Review – Vegan for Life

I chose the name of this blog to reflect my love of vegan cookbooks. I do my fair share of reading blogs and websites and drooling over beautiful photographs online but for me there is nothing quite as exciting as taking possession of a new cookbook (even if it turns out later that the book isn’t one I’ll use much).

When I first became vegan I bought a couple of non cookbooks related to vegan food and lifestyle, some more to my tastes than others. In terms of vegan nutrition, I’d class myself as middle of the road and probably similar to many other vegans. I have a pretty healthy and varied diet; I’ll put crushed linseeds (flax) on my muesli because of something to do with essential fats; I justify my worship of yeast extract because it contains B12 and I take a multivitamin when I remember or when I feel like I’ve not been eating well. I know that there’s controversy about soy, I sometimes feel like I ought to be eating more raw foods or less wheat, and I firmly believe in a moderation not elimination approach to fats. Does any of that sound familiar?

Whether you’re considering veganism or you’re an old hand, Vegan for Life is a book that you won’t want to be without. I picked it up this morning intending to just have a flick through but have pretty much read it cover to cover.  By the time I’d got to page 17 I’d learned around 6 things I hadn’t known before.  This book approaches vegan nutrition in an extremely clear and understandable way yet is authoritative and scientific enough to inspire confidence. It had me reaching for my multivitamin and started checking recommended daily levels (it’s mostly fine).

The book covers the main nutritional talking points for vegans – protein, calcium, vitamins B12, D and A, iron, fats, zinc and iodine. It also has specialist chapters for pregnancy, raising children and teenagers, nutrition for athletes and over 50s (I sincerely hope there’ll be at least one new edition before I need that last one), and the soya issue. It backs up what it says with a whole host of references to peer reviewed studies and other resources but isn’t too in depth as to be impenetrable for the non scientist. It is crammed with useful tips and will be an invaluable reference tool for countering all those newspaper articles you get sent from family members about the dangers of soy.

I have two very minor niggles about it. I could do without the couple of references to PETA and the cover endorsement by Rory Freedman, and the paper has a strange colour tint to it and isn’t the best quality. You could easily get round the latter issue by buying the Kindle version, but then you wouldn’t have the excitement of a new book arriving, would you?