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Jul 30, 2016 5:04 PM ET

Archived: The Straight Up Food Cookbook: Delicious and easy plant-based cooking without salt, oil or sugar!

iCrowdNewswire - Jul 30, 2016

The Straight Up Food Cookbook

Delicious and easy plant-based cooking without salt, oil or sugar!

About this project

Finally, Healthy Eating You Can Live With!  

If you were given the choice between eating delicious food that compromised your health and delicious food that promoted your health, which would you choose? The question seems almost too silly to ask. Of course you’d choose delicious food that promoted good health—who wouldn’t? 

But even though many of us understand that a “health-promoting” diet and lifestyle would benefit us greatly, we find it challenging to turn our desire into daily reality. We think that… 

  • A new diet will be too hard to learn and sustain. 
  • We will miss our favorite foods too much. 
  • We will draw scrutiny to ourselves because of our new diet. 

For some of us, one of these reasons ring true, and for others it’s all three. But the Straight Up Food cookbook will help eliminate all three of these fears by providing recipes that are (1) easy to follow, (2) delicious and flavorful, and (3) familiar to you, and your family and friends.

Raw Apple Crumble, Carrot Cake Cupcakes, Almond-Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Frosting
Raw Apple Crumble, Carrot Cake Cupcakes, Almond-Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Frosting

All of the recipes in this cookbook are 100% plant based (no meat, fish, or dairy) and do not call for any added salt, oil, or sugar (“SOS-free”). But these are not special “health food” recipes. They are dishes that most of us have eaten all of our lives—such as Caesar salad, split pea soup, mashed potatoes, ranch dressing, and carrot cake—which have been given makeovers. But flavor has not been sacrificed; recipes simply call for more healthful sources of sodium (salt), richness (fat/oil), and sweetness (sugar). 

This is not a complicated gourmet cookbook to be admired on the bookshelf. Rather, this is a “let’s make really good food so we can feel (and look) really good!” cookbook filled with recipes you can make on a regular basis.

Quinoa Cornbread, Spicy Black Bean Salsa, Guacamole
Quinoa Cornbread, Spicy Black Bean Salsa, Guacamole

If you are new to a whole-food, plant-based diet free of added salt, oil, and sugar, I welcome you and encourage you to give my recipes a try! After years of teaching these recipes to students in my classes—most of whom were new to this way of eating—I know you will be pleased!


This beautiful hardcover cookbook contains nearly 100 recipes (many that are new), and it has been designed with you, the healthy home cook, in mind. It will lay completely flat on your kitchen counter due to its concealed (from the outside) spiral binding, a feature that so many of my students have asked for over the years. 

It has over 75 color photos as well as nutritional breakdowns. It also offers information on making your dietary transition easier, the best kitchen tools to have on hand, reading food labels, creating effective menu plans, and how to stay healthy when you eat at restaurants, events, and on the road.

In addition, the recipes include numbered instructions, serving and volume amounts, and preparation and cooking times. All recipes place an emphasis on using whole foods (not processed foods), and all are 100% plant-based and gluten-free, with no added salt, oil, or sugar.

    Cookbook highlights:  
  • About 260 7×9-inch pages
  • More than 75 full-color photos
  • Hardcover book with a concealed “o-ring” spiral binding, so the book lays completely flat
  • Nearly 100 totally plant-based recipes (no animal-derived foods or ingredients)
  • Numbered instructions
  • Nutrient and calorie breakdowns
  • Serving and volume amounts, and prep and cooking times
  • Lots of support information and tips for new plant-based cooks 
  • Emphasis on using whole foods (not processed foods)  
  • Recipes are gluten-free, peanut-free, and caffeine-free, with no added salt, oil, or sugar

Here’s the book cover!


Growing up, I had more than my share of colds, earaches, sore throats, and stomachaches. By the time I was 13, I had already had pneumonia twice. In my thirties, still not feeling too good, I read a book by Dr. John McDougall, a medical doctor specializing in plant-based nutrition who promotes a starch-based diet free of animal foods and oils. 

Eliminating meat was not hard, as it had always made me feel heavy and tired. Plus as an animal lover, giving up meat brought my values of loving animals and living as a compassionate person more into alignment. I had always cared about animals, but before I changed my diet and learned more about how poorly animals are treated before they become our food, it had never occurred to me that I could simply choose not to eat them. 

After saying goodbye to meat and dairy foods, I felt so good that my new diet soon turned into a lifestyle. I also had other improvements: my skin looked better, I lost weight, and my digestion became regular. As for dairy and other animal foods, I no longer considered them food at all. Today at age 49, I feel vibrant and healthy, and am facing no health issues and take no medications.


After eating a plant-based diet for many years, one courageous day in 2006 I contacted Dr. John McDougall, whose books had helped me a great deal, with the hope of landing a job that would allow me to gain experience in the field of plant-based nutrition. Geography and timing were on my side, and I began working in an administrative capacity for John and Mary McDougall part time at their 10-day, live-in nutrition education programs, and later as a cooking teacher. I’ll never forget the first time I met Dr. McDougall in person: He shook my hand and said, “Well, you look healthy!”  

In 2010 I was given the opportunity to teach cooking classes at another wellness facility nearby called TrueNorth Health Center, which promotes a whole-food, plant-based diet that is free of added salt, oil, and sugar, and is gluten free. Soon after I started teaching classes (all of my culinary skills are self-taught), I set up my recipe blog StraightUpFood.com, featuring free recipes and articles on eating a 100% plant-based diet free of added salt, oil, and sugar. In addition to my teaching, I’m also a contributor and editor for Health Science, the member magazine for the National Health Association

My recipes have been featured in numerous books, including The Campbell Plan by Thomas Campbell, M.D., co-author of The China Study; Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau;Nutrition CHAMPS by Jill Nussinow, M.S., R.D.; and A Plant-Based Life by Micaela Cook Karlsen. My recipes and articles have also appeared on the websites ForksOverKnives.com,Engine2Diet.com, and DrMcDougall.com

Before I began working in plant-based nutrition, I graduated college with a BA in psychology and an early childhood education teaching credential. After working as a teacher, I went on to work as a managing editor for two business magazines over the course of five years which, I feel, helped prepare me immensely for writing and publishing this cookbook.  

Teaching a cooking class at the McDougall Program.
Teaching a cooking class at the McDougall Program.


As a blogger and teacher, I regularly receive unsolicited emails and comments from happy students and blog followers: 


I decided to self-publish because I wanted my cookbook produced in a way that was most helpful to you, the home cook, meaning creating a book with lots of color photos throughout, and one that would lay flat when using it—two things that are not usually available to first-time cookbook authors who publish through traditional channels.  

In addition, I wanted to experience leading such a grand, creative project. I knew that it would be a long road, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else that would be as exciting and enriching at this point in my professional life. I also felt that my previous years of writing, editing, and working in magazine publishing afforded me a nice skill set from which to create a self-published book of my own. 

I am funding the book through Kickstarter because publishing a high-quality book like this is a costly endeavor, and I don’t have all the money to fund it myself. So I am asking for your help to bring it to life, and into the kitchens of people all over the world.

Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint, Tu-No Salad, Curried Sweet Potato Salad
Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint, Tu-No Salad, Curried Sweet Potato Salad


The planned date for release and purchase is October 2016. Right now the book is being designed, then it will be reviewed and indexed, and then it will be sent off to the printer for delivery 4 to 6 weeks later. As things progress I will let you know the specific release date for purchase online, and when you can expect your Kickstarter reward books. After the fundraising reward books are shipped out, the cookbook will be available for purchase on my website, and then on Amazon.com, where you’ll be welcome to leave your reviews. 

The book will retail for $32.99, but by “pre-ordering” your books through this fundraiser, you’ll receive a discount on the retail price (the savings increases the more books you order), free shipping (in the U.S.), and any of the other rewards offered at the level you choose (like e-books). So if you know you want a book (or two or four or eight), this is the best time to get it!

I’m confident that the Straight Up Food cookbook will be printed on time without issue; but as we all know, any project has risk potential. (See “Risks and Challenges” below).       

Mushroom Risotto, Enchilada Casserole, Thai Vegetables with Pasta Shells
Mushroom Risotto, Enchilada Casserole, Thai Vegetables with Pasta Shells


This campaign’s project goal of $50,000 may seem like a lot of money to produce a book, but in fact it’s pretty conservative for a high-quality, full-color, hardcover book like this (color photosgreatly increase your likelihood of being inspired to try my recipes, but they do significantly increase costs). 

This project goal allows for the purchase of 3,000 books—a number arrived at after reviewing similar successful fundraising campaigns, the number of followers and subscribers to Straight Up Food, and expressed interest in the book. A goal of 3,000 books is sensible given that 50 to 75% of them will likely be shipped as a result of the fundraiser, allowing the remaining books to be sold online, with profits to support my self-publishing business and to buy future books from the printer.

Shipping note: FREE shipping is included in the reward amount for all books that will be shipped to U.S. addresses. Shipping from the U.S. to other countries can be expensive, so these shipped books do include a fee, but it has been discounted by same amount as the U.S. shipping fee. 

Itemized budget for the project (from highest cost items to lowest):  

  • Printing and freight for 3,000 cookbooks: $22,877  
  • Book design (interior and cover), and digital conversion: $6,800
  • Shipping costs (to mail out fundraising reward books): $4,560  
  • Copy editing, proofreading, indexing, and nutritional calculations: $3,634
  • Estimated income and sales taxes: $3,498 
  • Bounced pledges/losses (typically 5-10%): $3,042  
  • Kickstarter hosting fees (flat fee of 5%): $1,994  
  • Kickstarter credit card processing fees (3-5%): $1,595  
  • Photography (food, props, equipment, consulting): $1,275
  • Fundraising video footage: $300 
  • Administrative costs: $250 
  • Book warehousing: $175 

Total: $50,000

I have not included some additional categories, such as the time I spent writing the book, taking all the photos, and putting together the video, as well as any professional marketing services. However, if the fundraising goal is surpassed, which is common with successful projects, this money will be used to market the book further and then to continue to grow my business in various ways (see my Stretch Funding Goals, below).

Beefless Stew, Black Beans and Rice Stew, Curried French Lentils
Beefless Stew, Black Beans and Rice Stew, Curried French Lentils


If I can raise even more funds than the project goal amount, this will help me to continue my work in the following ways:   

  • Print a second round of books to sell online, in my classes, and at events I present at.
  • Pump up the marketing, so that we can promote the book even farther and wider! 
  • Start writing future books. I’m already thinking about a cookbook for special occasions, and one geared toward kids.   
  • Create some online cooking classes so that people from all over the world can easily learn to prepare plant-based, SOS-free meals.  

Accomplishing all of the above would show the world that clean food is important to a growing number of people who value their good health, and the health and welfare of animals and the environment! I would be delighted and deeply grateful for your support in making this enhanced goal a reality. The word is getting out that what we eat affects everything!

Oatmeal-Lemon Pancakes, Oil-Free Granola, Hash Browns.
Oatmeal-Lemon Pancakes, Oil-Free Granola, Hash Browns.


Please check out the 10 different reward tiers along the right hand side of this page. As a thank-you for your support of this campaign, I am offering rewards including first-edition copies of the book, e-books, cooking and nutrition consultations (by phone or Skype), as well as special in-person offerings for supporters who live near me (cooking demonstrations or a fabulous private dinner)! 

Just click the green “Back this project” button at the top right of this page (or click on any of the reward boxes) to become a Straight Up Food cookbook supporter!


This book is the result of many talented people working together on the writing, editing, graphics, photography, and self-publishing. I’d like to thank:  







Risks and challenges

In the case of a soon-to-be-published book there is always the possibility of a delay in getting the manuscript to the printer, in the printing process itself, or in shipping. Toward this, I am working with very experienced designers, printers, and shippers who take their deadlines seriously—and who know that all of you will be waiting eagerly to get the book!

However, should any delays occur, I will let you know via email. In the unlikely event that the fundraiser does not reach its goal, you will not be charged (Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding system; no one is charged until a project meets its funding goal at the end of the funding period). Should this occur, the books will not be printed on schedule, and I will seek an alternative funding path.

Thank you again for ALL of your support of my work and this cookbook!

Contact Information:

Cathy Fisher

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