Covering everything from a six-step transition plan to meeting calorie and nutrient needs during pregnancy and breastfeeding, Vegan for Life is the guide for aspiring and veteran vegans alike, complete with an easy-to-use food chart, tasty substitutions, sample menus, and expansive resources.
I’ve only been following a (mostly) vegan diet for a few months, and have found that the times when I’ve fallen away from it and have slipped back into eating dairy have been because I have felt stuck with what to eat and how many nutrients I need to get. I wish I had bought this book at the start! The authors are two registered dieticians, and the entire book focuses on all the health and nutrition needs that one needs to take into account when starting a vegan diet. A few months back, I also ordered Dr. Neal Barnard’s 21-Day Kickstart book; while I enjoyed it and found it helpful, it focuses much more on persuading readers of the health benefits of a vegan diet, whereas this book focuses on the *how’s* and *why’s* of doing so. The first few chapters provide thorough explanations of the nutrients you need and why you need them. Their discussion of why vegans need to take a B-12 supplement, for instance, is one of the best I’ve read. They also address issues about getting enough protein and about the soy controversy, and also have chapters covering pregnancy and breastfeeding, raising children, and being an athlete. The best chapter — and the reason I really wanted to get this — is Chapter 7 The Vegan Food Guide. In this section, the authors lay out a vegan food pyramid, exactly what supplements to take, and sample menus. This chapter will be extremely helpful to me in planning out my meals. This chapter alone makes this the best book I’ve bought on veganism; it helped alleviate my worries about getting enough nutrients, and made everything very clear. What I especially appreciate is how balanced their view is. For instance, they look at research that is both for and against certain aspects of vegan nutrition, and are up front with the fact that it’s OK if occasionally things slip by in packaged goods. For instance, they let readers know that there are “hidden” animal ingredients in products like white sugar and maple syrup, but encourage readers to not get “bogged down” with stressing about it. One of my favorite sections in the book is where the authors quote blogger Robert Mason, who talks about not trying to “strain credulity” by trying to prove that humans are naturally vegans. We most likely, Mason maintains, evolved by eating meat, and it’s dishonest to deny it. That being said, Mason suggests that vegans instead focus on why they made the decision to eat as they do: “The argument for veganism has always been primarily ethical, and ought to remain that way. It’s based on a concern for the future, not an obsessions about the past.”
If you do any reading on a regular basis, this book will only take you a couple of hours to finish, and if you’re a vegan, or someone who is considering the vegan lifestyle, those few hours will be well spent in the company of this book. This book is packed with everything you need to know about living a healthy vegan life: it teaches you about proper nutrition, it debunks some of the myths surrounding vegan diets (myths both against and for the vegan life), and it explains, in a simple and clear style, the science (all of the studies and statistics) behind nutrition. It even contains information on how to cook some basic foods which are essential to a healthy vegan diet: beans, grains, and leafy greens. So if you’re as inexperienced a cook as I was before I bought this book, that’s all the more reason to pick up a copy. As a side note, I read this book alongside another famous vegan nutrition book, “Becoming Vegan,” by Davis and Melina. Of the two, I prefer “Vegan for Life”: while both have their strengths, “Vegan for Life” is written much more clearly, and, as a newer book, is based on the most up-to-date science you’re likely to find in a paperback anytime soon. So yes, either will do, but if you have to choose one, I’d recommend going with “Vegan for Life.”
I highly recommend Vegan for Life for anyone contemplating or living a vegan lifestyle. Many people, from the famous to the average Joe and Jill are going vegan these days. Witness President Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia, basketball star John Salley, Moby, Alanis Morissette, Natalie Portman, Alicia Silverstone, Betty White, Anne Hathaway, fitness guru Bob Harper, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D. Ohio) and wife Elizabeth, and so many more. It may be no surprise to you that Mahatma Gandhi was a vegan. This array of prominent folk is enough to get some people checking out the vegan way of life. Since becoming vegan two and a half years ago, I have found there is so much to learn and often the advice out there conflicts and creates confusion and even anxiety. Vegan sites and blogs are filled with warnings and caveats galore. The experts can disagree, too. Some suggest raw foods only, others recommend omitting any added oils, and still others warn against soy or gluten products. Many urge against “processed” vegan foods. Protein requirements are confusing with various mixed messages from, “To avoid cancer, don’t overdo protein” to “vegans never get enough protein!” A vegan is hard pressed to learn the truth for healthy vegan living. For this reason, I am very glad to say that Vegan for Life, by registered dietitians Jack Norris, RD and Virginia Messina, MPH, RD (2011, Da Capo Press), brings much-needed clarity and reason to the discussion. The book sets out parameters for sensible and healthy plant-based eating, minus the doom and gloom warnings yet clearly stressing the realities. Vegans do need sufficient protein and they do need to supplement B-12 as well as calcium and D. Suggestions are given for these. The authors urge keeping the transition to vegan simple. Eat what you like, including meat substitutes such as vegan cold cuts, burgers, frankfurters, soy- and grain-based roasts, vegan cheese, non-dairy milks, vegan mayonnaise and so forth. They warn not to overly restrict calories, protein, fats, or food groups such as soy or gluten unless you have a medical condition requiring you do so. Plentiful scientific references are given for each chapter to back up their recommendations and perspective. While not a cookbook per se, Vegan for Life offers many meal suggestions that are easy to follow. After reading the book, I felt a great relief that I could do this and do it well, and that while I must be aware of my nutritional requirements, I needn’t obsess over everything related to my eating. As a health-care provider, eating issues and diet often come into the professional dialogues in which I engage, and when relevant, I suggest Vegan for Life along with other reading material. When Norris and Messina say on the book’s cover, “Everything you need to know to be healthy and fit on a plant-based diet,” they mean it! And they deliver.
- Title: Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet
- Autor: Jack Norris
- Publisher (Publication Date): Da Capo Lifelong Books; Original edition (July 12, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: | 0738214930
- ISBN-13: | 978-0738214931
- Download File Format: EPUB, PDF