This month we review a book that shows how vegetarianism relates to health, animal concerns, the environment, global hunger, spirituality, and other social issues.
Say No to Meat:
The 411 on Ditching Meat and Going Veg
By Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose
Healthy Living Publications, 2011
Amanda and Stewart are also the co-founders Vegetarians of Washington, the premier vegetarian organization with one of the largest member rosters in the United States. Each year in Seattle they co-produce VegFest, one of the largest vegetarian gatherings in the country. The enterprising pair of writers authored Veg-Feasting in the Pacific Northwest, Veg Feasting Cookbook, and Vegetarian Pacific Northwest. Stewart wrote The Vegetarian Solution and recognizes Amanda for her many valuable contributions to that volume.
Say No To Meat is a people-friendly book written in an easy question and answer format that addresses all concerns about the subject of vegetarianism by responding to simple questions and those that are more perplexing.
Basic questions like, "Is it hard to find Vegetarian Food?" and "What's wrong with meat, fish, dairy, and eggs?" are answered concisely in a warm, yet factual style without appearing to preach.
The chapter on health focuses on questions that arise frequently, such as, "Aren't our bodies designed to eat meat?" and "Is it safe for me to be pregnant and still be vegetarian?" Non-vegetarians seeking answers to their serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and Alzheimer's will feel as if they are chatting with knowledgeable friends with expertise in those subjects. Less serious health issues like acne, menstrual cramps, and flat feet are also covered. With their honest, straight-forward approach they admit that not all physical ills can be helped with a vegetarian diet. Flat feet, for instance, is a genetic disorder unrelated to diet.
Anyone who has considered, "Why should I care about farm animals?" or "Will consuming eggs and dairy still result in animal suffering?" may view these concerns differently after reading the authors' responses. To the question, "If the situation for farm animals is so bad, how come it is allowed to continue?" Amanda and Stewart address several points with impressive tact:
For the World's Hungry presents several aspects of the global hunger crisis and why it is increasing. The authors address the global challenges of growing more food and ask how Americans can make a difference. Often, food shortages come about by food waste from overfishing or land cleared for animal agriculture.
One facet of vegetarianism is spiritualism, an area infrequently addressed. The authors recognize this is a topic that clearly demonstrates the interconnection of life, faith and health snd concisely presents the vegetarian view of each of the major religions.
"Why is it important for America to change the food it eats?" is a societal issue Amanda and Stewart view from many angles.
The book covers the most important facts and details of what comprises the healthy vegetarian diet, the challenges of dealing with family and friends, dining out, attending parties, dating, and eating at home.
Pantry items and unfamiliar foods like seitan, tempeh, and tofu are introduced in brief glossary style along with basic instructions for preparing everyday foods like mushrooms, greens, onions, root vegetables, and squashes.
To give the reader a great start on eating healthful vegetarian meals, the authors provide approximately three-dozen recipes that cover Breakfast, Sides and Staples, Dinner, and Desserts.
An excellent Resources section guides newbies to a plethora of helpful websites and informative books. Anyone seeking knowledge about vegetarian nutrition, animal concerns, spiritualism, health issues, and vegetarian cooking will find so much in the web resources.
The book concludes with a brief chapter about the Vegetarians of Washington, an organization whose goal is to teach people about the benefits of living a vegetarian lifestyle. Throughout the month the group sponsors many events, classes, monthly dinners, and informal talks. Their main event is the renowned annual VegFest.
Over the years, Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose have encountered numerous questions about vegetarianism and recognized the need to provide answers. Written in an informal, friendly style, Say No To Meat reflects on the subjects of health, animal concerns, the environment, global hunger, spirituality, and societal issues and responds with mindful and thoughtful answers to the frequently asked questions. Instead of delivering an answer with a harangue or lecture, the authors put the reader at ease and actually make vegetarianism seem non-threatening, totally comfortable, and openly inviting.