The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability Paperback – May 1 2009
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"[Vegetarian Myth] is one of the most important books people, masses of them, can read, as we try with all our might, intelligence, skill, hope, dream , and memory, to turn the disastrous course the planet is on." Alice Walker, prize-winning author, The Color Purple
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Very well structured outline, nice distribution of humour, lots of viewpoints incorporated, and frankly a tragic story of someone destroying themselves for a belief system that is... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bushman
Well written book! I ate a strict vegan diet for 5 years. I did plenty of reading and believed my decisions were leading to a death free diet. Read morePublished 11 months ago by RobertG
Everyone should read this, but especially parents - of vegetarian-to-be teenagers. Eat healthy: everything in moderation.Published 13 months ago by Nature / Food / Music lover
Very thought provoking and a challenge to my old vegetarian beliefs. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in health, the environement and the welfare of animals.Published 18 months ago by EC
This is an excellent, impassioned analysis of exactly why vegetarianism won't save the planet and is actually harming the ecosystem and the health of the people who practice it. Read morePublished 20 months ago by cellomerl
This book is a meaningful discussion not just on vegetarian living, but on the current state of our agricultural system. Read morePublished 24 months ago by dr s a eberspaecher
she admitted she ate eggs and dairy every chance she got... and she claims being a vegan for 20 years at the same time!? wow.. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Chrissy
This is one of the best books atht I have read that connects food to health as well as to carrying capacity. Read morePublished on April 9 2013 by Murray Hidlebaugh