Current Books that Power my Diet

So many of you have expressed an interest in going plant-based or significantly changing your lifestyle but aren’t quiet sure exactly how to do it.

When I decided to go vegan, I knew I would need an arsenal of information to help me on my journey. Here are reviews of 8 currently popular books that I have in my home right now. Read the reviews and decide which ones will best suit you and your lifestyle. If you are ready to take the plunge, prices are usually best on Amazon. It’s a small investment in your health that will have huge payoffs! Happy reading!

-Somer

Chef A.J.’s Unprocessed: Lovely Recipes without any added crap. I love this book and use it almost daily for inspiration in the kitchen. Includes Chef A.J.’s transition story to an entirely whole-foods, plant-based and UNPROCESSED diet (It hit really close to home and totally made me cry my eyes out. Last book I did this with was “Left to Tell” about the Rwandan Genocide).

The dessert section is incredible and alone would make the purchase worth while. Chef A.J. creates amazing desserts without any added oils or refined sugars and they taste phenomenal! That’s only the beginning. Chef A.J. also has a great website here with many video clips about making her fabulous recipes.

See here for my full book review.

Thrive Foods, by Vegan Triathlete Brendan Brazier. I was really excited to receive this book from Amazon and was disappointed after it arrived that it had lots of ingredients that I couldn’t source locally (and you should see what’s in my pantry!) If you have lots of cash to spend on groceries and live close to a really big and awesome health food store then this may be the right book for you. I also have to remove the oil from lots of the recipes. Sorry Brendan! Too fancy for everyday eating for me.

However, the sports drinks and gel recipes for athletes totally made this purchase worth while. From now on I will be making my Brendan’s version of clif shots/GU (sports gel) in my reusable gel flask and saving tons of cash! Woohoo!

Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan. Beautiful food and recipes, most made with no added oil! Gives a good run down of the equipment and tools needed to operate a plant-based kitchen. Photos accompany many recipes which is a plus. Christy is part of the hipster vegan Hollywood club and knows her stuff.

Too bad the starting pages advocate the use of no onions or garlic due to them containing heavy energy or “qi”. Um, too out there, even for me. Plus I love onions and garlic and add them to nearly everything. So I add them to the recipes in this book when I make them too! By the way, last time I checked my “qi” or energy was awesome.

The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esseltyn. This is a side-shoot book from the film “Forks Over Knives“A good intro for those new to a whole-foods diet. Because of its manly format It may be an even bigger motivator to get the “MAN” in your life to go plant-based.

Pros: Has tons of information on why animal products are harmful, especially in regard to cholesterol. Includes exercises and stretches for weight loss. Lots of great recipes and transition ideas. Rip is one hot vegan firefighter! This book also has its own website and support group with recipes online.

Cons: Diet allows still uses lots of “natural” sugars, which is fine, but more than I would use for my family. Also uses plenty of processed “vegan” meat products, which is okay if you love Boca Burgers!

Incredibly Delicious: This book was given to me by my brother and has been pivotal in my lifestyle change. Don’t let the 70’s looking cover and photos fool you! This is a really, really great cookbook and the recipes really are “Incredibly Delicious,” 

I especially like this book because it uses all whole foods and whole grains and is not at all “gimmicky.” (You would be surprised by the number of unhealthy vegan cookbooks out there containing loads of oils, white flours and refined crap). This book is super family friendly with familiar recipes and new vegan takes on old favorites. Some recipes still contain oil, I just omit it or substitute something else for it. It is probably the most comprehensive Vegan Cookbook in my kitchen.

The Complete IDIOT’S Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition by Julieanna Hever Julieanna is a super-knowledgeable plant-based dietitian who worked under Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s Plant-Based Certification Program at E-Cornell.

I really like this book because it provides the basic how to’s and why’s of going plant-based. It debunks myths like : “Insane amounts of protein are necessary to build and maintain muscle mass,” “Milk and dairy are good for your bones” and lots of other popular folklore regarding the Standard American Diet in a fun and no-nonsense readable format. Includes many incredible recipes and even features Chef A.J.’s Unprocessed Brownies.

Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman This book was recommended to me by Amanda. So grateful Amanda! When it came to me in the mail, I gobbled it up! Dr. Fuhrman, where have you been all my life!?” I LOVE THIS BOOK. For those of you who really NEED to lose weight, this is the only diet book you will EVER need to read. If you follow his advice, it will be IMPOSSIBLE for you to keep carrying excess pounds. Even if you have tried every diet on the planet.

For those of you who want to go plant-based but need the science behind the lifestyle change to motivate you, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK TOO! It’s not just for weight loss, it is an essential book for overall health. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Don’t be swayed by Dr. Fuhrman’s slightly scary and gimmicky website. He is the real deal!

Everyday Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon I like to think of this as the cookbook that Rachael Ray would write if she were a vegan. Awesome recipes in 30 minutes or less. Can’t beat that, especially as a lot of whole-foods meal preparation CAN be sooooo time consuming.

Recipes do not sacrifice flavor or quality and all are made without added oil. Really good section on baked goods, which is helpful to newbies who haven’t yet learned to bake without butter, oil and eggs and really like some yummy treats, HELLO butter bean chocolate-chip cookies. You are fabulous! Many of Lindsay’s recipes can also be found on her super-cute website.

And last but definitely not least

Forks Over Knives Companion BookThe handbook to the Movie. As you all know, I recommend the film to everyone. This is the first book I purchased when I cut all animal products out of my diet. It contains dozens of plant-based recipes, including those tasty looking ones that were featured in the film.

The book solidifies the information pertained in the documentary. It also adds additional information on going plant-based for animal rights. I like that it explains why we shouldn’t be consuming oils, including olive oil, which almost everyone I know thinks is healthy. This was never clear in the film.

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