Book Review: Plant-Based Nutrition and Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking

    Two new books to talk about:

I am still on the fence after reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition.

“Plant Based Nutrition” is another term for “vegan/vegetarianism” so I was happy to have a chance to read the book over. It isn’t a cookbook, but rather a ‘living life’ book, a manual if you will that does happen to have some recipes included (about 45 of them).

While I agree with a lot of what is said in the book some of it went against my own views. But that is OK, everyone has their own take on life. I would say the book is a starting point for those wanting to change their lifestyle and it could help. But what had interested me most was the section on “Plant Based Pregnancy and Beyond” (Chapter 11) and frankly…it kind of left me feeling annoyed at the author. It was oddly judgmental (but then to be fair that could be my pregnancy hormones interpreting it this way). Using the term “waddle” just irked me for some reason (page 146). “….those who gain a lot of weight can barely waddle through their day”. Eventually almost all women waddle by the end, especially after the baby has dropped. To align waddling with excess weight gain is patronizing. Waddling happens. Of course there are super women out there who gained no weight, had a 1 hour labor and the baby pushed out in 2 short pushes and never waddled. Yeah, well I am not one of those and most of us are not! But more so….if numbers don’t matter why then include a weight gain chart for women that is lower than what many OB’s recommend? I don’t know. As well the author is against supplements (she has her reasons and yes, some are valid) but I feel that pregnancy isn’t the time to mess around. Of course, this is coming from someone who is taking 3 iron pills a day to just meet the base cut off for anemia. My frustration is that overall we do live a plant-based lifestyle but it isn’t some “miracle” answer to everything. I am always looking for new ideas to use my favorite whole foods in our diet but at the same time I can’t ignore my body. I fell off the full vegan diet months ago when my anemia became so bad. Sometimes one just has to listen to the voice that says “Go eat a steak“. (A couple of months back a blog I follow talked about her fantastic iron levels due to her raw juicing during her pregnancy and all I could think of was “yeah, the last thing I crave is raw spinach and kale juice” when we all know all I want is an entire box of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars…..)

But enough of my rant on the pregnancy section. A book cannot be everything for everyone. It can though help those looking for a change. If you go in with an open mind and a desire to learn a new way…it may well help. The book does have a lot of solid information and a smattering of recipes to get one going.

But on the other hand, the second book (co-0authored by the author of the first book), is the complete opposite and I found plenty to love.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking is a good comprehensive cookbook. It starts off with short and easy to read intro section, full of the basics and then gets to what counts – the recipes. And you get quite a few, a good 80% of the book is recipes. From Breakfast, to Baked Goods, to Snacks to Lunches, an extensive Dinner section and of course plenty of Desserts. If you are looking for new and tasty ideas, do check out this cookbook, you won’t be disappointed.

One basic recipe that caught my eye is in the start of the book, on page 35, for making DIY Baking Powder. Simple but easy to do – and an easy (and cheap) way to avoid gluten in processed products.

DIY Baking Powder


  • 2 tsp cream of tartar (found in the spice section)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cornstarch


In a small bowl, mix cream of tartar, baking soda and cornstarch together until well combined.

Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Makes 4 teaspoons.


FTC Disclaimer: We received copies of these books for potential review.



  1. For the record, I waddled both times at the end of my pregnancies and there was no ill intent or judgment behind that word…Thank you for your review of both books!

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