Week two of Veganuary is over and I have stuck to the plan. So far it has been an interesting experience. By excluding old crutches in my diet I am rediscovering new foods which I had entirely forgotten about; mayonnaise has been swapped for mustard, cheese on toast for green smoothies and milk chocolate for its dark, bitter counterpart.
One common misconception that I have come across is that vegans and vegetarians are skinny and cannot put on weight. This is not the case and it is perfectly possible to gain weight on an animal free diet; chips and crisps are still vegan! To ensure I did not rely on unhealthy comfort food during this cold weather I selected Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz as my week two cookbook. Isa Chandra Moskowitz is a vegan activist, author and TV host, and her cookbooks are a staple source of recipes for most vegans. I opted to use Appetite for Reduction to ensure that I ate healthy, well-rounded vegan meals with plenty of fresh ingredients.
Appetite for Reduction is a fantastic cookbook for many reasons. Firstly there is a huge range of food featured in the recipes, so there will be something to please everyone. The range of food is evidenced in the chapters which are (take a deep breath), Full-On Salads, Totally Stuffed Sides, Rub-Your-Tummy Veggies, Main Event Beans, Sink-Your-Teeth into Tofu and Tempeh, Talk Pasta to Me (& Noodles), Soul-Satisfying Soups, Comfort Curries, Chills and Stews and the Elements of a Bowl. I particularly like the emphasis on pulses, which are cheap to purchase and easy to cook. One of my favourites is the recipe for the Chickpea Piccata. This combined two of my favourite things in the world; chickpeas and capers. It was a deliciously savoury dish and it made a nice change to always preparing chickpeas as a curry.
Just like Keep it Vegan the emphasis is on fresh ingredients which are easy to source and cook. Too often “low-fat foods” are just tiny portions of sauce with a few specks of vegetables; a recipe for malnutrition! The recipes in Appetite will instead leave you feeling satisfied and nourished. Take for example the Hottie Black-Eyed Peas and Greens which is packed full of yummy, healthy leafy greens such as kale and collards. But healthy does not have to mean plain or dull, this dish is delicious; especially when combined with the Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apple recipe. The smokiness of the peas and greens is matched perfectly with the sweetness of the apples and mash. A wonderful dish for cold January evenings.
Another addition that I really liked is the inclusion of nutritional information. Each recipe was checked by nutritionist Matt Ruscigno and the breakdown of the nutritional value of each meal is printed at the end of each one. Readers can see precisely how much of each nutrient is in each dish. The introduction also features a guide to vegan nutrition detailing sources of protein, iron, calcium, zinc, B12, and sodium. There is even a section which discusses why fat has a bad reputation, explaining the difference between “bad” and “good” fats. I feel this is important information, especially for new vegans and I really appreciated its inclusion.
A stated aim of Appetite is to provide recipes which are quick to cook, and most recipes can be cooked in less than thirty minutes. This is perfect if you do not have the time to spend hours at the stove during the week. The time saving continues with a handy metric conversion guide and guidance symbols for food intolerances and amount of time needed for preparation. One of my favourite mid-week meals is the Apple Miso Tofu. After some initial chopping and mixing, the dish can be popped in the oven and left to cook, allowing the reader to get on with mid-week chores. You are then rewarded with a lovely sweet tofu dish, something I personally had not sampled before. If you do try this recipe I strongly recommend you make it with the orange scented broccoli as the red pepper flakes cut through the sweet apples beautifully.
Appetite for Reduction is a great cookbook for anyone looking to loose or maintain weight, or for a healthy mid-week supper. The dishes are easy to cook and really, really tasty. After my week with the cookbook I can say that I will definitely use it again, the Mango BBQ Beans recipe is calling me. As an Irish woman I will have to try the recipe for Irish stew too, see how a vegan version matches the meaty ones of my childhood.
Have you tried this cookbook? If so what did you think? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.
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