- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: HJ Kramer/New World Library; 2 edition (Dec 21 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 193207354X
- ISBN-13: 978-1932073546
- Product Dimensions: 15 x 3 x 22.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 680 g
- Average Customer Review: 63 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #174,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth Second Edition Paperback – Dec 21 2012
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'Should be read by everyone interested in healthy living.'
-Andrew Weil, MD, author of Spontaneous Healing
'Profoundly fulfilling and moving... the pioneering match of... Rachel Carson's Silent Spring .'
- Washington Post
'A reading must for all caring Americans.'
-Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, authors of Fit for Life
'A breakthrough in the science of health and a joy to read.'
-John A. McDougall, MD, author of The McDougall Program
'This well-documented expose of America's 'factory farms' should prompt even die-hard meat-and-potatoes lovers to reevaluate their diets.'
- Publishers Weekly
'One of the most profound studies ever written of how our eating habits affect our lives and indeed all of life on our planet.'
- Vegetarian Times
'Robbins takes us on a multifaceted journey which should cause all sensitive people to question their eating habits most searchingly. I couldn't put it down.'
-Cleveland Amory, author of The Cat Who Came for Christmas
'I promise you what you perceive behind the supermarket meat counter will never be the same.'
-Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet
About the Author
Author and activistJohn Robbins is considered by many to be one of the world's most eloquent spokespersons for a sane, ethical, and sustainable future. His work has been featured in all major print and broadcast media. He lives near Santa Cruz, California.
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I knew that animals are not very well treated by humans in farms and all but sometimes I had to put down my book because it made me sick to my stomach....
I am very glad that I had the courage to keep on reading......
That said, this book is a 400+ page treatise designed to convince everyone to become a vegetarian. And I am sure many have done so as a result of reading this book. The details about the mistreatment of farm animals alone are enough to turn a sensitive person away from eating animals.
And for those concerned about their health, this book details how pesticides concentrate in the meat and fat of animals. And it presents stories of the health problems caused by the hormones given to animals. For instance, Robbins tells the stories of very young girls developing fully formed breasts as a result of eating hormone-containing meat. These facts alone do show that there is serious health risks associated with the eating of today's meat.
And Robbins cites studies showing the correspondence between meat eating and the development of cancer and heart disease. But this is where the problem with Robbins sources being so dated comes in. When I did the research for my more recent book "Creationist Diet," I found that the evidence was split as to whether meat eating was associated with an increased risk of cancer or not.
But overall, I would say that Robbins makes a strong case for not eating meat as it is commonly produced today. And in that respect this is a valuable book. There are serious problems associated with the consumption of most of today's meat.
However, in his zeal to promote vegetarianism, he tries to write off the eating of organic meat with one paragraph (on page 343). But his main argument against eating organically raised meat is that such animals would still concentrate toxins from the grains they eat.
Now maybe back in 1987 someone could label meat from animals that had been fed pesticide-laden grains "organic," but that is no longer the case today. There are now regulations on the use of the term "organic," and more stringent ones will be coming into effect later this year.
Moreover, by definition, organically raised animals are not given hormones. And pasture-fed animals would not be subjected to the mistreatment of factory farm animals that Robbins describes in his book.
In addition, I am now of the concerted opinion that when studies do show there are health problems associated with the eating of meat, it is not meat per se that is causing the problems but the pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and steroids in the meat, along with the high amounts of saturated fat in such animals. But such problems would not apply to organic meat or game meat.
So Robbins' arguments in regards to the mistreatment of animals, contaminates in animals, and the health effects of meat eating would not apply to organically raised, pasture-fed animals. Similarly, his arguments would not apply to the eating of game animals. So if one can find organically raised, pasture fed animals or utilize game meat, then the bulk of the arguments in this book would not apply. The only argument left is Robbins' contention that farm animals are "intelligent" creatures, and thus it is morally wrong to eat them.
Now the discussion of morals becomes much less concrete. And each person must decide for himself or herself if it is morally wrong to kill and eat animals. But personally, as a Christian, I look to the Bible for guidance on what is morally right or wrong. And the Bible makes it clear that the killing of animals for food is not morally wrong. I address this issue in detail in my book.
Having said all of that, I do believe that a mostly plant-based diet is healthiest. The consumption of healthy plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes are definitely associated with decreased risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke. And eating a majority of ones daily food in the form of animal foods would displace these more healthy foods from ones diet.
It also should be said that a vegetarian diet can be healthy. In fact, I have a chapter in my book on "The Benefits of a Vegan Diet." But I also have a chapter on "The Pros and Cons of Flesh Foods." And in that chapter I demonstrate that it simply is not a clear-cut case that the eating of meat is bad and the not eating of meat is good as Robbins makes it out to be.
As for myself, I have followed a vegan diet in the past. In fact, I was following such a diet when I wrote my book. But I found that I did not "thrive' on it. But the re-inclusion of a limited amount of animal foods has benefited me greatly. So my diet is now probably about 80-90% plant foods and remainder from organic animal foods.
I discuss all of the issues I address above in much more detail in my book "Creationist Diet: Nutrition and God-given Foods According to the Bible." And it should be noted that my book was published in September of 2000. And the sources I cite are from the 1900s and even some from early 2000. So my book provides much more recent information on all of these issues than Robbins' book does.
I say this. If you need to eat and be nourished you should be responsible enough to understand how this critical need is being met, what it costs and who pays. This book is the best I have ever seen on the subject and its effect on me was similar to the effect that "The Jungle" had when I first read that powerhouse of a book so long ago in my high school days. However, this book gave me a stronger feeling that I could do something personally to change the way things are. Written by the scion of the Robbins family of Baskin-Robbins icecream fame, this well-researched book not only exposes the vile conditions that "food" animals experience and the horrors of chemical farming but it draws a holistic picture about our place in the earth's future. You don't have to be an animal rights activist or a vegan or vegetarian to benefit from this book. You may think that bothering about the foods you eat when you have such a busy and complex life is a waste of your time, but one of the things that we all share, that is fundamental to life itself, is the fact that we have to eat. So why not take this opportunity to understand the repercussions and ramifications of an act that you probably do several times every day?
This book might make you angry, sad, disgusted, and worried, but it will also give you ideas on how to help and heal. I honestly feel that anyone who loves the children that they feed, who cherishes their own body through whose senses they enjoy life, or who calls themselves a friend to animals and the environment should read this book because it is a great aid in helping one to conduct oneself with dignity and responsibility and compassion in a world where many have become far too trusting of the corporate hand that feeds us.