Manuel Villacorta is a Peruvian dietitian who lives in San Francisco. His name may ring a bell because he is an online and tv personality, but also because we have talked about his previous books and shared some of his recipes over here, and mention him constantly as we have similar food philosophies and taste. Here’s a quick recap of his story and how he ended up writing three books (so far) about Peruvian food, diet, and superfoods:
When Manuel moved to California to go to college in Berkley, he quickly started gaining weight. This was a first for him, as he grew up in Peru eating home cooked meals every day, and feeling healthy and fit. The boxed cereals for breakfast, and cold sandwiches or takeout for lunch or dinner he was eating during his life as a student not only affected his weight, but also his whole relationship to food, as he was constantly unsatisfied with what he ate.
The big shift for him came when he couldn’t take his newly acquired Standard American Diet (SAD) anymore, and asked his mom to mail him the recipes of all his favorite dishes. As soon as he got them he began experimenting in the kitchen, and as he learned how to cook, he also shed the extra pounds he had gained without any effort and felt better than ever. This got him extremely interested on the role the Peruvian diet and our country’s superfoods could play on people’s health and well being.
In his third book, Whole Body Reboot, Manuel goes deeper than ever before on all of these topics, sharing 135 recipes, 4 weeks of menus, and even a 5-day smoothie detox (you know how much we love those!). His menus have versions for men and for women, and all kinds of recommendations, including tips on exercising and alcohol consumption.
I have always enjoyed Manuel’s recipes, as they are extremely creative, easy to follow (because he is a home cook like me, not a professional chef doing complex dishes), and very health focused. In this cookbook he has taken all this to another level, making most of his recipes vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten free. There is something for every taste and food preference here. I can’t wait to try most of the recipes, but in particular the tempeh ají de gallina, the tofu kebabs with aji panca sauce, the tempeh and white bean cebiche, the Lima bean stew, and the oven roasted pichuberries. I won’t even mention the desserts and sweet treats included in the book, because I want to try them ALL. Most of them would fit perfectly well with my sugar-free diet.
Ok, ok, let me mention a few because they’re too good not to be mentioned! Pineapple lucuma ice pops, citrus raspberry chia seed pudding, avocado cacao mousse, gluten free quinoa fudge brownies, and yacon roasted pineapples. Are these enough to tempt you? YUM!
In his book, Manuel focuses on 21 superfoods, including chili peppers, camu camu, maca, sacha inchi oil, and quinoa, and also uses many powerful spices for their taste and health benefits. Anyone interested in healthy eating and living would learn a lot from it. And anyone who doesn’t know how to cook or plan healthy meals will change their lives if they follow these menus and guidelines for a few weeks. Highly recommended!