Jenny Carr’s book, “Peace of Cake: The Secret to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet,” says you can eat healthy and not give up comfort foods you love.
“Eating kale salad every day is generally not something people can sustain,” Carr said. “I really wanted to make this way of eating accessible to people and have them realize how big of an impact, how big of a contrast, they can feel while still really enjoying the foods that they love.”
Carr, a teacher turned book author, suffered through years of health problems before beginning to try an anti-inflammatory diet. It worked, not just for her but also for her son and her mother, who were having other physical challenges.
See page 4 of the Valley section to read more about Carr’s journey.
The cover of “Peace of Cake” features a picture of what looks like caramel and chocolate cake or pancakes with blueberries.
“Wait,” you might be thinking. “This is health food?”
Carr thinks anti-inflammatory eating can be yummy and filled with things that would normally be seen as unhealthy, fattening “comfort” foods.
“When we fall off the wagon, it’s usually those types of foods,” Carr said. “So why don’t we make them in a way that doesn’t cause inflammation, that supports our health and our well-being? We don’t feel deprived, that way. There’s no wagon to fall off of.”
The cookbook begins with Carr’s personal history and moves to other tips, like drinking a lot of water and taking deep breaths if you have a craving. It breaks down what the long names are on ingredient lists, a history of the introduction of inflammatory foods into American’s diets, 56 names for processed sugars and more before drilling into Carr’s anti-inflammatory food swaps.
Frittatas, meatballs, protein shakes, granola, French toast, pizza, lasagna and even brownies grace the pages.
Don’t know where to begin? Carr says if you can just pick one thing, start with eliminating processed sugar and go from there. She urges readers to be “renegade researchers” by reading the ingredients, not the nutrition label.
“This is not a no-sugar diet,” she said. “This is a no-inflammatory-sugars diet. It’s all about the type of sugar that you’re eating. The secret is to focus on processed sugar. Swap it out for natural sugars, for whole fruit, dried fruit, pure maple syrup or raw honey. Any sort of comfort food — cookies and breads and muffins — you can make from those easily.”
Carr recommends thinking about the diet change in layers. If you eat fast food and on-the-go options like McDonalds, a whole-wheat sandwich with some deli meat is a better step and reduces inflammation. If you already eat pretty healthy but have some chronic symptoms, Carr recommends going further.
Ideally, readers would cut out all the top six inflammatory foods: processed sugar, wheat, cow dairy, genetically modified foods, refined oils and alcohol. That’s what Carr does. And she still eats out, too.
“You totally can,” she said.
She used to look at the whole menu and go item by item, thinking, ‘What can I have?’
“It was a nightmare, she said.
Now she cuts to the chase. First, she asks if the restaurant has any protein that can be served without oils or with extra-virgin olive oil. Then she just asks for vegetables sauteed on the side. She teaches tricks like that in her online group coaching program. One session begins Jan. 20.
“It’s all about enjoying the company I’m with and knowing that the food I’m eating is healing my body,” Carr said.
The book is available at Valley Bookstore, Skinny Skis, Simply Health of Jackson Hole and online. Readers can also get a free copy of the e-book on Carr’s website, JennyCarrHealth.com.
A lot of readers, Carr said, are trying to reverse chronic behavioral and physical symptoms.
“Hundreds of people write in telling me how this has changed their lives,” Carr said.
She thinks we change our children’s eating habits for the better too.
“My daughter didn’t have any processed sugar until she was 4 years old,” Carr said. “We have to help the younger generation, and it really begins with us.” ￼