I’m sure you have noticed that veganism is popping up more and more all over the place. You may have been contemplating taking the leap. The hardest part about deciding to go vegan though, is knowing where to start.
A vegan diet means that you consume no animal products whatsoever, including dairy products. Eliminating what makes up the majority of foods consumed in the typical American diet can be incredibly overwhelming. My first suggestion is to transition in steps, don’t do it all at once. Start slowly.
For me, the first step when I was about twelve years old was to stop eating cows and pigs. It was easy because the driving force behind my decision to change my diet was animal cruelty. Start with whatever is easiest for you to cut out, and then work from there. Gradually eliminate more animal products as you are ready to and feel comfortable doing. Do it at your own pace and don’t rush yourself, every small elimination you make is a huge contribution to bringing health to your body, respecting animals, and bettering our world.
To help you achieve total veganism, let these books guide you and fill you with confidence. I know that transitioning to veganism may seem like an impossible mission sometimes, but these books got me through it, and they will get you through it too.
One Book to Get You Started...
1. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD
This book is the ultimate book for learning about the benefits of a plant-based diet. It helped me understand the science behind a plant-based diet and proved to me that veganism was the way to go. The books explains in plain terms how a plant-based diet is the strongest tool we have against disease and illness. It is easy to read and will completely change how you think about food. You’ll be hooked by page two of the Introduction where Campbell tells you that by simply changing your diet, you can completely reverse heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. He also reexamines the “protein myth” and shows how not only are vegans getting enough protein, but that consuming a lot of protein actually promotes cancer. This book teaches you how to eat in order to maximize your health and longevity, and tells why you haven’t been taught proper nutrition before. Campbell lastly looks at the scary truth as to why there is so much misinformation about how we should be eating. The China Study could save your life.
And Now Three Cookbooks to Take You to the Next Level...
I have spent a lot of time looking through a lot of vegan cookbooks. Today, I am pretty confident when it comes to cooking vegan food, but when I first made the transition to an animal-free diet, I was terrified and clueless. For a while it was spaghetti and tomato sauce every night for dinner. I was afraid that this was what veganism would be like for the rest of my life. These three cookbooks changed my perspective on vegan cooking. They have given me the confidence that I can cook delicious food that is also healthy and doing my body good. There are a lot of great cookbooks out there, but these three favorites of mine make veganism a (delicious) breeze!
2. Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli
Chloe Coscarelli won the Food Network reality show Cupcake Wars in 2010, winning the judges over with her vegan cupcakes. This was the first time a vegan chef had won the show. She graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. This is her first cookbook, but that definitely doesn’t make her an amateur. This is my favorite cookbook.
Chloe starts by showing you what sort of foods you need to keep stocked in your own vegan pantry. She also teaches you how to make her recipes gluten-free and soy-free. The book includes 125 incredibly diverse recipes including appetizers, soups, salads, vegetable dishes, pizzas and burgers, pasta dishes, filling main course meals, and decadent desserts. A few of my favorites include her Curried Lentil, Squash, and Apple Stew, the Falafel Sliders with Avocado Hummus, the Peanutty Perfection Noodles, the Fettuccine Alfredo, and the Best-Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese.
3. The Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon
The Happy Herbivore is a fantastic cookbook for a beginner in the vegan cooking world. Not only are the recipes delicious, but the instructions are easy to read and the ingredients are easy to come by. Most of the recipes take very little time to make, making this cookbook essential for the busy vegan. Lindsay also starts her book by helping you build your vegan pantry and teaching you why eating vegan is important. She defines some kitchen terms for you and gives you some cooking trouble-shooting tips and then gets right into the recipes. Her recipes include breakfast meals, muffins and breads, soups and chilis, burgers and wraps, recipes that focus on vegan meats, pastas, a variety of one-pot dinners, vegetable dishes, finger foods, and desserts. Some of my favorites include the French toast, the African Kale and Yam Soup, and the Soul Burgers
4. The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
Actress Alicia Silverstone may best be known for her role in Clueless, but what she certainly isn’t clueless about is vegan cooking. This New York Times Bestseller is not just a cookbook. The first half of the book teaches you why meat, dairy, white sugar, and processed foods are so harmful to your body, to animals, and to the world. She then goes on to tell you what foods you should be eating, as she says, kind foods. She shows you how to get all the vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy body through a plant-based diet. She gives you step-by-step advice on how to gradually go vegan. The book includes an entire week-long meal plan to help you through your first few weeks. This super positive book was so helpful to me in the beginning stages of my vegan journey. At the end of the first half, she teaches you how to become a “superhero” vegan, for those that are ready for a challenge. And that’s only the first half!
The second half of the book is full of recipes. My favorites include Moroccan Couscous with Saffron, Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew, Quick Date-Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal, Summertime Succotash, and the list goes on. The recipes are divided into two sections. The first section is full of recipes that are geared towards those who are new to veganism and might be a little nervous about the transition. These recipes are easy to make, have easy to find ingredients, and are super tasty. The second section is for superhero vegans. These recipes are for those ready for the next step towards superior health. These recipes have minimal ingredients, some different cooking techniques, and include some uncommon, possibly hard to find vegetables, but are just as delicious.
One Magazine to Keep You on the Right Path...
Okay, so I cheated, this isn’t technically a book, but I couldn’t resist. This magazine is a priceless source of important information regarding a healthy diet. VegNews is what keeps the burning fires of my passion for veganism lit and what motivates me to uphold my healthy diet. Every issue is chockfull of new info regarding our food industry, nutrition advice columns, new research study findings, statistics, recipes, travel guides, restaurant guides, all sorts of vegan products, and so much more. VegNews is a great information source for those just starting out on their journey to veganism, as well as the experts. This magazine has taught me almost everything I know about going vegan.