Every good cook needs some basic cookbooks but when I became vegan, I needed cookbooks that I didn’t have to keep substituting ingredients for. I still use my old Fannie Farmer Cookbook that I’ve had since 1993 for some simple classic recipes (like for the holidays) and trusty measurement conversions, but for everyday recipes, I have discovered a few very useful (and delicious) titles.
Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. This is wonderful for very fast, simple, yet very fresh recipe ideas, including menu ideas & complementary dishes.
How It All Vegan, The Garden of Vegan, and La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer. Canadian punk rocker, tattoo artist, and fellow Gen Xer writes with humor and originality; her books are substantial with tons of great recipes.
Vive Le Vegan and Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. Burton’s recipes are delectable, though some of them take more time than the recipes in the above cookbooks. Great for unique and healthy (and tasty!) dessert recipes.
I have an almost funny story associated with the above cookbooks. My next-door neighbor has had cancer twice in 3 years and we often chat over the fence about everything from politics to music. When she found out we were vegan, she asked me for some book suggestions. I gave her the list above and she later told me that she checked them out but felt they were “too much trouble.” Mind you, as she told me this, she dropped her bag of McDonald’s fast food and picked it up again. I had to shake my head later as I thought, having cancer twice isn’t too much trouble? Having a bone marrow transplant isn’t too much trouble? Undergoing chemotherapy isn’t too much trouble? I just don’t understand. She had nothing to lose by giving these cookbooks and the vegan lifestyle a try. Why are some people so reluctant to take their health seriously and understand that what they put inside their bodies affects them, just like drugs do?
Before I became vegan, I read T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study. Campbell is a food scientist who grew up on a dairy farm, with the firm belief that dairy is necessary to one’s diet. What he discovered as he conducted studies on the effects of food on health staggered him and his long-held beliefs. This is the single most important book that made me become vegan. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
A fun DVD called “Vegan Gal” by Jill Ovnik (a fellow Michigander from the west side of the state) offered simple step-by-step instructions for going vegan, even going so far as to take you through a grocery store, health food store, and restaurant. She has a way of describing veganism that makes it very attractive. And she looks as amazing as she feels!
Finally, Dr. John MacDougall’s books are also a wonderful resource. He became disillusioned with his fellow doctors’ ongoing ineffective treatments for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. He began experimenting with diet on his patients with astounding results. He lectures worldwide and is seen as an almost anathema in his profession. But the patients whose lives he has saved (and changed) are forever grateful.
I didn’t purchase any of these books (except for the cookbooks) but instead, I checked them out of the library. Use your library! Plug over.
So there you have some of my influences and guides for being vegan!