Nantucket Diet Cover
The Nantucket Diet by Sol Jacobs, M.D. and Jane Conway Caspe
286 Pages, Hardcover with Nutritional Information
2005 by Ballantine Books $23.95 US

Reviewed for Good Cooking by Andrea Silver, December 2005

The Nantucket Diet by Sol Jacobs, M.D. and Jane Conway Caspe is a book written to educate individuals about how to live a healthy lifestyle. From the book's beginning, Dr. Jacobs makes it very clear that this diet is not just another fad. He states that people who follow many of today's popular diets which encourage eating high protein foods and no carbohydrates are less likely to keep off the weight that they have lost. The Nantucket Diet touts the benefits of whole-grain, high fiber carbohydrates, choosing foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and daily exercise. The diet also requires participants to eat one meal a week that has no dietary guidelines. These meals are called "Make Love to Life" meals and are based on the idea that people following this diet can "cheat" once a week to satiate cravings for decadent and high calorie foods.

To successfully follow this diet correctly, participants must calculate their Total Energy Expenditure (TEE), which is how many calories one needs to maintain weight at their current activity level. Once this number is established, it is used throughout the three phases of the diet: termination of weight gain (preventing additional weight gain), weight loss and weight maintenance. The book also includes meal plans based on daily calorie intake, exercise recommendations (some of which are examples of walks and bike rides on Nantucket), recipes from the authors and recipes from popular Nantucket restaurants. All of the recipes include nutritional analysis per serving.

Now exactly what this diet has to do with Nantucket, I am not quite sure. The authors mention the traditional ways in which people on Nantucket used to live. They were fisherman working hard and long hours at sea, ate fish they caught that day and of course ate no processed food. They also mention present day Nantucket natives being "outdoorsy" and full of life - walking on the beach, going for bike rides and all the other things you would typically see in a tourism commercial for the island. But really, the message of this book has little to do with Nantucket and everything to do with changing the eating habits of overweight Americans. I think their information is valid and is certainly backed up by numerous studies that are cited in the book; however, I don't think Nantucket really needed to be the backdrop for this message. Maybe the picture on the cover of waving ocean grasses and a yacht in the foreground attract some people, but what do I know about marketing?

As far as the recipes are concerned, I tried a couple and was pleased with the flavor of both items. Most of the recipes in this book have very easy instructions with few steps. I decided to try recipes from the chapter titled "Nantucket Old-Time Favorites". The first recipe was the Nantucket Diet Bran Muffins. The muffins were very easy to make, used ingredients that I found at my local supermarket and actually tasted quite good. The 3/4 cup of Splenda in the recipe threw me off a little. Yes, I put Splenda in my occasional cup of coffee or tea, but I never thought of it as an item to bake with. In fact, when it hit the bran and milk mixture, It'sizzled like I was conducting some sort of chemistry experiment. A little odd and unnatural, but I proceeded with the recipe. The end result was a pretty good muffin that I ate the next morning with a cup of tea--minus the Splenda. I had my fill for the day. The other recipe I tried was the Family Favorite Meatloaf. Now, this recipe uses two packets of Sweet'n Low, which I really think could have been left out if you felt funny about putting artificial sweetener in your meatloaf. Also, the mixture was a little wet when all the ingredients were mixed together. I put my meatloaf in a casserole dish and it did not really keep its "meatloaf" shape. I would suggest either adding a slice or two more of the wheat bread, or put the mixture into a loaf pan to keep the desired shape. The meatloaf was very good and satisfied the craving for a comfort food meal.

Overall, I think this book can be very helpful for individuals who are seriously committed to losing weight or people with other medical issues such as Type 2 diabetes or heart conditions. The book is informative and gives the participant structure to follow the diet. If you do not have these medical issues and are just looking to add a cookbook with healthy recipes to your collection, there are other cookbooks out there that serve the same purpose. Personally, I would rather use recipes that don't have sugar substitutes, but these recipes are not geared toward the average individual watching their figure, but rather to people following the entire diet plan. For what are considered "diet" recipes, they tasted good and were above adequate substitutes for the real thing.

Nantucket Diet Bran Muffins
Serves 8

1 cup Kellogg's All-Bran Cereal with Extra Fiber
1 cup skim milk
3/4 cup Splenda
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon No Salt (salt substitute)
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons Splenda for topping

Place cereal and milk in large bowl. Let sit for 3 minutes. Mix in all remaining ingredients. Coat 8 muffin pan cups with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each cup about two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. When cool, remove from pan. Place on plate. Sprinkle with Splenda.

Calories 156
Fiber 6 g
Carbohydrates 21 g
Protein 5 g
Sugar 0 g
Calcium 136 mg
Total Fat 8.2 g
Vitamin A 248 I.U.
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Vitamin C 2 mg
Cholesterol 27 mg
Folate 43 mcg
Sodium 181 mg

Family Favorite Meatloaf
Serves 8

4 slices light wheat bread
1 large yellow onion, diced 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 teaspoon dry mustard
I tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon NoSalt (salt substitute) 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat milk (2%)
2 heaping tablespoons imitation brown sugar
2 packets Sweet'n Low
1 teaspoon molasses
1 Tablespoon cranberry sauce

1 pound extra lean ground beef (91 %)
1 tablespoon chili sauce
Butter-flavored cooking spray

Mix all ingredients except ground beef and chili sauce. Add the ground beef by hand. Spray casserole or loaf pan with butter-flavored cooking spray. Mold meat mixture into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Spread I tablespoon chili sauce on top of meat loaf. Bake 10 minutes more.

Calories 197
Fiber 2 g
Carbohydrates 15 g
Protein 17g
Sugar 5 g
Calcium 91 mg
Total Fat 7.7 g
Vitamin A 1,507 I.U.
Saturated Fat 2.9 g
Vitamin C 3 mg
Cholesterol 77 mg
Folate 30 mcg
Sodium 220 mg
Dr. Jacobs
SOL JACOBS, M.D., practices endocrinology in the greater Boston area. Dr. Jacobs is a fellow of the American College of Endocrinology and a faculty member of Tufts University School of Medicine.
Jane Conway Caspe
Jane Conway Caspe is a fashion model working and living in the greater Boston area and on Nantucket. She is a fourth-generation descendant of one of the original settling families on the island of Nantucket.