Book Reviews

Becoming Vegan, Express Edition

By Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD

Becoming Vegan, Express Edition could easily be described as the thinking person's guide to vegan diets. This book provides an in-depth explanation of why vegan diets are good for people, animals, and the planet. It is written by two vegan dietitians who have used their knowledge and experience to create a thorough guide that will be useful for both new and established vegans, those interested in moving towards a vegan diet, and health professionals.

Davis and Melina include tables, bulleted points, and sample menus to help readers apply the information that they provide. The book includes chapters on benefits of vegan diets, protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals as well as sections devoted to life-cycle issues, weight (both overweight and underweight), and fitness. A vegan food guide is included. Timely issues such as a comparison of a vegan diet to a Paleo diet add interest. The mix of factual and practical information is especially appealing. I highly recommend this new express edition of Becoming Vegan.

Becoming Vegan, Express Edition (ISBN: 978-1-57067-295-8) is published by Book Publishing Company. It has 284 pages and retails for $19.95. Look for this book in your local bookstore. Reviewed by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD.

Straight From the Earth

By Myra and Marea Goodman

Author Myra Goodman is the co-founder of Earthbound Farm and she has written this vegan cookbook with her daughter Marea. As the title implies, this book focuses on fresh produce, beans, grains, and herbs.

You can start your morning off with Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes, Crispy Potato and Tempeh Stir-Fry, or Banana Bread with Macadamia Nuts and Bittersweet Chocolate. Later, sample one of these delicious salads: Cress, Belgian Endive, Persimmon, and Hazelnut Salad; Spinach Salad with Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash and Walnuts; or Heirloom Lettuce Salad with Herbs.

To make a heartier meal, you may want to add soup to your salad. Enjoy Rustic Potato-Leek Soup with Quick Garlic Croutons, Sweet Summer Corn Soup, or Thai Coconut Soup. And if you're interested in entertaining family and friends, here are some terrific appetizers you can serve: Thai Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Coconut-Curry Cashews, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Stuffed Mushrooms with Arugula, Walnuts, and Sundried Tomatoes.

You'll find a wide variety of entrées in this cookbook. Try Lentil and Potato Curry, Four Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Skillet Corn Bread, Grilled Fig Sandwiches with Roasted Pistachio Pesto and Balsamic Caramelized Onions, or Plantain Tacos with Puréed Black Beans and Mango-Lime Salsa. Serve these main dishes with some exciting sides, including Cumin-Roasted Cauliflower and Carrots, Rainbow Chard with Dried Apricots and Pine Nuts, Miso-Roasted Eggplant, or Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Carrots.

Finally, don't forget dessert! Enjoy Baklava, Pomegranate-Roasted Pears, Brown Rice Pudding, Banana-Coconut Cake, and several frozen desserts.

Straight from the Earth (ISBN:9978-1-4521-1269-5) is a 224-page book. It is published by Chronicle Books and retails for $27.50. You can purchase this book from your local bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Dawn Hubbell

Dawn Hubbell has written and illustrated a vegan-friendly storybook for children. Without giving away the plot, let's just say a chicken mistakenly thinks other animals will be eating it at a future meal. The book contains fun-filled illustrations that any young veggie kid would enjoy.

Drumsticks (ISBN 978-0-9896700-1-2) is a 32-page book. It is published by Sleepy Sheep Publishing, LLC and retails for $8.99. You can purchase this book at a bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.