Today I thought I would write another review, this time for the book Vegan for Her by Virginia (Ginny) Messina, MPH, RD with JL Fields. Ginny can be found online at the Vegan RD and JL can be found both at JL Goes Vegan and Stop Chasing Skinny.
When I first heard that Vegan for Her was coming out I was instantly excited. I am always doing more research about veganism (in terms of heath, the animals, and the environment) but I normally do so through internet resources or through books I check out from the library. This allows me to only add the best books and the ones that speak to me the most to my personal collection. However, with this book I knew I wanted to own it right away! Having followed both Ginny and JL online for quite some time, I knew I appreciated and valued their perspective and expertise, so I knew it would be a hit!
My instincts did not lead me wrong and I really loved reading Vegan for Her and have been referencing it since. One thing I really appreciate about this book is Ginny's focus on high quality scientific research. Ginny even goes into detail about the studies she views as quality research and therefore focuses on in the book. She says "In this book, I've tried to emphasize findings from the most robust and scientifically credible studies and to build recommendations around evidence that has the most solid support" (pg. 51). This means that most of the information used by Ginny comes from intervention, or clinical, studies and prospective observational studies. This is something the Psychology major in me very much appreciates. I have been told so many times throughout my undergraduate education (and rightfully so) "correlation does not equal causation" and so the research Ginny uses is just my type of research!
I also really liked the layout of this book. Part one talks about "Going Vegan" and covered the basics of a balanced vegan diet. Next, part two talks about "Healthy Eating for all the Times of a Woman's Life" in which specific topics, such as diet and hormones, fertility, and athleticism are discussed. "Lifelong Health for Vegan Women" is the topic of part three which includes topics such as preventing breast cancer, eating for strong bones, and fighting pain. The layout of this book makes it easy to find research and recommendations about a specific topic you are interested in or concerned about. Conversely, it allows you to skip the topics that may not be as much of a concern for you. This layout has also been very helpful after reading through the whole book because if I want to go back and re-read a certain section, say on diet and hormones, I know exactly where to go.
Some of my favorite chapters in Vegan for Her were "Health and Happiness Beyond the Scale," "Feeling Good: Managing Stress and Depression," and "Veganism Beyond the Plate" which was written by JL.
In "Health and Happiness Beyond the Scale" Ginny talks about maintaining and obtaining a healthy weight and tools for healthy weight loss when necessary but also discusses the issues with repeated failed attempts of losing weight and how it can be more healthful to maintain a slightly higher weight than may be ideal while eating a healthy diet. She also discusses the idea that being vegan automatically means you will lose weight and be thin and how in actuality, this is not necessarily the case. I very much enjoyed this section, as I have found this to be a common idea perpetuated online about the vegan diet. My favorite part of this chapter reads:
"Many, many women struggle with their weight. A vegan diet may help some women lose weight, but it's not a foolproof weight control program. However, without a doubt, eating more plant foods can improve your health at any weight. And, a vegan diet always delivers on its most important promises. It is guaranteed to make your diet more respectful and compassionate. Whether or not you can be thin, you can always choose to make the way you eat matter to yourself, to animals, and to the world" (pg. 132).
In "Feeling Good: Managing Stress and Depression" Ginny talks about things like potential supplements to help mood, tips for coping with stress, anxiety, and depression, how to keep your diet from causing undo stress, and my favorite section about when being vegan can cause stress. I found this last section extremely helpful and it is one I am sure I will turn back to in the future.
In JL's chapter, "Veganism Beyond the Plate" she talks about taking your veganism farther than your diet. I especially found her section on vegan clothing and cosmetics helpful and loved all her ideas about how to volunteer to make more of a difference for animals.
The last section of this book, part four, contains recipes crafted by JL and while I must admit I have yet to take a crack at any, I certainly need to! The many recipes that JL has crafted look simple and practical and having seen the food she shares on her blog I'm sure everything is delicious!
One additional benefit connected to this book are the forums available online. I have also personally used these and have been helped tremendously. If you have any questions or want to connect to other vegans, you should definitely check it out!
So there you have it! I'm sure you can tell I loved Vegan for Her! I would highly recommend it to any female vegans who have specific concerns or would just like more general information! I also found that this book provided me with a lot of new information, even though I have done a lot of prior research on the topic, and I am glad to have such a well written and informative resource to turn to!