Book Review: This New Year do it the vegan way!

Surprising Zucchini Noodles with Primavera Sauce
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By Bhavana Akella

Book: Guilt Free Vegan Cookbook: Oil, Sugar, Gluten and Dairy Free Vegetarian Recipes; Publisher: Roli Books; Pages 223; Price Rs.682 on

Are the greasy, high-on-saccharine, cheesy foods you’ve been eating as part of your lifestyle driving you on a guilt-trip with every bite? It’s time the rich, high-on-fat cuisine-loving Indians make their New Year resolutions to adopt a vegan way, diet gurus say.

Surprising Zucchini Noodles with Primavera Sauce
Surprising Zucchini Noodles with Primavera Sauce

“Guilt Free Vegan Cookbook: Oil, Sugar, Gluten and Dairy Free Vegetarian Recipes” shows the way to a healthier lifestyle.

Barua, who learnt to meditate from masters like the Dalai Lama, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and others, is the main creator of many of the recipes in the book and has a panache for presenting dishes that look and taste amazing, Gulati said.

The cookbook, with some jaw-dropping, appetizing photographs by Anshika Varma, presents vegan, oil-free, sugar-free and gluten-free recipes from Italian, Thai, Mediterranean and Indian cuisines, along with American menus (which majorly thrive on fat-filled foods). It takes readers on an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ sort of journey by making them fall in love with vegetables and fruits the way they are.

Veganism, which uses no animal products particularly in diet, apart from being fully vegetarian, is the way to be to fight many challenges in society, right up to green house gas emissions, Gulati said.

“Vegan is the way to be, to address the challenges that we humans and the planet are facing today. It is better for our health and for other sentient beings to not be harmed. Vegan ways help environment as 51 percent of greenhouse emissions are linked to the animal food industry, including meat, dairy, fish, eggs et all,” Gulati told IANS, explaining the concept behind her book.

Gulati and Barua, both vegans, took a “big risk in investing in the book” but the reception was better than they had expected, Gulati said.

Asked if it is a challenge for Indians, who are much used to dairy products and sugar in their food, to turn vegan, she said: “I don’t think that Indians in particular are rigid or find it hard to adopt a vegan diet; it’s anybody who is eating traditionally or as per the current norms in their society.”

Any one would find it hard to change one’s food habits if he or she is not adequately motivated to do so, Gulati pointed out.

The book provides those who want to embark on their new vegan journey with healthy alternatives to dairy products and commonly-used gluttony ingredients. “The idea of the book is to let people eat foods as close to their natural state as possible,” the author said.

Sharing her experiences as a health coach, Gulati said people would often go off track on their healthy eating journeys when they get bored of their regular home food.

They would crave for pizzas or ice-creams or restaurant food and would end up going off track and feel repentant and disappointed with themselves, she said. “So, we thought, why not bring some of the restaurant-styled food in their homes but make it easy, using local ingredients, and make the steps simple and quick.”

In customizing recipes from different cuisines to make them oil-free, gluten-free and dairy-free, apart from being entirely vegan, was a challenge which the authors had to overcome.

For example, the classic ‘cream of mushroom soup’ recipe turns itself into a ‘no cream of mushroom soup’ in the book, which leaves out the use of any cream, yet looks creamy with the use of vegetable stock and almond milk.

Another such interesting adaptation is that of a pizza, which takes its shape into an ‘unbelievable vegan pizza’ for the book, using cashew cheese and broccoli florets as a part of the topping! You can be sure this pizza will not add to your belly fat – if taken in limited amounts.

A recipe from the book: Cleansing basil and carrot juice

Ingredients: 4 medium-sized carrots

1/2 inch ginger

4-5 basil leaves


1. Extract the juice of carrots and ginger. It should measure one glass. Separate the fibre.

2. Blend the basil leaves with a little juice and mix with the juice.

3. Serve chilled with a sprig of basil.


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