Simply Vegan

Simply Vegan

Quick Vegetarian Meals, Vegan Nutrition, and Cruelty-Free Shoppingby Debra Wasserman and Reed Mangels

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Quick Vegetarian Meals, Vegan Nutrition, and Cruelty-Free Shoppingby Debra Wasserman and Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D. ISBN 13: 978-0-931411-34-2 224 pages, recycled paper Fifth Edition

The immensely popular Simply Vegan is now available in a Fifth Edition. Simply Veganis much more than a cookbook. It is a guide to a non-violent, environmentally sound, humane lifestyle. It features:

Over 160 vegan recipes that can be prepared quickly.An extensive vegan nutrition section. This material is thoroughly researched, documented, and frequently cited by others. No vegan should be without this material.Sample menus and meal plans for vegans.Food definitions and origins.Data on cruelty-free shopping by mail, including where to buy vegan food, clothing, cosmetics, household products, and books.

Quote from a well-known vegetarian activist: "This book truly is the Bible of veganism. I have found it to be an indispensable reference source for combating the ignorance and misinformation that one often encounters as an activist for health, animals, and the environment."

From the Foreword by Debra Wasserman

Simply Vegan is more than a cookbook. It is a guide to a non-violent, environmentally sound, humane lifestyle.

Long ago, I became vegan for ethical reasons. As a graduate student studying International Relations at Georgetown University, I often found myself having to justify my strong beliefs in pacifism. In course after course on foreign policy making, I felt that I was the only one in my graduate class who saw war as the last option for settling disputes. With the exception of one other classmate from Venezuela, I was the only student who truly believed in promoting non-violence.

One evening as I sat around the dinner table with several non-vegetarian classmates, one person asked me if I ate meat. I replied, "yes." To which he added, "Isn't killing animals for food a violent act?" My response was that animals are not people. However, after that evening's discussion I immediately became vegetarian. I quickly realized that killing animals for food was not only unnecessary and inconsistent with my own non-violent lifestyle, but that raising animals for food was destroying our environment and in many cases ruining our health, too.

As time goes on, I find that eating a vegan diet, using ecologically sound products that have not been tested on animals, and wearing clothes made from non-animal sources is not difficult, as long as you know where to shop for these items. Six years ago I saw the need to create a convenient guide to vegan living. Simply Vegan is that resource. Now in its third edition, I hope this book makes your life simpler.

Debra Wasserman
Baltimore, Maryland

From the section on Iron Nutrition by Reed Mangels

Summary: Dried beans and dark green vegetables are especially good sources of iron, better on a per-calorie basis than meat. Iron absorption is increased markedly by eating foods containing vitamin C along with foods containing iron. Vegetarians do not have a higher incidence of iron deficiency than do meat eaters.

Iron is an essential nutrient because it is a central part of hemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood. Iron deficiency anemia is a worldwide health problem which is especially common in young women and in children.

Iron is found in food in two forms, heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron, which makes up 40 percent of the iron in meat, poultry, and fish is well absorbed. Non-heme iron, 60 percent of the iron in animal tissue and all the iron in plants (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts) is less well absorbed. Some might expect that since the vegan diet contains a form of iron which is not that well absorbed, vegans might be prone to developing iron deficiency anemia. However, recent surveys of vegans and vegetarians (1, 2, 3) have shown that iron deficiency anemia is no more common among vegetarians than among the general population.

The reason for the satisfactory iron status of many vegans may be that commonly eaten foods are high in iron, as Table 12 shows. In fact, if the amount of iron in these foods is expressed as milligrams of iron per 100 calories, many foods eaten by vegans are superior to animal-derived foods. This concept is illustrated in Table 13. For example, you would have to eat 340 calories of sirloin steak to get the same amount of iron as found in 100 calories of spinach.

Another reason for the satisfactory iron status of vegans is that vegan diets are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C acts to markedly increase absorption of non-heme iron. Adding a vitamin C source to a meal increases non-heme iron absorption up to six-fold which makes the absorption of non-heme iron as good or better than that of heme iron (4).

Fortunately, many vegetables, such as broccoli and bok choy, which are high in iron are also high in vitamin C so that the iron in these foods is very well absorbed. Commonly eaten combinations, such as beans and tomato sauce or stir-fried tofu and broccoli, also result in generous levels of iron absorption.

It is easy to obtain plenty of iron on a vegan diet. Table 14 shows several menus which would meet the RDA (5) of 15 milligrams of iron per day for an adult woman. Men and post-menopausal women need about one-third less iron, 10 milligrams daily.

Some foods reduce iron absorption. Tea has tannin in it which binds iron in the intestines and decreases its absorption. Therefore, if you drink tea, drink it between meals. Herbal teas do not contain tannin and are an alternative to regular tea.


1. Anderson BM, Gibson RS, Sabry JH: The iron and zinc status of long-term vegetarian women. Am J Clin Nutr 34: 1042-1048, 1981.

2. Latta D and Liebman M: Iron and zinc status of vegetarian and non-vegetarian males. Nutr Rep Int 30: 141-149, 1984.

3. Helman AD and Darnton-Hill I: Vitamin and iron status in new vegetarians. Am J Clin Nutr 45: 785-789, 1987.

4. Hallberg L: Bioavailability of dietary iron in man. Ann Rev Nutr 1: 123-147, 1981.

5. Food and Nutrition Board, National Research Council: Recommended Dietary Allowances, 1Oth ed., Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1989.

[There follows 4 pages of tables of data on iron nutrition for vegans.]

Sample Recipe by Debra Wasserman

Table of Contents

ForewordTime-Saving Cooking SuggestionsMicrowave Cooking

Introducing Fat as a Percentage of Daily ValueSample MenusMenu Analysis

Top Recipes for Calcium and Vitamin CTop Recipes for IronRecipesBeveragesBreakfastsSandwichesSnacksSaladsSoupsSide DishesMain DishesPasta Dishes

Soy ProductsTempeh DishesTofu Dishes


Food Definitions and OriginsHerbs and SpicesVegan NutritionIntroductionNutrition is a ScienceRecommendations for VegansCalories, Weight Gain, and Weight LossProteinFatCalciumIronZincVitamin DRiboflavin and Vitamin B6Vitamin B12Sources of Vitamins and MineralsPregnancy and the Vegan DietLactation and the Vegan DietFeeding Vegan KidsNutrition GlossaryRecommended Reading List

Cruelty-Free Shopping By MailVegan Food Through the MailCruelty-Free CosmeticsEnvironmentally Sound Household ProductsCruelty-Free ClothingEducational MaterialsMiscellaneous Vegan ProductsVegan Cookbooks and Books

IndexIndex of TablesThe Vegetarian Resource Group