Many of the plant-based books I’ve read focus on the “why?” of eating vegan. But finding one that explains how to begin eating vegan is a different story.
Thankfully, Micaela Cook Karlsen has filled that void with A Plant-Based Life: Your Complete Guide to Great Food, Radiant Health, Boundless Energy, and a Better Body.
In it, Karlsen — who holds a PhD in nutritional epidemiology from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy — discussed a study conducted by social psychologist Dr. Roy F. Baumeister.
Dr. Baumeister tracked 200 adults for a week in an effort to understand their most frequent, and most frequently resisted, desires.
The subjects most often had to resist the urge to eat. Even those not intentionally dieting battled food cravings between three and four hours each day!
But for Karlsen, that finding didn’t come as a surprise. Having first become vegetarian and then a vegan, the lifelong advocate of a whole-food, plant-based diet admits she still wavers occasionally:
“I still have challenges when I’m in certain food environments and I have to strategize around them to make sure that I don’t get pulled back down the addictive rabbit hole of fatty foods.”
Throughout A Plant-Based Life, she challenges the traditional view that the problem with obesity is primarily due to a person’s lack of willpower. Instead, she suggests, weight problems are more the result of our “built environments.”
“A major component of the built environment is the availability of food—what is sold and where it’s sold the elements of convenience; price; and how access to it changes depending on income, race, region, and other factors.”
Her book is full of clear and powerful strategies for changing our environments. Chief among them are tips aimed at vegans and aspiring vegans who need help sticking to their healthy, plant-based way of eating.
And Karlsen has the chops to back up her statements. She not only helped help Dr. T. Colin Campbell launch his Center for Nutritional Studies; as its executive director; she assisted in developing eCornell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program.
Count my mom and our Fruitive chef among that program’s proud graduates!
A Plant-Based Life‘s second half is devoted to recipes Karlsen gathered from a host of plant-based luminaries. Imagine digging into culinary creations from:
Anne Crile Esselstyn
and Del Sroufe.
When it comes to the making the “how” of transitioning to vegan eating a lot less challenging, A Plant-Base Life ticks all the boxes!