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Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day: A Game Plan for the Budget Conscious Cook Paperback – June 7, 2011
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About the Author
At 58, Ellen Jaffe Jones is "THE VEG COACH." She is a personal trainer, running coach, author, and is a cooking instructor with The Cancer Project, a program of the prestigious Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She spent eighteen years in TV news as an investigative reporter, morning anchor, and producer for network affiliates around the country, winning two regional Emmys among other awards.
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In a way, it did help me. The first 29 pages of the book are very helpful - packed with info on shopping inexpensively for vegan food. The rest of the book contains a 7 day menu [3 meals per day] and recipes. The author is clear and concise without being preachy. I found her writing easy & enjoyable to read.
But, in another way, I felt kind of ripped off. The first 29 pages were full of info and were great reading, but they weren't worth the price of the book by a long shot. The recipes were OK - some of them are extremely simplistic [like the one for oatmeal: water, oats, salt. Put it in a pot and cook it]. I did not find many recipes that I found appealing - in fact, I doubt I'll try any recipes in the book [other than oatmeal, which I already eat on a regular basis....]. So, it was kind of frustrating - it took me less than 45 minutes [literally] to read this entire book [it is a slim volume, even padded with simple recipes]. I really did not feel I got my money's worth out of the book - I could have done better spending one hour on the internet googling vegan meals and tips.
I also felt that the claim that you can eat vegan for $4 a day was a bit exaggerated. For one thing, the portion sizes she gives are extremely small - for example, on day one you are supposed to eat half a cup of oatmeal for breakfast [and that is it.] For most people, one half a cup of plain oatmeal would not be enough to get them through till lunch. Can you imagine a 180 lb guy trying to get by on that? I can't. The lunches and dinners seemed very slim on serving size too - I think most people would probably end up having to increase what she counts as a full meal just to get enough calories. She does not include calorie counts in her menu plan, but looking at them, I'd guess the menu plans have 1,000-1,200 calories planned per day, which isn't enough for most healthy, active adults. [that is "famine level" caloric intake according to the World Health Organization].
I also felt the prices she said she was getting on the items she includes were awfully low - I am a long time frugal shopper and I have never seen prices as low as the ones she was quoting on some of the products she recommends. I'm a bit skeptical that anyone could really eat what she's recommending for $4 a day. [She also assumes a well stocked pantry in that calculation - such as spices on hand that aren't counted in the cost].
Now, that said, I DO believe that eating the way she recommends is FAR less expensive than eating the average American diet, even if she has exaggerated the inexpensiveness of it. This is still a far superior way of eating - both health wise and financially.
So, I truly felt conflicted by this book - 29 pages of good info and some recipes that were somewhat helpful, but not worth the price of an entire book IMO. I wish there had been MORE to this.
In summary, this book was helpful, but it could have been so much more helpful!
I also don't do soy or processed foods, so the recipe portion of the book was a major flop for me.
I made the quesadillas tonight and they were quite good, better than any other quesadillas I have ever made!