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“Love the Food That Loves You Back” Is the Latest from Nutrition Powerhouse Ilana Muhlstein

Muhlstein shows readers how to make healthier versions of the food they love.
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June 6, 2024

When Ilana Muhlstein was a child, she ate to cope with her feelings: the feelings surrounding her parents’ divorce, as well as multiple moves. She relied on food for happiness and comfort. And by the time she was 13, the five-foot-two teenager weighed 215 pounds.

Though her family tried to help her, Muhlstein knew she had to address her weight on her own. She adopted a new mindset, where she focused on other ways of finding happiness other than food, and looking at food as something nutritious that fueled her body. By the time she got to college, she lost 100 pounds and found her calling: she was going to help others shed the pounds and feel healthier as well.

Today, the wife and mother of three, who lives in Los Angeles, is a hugely successful dietician and online personality with millions of followers. Her new book, “Love the Food That Loves You Back” is her first cookbook, filled with 100 nutritious recipes that are high in protein and low in carbs.

“Everything is from my nutrition point of view, which is high volume, delicious foods that are very good for you and your health,” she said. “I never formally went to culinary school, which makes these recipes much more attainable and accessible to the regular cook.”

“Everything is from my nutrition point of view, which is high volume, delicious foods that are very good for you and your health.”

Muhlstein shows readers how to make healthier versions of the food they love, like turnip fries instead of French fries, portobello mushroom pizza caps and spaghetti squash instead of pasta.

“These recipes came from my curiosity about and love of food,” she said. “I have a nonstop curiosity to taste the comfort foods of my childhood, but in a way that suits my health needs.”

The cookbook’s recipes are for adults and kids alike and, along with addressing weight issues, can help with lowering cholesterol as well.

In all her work, Muhlstein, a registered dietician with a master’s in nutrition, focuses on creating content that her audience can relate to – and she makes being healthy easy. When going out to eat, she recommends a few hacks, like ordering sauce on the side, asking for dishes to be steamed instead of fried and ordering a salad or a side of tuna fish with pizza, since it’s low in protein.

“I’m not taking foods away,” she said. “I’m figuring out what to add to them to make them more satisfying.”

Along with changing takeout habits and making healthy recipes, Muhlstein, who uses her signature 2B Mindset program, advises people to drink water first and to eat more veggies. She also said that the more effort someone puts in at the start, the easier it gets down the road.

“A lot of fad diets are easy to start, but they become impossible overtime because there is a negative focus,” she said. “With my program, there is more effort in the beginning where you change your mindset and behaviors and understand food groups. The more effort you put in, the more effortless it becomes.”

With “Love the Food That Loves You Back,” Muhlstein is not only providing healthy, delicious recipes. She is also offering hope to those who are struggling, like she once was.

“I love food, have a big history with emotional eating and have been able to overcome it,” she said. “Thankfully, it inspires people to make a change.”

Chocolate Banana Cream Rolls 

Makes 2 servings

2 bananas

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups 0-2% plain Greek or dairy-free “Greek style” yogurt

1 tbsp. Cocoa powder

1 tbsp honey, maple syrup, monk fruit or use stevia drops to taste

Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet or rectangle cooking dish with parchment paper and spray with oil.

Blend bananas, eggs, and vanilla extract in a blender. Pour batter on to the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, whip the yogurt with the cocoa powder, salt, sweetener of choice in a bowl and set aside.

Allow the sheet pan banana “cake” to cool. When cooled, spread the yogurt topping evenly over the sheet pan. Slice lengthwise down the center and roll. Serve along with berries and enjoy.

Notes: Stores well covered in the refrigerator, so you can prep the recipe in advance and enjoy the second serving on the next day.

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