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The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability

( 17 )

Overview

Part memoir, nutritional primer, and political manifesto, this controversial examination exposes the destructive history of agriculture—causing the devastation of prairies and forests, driving countless species extinct, altering the climate, and destroying the topsoil—and asserts that, in order to save the planet, food must come from within living communities. In order for this to happen, the argument champions eating locally and sustainably and encourages those with the resources to grow their own food. ...

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Overview

Part memoir, nutritional primer, and political manifesto, this controversial examination exposes the destructive history of agriculture—causing the devastation of prairies and forests, driving countless species extinct, altering the climate, and destroying the topsoil—and asserts that, in order to save the planet, food must come from within living communities. In order for this to happen, the argument champions eating locally and sustainably and encourages those with the resources to grow their own food. Further examining the question of what to eat from the perspective of both human and environmental health, the account goes beyond health choices and discusses potential moral issues from eating—or not eating—animals. Through the deeply personal narrative of someone who practiced veganism for 20 years, this unique exploration also discusses alternatives to industrial farming, reveals the risks of a vegan diet, and explains why animals belong on ecologically sound farms.

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What People Are Saying

Derrick Jensen
This book saved my life ... [It] offers us a way back into our bodies, and back into the fight to save the planet. (Derrick Jensen, author, Endgame)
Aric McBay
Everyone who eats should read this book. Everyone who eats vegetarian should memorize it ... This is the single most important book I've ever read on diet, agriculture, and ecology. (Aric McBay, author, What We Leave Behind)
Alice Walker
[Vegetarian Myth]is one of the most important books people, masses of them, can read, as we try with all our might, intelligence, skill, hope, dream and memory, to turn the disastrous course the planet is on. (Alice Walker, prize-winning author, The Color Purple)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604860801
  • Publisher: PM Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 338,811
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lierre Keith is a writer, a farmer, and a feminist activist. She is the author of the novels Conditions of War and Skyler Gabriel. She splits her time between Northampton, Massachusetts and Humboldt, California.

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Table of Contents

Why This Book? 1

Moral Vegetarians 13

Political Vegetarians 95

Nutritional Vegetarians 139

To Save the World 245

Acknowledgements 273

Appendix 275

Resources 277

Endnotes 281

Bibliography 297

About the Author 316

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 4, 2010

    Misguided pseudoscience & confusion

    Check out this review: /

    "...It's next to impossible to review this book; it is so packed with misinformation and confusion that refuting the claims could be another book itself. This is a long post, and it doesn't begin to address all of the problems in The Vegetarian Myth.
    /
    I read the section on nutrition first. Since it's my area of expertise, I figured it would give me some idea of the quality of her research and analysis. But quality isn't at issue here because there is no research or analysis. Keith doesn't bother with primary sources; she depends almost exclusively on the opinions of her favorite popular authors, which she presents as proof of her theories. For example, when she writes about evolution as it affects dietary needs, and suggests that 'the archeological evidence is incontrovertible,' she is actually referencing the book Protein Power, written by two physicians who have no expertise in evolution or anthropology. It's a neat trick, of course, because we have no idea where the Protein Power authors got their information. By burying all of the actual studies this way, she makes it laborious for readers to check her facts...
    /
    Keith is woefully confused about fats. She believes that saturated fat is needed for absorption of vitamins and minerals, that polyunsaturated fat is "low-fat," and that we have a dietary need for cholesterol. In fact, we have no dietary need for either saturated fat or cholesterol-there is no RDA for either. The liver makes all the cholesterol our bodies require. And the two essential fatty acids required by humans-both unsaturated-are found in plant foods.
    /
    On page 172 she suggests that fat intake has dropped by 25% over the past 15 years. Thirty pages later she says it has fallen by 10%. You might think that this discrepancy would send her to the actual data, in which case she would have found that fat intake has increased over the past 15 years. Among Americans, total fat intake is around 33% of calories and a good one-third of that is saturated fat-so her belief that Americans consume 30% of their calories as polyunsaturated fat is also wrong...
    /
    On page 227, she notes that 'Mark Messina, a champion of soy, thinks the Japanese eat 8.6 [grams of soyfoods] per day,' or less than a tablespoon. Really? Well, I happen to be married to Mark Messina, so I have a fairly good idea of what he 'thinks' about soy intake. But even if I didn't know him, I could read his 2006 analysis of soy intake data that was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Nutrition and Cancer. Apparently, Keith didn't or she would have seen that Asian soy intake is the equivalent of 1 to 1 ½ servings or more per day. Why did she get this so wrong? It's because she doesn't understand that there is a difference between soy protein intake and soy food intake. A cup of soymilk contains around 7 grams of soy protein, so the 8.6 to 11 grams of protein that the Japanese typically eat is equal to at least a serving per day.
    /
    ...This is ultimately a sad book. ...Her intent seems heartfelt; she sees herself very much as a savior of vegetarians and wants us to learn from her mistakes. And the book has been widely embraced by those who want to believe that meat-eating is healthy and just. The problem is that there is truly nothing in this book that accurately supports that conclusion."
    /
    For the full review, Google: "Vegetarian Myth," "Vegan RD".

    8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 4, 2010

    Misguided psuedoscience & confusion

    Check out this review: / "...It's next to impossible to review this book; it is so packed with misinformation and confusion that refuting the claims could be another book itself. This is a long post, and it doesn't begin to address all of the problems in The Vegetarian Myth. / I read the section on nutrition first. Since it's my area of expertise, I figured it would give me some idea of the quality of her research and analysis. But quality isn't at issue here because there is no research or analysis. Keith doesn't bother with primary sources; she depends almost exclusively on the opinions of her favorite popular authors, which she presents as proof of her theories. For example, when she writes about evolution as it affects dietary needs, and suggests that 'the archeological evidence is incontrovertible,' she is actually referencing the book Protein Power, written by two physicians who have no expertise in evolution or anthropology. It's a neat trick, of course, because we have no idea where the Protein Power authors got their information. By burying all of the actual studies this way, she makes it laborious for readers to check her facts... / Keith is woefully confused about fats. She believes that saturated fat is needed for absorption of vitamins and minerals, that polyunsaturated fat is "low-fat," and that we have a dietary need for cholesterol. In fact, we have no dietary need for either saturated fat or cholesterol-there is no RDA for either. The liver makes all the cholesterol our bodies require. And the two essential fatty acids required by humans-both unsaturated-are found in plant foods. / On page 172 she suggests that fat intake has dropped by 25% over the past 15 years. Thirty pages later she says it has fallen by 10%. You might think that this discrepancy would send her to the actual data, in which case she would have found that fat intake has increased over the past 15 years. Among Americans, total fat intake is around 33% of calories and a good one-third of that is saturated fat-so her belief that Americans consume 30% of their calories as polyunsaturated fat is also wrong... / On page 227, she notes that 'Mark Messina, a champion of soy, thinks the Japanese eat 8.6 [grams of soyfoods] per day,' or less than a tablespoon. Really? Well, I happen to be married to Mark Messina, so I have a fairly good idea of what he 'thinks' about soy intake. But even if I didn't know him, I could read his 2006 analysis of soy intake data that was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Nutrition and Cancer. Apparently, Keith didn't or she would have seen that Asian soy intake is the equivalent of 1 to 1 ½ servings or more per day. Why did she get this so wrong? It's because she doesn't understand that there is a difference between soy protein intake and soy food intake. A cup of soymilk contains around 7 grams of soy protein, so the 8.6 to 11 grams of protein that the Japanese typically eat is equal to at least a serving per day. / ...This is ultimately a sad book. ...Her intent seems heartfelt; she sees herself very much as a savior of vegetarians and wants us to learn from her mistakes. And the book has been widely embraced by those who want to believe that meat-eating is healthy and just. The problem is that there is truly nothing in this book that accurately supports that conclusion." / For the full review, Google: "Vegetarian Myth," "Vegan RD".

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2010

    I felt bad for her...

    I feel for her pain and confusion. I look up her medical problems and most of them are usually caused by genetics, not diet. Her arguments seem rational, but they're not quite.
    An interesting read on the psychosis of eating meat and the lengths some people will go to to justify it to themselves and others.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Point of view changer

    I loved this book. Reading this book will change your point of view on
    what you eat and about the vegetarian lifestyle. I just finished this book a few days ago and in making changes in my eating from the information I learned in the book has already made me feel better.

    If everyone followed the advise in this book not only would they feel better, but the would would be a better place.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 6, 2009

    All People Who Eat Should Read This Book

    Keith is a great writer. Her prose is engaging and passionate with a little laugh-out-loud humor. She is tackling a subject that is close to her compassionate heart. She uses knowledge with her passionate prose to help vegans, vegetarians, Americans and in deed all people to learn all about food that will make them healthy and the earth, too. She has done extensive research that covers subjects far and wide but center on food. A fearless and excellent book - it will enter the high ranks of books like The Jungle and Silent Spring, which was one of her touch stone books. (Warning, it's the soil!)

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Vegans must be sucidal

    WOW!!! I knew grains and sugar were not good for you, but they are toxic. Nutrient dense food with out all the processing, the best way to feel good and LOOK good. Our bodies need these foods and are equiped to digest the meat and fats directly. Grains have to be processed by the bacteria in the intestine before we get anything out of them. All the medical problems in our society can be linked to poor diet. We are not cows...EAT MEAT!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Important Read!

    Necessary for anyone who wants to know why mainstream health misinformation doesn't make any sense! This is revolutionary, environmental, social, and most of all, healthy!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    If you eat food, you need to read this book!

    Lierre Keith uses her personal experiences and tons of research to convince us all that our diet is more important than we realize. Not just important for our bodies but for our planet. If you are a vegetarian, vegan, or considering these, please read this book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 16, 2014

    In response to Jon_Hertshof I want to ask, where are the referen

    In response to Jon_Hertshof I want to ask, where are the references that substantiate your facts? Leaving aside the particular nutritional issues that you take exception to, what is your appraisal of Keith's analysis of agriculture and her thoughts on the carrying capacity of the planet?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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