Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mayim's Vegan Table

Mayim Bialik, the child star of Blossom, has gone vegan and wants to show the world how accessible this healthy diet and lifestyle can be through her new book called Mayim's Vegan TableWho knew that Mayim Bialik was vegan?! Even more amazing was discovering that not only is she vegan, but she also has a PhD in neuroscience and is raising two sons completely vegan. I am so impressed.

She teamed up with Dr. Jay Gordon, a prominent pediatrician practicing in Santa Monica, California, so that this book would not only be a source of great vegan recipes, but also sound nutritional information about the vegan diet. My favorite part of the book is the first 44 pages before you even get to the recipes.

In the first section, Mayim explains why everyone could benefit from a plant-based diet and uses the word "vegan" proudly. This book really focuses on families so she refers to children throughout the book. She states, "We don't want to deprive you -- and french fries happen. But we're letting kids know that there are foods that we're not going out and getting as a routine food." Everything in moderation.

They talk about all the reasons to choose vegan foods -- for your health, the environment, and ethical considerations. Once all the basics are out of the way, they cover the nutritional aspects. They debunk the myth that babies need cow's milk. "What's true is that cow's milk is specifically designed to efficiently grow...a baby cow." 'Nuff said. Cow's milk increases the tendency for tonsillitis, runny stuffy noses, and ear infections. Then they review all of the nondairy milks and provide a chart of plant-based foods that are a good source of calcium.  They continue this same approach for cheese, butter, ice cream, eggs, and meat -- providing sound advice and alternatives.

They review how to have a healthy diet based on plant-based foods, then talk about typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices. Lastly,  they review all of the foods that should be stocked in your kitchen in order to make cooking easier. This includes nondairy milk, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, condiments, and spices.

Finally, they get into the recipes. As I was looking through the recipes, it seemed like they tried to include mostly easy-to-make recipes. They all seemed fairly simple. With the changing seasons, I've been in a soup mood lately so the first one I tried was the Tomato Soup with Israeli Couscous. It was delicious. This Middle Eastern-inspired soup had a veggie stock base with chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, mint and cilantro with Israeli couscous. Chris remarked that it was one of the best things I'd ever made!

Then, I tried the Minestrone. This Italian soup was loaded with celery, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, cannellini beans, zucchini, kale, and pasta. In the end, I wished I had used more squash instead of potatoes as Mayim suggested because it was a very heavy soup. But, regardless, it was delicious and I ate it all week long for lunch!

Mayim's Vegan Table provides sound nutritional advice for anyone looking to switch to a more plant-based way of eating. And if you are already vegan, you might learn a thing or two anyway. Mayim and Jay break down everything so it is easy to understand and the recipes are easy to make too. I think this is a great book for parents seeking to understand the nutritional aspects of plant-based diets and find easy recipes to make with their family.

Full Disclosure: Although the book was provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

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