It’s National Vegetarian Week and all over the country people will be finding out more about the benefits of going vegetarian, or at the very least, eating less meat! This week on The High Tea Cast we’ll be giving you lots of tips and tricks on how to tackle vegetarianism, healthy eating and wellbeing head on!

I’ve flirted with being a veggie for most of my adult life, before finally coming to the realisation that, really, it made more sense to me not to eat meat that it did to carry on for the sake of making life “easier” for other people. Clearly, vegetarianism and veganism and everything in between are not what everyone aspires to but for me it works, and makes me feel happier. Starting out on any new lifestyle can feel a bit daunting though, and there might be times when you’re cooking for others and want to impress. Cookery books have always interested me massively – I live for the day Nigella does a veggie book. Until then, here is a bit of a run-down of my veggie and vegan cookery books so far.

Veggie Books

Thus far I only actually own one “vegetarian” cookery  book, as I find cooking without meat to be pretty simple really. I do love Rose Elliot’sVegetarian Express though – this is a really great starter for people who have that heart-sinking feeling when then think about chopping mountains of veg, and slaving over an intricate stuffed mushroom recipe (life really is too short). Recipe’s within this book range from  everyday staples to something a bit more special but all the recipes are quick and easy to make, and it covers breakfasts, lunches and evening meals.

Since going veggie I’ve actually become increasingly interested in a totally plant-based diet – the dreaded Vegan word, and I’m about 80% of the way towards making the full transition. Needless to say, this type of cooking takes a little bit more creativity, but really, isn’t difficult, just different. It’s a cinch at home just more of an issue when I’m at other people’s houses or eating out.

My favourite cookbook at the moment is definitely Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero – this is a comforting doorstep of a book filled with lots of inspiration, and covers all the bases from snacks, dips and a million ways with tofu, to baking desserts and puds, This is a great book to start off dabbling with totally plant-based meals. One note though – this (as with most of my vegan cookbooks) is a USA publication, meaning that there are some ingredients you need to be creative with. Another thing is that US recipes tend to measure in cups, which if you have a set is great – much easier than weighing painstakingly in my opinion.

If you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, it may be worth checking out Isa Chandra Moskowitz’sAppetite for Reduction – it’s entirely possible to be a fat vegan (Oreo’s and chips anyone?). This book contains loads of interesting recipes which are totally plant-based, low in fat and calories and filling. There are some amazingly creative salad dressings, and brilliant curries and stews. This is definitely a step up in terms of being creative and spending a bit more time on food though, so I tend to dig this one out for special occasions, rather than midweek. Again this is an US book with some hard to source ingredients but well worth the effort.

On the other end of the scaleEasy Vegan is one of those books you can pick up and forage an easy meal made from leftovers when feeling completely uninspired – this is easy peasy, not entirely adventurous plant based food for days when you want simple and can’t be bothered with sourcing anything out of the ordinary, making it great for absolute beginners. This is not one I turn to regularly but great for basic pre-payday ideas.

It’s safe to say that when  it comes to plant based diets, a lot of people have strong feelings about the subject. If you want to read about going plant based and want a no-nonsense approach, then you might enjoy “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Initially touted as a diet book, this is actually a pretty persuasive tough-love guide to healthy eating, rather than a cookery book, which makes no apologies for presenting you with tough facts. If you like a less hard-line approach, “The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life” by Melisser Elliot contains a lot of information about the vegan lifestyle peppered with lots of great recipes and companies/websites to check out. There is a chocolate cookie recipe in here which is amazing, and very easy.

Finally, if you want a book that gives information in a non-confrontational way, with lots of recipes ranging from veggie right through to raw vegan and macro then check out Alicia Silverstone’s “The Kind Diet”. This is a lovely read, and has something to appeal to all levels of the plant feeding chain.

Of course there are still a lot of books I’ve got on my amazon wishlist including a few vegan baking books and such – I’ll probably end up with a shelf full so please shout out any recommendations! Beyond print, the internet is a mine of useful places – You tube has some fabulous veggie and vegan channels, and there are some great blogs out there too. I’d also recommend checking out The Vegetarian and Vegan Society websites for easy starter recipes and all you need to know about nutrition.

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