Whether you call it flexitarian, part-time veganism, or vegetable-centric, the plant-based, real-food approach to eating introduced in Bittman’s New York Times bestselling book VB6 has helped countless people regain their good health, control their weight, and forge a smarter, more ethical relationship with food. VB6 does away with the hard and fast rules, the calorie-counting, and the portion control of conventional diets; it’s a regimen that is designed to be easy toa dopt and stick to for a lifetime.
When Bittman committed to a vegan before 6:00 pm diet, he quickly realized that everything about it became easier if he cooked his own meals at home. In The VB6 Cookbook he makes this proposition more convenient than you could imagine. Drawing on a varied and enticing pantry of vegan staples strategically punctuated with “treat” foods (including meat and other animal products), he has created a versatile repertoire of recipes that makes following his plan simple, satisfying, and sustainable.
Breakfasts, the most challenging meal of the day for some vegans, are well represented here, with a full range of hot cereals, whirl-and-go-dairy free smoothies, toast toppers, and brunch-worthy entrees. Lunches include hearty soupls, sandwiches, beans, grains, and pastas to pack along wherever the day takes you, and more than a dozen snack recipes provide the perfect afternoon pick-me-up to banish the vending-machine cravings that can undo a day of eating well. Dinners are flexitarian, focusing on vegetable-forward meals that are augmented by a range of animal products for fullest flavor, satisfaction, and nutrient density. A chapter devoted entirely to “building blocks”–make-ahead components you mix and match–ensures that a flavorful and healthy meal is never more than a few minutes away.
If you’ve thought of trying a vegan diet but worry it’s too monotonous or unfamiliar, or simply don’t want to give up foods you love to eat, Bittman’s vegan and flexitarian recipes will help you cook your way to a new, varied and quite simply better way of eating you can really commit to…for life.
The best part of this book is the flexibility of it. If you are a vegan, there are quick, easy recipes for you to follow and enjoy. If you are an omnivore looking to increase your vegetable consumption while eating healthier overall, there are recipes for you to follow and enjoy. This is apparently a companion cookbook to go along with Bittman’s Vegan Before 6 diet book. I haven’t read that book, but I found that he shared enough information in the first part of the cookbook that I had a good understanding of his lifestyle plan.
The thing I look for the most when I read a new cookbook is whether or not I can make the recipes with stuff I already have in my kitchen. It is always disheartening to read a delicious-sounding recipe and then know that I have to make a special trip to the market just to get specialty ingredients. Since I am new to the area of vegan eating/cooking, I thought for sure that I would have to make an extensive shopping list to try out the recipes. I was thrilled to discover that most of the recipes featured items or products that I already have.
The only criticism I have about the book or the recipes in it is that the majority of the recipes have added sugar in the form of maple syrup. With a strong family history of diabetes, I would have liked to see more recipes that were sugar-free. However, for most people, I don’t think the addition of maple sugar would be an issue.
If you are curious about exploring vegan eating for health reasons, but still enjoy your meat, this cookbook/eating guide offers the best of both worlds. The food lists are easy to remember and utilize and I think this book would help anyone make an easy transition to a more healthy lifestyle.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.