If you are deciding whether to eat a plant-based diet, there are plenty of choices for books to read. This book is a great choice. Several reasons--for one, this book avoids the preachiness of some books that advocate veganism for philosophical reasons. If you have that philosophy, I respect that. But I personally would rather read a factual book, with recipes, leaving the philosophy to my own personal journey of discovery. "My Beef with Meat" is really more about what works for health, according to the author's research into the subject. Rip Esselstyn opens the book with his argument that a plant-based diet has health benefits, and seeing more and more of my friends improve their health in this manner, and seeing that I only maintain my weight using mainly plant-based foods, there seems to be some truth in it.
So what's in this book? Chapters about the health benefits of plant-based diet, including why this diet may reverse arterial plaque, and of course, recipes for good-tasting food, new to this book and not in the previous "Firehouse" books. For example, there's quite a bit of pizza. Ok, so you don't eat wheat? What about polenta pizza? (corn based.) But there are also wheat doughs and toppings (no cheese, of course) using cashew cream, which I've had and can tell you tastes really good, or other creamy-feeling toppings such as guacamole, pesto, hummus or spinach artichoke dip. (Yes, not authentic Tomato Pie if you come from Philly but savory and good nonetheless.) There is also a variant on one of my top vegan faves of all times, Vegan Reuben, which uses tempeh (a bean cake that can be sliced and sauted and tastes savory) along with non-egg mayo/ketchup Russian dressing. The one thing missing is the sauteed onions I typically put on here, but who says you can't add those yourself.
There are hearty sandwiches and chili, solving the problem of eating a bag lunch or thermos lunch. The recipes are aimed for robust (masculine) tastes, per the Fireman theme of all Esselstyn's book. Big, strong, healthy and plant-based doesn't mean eating alfalfa sprouts daintily strewn on a kale chip.
A chapter in this book that won my heart was the important discussion of Vitamin B12, which is an essential element of diet and literally can prevent your brain from deteriorating. I'm harping on this subject, because not having enough vitamin B12 can affect memory, leading to memory loss. A severe deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to severe memory loss. The Linus Pauling Institute states that chronic vitamin B12 deficiency may result in dementia, and I know of one situation, an acquaintance who suffered "pernicious anemia" which is the inability to absorb and process B12. It was not diagnosed in time, and she got dementia after noting a loss of her short-term memory. How sad and how preventable.
Esselstyn doesn't make false claims that you can get B12 direct from plant sources, which is NOT true (plant B12 is an analog, not the form we need. If someone tells you otherwise, it's the wishful thinking.*) Esselstyn DOES tell how animals make B12 in their tissues, and how we can get it without animal sourced food--from a tablet! And even better, he suggests having B12 levels measured. By the way, if you don't absorb enough from the tablets, you can try an injection (doctor) and there is also an oral spray, as B12 needs to be absorbed by the mucous membranes and not swallowed. Which is why the tablets are sublingual (dissolve under your tongue.)
There are many reasons I give this book a huge thumbs-up. This author supports his claims with data and practical suggestions, not wishful thinking or misty philosophy. He provides tasty recipes with hearty food that replicates "comfort food" with vegetable alternatives that give up none of the flavor.
There are 140 recipes that aren't in the previous Engine 2 Diet book. One warning; if you can't eat nuts, this can be problematic, as much of vegan cooking replaces milk and meat with nuts. Some recipes replace milk with soy, another issue if you have thyroid problems, some other conditions, or want to avoid GMO foods, but you can use rice or almond milk. That's the ONLY problem I have with vegan recipes in general. Soy and nuts are a problem for some folks, including me, so I am rather limited sometimes. And then there's the issue of gluten--reliance on wheat gluten protein (seitan) as a meat substitute can be a problem. So there are some recipes with seitan but they aren't the majority of the main dishes, so gluten-free folks can adapt with plenty of other great recipes that work well.
Summary: a lot to like in this book if you are investigating a plant-based diet. Good information, solid arguments, no preaching, good recipes.
UPDATE: I've found so many recipes in this book that I enjoy, that I think this is one of my favorite new cookbooks. In particular, there is a recipe for red quinoa with black beans and roasted corn that is a dinner salad/main dish that I particularly enjoy. The salads are very hearty and the soup chapter has a mulligatawny with red lentils that I also love. The recipes are low-fat as well. This absolutely blows away the notion that eating vegetable-based foods that are low fat will be bland and flavorless. If you want a good plant-based cookbook, I'd recommend this one.
*Note: Since some cultures are traditionally vegan, and didn't have access to vitamin tablets, the question is how did these people obtain B12 in the diet? Some writers on this subject proposed fermentation of foods, certain yeasts, algae and I suspect, were GUESSING rather than researching about B12 analogs--that is, molecules that look like B12 but are not active in the body like animal-sourced B12. It turns out the most likely source is insect infestation (small, tiny bugs like grain weevils) especially in less-developed parts of the world where food storage and processing would naturally lead to a certain level of insect protein in the food. Not so savory to consider, but recently the UN had been proposing insect consumption to boost protein in poor diets.