The perfect guide to being vegan

During our family's path through veganism, we've read our fair share of cookbooks, recipes, magazines and blogs. Heck, we've even sat through several documentaries and cooking shows.

When I was pregnant with Braeburn, Chubby Vegan Dad got me the Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide. It was one of the first non cookbooks we purchased that was designed for vegans. And while it was wonderful, it doesn't really appeal to the non-pregnant, vegan me.

Slowly, but surely, our bookshelves and tablets are being stocked with more and more options at our disposal. Gone are the days of perusing barren bookshelves looking for a good tofu scramble recipe, now, we've got piles of books to choose from. Thanks to vegan pioneers like Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, our shelves are now decorated with a variety of culinary tastes and treats.

But there has always been a large hole when it comes to vegan living. Because veganism isn't just a diet, it's a lifestyle, there are so many gray areas it can be hard to field it alone when you're vegan. And although veganism and cruelty-free living are up and coming, a lot of vegans probably only have a handful of friends (if even that many) who adhere to the same lifestyle.

It can be a lonely, confusing path to trek sometimes.

But now, thanks to Elizabeth Castoria, we don't have to go it alone any longer. Her book, How to Be Vegan, tackles any and all matters when it comes to vegan living.

And not only does it tackle them, it takes them head-on, turns them upside down, puts them out to dry and then does a few more cycles just to be certain all the bases are covered.

This is literally, like everything you could ever want, need or dream of in a vegan guide.

The best part? It's compact, precise, humorous and easy to drag with you wherever you want! I found it particularly helpful to bring it along during a work trip, as it helped me navigate not-so-vegan-friendly airports and any sticky dinner situations I might run into along the way.

Sure, I'm more than a few years deep into my veganism, but that doesn't mean I've got it all figured out, especially when it comes to taking me out of my comfy, well-mapped-out city element and throwing me into a new city, a business experience and awkward menu situations.

In addition to fielding the basic "why go vegan" and where our food and all that cruel jazz comes from, there are a few really awesome sections in this book that help approach hard-to-talk-about subjects: mainly, relationships.

From a rundown on how to handle overly protective (and at times, critical) parents and their concerns about your protein intake, to figuring out whether or not your blind date spells romance for your lifestyle, this book has not only an awesome amount of information, but it's presented in a conversational tone that makes you want to keep reading. It doesn't feel like Castoria is nagging or lecturing you, it feels like she's hanging out in the room with you dishing the vegan lowdown.

My favorite section, by far, is the "Manners" chapter, where Castoria discusses how to handle loaded questions, pesky coworkers and how to spread the vegan message without biting people's heads off OR compromising your beliefs.

Take for example this excerpt: "When we are nice, decent humans who happen to forgo animal products, people think vegans are nice, decent humans. It's nutty how that works, right?"

I found myself thinking "Oh my gosh, she took the words right out of my mouth" so often that I'm basically convinced Castoria is my sister from another mister or something.

Additionally, there's a section of straight-forward vegan recipes, not to mention a listing of products that make clean and cruelty-free living easier.

With mini profiles on other vegans around the globe, this book has something for everyone. I really cannot rave about it enough. If you buy one book related to veganism or cruelty-free living this year, make it this one!

All and all this is a no-frills, kickass, simple guide to getting through the day-to-day scenarios and situations. Treat yourself to this eccentric guide, because trust me, you're not only going to love it, you're going to wonder how you functioned without it!

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  1. Oh this sounds awesome! I've been waiting for something like this!

  2. Agree, agree, agree! I got a copy of this online and it is the best thing that has been written for veganism in a while!

  3. Hmm, might have to break down and buy this one.
    Slowly, but surely you are breaking down my omnivore objections.

  4. Boy, what a great sell! I'll have to look this up.

    1. I'm telling you, I was excited when I read the description about it and even more excited to see it lived up to the hype!