Author: Alicia C. Simpson
Publisher: The Experiment (2012)
Meat eater or meat-freer? Die hard carnivore, fish-head, veggie belly or flexitarian? There are so many diets out there that we all fit into at least one “category” when we eat! So, even if you’re not vegan, chances are you know someone who is. Celebrities all over the globe tout this way of eating – which eschews any and all animal-derived items including eggs, dairy and even honey – as the best way to eat for mind, body and planet. Ethical issues are often cited as reasons many eaters switch over, but increasingly the crusade has been led by people searching for a healthier lifestyle or a way to lose weight.
Unfortunately, just because something is “vegan” doesn’t mean it automatically becomes a beacon of health. Like with many gluten free foods, there are many “vegan friendly” recipes and processed foods that involve copious quantities of oil, sugar, salt and refined carbohydrates (potato chips and cotton candy are both gluten free and vegan, but are in no way good for you!). The balance of delicious, soul-nourishing fare and healthy, vegan eating is the focus of blogger Alicia C. Simpson’s latest book: Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food: 150 Down-Home Recipes Packed with Flavor, Not Calories. Simpson is the author of the blogs Vegan Guinea Pig and The Lady and Seitan, both filled with delicious food, reviews and discussion.
There is no denying the nutrition factor in this book. The first 30 odd pages detail “low calorie” eating, the importance of exercise, definitions of “low-fat / low-calorie”, “serving size” “nutrient density” and the like, and finally calorie-controlled menus for 1400, 1600, 1800 and 2000 calorie diets. A mini “glossary” of common vegan ingredients (i.e. nutritional yeast) is also included, and for true vegan neophytes this is a good read to have under your belt. I also appreciated the visually-appealing lists of serving sizes, covering common items in the “grains”, “vegetables”, “fruits” and “proteins”. The only issue I took with this part was the categorization of potato as a vegetable and not a “grain” like corn. Perhaps the phrase “starches” would have been better suited. As a nutritionist, I also appreciated the RDI tables for calcium and iron. However, I feel that the page of algebraic-like calculations to figure out caloric needs was excessive for a cookbook touted as “Quick and Easy”. There are many websites that are publicly accessible which calculate individual needs and eliminate the possibility of human mathematical error. The nutritional information is provided on each recipe, however the serving size isn’t – meaning that you would have to make the whole dish separately, weigh the components and portion out each element between serving bowls (not quick and/or easy) in order to get a proper calorie count and serving size.
|Banana Nut Bread (p. 82)|
|Banana Nut Bread (p. 82)|
|South Carolina Peach Jam (p. 240)|