January 30, 2014

Better Than Vegan. ~ Terri Tremblett {Book Review}

Changing the way we eat and what we eat can be a daunting lifestyle adjustment.

Finding yourself in a position where your health is negatively impacted by this change when you thought you were making an improvement can be difficult to accept.

This is where Del Sroufe’s book comes in. Chef Del is both a vegan chef and bestselling author of Forks Over Knives- The Cookbook. He also reached a point of tipping the scales at 475 pounds while eating a vegan diet that included many unhealthy choices, loaded with fat and calories. He changed his approach to vegan cooking and eating—and lost over 200 pounds.

While I am not vegan, I am no stranger to navigating a restricted diet. I have adapted many recipes to make them healthier and believe wholeheartedly in eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. I also love cookbooks and hearing people’s health stories. Needless to say, I was excited to read this book and try some new recipes.

Chef Del’s new release Better Than Vegan is three things: the story of his personal journey to overcome his dietary problems, a pathway to follow if you’re thinking of becoming vegan and a cookbook with many recipes to get you started.

The first part of the book, “My Story” includes Del’s personal battle with food.

It outlines what a healthy diet looks like and the 10 dietary mistakes (some of excess and some of deficiency) that we all make.

“If you had to sum up in a couple of words what’s wrong with the American diet, what lies behind the epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, ‘excessive fat’ would probably be the best answer.”

~ Del Sroufe

Chef Del explains the difference between saturated fat and calorie counts of flesh foods and vegan foods. He also elaborates on serving sizes, percentage of calories and the confusion many people have about “daily values” on nutrition labels.

This section concludes with suggestions on what a vegan pantry should include, cooking techniques, seasoning and selecting ingredients. Chef Del offers suggestions on foods to eat that help you feel full longer and illustrates that a vegan diet can be successful without leaving you feeling hungry.

The remaining 200-plus pages of the book are devoted to recipes, with many full-color photos.

Since Chef Del gained excess amounts of weight while eating a high fat and high calorie vegan diet, these recipes are pared down—they are all vegan but they’re also low in fat and sugar.

“Sauces, Dips, Creams and Dressings” provide the foundation for many of the other recipes in the book—for example a cauliflower puree is substituted for a white sauce/thickening agent in many of the main dish recipes. “The Best Date Syrup Ever” is used as a sweetener for both desserts and smoothies. At first, I thought this would make cooking from the book complicated, but the puree is both quick and easy and could be prepared as needed. The syrup is also easy and can be kept in the fridge for one week. Crisis averted.

In addition to the sauces, the recipes in Better Than Vegan cover all of the bases: Breakfasts (Banana-Maple Granola, Breakfast Burritos), Appetizers (Ajvar , Spinach-Artichoke Dip), Soups (Spicy Black Bean-Sweet Potato Stew, Cream of Mushroom Soup), Wraps, Sandwiches, Pizza and Flatbreads (Southwestern Black Bean and Pesto Flatbread), Entrees (Summer Pasta with Veggies and “Cream”, Bibimbap),Side Dishes (Simple Candied Sweet Potatoes, Tangy BBQ Baked Beans),Desserts (Very Berry Ice Cream, Chocolate Pudding).

Are you hungry yet?

After reading the book cover to cover I am both excited about having new recipes to try and convinced that adapting to a vegan lifestyle can include a variety of healthy food choices.

So, what are you making for supper tonight? I’m making ‘Spicy Black Bean-Sweet Potato Stew’. Yum. Thanks, Chef.


Note: elephantjournal.com received this book free, in return for a guarantee that we would review said offering. That said, we say what we want—good and bad, happy and sad.

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