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The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability Paperback – May 1 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: PM Press; 1 edition (May 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604860804
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604860801
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Melinda Vale on Sept. 5 2012
Format: Paperback
The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith is well-written and appears to be well-researched, on the surface.
The book makes a lot of points about our food system, but the one that Keith most wants vegans to accept is that a decision to not consume animal products out of a desire not to kill anything is a dishonest one. Every means of feeding ourselves requires that organisms die. Monoculture, particularly as applied to the production of grain, relies on herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. This results in the degradation of soil and the death of every living organism that lives in it or creates it. Vegans, according to Keith, rely on grains as a staple and therefore their lifestyle is just as damaging as a lifestyle that relies on animals for food.
That's an indictment of agriculture, and not of plant-based nutrition. I think people are increasingly aware that monoculture is degrading to the earth. Plants consume more than just nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). Feeding plants with commercial NPK fertilizers starves the plants as well as the soil. People are also increasingly aware that the grain we eat in North America is overly refined, hybridized and genetically modified, to the extent that it's not a healthy food. In terms of solutions, it would be more reasonable to look at sustainable and natural methods of growing plants (and of raising livestock).
When Keith writes that all food choices mean that something must die, her argument against veganism loses momentum because vegetarianism or no, something must always die. In that regard, it doesn't matter what you eat.
Keith then goes on to assess the human digestive system and its bearing on our ability to eat plants.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andi Mell on Oct. 25 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book features an incredible body of research, it is well written and easy to understand. Any negative feedback is due to a lack of understanding or ignorantly hanging on to desired believes. It is a must read for anyone concerned about their health as well as the health of our planet. The author masterfully covered a variety of different subjects and concepts.

This book is thoughtful, thought provoking and well thought off .... in one word exceptional.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jodi-Hummingbird TOP 100 REVIEWER on Jan. 29 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is as the description says, 'part memoir, nutritional primer, and political manifesto.'

Lots of books talk about the harm eating processed foods and high levels of sugars and grains on our health, but this book is one of the few that combines this with information about the effect all these many grain crops have on our environment and on many different ecosystems.

The author talks about all the hidden death that is involved in the production of foods such as grain crops, and why vegan meals may involve far more death than the more obvious death of a single animal to provide a meal for an omnivore. Many animals are made extinct when land is cleared for grain crops and billions of small animals such as mice and rabbits are killed every year by harvesting equipment, for example.

The book explains that buying a soy burger may give you an emotional quick fix but it does nothing at all to deal with any of the bigger issues, is terrible for your health, and gives money to some of the biggest corporations that are causing some of the worst problems in worldwide hunger and so on. To be truly moral in our eating habits involves more than just extending morality to a few animals who are most like us. The rest of the world, all those billions of other lives, count too.

The author also writes about how our soils need to eat and what they need to eat is either fossil fuels or animal products such as manure, and that there is no way around this. That we are part of a circle of life and trying to separate ourselves from this cycle is causing a lot of problems for our environment.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By maelstrom on July 31 2011
Format: Paperback
This book was written by a very courageous woman. It clearly shows the detrimental effects of BELIEF. In her case the belief that vegetarianism is good for you and all humanity. The consequence was that she wrecked her health. Her exploration into the effects of agriculture on our planet and on society at large is a painful eye opener. It explained to me the state of the world and society and the future looks grim until we ALL together make a choice for change and act on it.
Highly recommended.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By B. French TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 7 2010
Format: Paperback
It takes a brave and honest soul to write a book like this, not to mention a sharp and inquisitive mind. Lierre Keith should be applauded for her courage, curiosity and insight. I was blown away by this book; I could not put it down. I have never been a vegetarian, but her story is one everybody needs to hear. Vegetarians and vegans will find her approach very understanding and sympathetic towards those beliefs, even as she explains why they are misleading and destructive.

This book is exhaustive in its research, heart wrenching in its honesty, and mind blowing in its brutal truths. Keith deomolishes the animal-products-are-bad-for-us-and-the-planet diatribe with reason, heart, science, and personal experience. She examines the 3 major philosphies behind veganism (moral, political and nutritional) and shatters them one by one. She then explains her views on what might work to feed the planet and keep us healthy, and it is not by growing monocrops of wheat, corn or soy. My mind and eyes were opened wide by this book. I am amazed at how much I learned from Ms. Keith.

Despite my overwhelming applause, I must admit to having to brush away several spots of male bashing now and then. Keith has very strong feminist views that cloud her otherwise clear voice in a few places. But these spots are very brief and easily skipped over. The information she offers is sound, she has researched her topics thoroughly and her writing style is fluid and captivating.

As I said above, this is my #1 pick for the year, and I read a lot of books on a wide variety of topics. Give this to someone you care about, especially if they are thinking of going vegan or care about the planet and sustainability.
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