Three of the Best Vegan Diet Books to Guide Your Food Choices
I think this post on the best vegan diet books out there was long overdue. I had the idea several months ago and it was sitting in my drafts since then. Some ideas come and go, as shinier topics come along (oh, cool recipe to share!), but I think the importance of getting solid information on vegan nutrition still prevails.
The Importance of Learning from Experts about Vegan Nutrition
I get it: everyone eats. And pretty much everyone also has a strong opinion about what food to eat and not to eat. Unfortunately, most opinions are based on personal experiences and food myths that have become prevalent, especially online. Getting the right information about nutrients, food choices and especially supplementation is hard when there is so much misinformation out there!
There are however experts that can advise you on vegan nutrition: they are called registered dieticians or nutritionnists. These are professionnals who have spent years studying nutrition and the impact of nutrients on the human body. These experts also keep their knowledge up to date, as nutrition science evolves as more research is done on how food interacts with the various functions of our body.
It is true that not all dieticians are well-versed in the subtleties of the vegan diet. It is always good to take advice from dieticians that have made it their specialty to study and recommend the best foods for a healthy plant-based diet. And this is exactly the profile of the authors of the best vegan diet books listed below.
Vegan Diet Books, Not Cookbooks
If you are looking for inspiration for tonight’s dinner, I recommend you head over to my review of several of the amazing vegan cookbooks out there instead. This post focuses on the best vegan diet books, books that address basic vegan nutrition questions such as the following:
- What are plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids and how do they differ from their animal-based counterparts?
- How can I maximize my absorption of plant-based iron?
- How much vitamin B12 do I need daily?
- How do I change my food choices when I am pregnant or breasfeeding?
- How much protein does one really need?
If you’ve asked yourself these questions, or any question on food choices, nutrients, supplementation and deficiencies, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll find answers to your questions (and questions you didn’t even think about asking) in any of the three books on vegan nutrition featured in this post.
The Best Vegan Diet Books to Get You Started on the Right Foot, and Keep You There!
Anyone switching to a vegan diet, and even long-time vegans, can benefit from consulting vegan diet books.
I remember this one discussion in a Facebook forum that left me cringing. The question was simple enough, and does get asked frequently: should I take B12 supplements as a vegan, and if so, how much should I take daily?
The answers could not have been more diverse, conclicting and confusing. Some said yes, some said no. The recommended sources of B12 went from eating veggies without washing them (to get the B12 from the soil) to heavy doses of supplements. One long-term vegan said they never supplemented and were fine. Another said they never supplemented and now have to get daily injections of B12.
How does one make heads or tails of these answers?
I do know many vegans who are well-versed in nutrition and understand how to maintain a healthy vegan diet through their food choices. But how would you know who to believe in a Facebook forum with well-intended folks who might have little or no understanding of vegan diets?
This is why I chose to turn to experts. This is also why I decided to share my list of best vegan diet books with you!
Becoming Vegan: The Best Vegan Diet Book Out There
Before I even considered switching to a vegan diet and lifestyle, I was curious and wanted to learn more on the topic. I asked a friend of mine who was also interested in plant-based nutrition if he had any book to recommend, and this is the book he had me read: Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition (Comprehensive Edition), by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, who are both registered dieticians with long track records of studying, writing about and helping people follow a healthy plant-based diet.
In my opinion, this is the most comprehensive book on vegan nutrition. Although it can seem a bit technical at first, especially if you are not used to reading about nutrients, the information it contains is so complete, it is a must for any vegan library and anyone wanting to learn why and how to transition into a vegan diet. Think of this book as the ultimate reference guide for healthy plant-based eating.
I must admit, I have not read this book from cover to cover, but it’s the book I crack open every time I have a question about nutrients, especially vegan sources and daily requirements.
Vegan for Her: One of the Best Vegan Diet Books for Women
If you are like me, you read nutrition labels on the food that you purchase, most of the time to spot non-vegan ingredients, but also to check for fiber, iron and protein content. Did you know however that the daily percentage, especially for nutrients such as iron, can be misleading? That is because it’s based on an average daily requirement, which does not equal the daily requirement of a man or a women. It’s a number somewhat in between. This is especially true for iron (women need more), calcium (women need more), and protein (women need less, unless they are very active).
This is why I recommend Vegan for Her: The Womans Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet as one of the best vegan diet books. Women will find in this book helpful information on eating a healthy vegan diet, at different stages in their lives. Proper nutrition is always important, but it’s key and changes quite a bit during pregnancy, for example. A woman wanting to make sure she makes the best food choices for her health and her baby’s health can be reassured the information she gets in this book is rock solid.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition: A Practical Vegan Diet Book
Over time, I’ve come to appreciate the Idiot’s Guide (or For Dummies) series as well-written and well-researched books. If reading technical nutrition information is not your cup of tea, I recommend buying the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition (Idiot’s Guides).
While this book also contains recipes and practical, day-to-day information for vegans (how to spot non-vegan ingredients when shopping), in the appendices, you’ll find summarized nutrition information. It does not however explain the “why” behind healthy and not-so-healthy choices in a plant-based diet.
If you prefer simply getting the recommendations without knowing all the science and explanations behind these recommendations, this is the book for you.
You can understand now why these three books make my list of best vegan diet books. I regularly turn to them for advice, especially when confronted with doubts about whether or not I eat sufficiently diverse foods to cover my nutritional needs. Sometimes, it’s good to have a reminder about certain needs our bodies have to reintroduce food items into our daily menus.