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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegetarian Books

Each issue the VIP birds endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book or books that contribute to vegetarian enlightenment.

This month we review a book that provides a game plan for people who want others to choose vegetarianism.

Veganomics: the Surprising Science
on What Motivates Vegetarians,
from the Breakfast Table to the Bedroom

By Nick Cooney

Lantern Books, 2014
Paperback, $22.00

Nick Cooney is an animal advocate who wants to spare animals from suffering and death at the hands of humans. He's not out picketing at zoos or protesting animal testing. Cooney's efforts on behalf of animals are more cerebral than demonstrable. He uses his intellect to present extensive research promoting his cause.

In Veganomics: the Surprising Science on What Motivates Vegetarians form Breakfast Table to the Bedroom, Cooney employs that research to determine what motivates people to choose a vegetarian lifestyle and maintain it. His ultimate goal is "getting others to ditch meat."

Veganomics For each person who adopts a compassionate diet, dozens of intelligent, unique animals will be spared a lifetime of misery," says Cooney. "With the cultural tide shifting away from meat, and vegetarian options more common at restaurants and grocery stores, it is now easier for people to cut cruelty from their diet."

Veganomics is not a rant to promote vegetarianism. Instead, all information conveyed is supported by research studies. For example, 31 animals suffer and die each year for the average meat eater. He cites Dr. Harish Sethu of CountingAnimals.com who analyzed this data based on USDA statistics.

Using research, the author is also able to develop a profile of the typical vegetarian--a well educated Caucasian woman under 30 who lives in the Northeast or the West Coast. The profile is further enhanced with other descriptions: single, Democrat, introvert, higher IQ, either a follower of non-traditional religions or an agnostic or atheist.

Cooney points out that many people call themselves vegetarian even though they eat animal flesh. They erroneously believe that chicken and fish are not considered meat.

One informative chapter focuses on what persuades people to go vegetarian and what messages are most effective in eliciting that conversion. For people under the age of 30, animal cruelty is most effective, while those over that age will most likely be persuaded by a personal health appeal. "Focusing on animal cruelty is the most effective message to use when targeting young people," Cooney says.

The backsliders, those who say they were vegetarian for a while but reverted back to an omnivore diet, are more likely to be those who came to vegetarianism through the health message rather those who were persuaded by evidence of animal cruelty.

Nick Cooney Those wondering how vegetarians fare in the bedroom, may want to take a closer look at Vegetarians Make Better Sex Partners--Maybe. Cooney says that no studies confirm vegetarians as better sex partners, but there is some evidence they might. In one study 62% of vegetarians said their sex lives improved after they stopped eating meat. Somewhat related is a study where women declared that men who followed a vegetarian diet smelled better than carnivores--their odors "were more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense."

In the chapter Inspiring Change, Cooney presents a program for activists who want to persuade people to switch to vegetarianism. To encourage "The Switch," he suggests:

  • Advise people to change their diet gradually rather than abruptly. This should make them more likely to go and stay vegetarian.
  • Encourage people to try tasty vegan meats, in particular the most meat-like chicken products, sausages, burgers, patties, and nuggets.
  • Refrain from suggesting to people that they try lots of foods that are brand new to them, or foods they may consider extremely healthful. These include new and unusual grains, vegetables, meal combinations, and ethnic dishes.
  • Persuade people to cut out or cut back on meat or to go "meat-free," instead of urging them to go vegetarian or vegan.
  • Use appetizing descriptive language when labeling a vegetarian meal.

In Veganomics Nick Cooney clearly displays his dedication to the cause of lessening animal misery by his willingness to amass an enormous trove of research studies. At the same time he has created a highly readable volume filled with fascinating factual information, a handbook for vegetarian/vegan activists who now have facts backed by research to further their cause. But you don't have to be an activist to enjoy this volume. Each reader will now be more aware of the role diet plays in animal welfare.

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