For a cookbook I would recommend The Garden of Vegan
by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard. They also have cowritten another vegan cookbook and Sarah has a new one out that she wrote herself.The Garden of Vegan
has a section in the front with headings like Health Questions
and Food Questions
Example: under the heading "Food Questions" it says:
I'm allergic to soy. What can I replace it with?
We're so sorry to hear that! Soy is a staple product for most vegans. If you're looking to add a "meaty" texture to your dishes, try making seitan (pg. 208) and using it in place of soy. If it is protein that you need, it's easy to make complete proteins. Just combine beans with brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds or wheat. Or combine brown rice with beans, nuts seeds or wheat. Not only is quinoa high in protein but it's delicious, too!
And there is an extensive list of "Vegan no-nos" in the appendix.
Keratin Protein from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills and hair of various animals. In hair rinses, shampoos, permanent wave solutions.
Alternatives: almond oil, soy protein, amla oil (from the fruit of an Indian tree), human hair from salons. Rosemary and nettle give body and strength to hair.
And if your looking for vegan philosophical ideas I love this short little writeup on this site:
The word ahimsa is often translated as nonviolence in the West, but the principle, which literally means "non-harming," has a broader meaning. Ahimsa involves an active stance to reduce the amount of harm going on in the world with a dynamic compassion for all life and, at this point in time, the whole living planet. Ahimsa is acting from an empathetic identification born of a reverence for life that affects every facet of our existence. It involves a personal responsibility to work for the well-being of all sentient creatures. Ahimsa is a practice that strives for less and less disorder and pain in the world, as we do our best to live with increasing harmony, compassion, and Love. In this way we also decrease the vrittis (thought activity) of the mind.
A vegan way of life (no flesh foods, eggs, dairy, leather, or other animal by-products) actively creates six aspects of ahimsa:
(1) compassion and non-cruelty toward animals
(2) preserving the Earth and its ecology
(3) feeding the hungry
(4) preserving human life
(5) preservation of personal health
(6) inspiring peace
To join a vegan group you can check out this site: http://www.veganism.com/arpage.htm
And on the same site there is an extensive question and answer section:
Question 14: Don't the animals we use have a happier life since they are fed and protected?
The questioner makes two assumptions here. First, that happiness or
contentment accrues from being fed and protected, and second, that
the animals are, in fact, fed and protected. Both of these premises can
Certainly the animals are fed; after all, they must be fattened for
consumption. It is very difficult to see any way that, say,
factory-farmed chickens are "protected". They are not protected from
mutilation, because they are painfully debeaked. They are not protected
from psychological distress, because they are crowded together in
unnatural conditions. And finally, they are not protected from predation,
because they are slaughtered and eaten by humans.
We can also question the notion that happiness accrues from feeding
and protection alone. The Roman galley slaves were fed and protected
from the elements; nevertheless, they would presumably trade their
condition for one of greater uncertainty to obtain happiness. The same
can be said of the slaves of earlier America.
Finally, an ethical argument is relevant here. Consider again the
couple of question 13. They will feed and protect their infant up to
the point at which they consume it. We would not accept this as a
justification. Why should we accept it for the chicken?