Veganish by Mielle Chenier-Cowan Rose, is admittedly a bit of a quandary to me.
Still though, you know? I want to like this book. Truely. Any resource that helps shine the light on the cruelty and adverse health and environmental effects of animal-based products and meats is fantastic. However, with obsolete excuses for consuming animal products when there are clearly better alternatives frustrates me.
First, I'd like to state that anyone who is actively and thoughtfully reducing their animal-based products and meat consumption should be commended for possessing such conviction and enlightenment.
I'm not an advocate for an all or nothing approach to veganism or a plant-based diet. It's about progress, not perfection, and vilifying someone who still has honey in their cupboard but claims to be vegan doesn't do anybody any lick of good. Yet, it seems that Mielle has given people an excuse to include animal products in their diet with no real merit at all and that's what troubles me. Especially someone who is assiduously trying to go vegan or exploring veganism (why else would they buy the book).
She writes that one should feel free to supplement naturally vegan and healthful recipes with beef or butter. Why? Is all I could think. Just because that slab of bloody, slaughtered cow was "grass-fed" or "organic" certainly shouldn't alleviate your conscious or persuade you that it might be more healthful.
People who say they would stop eating meat but it's just not realistic or "it's not for everyone" confound me. If you have reasonable access to a decent supermarket or farmers market, there are much more healthful and humane alternatives to meat. Beans, tempeh, lentils, tofu, the list goes on and on. And guess what? These foods are much less costly than meat. With regards to health, money, compassion, and impact to the environment. So why?
I can imagine it would be hard to really be persuaded to seriously adopt a plant-based lifestyle when the author of the book, within the first couple pages, goes on to describe how she has been vegetarian and then vegan for many, many years but has now reverted back and become a "reluctant" omnivore. An ex-vegan writing a pro-vegan book, that's really not pro-vegan just pro-plants? It's really hard to get on board.
I wish it was called "Eat Less Meat!" instead of "Veganish."
While I suspect I wouldn't buy this book for myself. I could see gifting it to someone who never, in their entire existence would ever entertain becoming vegan. Someone like that sincerely unpleasant person in your life who offers you a slab of beef while snickering about how that cow died just for him/her to have this meal or telling you there's some grass outside if you're feeling hungry. You know the one.
As a vegan, you might find yourself a bit infuriated (as she perceives you might) while reading the first several chapters. If you can look beyond the patronizing lines, however, you'll find a treasure trove of recipes and cooking tips.
The book does offer some good information on plant-based nutrition. Mielle touches on why "organic" and "grass-fed" labels don't mean much (which she contradicts earlier on in the book) and has a small chapter about organic fruits and vegetables, and GMO foods. She discusses salt, oil, and the different materials cooking utensils and pans are made out of. I found the latter to be very informative.
There's several chapters on cooking tips, like how to dice an onion and peel ginger. Pretty basic stuff, but if you're new to cooking it could be helpful. However, the vast majority of the book is recipes, from soups to desserts to breakfasts.
I feel dreadful for writing a post that might anger the author, who seems to be genuinely trying to do a good thing. For posting a review that's probably not what the publisher had in mind. For stirring up personal feelings in readers that want to feel nothing for consuming the Standard American Diet or who only eat meat a few times of the week. And for friends and family who make full use of and derive benefit from the death of animals. However, I was asked to write a review and so I have.
Find the book at Amazon.com
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