5 best plant-based present ideas: Christmas gifts for the plant-curious to the plant-obsessed

The countdown is on, are you running out of time to find the perfect gift for your loved ones this holiday season? Meaningful, purposeful presents that don’t break the budget are not always the easiest thing to find. Why not consider one of the many fantastic whole food plant-based (WFPB) books that have hit our shelves this year, or fall back on an old favourite? We have reached out to a couple of bookworms on our expert Advisory Council to see what has taken pride of place on their bookshelves. Here is what they read (and loved) this year.

Friends celebrating the festive season

The Plant Power Doctor

The Plant Power Doctor

Written by Dr. Gemma Newman


The Plant Power Doctor is a lovely, easy to read book that contains so much (referenced) plant-based nutrition information. You can really feel Gemma’s warmth and care when reading it.


The book contains sections on why and how to lead a healthy plant-based life. The sections are in different colours and contain a combination of factual information, recipe templates, real-life stories and some beautifully photographed, easy to prepare recipes.


Written in easy-to-understand language, I can visualise Gemma speak as I read. In the first section she discusses what a whole food plant-based diet is and why it is healthy. She then goes on to discuss other topics such as heart health, diabetes, hormones, healthy gut and longevity. Gemma describes how to change to a whole food plant-based way of eating and then offers some recipe advice.


As a plant-based GP myself, I appreciate the clear language she uses. The book’s format is like a motivating and inspiring consultation. There is something for everyone, from an omnivore looking at dipping their toes into a plant-based diet, through to a long-time vegan who wishes to eat as healthily as possible, through to someone who has eaten whole food plant-based for years.


Review by Dr. Adrian Griscti, Ambassadoc, South Australia

 

The Proof is in the Plants

The Proof is in the Plants

Written by Simon Hill


“Longevity, prevention of disease and a beautiful, healthy planet”. I feel that this quote by esteemed gastroenterologist, Dr. Will Bulsiewicz in the forward of The Proof is in the Plants, neatly summarises what this book is all about.


This is the most informative, up-to-date and fun 'reference' book on plant-based dietary patterns that I have read in quite a while. The amount of research that Simon Hill put into writing this book is really phenomenal. It is a book that you can pick up and easily read whether you have an interest in nutrition or whether you have a science-based tertiary degree. It is accessible to everyone who wishes to expand their knowledge base in this area.


As a science nerd, I have enjoyed visiting Google Scholar and reading quite a few of the referenced scientific and clinical studies. The data presented demonstrates the undeniable common thread between dietary patterns and human health.

Apart from the direct health benefits, this book holistically looks at many aspects of a plant-based way of eating including the sustainability of our planet – not just climate change but also the impact of western diet upon rates of zoonotic diseases and degree of deforestation and their impact.


Although the book is jam-packed with information in its 400 or so pages, the layout includes tables, diagrams, highlighted sections and factual summaries, making it a very easy read. It is a book that I will continue to refer to again and again.


By all means read this book from cover to cover, but truly you could open it up at any page and because of the way it is presented you will expand your nutrition knowledge immediately.


Review by Dr. Adrian Griscti, Ambassadoc, South Australia

 

Whole by Natural Harry

Whole by Natural Harry

Written by Harriet Birrell


My wife Jenny and I own quite a library of plant-based nutrition books which we regularly loan to family and friends and some of my patients. One book that is not allowed to leave our kitchen bench however, is Whole by Natural Harry.


All the recipes in this hardcover book are absolutely delicious, easy to make and without a long list of difficult to find ingredients. They are all healthy WFPB dishes, without added oil. Opposite each recipe is a mouth-watering colour photo of the dish.


The book starts with a section with Harry’s tips on cooking plant-based meals. She then presents some of her favourite recipes grouped into different categories. Our dog-eared, food smudged copy of this book opens up at multiple favourite recipes including the 'Cheesy Zucchini Noodle Bake' page! Each recipe has a comment from Harry describing her thoughts and feelings about her creation. There is also plenty of space on each page to allow you to make your own comments.


Whole is a beautiful book with a textured cover and pages that feel delightful to hold. The photography is spectacular and accentuates the delicious food. This is a book that would make a well-loved gift – if you can bear to part with it. Our other favourite recipes are 'Sweet Potato Nachos', 'Oaty Seed Loaf' and ...all the rest!


Review by Dr. Adrian Griscti, Ambassadoc, South Australia

 

The Plant-based Diet Revolution

The Plant-Based Diet Revolution

Written by Dr Alan Desmond


UK based gastroenterologist Dr Alan Desmond is a close friend of Doctors for Nutrition, having spoken at our inaugural conference in 2019 and continued to share his expertise on all things gut related during subsequent webinars.


His first book provides a carefully thought out and practical introduction to a plant-based diet, with (unsurprisingly if you’re one of almost 65k following him already on Instagram) an emphasis on the latest research on gut health, naturally complemented by some delicious recipes!


The Plant-Based Diet Revolution is succinct and highly visual, with the look and feel of a contemporary cookbook – it’s easily digestible in small bites. Perfect for those who might just want to skim or jump around through different topics and the numerous tips and success stories peppered between, before deciding which of 80 included recipes they'll try out today. Yet, in its entirety it answers all of the questions anyone curious about a plant-based diet might want to ask.


I’d highly recommend The Plant-Based Diet Revolution for anyone you’d love to encourage to become more plant-based. The beautifully presented recipe section alone, with its simple but attractive recipes with a refreshing UK twist (more familiar to most of us down-under) makes it a great gift to entice even your least plant-forward relatives or friends. Plenty of gluten free and oil free/optional recipes too. Vive la (Plant-Based Diet) Révolution!


Review by Dr. Luke Wilson, Board Director and New Zealand Ambassadoc

 

Eating Plant-Based

Eating Plant-Based; Scientific Answers to Your Nutrition Questions

Written by Dr Shireen Kassam and Dr Zahra Kassam


If you are buying for the friend who loves to be the first at everything, pre-order this new book due out on 20th January 2022. It is written by our very own International Advisor and founder of Plant-Based Health Professionals UK, Dr Shireen Kassam and her sister Dr Zahra Kassam, founder of Plant-Based Canada.


Eating Plant-Based; Scientific Answers to Your Nutrition Questions, is a Q&A style book that addresses common health-related topics about a plant-based diet. A global transition to a plant-based food system has now become an urgent imperative for both human and planetary health. Even though plant-based diets are associated with some of the best health outcomes and supported by major nutrition and dietetic organisations around the world, myths about the requirement for meat, dairy and eggs persist.


This book is for anyone who would like a deeper understanding of the scientific evidence supporting a plant-based diet and its impact on human health. It is a guide for health professionals who are increasingly meeting people in their practice who have chosen to adopt a plant-based diet. It is for those of you who are already following a plant-based diet and for those who would like to switch to this way of eating but are being put off by family and friends who question your choice and fill your head with doubt. Is it safe to raise children on a plant-based diet? How do you get enough protein? What about calcium? The answers to all these questions are simple and straightforward and this book provides the scientific background to our understanding of plant-based diets.


If you are thinking about making the transition, this book will give you the confidence to do so. If you are already following a plant-based diet, it will help you with advocating and discussing your choice with others in an impartial, evidence-based way. The questions are based around the sisters' experience of advocating and educating family, health professionals, patients and the public on plant-based diets for the last decade.


Pre-order your copy now from Book Depository, with free worldwide shipping.

 

If you haven’t had a chance to check-out all these good reads yourself, grab two copies! Not only will you enjoy the read but it will be a lovely way to connect, discussing what you have learnt and comparing recipe notes.


We’d love to hear what plant-based books you’d add to the Santa list this year! Let us know via social media.


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