Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Vegan for Her: The Woman's Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet

Rate this book
Can you meet your calcium needs if you’re only eating plant-based foods? Is a vegan pregnancy safe? What about the link between soy foods and breast cancer? How does a plant-based diet affect weight loss, aging, and fertility? In Vegan for Her, dietitian Virginia Messina tackles the issues most pertinent to women who follow or who are considering a vegan diet, and JL Fields provides health-supportive recipes and tips for taking your veganism beyond the plate. With specific guidance on meeting women’s unique nutritional needs throughout the lifecycle and information about food choices that relate to many health concerns, Vegan for Her is a practical and realistic guide to making sure your plant-based diet is as healthy as it can be.

382 pages, Paperback

First published July 9, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Ginny Messina

9 books127 followers
Interests: books, animals, my cats, your cats, all other cats, gardening, piano, vintage 1930s-40s textiles, animal rights, vegan knitting, vegan cooking.

Favorite books: My "always and forever" favorites: the Betsy-Tacy books, Jane Austen, Fannie Flagg, I Capture the Castle, Lonesome Dove, To Kill a Mockingbird.

I'm a dietitian and public health nutritionist, specializing in vegan nutrition. I share vegan and vegetarian info through my blog (http://www.TheVeganRD.com) and online columns for Suite101.com and as the Seattle Vegan Examiner.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
228 (35%)
4 stars
241 (37%)
3 stars
142 (21%)
2 stars
28 (4%)
1 star
10 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,764 reviews1,220 followers
July 10, 2013
5 stars and not a smidgen less. I’d give it more than 5 stars if I could. This book exceeded my high expectations. This is a must read book for vegan women, vegan interested women, and anyone who cares about plant based nutrition.

I will keep it in a convenient place for easy reference, and I intend to frequently refer to it.

This is a marvelous book, so engaging, so informative, so well organized, and it is fun to read. The two authors have written their own distinct sections, but reading this book is a seamless experience. It’s well written and never dull.

I’m a long time vegan (over 25 years since I started my journey and was vegetarian more than a decade before that) and have read extensively about nutrition, starting as a kid because of weight issues and general interest, and in my twenties because of my vegetarianism, including reading Ginny’s professional dietetics books, and I’ve taken college level nutrition classes, yet I learned several things brand new to me and appreciated being updated on other subjects that have new information since I last read about them; some of the research is fairly new. I really appreciate that Ginny cares what’s scientifically valid and what isn’t, and there are numerous references that back up the information imparted.

This is an especially superb book for new vegans and those who are vegan interested, and those who just want to add more plant foods to their diets.

This book addresses the needs of adult women, yet I think family members and friends who are male or adolescents/kids can get a lot from it too as some things are universal, and everybody can enjoy the included recipes.

I highly recommend reading this book cover to cover as I did, but there is an excellent list on pages 315-316, and it summarizes things well, and can serve as a quick reminder of some key points made.

I like how Ginny starts right off with animal rights/suffering, as do both Ginny & J.L. in their meaningful dedication.

I’m going to have to “bookmark”/remember the calorie formula on page 104, and make use of it depending on how much activity I’m getting, and regarding my age range as that also changes.

I love “the plant plate” and this it’s so much better and more easily understood than any food pyramid or other variation I’ve seen – a colored one on the website http://veganforher.com/ at http://veganforher.com/2013/06/05/the... is particularly pretty.

I’m so appreciative of the “weight” chapter. There are too many books out now encouraging people to go vegan only for reason of a promised weight loss. Most of the information here was not new to me, but a fair amount was. I wish I’d known this information and these tips decades ago, but so much are newly found facts and some is still conjecture. I’m glad so much research has been done and is being done, and I appreciate so much of its inclusion here. Even some of the described techniques I’ve found over the years to be of limited value, I think most women are likely to find them of great value, and my guess is that everyone can find at least some helpful to them. There is so much good and fascinating information included here.

I was fascinated to read about the research that finds that some people may be hardwired for compassion. Several of my ethical vegan friends and I have had discussions over the years about how we feel different in some definite but unspecified way from others we know and love, who love us, who are wonderful people, who often have a strong moral sense, but who are not vegan, even though they know about the reasons we’ve chosen this lifestyle. We’ve been puzzled at the “difference” we’ve perceived, and I’m eager to have my likeminded friends read this book and then have further discussions with them.

There is a particularly good list of resources especially for new vegans and the vegan interested though the http://veganforher.com/ site is not listed; I think it’s new since the book was completed. The section is a handy resource even for those of us already familiar with them.

I did decide to read all the extensive references (pages 321-365!!!) and both indexes, so I read every word of this book. I almost didn’t read the references as I trust implicitly trust Ginny and could tell the book was well researched. I didn’t read the references notes as I read the book as it would have interrupted the flow of what was really interesting narrative, even though I usually do read notes in books as I read along, going from the page I’m on to the back of the book, back and forth. Here, it was more enjoyable to just read the book without those interruptions. The indexes are good, and I was thrilled to see that there are multiple ways to find the recipes in the recipe index.

My only quibble with the otherwise first-rate book Vegan for Life was that maybe it made eating vegan healthfully sound just a tad more difficult than it is, though omnivores have to pay attention to nutrition too but often just don’t know it. I like this book even better (and I did love that book) because the suggestions here seem even clearer and also more familiar to anyone who’s ever paid attention to nutrition and diet.

The recipes are divided into sections: Breakfast; Salads, Sides, and Dips; Soups and Chili; Sandwiches and Burgers; Pizza and Pasta; Hearty Entrees; Dessert

Since I rarely exactly follow recipes, I appreciate that Fields encourages experimentation and deviations. There is a wonderful and very useful introduction to the recipe section. And, most importantly, the recipes’ ingredients follow the recommendations made in the nutrition sections.

I have to say up front that I’m a picky eater and there are many foods I don’t like, including ones that appear in some of the recipes, ingredients that most eaters probably do like, including vinegar, coconut, mustard, vegan bacon, vegan mayonnaise, capers, sundried tomatoes, vegan chicken-style seasoning and broth, dulse flakes, tempeh, soy curls, tvp, vital wheat gluten, Tofurky “ground beef style” (or any style Tofurky), seitan, vegan sour cream, etc. so it’s actually amazing how many of the included recipes appeal to me:

In Breakfasts: the Creamy Vegetable Breakfast Casserole, Silky Strawberry Smoothie, and “Ice Cream” for Breakfast

In Salads, Sides, and Dips: Mediterranean Beans with Grains, Nutty Quinoa and Cherry Salad (and I would make it with the black beans!), Brazil Nut and Almond Paté, the Tangy Tomato Dressing, and the Cashew-Almond Orange Dressing

In Soups and Chili (my favorite section, I think): Easy Tofu Pumpkin Soup, Creamy Kale Miso Soup, Portobello Mushroom and Barley Soup, and Lentil and Millet Chili

nothing for me in Sandwiches and Burgers because the recipes heavily rely on vegan meats

in Pizza and Pasta: Spinach Bow Tie Pasta Salad, Socca Pizza, and Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Pizza

In Hearty Entrees: the Quinoa-Millet Veggie Bowl, and 3 of the Tofu dishes (but with lemon or lime or other citrus juice in place of the vinegar)

and none of the 3 desserts (no chocolate is the main reason)

Other readers and cooks, especially those who enjoy vegan meats (or animal flesh meats) will likely enjoy many more of the recipes, and the ones I’ve listed look scrumptiously delicious to me. All the recipes add immeasurably to this book.

One confusing thing: the recipe on page 258 has a description that doesn’t seem to match the recipe ingredients, an editing issue, I guess. At all the other recipes, the short introductory text for each, make the book more readable, more fun, and more interesting.


Part One: Going Vegan
1. Going Vegan: An Easy Transition
2. Vegan Nutrition: A Primer
3. Beyond Ingredients: One Healthy Diet

Part Two: Healthy Eating for All the Times of a Woman’s Life
4. Understanding Research on Vegan Diets and Women’s Health
5. Diet and Hormones Throughout a Woman’s Life
6. A Plant-Based Plan to Enhance Fertility
7. Growing New Vegans: Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
8. Powered by Plants: The Female Vegan Athlete

Part Three: Lifelong Health for Vegan Women
9. Health and Happiness Beyond the Scale
10. Healthy Aging
11. Preventing Breast Cancer
12. Eating for a Healthy Heart
13. Strong Bones for Life
14. Fighting Pain with Plant Foods
15. Controlling Diabetes
16. Feeling Good: Managing Stress and Depression
17. Veganism Beyond the Plate

Part Four: Recipes

List of Recipes

Metric Conversion Chart
Resources for Vegan Women
Appendix A: Be a Healthy Vegan Woman for Life
Appendix B: Food Sources of Nutrients That Are Important in Women’s Health
Recipe Index

Thank you to Ginny Messina for giving me an inscribed copy of this book, and thanks also to Da Capo Press who, in exchange for an honest review, provided copies to me, my co-creator and co-moderator of the Vegan Cooking & Cookbooks group and in addition provided a copy for a giveaway to our group members.

So, I now own two copies, which means I have an extra copy for lending out. I actually recommend owning your own copy, and that might be cheaper for those of you not local because of shipping costs, but if you would like to look at it first, and/or if you can’t afford to purchase the book and if your local library doesn’t have it, I’m happy to lend you my extra copy. My preference is to first lend it out to local people, and then long distance people, and I’d love it that if you borrow the book from me you review it here at Goodreads, and also on any blogs & other sites where you write book reviews, if applicable. Just pm me and ask if you are interested.
Profile Image for K.
119 reviews6 followers
March 27, 2015
A good read for women who are new to veganism. The author presents what appears to be a balanced view of nutrition in light of recent research. One remarkable feature is the discussion of research methods in the early chapters. This simple discussion clarifies why some studies are sound and why others are not - typically a good foundation for reading any book that espousing the benefits and weaknesses of particular nutritional approaches. While the recipes at the end are fine, they are by no means trailblazing. The intent, I think, is to provide fast and easy options for those who either do not embrace cooking or those who are too busy to spend time preparing meals. As with any book, take the parts that work for you and leave the others behind. This is one of the only books available that speaks specifically to the unique vegan nutritional needs of women across the lifespan, so for that reason alone it is a good read.
Profile Image for Amy.
84 reviews4 followers
August 5, 2017
Having recently discovered a few health concerns, I thought it best to purchase a few solid nutrition books, and Vegan for Her by dietitian Virginia Messina was one of them. It provided precise and comprehensive recommendations for all women in our varied phases in life in a simple, to the point, easy to digest writing style. What I liked best what that Messina wasn't trying to "sell" veganism as the best, cure all diet, she was realistic in presenting the possible issues that may develop if not careful (B12, Calcium, Omega 3s). I also liked that she presented the current research in plant-based food nutrition, and the pros and cons of that type of research.
One star off? I hate to admit it, it's more for the fact that I disagree with a few of her recommendations. She down plays gluten sensitivities, and she recommends consumption of vegan processed foods (for ease of use). I think those processed foods is what caused my few diet related health issues (too much sugar, salt, and simple empty carbs). To be fair Messina does suggest consuming processed foods minimally, but I would suggest not at all. Whole plant foods is best, and can still be simple. My fave whole plant food sources are Joel Fuhrman (his new Eat to Live Quick & Easy cookbook is amazing) and Dr. Gregor (nutritionfacts dot org).
This book was great for her common sense recommendations, recommend for all female vegans!
Profile Image for Kristin.
242 reviews
February 12, 2016
This book is an excellent reference book for plant-based/vegan women. Part one is filled with clear, concise information on how to construct a healthy vegan diet. The first two chapters of part two create the basis to understand the rest of the information in the book. The remaining chapters in parts two and three cover dietary needs for specific situations.

The writing style is a little dry, but the information is well-presented and easy to understand. It is not a "diet" book and it never reads like one. There are no gimmicks or cutesy banter, no dogmatic forbidding of entire (vegan) food categories, just solid, well-balanced information. It isn't really necessary to read it cover-to-cover. You can read the first five chapters and then skip around to those that apply to your life or interest you.

There are the obligatory recipes at the end, but there wasn't much there that excited me. If you are looking for a cookbook, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a well-researched reference book on vegan nutrition, this is exactly what you want.
Profile Image for Cat.
339 reviews41 followers
March 28, 2016
Vegan for Her is thorough and accessible. It's unlike a lot of other "popular" books on veganism and food politics in that it's well-documented with citations throughout to back up Messina's claims. It makes a difference when you're able to trace arguments and claims back to studies and vetted research. I loved the break down of the chapters, the resource guide (with resources beyond food), and recipes. I also appreciate that Messian reiterates throughout the need to keep everything in perspective - it's hard to make this change overnight, but you do the best you can, keep learning, don't let minor upsets send you back to square one, and gradually the compassionate lifestyle you're after becomes second nature and doesn't seem like a chore. This mindset seems to be missing from a lot of literature on veganism, which often takes an "all or nothing" approach. Definitely recommend for anyone interested in learning more about this lifestyle!
Profile Image for Liana.
27 reviews25 followers
January 30, 2018
Ginny Messina writes in a logical and well-researched way. Barely a sentence went by without citing a reputable scientific source, but at the same time, this book was not dry or difficult to take in. She is also refreshingly unbiased; she will not frame the case for veganism by attacking the choices of omnivores in attempt to strengthen the case for veganism (nor does she dwell on the horrible circumstances that millions of farmed animals endlessly endure). Rather, she presents clear cut evidence for both eating approaches and fairly compares many aspects of different eating choices, while listing numerous recipes and valuable pieces of advice to encourage a stress-free, plant-based approach to eating throughout all life stages. Packed with information and inspiration, I am so glad I came across this book on my own vegan journey.
Profile Image for Leigh Matthews.
Author 5 books90 followers
September 2, 2013
A highly accessible and informative book, with a good measure of intelligence and sense sorely lacking in many others in the field. Great for vegans, aspiring vegans, and nonvegans alike, as well as for those who aren't women as there's plenty of general health info here and some great recipes in the last section of the book.

Read it, buy a copy for a friend, leave a copy on transit - pass on the astonishing news that, hey, veganism isn't impossibly difficult, can be healthy at all stages of life, and is about more than just health and food.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
Author 2 books13 followers
June 16, 2016
This is a really informative book regarding nutrition for vegan ladies. It also dives a little into vegan living that doesn't involve food as well. Much of the information I kind of already knew as I am a health care professional and have been vegan for 4 years. I love to do nutrition research so much of the information wasn't new to me. However, I still found it fabulous and is an excellent read for anyone. I recommended it to my non-vegan girlfriends, one being a registered dietician whom I thought would be very interested in it.
Profile Image for Laura JC.
222 reviews
October 25, 2017
Excellent and concise presentation of the vegan diet and lifestyle. Besides nutrition information and details on how to maintain good health, the authors talk about applying vegan principles to other consumer products. Especially helpful to me is the section called "When Being a Vegan is Stressful" - how not to despair when the world around us is not vegan.
I look forward to using the many recipes, which look tasty and easy.
Thanks to both authors.
Profile Image for Andrea.
36 reviews6 followers
February 6, 2015
This guide was very informative - I wish it had been around when I went vegan three years ago, since it deals with many misconceptions and important issues that women going vegan should be aware of. I especially enjoyed her cautionary word on protein - so often we are questioned about the source of protein, so we become hyperaware of what we are eating. But too much protein is not a good thing either! Ginny made it all very clear and accesible
Profile Image for Marissa Lawton.
144 reviews5 followers
February 10, 2014
I think this book is an amazing resource for women. Women have such special needs and a diet change can help so much! They have some amazing recipes in here as well. Ginny and JL are such strong vegan women and awesome role models. I highly recommend to anyone looking to get a grip on their health and future.
Profile Image for Andreas Michaelides.
Author 40 books19 followers
April 18, 2016
This book is amazing, it shows you step by step what you need to do to thrive on a plant based diet as a woman.
It proves that a plant based diet does work for women and is practical and sustainable.
Highly recommended to all women that want to have a healthier life and also a healthier life for their future kids or for the kids they already have.

479 reviews3 followers
March 25, 2017
A very dry read. Lots of pertinent information and data is presented in a very boring way. Still, I did find much of it interesting. The recipes at the back of the book are very basic, so good for a beginner or one that doesn't cook much. But I was not inspired to try a single one. This is a good resource book, but it will not go on my shelf. If I need the information I can always check this book out at the library at a future date.
Profile Image for Hannah.
16 reviews
April 16, 2021
This book is amazing! It is so informative & definitely a must-read if you are a vegan woman that wants to know more about what you need to do to thrive on a plant-based diet. Even if you aren’t vegan, there is so much good information that every woman should know about how to have a healthy, balanced diet through all stages of life. I will definitely be holding on to this book for when I want to reference it.
Profile Image for Jade.
5 reviews
June 7, 2022
An excellent resource for women of all ages at any stage of veganism. The writing and content was evidence based, well researched and properly cited, and health (not diet) oriented. I appreciated the time taken to differentiate this book from a diet book and explain the plant based way of eating as a guide to health not weight loss or aesthetic. I annotated my way through it, and I look forward to using it as a resource for many years to come!
116 reviews
August 14, 2020
This 12-year vegan figured it was time for a refresher! 5 stars for the info, 3 stars for the recipes. If you are a new vegan and these recipes don't appeal to you, don't be put off! There are tons of other healthy vegan recipes and chefs, and you'll find others that fit your tastes.
Profile Image for Natalie.
103 reviews2 followers
January 2, 2021
Really enjoyed the positive, encouraging tone of the book and the practical advice for eating a balanced diet. I like how it broke down different meals and food categories. It is a good resource for meal planning and I hope to make some of the recipes as well.
Profile Image for Nadia Hakim.
120 reviews
September 10, 2022
Lots of ifs, buts, and maybes used throughout this one, and I was craving some concrete facts. Though, I appreciate her transparency with “there isn’t enough research on X” and the wide range of topics covered.
Profile Image for Molly.
Author 20 books7 followers
March 9, 2017
Solid book with a lot of science backed plant based nutrition info.
Profile Image for Rosie.
109 reviews5 followers
September 6, 2018
reading books aimed at cis women is always a bit uncomfortable, but the book never has the "AS ALL WE WOMEN KNOW" vibe. And it's quite good! Meticulous about sourcing and impecabbly organized.
Profile Image for Ági.
139 reviews
January 1, 2019
A good New Year's resolution - to be more conscious about how I eat what I eat. :)
Profile Image for Nussumiyoko.
21 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2020
beneficial. a good resource.
recipe part is not so much helpful for me personally.
good and inspiring message
Profile Image for Farrell.
497 reviews
August 11, 2020
I always love being reminded about staying on track & what I need to be the healthiest. Great info specified to women about being plant-based.
Profile Image for Abigail Jane.
1 review
September 18, 2020
Great informative book on eating a more balanced vegan diet. Could easily apply to other diets as well!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.