So, I've been on this plan for about two weeks, and the subject pretty much says it all. Good advice! Poorly assembled diet "plan".
The advice that starts out the book is written in a conversational tone, but it's nothing new to anyone who's read a book on vegan lifestyles. Half of the book is dedicated to telling you why going veg is good for you, which is probably necessary and useful for someone new to the lifestyle. I read it dutifully, hoping to find some new gems, but it mostly contained stuff I'd already read in "The China Study" and others. Still, this would be useful if you were completely new to the subject, so I can't demerit her for doing her due diligence.
She did make a point of saying what I haven't seen in a lot of other vegan/macrobiotic books, mainly: calories in, calories out. What you don't burn, you gain. Hurray for that!
I will also give her props for not going down the rabbit hole of "reheated food is bad" or insisting I ditch my microwave or buy a gas oven. She doesn't mention any of these. She also didn't try to tell me that doing some light stretching a day was all the exercise I needed. There is some decent advice on exercise in the book, and it doesn't require crazy equipment; you could easily do any of the moves in a tiny apartment with a set of resistance bands.
The diet "plan" itself is where things start to fall apart. First, there is no shallow end: she dives straight into veganism, and doesn't look back. No "flirts" here. This might work for some people, but I have to wonder how well this works with long-time meat eaters.
Second, the number of dishes she has you preparing is ludicrous. This might be easier to cope with if she mentioned some way to mix/match the recipes, but she doesn't. Instead, we get guilt -- if we TRULY care about our bodies then we'll go to the effort of making breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Seriously, though, who has time for this other than a professional cookbook author?
My third complaint is an editing issue: the meal plan pages don't list page numbers for the recipe they reference. So there's a ton of flipping back and forth through the book, going to the index, now going to the recipe, now going back to the menu. Argh.
Fourth, because I was so flummoxed by all these ingredients, recipes, and so on, I decided to fill out a spreadsheet for every meal I was eating from the book that week, and tried roughing together some way to build a meal plan around leftovers so I wouldn't be preparing 6+ meals a day. Yes. I created A SPREADSHEET because there were so many recipes, ingredients, and dishes I was expected to have on hand every day. In the spreadsheet, I put page number, calories per serving, and a tick in a column for every fresh ingredient needed. Then I started totally up daily calories, and to my surprise they weren't balanced. AT ALL. Some days she had me eating around 1300 calories, other days bordering on 1700. It was inexplicable and smacks of poor number crunching on the author/editor's part. Some items didn't even have calories, like steamed kale and the daikon-carrot "remedy". What happened to calories in, Christine?
Fifth, where is the study backing up the claims that kombu and daikon "dissolve hardened fat" in our bodies? No, seriously -- I'd love to know if there is one, but I kind of suspect there isn't. Anyone know?
Finally -- some of these intro recipes suck. Sorry. They're boring, bland, and tedious to prepare. And they're some of the first recipes you're making! So once again, good luck keeping a die-hard meat eater loving this life. Not all of them suck, though, which is why I give the book 3 stars.
I give her props for trying, and for actually posting calories per serving. But ultimately, I was too disappointed with the seeming lack of sensitivity to those of us with day jobs and don't have three hours a day to spend cooking (to say nothing of the additional time shopping).
* Good advice for a beginning vegan.
* Good fitness tips.
* Some good recipes.
* Written in a friendly, conversational tone.
* Facts occasionally followed up with research studies.
* Too many recipes to make per day for anyone who has a day job.
* Poorly designed daily menu leads to too much flipping around in the book.
* Daily calories poorly balanced.
* No mix-n-match suggestions.
* Intro recipes tedious and often bland.
* Some iffy-sounding "facts" (properties of kombu/daikon and their effect on fat in the body).