I’ve been Vegan for a good while now, and I find that Veganism as a philosophy always challenges your paradigms.
I am constantly amazed by the incredible perspectives the Vegan philosophy encompasses, and perhaps the best way to get these different perspectives is to read books about the subject.
In this post I list my personal top five Vegan books that have inspired me, enhanced my thinking and challenged assumptions of mine.
These are my favorite in no particular order.
My Top Five Books about Veganism
1. Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat by Howard Lyman
You may recall the incident from the late nineties where Texas cattle farmers tried to sue Oprah for saying she wouldn’t eat meat again.
She said this live on her talk show in response to Howard Lyman explanation of the horrors of the meat industry. Mr. Lyman himself was fourth generation diary farmer, who then became a lobbyist and a vegetarian.
The incident became world wide news, and put the spotlight on the malpractices of the meat industry.
Mr. Lyman went ahead wrote this eye opening book after that incident. It’s an easy read, with real world experiences about the insanity of the diary industry.
I think that’s why the book is still so credible, because a former diary farmer explains it in a way that a white collar worker like myself never could.
Mr. Lyman went on to become a lobbyist in congress, and got to see the roadblocks the meat industry implements in an attempt to keep the public uninformed.
The book is well researched, well written and covers many ill effects that the meat industry has on the environment, public health and the welfare of animals.
Who better to convince you to go Vegan than a former fourth generation dairy farmer.
2. The PMA Effect by John Joseph
When I’m fifty six I want be like John Joseph!
He is a legend and he has been kicking it with Veganism since before I was born. John Joseph went Vegan in 1980 so you know he is has a wealth of knowledge.
He came from a broken home, had to deal with child abuse in foster homes, but he still turned out like a beast.
I’m stunned to realize that even now in his fifties he is a lead singer for the punk rock band the Cromags. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, he also does triathlons and when you look at him you’d never say he was in his fifties. That’s veganism for you and that’s the PMA effect for you.
The title PMA effect refers to Positive Mental Attitude and the book delves into how this idea works. And boy, has he got tons of ideas all stemming around Veganism. Even the ideas that he picked up as a Hari Krishna are so smart and sensible.
If you’re a vegan, this book will only heighten your belief and give you that PMA effect.
Fun Fact : He was turned onto Veganism by the amazing 80s black punk rock band the Bad Brains.
3. Prof. Arnold Ehret’s Mucusless Diet Healing System by Arnold Ehret
This book isn’t really about Veganism, but it is a book that is like a prelude to Veganism which I found interesting.
Veganism actually started way back in 1944. But this book was written even earlier than that at the beginning of the 1900s. The book talks about a fruit diet, fasting and removing foods like diary that cause excessive mucous.
The author was a dietician who was more focused on health, but the veggie ideas nicely dovetail with animal welfare even though that is not the point of the book.
I always find it weird and strangely intriguing to read old books. The outlook of people from older eras were very very different from ours in so many subtle ways. In this old book, the information is foreign but strangely familiar; don’t eat meat, stay away from diary and fast.
Some people back then were certainly on the right track.
4. Meatonomics: How the Rigged Economics of Meat and Dairy Make You Consume Too Much by David Robinson Simon
This book surprised me a lot. The author is a lawyer and advocate for sustainable consumption. Oddly enough, I never thought a lawyer would be Vegan, but I’m glad to be wrong.
The book surprised me in that there’s a level of detail and information here that I suppose only a lawyer could provide which is great.
Every time I think I know Veganism, a book like this comes along and deepens my understanding.
I’m not an animal lover and I have never given much thought to fish, but the way the author presents their silent excruciating suffering was a wake up call for me. Fish are even more voiceless than cows and pigs, and as such their suffering is perhaps even worse.
We humans are very enamored with cute animals and their looks and sounds, but fish don’t have these attributes which can endear them to us. This means that they face more risk of abuse.
I only picked up this book because I have a strong interest in economics but it’s perhaps the best vegan book that left me deeply reflective of why Veganism is so needed in todays age.
5. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-term Health by Dr Colin Campbell
This book will science the heck out of you. As well it should, because it delves into one of the pioneering studies that laid the foundation for a plant based whole foods diet.
The cornerstone of the book is the china study itself which started in the 70s and continued for decades with thousands of people participating. This degree of effort involved is what gives the study so much credibility. A big bonus of the book is that the science is really easy to follow.
Of important note is Dr Campbell’s involvement in the establishment of the first set of dietary guidelines for the US. It was shocking to read about how business interests and active lobbying curtailed the effectiveness of those dietary guidelines which enabled the horror show of dietary misinformation we see today.
It’s saddening to read that story, but it’s hopeful to see that Dr. Campbell is still promoting a plant based whole foods diet, and has outlived and outlasted his detractors.
Bonus : The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity by James Lovelock
This is not quite a Vegan book, but nevertheless a good read.
I’d say I’m more of an environmentalist than anything else, and saving the environment is my primary reason for going Vegan.
This book resonated with me on a deep level from an environmental perspective.
It was surprising for me to learn the author has got many many qualifications behind his name yet views the world through the Gaia perspective.
Brilliant book and well worth the read.
Vegans have one rule : Do not consume animal based products!
This is a rule we live by, but our journey allows us to explore the depths of Veganism in a myriad of ways. When we do so, we learn things we may not have considered or realized before.
That’s why I love the books so much. It gives us deep insights into the nuances of this philosophy of Veganism. It does so in a way that strengthens our resolve, and empowers us with knowledge.
Had I not read these books, I never would have considered the suffering of fish, or malpractice of lobbyists, or even the spiritual side of Veganism.
Hopefully you’ll read these as they’re outstanding, and feel free to let me know about any Vegan books that you thought were excellent.