GOOD Books: Read Your Vegetables GOOD Books for New Vegetarians

GOOD Books rounds up the best in vegetarian reading.

GOOD Books is a weekly round-up of what we're reading and what we wish we were reading.

As a temporary vegetarian on day nine of The GOOD 30-Day Challenge, it’s hard to keep thoughts of my favorite meat-filled snack—the taco—from sizzling in my consciousness. To replace my carnivorous thoughts with veggie ones, I thought I’d kick off our new GOOD Books series by diving into some of the best vegetable-oriented reading that the old-fashioned printed word has to offer.

Easier said than done. Nearly every day there’s a new book released declaring itself the essential guide to eating vegetarian, vegan, raw, macrobiotic, pro-biotic, or rabbit-style.

What follows is a round-up of veggie-themed summer releases that I’d be willing to read even after the no-meat challenge ends, as well as a few tried-and-true classics.

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge
By Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
336 pages. Ballantine Books. $22.00.

I’m sure that struggling vegans on the GOOD staff wish this book had come out in May, but its August release should help with any future experiments in rejecting meat and dairy. If a vegan pledge lacks structure this time around, consider taking up Patrick-Goudreau’s 30-day challenge this fall. According to reviews, the book will answer a question I’ve pondered often—“Is there a life after cheese?”—in the affirmative.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
By Mark Bittman
1008 pages. Wiley. $35.00.

Bittman’s food writing has long been the proverbial hummus on my zwieback. I learned to cook using his recipes from The Minimalist and How to Cook Everything, and now I’m eager to polish my vegetarian cooking skills using recipes from the three-year old How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Bittman has become an advocate for reducing meat consumption for environmental purposes—he recently compared our culture’s love for meat to a crack addiction and claims that he has dropped his personal meat consumption by 60 to 70 percent in recent years. I imagine that it’s possible to stay on track if you’re feasting on easy-to-make delights like cornbread salad or lemon-ricotta pancakes. Bonus: you can get the book as a smart phone app.

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
By Deborah Madison
752 pages. Broadway. $23.99

GOOD’s Executive Editor Ann Friedman, a longtime vegetarian, named Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison her go-to cookbook. With more than 800 recipes, the book is beloved for its thoroughness, whether a cook is scraping together a quick lunch with whatever’ is left in the produce drawer or planning an elegant, multi-course dinner party. Madison’s double spatula cover shot alone—intimidating yet inspiring—is enough to make me want to stare at this book on my countertop every day.

The Accidental Vegan
By Devra Gartenstein
240 pages. Celestial Arts. $16.99.

The idea that someone could just fall into veganism comes as a shock to me, but according to Gartenstein, that’s what happened to her. Did she forget to put in her contact lenses and grab soymilk instead of dairy? Who knows. But The Accidental Vegan argues that it is less tough to be vegan than commonly thought because a lot of awesome food is already vegan without even trying. Think spring rolls or baba ganoush. The book is two years old, but a Kindle version debuts this summer.

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
By Michael Pollan
112 Pages. Penguin. $11.00.

In his latest book, Michael Pollan regulates: “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.” That’s commandment number 19 of 64, and important advice for any vegetarian who might be tempted to gorge on Sour Patch Kids. A departure from Pollan’s earlier genre of literary journalism, this book locates itself squarely in the “how-to” camp. Food Rules works well for the recipe-weary. Rather than propose specific dishes, it offers general guidelines on how to shop, eat healthily, enjoy food more, and limit your diet’s environmental impact, all without freaking out about nutrients.


The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.


Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger


Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet
Instagram / Leonardo DiCaprio

This August, the world watched as the Amazon burned. There were 30,901 individual fires that lapped at the largest rainforest in the world. While fires can occur in the dry season due to natural factors, like lightning strikes, it is believed that the widespread fires were started by loggers and farmers to clear land. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, cites a different cause: the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio wasn't accused of hanging out in the rainforest with a box of matches, however President Bolsonaro did accuse the actor of funding nonprofit organizations that allegedly set fires to raise donations.

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The Planet