Best books for new vegans
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The last few years have been quite amazing for veganism as a trend, a philosophy, a diet choice, and a way of life.
With more and more people taking on the challenge of Veganuary, and with a profound increase in those taking on a more ethical and environmentally sustainable approach to their personal diets, we're seeing a significant reaction from the food industry.
More products are being created to quench the growing thirst for plant-based variety and choice, and supermarkets are pushing hard to gauge the changing minds of the public.
If you're one of the newcomers following the bow-wave that saw online interest in veganism quadruple from 2012 to 2017 (according to Google Trends), you'll want some early advice on how to make the transition as seamless, enjoyable and fulfilling as possible.
So here's 5 of the best books for new vegans to get you started.
1. How To Go Vegan: The why, the how, and everything you need to make going vegan easy - Veganuary
Veganuary kicked off in 2014, encouraging those with either vegetarian or omnivorous diets to take the leap toward a plant-based diet for the entire month of January, with the hope that they'll stick with it for good. A record 250,000 people signed up to Veganuary in 2019, though it's thought that thousands more may have taken part. With environmental considerations and climate change now very much in the public consciousness, the stage is set for a vegan friendly world.
Straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak, How To Go Vegan is a full rundown of the Veganuary perspective, encompassing the why, and the tricky how of going vegan. This handy volume gives you all the tools that are needed to make a success of the transition, and celebrates the value of a happier, more ethical and healthier lifestyle.
Whether you're considering taking the plunge for ethical reasons, for health, or for the good of the environment, How To Go Vegan offers a pleasant introduction in a pressure-free style to the arguments and considerations as to why veganism is such a positive change to make, and offers detailed, succinct and relatable advice about how to manage the practical challenges of actually making the dietary change. Combining a powerful motivation with strong expertise for your encouragement, this is a fantastic read for anyone interested in going vegan.
2. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism - Melanie Joy
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism addresses the fundamental hypocrisy that informs humanity's attitude to animals. Many vegans have stopped relying on animal products after realising that their ethical perspective toward animals was poorly thought out. For many though, this is little more than a passing thought, but Melanie Joy's book takes that idea and builds a compelling case for the vegan lifestyle in light of it.
Joy empowers readers to educate themselves about the consequences of their food choices and to take a positive step toward reducing consumption of the worst offending products. A unique aspect of this book is the focus on the corporate spin of the animal industry, as she explores the manufacture of the idyllic farm idiom and how this is 'sold' to consumers. A fantastic handbook for animal rights activists, people interested in eating locally, and environmental vegans alike.
3. Eating Animals - Jonathan Safran Foer
Purported to be the most original book written about food this century, Eating Animals is earmarked to change the way you think about animals, and will change what you eat for good. Focused toward helping its readers to better understand where their food comes from, Eating Animals is a challenging and thought provoking book.
Safran Foer confronts the moral and ethical concerns associated with meat produced in factory farms. Less about advocacy and positive empowerment, this is a vital piece of work to help people from all perspectives to be better informed about the reality of meat production. More than challenging the morality of a carnivorous lifestyle, Eating Animals is more about challenging ignorance, and champions the importance of all consumers to be in the know about their consumption.
4. The Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy - Dr. Neal Barnard
Even the hardiest vegans will tell you that they struggled to give up one or two choice food items. Cheese can be the crutch that stops even the most ethically astute vegetarian from making the full transition in accordance with their beliefs. No longer, with The Cheese Trap by Neal D. Barnard.
Premised on the well known idea that cheese is bad for us, loaded with fat, cholesterol and calories, New York Times bestselling writer Dr. Barnard drops a bombshell, explaining how cheese contains mild opiates that makes it highly addictive, pushing the same buttons in our brains as morphine and heroin! Fear not, this book contains the answer to this crisis and offers a program to help new vegans break the spell, and cut cheese out of their diets entirely. Furthermore, the benefits of this change as presented in the book are significant. Want to lose weight? Improve health? Boost energy? The Cheese Trap is your guide to lacking lactose.
Beyond medical suggestions and support in making that all important positive change, The Cheese Trap is highly informative, sparing no detail about the cheese making process, and offering a deep dive into how cheese reacts with out bodies, and the negative affects caused. Written in a motivating and positive tone, The Cheese trap is not a scary health book, but will empower you as a reader.
5. Animal Liberation - Peter Singer
Peter Singer is a prolific name in the world of moral philosophy. By extension, he's worked tirelessly to provide a robust and academic perspective on the ethical considerations of human use of animals. Animal Liberation, originally published in 1975, is a powerful and deeply influential volume which addresses the simple question about humanity's relationship with animals in a dispassionate and rigorously logical way.
The revised and updated version, with an introduction written by Yuval Harari (author of the seminal Sapiens) addresses the modern changes to public attitudes, while challenging our heavy reliance on the unethical treatment of animals that still dominates society today. While veganism is in many respects a personal choice, and need only concern the diet of the individual, Animal Liberation offers a more complete ethical picture, getting to the very crux of what value is, what it means for us, and how we apply value to other sentient creatures.