I marvel at how much Westerners spend on diet schemes, from books to complete diet programs that go beyond just recommending diet foods and concoctions for you to stay trim, but also offer them for sale. We need not starve ourselves with liquid diets, with tiny portions that maintain, not a weight level, but a hunger level that eventually encourages us to gorge so we get even heavier that we were before we started out diet. My approach is that of most, if not all, nutritionists. If we are careful about the kinds of foods we eat, we can not only keep our weight under control, but we can also cut the risk of debilitation illnesses. As a nutritionist and a chef, I worry less about weight loss-the quantity of food we eat-than I do about its quality.All of the scientific evidence tells us that diet influences the risk of falling victim to a number of major chronic diseases, such as arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and certain forms of cancer, in particular, cancer of the esophagus, the stomach, the colon, the breast and prostate. Proper diet combined with regular exercise alleviates the dangers of heart disease and non-insulin dependent diabetes. It also reverses the effects of cholesterol clogging your arteries, prevents osteoporosis and as I believe decrease food allergies.Food has to smell good, look good, taste good and be good to our bodies.Spicy Mushroomsserves 41 pound fresh white mushrooms1 medium onion, finely chopped2 tablespoons olive oil4 gloves garlic, mashed1 teaspoon red chili pepper or 1 teaspoon Harrissa*1 cup chopped cilantrosalt to taste.-Boil about 4 cups of water. Drop in the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Remove and drain the mushrooms.-Heat the olive oil and saute the onion until golden. Add the mushrooms, the garlic, and the pepper. Cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes.-Season with the salt and the cilantro. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes.*Harrissa: Red pepper paste, you can find it in Middle Eastern stores.watercress saladserves 42 bunches watercress, chopped1 small sweet onion, chopped2 cups sliced white mushrooms1/4 cup lemon juice3 tablespoons olive oilzest of one lemonsalt and black pepper to taste-Toss all ingredients together and serve.