Happy Friday everyone! We made it successfully through the first work week of 2016, yippee! Although I can’t say much; I have very much been taking advantage of my last ever academic holiday this festive season. The year didn’t have the best beginning for me and as such I have had an awful lot of reading time.
My year may yet be looking up with the return of the sunlight to Ireland but I thought I’d share with you one of the books that has been filling my time. As well as my college reading list, just before the New Year I dove into Vegetarian to Vegan by Sarah Taylor. I must say when I ordered the book online I thought it would be all about how to make the switch but in truth it is so much more than that.
The first section of the book is about why one should go vegan. Now I already had my reasons but they were broad; for the animals, for my health, for the environment. But this book gets into the nitty gritty details of all of those aspects. I never realised just how many diseases and mental anguishes animals go through in agricultural captivity. And the diseases I knew of, I simply didn’t know how bad they were until now. The book also teaches the reader about what all those terms – cage-free, free-range, organic – really mean and that they are indeed not cruelty-free at all. The book also includes black and white photographs to better illustrate the issues it’s speaking of and the truth can be really heart-breaking.
Similar to the animal issues, I didn’t realise how much a vegetarian diet is unhealthily similar to an omnivorous diet, just in different ways. I knew about certain things like animal milks causing osteoporosis instead of preventing it and such, but the sheer amount of animal hormones in dairy products for instance is just outrageous.
And we all know at this point about the devastation that animal agriculture has brought to the environment, from deforestation to pollution but the book photographs such atrocities and the statistics around this are just crazy. It’s why I chose to try cutting out palm oil from my life this year as well. And for the sceptics who may well read through the book, everything is cited with a full bibliography of source materials at the end of the book.
The book is very helpful in other ways too with countless tips on how to make the change in the second section. There’s advice on grocery shopping to eating out and the following section is then a collection of everyday recipes by Mark Reinfeld covering everything from tofu scramble to raw cheesecake, meaning there is no meal left unveganised by the time you’ve finished the 256 page read.
Apart from the obvious reasons why I loved this book, especially at this time in my life, at the beginning of each chapter there are quotes from people of note, like little motivators, to keep you going through this transition in your lifestyle.
And there are little personal stories from vegans throughout, like testimonials for the vegan diet and how it has changed their lives.
Overall, this book is simply great for anyone looking to go vegan, even if you’re not already a vegetarian. I had my reasons before but now I have all the information I need to not be tempted by certain foods into giving up. Last year I did Veganuary and it was tough for me. This year it feels like a breeze and I do believe I owe it to this book. It’s such a simple read too. It doesn’t avoid the terms you need to know but everything is explained with such everyday clarity that leaving the pages with confusion is highly unlikely.
For anyone considering going vegan, whether for their health, for animal rights or for global conservation, I would very much recommend this book.
PS: Looking at those very blue photos I can’t wait to fulfill one of my 2016 goals and get that new DSLR camera!