The Abundance Diet – Review and Giveaway!

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Vegan Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes, page 76

Another beautiful day today – the day I get to share with you this stunning piece of work by my special friend, Somer McCowan of the spectacular vegan blog, Vedged Out.

The Abundance Diet

Where to begin? I’ll begin with Somer herself. There are no collection of words to truly convey what an inspirational woman she is. She has overcome incredibly toxic health barriers and become a champion of the healing effects a plant-based diet can have. She has also ploughed through the painful torment of a hip injury after a fall which left her, a marathon runner, unable to run for years.

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I still remember the day when I read Somer’s post about her injury and the serious damage caused and forthcoming surgery. Recalling it as I write, I can still feel the sorrow I felt. This woman, who I hadn’t at that point any real emotional connection with, was heartbroken that her ability to run, her outlet, her freedom and source of great pleasure had been taken from her. My heart broke with her. Somer then took a break from her blog while she had surgery and recovery time and it was during this time that the beginnings of our friendship ensued.

Mango Madness Green Smoothie, page 56

Mango Madness Green Smoothie, page 56

Somehow I had come across Somer’s Green Smoothie Challenge and tired of counting calories to shift quite a few pounds, I decided to give it a shot. Little did I know, when I sent my ‘FYI’ message to Somer on Facebook, not even knowing if she was active on there at the time – there was a group already on the challenge with a support group on Facebook! Before long, we were a close knit group and still are and many of the women have become friends who I know will be a part of my life for the long haul now.

Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing, page 91

Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing, page 91

As a result of this, I was honoured to be a part of the recipe testing for Somer’s book, a transformed and improved complete programme based on her original Green Smoothie Challenge. I even made a version of the smoothie formula that is featured in the book – the Jaffa Cake Green Smoothie – a luscious chocolate and orange delight plus the Indian spiced hummus variation!

Vegetable Pudla, page 80

Vegetable Pudla, page 80

I later stayed with Somer and her family in her home in Utah and she was even more beautiful in real life. Probably the most generous, patient, genuine and open person I have had the privilege to meet. She is someone who I know if I didn’t see her for 5 years, we could pick up right where we left off.

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GIVEAWAY FINAL

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Besides being a wonderful person, Somer is a fantastic cook and recipe creator. She does flavour and bags of it! She surprises me with little hints and tricks and dashes of ingredients that can transform the most simplest dish into a memorable masterpiece. She is inventive, colourful and fun with her food and everyone adores her recipes!

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Date Paste, page 16

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Clockwise from top left; Mango Madness. Tropical Colada (both page 56), Island Bliss (page 52), Tropical Colada, Mango Madness, Green Julius (page 58), Annie’s Da Cherry Bomb (page 49), Mango Lassi (page 56), Razzleberry Lemonade (page 62), Ultra-Alkalizing Green Smoothie (page 65), Orange Pineapple Pomegranate Bliss (page 57), Green Zinger (page 52).

Apple Pie Green Smoothie, page 46

Apple Pie Green Smoothie, page 46

Somer and her diet plan taught me so much about food and my relationship with it. I tried so many new foods (like laksa, pho, pudla) and techniques and I fell head over heels for these previously terrifying things called green smoothies!

Creamy Mint Mojito Green Smoothie, page 53

Creamy Mint Mojito Green Smoothie, page 53

I learnt that not all calories and fats act the same, and how an incredibly high amount of fibre can massively increase healthy, controlled weight loss and increase health.

Spotted Peach Green Smoothie, page 62

Spotted Peach Green Smoothie, page 62

I had never felt better than the months I was on the plan. My skin cleared up, I had buckets of energy, I was never bloated or uncomfortably full yet always satisfied.

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Clockwise from top left; Carrot Cake Waffles (page 70), Raw Neapolitan Overnight Oats (page 79), Florentine Tofu Scramble (page 72), Apple and Chai Spice Muesli (page 68), Veggie Patch Sunday Morning Omelets (page 82), Quinoa Berry Banana Bowls (page 74).

Somer’s book is a diet book, yes. However it’s not just a diet book nor is it any old diet book.

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Clockwise from top left; Falafel Salad with Quinoa Tabbouleh (page 104), Super-Tasty Special Sauce (page 96), Roasted Red Pepper Dressing (page 88), Super-Tasty Special Sauce, Greek Chickpea Chopped Salad (page 106), Chipotle Knock-Off Chopped Salad (page 102), Spicy Caesar Dressing (page 93), Roasted Red Pepper Dressing (page 88), Tahini Cream Salad Dressing (page 89), Pepita Maple Butter Dressing (page 119), The Ultimate Lentil Salad (page 113), Black Bean Veggie Burger Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing (page 100).

Thai Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Salad, page 123

Thai Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Salad, page 123

Niçoise Salad with Smoky Tofu and Creamy Miso Dressing, page116

Niçoise Salad with Smoky Tofu and
Creamy Miso Dressing, page116

This book will teach you that there’s more to salad than lettuce, tomato and cucumber with an oil and vinegar dressing.

Salad with Oil-Free Hummus (page 160) and Spicy Caesar Dressing (page 93).

Salad with Oil-Free Hummus (page 160) and Spicy Caesar Dressing (page 93).

Chipotle Knock-Off Chopped Salad, page 102

Chipotle Knock-Off Chopped Salad, page 102

The recipes in the book are good, delicious, balanced vegan meals, diet or not! None of the recipes taste like diet ‘versions’ of dishes because the whole point is that a plant-based diet naturally is ‘diet food’. The recipes taste like good food, end of. The book is a bible of basic staple recipes like hummus and (whoppingly delicious) lentil soup to showstoppers like spinach and artichoke dip, creamy lemon tart and Vietnamese pho and spring rolls and not to mention the only salad dressing recipes you’ll ever need.

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Vegan Pho, page 146

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Clockwise from top left; Lightened-Up Laksa (page 134), Abe’s Hearty Lentil Soup (page 126), Chipotle Corn Chowder (page 131), Smoky Split Pea Soup (page 145), Quinoa Minestrone (page 144), Cream of Mushroom Soup (page 137), Chipotle Corn Chowder, Moroccan Lentil Soup (page 142).

Clockwise from top left; Lightened-Up Laksa (page 134), Abe’s Hearty Lentil Soup (page 126), Chipotle Corn Chowder (page 131), Smoky Split Pea Soup (page 145), Quinoa Minestrone (page 144), Cream of Mushroom Soup (page 137), Chipotle Corn Chowder, Moroccan Lentil Soup (page 142).

Cheesiest Potato Soup, page 133

Cheesiest Potato Soup, page 133

So it’s not just your standard diet book for the above reasons and more. For a start, the clue is in the title, you get to eat loads! After just a couple of days you will find yourself in the routine of planning when you can have your snacks and afternoon smoothie!

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Clockwise from top left; Oil-Free Hummus (page 160), Cashew Sour Cream (page 154), Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip (page 159).

Clockwise from top left; Oil-Free Hummus (page 160), Cashew Sour Cream (page 154), Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip (page 159).

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip, page 159.

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip, page 159.

It’s fun and exciting with so much delicious food to choose from. You won’t see calories anywhere in the book nor will you be counting them. The work has been done for you, you can eat an abundance of whole foods which are naturally low in calories within the plan and you will lose weight and look, feel and be healthier. It even has downloadable meal plans to go with the book! Oh, and did I mention you can have dessert on weekends and pancakes and waffles for breakfast?

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Clockwise from top left; Roasted Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry with Garlic-Ginger Sauce (page 180), Homestyle Mexican Casserole (page 178), Cheesy Herb and Vegetable Crust Pizza (page 168), Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna (page 174).

Clockwise from top left; Roasted Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry with Garlic-Ginger Sauce (page 180), Homestyle Mexican Casserole (page 178), Cheesy Herb and Vegetable Crust Pizza (page 168), Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna (page 174).

BBQ Tofu and Avocado Spring Rolls, (page 164)

BBQ Tofu and Avocado Spring Rolls, (page 164)

If there are just two things you take from this review, let them be these;

  1. It is guaranteed to work. I lost an average of 2lb per week but unlike any other diet I have followed, I dropped dress sizes rapidly and ended up not even using the scale. I dropped 2-3 dress sizes in just a couple of months.
  2. I make these recipes even when I’m not on a diet!

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I have reverted back to this plan numerous times when I’ve felt bloated and overindulged, wanted to lose some weight or generally needed a detox. Most importantly, I try to stick to the general principles regardless of whether I am dieting, it is a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix fad diet.

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Clockwise from top left; Ultra Green Juice (page 215), Raw Cashew Horchata (page 216) Australian Carrot Celery Apple Refresher (page 212), Orange Carrot Beet-It Juice (page 211), Minted Cucumber Melon Juice (page 209), Chia Limeade (page 211).

Clockwise from top left; Ultra Green Juice (page 215), Raw Cashew Horchata (page 216) Australian Carrot Celery Apple Refresher (page 212), Orange Carrot Beet-It Juice (page 211), Minted Cucumber Melon Juice (page 209), Chia Limeade (page 211).

If there’s one book you by this year, make this an option! Or even better, enter the giveaway to win a copy for yourself!

Rawkin’ Rainbow Kale Salad with Creamy Chili Lime Dressing (page 110 - recipe below).

Rawkin’ Rainbow Kale Salad with Creamy
Chili Lime Dressing (page 110 – recipe below).

I’m sharing one of my absolute favourite recipes from the book, I promise you’ll never look at kale the same again.

Photo - Annie Oliverio for The Abundance Diet.

Photo – Annie Oliverio for The Abundance Diet.

Rawkin’ Rainbow Kale Salad

(Recipe from The Abundance Diet, © 2015 by Somer McCowan. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press LLC.)

I call this “a salad for the kale haters” because my husband, who isn’t fond of kale, asked for seconds on this incredibly lush and dreamy salad.

Creamy Chili Lime Dressing:

1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup raw cashew pieces (soaked for 4 to 6 hours

1 tablespoon tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos

Juice of 1 large lime

1 teaspoon chili powder, or more (depending on your heat preference)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Dash of cayenne

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Rainbow Kale Salad:

1 large bunch (16 ounces) lacinato or dinosaur kale, tough stems removed, then cut into 1/4-inch shreds

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

1/4 head small purple cabbage, cut into 1/4-inch ribbons

1/2 cup red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice or thinly sliced rings

1 large carrot, cut into thin 2-inch long matchsticks

1 large ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 small jicama, cut into 2-inch long matchsticks

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Lime wedges, for serving (optional)

In a high-speed blender or a food processor, combine the red bell pepper, garlic, cashews, tamari, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Blend until completely smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer the kale and the cilantro to a large salad bowl and pour on the dressing. Toss until all the kale is thoroughly coated, then massage the kale with your hands for 1 to 2 minutes (Massaging kale makes it taste better!) Divide the kale salad among four large plates and top with the purple cabbage, red onion, carrot, avocado, and jicama. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

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24 Responses to The Abundance Diet – Review and Giveaway!

  1. Sarah Fawcett says:

    WOW the everything looks wonderful, especially the salads, it’s so easy to get in a rut with salad, I’m always looking for fresh new ideas – love the look of the Thai Sweet and Spicy Cucumber salad

  2. Becca F says:

    Such beautiful colors! What a feast for my eyes, everything looks scrumptious

  3. chefceaser says:

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

  4. Amber says:

    How sad about her injury 😦 my mam is a runner, she ran the London marathon last year, but injured her knee so had to have surgery on it and she hasn’t been able to run in months and we don’t think she’ll ever be able to run again 😦 she suffers from severe depression, like me, and running was her outlet so it’s been very sad. But she is an amazing woman and she has started swimming lessons instead! I couldn’t be prouder of her :’) I’m still not convinced on green smoothies haha, the rest looks delicious though 😛 xo

    • Poppy says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that sad story Amber. I’m so glad your mum has found swimming as an alternative though. I understand your reservations on green smoothies, it’s all about finding good recipes and combinations!

  5. evesfca says:

    Wow, what a fantastic review! And you are clearly super familiar with most of the recipes in the book! I keep using my favorites over and over, but I must break free from those to turn the pages to other soon-to-be-favorites. Somer is just an amazing recipe developer. I aspire to try each and every recipe in the book! The book always helps me return to what is the healthiest and most delicious way of eating.

    • Poppy says:

      Thank you so much Eve!! I hear you, I have a select few that are stuck on repeat (tropical colada I’m looking at you!)! It is a bible of delicious healthy foods, and how much fun we all had in its development!

  6. Barbara says:

    O my God! These pictures look so good and her philosophy sounds great! I could use some inspiration. Thanks for this review and the giveaway!

  7. Sophie33 says:

    I have alos her book! She rocks, right? She is a lovely person! x

  8. Tami says:

    What a beautiful post Poppy!

  9. nburgart says:

    We’re also loving the the cookbook. We’re on day 20 of the plan. It’s really been an incredible journey. I just have to tell you that your Jaffa cake smoothie is tremendous. There is definitely no thought that it was a diet food. I absolutely loved it.

  10. What a great review. I am working through the book, too. Which ere your favorite recipes? I can’t believe you tried so many.

  11. dimsimkitty says:

    What a fabulous review! I have been loving this book a lot, and doing a mini plan based on it at the moment. Loved seeing all the photos!

  12. tracey grevatt says:

    Looks like a fab book with great idesa

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