Author:  Lierre Keith
Publisher: PM Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1604860804: ISBN-13: 978-1604860801

Click Here To Purchase The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability

Almost everything we have been taught, concerning what foods are good or bad for us, has been for the purpose of perpetuating our agricultural society where the few have control over the many.  It has to do with power, money and slavery and nothing to do with creating optimal health or saving the planet.

In The Vegetarian Myth: food, justice and sustainability, Lierre Keith explains how the practice of agriculture has allowed us to expand our numbers beyond the earth’s carrying capacity.  Intensive agriculture eventually destroys the soil, kills native animal communities and makes us dependant on food grown in countries far away.  This disconnection from our food supply makes it very difficult to assess our impact on the ecological systems of the world.  Keith presents historical data which suggests that it is the practice of agriculture which has encouraged domination, slavery and genocide.  I feel the author sums up this idea well in the following quote.

“A colonial arrangement where the power center takes raw materials and cheap labor from the colony, destroying their local subsistence economy and their local land bases, is what we used to call “imperialism”.  Now we call it “globalization”.  No one calls it justice.”  Keith goes further and explains how making countries dependant on other countries to provide their sustenance, does much more harm than good.

The author practiced a vegan lifestyle for approximately 20 years and she strongly feels that her health was destroyed by her total avoidance of all animal products. Her declining health and her aching desire to follow the ways of nature in a humane fashion motivated her to conduct further research and to write this groundbreaking book. She had tried desperately to be vegan and organic, hoping not to have to take life in order to preserve her own. However the more frantically she tried, the sicker she became and the more she realized that in order for something to live, it has to take the life of another….whether directly or indirectly. Keith softens this hard fact a bit by saying that we all take turns giving our life for the benefit of other life. While the reader might not agree with everything Keith has to say, this book is a compelling read and provides much food for thought for vegetarians, vegans and omnivores.

Keith classifies vegetarians into three basic groups: those who are vegetarians for moral reasons, those who chose to eat only plant material for political reasons and those who feel that a vegetarian diet is much healthier than the diet of an omnivore. The author devotes an entire chapter to each of these classifications. I found the whole book to be fascinating, thought provoking and paradigm shifting but I especially enjoyed the section on nutrition. In this chapter the author thoroughly deals with the cholesterol myth. She also looks at the human digestive system, how it functions and what foods it was apparently designed for. How carbohydrates are metabolized and the effect they have on our blood sugar and digestive ability….is also discussed. Keith warns about the dangers of soy and tells us more about the true historical role it has played in the Asian diet.

I have often puzzled over why we can’t find broccoli, tomatoes, string beans, etc, growing wild in our undeveloped woods and meadows. Where did they come from originally?  How natural are they really? I’m still not sure I have the answers to those questions but Keith’s book definitely helped to give me more insight into this area of confusion.

Keith feels that overpopulation made possible by agriculture, is one of the main factors which will destroy our planet. She advocates not having children, giving up your car and growing your own food through perennial polyculture. The author strongly encourages us to begin to take the health of our topsoil seriously, before it is too late. She laments that we may already be treading on the path of no return.

Some readers may question whether all of the author’s statements are based on actual truth. However, on the whole I feel Keith presents quite a few legitimate facts. My main concern with the book is her take on the population dilemma. Will the crisis she portrays incite inhumane methods of controlling or reducing the population?  Will it lead to the very genocide and global control that she claims to abhor?

Lierre Keith’s writing is passionate, beautiful and sometimes a bit sarcastic. It is never boring. This book may make some vegetarians and vegans furious and many meat eaters feel less guilty. But regardless of the emotions Lierre Keith’s conclusions stir in us, this book is an absolute must read for anyone who cares about their health and the future of our planet. I guarantee that The Vegetarian Myth will not leave you in the same condition in which it found you.

Click Here To Purchase The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability