I love books! Books have played a major role in my life for a very long time. Every day begins with books and often ends in reading too. Books are personal. What I like you may not. What you deem to be important I may not.
So it is with some reservation that I put out my list of “Three Must-Have Books for Every New Vegan.” I will do my best to briefly explain my choices and look forward to the feedback.
Let me first say, that I will assume most readers of this blog have read Main Street Vegan, by Victoria Moran. If you have not, then please do. You will find her approach delightful and her vegan knowledge vast. It is good to have fun and Victoria makes learning fun in the book after which this website is named.
In addition to Main Street Vegan I believe new vegans should read the following:
by Jonathan Safran Foer
Safran Foer is a Princeton-educated novelist and he writes beautifully. So beautifully that a lot of people read his books and the books are then made into movies. It could very well be that new vegans were called to change what they eat because they know many of the things Safran Foer writes about in Eating Animals. However, this storyteller will take you on his personal journey and will help the new vegan better articulate the ethical response to eating animals. Vegans must be able to incorporate information so we can advocate for the animals and help others see the light. What Safran Foer has written is important and many will be (and have been) led to make different choices on what they put on their dinner plate simply because of who the author is.
In choosing Freston’s book I am not attempting to say that all vegans should be skinny. What I am saying with this choice is that, for a guy, I found Freston’s approach to healthy eating to be very doable and her approach very positive. When I became a new vegan I didn’t really know what to eat or how to make this way of eating healthy. I could fix a peanut butter sandwich but not much else. Freston holds the reader’s hand as she makes eating a healthy vegan diet easier and easier throughout the 30 days. Each chapter is easy to read and only takes a few minutes. At the end of the 30 days you have crowded out lots of food that may not be the best for you and replaced it with healthy vegan choices that are better for you and the animals. I’m glad this book is out there. It is a great resource for the new vegan.
Joy is a professor of psychology and is interested in the big question posed by the title of her book. She helps us see the ideas and motivations behind those who do not respond to our calls to join us on the vegan journey. The question Joy examines can be very helpful to new vegans as we look on in disbelief at family and friends who seldom make the changes we have made. This lack of empathy can be disheartening and jarring when the better path is so very clear to us. Joy gently reminds us that, with few exceptions, we were once animal eaters too and introduces us to the word ‘carnism,’ the main crux of her work. Being introduced to Joy’s ideas can be very helpful to the new vegan as we struggle to make sense of other’s inaction.
So, there you have it. These are the three books I believe every new vegan should read. With these books, one can become even more articulate concerning the ethical problems of eating animals, learn to eat more healthfully, and better understand why people do what they do when they inconceivably continue down the omnivore path.
Thankfully, there are loads of good vegan books out there today and the number continues to grow. Please take a moment and use the comments section below to offer up a book or two you would suggest to the new vegan and why the book is important.
I wish you peace,
Rev. Russell Elleven, DMin, VLCE is an ordained minister and graduate of the Main Street Vegan Academy. You can follow him on Twitter and sign up for his brief weekly message through his website at www.ministerofhealth.org.