Book Review: When Food Is Your Frenemy by Jacob Bustos


When Food Is Your Frenemy 
Jacob F. Bustos 


3.5 Stars


There is no shortage of diet literature available to us. One is justified in feeling overwhelmed not just by recipe or cookbooks but also by the slew of books proffered claiming to have a plan to change one’s life for the better. While many of the books in this genre may be somewhat superficial, the vast majority are genuine in their striving to aid people in being healthy and proactive. Given the extreme unhealthiness of our culture coupled with our desires for quick fixes and easy remedies, it is vital that we sort the wheat from the chaff.

Jacob Bustos has been a chef for over 25 years. During that time he struggled not just with his weight but with his health. Using a combination of surgery and his Portion Your Plate approach, he has been able to right his path towards a healthier, longer lasting life. When Food Is Your Frenemy is Bustos attempt to present us all with not just his method of success but a practical tool for others to use in their own struggle. Within the pages of When Food Is Your Frenemy are not just recipes and step-by-step cooking instructions but a guide to for developing and maintaining habits allowing readers to stay on a clear path. 

Bustos focuses upon his recounting those moments of personal and professional life in a style he calls ‘life change in motion’ taking us from his very first job as a teenager to where he is now. Over this time, he loss 190 pounds coming to the conclusion,

Food is love, it is family, and it is joy. I have learned that we need food to live, but never to overfill. I have learned that Christ walked this earth and asked only to be remembered by a piece of bread and wine. I have learned that it’s not important how much money you have, what kind of car you drive, or how big your house is. What matters is what you do with the gifts you’ve been given.

Key for Bustos is addressing the fact that many who either use surgery or diet fail to keep their weight down, their health at the appropriate level. Offering a series of very pragmatic assertions, Bustos attempts to orient readers towards the mindset needed. However, his tone is always one of sincerity rather than accusation or some kind of passive-aggressive shaming so often lurking in between the lines of most diet or health books. Readers are being offered in plain language an understanding of how diabetes affects the body, how any of us can develop it, and how he was able to address and overcome it. For those in need of guidance, anxious about their health but intimated by expert advice, Bustos writing is excellent companionship.

The first half of When Food Is Your Frenemy deals not just with the facts of health but with ones mental health. When we reach the second half, we encounter methods not only reinforcing the mental perspective Bustos encourages but also are practical methods towards maintaining ones health. Perhaps the simplest directive, get away from fast food:

between 20 and 25 percent of the U.S. population pass through a drive-through lane or line up at a fast-food counter to order something quick and tasty every day. (And 7 percent of the U.S. population goes to McDonald’s every day as well.) With nearly 300,000 quick-serve restaurants to choose from, Americans fork over more money on burgers, burritos, and bacon-topped sandwiches each year than what we spend on higher education, new cars, and computers combined.

To do so, Bustos takes readers through how to set up their own kitchen and pantry. This is foundation for making your own meals. Once established, Bustos then takes us through some starter recipes for every meal. These recipes are simple building on each other while never being bland.

Bustos’s Chicken & Green Beans

In fact, the variety Bustos presents with will most likely be the biggest surprise for most readers.

Bustos’s Savory Salmon

Although it may seem daunting to reach Bustos goals, the framework he provides is practical and could be very effective. Essentially, Bustos is writing to convince us “Eat to live a healthy life, instead of living to eat.” 



Author Bio


Jacob Bustos is a chef, cooking coach, and food enthusiast who has been in the food business for twenty-four years. Jacob, who has always been passionate about hospitality, beat his battle with morbid obesity and has set out to make a positive impact on people. He will tell you that as long as you know him, he will never let you go hungry. This is true to his mission that food is love, family, and fellowship. He will also be the first to tell you how important healthy food choices are. Jacob began his career in the fast food business and earned various awards for great customer service. He left the fast food business in 2002 and currently works in upper management for a number of fast-causal Panera Bread restaurants in the Southern California area. Jacob underwent a life-saving bariatric procedure in 2012 that began his 160-pound weight loss journey. He also underwent a traumatic skin removal surgery in 2015 that nearly ended his life. During this traumatic event, he had a very private and personal experience with his Maker that affirmed his mission on earth to feed people with much healthier options. Jacob has been in demand for speaking engagements and has produced videos to teach and coach better eating habits. His ability to take a regular food dish and create a healthier version have been in high demand. For more information on Jacob and his company, Portion Your Plate LLC, please visit or Jacob resides in Valencia, California, just north of Los Angeles.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: When Food Is Your Frenemy by Jacob Bustos

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s