When I first received the book I was a bit surprised by it’s size. I was expecting a larger tome, but I was pleasantly surprised upon cracking the cover. Ms. Elliott has compiled a plethora of information for the 21st century vegan girl which is clear, concise, aesthetically appealing and entertaining.
The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life covers everything from the basic to the complex. The book is broken down into 7 chapters: Understanding What Vegan Is (And Isn’t), Nutrition, Vegan Living, Shopping Like a Vegan When You’re Not Buying Food, Vegan Food, Get Started in the Kitchen: Recipes and Do It Yourself! Short profiles of ordinary vegans and not so ordinary vegans are sprinkled throughout the book. Among the not so ordinary are Chicago’s very own, Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart of Vaute Couture, and Laviyah of Ste Martaen, as well as several other prominent vegan business women.
Elliott begins the book by describing how she became a vegan, before she goes into veganism basics. Unless you’re new to veganism you can probably skip the first chapter which is filled with facts and myth debunking. If you’re a seasoned vegan you can probably also skip the second chapter, which covers nutrition, however, if you’re newer to veganism, like myself, you’ll find it’s a nice refresher (I find having occasional reminders about nutrition helps me stay on the right track, kind of like going to the dentist twice a year reminds me why I have to floss – even if it is kind of a pain). The third chapter covers everything from fielding questions about your choices to eating out/traveling to getting a 100% vegan tattoo (I knew most inks weren’t vegan, which is why I haven’t been inked yet, but now I’ll be ready if/when I decide to go for it)! “Shopping Like a Vegan When You’re Not Buying Food” (Ch. 4) was by far my favorite chapter. I learned about so many companies that offer vegan products without having to search/sift through the internet for hours. The chapter covers clothing, beauty products (Top 10 Lists by both Elliott and Sunny Subramanian, editor of Vegan Beauty Review), feminine products, cleaning products, and condoms/birth control (however, the book is short, so don’t expect to find info on everything, though it comes close!). Chapters 5 & 6 cover food, the former offers tips on stocking your kitchen & pantry, non-vegan ingredients to watch out for, vegan substitutes and cooking tips, while the latter offers a wide variety of recipes, including contributions from authors, Kelly Peloza (The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur) and Terry Hope Romero (Viva Vegan!, Veganomicon, etc.). Ms. Elliott closes the book with a chapter called, “Do It Yourself!”, I felt some of the information was a bit superfluous (but fun), like the crafts she includes. However, some of the sections within the final chapter were very informative, like the gardening section and the knitting/crochet section (knitting warm vegan items is possible despite what wool purists might tell you).
My only complaints about The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life are the book’s lack of an index and the ordinary vegan girls’ profiles. Almost everyone profiled has a blog or website listed, unfortunately, some of these links are no longer active. Also, though it was cool to see the similarities and differences between vegans, the profiles would’ve been more relevant to would-be-vegans & current vegans if they contained recommendations or tips, as opposed to the “Funniest Vegan Moment” sections, as many of these weren’t funny. That being said, I found many of the noteworthy vegan girl’s profiles to be very inspiring.
So whether you’re a seasoned vegan, an aspiring vegan or simply curious about the vegan lifestyle, you should check out The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life.
The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life
By Melisser Elliott