I really enjoyed the conversational, common sense tone of this book. The author's voice is very humorous and engaging, and the information is well preI really enjoyed the conversational, common sense tone of this book. The author's voice is very humorous and engaging, and the information is well presented too! This is definitely a book I would recommend to someone interested in learning more about plant-based eating - it is really accessible and enjoyable to read as well as being very persuasive. ...more
I enjoyed this delicate and thoughtful biography of a very complex and private woman whose own accounts of her life seemed to have been more fiction tI enjoyed this delicate and thoughtful biography of a very complex and private woman whose own accounts of her life seemed to have been more fiction than fact and who combined impeccable taste with ... well, some very questionable views and a lot of bitchiness! Although nothing earth shattering, I thought this biography was sympathetic without whitewashing. ...more
The idea of becoming a full-time (even part-time) vegan can seem pretty daunting to someone "enjoying" the standard American diet! This little book isThe idea of becoming a full-time (even part-time) vegan can seem pretty daunting to someone "enjoying" the standard American diet! This little book is full of very helpful and pragmatic suggestions for making incremental changes in that direction. I really enjoyed the author's nonjudgmental and helpful tone, and her approach to cooking, with basic "templates" that you can vary in different ways, fits with my general improvisational approach to preparing food (although I have not tried any of her recipes yet, I look forward to doing so).
On a more basic level, this book reminds you that if you want to go plant-based, you're going to need to eat a LOT of starches, whole grains, and legumes. A lot more than you're probably used to. The reason you still feel hungry after a kale salad with veggies is that it's not enough food! Folks used to eating more calorie dense foods need this critical reminder. When I first started trying to go plant-based, I felt hungry a lot. The realization that I needed to eat more legumes as well as increase my portions was critical to feeling good. Once I sorted that out, I started feeling a lot more energetic and satisfied. Portion-control is just different on a totally plant-based diet. This is the kind of practical help you need when you are trying out this approach.
The author recommends a whole-foods plant-based diet that does not include any added oils - that last bit feels a bit extreme to me at this point in time, but of course, it is easy to add oils back into recipes, and learning to cook with *less* oil is definitely something I am interested in. I really liked her general approach - instead of focusing on cutting foods out, focus on crowding out the animal products and processed foods with more and more vegetables, legumes and whole grains. I feel like everyone could benefit from this approach, no matter what their dietary goals or ideals. Her tone is very nonjudgmental, making this a good book to read even for someone who is just trying to introduce more plant-based foods into their diet, without cutting out meat or dairy.
Her approach to going more plant-based is really practical for families as well, and gave me good ideas for cooking for my husband and kids. Overwhelm at my family's picky eating habits had long been one of my favorite excuses for not eating as well as I would like, so this is a big deal. It is simple enough - start with plant-based foods you know that everyone likes, prepare lots of them, and work slowly from there to introduce more healthy foods onto the plate, using the "crowd out" approach. She breaks the process down into baby steps, valuing progress over perfection, in a way that I found very refreshing and relaxed. With her approach, change actually seems possible. (Although we shall see, right?) In any event, change has to start with me.
Since I have been reading so much about going plant-based or vegan lately, I can't help but notice that a lot of the writing on the subject seems impossibly perfectionist and, well, a little uptight or crazy-seeming! Ahem! Of course, this is the reputation that vegans have in mainstream culture, and a lot of it is deserved! It's too bad because of course, even the healthy cultures that were the subject of the studies and science that support a plant based lifestyle eat small amounts of animal products on feast days. There may be many benefits to going completely vegan, but you're still healthier if you eat more plants and less meat - it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Mark Bittman is a good example of this approach.
This book is less like that, despite the no-oil recipes, and feels much more welcoming of real life and imperfections. There was nothing amazing about the writing style, but I came away from this book inspired and feeling capable of making some practical changes to my eating style. Recommended to anyone who would like to eat better but doesn't know where to begin. ...more
I have known about this book for a long time, and actively avoided reading it because I thought it might make me want to become a vegan! Ha! Denial isI have known about this book for a long time, and actively avoided reading it because I thought it might make me want to become a vegan! Ha! Denial is a beautiful thing, people! Well, as I approach my 40th birthday, I feel more motivated to improve my health and maintain a healthy weight, and decided to finally tackle it. And I was not wrong, this book REALLY makes you want to give up (or at least drastically reduce) eating animal products. It would be fair to say it kinda scared my pants off. I am inspired to eat a lot more vegetables, for sure!
I have been vegan twice in my life already and vegetarian for the majority of my life, so I am not completely unfamiliar with the concept, although I must say, eating more plant based foods seems a lot easier and more appealing to me after a good 20 years of working on my cooking skills than it did in my early 20s. Learning to cook - it is a real thing, whether you cook vegetarian or mostly meat, experience reduces your fear or just rolling up your sleeves and getting in there, so to speak. In addition, the world has changed a lot since I was last vegan and it's a lot more easy to forego animal products in San Francisco today than it was when I was in college.
I told my 20-something brother, who said "I don't think 'Death by Dairy' sounds that bad ... ", just wait until YOU are older and realize you are actually mortal! LOL! It's not so much the "death" part - that's as inevitable as taxes - as the prospect of battling chronic disease that motivates me at this point in my life, something that didn't concern me nearly as much in my 20s. Seriously, I think this is a book to pick up when you are ready for it. If you still think you're immortal, it may be too early in life to have its full effect. I had the pleasure of working with several strict vegetarians at my last job, and I noticed that although they never proselytized, they would loan this book to anyone who asked about their diet, and a surprising number of THOSE people would then start eating more vegetarian. Vegan diets were verging on a trend in my workplace, which is why I was curious about (and feared!) this book (no one pushed it on me). I hear that Bill Clinton, who adopted a plant-based diet post triple bypass - hands the book out to everyone as well. It's one of those books - potentially life-changing, even for good ol' boys from the South!
I know there is some debate out there about a plant-based diet, and I am not particularly interested in getting into that or defending the findings of this book. I think everyone in the nutritional world agrees that it's good to eat more vegetables, so I'll just start there. We'll see how this plays out!...more
This audiobook, read by the author (who just KILLS it with the voices, the "small print," everything) was a really enjoyable way to spend my commutes!This audiobook, read by the author (who just KILLS it with the voices, the "small print," everything) was a really enjoyable way to spend my commutes! I don't know why I don't listen to more humorous novels. Tina Fey is awesome, hilarious, on-point about sexism, and super smart. Now I have to go rewatch all of my favorite SNL skits! ...more
Delightful, fun little read. Not super substantial, but enjoyable for sure. I liked the Davis locale (ridiculously true to detail, I knew every restauDelightful, fun little read. Not super substantial, but enjoyable for sure. I liked the Davis locale (ridiculously true to detail, I knew every restaurant and cafe and location mentioned), and the characters were fun. The Austen connections were a bit far-fetched at times, and the "book club" conversations about her books did not dig particularly deep or look very hard. The result of that being that I actually liked Austen a little less through the eyes of these characters than I had before, which definitely wasn't the point of the book! Or perhaps that's realistic - I know a lot of people love Jane Austen novels simply because they love a good romance with a happy ending, and perhaps aren't digging very deep into other aspects of the books. But we all have our own "personal Jane Austen," right? So I would have liked a bit more meat on the bones here, but I had fun reading this little book. ...more
I really wanted to enjoy this memoir, since I want to learn more about what it's like to be on the autism spectrum from the perspective of people withI really wanted to enjoy this memoir, since I want to learn more about what it's like to be on the autism spectrum from the perspective of people with the diagnosis. And there were certainly parts of it that were fun and enjoyable and I made it all the way through. There were parts that sparkled with great description too. But then a lot of it felt annoying or like a slog. His dysfunctional family is downright painful to read about (although also quite colorful), and I just wanted that segment to end. I feel a little bad saying so, but I found aspects of his later life (working with KISS, for example) to be sort of uninteresting?! But I really enjoyed his descriptions of fatherhood and his final reconciliation with his dad - I think that's the best part of the book - and I am curious about his second memoir, which is more specifically about raising his son, also on the spectrum. This book did not blow me away or have a huge impact, but it did not waste my time by any means. ...more