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The Plant-Based Journey by Lani Muelrath

The holiday season is upon us and before you know it, people will be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. And what’s one of the most common resolutions people make? To get healthier. Research shows one of the best ways to reclaim your health (and the health of the planet, I might add) is to adopt a plant-based diet. But where does one begin? Between news articles, “health” blogs, numerous books, and various online resources, it can be overwhelming to choose a starting point from a source who knows what they’re talking about. If there’s one book I would encourage someone who is interested in making the switch to a plant-based diet, I would highly recommend The Plant-Based Journey by Lani Muelrath.

If you don’t know of Lani Muelrath, let me give you the (impressive) scoop: she’s an award-winning teacher, transition strategist, fitness expert, and dietary coach whose been plant-based for more than 40 years! Now she’s literally putting her knowledge and expertise right at your fingertips.

I’ve been vegan for over four years, so the idea of a plant-based diet is not new to me. That being said, even I found several (tofu) nuggets of inspiration and wisdom in this resourceful book.

The book has 6 sections (see the full table of contents here) that focus on several key areas to adopting a plant-based diet including:

  • Why choose a plant-based diet
  • How to plan a plant-based diet from kitchen tools, to pantry, to plate
  • The transition process that includes references to many helpful resources, as well as meal planning, social situations, and travel solutions
  • Keeping the commitment to a plant-based diet and long-term health going for the long-haul
  • Recipes! 🙂

As I read this book, I noted several nice touches that I felt really added a special something to this plant-based “field guide”. I recognize that Lani is passionate about helping people get healthier and these extra touches really emphasized that passion. Some of the things I absolutely loved were:

  • Lani’s sharing of her personal story to going plant-based
  • A 7-day plant-based food journal from Lani as an example of what to eat (walking the walk and talking the talk!)
  • “Beware the FOP” — the “front of package” labeling that often provides misguiding food descriptions by way of clever marketing
  • Reader tips — words of advice, encouragement, and wonderful insights from Lani’s own blog and newsletter readers. In other words, folks just like you and me 😉
  • Easy meal templates that help you compose a plant-based meal with plenty of flexibility
  • A personal testimony from my friend Sharon — who I had no idea was featured in this book! Sharon’s story details not only how she went plant-based but how she even got her husband and three young children on board, too. Yes, it can be done!
  • Recipes! 🙂
  • This encouraging quote for a plant-based newbie:

You can think about food as being in three categories: 1) plant-based, 2) animal-based, and 3) refined/processed. As long as you’re eating as much as you can from the first category — plant-based foods — while minimizing or eliminating the other two, you’ll be well on your way.

I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to review The Plant-Based Journey by BenBella books. It’s so exciting to see such an amazing resource become available in a day and age where more and more people are turning to plant-based and vegan diets, and we want to be able to point them in a direction that is truly helpful and healthful.

I’m not the only one who has praise for The Plant-Based Journey, so please be sure to check out the blog tour. You’ll be amazed by the lovely food photos and have access to several delectable recipes. To start things off, and just in time for Thanksgiving, check out this pumpkin muffins recipe from The Plant-Based Journey — yummm!!! 🙂

PUMPKIN MUFFINS from The Plant-Based Journey by Lani Muelrath

This recipe is adapted from the Easy Pumpkin Muffins in The China Study Cookbook, by LeAnne Campbell. Just like LeAnne, I use whole foods for sweetening when I can, and I decided to make this recipe using date cream—with excellent results. Sweet, moist, and delicious, these don’t beg for even a hint of jam, though a dab of Sweet Bean Cream (page TK) is a perfect match—kind of like whipped cream on pumpkin pie.

Date Cream
10 pitted Medjool dates (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup water

Muffin Base
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 (16-ounce) can pumpkin puree (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup soured plant milk (see instructions on page TK)
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

For the date cream:
1. Cover the pitted dates generously with water and soak for a couple of hours or overnight. Drain, saving the water to use as part or all of the 1/2 cup of water in the recipe. Add the soaked dates and the water to a food processor or blender. Blend to a rich paste.

For the muffin base:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners (or use a silicone pan).

3. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients, including the date cream. Add to the dry ingredients until just mixed.

5. Fill the prepared muffin cups to the top and bake for 40–45 minutes, until the tops bounce back when lightly pressed. Muffins will be moist and flavorful.

6. Remove from the oven and let stand for 1–2 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan and serve as is, with Sweet Bean Cream (page TK), or with your favorite jam. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: About 10 muffins