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A roundup of the hottest diet cookbooks of 2012

philly.com | January 4, 2013 | Elisa Ludwig, for the Philadelphia Inquirer

There’s no diet, it seems, without sacrifice, and a roundup of the year’s diet books shows that most of the trending approaches to weight loss eschew at least one or more category of food altogether.

Paleo, wheat-/gluten-free, and plant-based-diet books are the hottest categories now, promising well-being in addition to roomier pants, if you are willing to limit yourself to either hunks of meat and coconut oil or millet salads.

In a totally different camp are the whole-foods proponents, whose reasoned pleas for variety are starting to sound like a cultural consensus. Some things all of these pundits agree on? The desirability of organics, the evils of sugar, and the value of kale chips.

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CLEAN FOOD, by Terry Walters (Sterling Epicure, $36). This is an ideal primer for a sophisticated eater/home cook looking to adopt a vegan diet. The updated version of Walter’s 2007 cookbook features gluten-free variations and a section on healthy snacking. Walters occasionally ventures into more obscure nutritional territory with arame, burdock, and teff flour, but her dishes such as summer rolls with lemon basil pesto and sweet and savory root vegetable stew are light and accessible. Clean Food is seasonally organized, with enough ethnic variety to keep the proceedings interesting and plenty of attractive photos to inspire imitation.

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