The Backyard

The Backyard

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Book Review - This Crazy Vegan Life

From Publishers Weekly

Dairy products should be illegal, proclaims leukemia survivor and Emmy Award–winner Pirello (Cooking the Whole Foods Way), giving readers a good idea of this crusader's uncompromising stance on the current state of the food industry, our environment and the need for change. Host of the public television series Christina Cooks and a noted authority on vegetarian cooking, Pirello studied with macrobiotic diet pioneer Michio Kushi and has eaten vegan for more than 20 years. The first section of the book grounds readers in vegan principles, arguing the case from a variety of perspectives (health, humanitarian, economic, environmental). Her plan for making the transition from standard American fat- and sugar-laden convenience foods to regularly scheduled whole-food meals consists of a 21-day, two-phase detoxification and weight-loss program, with tips on stress reduction and living more consciously, and a whole-body fitness regime (cardio, strength training and flexibility). Having beat leukemia and completed her first triathlon at age 51, Pirello is strong on setting intentions and achieving goals. With her, readers have a tireless, reliable guide to going vegan, and the many recipes she offers for delicious vegan meals will make foregoing meat easy.

What attracted me to this one was her 20+ years as a vegan and the fact she bases her health and healing from leukemia on her food lifestyle. I also liked the idea of following the 21-day detox/weight-loss program because it takes 20 days to change habits, and I'm thinking if I followed her plan, I'd be total vegan in 21 days! Well... when I got the book and saw her plan involves cooking up some exotic foods that I don't think can be found anywhere but in her hometown of NYC, I nixed the 21-day diet idea. She also recommends a vegetable drink that I'm not sure I could drink -- daikon (I had to look that one up -- its a japanese, long white radish), carrots, and some other exotic plum and mushrooms that she claims (and I don't doubt her) WILL detox your system and help fat loss. But the rest of the book was good and helped me understand the vegan life much more. Her section on meat, eggs, dairy and why we shouldn't eat/drink those products I found informative and believeable (dairy especially - oh the processing and fats!). And eggs? Well, I love my free-range chicken eggs, but it IS an egg of a species and every species has an egg -- a life. If I were to get chickens, I don't think I could eat the eggs -- I'd be taking their babies -- and couldn't do it. So I may be cured of the need to eat eggs too at this point. I haven't had dairy in just about 2 months and no desire to do so. For the number of exotic ingredient-recipes, there are equal "normal" local foods too cook up. But they are indexed oddly -- by the name of the recipe, not the ingredient. So its difficult to find a recipe to use up your oatmeal. (BTW, she calls oatmeal, porridge. That took me a while to figure out too!). Would I recommend? Maybe -- if you are looking for unsual recipes and learn more about vegan cooking, yes. If you want local vegan foods and cooking, no.


The Wiser Weiser said...

guess what???!!! i read this book last week and am experimenting with eating vegan and hope to do so for the month of april---i don't think i could ever give up meat and we get local grassfed stuff anyways! i would like to learn about "local vegan" as well...i love eating this way! i feel great and the food is sooooo good!! :) (Oh yeah, had a discussion with your hero, vegan rob, at MACDC on Sunday!)

Chili said...

You're my new best vegan friend. WElcome to the wide world of veganism!