Book Report: Healing the Vegan Way + Bonus Recipe

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It is becoming more and more obvious that a vegan, plant-based diet is optimal for our health. And of course, for the animals and the planet. In this new book, Healing the Vegan Way: Plant-Based Eating for Optimal Health and Wellness by Mark Reinfeld, we learn why.

In collaboration with some of my heroes, like Dr. Michael Greger, this book lays out exactly what we need to know about how a plant-based diet can prevent and heal diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers in addition to obesity and emotional and mental issues.

From Mark’s “Precepts of a Healthy Life” – following a healthy plant-based diet, exercising, maintaining a positive attitude, getting adequate rest and practicing meditation, doing periodic cleansing, and engaging in the world – to meal plans, template recipes and tips and tricks to make things quick and easy, Mark has written a must read book for anyone who is considering, transitioning to or already living a plant-based lifestyle.

To shore up his argument, Mark reviews several popular diets that people follow in the world including the Standard American Diet (SAD), the Zone, the South Beach Diet, and SOS (No Salt, Oil Sugar) and offers inspirational healing stories from everyday people whose lives have been forever changed by this lifestyle.

To educate us, Mark dives deeply into what foods we should be eating and why they are the most nutrient dense – from vegetables to fruits, to nuts and grains, legumes and grains, herbs, spices and superfoods.

As for the recipes, Mark is true to his concept of Fusion cuisine – celebrating culinary traditions from all over the world. With information on the key nutrients in each dish as well as nutritional information and suggestions for variations, this style of cooking is accessible to everyone.

Probably my favorite thing about the book is the concept of the “template” – a way of viewing a recipe not just exactly as written but breaking it down into it’s component parts – the base, the main, the creamy component, the herbs and other vegetables. It is Mark’s way of saying that one recipe can equal thousands. This approach has very much inspired me to continue to flesh out my idea for my own cookbook which is based on this very idea.

I have been following Mark for years now and I will say that this is one of his best works. If you have questions about the health aspects of a plant based diet then this book is for you!

I received permission to reprint this recipe for Watermelon Gazpacho. It’s easy, summery and a real show stopper served in a watermelon bowl!

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Watermelon Gazpacho

Yield: 5 cups gazpacho
Prep time: 15 minutes, Total time: 15 minutes,
Serving size: 1 cup | Number of servings: 5

Watermelon soup? Why not? It may sound unusual, but watermelon is a wonderful addition to this traditional chilled soup of Mexico. A delicious and very refreshing idea for the hottest of summer days, as watermelon is so incredibly hydrating. Enter jalapeno, jicama, cilantro, and Mexican spices, offsetting watermelon’s sweetness somewhat, and you have a unique twist on tomato-based gazpacho. Serve immediately, so it doesn’t separate, and enjoy with other Mexican favorites, such as fajitas and horchata.

Ingredients:
6 cups chopped watermelon (1-inch cubes)
½ cup water or coconut water
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½ teaspoon seeded and diced jalapeño pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder or Mexican spice
Mix (page 106)
¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
Pinch of sea salt
¾ cup seeded and diced cucumber
¾ cup peeled and diced jicama
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. Place the watermelon, water or coconut water, lime juice, jalapeño, chili powder, chipotle chile powder, and salt in a blender and blend well.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well before serving.

Variation: replace the cilantro with fresh mint, and replace the cucumber and jicama with blueberries and chopped strawberries.

Excerpted from Healing the Vegan Way: plant-based eating for optimal health and wellness by Mark Reinfeld. Copyright © 2016. Available from Da Capo Press | Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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