Cookbook Review and Recipe from A Life In Balance: Delicious, Plant-Based Recipes for Optimal Health by Meg Wolff.
I first came across Meg Wolff at the Huffington Post where she writes regularly, featuring stories about the positive impact of a plant-based diet on health, as well as anticancer recipes.
A Life In Balance is Meg Wolff’s third book, this time a cookbook with a collection of easy, approachable plant-based recipes. For anyone who is new to a plant-based diet, or just trying to increase plant-based foods in their daily meals, Meg’s cookbook is a terrific introduction.
Meg Wolff, a two-time cancer survivor (first bone cancer, then breast cancer), switched to a plant-based diet 12 years ago, after doctors gave her virtually no hope (she endured a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation).
This compact cookbook, published by Down East, offers over 120 easy to follow recipes, including 31 recipes from guest contributors, including Rory Freedman, bestselling author of Skinny Bitch, Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet, and John Salley, three-time NBA champion.
The foreword is written by Dr. Colin Campbell, author of “The China Study,” a study which provides scientific information on the overwhelming health benefits of eating a plant-based diet. Dr. Campbell writes, “Meg’s book tells a real-life example of the power of a plant-based diet, not only to prevent but also to reverse chronic disease. We are reaching a tipping point, and a critical mass of success stories like Meg’s is accumulating.”
As Meg notes in her introduction, it only takes small steps to add up to better health over time. The recipes are easy to follow and range from basic recipes for beginners like Amazingly-Good-For-You Brown Rice and Oven-Roasted Veggies, to more adventurous recipes such as Black Bean and Corn Bread Casserole, and Sweet Potato and Arame Salad with Asian-Style Tartar Sauce. Sprinkled throughout the book are helpful tips, variations on recipes and notes, such as “Even Small Changes Can Make A Difference” and “Snacking Strategies.”
The recipes are divided into seven sections: Grains, Bean and Bean Products (tofu, tempeh, seitan), Vegetables, Soups, Sea Vegetables, Salads, and Snacks and Desserts. I chose a handful of recipes to try, including several with ingredients I had either never tried before or was not that familiar with, such as delicata squash, arame, and tempeh.
|Baked Delicate Delicata|
|Arame Carrot Saute|
I also made a few recipes which were much more familiar, including Lemony Hummus and Glazed Brussel Sprouts.
I have to say that I was not a tempeh fan until I tried the recipe for Good Egg Café Tempeh Hash (contributed by Mary Ledue Paine, owner of The Pepperclub/Good Egg Café in Portland, Maine).
|Good Egg Cafe Tempeh Hash|
This dish is one of Meg Wolff’s favorite treats when she dines at this cafe, and now I know why. Another taste-altering dish was the Glazed Brussels Sprouts.
|Glazed Brussel Sprouts|
My 8-year old, who is not a brussels sprout fan, liked the sweet glaze on the sautéed brussels sprouts (he also gobbled up half of the Lemony Hummus as an afternoon snack). All of the recipes were easy to follow, and I was thrilled by the end of my mini cook fest to have an assortment of dishes to choose from for several meals to come.
I love Meg’s inspirational and encouraging tone throughout her book. The clear and easy to follow recipes make taking steps towards a plant-based diet completely within reach.
A Life in Balance can be purchased on Amazon for $13.57.
Meg’s other two books are Becoming Whole: The Story of My Complete Recovery, and Breast Cancer Exposed: The Connection Between Food and Survival. Meg can also be found at the Huffington Post and on her blog BecomingWhole2.
Recipe for Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Reprinted with permission from A Life In Balance: Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Optimal Health, by Meg Wolff
1/8 cup apple juice
1/8 cup water
pinch of salt of 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
Cut 10 washed Brussels sprouts into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Heat olive or sesame oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cut-up Brussels sprouts and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add ¼ cup water. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
Mix the glaze ingredients in a measuring cup or small bowl and whisk together. Remove the skillet cover, add the glaze, and cook for 3 more minutes. Serve warm.