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Recommended Reading: Our 12 Favorite Vegan Books of 2023

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2023 was another eventful year in the plant-based corner of the publishing world. From tantalizing new vegan cookbooks to cutting-edge nutrition research, there’s no shortage of good reads that traverse the intersection of health and plant-based lifestyles. We’ve gathered together our favorite vegan books released in the past 12 months to celebrate these influential authors and give you some holiday gift ideas for all the herbivores in your life. 

Editor’s note: FOK may collect a small share of sales from some of the links on this page, though it doesn’t influence our picks.

Plant-Based on a Budget: Quick & Easy by Toni Okamoto 

Get the most bang for your buck when you dive into the colorful and cost-effective world of Toni Okamoto’s plant-based cooking. Featuring 100 WFPB recipes, Okamoto’s sophomore release focuses on making healthy eating affordable and efficient so people of all economic backgrounds can prioritize their well-being. Okamoto cites both her family’s long struggle with chronic disease and her experience living below the poverty line as the primary motivators for creating this collection of inexpensive recipes. “I wanted to help people who felt sentenced to poor health due to a lack of finances to understand that there were alternatives,” she says. Apart from being kind to your bank account, Okamoto’s latest book is packed full of tasty meals that are inspired by her Mexican-American upbringing, including Sopa de Fideo, Potato Tacos, and Sheet Pan Nachos. Find Plant-Based on a Budget: Quick & Easy on Amazon.

How Not to Age by Dr. Michael Greger, M.D., F.A.C.L.M.

Dr. Michael Greger, a heavy-hitter in the WFPB world and founder of NutritionFacts.org, returns yet again with another insightful book that weaves together groundbreaking anti-aging research with actionable tips on living a longer life. In How Not to Age, Greger explains how plant foods can slow down, and even interrupt, the aging process—something that Big Pharma and the beauty industry don’t want you to know. He posits that the right diet can help you avoid age-related diseases and relinquish your reliance on expensive face creams, allowing you to focus on eating your way toward lasting vitality instead of spending a small fortune trying to retain your youth. If you love to know the “why” behind some of our most misunderstood biological processes, this book is an excellent deep-dive into the realm of using food as medicine. Find How Not to Age on Amazon

Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky: Modern Plant-Based Recipes using Native American Ingredients by Lois Ellen Frank, Ph.D., and Walter Whitewater

Food is often the backbone of culture, and this vibrant cookbook from Lois Ellen Frank and Walter Whitewater explores the unique plant-based diet of Native Americans prior to European colonization. The collection of more than 100 recipes focuses on the eight key ingredients that constituted the bulk of the Native American diet: corn, beans, squash, chile, tomato, potato, vanilla, and cacao. These foods, which would later revolutionize cooking around the world, are highlighted both in their traditional forms and in delightful modern twists within the pages of this richly photographed book. “We are in a time when our young generation wants to learn our traditional ways ... and especially the foods that sustained our ancestors,” says Frank. White adds: “With songs, stories, and traditional food, we can make [our community] well again, using food as medicine.” Interwoven throughout the sumptuous recipes are engaging discussions on indigenous history, food sovereignty, and environmental sustainability to ensure your meals come with a side of important cultural context. Find Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky: Modern Plant-Based Recipes using Native American Ingredients on Amazon

The Blue Zones Secrets for Living Longer by Dan Buettner

Want to live to be 100? National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner has dedicated his life to discovering how to do just that. Several decades ago the concept of Blue Zones—the places on Earth with the largest population of centenarians—became widely recognized in the public health sector. After successfully raising the average life expectancy in several cities with Blue Zones–inspired initiatives, Buettner revisited his groundbreaking work to tease out even more tips on how to live healthier, for longer. This gorgeously photographed book outlines the key principles of Blue Zones and how to apply them to your own life, no matter where in the world you call home. Featuring engaging interviews, tasty recipes, and actionable to-do lists, The Blue Zones Secrets for Living Longer will inspire you to switch things up so you can make the most out of your time on this beautiful planet. Find The Blue Zones Secrets for Living Longer on Amazon. 

Plantifully Lean by Kiki Nelson

Equal parts vegan cookbook and motivational self-help guide, Plantifully Lean is the culmination of Kiki Nelson’s firsthand knowledge about taking control of your health through a plant-based diet. Nelson’s battle with high blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol led her to discover a WFPB lifestyle that helped her naturally lose weight without counting calories. Her debut book, based on the insights she shares on her blog of the same name, is peppered with inspiring stories, self-love, and tons of scrumptious meals that will nourish you from the inside out. “I wrote the manual that I wish I’d had,” Nelson says. “Everything that I’ve learned, all my trial and error, it’s all been fine-tuned and summed up in this book.” Nelson approaches health and weight loss from a sustainable, holistic perspective to counter the damage that trendy fad diets can wreak on both your body and your mind, which earns her book a top spot on our shelf for years to come. Find Plantifully Lean on Amazon

Eating Does It: Healing Ourselves and Our Planet With Food by Kathy Pollard

Everyone has a different reason for going plant-based. For some, the eco-friendly nature of this diet is reason enough to cut out animal products. Cue Kathy Pollard, a research projects manager for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and adjunct faculty in applied nutrition at the University of New England, who is passionate about educating people about how the food we eat impacts our environment. Eating Does It takes a thorough look at the harm our modern animal-focused food systems inflict on both our health and the future of the planet. Through examining the global rise in chronic disease, increasingly processed nature of the average person’s diet, and climate change data, Pollard makes a convincing case for the benefits of veganism. Despite the heavy subject matter, her book is underlaid with a sense of optimism that will motivate you to take action in your own life and beyond. Find Eating Does It: Healing Ourselves and Our Planet With Food on Healthy Learning

The Plant-Powered Plan to Beat Diabetes: A Guide for Prevention and Management by Sharon Palmer

Sharon Palmer, aka the Plant-Powered Dietitian, is a trailblazer in the WFPB community. Her upbringing in a farming family, extensive education in plant-based nutrition, and 20-year career as a dietitian solidly position her as an expert in the field. Her latest book educates readers on how to use their diet as a tool to manage diabetes. “The cool part about lifestyle intervention is that what's good for diabetes is also what's good for your heart, your brain, your kidneys, your liver—it's good for everything,” says Palmer. “Going plant-based is not just a diabetes-specific diet. We should all be eating like this.” Tucked inside the chapters of The Plant-Powered Plan to Beat Diabetes you can find delicious recipes, loads of scientific research, and step-by-step meal plans to make a shift in your eating habits extra easy. Find The Plant-Powered Plan to Beat Diabetes: A Guide for Prevention and Management on Amazon.  

Plant-Based Delicious: Healthy, Feel-Good Vegan Recipes You'll Make Again and Again by Ashley Madden

If we were to compile a list of plant-based all-star chefs, Ashley Madden would be right at the top. Her second cookbook puts a healthy vegan twist on comfort food favorites and incorporates exciting flavors that entice your taste buds with culinary combinations you’ve never tried before. Some of the recipes you can look forward to include Brown Rice Poutine with Miso Gravy, Moroccan Potpies with Almond Pastry, Spicy Sheet Pan Cauliflower Tacos, and Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Cheesecake. Plus, all the recipes in Plant-Based Delicious are also gluten- and oil-free, ensuring that people of a wide range of dietary needs can enjoy tasty meals. With her background as a pharmacist and registered holistic nutritionist, Madden braids together knowledge of Western health care and alternative medicine to deliver a truly meaningful book that you can trust to nourish you and your family. Find Plant-Based Delicious on Amazon

Plant-Powered Protein: Nutrition Essentials and Dietary Guidelines for All Ages by Brenda Davis, Vesanto Melina, and Cory Davis

“How do you get enough protein if you’re vegan?” We’ve all heard this question from well-meaning relatives and co-workers, and it’s about time to put it to rest. That’s where Plant-Powered Protein comes in. This insightful book from Brenda Davis, R.D., Vesanto Melina, R.D., and agrologist Cory Davis proves once and for all that plant-based sources of protein are comparable—if not even better—than animal-derived protein. This fact-packed book is perfect for the athlete in your life who is ready to switch up their diet and take their training to the next level. Apart from all the incredible scientific explanations, you’ll enjoy 30 plant-based recipes, pantry suggestions, and cooking tips to make the most of your newfound knowledge. Read an excerpt from Plant Powered Protein: Nutrition Essentials and Dietary Guidelines for All Ages here, and find the full book on Amazon

The Clean Vegan Cookbook by Jackie Akerberg 

As a kid, Jackie Akerberg’s distaste for meat confused her midwestern family and friends. Fast forward to adulthood, and Akerberg officially ditched all animal products to embrace a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle. What started as vegan dinner parties soon turned into the successful blog Jackfruitful Kitchen, and this year, a debut cookbook. In The Clean Vegan Cookbook, Akerberg steers clear of meat substitutes, oil, or excessive sugar. “I’ve found that my body just functions and feels its best when I don't have all those processed ingredients,” she says. Akerberg’s conversion to a plant-based lifestyle improved her health enormously, and she firmly believes the diet that helped her eliminate asthma symptoms, clear up breakouts, and easily maintain a healthy weight can help anyone and everyone on their own health journey. You can look forward to making Bang-Bang Baja “Shrimp” Tacos,  Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup, and Power-Packed Blueberry Pancakes! Find The Clean Vegan on Amazon

The Plant-Based Dietitian's Guide to Fertility: From Pre-Conception to Healthy Delivery by Lisa Simon, R.D.

If you or someone you know is planning to start a family, this book should be a foundational text for anyone’s first foray into parenthood. UK-based dietitian Lisa Simon offers a comprehensive guide on how a plant-based diet can optimize both male and female fertility, and includes inspiring anecdotes about her own journey to overcome infertility through changing up what she ate. This Holy Grail guide also features tips on managing stress, getting proper sleep, and making lifestyle changes that will impact your health long after your little one is born. Whether you’re already plant-based or looking for a holistic approach to family planning, this empathic and evidence-based book will provide invaluable knowledge for the next generation of parents. Find The Plant-Based Dietitian's Guide to Fertility: From Pre-Conception to Healthy Delivery on Amazon. 

Wellness to Wonderful: 9 Pillars for Living Healthier, Longer, and with Greater Joy by Matthew Lederman, M.D., and Alona Pulde, M.D.

If your New Year’s resolution is to be happier, healthier, and more connected to the things you love, then this excellent read can act as a roadmap for achieving your goals. Long-time FOK contributors Matthew Lederman, M.D., and Alona Pulde, M.D., combine their experience as lifestyle medicine practitioners with cutting-edge scientific research to outline the nine pillars of living well. Within the pages of Wellness to Wonderful, you’ll discover how to optimize your sleep, connect to a supportive community, manage and reverse chronic disease, and fuel your mind, body, and soul with healthful practices so you can be your best self in 2024. You can read an excerpt from the book here, and buy Wellness to Wonderful: 9 Pillars for Living Healthier, Longer, and with Greater on Amazon. 

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About the Author

Megan Edwards

Megan Edwards is a staff writer and content producer for Forks Over Knives. She is also a certified RYT-500 yoga teacher who is passionate about cultivating holistic wellness through plant-based eating, mindful movement, and meditation. With a background in journalism and marketing, she supports both the online presence and quarterly print magazine for Forks Over Knives.
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