Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive

Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive

by Mareya Ibrahim
Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive

Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive

by Mareya Ibrahim


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Eighty recipes support eight essential nutritional strategies to help you look and feel amazing

"Ibrahim's thoughtful recipes and sense of humor ("Greens are your new friends with bennies") keep this book entertaining and accessible." —Publishers Weekly

“This is a book you can use in your healing journey without any boring meals." —Daniel Amen, MD, co-author of The Daniel Plan

Remake your kitchen, your taste buds, your body, and your energy level with honest, transparent and easy-to-understand recipes. Core meal planning and preparation techniques from Ibrahim's Facebook Live show save time, money and sanity. These forking delicious recipes make healthy eating simple and quick to table.

The 8 essential strategies are:
-Reset Your Taste Buds
-Stock Your Real Kitchen
-Get Up on Greens
-Take a Vegan Fast Break
-Go Gluten-Free Super Grains
-Fill in with Good Fat
-Become Real Dense
-Live the 90/10 Rule

Chef Mareya has a fresh voice and a great palate that shines in recipes such as:
-Zucchini Noodles with Romesco Sauce
-Umami Bone Broth
-You Glow Smoothie
-Overstuffed Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Lime Yogurt

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250189776
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 693,706
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 10.13(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

MAREYA IBRAHIM is a chef, holistic nutritionist, award-winning entrepreneur, and solo mother of two children. She is the host of the popular Facebook Live show, The REAL Dish. She designed the meal plan and detox plan for the million copy New York Times bestseller The Daniel Plan, and also serves as one of the Signature Chefs for the program.

Read an Excerpt




Let's get real. No judgment, ok?

You choose peanut butter and jelly on white bread, gummy worms, and Cocoa Puffs. Dinner looks like hot dogs, burgers, pizza, and mac 'n' cheese. Throw in some pancakes and bacon, Goldfish, and Oreos washed down with Kool-Aid, and you've got your ideal meal. Not one identifiable vegetable in there. So basically, your taste buds never advanced beyond preschool. Or maybe you got to grade school–level taste buds, where you can stomach a few celery sticks with ranch dressing alongside your Buffalo wings, but the idea of a salad or grilled fish makes you break out in a clammy sweat. Maybe this isn't you but someone you live with?

Look, it's not your fault. Blame it on your parents. It all starts in the womb. If Mama was washing down Twinkies and chips with diet soda from fifteen weeks on, that impacted your taste buds when you were just swimming around in there, because you were swallowing about a liter of amniotic fluid every trimester. Then you made your exit and got introduced to the perfect food — mother's milk. Then you sprouted teeth and your free will set in, and, well, once a child has a nuclear meltdown over broccoli, it's easy for a parent to let go of the wheel. The good news is, it's never too late to help your taste buds grow up.

Why We Slip Down the Rainbow

My son was a phenomenal eater as a baby. He'd slurp up his sweet potatoes and pound his peas. Apples were his favorite, and he'd down the pureed pears and plums like a champ. But when he turned two, the little tyrant started throwing down the gauntlet at every meal.

Children have the ability to express their displeasure with foods from a very early age, whether by spitting it out, throwing it on the floor or across the room, or painting the walls and the ceiling with it. That was my son. Anything green flew from his mouth in a projectile explosion that left us both ugly sobbing. It was gruesome, and many peas paid the price.

After our little ones make the transition from the wondrous, complete nutrition that is breast milk to solid food, they soon shift to fruit and veggies — peas, carrots, spinach, green beans, squash, you name it. Yet somewhere between veggie-full plates and the age of ordering off a children's menu, the palette of red, orange, green, purple, and blue morphs to brown, then slips to white. The color drains from the plate like the face of a person about to faint and we are quicker to accept brown and white food as the mainstay in order to avoid a full-out battle.

Why do we slip down the rainbow to the point of no palate return? It's called neophobia, a fear aroused by new foods, and it's a common syndrome. All omnivorous animals are scared to try the unknown. The years between the ages of two and ten are the worst, and between four and seven years, children usually only agree to taste something unfamiliar if they are strongly encouraged to, not threatened. Neophobia can be overcome with education and consistency. That means sticking with it and offering new foods up to twenty times without giving in to the tantrums and fits.

The average person is born with about ten thousand taste buds, which explains why certain foods may taste stronger to children and why accepting different flavor profiles can be so challenging. But don't despair! About every two weeks during childhood, taste buds get replaced, so foods your kid spit across the room one week might be their jam a month later. If you let off the gas and don't keep filling their plate with veggies — whether they throw them across the room or not — it'll be much harder to introduce varied flavors later on. Dr. Daniel Amen, author of the New York Times bestseller The Daniel Plan(to which I had the honor of contributing), says, "You have to be their frontal lobe until theirs develops."

A growing process is happening — give it time to put down roots before you pull it up. And if you need to, feel free to have another glass of wine as your kids or significant other throws a tantrum over the tomatoes — and keep breathing.

Drop and Give Me Twenty Tongue Dips

Taste buds are highly complex structures. Thousands of them respond to temperature, and the physical sensations from food or drink coupled with smell send signals to the brain and ignite a perception — savory, sweet, acidic, acrid, bland, salty, balanced, and the range in between. Just like muscles, those taste buds need to be conditioned, tested, and strengthened so they can take on a broad spectrum of those flavors. This doesn't mean you have to quit the less-healthy foods you love cold turkey. It simply means you're diversifying and developing a taste for more nutrient-dense sustenance.

Flexing your taste buds means retraining them with the same focus and energy that you would use if you were strength training at the gym. By developing a taste for the sour, bitter, and umami — the taste profile that is often described as meaty or savory and is the result of a combination of amino acids — you'll learn to love foods such as spinach and other nutritious greens, celery, seaweed, citrus, fish, mushrooms, and tomatoes, which will forever change how you eat and will help you naturally fight disease. We'll transform how you build your meals, reset your taste buds, and refine your waistline, starting the minute you open your eyes in the morning. Dedicating half your plate to nonstarchy veggies will help you crush your Forkin' Good goals.

You'll often hear someone describe themselves as having a sweet tooth. They finish a meal and start craning their necks, looking for the dessert tray, or spooning with the Chunky Monkey. Is it a habit or a true physiological need for sugar? It could be a little bit of both, if you aren't getting enough protein or fat in your meals. What you eat for breakfast sets the tone for the day. Just think, if you start your day with a pile of pancakes doused in syrup, donuts, or even the perceived healthy option of sweetened yogurt with honey-laden granola, you train your taste buds to crave sugar and starchy foods for the rest of your waking moments. It's kind of a U.S. thing, because when you look around the world, you find that most countries start their day savory.

In Japan, breakfast is sea vegetables, rice, and raw fish. In China, it's congee, a rice porridge that can be seasoned with mushrooms or pork, among other things. In Egypt, it's stewed brown fava beans with hummus, tahini, eggs, and pickled turnips. In Sweden, they'll have slabs of whole-grain cracker bread with slices of cheese, pâté, and pickles. In Spain, it's bread rubbed with garlic and tomato. In India, it might be lentil dosas with sour chutney or a spicy lentil dal soup. In Australia, you can get your Vegemite on toast. In Mongolia, the day wouldn't start on the right foot without boiled mutton. In Uganda, they eat stewed bananas and cow organs. In the Bahamas, a plate of spicy prawns and grits is the breakfast of champions. And in Peru, ceviche made with raw, marinated seafood is a typical starter for the day.

At a typical hotel breakfast buffet, you can get a stack of pancakes, cornflakes, chocolate milk, Danishes, muffins, waffles, toast, pound cake, and a variety of juices to wash it down with — and then go into a sugar coma.

The same person who grew up eating sea vegetables and raw fish in Japan can acclimate to the sugary American diet in a heartbeat, but to go the opposite way takes a little more persuasion and time. Just look at where those taste buds sit on the tongue! The ones that crave sugar and salt are hanging out just at the tip, waiting to get their jollies on cookies, cake, and candy with a salt lick chaser. When you look at the physiological aspect of taste cravings, you begin to understand why it takes intentionality and brainpower to make the best choices. You can retrain your taste buds and lick the crazy cravings with our reset.

Flex That Tongue Like a Champ

That tongue has a mind of its own, and if it had its way, it would be dipping its little papillae into sugar and salt all day. So it's time to wake up what's been in hibernation for a looooong time. In our reset, we are gradually going to retrain your taste buds by conditioning them to crave umami, bitter, and sour flavors so your desire and cravings for cleaner eating eventually take flight. Fermented and vinegar-based preparations, spices, and amino acids will play a big role.

When you retrain your taste buds, you also retrain your brain to crave different foods, and before you know it, you'll see your plate from a different perspective. Imagine picking broccoli and Brussels sprouts over brownies. Through this eating plan, you'll begin to actually crave — and even lust after — greens, fermented foods, and umami everything in your daily routine. Yes, I said "lust"!

The enlightenment of knowing what your body needs and feeding it properly is a next-level game-changer. It will shift your mood, your energy level, how you handle stress, how you deal with your relationships, your ability to sleep, and every other aspect of your consciousness. You will crave good things. You'll become stronger than you've ever felt, and you'll develop a deeper appreciation for that incredible temple of yours. It's that powerful, and I want you to experience it firsthand.

Now, you wouldn't expect a person trying to get fit at the gym to bench press 200 pounds off the bat or start showing off a six-pack in a week. Metamorphosis happens easily with our eight-day plan, because you have to rewire your tongue-to-brain connection to enable eating success. Just keep in mind that it can take trying a food up to twenty times before you develop a taste for it, so give peas a chance. Most of all, you will be giving your body a steady supply of nutrient-dense deliciousness while weaning yourself off the damaging effects of eating sugar, salt, and too much unhealthy fat. Just think of me as your taste bud coach, building a stronger muscle in the kitchen instead of the gym. You'll be flexing that tongue like a world-class bodybuilder in no time. … And if abs are made in the kitchen, it makes sense to start here, right?

Are you ready to unlock the gateway to a whole new world of health and wellness? Every day for eight days, you'll be exploring at least five flavor combinations for a reason. In these flights, you'll experience how to hone your taste bud champions and quell the assassins, the ones that kill your quest for health. I provide the recipe/preparation for the reconditioning tasting flight along with my full list of food tips for loosening the grip that flab-forming flavors can have on your brain and body.


What if I told you there are some foods you could eat all you wanted, as much as you wanted, every day, without even so much as counting a calorie? This is the FREEBIE list, the All-You-Can-Eat buffet, the pile it high and wide list, so get to chompin'. You will never be hangry again.

• Artichokes

• Asparagus

• Bean sprouts

• Bell peppers

• Broccoli

• Brussels sprouts

• Cabbage

• Cauliflower

• Celery

• Cucumber

• Eggplant

• Fennel

• Green peas

• Greens (lettuce, spinach, chard, arugula, kale, bok choy, etc.)

• Jicama

• Kohlrabi

• Leeks

• Mushrooms

• Radishes

• Snap peas

• Tomatoes

• Turnips

• Yellow squash

• Zucchini


• Build your plate starting with nonstarchy veggies. Any of the veggies from "The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet" (here) are suggested.

• In the morning, start with protein and fat and avoid sugary foods to stabilize your blood sugar. This can include any of my egg dishes, chia seed pudding (yes, you can have pudding for breakfast), or smoothies made with mostly green veggies and a handful of low-glycemic fruit like berries and apples.

• Combine protein, fat, and complex carbs in every meal, focusing on bitter, sour, and umami flavors.

• Eat smaller reconditioning meals every three to four hours to keep your energy high, rev your metabolism, and sustain your blood sugar so you never feel hungry. See the Taste Bud Reconditioning Flights (below) for more.

• Enjoy at least one raw or mostly raw meal a day to get the maximum benefit out of your nutrients, enzymes, and probiotics without cooking them off.

• Drink a Real Vitality Tonic once a day after Meal 1 for eight days.

• Drink some Low-Sodium Umami Bone Broth in the mid-afternoon.

• Give your full focus to your food. Sit down, put aside the technology, and eat slowly, tasting every bite. This is your time to fall in love with flavor again.

The Taste Bud Reconditioning Flights

By reconditioning your taste buds, you will be cutting out certain foods and eating at least five bites each of specific foods to build that all-powerful muscle. If you'd like, you can dive into the eight-day meal plan that wraps many of these delish flavors together into a well-orchestrated package.


• All caloric sugar items (including maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, etc.)

• All breads and bread products (bread, tortillas, pasta, etc.)

• Dairy products (made with cow's milk)

• Processed foods (snack foods, crackers, chips, bars, etc.)

• Artificial sweeteners and colors

• Alcohol

• Soda and juice


Eight-Day Tasting Flights: Please eat at least five bites/sips of each of these ingredients daily for eight days. You can enjoy vegetables cooked or raw (for example, enjoy a salad with arugula, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and celery with toasted seaweed strips and the Real Dish Dressing.

• Tomatoes

• Mushrooms (any variety other than white button)

• Dark leafy greens (spinach, arugula, chard, kale, broccoli, collard greens, etc.)

• Celery

• Avocado

• Toasted seaweed

• Nonvegetarians (pick at least two): natural lean pork, chicken, beef, turkey, bison, wild game, eggs

• Seafood eaters (pick at least two): wild-caught fish, shrimp, mackerel, tuna, anchovies, sardines

• Non–meat eaters (pick at least one): quinoa, seaweed, pickled foods, tempeh, miso, edamame

Eight-Day Taste Bud Reconditioning Meal Plan

If you want to get more advanced with your taste bud reconditioning, eat your way through the dishes and beverages here to boost your taste buds in ways that feed your body to the core.

For eight days, enjoy at least two dishes and one snack each day with Real Vitality Tonic, Low Sodium Bone Broth, and/or You Glow Smoothie. Flex your taste buds and watch that tongue go from flab to fab. These dishes are simple to make and perfect for meal prep; make them once and enjoy for days.



Th Fork Row Salad Grilled Artichoke,
Hummus, and Napa Cabbage Wraps Braised Celery Puttanesca Kaniwa Tabouli with Parsley, Tomato, and Kale Zucchini Noodles with Romesco Sauce MedMex Taco Lettuce Cups Poached Egg and Veggie Brekkie Bowl Heirloom Tomato,
Cucumber, Feta, and Dill Salad with Pumpkin Seed Oil Vinaigrette


Roasted Spiced Almonds Sun-Dried Tomato,
Basil, and White Bean Dip with Snacking Veggies Garlic and Rosemary Baked Olives


Real Vitality Tonic Low-Sodium Umami Bone Broth You Glow Smoothie

At least half your body weight in ounces of water daily (ex: if you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 ounces of water). Add cucumber, lemon, and/or lime slices and mint, basil, and/or any other fresh herbs.

After the Reset you'll be rockin' a whole new set of stronger, savvier buds that just can't wait to skinny-dip into more nutrient-dense foods. Bitter, sour, and umami flavors will become your besties, and your cravings won't hijack you in the most inconvenient hours anymore (like when you should be sleeping). You'll also enjoy a more satiated existence, tasting food and reacting to hunger differently — maybe for the first time, ever.


Excerpted from "Eat Like You Give A Fork"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Mareya Ibrahim.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


INTRODUCTION: Step Up to the Plate
I-8-2 Infinity
Strategy 1: Reset Your Taste Buds
Strategy 2: Stock Your Real Kitchen
Strategy 3: Get Up on Greens
Strategy 4: Take a Vegan Fast Break
Strategy 5: Go Gluten-Free Super Grains
Strategy 6: Fill in with Good Fat
Strategy 7: Become Real Dense
Strategy 8: Live the 90/10 Rule
How To Make Convertible Meals
Eat Like You Give a Fork

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