REVIEW – Optimal YOU, Christine Gingerich

24 Aug

IMG_20140815_203054_hdrWe love food festivals at YYZ because it’s an opportunity to meet all sorts of food producers and experts in drink in one place. Sometimes, you don’t even get to meet them in-person because there are too many great vendors, as was the case with the #WFDS, but they come and find you anyway!

Christine Gingerich is the enthusiastic (you can literally feel her energy radiate off your web browser when your read her emails) creator of Optimal YOU. She emailed us after the show and wanted to share her self-published cookbook. A Stratford native, she now makes her home in New Hamburg, ON, which is located just outside of Waterloo. She’s a teacher, life coach and health enthusiast. Like many people who re-invent their approach to food and eating, Christine’s health-concious recipes were born out of necessity.

We love cooking at YYZ and we’re trying to be healthier so we were eager to read her book.

Organization: This book is more than recipes – Christine teaches you a whole new strategy in the kitchen. Optimal YOU has tips for essential appliances, how to stock your pantry, and create meal plans. Christine does a mini lesson on healthy ingredients for those who don’t know the difference between your Kamut and Spelt flours. Fun fact: Christine uses her own blend of “healthy flour” (Rye/Oat/Barley) and a local mill is now producing the special blend for sale in-stores. How convenient! We also like the “tips” throughout the book designed to save you time and teach you facts about the foods and dishes you’re preparing.

Tested Recipes:



Happy Hallelujah Hummus (p.60)- pretty simple, We didn’t have the dried parsley called for in the recipe so substituted with fresh. Pretty flavourful. Will add less salt* and more lemon juice next time. *Christine recommends using salted canned chickpeas and not adding any salt.

Pesto Perfection (p.61) – Christine offers an alternative to exorbitantly priced pine-nuts: hemp seeds. It tasted like regular pesto! Slathered over tomatoes, it made a delectable and satisfying lunch.

Fresh Living Salsa (p. 68) – Salsa isn’t something that needs improving necessarily. The addition of grated apples was an interesting concept but not to our taste. We do agree, however, that making your own is preferable (in terms of health and taste) to store-bought.


Frijoles Refritos

Frijoles Refritos (Refried Beans) (p. 119) – We’ve always wanted to make re-fried beans. The recipe was simple and her suggestion of using pickled hot peppers added a delightful kick. We would make this again for burritos. There’s not much left in the picture … because we ate all of it before we took a photo.

We loved her flavour combinations for the salads – great way to jazz up regular ol’ greens. Her tip for using a frozen bananas in smoothies was also a winner because it gives it a milkshake like consistency.

We wholly endorse her liberal application of beans in her recipes. Beans are underrated in terms of health and flavour. Everyone could use more beans in their diet.

We would have loved to see even more veggies/ superfoods like kale, beets and chard, which are now readily available at your local market. We can’t wait to try out the roasted butternut squash soup when they’re ready to harvest!

Conclusions: While we can’t comment on the health claims made in Optimal YOU, we do think her emphasis on using fresh produce and incorporating lots of veggies in your diet is a great idea. The variety of recipes also shows that one does not have to sacrifice flavourful and interesting food just because you’re watching what you eat.

The book is visually appealing. One of the things we look for in cookbooks is pictures – something for us to shoot for. Nearly every recipe in this book is accompanied by a vivid photo that looks good enough to eat. This book is a testament to individual enterprise! We love seeing foodies who love food share that passion with the world.

Toronto readers – take note, Optimal YOU is available at Noah’s Natural Foods (Bloor St.) and Book City (384 Danforth Ave). Go and check it out for yourself this weekend.


2 Responses to “REVIEW – Optimal YOU, Christine Gingerich”

  1. christine gingerich! :) September 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Thank you everyone! Looove the article 🙂 I had to LOL at your ‘salsa’ comment tho. My “Fresh Living Salsa” gets rave reviews wherever it goes and was a HUUUUGE success at the WRFDS. In fact, I have regular “orders” for it and inquires as to where to buy it!! LOL – I’ve long ago learned that food is: “To each his/her own.”

    Thank you again, for your time/effort on my behalf. I’m truly grateful and honoured!
    Smiles & sunshine to you all,
    Christine Gingerich
    (anyone coming to Stratford & wanna meet for tea… give me a call!)

  2. Mary Mulhern September 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    I really must get this book! I’m currently working on improving my diet due to being faced with the “empty-nest”, years and also experiencing some pain and stiffness because of arthritis. I went to a talk of Christine’s last winter, and she is thoroughly passionate and informed. She walks the talk!

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