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I've read quite a few, and these are the best vegan books for people seeking to learn about food, health, the environment, and the economy.
I love to read about food in general, and I've read some of the opposing views from people who argue that eating meat is essential to our health.
Omnivore's Dilemma is clearly not a vegan book, but the principles that Michael Pollan argued helped me to decide I wasn't going to eat any animal products ever again. For instance, he went into great detail about a farm in which the animals are truly free range and are slaughtered in the most decent way possible. I still didn't agree with killing animals to indulge my preferences.
These six books had some of the greatest influence on my personal decision to become a vegan for life.
The China Study is another of the best vegan books written by Dr. T. Colin Campbell about a 20-year research study on the effects of animal protein on the human body. Dr. Campbell, along with many other researchers associated with other research institutes, discovered that diets high in protein, especially animal protein, lead to several kinds of cancer, heart disease, and other ailments.
His research directly contradicts what was universally thought to be true before the study was done. In fact, Dr. Campbell himself had spent many years researching how to improve access to animal protein. A study in the Philippines on malnourished children with liver cancer is what peaked his interest in the hazards of a high protein diet.
Although the book contains a great deal of data, it is extremely readable and interesting. There's nothing like hard scientific data to back up the vegan diet as healthier for the human body!
Skinny Bitch is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and one of the best vegan books on the market. Some people are insulted by the direct language and curse words, but I found it laugh-out-loud hilarious.
The authors purposely turn the cards on the reader and challenge us to use our brains when making decisions about food. Some of the information is common sense, but it's the kind that people still don't practice.
They include some extremely disturbing stories from slaughterhouse workers that you might never get out of your head. It's an easy, fun read, and one I recommend to anyone looking to learn more about veganism and how to treat their bodies right.
The authors followed up the original with a recipe book called, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, and then created five other spin-offs, including versions for pregnant women, men, how to swap out old products for vegan products, and another cookbook. They all have the same witty sense of humor and simple information.
Peter Singer's Animal Liberation is thought to be the absolute best vegan book of the animal rights movement, and a trendsetter. Though people discussed animal rights for thousands of years, he put the concept to a philosophical test.
He proves (to a point where no one has found a hole in the validity of his argument) that our society's choice to eat animals is speciesism, meaning that we are discriminating against other species of animals. He says that our argument that animals are there for us to eat is alarmingly similar to the argument that slaves are there to do our labor in the fields.
One of his main points is that pigs (as an example) are certainly more aware and conscious of their surroundings than a human baby, and more than a mentally challenged child. But it is considered wrong to eat, or experiment on, one this child.
Therefore, shouldn't it be wrong to do so to a pig? Why not? Because a pig is a pig and a human is a human? Well, that is speciesism.
I can't list all the reasons for this argument here (it's a long book), but if you are looking to learn more about why people think it just isn't right to eat animals, this vegan book is a must read. See if you can find a hole in his rationale.
Food For Life is written by Dr. Neal Barnard, and details his findings based on years of medical research, about what diets help prevent diseases. This is one of the best vegan books around for facts on health. He believes a vegan diet, based on whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits, is the healthiest diet for humans.
One of the most memorable parts was in the beginning, when he spoke of a study done by Dr. Dean Ornish in which he took patients who had suffered heart attacks and separated them into two groups. The first group followed the diet recommended by most doctors to patients after heart attacks; boneless, skinless chicken breast, fish, low-fat dairy, and fruits and vegetables. The second group ate a vegan diet focused on whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
The first group had the standard results, they complained about switching their diet, they lost a bit of weight at first, but then regained it, and at the end of the year, many had gotten off the diet because of its lack of results.
The second group also initially complained about their new diet, but they had different results. Most lost weight, had less chest pain, and actually reversed the development of plaque in the arteries, lowering their risk of getting heart disease.
At the end of the year, they had kept the weight off and most stayed on the diet since it gave them such noticeable differences. Some were able to get off their cholesterol drugs completely, and others just took smaller doses.
It is one of several amazing studies that Food for Life presents. At the end of this best vegan book, Dr. Barnard has recipes and a 30-day diet meal plan.
I hope you enjoyed my list of the best vegan books on the market. Contact me if you have read one that isn't on this list.
101 Reasons I'm A Vegetarian was the book I picked up when I finally decided to better understand my decision to be a vegetarian. It was, therefore, the first book that led me to be a vegan. It is incredibly detailed and alarming. I cried several times, as most people do the first time they learn what actually happens to the animals we eat.
This is not a light read content-wise, but it would be an easy read time-wise. You could also pick it up to learn a few new things about health, factory farming, and the environment, and read just one reason at a time.
Omnivore's Dilemma was another one of the first books I read when converting myself to veganism. It was a recommendation from a friend, and one that I now recommend to friends. Although it doesn't focus on veganism at all, the author, Michael Pollan, talks about food in our modern society.
Pollan goes through three different meals-- the first is the standard fast food meal, the second is a purely organic one from Whole Foods, and the third is one that he finds himself off the land. He ultimately prefers the last, although concedes that it takes quite a bit of time and energy to procure an entire meal off the land.
One of the parts that remains in my mind the most is his discussion of how humans were not built to be carnivores. Among other differences, carnivores have short digestive tracts to dispose of rotting meat quickly, and they have claws and sharp teeth with which to tear apart their food. Omnivores and herbivores (like humans) have long digestive tracts in which meat rots and remains stuck, no claws, and we have flat, blunt teeth meant for chewing plant matter.
Even if you are a meat-eater, this is a best vegan book for learning more about humans and food. The title comes from a dilemma that omnivores have because we have so many choices about what to eat.