Stuff Every Vegetarian Should Know by Katherine McGuire is a non-fiction, lifestyle, reference book that a very close friend of mine gifted to me when she learned that I was making a transition into a fully vegetarian diet. She found it at a local grocery store and discovered it to be quite useful so she snagged me a copy. Honestly, I have to agree with her one-hundred-percent! This book is something every vegetarian, or even health-conscious individual, should carry with them whenever they go food shopping, more so if you’re a newbie to the healthy lifestyle like me, who is going vegetarian to fight heart disease.
Stuff Every Vegetarian Should Know is a pocket-sized book that is only approximately one-hundred-forty pages, and covers things such as common nutrition, stocking the kitchen, substituting ingredients to make a non-veggie meals vegetarian friendly, some vocabulary on key veggie phrases and food items, and much more. It is designed to be a basic introduction and a quick referral for aspiring, or current, vegetarian food eaters.
I love the compactness of everything. Each chapter is about four pages long and straight to the point. The main ideas of each topic discussed are expressed in a few sentences and then examples to help solidify that idea further are provided. This quality makes the book charmingly quick to flip through and also easy to refer to the pages you need in a hurry if you’re a busy person on the go. Additionally, there are bulleted lists and numerical lists that make it eye catching and easier to search for the main ideas.
The book also covers the main health concerns associated with a plant-based diet, such as not consuming enough amounts of protein and avoiding deficiencies, like Vitamin B12 and others. It also isn’t afraid to mention some unhealthy snack ideas as a means to teach an individual not to starve themselves and to not be afraid of indulgence as long as it’s in moderation. Most other health books I’ve come across, such as this one, are rather adamant about avoiding munchies (like Doritos or chocolate). But Stuff Every Vegetarian Should Know includes those items on a list, for example on how to create a complex protein, so you can get an idea of how to be healthy while living a little.
One of my biggest struggles with trying to manoeuvre towards a “green-leaf” diet (my random name for it) in the past has been related to stocking my kitchen and prepping meals. The guide talks about buying stuff in bulk (what’s okay for bulk-buying and what to avoid) and what sorts of things to purchase based on your dietary desires or restrictions, also using different cuisine styles as examples. This makes it far less intimidating to me, and actually motivates me to want to try to concoct some fresh recipes. The guide uses both statistics and prices of goods to explain how plant-based consumption is actually far more affordable than being a meat-eater. I’m super cheap due to medical bills, both for me and my cats, so being able to save money while working on improving my heart feels like a no-brainer!
Another aspect that some folks may find charming—I know I was grateful for it—is the discussion on tofu and other meat protein substitutes like tofu. There are tons of different kinds, and more often than not it can be an intricate puzzle in deciphering how to prepare them. There’s detail on the different kinds, methods of freezing, the pros and cons of freezing versus fresh, and even preparation methods. I’ve always enjoyed tofu quite a bit (I admire the versatility of it), so learning new ways to use it is hella exciting for me!
All in all, I highly recommend Stuff Every Vegetarian Should Know for any individual who is either a vegetarian, someone who’s trying to become one or has an interest in it, or if there’s an interest in learning how to make healthier choices with what you eat. It is very informative without being daunting, intimidating, or overwhelming, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s also the perfect companion for your grocery shopping excursions!