3 out of 4 stars
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We don't just eat lettuce by Allyn Raifstanger is a short book with easy vegan recipes for carnivores, as stated by the author. The book starts with the story of why the author became vegan overnight and lists the health benefits he experienced. He clearly says that he is no doctor and has no medical background, so readers should contact their GP for any health questions. Allyn includes an extensive list of footnotes with references to publications where readers can find more information about the studies he mentions.
Already a few days after starting to eat vegan, Allyn noticed he had more energy, needed less medication to keep his cholesterol in check, and his weight stabilized at a healthy level. In contrast, beforehand, he was slightly overweight despite an active lifestyle and working out. With this book, the author wants to share his experience and motivate others to go for a healthier way of living and eating. He does not become preachy or glorifies the vegan lifestyle as the only alternative.
The first few chapters of the book did not speak to me, probably because the book is very US-oriented. I could not identify with the author's childhood memories of eating mostly pizza, mac and cheese, and other salty, greasy preparations. I also did not feel comfortable with some anecdotes he mentioned, such as offering children money to clean vegetables or curling weights while driving on the highway.
The easy recipes he writes out include a lot of canned food from US brands that are not available in European stores. I was also disappointed seeing recipes with just a bit of fresh food. For me, easy and fast does not necessarily equal opening a can even if this preserved food does not have a lot of added ingredients. Finally, I was disappointed to see very little concern for the environment, suggesting single-use plastic on several occasions. I would expect that someone concerned with health issues would recognize the danger of single-use plastic around food.
Allyn shares more recipes in the second half of the book. These focus on cooking from scratch, with fresh ingredients, and as such easier to prepare for those readers who do not have access to US supermarkets. There are a few recipes I look forward to trying, such as the watermelon and tomato salad, or the Brussels sprouts snacks. As for the motivational part, the book does the trick: I started my morning with some freshly cut fruits.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I think the book will appeal to US-based readers who want to try vegan recipes without spending hours in the kitchen.
We Don't Just Eat Lettuce!
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