Tag Archives: book review

Main Street Vegan – a book review

It’s hard not to get excited about this book. It’s hard not to fall in love with it. Victoria Moran’s latest book, titled Main Street Vegan – Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World, is sure to be a winner.

We were excited by innovations such as the chapter on finding the method of switching over to a vegan diet that works best for you, rather than the usual one way fits all. “Vegan one day at a time”, “vegan one food at a time” and “vegan at home” are just a few of the strategies offered by the author for the reader to choose from. There’s even a “vegetarian for now” strategy for those just getting started on the veg journey who haven’t reached vegetarian yet.

Also exciting is the forthright way the author confronts the myths and misinformation that abounds about some foods, such as the false fears being spread by the soy bashers and the false promotion of unique health benefits of fish. She doesn’t shy away from such real world considerations such as fitting vegan food choices comfortably into your budget, and she is not afraid to make specific recommendations and evaluations about specific brands of foods and other products which are so helpful to those just starting out.

We loved the way Victoria wrote the book for real people and what it takes to switch over to the vegan way, in uniquely human terms. “To become a Main Street Vegan yourself”, says the author, “you’ll call on your courage, your flexibility, your sense of adventure, your willingness to learn, and your ability to rise to a challenge.” We loved the way she wrote in a personal style instead of “to whom it may concern,” the impersonal tone found in so many other books today. Victoria gets up close and personal, revealing her own switch over to vegan which did so much to help her in her own weight loss struggles. We also loved the recipes, arranged throughout the book, that use everyday ingredients but yield especially delicious dishes of every kind.

In short, this book is a treasure trove that will reward the reader with one gem after the other, and we recommend it wholeheartedly. Victoria Moran is an author, motivational speaker, corporate spokesperson, and certified holistic health counselor (HHC, AADA). Her latest project, Main Street Vegan is published by Tarcher/Penguin and has been endorsed by such luminaries as Russell Simmons, Moby, and authorities such as Neal Barnard MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Among Victoria’s ten additional titles are the best-selling Creating a Charmed Life (in thirty languages), and the plant-based weight-loss classic, The Love-Powered Diet: Eating for Freedom, Health, & Joy. A vegan for twenty-eight years, Victoria wrote Compassion, the Ultimate Ethic, the first book on vegan philosophy ever published by a major publisher, as her college thesis in 1985.

Comfortably Unaware – New book turns up the volume on the Veg-Environmental Message

Comfortably Unaware, by Richard Oppenlander, is destined to become a landmark book discussed for years to come. The message of this book is loud and clear: the production of meat and other animal products is wrecking the environment.  It’s time for environmentalists and the public at large to wake up, face the facts, come out of denial and do something about it. No more excuses can be accepted, as almost every excuse, technological dodge, or halfway measure (such as grass fed beef), is shown to be either impractical, useless or wholly inadequate.

The author begins making his case with a wealth of specific and well-referenced statistics, and then challenges us to draw the obvious conclusions, which he spells out in forthright fashion. The data reveals the massive detrimental impact that raising meat and harvesting fish has on the environment. From global warming, to the burning down of the rainforests, to air and water pollution, Oppenlander prosecutes the case against meat that exceeds even the “shadow of doubt” level of certainty required in most criminal cases. One would think, with all the evidence presented, that a conviction would be all but inevitable.

Yet the jury, made up of environmentalists and their leaders along with the general public, still won’t face the facts, with a few notable exceptions, and act upon them. Oppenlander is not letting anyone off the hook. From Al Gore to Michael Pollan, he takes them all to task by saying what needs to be said, and what so sorely needs to be done, to build a more sustainable society. So far, the majority of environmentalists haven’t been willing to face the evidence and explain the imperative of switching to a meat-based diet, and the reader may wonder whether they have chosen to be popular by down-playing the meat issue, rather than choosing to truly protect the environment. The same goes for university and hospital food service officials who make big statements about running green establishments, but then refuse to make organic veggie burgers available for students, patients and staff.

To bolster his case, Oppenlander includes short chapters on health, global hunger and animal welfare. Again, evidence of damage is presented along with a demand for redress of grievance.  Again and again leaders and their organizations are found wanting and in denial, and the jury too timid, choosing to remain comfortably unaware, rather than to make tough decisions and take bold yet rational actions, requiring just a bit of courage.

This book is a good choice for those looking for a wake up call, served up at high volume. It may, however, be a less effective tool for those looking for incremental approaches and a take-you-by-the-hand style. The author would have done well to consider the sensitivities of human psychology, and the emotional flavor of food and all it represents, a little more than he does. Mary Poppins did have a point when she said that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

Yet the book is so well researched that everyone can profit from it on some level regardless of operating style and personality. For too long the veg world has underplayed the environmental case for a plant-based diet, and we welcome this book for doing so much to make up for that shortcoming. With endorsements ranging from the famous anthropologist, Jane Goodall, to the President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Neal Barnard M.D., we take this opportunity to add our recommendation for this important book.