Sunday, December 27, 2020

Vegan Intermittent Fasting: Lose Weight, Reduce Inflammation, and Live Longer—The 16:8 Way—With over 100 Plant-Powered Recipes to Keep You Fuller Longer

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Vegan Intermittent Fasting is an interesting and accessible guide to 16:8 fasting with a plant based diet written and presented by Dr. Petra Bracht and Mira Flatt.  Originally released in 2018 in German, this English translation from Workman Publishing on The Experiment imprint is 288 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats. 

Most everyone understands (often from personal experience) that our bodies have different nutritional needs at different stages of our lives and that our metabolisms function differently at different times of day. I would say the majority of readers have experienced the sluggishness that comes after a very late night (possibly with the additional intake of alcohol) when a 4am trip to Taco Bell seems like a great idea. This book explains how our bodies need different fuel at different times of day, and more importantly how to use those metabolic differences to feel better, reduce inflammation, and lose weight. 

The author has an accessible and easy to understand style of writing. There is a lot of common sense knowledge  borne of long experience with nutritional medicine contained here. That the author is enthusiastic and knowledgeable is clear. As a scientist, I was admittedly uncomfortable occasionally with the enthusiastic disparagement of the scientific community as a whole (yes, we're hidebound and take ages to test and retest before changing our opinions, but that comes from a place of caution and safety). With that being said, the general consensus *does* seem to be shifting with every piece of corroborative evidence that avoiding eating when we "should" be sleeping does support metabolic health and wellness. 

The book has a logical layout with an easy-to-read format. The book is split into parts: an expository section on intermittent fasting (at night in a 16:8 pattern), why it makes sense, what benefits can be gained, and what the metabolic reasoning is. 

The second section includes a quick start program with 14 days of exercises (which even I could manage - and I'm not very physically fit), meal structures, meal plans, and shopping lists. The food is (obviously) vegan friendly. Ingredients will be readily available from most moderately well stocked grocery stores. The recipes are varied and appealing with a distinct variety of textures and colors (it's not just all green smoothies). One practical drawback of this section was that the quick-start recipes for the two week plan do NOT have direct links from the table list to the recipes themselves. I found myself flipping back and forth constantly. (Note: I received an early e-galley for review, this may well have been corrected in the final release copy). 

The third section contains vegan recipes for maintenance arranged by meal: breakfasts, lunches, dinners, dessert. Recipes contain a brief description, nutritional info (calories, protein, fat, carbs), servings, and prep time. Recipe ingredients are listed bullet style in a sidebar list with American standard and metric measurements included (yay!). The step by step cooking directions are numbered sequentially and are clear and easy to follow. 

The photography throughout the book is very high quality and serving suggestions are attractive and appropriate. The photography was one of the highlights of the book for me. By my rough estimate all (or nearly all) of the recipes are accompanied by clear photos. Exercise tutorials are also well photographed and easy to follow. 

The notes and resources for further reading will provide hours of more in-depth background. The authors have also included a cross referenced index, recipe index, and short bio. 

This would make a good selection for library acquisition, vegan eating enthusiasts, people looking for supportive and sensible weight loss ideas, or for the home library. The proselytizing is a bit distracting, but not a deal-breaker. In fact the author is most likely correct in her assertions. 

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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