Friday, July 23, 2010

The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook
by Neal Barnard, MD and Robyn Webb
Book Review, Recipe, and Giveaway!

It's a no-brainer: Wanna be healthy? Go vegan! But the truth is, it's very easy to eat an unhealthful vegan diet: Just load up on refined flour and sugar, oils, and heavily processed foods, and you'll be on the fast track to becoming an unhealthy vegan. Sadly, it's a mistake newbie vegans often make. Instead of embracing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, many seek to replace their unhealthful omnivorous diets with vegan versions of their favorite junk foods.

Now don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that there isn't a time and place for veggie burgers, non-dairy milk beverages, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. (Dear readers, you know how much I LOVE my coconut milk ice cream!) But to eat more healthfully, we need to choose whole, organic fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains as the centerpiece of our diets. And having a collection of plant-based recipes that offer us simple and delicious ways to prepare these foods is essential.

When I heard about Dr. Neal Barnard's latest book, The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook: 125 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Jump-Start Weight Loss and Help You Feel Great, it sounded like just the kind of book to get anyone started on the fast track to achieving and maintaining vibrant health. Turn to the very first page of the book, and you'll read, "This book holds the culinary secrets to lifelong health." It's a promise that was fulfilled in the pages that followed.

Let me share a few words about the book's authors: Dr. Neal Barnard has long been one of my heroes and a dear friend. A clinical researcher, prolific author, and founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), he has worked tirelessly for decades as an outspoken advocate for health, nutrition, and higher standards in research. Dr. Barnard is also president of The Cancer Project, a nonprofit organization advancing cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research. He generously provided the foreword to my first book, So, Now What Do I Eat? and was instrumental in helping me with the breast cancer prevention legislation I worked on in New Jersey back in the 80s.

Robyn Webb is an award-winning nutritionist, cookbook author and teacher, who has been a passionate advocate of cooking well and eating wisely for most of her life. Because of health problems within her own family, mostly notably diabetes, Robyn learned early on the importance of a balanced, healthful approach to eating. She is an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and serves currently as the past chairman of the Cooking Schools and Teachers section.

The bulk of the book contains simple recipes for eating healthfully and enjoying every bite. But it also includes many thoughtful tools that will help you revolutionize your kitchen and your life, easily and effortlessly. You'll learn the science behind making health-promoting food choices and how to make your foods fit your health and weight-loss goals. You'll discover all the essentials for stocking a vegan kitchen and even a recipe for making your own vegetable broth.

Many recipes include a wonderful little "Did You Know" sidebar, with tasty tidbits of information about the dish or one of its ingredients. I learned a lot of neat little culinary morsels from reading these boxes! For example, did you know that you can use your rice cooker to cook quinoa or that you can use chickpeas to make brownies? Nutritionals are thoughtfully provided for each recipe, and I noticed immediately that the recipes in this book are consistently low in fat and calories (even the desserts!) But after tasting several dishes, I quickly learned that they are also high in flavor!

Since in my mind, there are few foods more beautiful, sweet, rich, and juicy than fresh pineapple, the recipe for Tempeh Burgers with Pineapple Salsa caught my eye. The tempeh is first bathed in a tasty ginger-citrus marinade, then pan-seared and topped with a delightfully fresh and fruity pineapple and mango salsa.

Mixed Vegetable Curry with Whole Wheat Couscous blended together two of my favorite spices, coriander and cumin, with a medley of colorful vegetables. The little brown bits you see are zereshk, (European barberries), which are like tiny, sour, currants or grapes. They are high in vitamin C and added an interestingly sharp contrast to the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and carrots.

What I really liked about the Udon Noodles with Shiitake and Button Mushrooms is that this dish is quite tasty either hot or cold. And it's so simple and quick to prepare, you won't get overheated in your kitchen making this dish, even on a day as hot as the day I made this:

Following is the for recipe Udon Noodles with Shiitake and Button Mushrooms from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Press. Copyright © 2010.


1 8-oz package udon noodles
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbs black bean sauce
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 cup thinly sliced button mushroom caps
1/4 cup mirin
1 Tbs soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsp chopped toasted almonds


1. Cook udon noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat 1/4 cup broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Put in the garlic, onion, and black bean sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add the carrot and cook for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the mirin and cook until it evaporates.
4. Add the remaining 1 cup broth and the soy sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Gently add noodles and toss to combine.
5. Serve noodles topped with scallions and almonds.
Note: In the photo above, you'll notice that I added a cup of spinach and 1 cup of shelled edamame to the recipe.

The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook is the perfect book for anyone who wants to eat more healthfully and deliciously. It has become a cherished addition to my own collection of vegan cookbooks, and I will be buying many copies to give as gifts to family and friends. Right now, I have an extra copy of The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook to give away to one lucky reader*, who will be selected at random. To enter to win this wonderful book, please follow these three simple steps:

1. Follow this blog. (There's a link in the upper left corner of this page.)
2. Leave a comment on this post. (Receive an extra entry if you tell me what your motivation for becoming vegan or your inspiration for exploring a vegan diet is!)
3. Unless you know that I already have it, please include your email address in your comment, so that I can contact you when you win!

If you'd like to earn extra entries, you may do so by either tweeting about this contest or posting it to your facebook page with a link back to this post. Thank you for visiting, and good luck!

*Contest is open to all entrants with U.S. postal addresses.


Anonymous said...

Dang, girl, you always make the food look so delicious!!! I want that curry dish right now, but I'll happily settle for the udon. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Neal Barnard rocks, and I'd love to win a copy of this book!

peacefulvegan247 at aol dot com

Rikki Cupcake said...

I had heard about this book but wasn't very interested in it until reading your review, and seeing the photos of the food. I have been vegan for over two years now and I feel amazing. I was vegetarian for 10 years for animal rights reasons and when I started to learn more about the dairy industry I went vegan cold tofurkey. There will be no turning back! Thank you for your review!


Vegiegail said...

Cold tofurkey! I love it, Rikki!

Niveditha said...

This is such a wonderful giveaway...I am from India and a vegetarian too and am always in search of vegan recipes from around the world...This book could really help in the recipe choices that i make...

Niveditha said...

I am also a follower of ur blog through google...

Merrie Beth Samways said...

This new cookbook looks like just the thing to help me make the jump from vegetarian to vegan! Moreover, it seems like it provides an amazing blueprint for making the leap to overall healthier eating and sensible weight loss! Love the Udon Noodle and Mushroom recipe-perfect for a day like today.....HOT!.... I can't wait to try it!!! : )

ariel said...

When I first read about this book, I was really not interested! But, you make it sound like something I have to have.


Tanya said...

I SO want this book! It looks great. I started eating a vegan diet about 10 months ago, to try and lose more weight and become healthier...mostly lowering my cholesterol(it worked!!). Thanks for sharing that recipe, it looks delicious :)

I follow you already. Don't know if we're supposed to leave separate comments, but I'll go tweet about this now! (twitter: @tanyatheviolist)

Angel said...

I have been vegan for the last ten years. When I learned how animals are treated to become the food on our plates, I could no longer bring myself to eat them. My mom was recently diagnosed with high cholesterol and diabetes. She says she's now motivated to go vegan. She enjoys cooking uncomplicated meals, so this book sounds like it would be perfect for her! Even if I don't win it, I will buy it for her for sure.

angellovesdogs at geemail dot com

VeganMarr said...

PCRM is a great non-profit organization. I have been a member for years and enjoy the quarterly magazine, which is full of concise, informative articles. Dr B is gentle & brilliant. All of his books are great. No surprise this one is too! Thanks for showing us some of the recipes, Gail!

Josh Healy said...

Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout ( Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog ( ). thanks, Josh

Vegiegail said...

Thanks for the info, Josh. Sounds interesting!

The Vegan said...

I went vegan almost 22 years ago. There are many good reasons to go vegan. Health and the environment are two of them. But I went vegan for only one reason, ETHICAL. It is wrong to kill. Being vegan is an ethical imperative.

I don't know him personally but I have always loved Neal. He is a great advocate of a vegan diet. As Marr mentioned I too read the PCRM magazine. It's brief and to the point and my favorite publication. It's called Good Medicine. I recommend everyone go to and get it.

Meanwhile again Gail your pictures make the food look so delicious.
This appearss to be a wonderful book and I am so happy you blogged about it. Thanks again!

Jacklyn said...

mm the udon noodles look so good! yum!

Helen said...

The curry looks delicious! (Actually, everything does!) I became vegan when I learned how much suffering was involved in meat, egg, dairy, and fish "production." As you said, it was a "no-brainer" from then on.

Would love to win a copy of this book for my sister, who is finally starting to understand how her food choices are negatively impacting her health and her family's health, too.

helensbells 09 at gmail dot com

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

I'm a follower, I'm a follower!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

....oh, ooops, and my motivation for going vegan is that I'm lactose intolerant anyway, so going all the way vegan wasn't a huge step - and I FEEL SO FREAKIN' MUCH BETTER!!!

OH. And I tweeted about it.

And my e-mail is thru my blog.

tyrah. said...

I'm a follower =)

tyrah. said...

I went vegan because one day it occured to me there was no reason not to be, it's been one of the best decisions of my life, life changing actually.

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan said...

You're in my RSS feeder :]

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan said...

I went fully vegan right around the time I started training for my first marathon. I have since run 3 half marathons and another full!

Kat said...

This is an excellent giveaway. I'm familiar with Robyn Webb's books and her work. I have type 2 diabetes and am always looking for ways to improve my diet and eating habits. I am now following you and my e-mail is below.

kmwhalen at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I follow you, and I'd love to win a copy of this book, if only for the tempeh and pineapple salsa recipe. It looks so good!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like the perfect book for a new vegan. And I know just the person to give it to! Thanks for the great post, recipe, and contest!

babyblue2772 @ aol dot com

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd love to win a copy of Get Healthy, Go Vegan! I became vegan after reading Diet for a New America. Until then, I had no idea how much animals suffered nor did I know about the environmental impact of our food choices.

Brandy said...

I hope I'm not too late to enter this contest. I went vegan three weeks ago, and this book would sure help a lot.

brandywyne at