Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: Becoming Vegan

Thanks again to Book Publishing Company for sending me some books for review.  If you'd like to win some of these books, visit their site here.  They offer lots of vegan, vegetarian, and raw books all in one place.

Today's review is for Becoming Vegan, by Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina.

I wasn't sure what to think at first, as this book was published quite a while ago, in 2000.  And as you know, things change very quickly.  But I found, as I went through it, that most things in the book are still accurate.  Nutrition is always changing, as are "daily allowances" and new finds for foods with certain vitamins and minerals.  That said, there's really a lot of great information in this book. Yes, there may be more non-dairy milks on the market today, as well as more foods that are fortified with B12 and D2, but the general idea is the same.

The book discusses where you can find various vitamins and minerals needed in several chapters. And it really goes into detail on several accounts, from calcium absorption, to iron deficiency, and covers pretty much any vitamin/mineral I can think of!! It gives suggestions of what food sources you can find them in, as well as giving you the RDA (which over time, has changed).

Other big topics in the book cover veganism during pregnancy, as well as through adolescence. It also covers the later years in life and how your needs change. The chapters near the end cover being overweight and describe various "weight loss" diets, the good and the bad. Also mentioned, are the topics of being underweight and eating disorders.  These are always important factors when you're talking about nutrition.

There really are a lot of "numbers" in this book!  Tons of tables and lists of foods and their various nutrition information....maybe a little too much detail for me (as I'm not a nutritionist and don't really know what some of them mean).

I do recommend this book if you're considering taking on a vegan diet or even if you're already eating a vegan diet. There's a whole lot of information in here that can be quite useful, especially if you're really taking care to get every single vitamin & mineral that your body needs. Again, the book is over 10 years old and there have been more discoveries made since then and more vegan food has appeared on the market, so just keep that in mind.

If you'd like to win one of these books, go over to the Live Delicious, Eat Vegan campaign site and enter!

Eat smart,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Review: The Natural Vegan Kitchen

First of all, thank you to Book Publishing Company for sending me some books to review. (Did you know you could win free books from them?? Find out how, here.)

The first book I'm reviewing is The Natural Vegan Kitchen by Christine Waltermyer.

This book just came out and I was really excited to start flipping through it to mark all the recipes I wanted to make (like I do to all new cookbooks I get)! This book combines vegan and macrobiotic cooking. Waltermyer includes a lot of gluten free recipes as well. In fact, I would say that most of the recipes are gluten free.

She includes recipes for every part of the meal, including breakfast, appetizers, soups, salads, grains, beans, and desserts. My first thought when perusing the pages was that it used a lot of ingredients that I didn't have.  I probably could get at least some of them at my local Asian grocery store, but there are some I wouldn't have access to.  This might prohibit some readers from purchasing the book, EXCEPT, that you can substitute other items for a lot these. So don't let that factor dissuade you from getting this book.  In fact, in some of the recipes I made this past week, I did have to substitute some things. (Waltermyer does have a glossary at the end of the book to explain all of these ingredients)

Some of those "hard to find items" are: xantham gum, gluten-free brown rice syrup (I subbed agave nectar), kombu, umeboshi vinegar, wakame, kuzu or arrowroot starch, wheat free tamari (I subbed soy sauce).

I'm sure there are also plenty of you out there that do actually have these ingredients or have easy access to them.  Great!

Now I do love a cookbook with lots of pictures in it....unfortunately, this has very few, BUT, the ones that are in there are wonderful pictures and they do make you want to make the food in there! They just look so delicious!

Here are a few of the items I made this week:

Peanut Sauce - excellent for pouring over cold noodles for lunch! I took these to work with me, mixed with udon, green onions, carrots, and cucumbers, it was the perfect lunch. First of all, I substituted almond butter for the peanut butter and then I substituted soy sauce for the wheat-free tamari and agave nectar, for the brown rice syrup.  I also used powdered ginger, as I didn't have fresh (but next time I will use fresh).  It was a bit runny, so I next time I'll add less water.

Lentil-Walnut Pate - I was actually quite surprised at the taste of this. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved it! I think the key is the balsamic it a nice zing. Again, I substituted the same as above and used dried parsley, as I didn't have fresh.  And it's so easy to all goes into a food processor and you're done!

Tempeh Mock Tuna Salad - Woa! This was amazing!! I loved it and will make it whenever I can....not so easy, however, to get tempeh in my local stores. But it gives you the option to use chickpeas instead, which I haven't tried.  It does call for vegan mayo, but in my opinion, it calls for way too much.  I guess I'm not used to really mayo'd up salads, but I would put half the amount in next time. (oh, and I added lots more celery. I love lots of crunch!)

Miso Vinaigrette - Another great recipe.  I made a batch and there's still some left. I used green onions instead of chives, because I didn't have any and I'd just gotten the onions from the farmer's market.  Only four ingredients in this dressing. Easy and delicious!

There are plenty of other recipes in there for me to try...I'll keep working at it.  If you want this book, you could win one free!  As part of Book Publishing Company's Live Delicious, Eat Vegan campaign this month, they are giving away some of these books we're reviewing.  Go check it out!

I'll have more reviews coming up, as soon as I can get more cooking (or uncooking as it may be) done in the kitchen :)

Eat smart,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Quick Update & Happy Mardi Gras

First of all, Happy Mardi Gras!  We've been hunkering down in the burbs, staying away from ALL parade routes. Been there, done that.  No need to do it again, especially if you have to drive to get there.  But tonight, I'll be opening up a nice Stone brew to can visit me over on my beer blog to see about that later!

Today I've been working on several recipes from The Natural Vegan Kitchen.  So that will be my first review, and hopefully will be up in the next couple of days, although I'll be really busy at work this week.  We'll be taking some of the recipes with us to work for lunch tomorrow! So far....they've all been delicious.

Until then, 

Eat smart,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Upcoming Book Reviews!

Between being sick and being busy at work, I haven't had a whole lot of time to blog.  (at least on my beer blog, it can be quick posts with pictures....easily done from my phone, on the go!)

I just wanted to let you know that Book Publishing Company has a great new campaign this month!

Live Delicious, Eat Vegan

You can enter to win free cookbooks and they've got a great video on the site too! Check it out here.  You can also visit their Facebook page here. They were kind enough to send me some books for review (thanks, Rick!) They have a ton of raw & vegan cookbooks....go check them out.

Some of the upcoming books I'll be reviewing are: 

The Natural Vegan Kitchen by Christine Waltermeyer
Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina
Asian Fusion by Chat Mingkwan
Sproutman's Kitchen Garden Cookbook by Steve Meyerowitz

Hopefully I'll be able to get to some of these next week.....I've been so busy, I haven't had time.

Eat smart,


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