Cookbook focuses on anti-inflammatory dishes

With everyone giving different advice on how to eat healthy or what diets to try, it can be hard to find recipes to fit those guidelines. “The Anti-Inflammatory Family Cookbook” by Stephania Patinella, Alexandra Romey and Jonathan Deutsch is out now to help bring anti-inflammatory eating to the whole family in a way that is accessible, fresh, healthy and delicious for everyone.

Stephania Patinella, one of the co-authors, took part in a Q&A all about the new book and the anti-inflammatory eating way.

Q: Why do you think anti-inflammatory eating is important for the whole family?

A: The simplest reason is that being proactive about keeping inflammation low in the body is unquestionably a key to protecting physical and mental health-and to keeping disease away. Eating lots of anti-inflammatory foods is one of the absolute best tools we have to do this. The research that shows this is vast and really amazing! And it’s true for people at every age.

The reason we emphasize family is because the home is where a lot of learning happens-including learning about food. Kids learn how and what to eat largely from the adults around them. Therefore, to raise kids to be healthy eaters, it’s important for the whole family to get on board.

Q: What are some tips for getting picky kids to try something new?

A: We talk a lot about picky eating in this book! The most important thing to understand here is that resistance to new foods is totally normal for kids. In fact, as we explain in the book, aversion to new foods, which is called “neophobia,” is biologically built in to children. But-and this is an important but!-innate flavor preferences actually play only a small role in our eventual taste preferences. By in large, kids learn to eat what they are exposed to.

To raise adventurous, not pick, eaters, Tip #1 is: Expose them to a wide variety of foods, especially vegetables, again and again and again. You may think 5 times is enough, and you’re tired of them snubbing their nose at it. But keep trying-research shows it may take up to 15 tries!

Here are some of our other best tips:

1. Adults need to model healthy and adventurous eating. Kids look to adults to learn what’s safe and delicious, and what’s not. If you eat it-and with pleasure-chances are they eventually will too.

2. Cook with kids! When kids touch and smell and make foods themselves, research (and a lot of our personal experience) shows that they are much more open to tasting it-and liking it. “Cooking” does not have to be complicated. It can mean using a plastic knife to chop some fruit for a parfait or veggies to eat with a fun dip. We have tips for cooking with kids of all ages in the book.

3. Encourage descriptive food language: Move kids away from simplistic, black and white language about food, like good/bad, yum/yuck, like/don’t like. Ask kids instead to use language that describes the food: is it Crunchy? Sweet? Tingly? Squishy? This invokes curiosity rather than judgment.

4. Tie particular foods to learning something new and interesting, for instance about culture, history or geography. There are many great kids’ books about food!

5. Avoid arguing about food. Sometimes, resistance to foods is more a test of wills than a true reflection of what kids want. Don’t indulge this by fighting. Just keep exposing them to healthy and diverse foods every day, with every meal.

Q: What is your favorite recipe from the book?

A: Oh! It’s really hard to pick just one! Here’s one that we think is pretty unique: The Tempeh Sticks with Cilantro Dip. We pick this one for a few reasons:

1. When people begin to eat a more plant based diet, they sometimes struggle with how to get enough protein. Tempeh is an excellent source of plant-based protein.

2. That leads to another problem: how do you cook tempeh so that it’s delicious? This recipe is hard not to love. Pan-frying the tempeh in sticks makes them crunchy and salty, the same attributes that make chips so addictive! Plus, the dipping sauce is so good.

3. Finally, we choose this because it’s fast and easy. Perfect for a quick lunch.

Q: What is the most important thing to know about following the anti-inflammatory diet?

A: Well, maybe the most important thing to know is that it’s not a diet! At least not in the sense of the word that conjures deprivation. That’s why we call it the “anti-inflammatory way.” It’s a way of eating that is embedded in traditional cultures all over the world in which the enjoyment of delicious, healthy foods is a foundation of family and community life. This means that the anti-inflammatory way is compatible with every type of cuisine. Or, to be more accurately, the anti-inflammatory way is inspired by the wisdom of traditional cuisines. One core lesson the anti-inflammatory way takes from the world’s cuisines is that pleasure and health are not at odds with each other-they go hand in hand.

The other thing to know about the anti-inflammatory way is that it’s very easy to follow. It doesn’t have a bunch of rules you have to remember. In terms of what foods to choose, as long as you’re prioritizing plant foods and whole foods, adding some high-quality fats, and cooking many of your meals at home, you’ve basically got it!

You can try Patinella’s favorite recipe below!

“The Anti-Inflammatory Family Cookbook” is published by Adams Media. It is $21.99.

Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com.


Excerpted from The Anti-Inflammatory Family Cookbook by Stefania Patinella; Alexandra Romey; Hilary McClafferty, MD, FAAP; Jonathan Deutsch, PhD; and Maria Mascarenhas, MBBS. Copyright ç 2021 by Stefania Patinella, Alexandra Romey, Hilary McClafferty, Jonathan Deutsch, and Maria Mascarenhas. Photographs by Harper Point Photography. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.




GF | DF | EF | NF

Cooking tempeh this way takes just a few minutes and yields a crispy and lightly salty finger food–the same attributes that make chips so enticing!

Phytonutrient focus: The cilantro plant yields two distinct herbs: the green leaves (cilantro) and the seeds (coriander). The leaves are rich in vitamins A and K, and both are high in linalool, which helps maintain steady blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. Use coriander to lend flavor at the beginning of cooking, and sprinkle cilantro leaves in at the end of cooking.

SERVES 4 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 6-8 minutes

1 large bunch cilantro

2 tablespoons tahini

2 teaspoons miso

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, cut crosswise into 1/4″ strips

1. Trim and discard stem tips of cilantro. Break bunch in half with your hands, rinse well, and place in the bowl of a food processor.

2. Add tahini, miso, lemon juice, maple syrup, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl a couple of times. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Set aside.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh strips, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown on the underside. Flip them (two forks work well for this), season with remaining salt, and cook on other side another 3-4 minutes. Add a bit more oil to pan if needed.

4. Place tempeh on a serving dish and spoon sauce over it. Or serve separately as sticks and dip.


Calories: 230 Fat: 15g Protein: 12g Sodium: 566mg

Fiber: 1g Carbohydrates: 12g Net Carbs: 11g Sugar: 4g


This cilantro dip is a great way to introduce bold new flavors to your baby (just use less salt). The tempeh is great for kids over two years or for younger babies with adequate chewing skills. For younger ones, serve with plain, uncooked tofu.


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