One for the Books

A friend of mine recently requested a “good first book” for someone thinking about becoming vegetarian/vegan. Well, that got me more than a little bit excited. I couldn’t wait to get home and start browsing through my collection.

(And for those of you who have no desire to cross over to the dark (vegan) side, no worries. This post has more to offer than subliminal brainwashing. Promise.)

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My excitement soon gave way to confusion. I have a lot of books. A lot of books. What book should I recommend? What would be a good “first book”? I started browsing through, remembering where I had been in my journey when I had first read each book.

And then it hit me. A “good first book” would be dependent on where one was starting.

I didn’t have a definitive moment when I decided to become vegan. However, I did have a moment when I realized, I can’t keep living like this. You can read how that all came about here. Becoming vegan was a process originating in my desire to change. I wanted to be healthy. But I didn’t know how.

About this same time, I stumbled across a blog written by a clinical dietician. Her food philosophy gave me hope that there was a way out of the hell I had created for myself. My beginning actually had nothing to do with being vegan.

What transpired from reading the blog, was the desire to learn all I could about health and nutrition. As a result, I became a frequent visitor to Barnes and Noble.

The first book I recommend is:

Fit from Within by Victoria Moran.

Although this book is geared toward those who are overweight, or struggling with food addiction, it greatly affected me by challenging my mindset. If you are looking for a book to address the emotional and spiritual side of your health, look no further. This book is filled with short motivational chapters to provide encouragement.

For example, Chapter 1, entitled “Accept Yourself Today”,  begins with this:

If you don’t accept yourself, you won’t live fully, and if you don’t live fully, you’ll need to get full some other way.

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From here, I went on to read numerous books focusing on the quality of the nutrients I was putting into my body:

SuperFoods HealthStyle by  Dr. Steven G. Pratt

Eat to Live, and Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman (I sent all three of my kids copies of Super Immunity. Lots of great information!)

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Dr. Walter Willett

Eventually, I stumbled upon this book:

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II

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This was the catalyst for investigating a whole food, plant based diet. I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives, started reading vegan blogs, and read these books:

Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran (an excellent first book)

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Veganist by Kathy Freston (good advice and insight)

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Vegan for Her by Virginia Messina (not my favorite, but an educational read all the same)

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And if you are looking for some “edgier” (when I say edgier, I mean you may find them to be slightly offensive…):

Diet Cults by Matt Fitzgerald (You can read more about my thoughts here.)

I’m as Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Eat it Anymore by Christina Perillo

No Happy Cows by John Robbins (He just so happens to the son on a certain man with a certain ice cream shoppe! He provides a very interesting perspective.)

Now for those of you who read all the way through, even though you have no desire to adopt a vegan diet, I have some great reads for you as well:

The End of Dieting by Joel Fuhrman (for those caught up in the vicious cycle of losing and gaining weight)

Whole by T. Colin Campbell (for you science geeks…great information, but definitely not an easy read…at least it wasn’t for me…)

And there you have it my friends, Books That Must Be Read ala Karen. (I have an arrangement with Amazon, which is why I provided the links. For every book you buy, they send me my favorite vegan candy bar.)

Kidding.