Not Just Recipes: The 10 Best Vegan Books for Inspiration, Activism, and More

Not Just Recipes: The 10 Best Vegan Books for Inspiration, Activism, and More

Time to Read: 8 minutes


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If you’ve been on the internet at any point in the past few years (especially Instagram) you may have noticed the uptick in vegan everything. But if you’re old school (and like your vegan sources well researched) then vegan books are a great way to dig in.

The fun thing is that veganism has been around for centuries. And it’s so much more than just the food you eat.

Ready to dig in? Check out the best 10 vegan books on everything from food to activism to travel.

Vegan Books for Inspiration

Everyone has to start somewhere. And in a society where most people consume animals, being vegan is a big step.

These three vegan books are a great starting point for anyone new to veganism - or someone looking to inspire and refresh their veganism.

And if you want a quick and dirty guide to getting started vegan? Check out our post on the 10 things to know before going vegan.

Becoming Vegan

Better known as the Holy Bible of veganism.

Brenda Davis’s Becoming Vegan is the go-to, all-your-bases-covered guide to everything you need to know about veganism. It gives you everything from the latest findings on the health benefits of veganism to new insights on animal treatment in food production and other industries.

Oh, and a food guide. On, like, everything you need to know from essential nutrients to athleticism to a happy and healthy vegan pregnancy.

Seriously. It’s the Vegan Bible. Can we get an amen?

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows

Technically, this can also fit under the umbrella of activism, but Dr. Melanie Joy’s Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows is a classic that will forever change the way you view food.

Joy offers a groundbreaking look into why humans devote ourselves to some animals and allow others to suffer without a second thought. It covers factory farming, animal cruelty, and worker hazards in the meatpacking industry.

And, of course, how all that animal consumption affects your health. But the book is most striking for its exploration of the psychological aspects of how we treat other animals.

The Forks Over Knives Plan

Once upon a time, Doctors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman helped spark a health revolution with their no-holds-barred documentary.

Now, all that knowledge is distilled into one book, The Forks Over Knives Plan.

It’s a step-by-step meal makeover - think recipes, shopping lists, meal plans, tips on how to stock your refrigerator, and more. It also focuses on the big picture instead of individual nutrients, which can feel a lot easier to comprehend for new vegans.

Vegan Books for Activism

You have the power to make social change. Seriously.

People go vegan for any number of reasons. The single most common reason people avoid animal products is that they want to stop contributing to the injustice suffered by animals for their meat, eggs, and milk.

These three vegan books are a double whammy: they educate you about the morality and ethics of eating animals and they give you the tools to show others a new way of thinking.

And for the new vegans, check out our new vegan’s guide to cruelty-free products.

Eating Animals

Yes, yes, you’re that person who turns your nose up at memoirs. Especially memoirs disguised as vegan books.

Don’t pass this one up.

Jonathan Foer’s Eating Animals is a meditation on the socio-cultural meanings we attach to food, as well as both sides of the argument for and against eating animals.

You’ll love Foer because he’s empathetic - he understands every omnivore’s dilemma through his own question of whether to raise his unborn son vegetarian. He’s willing to ask the unspoken question behind every burger we grill and chicken we fry.

He’s a philosopher, and you’ll be glad that you sat down at his table.

Millennial Vegan

You’ve heard the accusations that most vegans are millennials - the Tumblr generation between the ages of 15 and 34.

Millennial Vegan is the young person’s guide to navigating a world that is still predominantly omnivorous. Casey Taft offers advice on navigating social situations with grace, from dating to everyday advocacy to maintaining your own wellbeing.

Even Vegans Die

Spoiler alert: everybody dies. Whether you’re a diehard vegan or a committed cheeseburger lover.

Even Vegans Die speaks the honest truth. Life throws you curveballs that even the healthiest person can’t plan for. Carol J. Adams addresses body shaming and disease shaming to empower vegans - and to make the powerful point that veganism shouldn’t be associated with the ‘ideal body type’.

Veganism isn’t just for the young, pretty, skinny and healthy. It’s for everyone.

Vegan Books for a Better Vegan Lifestyle

It’s more than just a plant party in your kitchen.

Whether you’re a new vegan or a longtime plant-based eater, you’ll come to realize that veganism is a perspective. A way of seeing the world and animals that affects all aspects of your life.

It’s what you products you buy. What companies you use and promote. Your way of interacting with the world in a way that is kind to animals and the environment.

These four vegan books are a great way to get started digging into the vegan lifestyle. You can also check out our lifestyle posts, like our guide to vegan clothing.

The Vegan Cheatsheet

Picture this.

You’re with friends. You go to a restaurant. One that’s not vegan. And you want to abide by your vegan eating, but this menu has your head whirling.

Enter: The Vegan Cheatsheet.

Think of this book as your portable how-to guide to all things vegan. Sections like the Vegan Travel Guide help you make sense of eating vegan when on the road, while The Fast-food Survival Guide gives you a handy breakdown of what is and isn’t vegan at popular chains.

It’s not just for outside your home either - the book is also a great manual for making sense of veganism in your kitchen, grocery store, and shopping list.

Think three weeks worth of exciting menus, no-brainer recipes, staples your fridge and pantry should never go without, and vegan replacements for your favorite non-vegan foods.

Don’t go hungry. Hungry vegans are not happy vegans. Take your cheatsheet, go forth and conquer!

The Essential Vegan Travel Guide

Traveling is hard even for non-vegans. You’re out of your home, eating food you normally wouldn’t and eating out most of the time.

For vegans eating in a non-vegan society? Buckle your seatbelts.

Lucky for you, there’s The Essential Vegan Travel Guide. Because if you’ve spent all day experiencing the joys of quality sightseeing, the last thing you want to do is pick the cheese and pepperoni off a pizza.

Travel involves compromise. But compromise shouldn’t involve stressing out vegans.

Whether you’re a new vegan or an experienced vegan traveler, this book is ingenious. Caitlin Galer-Unti covers everything from how to research and locate vegan-friendly restaurants to how to talk to waiters (without being that annoying vegan), how to dine with omnivores and, if needed, emergency hotel meals.

The Mindful Vegan

If you’re one of those people that loves a good 30-day challenge, Lani Muelrath’s The Mindful Vegan is the book for you.

This is one of those vegan books designed to help you overcome your challenges around food. This isn’t a conceal don’t feel situation - Muelrath takes you to the root of your food difficulties and teaches mindfulness as the antidote to autopilot.

Think of this book as a combination. It recognizes that while veganism can help your health, you can still sabotage yourself with stress. Finding ways to reduce your stress around food and social situations will help you live your best life.

Plus, it comes with Muelrath’s singular humor, boundless positivity and plenty of great recipes. Who can complain about that?

Crazy Sexy Diet

Haven’t you heard? Vegan is the new sexy.

You may have heard of the author, Kris Carr, before. She’s the bestselling author of cancer-survival guidebooks and was part of an acclaimed TLC documentary.

Now, there’s Crazy Sexy Diet.

This beautifully-illustrated book focuses on balancing your body’s pH levels to go from a diet that harms to a diet that heals - a low-glycemic, vegan program. Carr also includes her twenty-one-day cleanse and several nourishing recipes to get you started.

If it all sounds dreadfully scientific, fear not. Carr has miles of sass and wit, and it all shows through in her writing.

Really, do you think a book with chapter titles like “Make Juice Not War” will be boring? Come on, now.

Vegan doesn’t have to be dry. If anything, it should be fun - sexy even. Carr knows it, and so do you. Get acquainted.

Learn How to Live Vegan

Living your best vegan life doesn’t have to be daunting. It’s your window to a new life, and it should feel like one.

That’s where we come in.

Vegan.io offers vegan meal plans with weekly resources, segmented shopping lists and simple recipes. Plus, you can give it a spin for a $1 trial.

And for more quick, simple vegan ideas, you can check out our blog for posts like 9 easy vegan lunch ideas or our complete guide to vegan meats.

Go vegan. Rock your world. It’s pretty much that simple.

About the author

Julia Ott
Hi! I'm Julia and I'm a junior developer, vegan recipe inventor, furniture collector and mum to a little boy. I've been a vegetarian for 20 years, and a vegan for 3. I spend all of my spare time visiting farmers markets, searching for antiques at flea markets and cooking up a vegan storm in the kitchen! I co-founded Vegan.io to make the world a better place.

Want to try a vegan diet?

We created a meal planner app to help you! Get your fresh customized meal plan full of delicious, quick, budget friendly, healthy recipes.

GET YOUR MEAL PLAN!