Tempted by everything from Zac Efron’s abs to Tabitha Brown’s TikTok recipes, more than a third of Americans today express interest in the vegan lifestyle according to many surveys or measured by their grocery purchases. I’m a former non-vegetarian, and I understand the appeal. The vegan experts at VegNews magazine get it too, and they’ve recently published the perfect book for the vegan curious.

Cover courtesy of Hachette

Written by senior editor Jasmin Singer, “The VegNews Guide to Being a Fabulous Vegan: Look Good, Feel Good & Do Good in 30 Days” ($19.99) was published at the end of December revealing the secrets of the vast, nuanced, delicious and, according to Singer, very sexy world of veganism.

“I ideally want ‘Fabulous Vegan’ to be a book for the veg skeptic who could never go vegan, or so they say, but they are curious,” said Singer, when I spoke with her by phone from her home office in Greenville, New York, a town in the Catskill Mountains. She said the book is designed to answer all the major vegan questions, including which vegan cheese is best for slicing, shredding or schmearing, and what are the best vegan options at the major fast food restaurants.

“Fabulous Vegan” features bits of information and a structure designed around a monthly calendar. Each of the book’s 30 chapters offer a snapshot of the topic (“Day 2: Ah, the Protein Question,” “Day 4: Big Fat Vegan Breakfast” and “Day 11: Let Us Eat Cake!”), then serves up examples or tips and finishes with a recipe illustrated with a color photo. The book can be flipped open and read from any page.

“My guess is most people are not reading it front to back,” said Singer. “It’s designed to sit next to your toilet or your bed or your dining table and you read a chapter whenever.”

This means it’s OK to read “Day 23: It’s Your Party. Drink Wine If You Want To!” before reading “Day 16: Soy Joy (Or No, You Won’t Grow Man-Boobs).”

“I think a lot of people are really scared about the permanence of the word ‘vegan,’” Singer said. “I can relate to that from when I went vegan 17 years ago.”

Singer and “Fabulous Vegan” remove the pressure to go full vegan with a light-hearted vibe and a fast-paced writing style that allows readers to test the waters. While “Day 24: It’s Okay to be a Terrible Cook (You Won’t Starve)” relieves pressure in the kitchen, the book includes many appealing recipes, such as grilled peach & tempeh kebabs, boeuf bourguignon, pineapple-habanero bean tacos and cheesy twice-baked potatoes. Dessert recipes include salted caramel brownies, lemon blackberry cupcakes and candied blood orange cake with vanilla bean buttercream.

Chocolate chili truffles pair with “Day 26: Vegans Get Laid, Too,” where Singer gives an overview of the links between plant-based eating and better sexual health, better body odor and, um, better body taste.

Singer, who is also the co-host of the long-running vegan podcast Our Hen House, said during the past five years she’s noticed a shift in attitudes around veganism. “There are more and more cultural references to veganism as normal,” Singer told me, citing everything from the TV sitcom “The Conners” to the Jett Reno character in “Star Trek: Discovery,” who is “vegan because (actress Tig Notaro) is vegan.”

Singer compares the growing acceptance of the vegan movement to how cultural attitudes about gay rights have been evolving in recent decades. “Now there’s no reference anymore to gay being this big thing,” Singer said. She sees the same shift happening with veganism.

Before we said good-bye, I asked Singer what she sees on the horizon for vegan foods.

“Clean and cultured meat will become something that goes from totally fringe to totally mainstream in the coming years,” Singer predicted. “In non-COVID times, we’ll see vegan meals at galas. Veganism will be baked into the environmental movement.”

Or as Singer puts it in the book: “Day 18: The Whole Damn Climate Change Thing.”

Avery Yale Kamila is a food writer who lives in Portland. She can be reached at [email protected]
Twitter: @AveryYaleKamila


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