As I mentioned in an earlier cookbook review post, in 2014 I have been making a concerted effort to eat more of a plant-based diet. At first the thought seemed quite daunting, but over time it has become much easier and just a way of life. So, when I was provided with a list of new titles from Robert Rose Inc., I was excited to see The Vegan Cook’s Bible by Pat Crocker on the list and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
The Vegan Cook’s Bible is so much more than a cookbook! It truly is a “bible” in that it is authoritative, informative, and reliable. If you have ever questioned what vegans eat, how they get their nutrients or how to optimize your own health by adopting this lifestyle, then this is the book for you.
In her introduction, Pat Crocker explains that you don’t have to be completely vegan to benefit from a primarily plant-based diet. She herself is not vegan, but has clearly done the research and is very much an advocate for eating more plants and showcasing how delicious they can be. Cooking and eating vegan does not necessarily mean that you have to adopt a strict lifestyle or extreme philosophy that is completely against all things animal-based. As Crocker says, “Vegan cooking is the act of preparing strictly plant food with care and conscience”.
I love that Crocker does not try to use imitations or replacements for animal products or meats. I once borrowed a cookbook from the library that was all about how to turn meat dishes into vegan dishes and there were so many artificial ingredients that I thought, this can’t be healthy! This book is anything but artificial. With amazing recipes and information, you’ll soon learn that plants are wonderful, versatile and delicious!
The book is broken down into a few sections, each with incredible information and guidelines. The first section is all about Healthy Body Systems. There are segments for the cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune, musculoskeletal, nervous and respiratory systems that include helpful facts about how to optimize your health using a plant-based diet. It further breaks down foods that protect each system in an easy-to-follow chart. For example, apples contain pectin that help clean up and bind cholesterol in the intestines preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. This information is all laid out in a table and provides very well-researched and easy-to-understand guidelines about what to eat and why.
The next chapter in the book is all about Whole Foods (no, not the grocery store!). In alphabetical order, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes are presented with information about how to use, store and cook them along with their health benefits. For example, did you know that beets contain natural chlorine that cleanse the liver, kidney and gall bladder? Wash them and store them in a vented plastic bag and they’ll keep in your refrigerator for up to 1 ½ weeks (longer in my experience!). There is also a fabulous section on Herbs that I found very useful, especially how to use and store them.
After all this wonderful information about the food that nature gives us, the book then gets into recipes. There are so many fabulous recipes, I didn’t even know where to start! I know it’s a sign of a good cookbook when it looks like this after my first quick read-through:
From soups to stews, casseroles to desserts, there really is something for everyone in this book. In fact, the next time we have friends over for dinner I have already planned to cook every course from this book to show them how amazing vegan cooking can be. I have tried several of the recipes already and have been very pleased with each one.
These Portobello Mushrooms with Olive Tapenade are to die for! Serve these to your guests and they’ll think you’re a pro. But really, with the help of your food processor, they are very simple to make!
Given the highly-processed world we live in today, I encourage you to give vegan cooking a try – even if just for one meal a week to start! I promise you will not be disappointed and the health benefits of adopting this way of eating, even if a little bit, are undebatable.
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