Holistic health expert Stephanie Sunshine Samuels equips readers with the tools to awaken their soul in, “The Vegan by Nature Cookbook: The Essential Guide for Healthy Food – Simple, Delicious, and Full of Soul.” This paperback features 63 quick and easy recipes. Samuel uses common ingredients found at local grocery stores and the instructions are simple to follow.
I love the large print which makes navigating the pages less intimidating. Unfortunately, the blurry images cast a damper on their vibrancy. Still, I find myself making a list of some of my desired dishes such as the garlicky spinach hummus, vanilla ice cream, Italian stuffed peppers, curried chickpea soup and the tropical sunshine smoothie. I linger in the “Veganize It” section for the meat and dairy-free version of my favorites because I’m not totally committed yet.
The author provides additional cooking tips under, “Sunshine Taught Me,” which add a nice touch. The most fascinating segment, “The Spirituality of Food,” discusses the use of food to heal the chakras – the areas of energy in the body that run from the base of the spine to the top the head. She gives a basic overview that piques my interest.
Samuels became vegan because “my food choices have not always been respectful of my body.” She grew up in Augusta, Georgia on a country diet with a void of fruits and a shortage of vegetables. Her eating shifted in college when her roommate introduced her to organic foods. She also ate fruit after each meal when she studied abroad in Spain. She never considered nutrition and diet until she got pregnant with her son. She started cooking at home, incorporating more produce and substituting turkey for beef and pork. On this journey, she learned how food affects the mind and spirit. She also educated herself about the meat industry.
In 2014, she learned that her 28-year old friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a 30-day fast, Samuels gradually adjusted her diet by removing eggs and cheese. She researched the causes of cancer and embraced a raw food lifestyle. She fell “in love with veganism and the connection to optimal health.” Samuels founded her company Vegan by Nature Holistic Health in 2015.
She teaches clients how to transition to a vegan lifestyle and develop a yoga practice. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Spanish and a master’s in education. She has also earned Certification in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University and is a certified yoga instructor and reiki practitioner.
Overall, the “Vegan by Nature Cookbook” offers a variety of dishes to try at home. You can make them on Meatless Mondays or any day of the week without spending hours in the kitchen. They feed your mind, body and spirit.
I have decided to prepare the curried chickpea soup. I opted to use the canned chickpeas instead of dry. The recipe didn’t specify the type of onion, so I added a yellow one. I cooked my soup on the stovetop for 45 minutes as an alternative to the slow cooker. I poured in the coconut milk with five minutes remaining. I garnished it with chopped tomatoes and fresh parsley. The book is available on Amazon.
To check it out to make it for yourself, head over to the recipes for my version of her Curried Chickpea Soup.
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