Author Q & A

Shrimp My Way cover 250x350

Why did you write a book about shrimp? Why not chicken or fish, or even vegetables?
Well quite frankly, shrimp is one of my favorite foods, and fortunately it’s also low in calories. I have to admit though, that before jumping on the healthy eating bandwagon, the only way I ever had it was fried — and usually with French fries, which wasn’t very healthy. I didn’t want to have to give it up, and to be honest if it’s prepared properly, there’s no reason I should. So I set out to find some low- calorie shrimp recipes. I also wanted them to be easy, because although I love trying new recipes, I’m not exactly Martha Stewart. Simple and tasty works for me just fine, and that’s exactly what I have in the this book.
Shrimp isn’t exactly low in cholesterol, so how do you justify including it in your healthy Lifestyle Plan?
It true that shrimp is high in cholesterol; in fact 12 large shrimp contain 200 mg. of cholesterol. Since the recommended daily allowance for cholesterol is just 300 mg., at first glance it looks like shrimp isn’t a very healthy choice. On the other hand, shrimp also contains omega 3 fatty acids, which raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels, lower triglyceride levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. The Mayo Clinic even found that eating one-to-two servings of fish containing omega 3 fatty acids per week, reduced the risk of dying of a heart attack by one-third. So it appears that the good effects of the omega 3 fatty acids actually outweigh the bad effects of the high levels of cholesterol found in shrimp, for most people. If however you have high cholesterol caused by your diet, you might want to find another source of omega 3 fatty acids. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor if that’s the case.
How did you come up with these recipes?
Basically it was a little bit of trial and error. Some recipes I just combined the flavors I like and it was magic (Spicy Thai Shrimp), while other recipes are low-calorie versions of things that are definitely off the menu for me (Velvet Shrimp). And my husband even threw in a few suggestions, like Curry Roasted Shrimp with Oranges. Sometimes it was a real team effort, and when I made a flop, my husband offered suggestions to improve it. It was definitely a learning process.
What’s different about your collection of recipes? In other words, what makes it stand out from other recipe collections?
I think the title kind of says it all. The recipes are all low-calorie, easy to prepare and delicious, and that’s a combination that’s hard to find.
How long did it take you to find just the right recipes to include in the book?
It took well over a year, from the time I decided to write the book; but to be honest, I’m still coming up with more recipes today. When I hear about something that sounds interesting, sometimes it just gets my mind going, and then I pop out a winner in the kitchen. I add most of my successes to my healthy eating blog at www.eatingwellontheroad.com.
Are there any recipes you tried but just didn’t make the cut?
Oh yes. One that stands out is this atrocious breaded shrimp recipe. It sounded great, as I wanted something to replace my fried shrimp, but it definitely fell apart in the execution. The recipe called for the shrimp to be sautéed after it was dipped in egg and bread crumbs. But it wasn’t a good mixture and it didn’t stick to the shrimp. And then I burned some of them because I was trying to get it all to stay together. I didn’t give up though, and eventually I found a good Panko Crusted Baked Shrimp recipe . But that failure really stands out, because it was truly awful. i think we threw it out.
Is there an average calorie-count that these recipes have?
I’d say that the majority of the recipes have between 250 – 350 calories.
How often do you eat shrimp a week? Do you eat red meat, pork or chicken?
Not as often as I’d like to, maybe about once a week. I usually get my second dose of omega 3 fatty acids from salmon (which I also love). I don’t eat red meat or pork, but I do eat chicken and turkey (skinned and non-plumped).
What’s your favorite recipe in the book?
It’s hard to pick just one, but I’m going to go with the Coconut Shrimp. Although this dish is traditionally deep fried, my healthy version uses less breading and is baked, and served with a tangy orange curry dipping sauce. And with only 244 calories per serving, I can even have it for lunch.