The Root Of The Matter
Cover to cover Lani Muelrath’s, “The Plant-Based Journey” reveals itself a true gem. Whether you’re beginning your plant-based journey, or simply looking to sustain it, page by page she dispels all prevailing mythologies surrounding this lifestyle, and in turn, any doubts you may have about either undertaking, or, even continuing with it. Relaying only the truth, together with a plethora of practical guidelines, this trusty combination proves itself a foolproof formula for success.
And you can take Lani’s word for it, a plant-based veteran with 40+ years real-life experience under her belt, I believe there’s no one better to pay heed of – this being underlined, of course, by the impressive preface, and foreword, respectively given by WFPB powerhouses, T. Colin Campbell and Neal Barnard. With Campbell stating that he “knew it was the companion volume to Whole that needed to be written,” you just know, even before you turn the first chapter page, that you’re in good hands, and for sure, that’s totally the case. Having already begun my own plant-based journey, I have to admit I was beginning to feel the need for some more hands-on advice. I had the science part down but recognized there were areas, especially in the kitchen, and socially, where I was starting to struggle.
Reaping The Rewards
First, in terms of cooking, trying to build up a repertoire of simple recipes was surprisingly proving itself difficult. I have spent months, along with many wasted internet hours, trying to get a set of reliable “go-to’s” sorted, and although I’d figured out a few easy concoctions, they were beginning to stale. So, just as I secretly feared boredom might loom, and with it a not so graceful fall off the wagon, in sweeps Lani! And, with her guidance, I’ve discovered all that I need, and will ever need, not to merely survive this chosen path, but fully enjoy it.
Providing a sample of her own typical week was one of the first real high points in the book for me, as it demonstrated what a “pro” plant-based plate really looks like. From this, I could quickly ascertain whether or not I was including the most appropriate balance of starches, non-starches, legumes etc. Turns out, I was actually a little off track, so now, after reading, I feel completely reassured as how to best re-organize my breakfast, lunch and dinner. While Lani stresses her personal food diary is not meant to be taken as a definitive meal plan, but rather a blueprint from which you can build, I’m sincerely grateful she chose to include this particular glimpse – as I now have something solid to work with, and more importantly refer back to, should I ever veer off lane.
Added to this, another favorite was the provision of a series of recipe templates which she uses to construct her own simple, easy to prepare, meals. I’ve never seen recipes presented this way, and wish more cookbooks would take this route. So, what are these templates? Essentially they’re the bones of how she puts together her week-in, week-out, staples. Then, with this baseline given, once you get the original down you can let the imagination run wild with your own variations. This, to me, is simply ingenious, as it caters to both the unskilled, and skilled, in the kitchen – proving to the novice that you don’t need to be of Gordon Ramsay caliber to get started, while demonstrating to those who are, that there’s still room for plenty of flair on a whole food plant-based diet. Falling somewhere in the middle, I’m already excited to try out the delicious sounding “Plant Burger” template, with ideas to customize already flowing!
With A Cherry On Top Too?
But one’s plant-based success story does not begin and end at home, and Lani, in her wisdom, thankfully gives us the tools to survive every aspect of life outside of it. Covering work, travel and social situations, she has your back. You cannot NOT win with this. In terms of travel, I wish (separate post is coming on this…) I had this arsenal of invaluable info to hand on a recent trip back to Ireland. Navigating the airport was a disaster, and this little treasure would have helped so much. Anyway, I’ll keep that adventure, as I said, for another day! Regarding social occasions, well, these are also nicely squared away, with some extremely useful script offered to take cue from when inevitably confronted with food pushers. Detailing three tried and true strategies of her own, I will definitely be borrowing these going forward. I’ve already had a few not so hectic experiences on this front, and as most of you reading know by now, it ain’t fun, and could – depending on your will – be the make or break of an otherwise steady WFPB ride!
So you’ve gotten some of the good news above, but want to hear something even better? These are just some of my own highlights, aspects of the book that resonated with me from where I’m personally at on this adventure. But make no mistake, as she promises in her introduction this is indeed a book for everyone. And from beginner, to seasoned vegan, I would highly recommend. Of all the volumes, and there are many, that I have purchased since beginning this journey – this is the one I know will be my “lean-on” going forward. I feel confident with Lani’s instruction and advice. You know when you just know you’ve hit the knowledge jackpot? Well, this is it – no need to look further!
Lastly, a couple of things to finish on, as I feel this review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that for those of you who are right now contemplating this as a possible next move, Lani’s breakdown/explanation of the mammoth weight of scientific evidence supporting the WFPB diet, is just amazing. It’s the best I’ve read as regards it’s framing in layman’s terms – that’s a gift. I’ll be referring back to this portion of the book myself as time goes on, being not only helpful for you to remember the nuts and bolts, but also expertly relay it (perhaps to those food pushers!) in turn. In addition, she also furnishes a separate set of complete (not template) recipes, along with a section detailing the replacements you’ll need for dairy milk, eggs and oil. So, you literally have no excuse not to “plantify” your food. People, go get this book! And Lani, thank you for caring enough about this way of living to write it, so the mistakes made in the past will not derail those of us who want to remain on this wonderful path for the very long haul.
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