Okay, so every now and then, I get the opportunity to do book reviews, and even host giveaways. Well, I can honestly say that the reviews I have to share are for two very interesting – and unique – cookbooks.
While this publisher is not hosting a giveaway, I am allowed to share recipes, and a couple of my favorites are included below.
First, I’d like to share a little bit about the author. Attila Hildmann lives in Germany, and has transformed his life by adopting a vegan lifestyle. Not only did he lose 77 lbs and advocates veganism for weight loss and health, but he also discusses the positive impact of veganism on the environment and animal welfare (without at all being preachy). What I found most interesting is that these are the first European cookbooks I have ever had, and they are definitely unique! Despite growing up in Milwaukee, WI (which has a very large German population), I honestly don’t know much about German food other than bratwurst, German potato salad (vinegary, warm and with bacon!) and liverwurst! I always had the sense that German food was quite heavy and hearty, and not too focused on vegetables.
Okay, here’s my review for Vegan for Fit!
This book contains a separate 10 or so page booklet for Attila’s 30-Day vegan challenge that contains about 40 testimonials. He bills this as being a unique program, as it not only has the food to eat (which are all in the book), but also has an exercise component and a Facebook group support page. I really like the FB page component, as studies have shown that weight loss associated with support groups (think the Weight Watchers meeting model) are far more successful than someone trying to diet alone.
There are 150 pages of recipes, and 100 pages of good information on how to do the challenge, how to eat out, success stories, and an entire chapter on motivation. From this aspect, I loved the set up of the book.
Very nut heavy, and I had a hard time modifying most of them. Certainly not a worry if nuts aren’t a concern in your home the way they are in mine. However, I did find it odd that a weight loss book would highlight nuts and nut-butters so prominently. I started to think that the success stories were really because the challenge participants went from a meat and dairy heavy diet to a vegan one – and not because the recipes are low-fat (for the most part). That’s not a complaint, but just an observation. I personally don’t believe all the low-fat hype and think that plant sourced fats, in moderation, are critical to being healthy. I also think the amount of sweeteners in some recipes is WAY more than needed. For example, a green tea, lemon, and ginger drink (which I loved plain) called for 3 tbsp of agave. Perhaps that a cultural component of German cuisine (being sweet), but I found I liked many of the recipes when I cut this way down or out completely.
There were several ingredients I had to Google because they were unfamiliar to me as an American. Popped Amaranth, for example, is in several recipes. I actually watched a YouTube video to find out what it is! It’s sounds awesome though, and have ordered amaranth so I can try it. Several recipes also called for things like non-carbonated mineral water (which I eventually figured out is just filtered or bottled normal water), agar agar, locust bean gum, and guar gum. The last three, not things I find on my pantry shelves.
But all this said – the recipes were incredibly unique, and quite a change of pace from typical books I see. The entire chapter on Great Drinks was probably my favorite, and I definitely have new regulars in my rotation. I also completely loved the Caprese Vegan Style recipe, and used the tofu not only on salads, but on toast too. The Whole Grain Rice Pudding was very yummy and a nice dessert. But my absolute favorite thing was a drink!
I give to you – the Silken Tofu and Cinnamon Shake!
It’s incredibly east – and amazingly tasty. It’s simple – almost too simple – but is low fat and high in protein, making it a killer after workout drink too.
*7 ounces of silken tofu (I buy the Mori-Nu in bulk from Amazon, so always have some on hand – and since it’s the hermetically sealed packages, lasts in the pantry for months)
*3/4 cup ice
*4 tsp agave nectar
*1 tsp cinnamon
*1 pinch salt
Yep, that’s it. It tastes like Christmas and I’m fully hooked.
I feel grateful that I was approached by an international publisher to review Attila’s books. While there are edits that may need to be made for this to be an American mainstream success (mainly on the ingredients that aren’t common here), I think it would be a great addition to any cookbook collection.
The recipes are all quite easy, and if nuts aren’t an issue in your life, then I’d definitely recommend it.
I’m not so sure I agree that this is a diet or weight loss book, mainly due to the high nut and sweetener content of a high percentage of the recipes. However, I do think the promotion of whole-food, plant-based food is always going to lead to health benefits – whether done so intentionally or not, and Attila’s chapters on health, motivation, and exercise round it out nicely.