First, let me say this is a substantial book. 512 pages filled with recipes and pictures. Something you can use to at least keep the door open on a windy day.
Secondly, both Pearl and Serene (they encourage informality) have disclaimers in the opening pages you don't need to purchase their products to be successful on their plan, including the initial book, but as they say, it helps. Balancing your "S" and "E" is necessary to the plan and you need some grounding in that area.
Third, integral collagen, 'gluccie', dronks, gelatin and pristine whey protein! What! Most of the recipes contain some, if not, all of the above. And while you can fix the recipes without them, I got tired of having to tick off things I wasn't going to buy and leave out of recipes.
There are some recipes which don't have what I refer to as the 'extras'. The Cajun Cream Chicken is simple to prepare and looks really good, even using less fat cream cheese. Cilantro Lime-Burst Chicken and Bangin' Ranch Drums I have also pulled out to make at some future date. And they do have a whole section on crockpot meals and one-skillet dinners.
While this might not become a go-to cookbook and I find Weight Watchers easier to use because they don't have any special ingredients, per se, in their cookbooks, this isn't without merit. However, I find planning menus hard enough without trying to balance my "S" and "E" meals.
But right now, chicken noodle soup out of a red and white can is all that sounds good to me.
NOTE: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.