Review of Becoming Vegan (Express Edition)

Becoming Vegan (Express Edition) by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, Book Publishing Company, 284pp, pbk; ISBN 978-1-57067-295-8, £17-99 (but available for considerably less than this from some online booksellers)

This is a revised and updated edition of Becoming Vegan – the standard reference book on vegan nutrition first published in 2000. The 2013 Express Edition is aimed at a general readership, whereas the forthcoming Comprehensive Edition, featuring €œadditional topics, in-depth analyses, and full citations of scientific studies€ is targeted at health professionals and readers wanting to explore the underlying science.

All the essential nutrients are covered with chapters on fats (good and bad), protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Other chapters deal with additional protective compounds found in plant foods, the importance of avoiding underweight as well as overweight and obesity, and vegan nutrition for pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers, infants and children, senior citizens and the athletically inclined. The opening chapters present the case for veganism and the potential benefits to health of a well-planned vegan diet, and the book concludes with a vegan food guide, including sample menus across a range of energy intakes.

Anyone who has had the good fortune to attend a talk by Brenda Davis will know that she is an outstanding and inspirational speaker and a worthy inductee into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. Fellow dietician Vesanto Melina has taught nutrition, co-authored the joint position paper on vegetarian diets for the US Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and Dietitians of Canada, and is currently a consultant to the government of British Columbia. Together they have produced a comprehensive, evidence-based, readable and superbly designed guide to vegan nutrition that is replete with informative figures and tables and sound advice. Put simply, Becoming Vegan is a must-have book for existing and aspiring vegans who care about the food they eat and who wish to follow a varied and nutritious diet that works to their advantage.

Paul Appleby


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