Elite Jakob believes that eating healthy food can be fun, easy and quite delicious.

An Israeli-born Reisterstown resident and a certified integrative health coach, Jakob is the author, photographer and self-publisher of “I Live in My Kitchen … But You Don’t Have To!” The new cookbook features more than 120 recipes varying from salads to main courses, and healthy desserts.

Jakob grew up alongside her mother in the kitchen using fresh local ingredients. She says the kitchen was a safe environment to experiment, make mistakes and learn.

When she became a mother herself, Jakob had three young ones who had different special dietary needs and interests, a challenge she says she wasn’t quite ready for. As she noticed her own health and well-being starting to decline, she began reading and learning about nutrition.

Her experimenting in the kitchen soon followed, and her family no longer indulged in processed foods, dairy, refined sugar and grains. As family members began adjusting to her new way of cooking, they felt a change in their health, she says.

'I Live in My Kitchen …'

“I Live in My Kitchen … But You Don’t Have To!,” by Elite Jakob (Photo by Amanda Krotki, Jmore)

“I Live in My Kitchen …” offers quick, tasty recipes for everyone from students to families. Through this book, Jakob says she hopes readers will understand how healthy eating impacts their wellness, lifestyle and body.

Jmore recently caught up with Jakob to discuss the book and healthy living in general.

What inspired you to write a cookbook?

My family really inspired me to write this book. Being a mother of three, I was always faced with the challenge of bringing tasty, healthy, affordable and quick meals to the table. As I began to explore the kitchen through a healthy lens, I realized making good food with basic ingredients could be easy for everyone. After regularly sharing my recipes with my sister, she said I had to do something with my talent. I started on Instagram and people were very interested in my recipes, which led me to document them in a cookbook.

What’s your background in health?

In 2015, I completed a health coach program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. As my interest in health grew, I wanted to expand my knowledge on diet, lifestyle and well-being.

Compare healthy eating in Israel and the United States.

Growing up in Israel, all of the foods we ate were local. There was fresh dairy, fruits, vegetables and poultry. Other meats were only used on special occasions. Culture and community inspired a lot of my mother’s traditional cooking. When my husband and I moved to the United States, we were wowed by the ease of fast food and processed food. Working and being full-time students did not encourage us to be healthy eaters. This was an extreme lifestyle and dietary change from when we were growing up.

What’s the goal of your book?

The goal is to help people live a healthier lifestyle. I want people to understand that spending time in the kitchen is not a punishment, and that healthy food can be fun. This book is not about dieting or weight loss but emphasizing the importance of what foods you put in your body and how they affect you.

What’s your favorite recipe in the book?

The chocolate chip banana bread is one of my favorite recipes. Not only do I love it, but my kids and their friends as well. Whenever I visit my daughter at school, I go with loaves of banana bread to give out to her and all of her friends because they love it so much.

What sets your cookbook apart from others on the market?

The way I framed my book makes it very simple for people to ease their way into clean eating. This process has to happen gradually. When transitioning to a healthy diet, you must retrain your palate overtime and make small changes to your daily routine. For example, packing a lunch or going out to eat less weekly.

Foodies and others you follow?

There are two doctors, Dr. [Josh] Axe and Dr. [Mark] Hyman, who have inspired me. They believe food is medicine and what we put into our bodies really determines a lot about our health. Also, food blogger Rachael’s Good Eats has inspired me. She shares a very similar outlook on health and diet as me. She even featured my book on her Instagram!

Any tips for when going out to eat?

I find that going out is becoming easier and easier. Restaurants are becoming more accommodating to people with healthy interests and dietary needs. Simple things you can be aware of are the places you are going. Choose a place that offers healthy options. If you’re getting a salad, ask for the dressing on the side. Compromise with yourself. Allow yourself a glass of wine and some bread, but maybe not a glass of wine, bread, french fries and dessert. Don’t forget you are allowed to treat yourself!

What’s the one food you haven’t been able to make healthy?

Schnitzel. I have tried figuring out healthy substitutes for the recipe but no matter what, it doesn’t taste the same. Usually I am able to create a healthy version of unhealthy foods. I love the challenge. As for schnitzel, we just save this family favorite for special occasions.

Where is your cookbook sold?

My cookbook can be found on Amazon and other online providers. It is not currently available in-store because each book is made to order.

Natalie Jeffery is Jmore’s editorial intern.

See some recipes from “I Live in My Kitchen … But You Don’t Have To!”

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Arugula and Peach Salad
Arugula and Peach Salad
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Course Salad
Keyword arugula, peach
Ingredients
Salad
Dressing
Course Salad
Keyword arugula, peach
Ingredients
Salad
Dressing
Arugula and Peach Salad
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Instructions
  1. Combine the arugula, sunflower seeds, and cucumbers in a large salad bowl or large platter.
  2. Mix the dressing and pour it over the greens. Toss lightly with your hands.
  3. Spread the avocado and peaches and toss lightly again, being careful not to break them.
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Elite Jakob, "I Live In My Kitchen But You Don't Have To!"
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Breakfast All-Day Muffins
Breakfast-All-Day Muffins
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Ingredients
Optional
Ingredients
Optional
Breakfast-All-Day Muffins
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix very well.
  2. Line cupcakes pan with 12 parchment liners and fill them up almost to the top.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until you notice the edges of the muffins turn golden brown color. Let cool. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
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Elite Jakob, "I Live In My Kitchen But You Don't Have To!"
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My Famous Heavenly Banana Bread
My Famous Heavenly Banana Bread
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Course Dessert, Snack
Ingredients
Optional: choose from the following to add extra flavor
Course Dessert, Snack
Ingredients
Optional: choose from the following to add extra flavor
My Famous Heavenly Banana Bread
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Instructions
  1. Using a food processor or blender, start adding the ingredients in the order they appear. Stop blending after vanilla.
  2. Add the dry ingredients and then blend again until everything is combined. You might have to stop one more time and use a spatula to help incorporate the dry ingredients into the batter. You should have a thick batter.
  3. At this point, you can add the optional cinnamon, chocolate chips or chopped pecans. Mix lightly with a spatula by hand.
  4. Transfer to a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes. It is ready when you touch the center of the bread either with your fingers or a back of a spoon and it feels firm.
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Elite Jakob, "I Live In My Kitchen But You Don't Have To!"
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