Healthy, Simple and Sexy


Of all the reasons to enjoy great food and great sex, perhaps the most underrated are their roles in maintaining physical and mental health. As we've seen, both have value beyond biological necessity, and both are linked in obvious and not-so-obvious ways to healthy living. For most people, the obvious contributions to our health are physical. Good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health, along with exercise, a category in which we can certainly place good sex. 


But it's in the area of mental health that food and sex have more to contribute to, or detract from, our well-being than you might have thought. 


For women, there are numerous and complex subtleties at work in our minds and bodies when it comes to food and sex. Poor body image, a puritanical upbringing, or hormonal changes brought on by childbirth or simply by age can create unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior. Add to that complexity a growing awareness of our mental and physical health needs and almost inhuman demands on our time, and many women find themselves in a state of stress and worry that goes beyond whether or not they'll have sex tonight.


And men are certainly not immune. Unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise, and aging all contribute to many a man's impotence, or at least a reduction of performance and interest in sex. Combine these factors with long work hours and other demands on one's time, and guys are equally challenged in both quantity and quality of sex.


If conventional approaches to taking care of your body have eluded you because they felt too dutiful (should-focused), too mechanical, or just too impractical, I may have an answer. When it comes to turning around your relationship with food and sex, this book offers an indulgent, pleasure-focused approach to making your body happy and healthy. I want to help you pop out of the rut you're in and get back on a delightful new road paved with confidence and joy. In so doing, you'll discover a better body image, one that comes with a big upside: Feeling great about yourself is key to a fuller expression of sexuality. Few things are as sexy as a person who's completely at ease with her body. The fact is, you are beautiful, inside and out, and the sooner you believe that about yourself, the sooner you'll be able to relish the give-and-take of a more sensual relationship.


That said, this is not by any stretch a diet cookbook. You'll find butter and sugar, fats and carbohydrates. Wherever possible, I've included "healthier" alternatives, but the reality is that better dietary health is achieved through portion control, moderation, proper hydration and exercise, not religiously avoiding everything that tastes good. In keeping with modern practice, however, I have also included nutrition facts, a handy feature for anyone trying to eat healthier.


Making Time for Simple, Sexy


Beyond healthier eating, however, is the concept of "slow food." That's not to say that great food must take forever to prepare and consume, but rather that in slowing down our relationship with food we improve our food choices, our bodies' digestion and often our appreciation of food. And it's also there we may begin to find time to appreciate the curve of a lover's hips, the beauty of his smile, the fragrance of her skin.


In my experience, one of the greatest obstacles to a more sensual, romantic relationship can be loosely described as our ridiculously fast-paced, hectic lives. From soccer moms to stay-at-home dads, from single parents to two-career couples, we're constantly on the go. For couples with kids, the demands multiply exponentially. Parents of younger kids, especially, are often hard-pressed to find the time or the energy for much more than a bite of fast food and a perfunctory roll in the hay from time to time. While that may be better than nothing, it can also take its toll on a relationship (not to mention your digestion!).


Regardless of your schedule, I implore you to find time to slow down and appreciate good food, and in the process, your partner. I do share some tips throughout the book for finding ways to spend "alone" time together at home. For some it may be as simple as tapping grandparents for a weekend with the kids or trading kid sleepovers with another couple. For others it may mean a Friday midnight snack and sleeping in together Saturday morning, maybe followed by breakfast in bed. My point is, just do it. Make it happen. Put your relationship on the front burner from time to time and you just might find you like the heat coming from the kitchen!  


How to Use Simple Sexy Food


Speaking of busy schedules, the overall organization of Simple Sexy Food is by time of day. I did so for two reasons. One, it saves you precious time! If you are in a hurry and need a quick idea for, say, an edible "nooner," you can go right to Part II and find what you need. The other reason is that, other than midnight snacks, our days are often scheduled around mealtimes, and it's a familiar and comfortable new way to look for food ideas.


The basic sections are as follows:

Part I—Tease Me Anytime (appetizers, soups, salads, quickies)

Part II—Daytime is the Right Time (breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon delight)

Part III—Love-Feasts (sit-down dinners, complete meals)

Part IV—Late Night Rendezvous (desserts, drinks, and more)


You've probably noticed that all these sections contain items that are not limited by time of day. In fact, with the possible exception of some of the dinner items, all the recipes in Simple Sexy Food can be enjoyed pretty much anytime. You might want dessert in the afternoon, for example, or an appetizer or two in place of a full meal. The organization of recipes is intended to be a handy starting point. What you do with them in your own home is utterly and joyously up to you!


The complete list of aphrodisiac foods follows this introduction. All listings are cross-referenced with where they appear in the recipes and elsewhere in the book. This list alone is fun reading. I learned a great deal in researching this list, finding both humor and numerous "aha" moments when I came across an item I had heard about but whose details I hadn't known.


Another unique feature of Simple Sexy Food is the "factoid" blurbs I've sprinkled throughout. The blurbs are color-coded in boxes to keep things simple and include:

Survey Secrets—I've polled over 3000 people on their food/sex preferences, habits, and more. Look for some of the results sprinkled throughout the recipes! (quotes and data)

Love Skills—Wherever appropriate I'll share sensual/sexual suggestions for spicing up your love life, including physical details like scene setting, dressing up (or down), and co-preparation of meals. Many come from my book of the same name.

Simple, Sexy Kitchen Tips—Keep an eye out for tips related to obtaining ingredients, food preparation, recipe variations and more!

Aphrodite Says—Throughout the book I'll share tidbits about the love-inducing qualities and historical reputations of various ingredients. To check the descriptions of particular aphrodisiacs, see the summary following this introduction.


Bon Appétit, et Bon Amour!