Are you a vegan? Have you been considering becoming a vegan? If your answer to either or both of these questions is yes, you need to read Healing the Vegan Way to learn more about the possibilities inherent in “plant-based eating.” And the answer is no, Chef Mark Reinfeld may just change your thinking.
Starting with the
"why", Reinfeld (who has a master's degree in holistic nutrition) introduces us to “preventable health challenges,” illnesses and syndromes that have been shown to respond favorably to vegan strategies. These include diabetes, obesity, emotional stresses, even some forms of cancer, with remarkable case histories. The vegan diet is compared objectively and politely to other well-known regimens such as the Paleo or the Atkins, allowing readers to decide for themselves which is most appropriate. But the case histories citing benefits of the vegan diet offer compelling reasons to consider the author’s advice.
Then the "what": greens, nuts, beans, grains, berries, the obvious healthy and well-known veggie edibles, along with some lesser-known ingredients like chlorella (a fresh water algae for detox in capsule form); noni (a berry that has anti-inflammatory properties); maca (a vitamin-rich root that could reduce the incidence of some cancers); and spirulina (another algae taken in pill form, that strengthens the immune system). Together the good foods and the added supplements can improve and enhance health. Eaten raw, as the author suggests, the leaves and fruits are even more emphatic in their impact on health.
Drawing on wisdom from other vegan authorities, Healing the Vegan Way offers this advice for choosing the veggies and fruits you want to comprise your personal vegan diet: select for color and variety, “opt for organic” when possible, drinks lots of water, and, again, go for foods that can be eaten raw.
More than half the book is recipes, with color pictures and supporting information like ideal cook times and “chef’s tips and tricks” covering such important hints as how to eat an artichoke and what varieties of apples or potatoes are best for which purpose. There are “template recipes” which I found very useful. So you want a veggie burger but you’re tired of the same old recipe. The template offers lists of substitutions for every ingredient, so you can pick and play. Since the vegan eating experience does involve a somewhat limited choice of foods, spices, oils and ethnicities, the template is a boon to the serious chef (read, “mother trying to keep the family exhilarated at every meal”). With such a large number of recipes and the added options and tips, there is more than enough selection here to intrigue any dedicated cook, even if s/he is not (yet) a committed vegan--Asian Noodle Soup, Golden Turmeric Dressing, Chocolate Pecan Dipped fruit, Walnut Taco Salad, Garlicky Greens, Strawberry Cashew Cream.
The book winds up with a “comprehensive nutrient reference guide” listing vitamins, minerals, etc, explaining how each one works and what are the best plant sources for each-–all arranged by different areas needing attention: skin, nerves, eyes, heart, hair, nails.
This one book could be all that you need to start on the vegan lifestyle, a lifestyle that embraces, according to Reinfeld and various contributors, meals composed of fresh, organic, tasty, colorful foods.