I read to escape and to learn. I like science fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers and adventure stories.
Over twenty years ago I read Diet for a New America and after a short flirtation with vegetarianism; I somehow managed to forget most of what I absorbed. Since having my own family, facing increasing, personal health issues and growing up a little, I have slowly been working up the courage to face the facts so clearly outlined in this book.
This is one of those books that you wish everyone would read. If the information about diet and health, modern food production, the torture of animals in the name of appetite instead of necessity and the environmental destruction that is occurring as a result was more widely known, surely there would be a massive change in every North American’s lifestyle and health. I am shocked at how effective the advertising campaigns of dairy and meat producers have been in brainwashing me into believing those foods were necessary for my health. Apparently the overwhelming majority of world-wide research shows that a plant based diet greatly decreases the risk of acquiring heart disease and many types of cancer and in cultures where this type of diet is standard, incidence of these diseases are very low.
Reading about the deplorable conditions of animals in huge, overcrowded, factory farms, the way they are transported to the slaughterhouse and what happens when they get there made me sick to my stomach. Reading about how the tropical rainforests are being destroyed and thousands of plant and animal species lost forever in order for more cattle to graze so we can have hamburgers 5 cents cheaper is horrifying. The amount of water needed to produce a pound of vegetables or grains is a fraction of what is needed to produce a pound of beef for our consumption.
John Robbins goes on page after page backed up by worldwide research that we are doing enormous damage to our selves and the rest of the natural world by continuing unnecessarily to eat a diet rich in animal products. The last part of the book focuses on genetically modified foods being designed with pesticides and herbicides built right in. The potential for destruction is enormous and terrifying. Many soybean, corn and canola crops currently planted in North America are of this Round-up Ready variety. I will be reading every label that could potentially contain oil or ingredients made from these products with infinite care. There is so much valuable and urgent information contained within this book. If you are the least bit interested in your health or the health of our world and all of its inhabitants then I urge you to read this work.
On the back of the book it says, “This book can save your life”. Not only can it save your life, but if enough people opened their eyes to the truths contained within and acted on them, I believe it could also help save our world.
Reviewed October 27, 2009
Note: It's been four years since I read this book and as a result stopped eating and using animal products. My life has expanded and been enriched in so many ways.