Veganism, or plant-based eating, has never been trendier. According to The Vegan Society, the number of vegans in the world quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, while think tanks predict that plant-based eaters and vegetarians will make up a quarter of the population by 2025.
Inspired by everything from eye-opening documentaries like 2018’s The Game Changers to celebrity endorsements – not to mention endless delicious-looking vegan recipes now readily available on social media, more and more people are switching to plant-based living.
Not only is the diet generally much kinder to the environment and animals, but there are also some compelling health benefits too. Studies have found that regularly incorporating more vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits into our daily diets may help reduce blood pressure, keep our hearts healthy, and support weight management.
Adopting a plant-based diet can be slightly more flexible than full-on veganism, as the interpretation varies from person to person. But at its core, it means prioritizing eating healthy whole foods and vegetables, and either cutting down on or cutting out, animal products, such as meat and dairy. The Vegan Society defines the movement as “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs, and honey.”
Keen to learn more? Here are five key reads that could help inspire you to make the switch.
'Whole' by T. Colin Campbell
In his groundbreaking book The China Study, T. Colin Campbell shared the results from one of the largest comprehensive studies of human nutrition ever conducted and concluded that a whole-food, plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat.
For people curious about plant-based nutrition, his follow-up tome Whole is a good place to start. Here, he explains the science behind that evidence and questions why we’re still experiencing chronic rates of obesity and disease, despite having compelling research to support globally changing the way we eat.
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
'Bosh!' by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby
One of the hardest things about drastically changing your diet is learning a new repertoire of recipes, and if cooking from scratch isn’t your forte, it can be intimidating to switch up your routine. If the idea of stewing seaweed or massaging your greens fills you with fear, this recipe book is a great option for any beginner chef to get going with.
Sometimes referred to as ‘the Jamie Olivers of the vegan world’, Bosh! boys Henry Firth and Ian Theasby are the creators of the world’s most-viewed and most-loved plant-based and vegan recipe channel. Their ‘simple’ recipe collection breaks down 40 of their easiest dishes, including creamy mac and greens, burrito samosas, and bhaji burgers.
Bosh! Simple Recipes
'How Not to Die' by Michael Greger
Examining the 15 top causes of premature death in the US, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson’s, nutrition expert Dr. Michael Greger explains how changing your diet to include more plants may, in some cases, be more effective than prescription medications and other surgical approaches.
Packed with useful advice based on nutritional science, this is a key read for anyone who wants to learn how plant-based foods and lifestyle changes can help you to live longer.
How Not to Die
'Radiant' by Mafalda Pinto Leite
From adaptogens to algae, author Mafalda Pinto Leite gives readers an A to Z guide of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods, alongside some delicious recipes to help you include more of them in your day-to-day diet.
Leite’s book is all about exploring the ‘inside out’ beauty benefits that eating a plant-based diet can bring, arguing that raw whole foods can help you to age more gracefully, ease stress, sleep better, and even feel more confident and creative. If better skin and radiant health are on your wish list, this could be one to add to your bookshelf.
Radiant: The Cookbook
'Forks Over Knives' by Del Sroufe
Finding simple, affordable, and delicious plant-based recipes isn’t always easy, but this collection of meal ideas proves that anyone can create satisfying, healthy meals with a bit of know-how, even with limited time or budget.
If you want to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, avoid cancer, and prevent (or even reverse, in some cases) Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the Forks Over Knives philosophy claims that food is our most powerful and accessible medicine.
Penned as a companion to the 2011 documentary of the same name, vegan chef Del Sroufe builds on the ethos of the movement, sharing hundreds of globally and seasonally inspired recipes based on fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
Forks over Knives: The Cookbook