Over the span of 100 days between January 1 and April 9, 2020, I read and reviewed more than 100 plant-based books covering seven different areas of interest, including:
Health and Diet
Environment and Sociology
and Vegan Living.
I’m continuing to work my way through the many titles still on my reading list. Meanwhile, I’ve spotlighted excerpts from the reviews of my current “Top Ten.” They represent at least one book from each category.
Health and Diet:
1. How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger
“’Every year, my team and I read through every issue of every English-language nutritional journal in the world… compile all the most interesting, groundbreaking, and practical findings.’”
That amounts to about 500 articles per week, or 25 thousand per year, covering every aspect of nutrition science.
2. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. MD
With its wealth of scientific data punctuated by the moving, real-life stories of patients who turned to Dr. Esselstyn in desperation, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease moved me between tearing up in sympathy and laughing out loud.
By its last page, the doctor and his wife Ann had won my heart.
1. The China Study Cookbook by LeAnne Campbell, PhD
In 2005, LeAnne’s father and her brother Dr. Thomas Campbell published The China Study, establishing a direct link between animal-based diets and many diseases.
In creating meals that reverse SAD-related illnesses, she challenges her readers to use less fat, sugar, and salt. From the way they’re presented, it’s clear that dishes like these international delights are regular features at her table.
1. Slaughterhouse by Gail Einsnitz
Gail heard stories like these from slaughterhouses all over the country. Pigs, cows, and chickens — along with all the other animals we eat — are being grossly abused.
I didn’t want to read this book. I’m not sure who would want to read it. But if we can’t get past our discomfort with these realities happening in our own cities and towns, how will things ever change? This is a must-read!
2. The Inner World of Farm Animals by Amy Hatkoff
Farm animals are just as curious, intelligent, pleasure-seeking, and wonderful as the most cherished family pets! A jewel among animal welfare books, The Inner Life of Farm Animals is probably the most delightful I’ve ever read on the topic!
Environment & Sociology:
1. We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer
“We cannot keep the kinds of meals we have known and also keep the planet we have known. We must either let some eating habits go or let the planet go. It is that straightforward, that fraught.’”
Even as we insist on seeing climate change as someone else’s problem, Safran Foer calls on us to begin the “small collective sacrifices” that can turn the tide.
1. Vegan is Love by Ruby Roth
“The truth is, we do not need to eat meat or dairy. Most animals in the world are herbivores, and just like them, we can grow strong and healthy by eating from nature’s garden.’”
My favorite aspect of Vegan Is Love? Roth consistently returns to the reason why we are kind to all creatures: love. With love as her focus, she uses difficult issues to repeat her underlying message of compassion and hope.
1. Diet for a New America by John Robbins
John Robbins’ book was originally published when I was nine years old. During the 1980s, I was learning between Saturday morning cartoons that “Milk does a body good!” And then scampering off to tell my parents I wanted ice cream.
But while I was dreaming of chowing down on my choice of Baskin-Robbins’ 31 flavors, the son of the company’s co-founder Irv Robbins was rebelling against his heritage. How?
By writing Diet for a New America.
1. Walking with Peety by Eric O’Grey
When he first saw Dr. Kukarni, Eric was on 15 different medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type II diabetes. She prescribed a diet of 50-percent fruits and vegetables and 50-percent other plant-based foods.
She also suggested he get 20 minutes of light exercise twice per day, such as walking — and that he adopt a shelter dog to help him stick with the program. Eric followed her advice and transformed his life!
2. Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
Dubbed his Plant-Powered Regimen, it included extensive study of plant-based nutrition, disease prevention, and exercise physiology. “I’d already lost forty-five pounds, lowering my body weight to a lean and mean 165 pounds. Not only was I ripped, I was hooked. And then I really put my regimen to work, testing the absolute limits of my physical potential.”