As we become better educated about where the food we eat comes from, more people than ever are giving up meat for a life of vegetables. Living on the veg is nothing new though. Egyptians, the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras and Japanese emperor Tenmu are just some of the people that were living off vegetables hundreds of years ago. The term vegetarian has been around for centuries. But now there’s vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian and ovo-lacto vegetarian. That’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. So what does it all mean?
In this fact-filled meat-free food fest, long time vegetarians Clive Gifford and Jacqueline Meldrum provide children with everything they need to know if they want to start ‘living on the veg’. Split into four main sections, the book begins with an overview of vegetarianism and a brief history lesson before rapidly moving onto the reasons why people choose to turn veggie covering animal welfare, religion, a desire to eat more sustainably and a commitment to helping to look after the environment. A questions section is informative and amusing and addresses concerns that veggie food is tasteless, about the potential for animals to take over the world and what’s the point of giving meat up if everyone else eats it anyway. An anecdote about eating meat to be strong is emphasised through rhinos and elephants who are incredibly strong and depend on a diet of plants.
A detailed nutritional section explores how to ensure you get all your essential minerals and nutrients from plant based products and introduces foods that children may be unfamiliar with, think tofu, Quorn, TVP (textured vegetable protein) and agar-agar. The final part is all about committing to the veggie lifestyle and is incredibly supportive. Amongst other things, it addresses the challenges of telling family and friends, how to stick to a new diet, simple food substitutions, eating at other people’s houses, going to the restaurant and eating out on holiday.
Twelve recipes are provided so readers can begin enjoying tasty veggie dishes immediately. They are quick, simple and most importantly of all they sound absolutely delicious. You can be eating Cloud Eggs for breakfast, Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup for lunch and Spinach and Coconut Dal for dinner. There’s plenty of tasty snacks to whip up too, including Chocolate Brownies and Coconut Ice. Additional website links and a glossary round things off.
Living on the Veg is a food feast-ival. It is very balanced and never comes across as preaching to the reader, if you still want to eat meat after reading then that is entirely OK. What Gifford and Meldrum do is provide a read that is honest, often eye-opening and provides plenty of food for thought (be that veggies or meat). Facts, top tips, advice and easy strategies are in abundance and the brightly coloured pages are filled with bite size chunks of information that are easy to digest.
A great read for introducing a meat-free diet and will support children in making informed choices about the food that they eat.
Recommended for 8+.