Review Snapshot

The Anabolic Cookbook contains over 200 recipes Bodybuilders love this book because it has "healthy" fast food recipes


It uses sugar substitutes Ruel doesn't offer grain-free substitutes, which may upset some bodybuilders


This book is ideal for the average bodybuilder who needs to spice up his or her eating routine.

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Annie Oh : I am a 20-something freelance writer who specializes in technology and health re...Member Reputation 124 • 110 active Krits
Anabolic Cooking from Dave Ruel
Anabolic Cooking Review
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"Anabolic Cooking" by Dave Ruel - REVIEW

If you've ever tried a bodybuilding meal plan, you know how monotonous and boring it can be--meals of rice, chicken, vegetables, and not much more. Meals are limited to the most complex of carbohydrates, the leanest of meats, and what experts deem the healthiest fats--monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

But bodybuilder Dave Ruel has devised a way bodybuilders can build muscle and get lean without eating "boring" foods: And he calls them anabolic recipes.

He details these foods, meals, and recipes in his book Anabolic Cooking, a cookbook especially designed for the bodybuilding elite.   

It is by no means a "typical" cookbook, and here's why.

What is the Anabolic Cookbook?

The Anabolic Cookbook was originally written by Ruel as a response to the growing monotony of bodybuilding cooking. While bodybuilders emphasized eating the most boring, tasteless foods ever to stay on track--eating flavorful foods could trigger them to eat more--Ruel believed eating a variety of foods that taste like the foods we crave, such as muffins or chicken nuggets, were better for staying on track.  As a result, you'll feel satisfied knowing you can eat what you want without veering off your diet.

According to Ruel, his cookbook was by no means something he just threw together. In fact, he spent 4 years just researching the possible ways to create meals that adhered to the strict bodybuilding protocol of eating plenty of protein, plenty of complex carbohydrates, and a smattering of "good" fats. He also spent more than 10 years personally testing the recipes, adjusting them for maximum palatability and adherence to these bodybuilding dietary protocols.

To make it easy to follow, Ruel also simplified the recipes to ensure anyone could follow it. What followed were easy, step by step instructions that were two to three sentences at the most, using clear, simple language. To make it easier to visualize how healthy the recipes were, he also listed each recipe's nutritional information, divided by calorie, protein, carbohydrate, and fat content.

How the Recipes Were Created

Ruel bases many of his recipes around the typical bodybuilding protocol: A high amount of protein, followed by complex carbohydrates and minimal sugar when possible. All of the fat content was derived from wholesome foods rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

To sweeten or flavor the dishes or foods, Anabolic Cooking depended on sugar substitutes and spices. This not only saved on sugar, which many bodybuilders believed inhibited fat loss, it also saved on calories, allowing more calories to be allotted to real food--not sweeteners or other flavoring agents.

Unfortunately, Ruel's dependence on sugar alternatives, such as Splenda, is a source of controversy. Some bodybuilders criticized the book for using Splenda too much, arguing that Splenda can actually contain harmful chemicals--despite this never being scientifically proven.

Other bodybuilders also criticize his recipes for containing too many grain-based products, which they argue can be fattening. This is primarily because the Paleo diet, which says grains are bad, is becoming increasingly popular in the bodybuilding world. Ruel has never recommended any grain-free substitutes in his cookbook, drawing even more criticism. 

On the contrary, there is no scientific evidence showing grains directly impact fat loss, so their worries may be nothing more than paranoia.

On the bright side, a lot of the recipes in the Anabolic Cookbook are well liked. For instance, bodybuilders have taken a liking to the healthier fast food recipes, such as chicken nuggets and lemon cheesecake. Some of them have even used these recipes while leaning out for a bodybuilding contest, so these recipes can be used even if you want to lose weight or body fat.


If you're bored with the monotony of typical bodybuilding diets, then the Anabolic Cookbook may be worth your money. On the plus side, you'll learn how to create new bodybuilding recipes that fit into your lifestyle without being bland or boring. On the downside, however, these recipes heavily rely on sugar substitutes for added flavor, which some bodybuilders believe can be harmful to a person's health. There's also some reliance on grains, which is becoming increasingly unpopular in the bodybuilding world. If you're not picky about your grains or sugar, however, then this will probably be a good fit for you.
Date Reviewed: February 7, 2012, 12:25 pm
Reviewed by Annie Oh
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