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I used to be really intimidated bringing dinner to a friend who was gluten or dairy free, or allergic to nuts, or really had any sort of dietary restriction. I was used to just eating whatever I wanted! 

All that changed when I decided to go plant-based for a while. I quickly learned that, like most things, it’s not as scary as it seems. There are a lot of resources out there; you’re not alone; you got this.

One day I was listening to a podcast about plant-based eating and the host was talking to a woman named Ann Crile Esselstyn. She was so fun, excited, energetic, passionate, happy, and all at 87 years old! I thought, “I want to be like her when I grow up!”

Then she started talking about her go-to breakfast these days – a savory steel cut oats dish that sounded amazing. And what joy I felt when she mentioned that the recipe for this amazing breakfast is in her new cookbook!  

I am a sucker for a good cookbook. I’m not super comfortable coming up with my own food combinations, but boy can I follow a recipe. And if it’s a good recipe, you can trust I’ll be coming back to it again and again.

Of course, I hopped right on Amazon to get it immediately and I’ve been using it ever since!

Here’s what I love about “Be a Plant-Based Woman Warrior” by Jane Esselstyn and Ann Crile Esselstyn

Color

Perhaps least important: The amazing colors!! The subtitle is “Live Fierce, Stay Bold, Eat Delicious,” and their incredible design certainly fits the bill. The cover is the most beautiful blue, with a variety of colorful buddha bowl-type dishes. It is mouthwatering. Then you open it and see picture after picture of vibrant, life-filled food! Just looking at it makes me feel alive. No wonder Ann sounded the way she did in that interview. 

Motivating stories

If you’re looking for plant-based meals in an attempt to improve your health, you’ll enjoy this part. Throughout the first couple chapters they have inserted several little blurbs from women who have overcome health challenges by adding in more whole plant foods and leaving behind the processed junk. Again, you’re not alone. It’s inspiring to see what others have gone through and overcome.

The Authors

Like I said, I bought the book based on an interview I heard with one of the authors. Ann and Jane are a mother-daughter duo who have been creating yummy meals for decades. Perhaps it’s the family studies major in me, but I just find their relationship refreshing. I loved reading about their family, how they grew up, and how they got to where they are today. 

Recipes

Finally, to the meat of the matter. The recipes are okay.

Just kidding! They are obviously an absolute delight, which is why I’m here telling you about them. I’ve been using the book for about 10 months now and a lot of their stuff has become part of the regular rotation for our family. 

They have several amazing sauce recipes that I make almost weekly. Their Walnut Ginger dressing is seriously good on just about EVERYTHING. I also like the Spicy Almond dressing, the Lemon Tahini, and the hummus! There are several hummus variations, depending on what you want. My toddler and I will eat any of these on toast for breakfast and it always hits the spot.

And the great news is they are all made with amazing ingredients! Regardless of your meat-eating status, store-bought condiments and dressings are notorious for containing sugar, high fructose corn syrup, gums, natural and artificial flavors, and inflammatory seed oils. Nobody needs those! The sauces in this book are nourishing and so yummy.

They also include so many go-to main dishes. The Woman Warrior Burgers are filling, flavorful, and nutrient packed. I love their lasagna recipe (who knew it could be so good without the cheese). We eat their pad thai at least a few times a month. Even my meat-eating husband will join me in these meals. Of course, it is easy to add any desired meat, cheese, etc. to one person’s plate for just about any of these recipes, so who can complain?

I do admit, there are a few recipes we have tried that were too much work to be worth the effort. But you can’t win them all.

One thing I have gained using this book is confidence thinking outside the box. While they do have plant-based versions of “regular food,” they also have so many completely new, creative combinations! The recipes truly are bold and fun. Plus, I no longer dread feeding friends with dietary restrictions. Win-win for everyone.

About the author

Hey! My name is Brittan and I live in Utah with my husband and one adorable toddler. I love finding holistic and natural ways to care for myself and my family. I particularly enjoy learning about nutrition, herbal medicine, the emotional, spiritual, and energetic aspects of health, and anything else that contributes to complete wellness. Thanks for joining me!

I am not a doctor. Everything I write about is from my personal experience and perspective. Consult a physician if you have questions specific to your health.

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