I wish this book was around when I first looked into starting a vegetarian diet.
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith is a good book from a 20 year vegan that returned to meat. The author writes in a highly respectful and caring voice to those readers that may be following a vegetarian diet. The book covers environmental issues, nutrition, mental health and the politics of big agriculture. It is not preachy at all. It is written in a conversational yet informative manner.
This book is not perfect. For some reason there is no index in the back of the book. I’ll never understand why an editor to a non-fiction book would exclude an index. If I want to revisit the pages on serotonin and tryptophan, I have to thumb through each page hoping those words catch my eye. I would hope that if there is a second edition that an index is added. I also didn’t like the last chapter. Instead of being a concise summary, it was just a rambling incoherent dialog with feminist opinions that seems completely out of place in a book on food. If you read this book, skip the last chapter.
Despite the last chapter, I think this is a very good resource for someone who is considering or having doubts about their vegetarian diet. This book is your second opinion. Because our diet can be our identity, we tend to seek out information that confirms instead of challenging our choices. This is called confirmation bias. It can be dangerous not to test your assumptions, especially if your early ones are incorrect.
It aint what you dont know that gets you into trouble. Its what you know for sure that just aint so. – Mark Twain
If you don’t have the time to read this book, let me point you to two podcast interviews the author did about the Vegetarian Myth.
Primal Body, Primal Mind Podcast – Scroll down to May 5, 2010.
Former 20-Year Vegan Lierre Keith Now Advocates Omnivorism (Episode 334) – Interview with Jimmy Moore.