Book review: "How to Be Vegan" by Elizabeth Castoria

book cover of "How to Be Vegan"
© Artisan Books

Full disclosure: this reviewer is not a vegan. However, I’ve covered food-related issues for four years, have been actively trying to reduce my meat consumption, and generally spend way too much time thinking about what to eat.

Elizabeth Castoria’s recent release, “How to be Vegan” (available on Kindle) is a snarky and colorful guide to cutting animal products out of your life. Castoria is the former editorial director for VegNews. Her book is full of sarcasm, slightly silly infographics and practical advice. About a third of the book is dedicated to recipes, but this book isn’t just about eating. Castoria has advice on beauty products, clothing, decorating and—perhaps most importantly—social graces. If you want to be vegan without feeling awkward or pissing off all your friends, the author has plenty of advice.

"How to Be Vegan" describes itself as “Vegan 101,” and it is exactly that: very introductory advice. It’s not the place to get in-depth information about the impact of livestock production on the environment. If you’ve read more than five TreeHugger articles about food or seen Food Inc, you can probably skip the first chapter and jump right to the nitty gritty, day to day tips. Speaking of tips, perhaps the best part of the book are the “pro tips” tucked onto the bottom of pages throughout the book.

There are 50 recipes in the back of the book, organized by breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert. The recipes are a mix of classic comfort foods like banana-nut muffins or sweet potato hash, and more adventurous vegan dishes like chickpea salad sandwiches or tamari-lemon baked tofu.

If you’re looking for a fun and quick guide to all the aspects of the vegan lifestyle, Elizabeth Castoria delivers solid words of wisdom.

Book review: "How to Be Vegan" by Elizabeth Castoria
This beginners’ guide to cutting animal products out of your life is full of charts, illustrations, graphs and recipes.

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