets now sell spatchcocked chickens that have had their backbones (and sometimes breastbones) removed, which allows the chicken to open up flat. My friends tell me they’ve made this using just breast and thigh pieces and it works fine that way too. I make this at least once a week.
- 4 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 large lemons, zested and sliced
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 chicken (about 3½ pounds), backbone and breastbone removed
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the lemon slices on the sheet to form a “rack” for the chicken.
In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, thyme, rosemary, and salt. Sprinkle one-third of the salt rub on the flesh side of the chicken. Flip the chicken and rub the remaining salt mixture over and under the skin of the whole chicken. Lay the chicken skin side up on the bed of lemons and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes with the pan drippings, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 160°F. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, use a fork to mash the lemon pulp into the pan juices, discarding the rinds. Spoon the sauce over the chicken just before serving. Serves 2 – 4.
Roasted Strawberries With Vin Santo
If you like strawberries with balsamic, give this more subtle cooked version a try. It’s everything I look for in a dessert: fast, easy, and impressive. People ooh and aah every time I serve it, and it’s easy to multiply for a crowd.
- 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or organic cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Pinch of kosher salt
- ¼ cup Vin Santo or other dessert wine (optional)
- ½ cup coconut yogurt, such as COYO or Anita’s
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped Marcona almonds
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lined a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the strawberries, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the olive oil, and salt on the prepared baking sheet and toss well to coat. Spread the strawberries evenly and roast for 30 minutes, or until they are soft and have released some of their juices. Pour the berries and their juices into a bowl and gently stir in the Vin Santo, if using. Cool to room temperature.
To serve, whisk the yogurt and the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar together in a small bowl. Divide the berries among four small serving dishes. Dollop the yogurt on top and sprinkle each serving with some of the chopped almonds. Serves 4.
Recipe courtesy of EAT BETTER, FEEL BETTER by Giada De Laurentiis. Copyright © 2021 by GDL Foods Inc. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.