Book review: Vegan for Life

There is a lot of nonsense on the internet about plant-based diets and nutrition. A LOT. Unfortunately, some of this misinformation can be quite harmful for people who choose to follow it. As a trained scientist, it makes me cringe anytime I see a supposed ‘internet guru’ spewing horrible nutrition advice which is nothing more than pseudoscience at best. In this post I’m not going to focus on busting several internet nutrition myths, but rather I am going to point you toward a great resource for anyone that wants to know the facts about plant-based nutrition.

Jack Norris and Ginny Messina are both vegan Registered Dieticians. Registered Dietician means they know their stuff. Dieticians are required to obtain at least a Bachelor’s degree (and many times a Master’s), as well as complete internships and complete a certification exam. Both Jack and Ginny maintain nutrition-focused blogs and I encourage you to check them out.

One thing I appreciate is that this book starts off with an explanation of what constitutes ‘good’ scientific evidence. Sometimes I take it for granted that not everyone understands research design and concepts such as internal and external validity. The authors give an easy to understand run through that will hopefully benefit you in the future when coming across nutrition websites.

The authors go through various specific nutrients and explain exactly how much you need and what foods you should be eating. Don’t worry if all of the daily requirements seem mind boggling – they provide a nice vegan food guide that is designed to make sure your diet is balanced and meets your nutritional needs. They also suggest certain supplements that you should take, and how often you should take them. I know I found this very useful and will be stocking up on a few different things.

The second half of the book has chapters devoted to specific target populations, such as pregnant women, children, people over 50, people with medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, and athletes. There is also an entire chapter devoted to the soy debate. And if you are the type of person who likes sample menus, you are in luck because there are plenty of those as well.

Overall I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in plant-based nutrition. It is definitely a great investment and will undoubtedly serve as a useful resource.

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