The China Study Cookbook: A Review

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Spend 5 minutes with me in my kitchen and you’ll learn that I am not a fan of recipes.  I am an improvisor.  I don’t measure anything. I am a fan of keeping it simple, but enjoy a good twist on an old favorite.  I love to eat! My whole foods plant-based lifestyle affords me the opportunity to eat a lot, try new things, like mustard greens and enjoy my food more than ever before.  I look everywhere for inspiration when it comes to plant-strong meals.  From Facebook and Pinterest to cookbooks and magazines. I love being a recipe scientist and flipping recipes on their head to make them plant-strong.

I had the opportunity recently to read and review The China Study Cookbook by Leanne Campbell, PhD. I use cookbooks for inspiration and ideas on what to make in my kitchen.  This one is full of ideas!  Campbell spends the first 33 pages of the book giving a brief summary of what following a whole foods plant-based diet entails.  With sections about nutrients, feeding children, transitioning from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to name a few, readers get a glimpse of why they should pick up The China Study if they haven’t read the book that started it all.  The book stands alone just fine to the casual observer and those who are looking for a healthier version of the currently popular vegan diets that are heavy on oils and vegan substitutes.  For those practicing a whole foods plant-based diet already, this book has a lot to offer.

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There are many plans out there in the plant-based arena.  The recipes that Campbell offers in The China Study Cookbook should please most practitioners.  For those following a plan that doesn’t include nuts, there are less recipes to choose from, but most of the recipes can be modified.  Some of the recipes include coconut and or light coconut milk as well.  As a follower of Dr. Esselstyn’s plan, I generally avoid nuts, coconut and other high-fat plant foods.  For coconut milk, I replace the amount of liquid with unsweetened almond milk with a 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract.

For most, this cookbook offers a full array of recipes to please every palate.  The Mexican Jicama Salad is one of my favorites. It’s simple and works as a side dish or a great topping on burgers or tacos. The Spicy Pumpkin Soup will be gracing my table throughout autumn.  The Leafy Lentils recipe is a new favorite as well! I think it was even better the next day for lunch.  Some of the other notable recipes for fall include: Pumpkin Gnocchi With Italian Vegetable Sauce – super easy! – and the Apple Gingerbread Upside Down Cake will be the perfect way to celebrate my husband’s birthday.

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Consider adding this cookbook to your plant-based book shelf.  Creative recipes with fresh flavors, great photos of plant-based foods, it offers something for everyone.

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