Announcing the Bland Food Cookbook

Old April Fools post!

My book The Hungry Brain explains why we overeat and offers strategies to combat it, but it doesn’t go into great detail on how to apply this knowledge.  One of the most potent drivers of overeating is food reward, or the seductiveness of food that drives us to eat things like cookies, chocolate, fancy coffee drinks, bacon, and chips.  Eating a lower-reward diet helps reduce calorie intake and body fatness, but how do we put that into practice?  By popular demand, the answer is here: The Bland Food Cookbook.

If you’ve been following my writing over the years, including my recent book, you know that the diets of our distant ancestors were much blander than the modern affluent diet, and that this is probably one of the reasons why they tended to be leaner than we are today.

How can we reclaim the leanness of our ancestors?  We know what we should be doing, but sometimes we don’t know how.  Enter The Bland Food Cookbook, available today.

To research The Bland Food Cookbook, I scoured dozens of 19th and 20th century cookbooks from the British Isles, selecting only the very blandest recipes.  Offering 53 recipes in stunning black-and-white print, The Bland Food Cookbook includes such classics as “potato”– a dish perfected in 19th century Ireland:

The Bland Food Cookbook also brings back some of the most popular recipes from The Eocene Diet, such as the perennial favorite “termites on a stick”.

Described by The New York Times as “delightfully boring” and Publisher’s Weekly as “palate-numbing”, The Bland Food Cookbook is certain to keep your unruly tastebuds in check.  Buy your copy today!

April fools!!

20 Responses to Announcing the Bland Food Cookbook

  1. John Yudkin described milk and rice pudding as “very sound nutritionally and gastronomically desirable”. People remember him for the sugar wars but forget about his contribution to blandness.

  2. REVIEW: The Bland Food Cookbook by Dr Stephan Guyenet

    I must admit, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this book at first. However, having read it, I can confidently say it is one of the best diet cookbooks released in the last few years.

    I think the book will be extremely helpful to those at the beginning of their journey of transitioning from a highly palatable Western junk food diet to a more wholesome, reduced-reward diet.

    However, many bland food aficionados may still find these recipes a bit too rewarding for their tastes. For instance, Stephan’s “Potato” recipe calls for the potato to be baked in the oven at 350 F for an hour, which will surely promote Maillard reactions that will have those reward circuits firing like crazy – and the reader reaching for another delicious potato. Those worried about their self control may prefer to play it safe and boil their potato instead.

    Dr Guyenet comes from French stock, and it is perhaps not surprising that some of the recipes presented here are quite fancy, and perhaps even bordering on haute cuisine.

    A good example comes on page 73, where Stephan gives us his take on a ancestral diet classic. Not content with a humble stick, Stephan recommends adding arge quantities of organic, wild-caught termites. The insects’ crunchy exoskeleton and soft centre, coupled with their high umami levels, are sure to increase the reward value of the stick, and are probably best avoided by those looking to lose weight.

  3. A cookbook that focused on nutrition and convenience instead of palatability would actually be pretty great!

    On a relevant note, I wonder if you can recommend a meal replacement shake? One that is very nutritious but not palatable. Even if you don’t eat it all the time, it would be great when you don’t have time to bake some chicken or boil some potatoes. I tried Huel and Nutrilett but unfortunately I like the taste!

    • I resorted to making my own: oats, milk, unflavored whey protein, sunflower seeds, rice bran, carrot juice, plus some vitamins to make it nutritionally complete (d3+k2 drops, vitamin C).

    • Layla, I agree. I want this cookbook!

      To your shake question: have you tried Soylent? I haven’t but I’ve heard it’s sufficiently bland and designed to meet nutritional needs.

  4. I don’t really appreciate April’s Fools but, that aside, I would be interested in the book.

  5. Reading in your book about the ‘sippy straw’ with a bland liquid (complete with a nurse in a funny hat), Lean people ate enough to maintain weight and obese people quit eating. Have you considered following up on that, your Bland Diet humor may be more key that you thought. I am thinking of coming up with a variety of bland high nutrition items, limit myself to only 3 kinds of items and make that the day’s food. (Eggs, pickled herring, meats, salad, Instant pot yogurt and other veggies) I am a foodie, and enjoy cooking really good meals. So, maybe only half a dozen of those a week, and the 3 bland items 4 days a week.