I received a copy of this cookbook for review directly from the publisher. What a fun surprise! I love new cookbooks, especially vegan ones, and especially ones that might not have piqued my interest otherwise.
This is one of those cookbooks that follows some pretty extreme "plant based" rules. I follow enough rules, just being vegan. I thank goodness everyday that I don't have a wheat, nut, or soy allergy!
But there are lots of different reasons for going vegan. And one of those reasons is for health, whether that be curing disease or losing weight. More power to 'em. That's just not me. I've played around with vegetarianism for ethical reasons since high school. (I even did an oral report with a friend about animal experimentation and exploitation which included a 'zine style handout for the class, and The Smith's "Meat is Murder" playing in the background as the soundtrack, in my 9th grade English class.) And have been a full fledged ethical vegan for, I think, about 9 years now.
But back to this book. It is not written for the ethical vegan. In fact the word "vegan" doesn't appear anywhere on the cover! This book's target audience is the person looking to "lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and prevent (or even reverse!) chronic conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes." It says so right on the back cover. And all of this can be done if you follow a "plant based" diet. That being said, I am all for anything that gets people to stop eating living creatures. So, there's that.
Now on to the premise of the recipes. This book falls into the SOS category; No added Salt, no added Oil, no added Sugar. If you follow this blog, or even know me a little bit, you know, this is not how I regularly cook, and not how I regularly eat. I've tried it. I came up with a recipe here and there on my own (I am a cookbook author after all!) and I even try to incorporate at least one SOS meal or dish every day. And, full disclosure here, I work for Whole Foods Market, and we provide not only a ton of information on eating this way, via the Health Starts Here program, but we also cook and serve a lot of food this way. Just tonight, we hosted a buffet serving only SOS foods. I have attended several workshops lead by the amazing and talented Derek Sarno, and I really can appreciate the challenge of coming up with tasty foods that meet these criteria. I've even attended a workshop by Dr. Joel Furhman himself. So, I am quite well versed in the science behind it, as well as the rules and techniques for eating and cooking this way. Yet again, I digress...
Forks Over Knives the Cookbook is well written, and packed full of recipes. Over 300 of them! So there is certainly value in this heavy tome. And as I read the book (in the bubble bath as I do with every new cookbook) I did bookmark a few recipes I probably will put into regular rotation at my house. The Cauliflower Bechamel looks amazing, and Cuban Style Black Beans with Cilantro Rice will certainly become a quick favorite around here. And if you are looking for a cookbook that will help you to eat this way, you won't go wrong here. The food presented here is pretty, and colorful, and full of veggies, grains, and beans. It is a very good cookbook. Del Sroufe did a fantastic job at providing a wide variety of clean recipes made with simple ingredients, with lots of options for every meal of the day. And lucky for us, the entire dessert chapter was written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, so we know those are good! There was a printing snaffoo which led to typos in about 30 of the recipes, but thankfully, the publisher's have already released the corrected version in ebook form, and the link to the errata page is here.
I believe each and every vegan has a right to eat the way they want to. If you choose to eat without added sugar, oil, or salt, go for it. Just don't berate me, or tell me I'm unhealthy, because I enjoy a bit of Daiya on my vegan grilled cheese. I believe that food is not only fuel, but also a source of great pleasure. Want a vegan cookie? Have one! Like some Vegenaise on your white bread Tofurkey sandwich? By all means! As long as it is vegan, and doesn't hurt anyone or anything, than I'm okay with it.