The 30-day Vegan Challenge

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2011:

The 30-day Vegan Challenge
by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Random House (1745 Broadway,
New York,  NY 10019),  2011.
336 pages,  paperback.  $22.00.

The title of this new book,  The 30-day Vegan Challenge, could be the name of a grueling road race for non-flesh eaters. Instead it’s a practical guide for vegans or vegan wannabes.  I did my review on a full stomach because the recipe for a chickpea burger tempted me to chomp down rather than read.  The book starts out defining “vegan,”  a word coined in 1944 by British animal activist Donald Watson (1910-2005).  Watson,  who founded the Vegan Society, defined veganism as a conscious decision to avoid expoliting animals for food,  clothing,  or any other purpose.

30-day Vegan Challenge author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau chips away at the commonly held idea that meat and dairy are essential to the human diet.  There is life without meat loaf,  egg salad,  and ice cream.  Switching from a burger-based lifestyle to vegan should not be sudden,  Patrick-Goudeau believes,  outlining a 30-day plan that will not only change a meat-eater’s diet but transform the person’s lifestyle.

Age is not an impediment to going vegan,  says Patrick-Goudreau.  “If you’re 30 or 40 or 18 or 80,  a habit is a habit is a habit,”  she contends–and habits are often broken.

Besides demonstrating compassion to animals,  a vegan might expect to lose weight,  have lower blood pressure,  and experience fewer food-related illnesses.
Patrick-Goudeau demonstrates how the transition can be fun as well as easy.  She describes the wide variety of vegan products and how to shop for them.  There is a section on how to read labels.  She guides the reader through meal planning.

The last part of the book includes dozens of recipes for vegan meals.  I particularly enjoyed the part about life after cheese.  There are plenty of non-dairy alternatives.

The only drawback to a vegan diet is eating out or traveling. Finding edible food on the road is difficult.  Pack your own if possible.  Vegetarian restaurants are proliferating,  but there are still not enough.  Some fast food outlets offer veggie burgers,  but they may not meet vegan requirements.
If you’re looking for a satisfying cook book,  try The 30-day Vegan Challenge.  And if there’s someone in your life considering the vegan lifestyle,  suggest it.

–Debra J. White


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