Straightforward guide to transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle. Includes shopping lists and recipes, plus informative discussion on issues surrounding vegetarianism.
Published in 2003, this is a revised and extensively updated version of the 1994 original, and it is definitely the edition to get. The book is 454 pages and contains an absolute wealth of current research that has taken place over the past decade. As the authors state, "Much of what was considered mere speculation 10 years ago is now accepted fact. We...provide more thorough guidance for readers. Several issues that were not dealt with in the original book are addressed" and the recipes are refined. The chapter headings are:
1. Why Be Vegetarian. They cover the gamut of reasons people cite for making the switch--from concerns over health and disease to concerns for the environment, economy, and rights of animals. The latter issues are briefly but powerfully addressed, but it's very tactfully done--they're not at all judgemental or abrasive.
2. Maximizing the Vegetarian Advantage. A very powerful chapter dealing with the health of vegetarians and the impact of diet on diseases, including cancer, gall stones, diabetes (type 2), arthritis, and diseases of the heart, kidneys, and the GI system. Includes nutritional recommendations for good health & prevention of disease.
3. Power from Plants...legumes, nuts, and seeds. All you need to know about protein, iron and zinc in the veg diet. (One tip: Vitamin C greatly increases absorption of iron.)
4. Bone Boosters...milk, greens, and other calcium champions. How to maximize our bodies absorption and use of calcium. (Sodium & excess protein actually rob us of calcium).
5. Energy Plus...goodness from grains. A wealth of info about grains, fibre, and how to maximize nutrient absorption from grains. (One tip: Soak whole grains, legumes, nuts & seeds overnight in lots of cold water (discard soaking water)).
6. Perfect Protectors...vegetables and fuits. Vitamin and mineral content is the focus.
7. Fat Feuds...who's winning? All you need to know about types/amounts of fat--including essential fatty acids and how to ensure we're getting them.
8. Fine-tuning the Vegetarian Diet...vitamin B12
9. Designing the Diet...the vegetarian food guide. Covers food groups, recommended number of servings, serving sizes, number of calories per serving, and how to keep a diet log (important initially to determine areas where one may be having problems).
10. Vegetarian for Life. Deals with special situations (pregnancy/lactation, infancy, childhood, teen years, and those aged 50 and over).
11. Vegetarian Victory Over Weight
12. Vegetarian Diplomacy
13. From Markets to Meals. Tips on where to shop, what to buy, food storage, how to make the transition to vegetarianism, and travel. Includes substitutions for chicken broth, ground beef, gelatin, or egg for those who want to adapt non-veg recipes.
14. Recipes...simple treasures. You'll eventually want a proper veg cookbook or two, but included are a good variety of recipes to get one started plus tips on cooking grains and legumes. The few recipes I've tried so far have been super (My favourite is Hot Tofu and Cool Greens--who'd have thought tofu could taste so yummy!). (Tip: When cooking dry (pre-soaked) beans, do not add salt, tomato, or other highly acidic ingredients until after the beans have become tender or they'll be hard to digest!)
In conclusion, this is a comprehensive, incredibly informative (not to mention interesting) guide for the person interested in learning how to become a healthy vegetarian. Whatever your motivation--be it a desire to improve your health & nutrition, to lower your risk for many diseases, to lose weight, to be more environmentally-responsible, or something else, you won't find a better (or at the time of writing a more current) resource than this fantastic book. It's the perfect place to start. In short, I simply cannot praise highly enough, and I recommend it unconditionally!