72 Reasons to Be Vegan – Gene Stone, Kathy Freston

January is long gone, but reading books on veganism is one of my guilty pleasures. Despite having been plant-based for more than fourteen years now, they keep me motivated and help me find some new, interesting information. While I prefer reading recipe books and a decent area of my bookcase is dedicated to those, some titles, such as anything written by Jonathan Safran Foer, are simply too good to pass.

72 Reasons to Be Vegan might be one of them. I found this little gem on Netgalley, and I was granted a copy in exchange for an honest review. As the title explains, you’ll find seventy-two reasons to go vegan. While most of them are well-known, at least inside the vegan community, what differentiates this book from the rest and makes it perfect for curious omnis is the lack of preachiness.

Let me explain.

Vegans are a weird bunch. We tend to care too much, feel too much, and most of the time we are considered overbearing despots who can only say My way or the highway. As a vegan who caters for a (mostly) omni family, I’ve come to realize that black-and-white thinking wouldn’t help the cause most of the time.

As a new vegan, I was enamoured of Gary Francione’s ideas and the thought that the only possible approach to life was abolitionism. More than a decade later, I’ve come to terms with the fact that the world won’t turn vegan overnight. Change is a slow process, and it takes time. As the book states, change is not about being perfect and having the annoying holier-than-though attitude most omnis seem to despise. Being veganish, cutting what’s cuttable while exploring all the amazing vegan food out there is change enough.

It works. I’ve seen it work with my family, and I’ve seen it work when I invited my friends over before the pandemics and they asked me for their favorite vegan food. As I’ve already stated, it’s not the perfect method because perfection is nothing more than an aleatory idea, but. Imagine what the impact would be if the whole world did Meatless Mondays, for instance. We’d cut our global meat consumption of 1/7th, and that would be impressive, wouldn’t it?

This book covers this topic and many more, including health, environmental issues, animal welfare and so on. It is one of the most instructive and inclusive pieces on veganism I’ve found so far, and I’m in love with it.

Another surprising benefit of reading this book is the amount of new information I’ve been able to learn. And as a long-time vegan, I can assure you I’m not easily surprised. Each point is enough to give an understanding of an issue, and it leaves it to the reader to decide whether research further on the topic or not. While it could be that some themes need further exploring, it is also true that information is everywhere, once you know what to look for.

Now, pet peeves. The only issue I have has less to do with the book itself and more to do with a certain kind of scientific research. What was once considered healthy isn’t considered as such anymore, and I’m not sure how things will change in the future. This uncertainty makes me a sceptic in relation to health claims in general. The only health issue I agree completely on is the link between animal agriculture and antibiotic resistance, which is very real and very scary.

Truth be told, every scientific bit of information contained in this book is taken from studies published on important medical journals and available to the general public, which is great, because it allows the readers to explore the topic and draw their own conclusions.

That said, this book is a great read for those who want to know more about veganism, and I’d rate it an impressive 9.5/10. Well done.

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