This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Aside from minimalism, healthy eating is a love of mine. Who doesn’t want to be healthy and energetic all day? Right? Sadly, the corporate 9-5 journey I was previously on made it super hard to eat well on the run. I often found myself reaching for ‘convenience’ foods and paying the price for it either on my waistline or with less than stellar energy levels. My body quickly became clogged, toxin ridden, and inflamed.
The funny thing is – after my divorce, I spent time on me. I ate well, I exercised regularly and I felt great. But with a new 9-5 in outside sales, things quickly deteriorated. And now, on my new journey to live simpler and slower and on my own terms, I’m having to fix the aftermath of the corporate 9-5. The first step was healing emotionally, now I’m on to healing my body.
As I get older, my body undergoes regular changes and I find new food sensitivities pop up almost every day. My biggest food dilemmas that leave me feeling icky? Dairy – GUILTY. Coffee – GUILTY. Anything with gluten – GUILTY as charged. These evil villans leave me feeling sluggish, that my body is working too hard to process foods I consume, and of course, no trifecta would be complete without said villans showing up on my skin somewhere.
Lumps, bumps and pimples of all sorts are a sure sign of a dairy and sugar overdose. Dairy shows on my shoulders. Sugar shows as itchy hives in a small patch on my chin. Yikes!
Although I want to, I find I cannot go full vegan. My body needs too much protein, and well, vegan cheese (cashew cheese), is ummm…gross. Tried it and I don’t like it. Oh, and we can’t forget nutritional yeast. Ick. While I still include eggs, chicken, and fish here and there, I’m mostly vegetarian otherwise.
So, how do you solve the need for simpler meals, less time in the kitchen, and the ‘must be healthy’ problem? Well, you look to others for ideas.
Here’s one lady that gets me. She hates diets and loves how food makes her feel. And I’ll admit, if you eat healthy food and the more indulgent stuff in moderation, you will feel good. Too much indulgence, however, equals crappy tired feelings. Donna’s mantra is ‘everyday feel good recipes.’ And there are quite a few in here I’m ready to try after reading through this book. I highly recommend checking out the Clean + Lean chapter if you’re not into all the meat and indulgence.
This book does include recipes with meat and dairy, but has some vegetarian options. Honestly, the photography alone will have you flipping through even if you don’t try out a recipe or two.
Want to learn about raw and vegan eating? Laura’s your girl. With a 30 page introduction about how Laura came to be Vegan and getting acquainted with veganism, you’ll be off to a good start if that’s your deal. Throughout the book, you can tell Laura loves storytelling. With each recipe she offers honest little stories of how she came across it, or what it means to her life.
To try: Pg 66 Plz for the love of God body get better soup, Pg 70 Collard Green Wraps, Pg 72 Immunity Bowl (yes! for when I feel a cold coming on), and Pg 80 Protein packed granola bars but minus the hemp. Strangely, I get a really weird reaction from hemp; almost allergy like. It’s not pretty and doesn’t feel great. So, you may want to go easy on the hemp if you’ve never tried it before.
Can I be cliché and say, Jeanine, you had me at hello? The mantra behind Love and Lemons is ‘simple food with love for your ingredients.’ Umm, what’s not to love there? Simple, check. Love food, check check. While many cookbooks praise using local ingredients and local seasonal cooking, Jeanine believes in teaching others how to cook with what you have as well. So instead of hunting in the market for, let’s say, asparagus – not finding it – then having to choose another recipe or veggie – well, life gets complicated. So Love and Lemons is all about cooking with what you have, not running around like a maniac trying to source ingredients. Love that the book offers Vegan and Gluten Free options for each recipe as not all are vegetarian in the book. This book is primarily composed of Vegetarian recipes with Vegan and GF options. One downside? There are very few deserts contained in this book.
To try: Pg 115, Beet and Carrot Salad, Pg 133 Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles, Pg 147 Peanut noodle kale bowls, Pg 157 How to make a kale salad, Pg 187 Quick pickled onions, Pg 276 Hummus ideas, Pg 278 Guacamole ideas.
Ever tried juicing or juice cleanses? I have and I’ll admit I have a love/hate relationship with them. Love because they’re so flavourful and vitamin packed, but hate because, well, my body needs more food (read: protein) than what a juice cleanse offers. I’m the one who supplements a juice cleanse with food. I’m that lady. But, I could not pass up checking out a book by The Greenhouse Co., a company that got its start in my hometown of Toronto.
The book is not entirely about juicing, it does offer recipes organized by meal type, followed by cleanses, tonics and finally juicing.
To try: Pg 35 Overnight Oats, Pg 42 Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding, Pg 107 Scottish Oatcakes, and of course, you must check out the juices, smoothies and nut milks.
‘But the truth is my turbulent, on-again, off-again relationship with food has been fraught with challenges.’ For Angela, she spent ten years where food was the enemy. She struggled with full on starvation and binge eating. Umm, hello? My hand’s up. I’ve also struggled with both extremes and don’t like either. Be sure to check out ‘My Journey to Health’ in the introduction.
This was my first vegan/vegetarian cookbook find. I stumbled upon the blog about 5 years ago and loved what I saw. So, I bought the book! Both of them actually. This is the first book in Angela’s repertoire and doesn’t disappoint. I’ve tried quite a few of the recipes and the book gets used regularly. Everything in here is super quick and easy to prepare
To try: Pg 33 Sunrise Scramble, Pg 89 Classic Hummus, Pg 115 Long Weekend Grilled Salad, Pg 131 On the Mend Spiced Red Lentil-Kale Soup, Pg 153 Empowered noodle bowl – orange miso dressing, Pg 163 Quick & Easy Chana Masala, Pg 197 Pan-seared garlic tofu, Pg 215 Classic Glo Bar (I subtract the hemp).
Because I found so much success in changing my health and diet with the first book, I opted to snag the second book when it came available. The second book from oh she glows expands on the first with even more healthful recipes – and the instructions now offer soy-free, nut-free and grain-free options as well as offering a notice of how much prep is required. Awesome for those of us that are rushed! Right?
To try: Pg 115 Every Day Glow, Pg 87 Banana Bread Muffin Tops, Pg 91 Every Day Lemon-Garlic Hummus, Pg 201 Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Bean Macaroons.
This is the latest addition to my never-ending cookbook fetish. I have several boxes of them – a hardcore minimalist’s nightmare I’m sure. But you know what? Cooking and food bring me joy. Karen’s book is truly stunning. The photography is absolutely amazing and the recipes have my mouth-watering. And what could be better than the book’s opening? ‘A guide for cooking seasonally and simply.’
A few other snippets: ‘I believe food should capture your spirit. Your food, I believe, is a compilation of your journey in life — it collects bits and pieces as you go.’
This book is vegetarian but does contain dairy and wheat.
Looking for more book suggestions? Here you go: