You Are What You Eat

While they have surely been successful at keeping themselves thin, I really do not want Gwyneth Paltrow and Alicia Silverstone preaching at me about food. We all know their message: eat healthier, live healthier. However, when their books are full of pretentious pretty people and all-too-beautiful pictures of food assembled meticulously with tweezers and lit perfectly? I do not live in that world.

My world involves me getting home after work and trying to get a healthy dinner on the table, quickly, for hungry family members who are busy, too. I know how important it is to eat more plants and better food, but my world is not assembled with tweezers and rarely is it perfectly lit.

Sometimes my world involves cursing.

I am not alone. There has been a bit of a backlash against the pretty, twee image of vegan and healthy-diet cookbooks. People who live in the real world are looking for healthy food they can make quickly and easily, without breaking the bank on specialty ingredients. Luckily there are options!

Thug Kitchen
At the forefront of these is Thug Kitchen. Thug Kitchen takes a shot at the image of snobbish veganism in two ways: by using a lot of four-letter wordsNote 1A WHOLE LOT of four-letter words. On every page. I am not kidding. You have been warned., and by creating flavor-packed, vegetable-based recipes. Thug Kitchen started as a blog and has built itself into a foul-mouthed food empire. With over 700,000 followers on Facebook, a YouTube channel and two very successful cookbooks (Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook was a New York Times Bestseller and is still the #1 vegetarian cookbook on as of this writing; Thug Kitchen Party Grub Guide, the hit follow-up, also climbed the charts… they both have subtitles but I will let you read those on your own), Thug Kitchen has become the go-to authority on rude, amazingly delicious yet healthy food. The attitude here is, “Calm down. It’s not hard. Just cook it.” And all the photographs include real-looking tables, not tweezers.

The road to Thug Kitchen was paved by books like Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Based on her web series The Post Punk Kitchen, Moskowitz challenged both expectations and overpriced restaurants with a Brooklyn attitude, tattoos, and solid food. In the ten years since publishing this groundbreaker, Moskowitz has come through with a slew of other meat-free books including several on vegan baking.

But I Could Never Go Vegan! by Kristy Turner
But I Could Never Go Vegan! by Kristy Turner is another solid choice for real-world healthy food. Written by a former fromagier (according to the author, that is French for “cheese nerd”), this book is dedicated to knocking down all the stories we tell ourselves so we can avoid healthy eating. Sections titles include “Vegan Food is Too Hard”, “It’s All Rabbit Food” and “I’d Miss Pizza”; each section answers the title myth with multiple recipes. The food here is a little more involved than the recipes in the Thug Kitchen books, but are still tasty and come with much less cursing.

Miss Silverstone and Miss Paltrow have lovely books. Beautiful! But when it is time to make dinner here in the real world, I will probably grab Thug Kitchen and make Chickpeas & Dumplings, or Lentil & Mushroom Tacos, or (my personal favorite) Roasted Sriracha Cauliflower Bites with Peanut Dipping Sauce. Sorry, ladies.

Note 1 A WHOLE LOT of four-letter words. On every page. I am not kidding. You have been warned.

-Sharon GR


  1. Really well written! Enjoyable and informative! Can't wait to try my hand at the roasted sriracha cauliflower bites!

  2. It is currently on display for the general public.


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