Elevate Difference

This Crazy Vegan Life: A Prescription for an Endangered Species

I love meat. I love cheese. I love all things animal, and I've always believed that these foods are part of a healthy, balanced diet. I couldn't imagine becoming vegan, giving up all animal products completely. Veganism seemed like a quick road to malnutrition (how could you possibly get enough protein and calcium?), boredom (spinach again?), and overall weirdness. ("I'll have the soyburger with soy ketchup on a soy bun with soy fries.") Fortunately, Christina Pirello's This Crazy Vegan Life challenges all of these perceptions and shows how choosing a vegan lifestyle can improve health, energy, and wellness. 

The author begins by briefly sharing her powerful personal testimony; adopting a vegan lifestyle led to her recovery from a terminal form of leukemia. In addition, veganism has helped her to lose weight and feel better about her impact on the planet. Her energetic, passionate voice and real-life stories and advice make this book practical and engaging from cover to cover. 

The initial chapters are devoted to educating the reader, providing information on food and culture throughout history. The author presents startling statistics about the origin of foods we eat and the impact of these foods on our health, and shows how choosing healthy non-animal foods will benefit the reader and the planet. Veganism begins to sound not only appealing, but also intelligent, practical, and delicious. 

Common misperceptions about veganism are dispelled clearly and simply. For example, many people believe that eating a vegan diet is too expensive. The author points out that a pound of veal costs $7.99-$8.99, while a pound of tofu is just $1.49 and a pound of carrots is about $.89. It's hard to argue with that! 

After reading the first chapters, most people will be ready to give veganism a try. Fortunately, the author anticipated this, and included several very complete chapters about how to make the transition to the vegan lifestyle. She explains basic nutritional principles, such as different types of carbohydrates and fats, and how these work with a vegan diet. Readers learn how to make sure they're getting proper nutrition, and why seeking this nutrition through non-animal foods is healthier and safer than what most Americans are exposing themselves to through conventional foods. 

Lists of foods to stock in your pantry and refrigerator are included, along with a twenty-one-day menu plan. Over 100 recipes for delicious dishes (even desserts!) will help the new vegan approach meal preparation with confidence and know-how. A chapter on exercise provides an illustrated resistance band workout and ideas for other forms of healthy movement. 

By the end of This Crazy Vegan Life, I was chomping at the bit to try some new recipes and give up animal products in my diet. Thanks to Christina Pirello, I'm on my way to a healthier, more natural, more energetic life.

Written by: Amanda Moss, February 20th 2009

It's really positive to hear that this book is accessible for omnivores.At the same time, I hope this book also talks about two important aspects of veganism: an anti-speciesist approach to respecting our animal friends, as well as how relative the cheapness of a meat-free diet can be. Veganism is a healthy choice for many reasons, but it is also one that will hopefully make people - vegans and non-vegans alike - consider how much we oppress animals to casually consume them once people start to consider food sources and consumption in a different way. Moreover, products like tofu aren't as widely available as we'd all like to believe, and a lot of vegan dietary choices are made within privileged socioeconomic structures. People without access to fresh produce, for example, cannot just jump on the animal-free bandwagon. I hope these nuances were discussed more carefully than it sounds. I'm always very happy to see that we review a solid array of vegan books on FR. Like many things though, veganism is not a one-dimensional concept. I just hope the privilege in this book is challenged/questioned.

In that case, I am all for This Crazy Vegan Life and give Christina Pirello mad, mad props!!Any books that sells veganism must be amazing.I'm happy to read that, Amanda, and hope that you enjoy being vegan.I highly, highly recommend the chocolate bomb cake recipe on theppk.com. Oh, gawd, what a scrumptious cake!!! It is heaven.