Diet for a Small Planet
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Diet for a Small Planet

by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,965 ratings  ·  101 reviews
With the new emphasis on environmentalism in the 1990's, Lappe stresses how her philosophy remains valid, and how food remains the central issue through which to understand world politics.
Paperback, 528 pages
Published August 27th 1991 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1971)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanKitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverFast Food Nation by Eric SchlosserIn Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Food-Related Non-Fiction
57th out of 576 books — 1,115 voters
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee BenderTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Cupcake Queen by Heather HeplerMake Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
Food on the Cover
123rd out of 555 books — 274 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Bob
I got this a couple of months ago and was prompted to read it by seeing author Frances Moore Lappé's daughter Anna speak this weekend. What's astonishing is quite how thoroughly she stated, 25 years ago, everything that current food politics writers (Pollan, Nestle) are still reiterating. The message is evidently still sinking in!
Her recipes themselves are intriguing - I think she might be single-handedly responsible for an entire generation always shaking gomasio on top of their rice and beans...more
Tiffany
My next door neighbor Leslie introduced me to this book. She was a hippie who gave my Nixon-loving parents fits. Later she died tragically of an unspecified genetic cancer. In the 70's she was skinny and long-haired and had hip-bones like Twiggy and I thought she was the bees knees.

What she said when she loaned me her copy of the book was that meat was very expensive and hard-on-the-planet to produce whereas grains were not. Because I was ten I thought she was talking about eating grass and tha...more
Abby
I read the 20th anniversary edition of this book (which is nearly 20 years old itself) and recommend that anyone else who do so start with the actual book, then read the intros and comments in chronological order. I just read it in page order, so I got a lot of updates and somewhat self-congratulatory and very earnest statements about the impact of the book until I got to the actual book that had such a big impact.

If Lappe feels self-important, it is because to a real extent her book (or at lea...more
Devon Trevarrow Flaherty
Oct 19, 2007 Devon Trevarrow Flaherty rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: natural food buffs who want a little walk through.
It was fun to read this book, because I felt like I was returning to the roots of a lot of the modern whole foods/vegetarian movement (if that's what you would call it). Honestly, though, it's the kind of information that you can now get in an abundance in a myriad of other, more modern, more up-to-date, even more interesting books and other sources. Even my current reading of The Omnivore's Dilemma is proving to be more engaging, and has much of the same info as Small Planet. And another thing:...more
Lisa Vegan
Sep 01, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone who cares about the earth, the next generations, anything at all
I enjoyed this book when I read it, but I thought it hadn't made a huge impression on me. Looking back, I realize that I became a (lacto-ovo) vegetarian a few years after I read this, and I'm wondering if it had more of an influence than I've ever realized. Highly recommended - probably suggest reading the 20th anniversary edition that's out if you've never read the book, although I have not read that edition.
Carmen
Oct 08, 2007 Carmen rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: sadists
This book ruined my childhood. This book made my mom put soy grits in spaghetti sauce, and I'm pretty sure it had something to do with her delivering a lecture on carob to my second grade class, too.

But I'll give it this: Walnut cheddar loaf sure makes the planet FEEL small. Because as far as I'm concerned, the planet isn't big enough for the both of us. I hate you, walnut cheddar loaf.
Data
The recipes I have tried from this cookbook actually are made to taste good. Years ago, when this book was new, it was difficult to find some of the ingredients the recipes called for, but it is not much of a problem now; even the local supermarket carries many of the specialty items used in here.

There is also a great deal of practical nutrition information.
Anne
Read this one a while back and started making soybean loaves. Good ideas, but wow, were some of the original recipes heavy on the stomach. Wonder if they've changed them over the years.
Stacy Ho
I enjoyed reading this classic book, especially the author's theory of change. I think her five grounding principles sum up the philosophy behind her food activism:
1. Because scarcity is not the cause of hunger, . . . the solution can be found only by addressing the issue of power. . . . Development must be the process of moving toward genuine democracy . . . .
2. Just as "development" must be redefined to encompass the concept of power, so must "freedom." For what is freedom without power? . ....more
AJ
Wow, this book was excellent. I found it to be probably the most comprehensive book about food politics that I've read. It encompasses a lot of important points and really takes a thorough look at all of the intricacies of our current food system. For example, the author makes all of the important connections and leaves no stones unturned. She explains how our current food system leads to overproduction, environmental devastation, hunger and questionable food products. She makes the connection b...more
Lauren
When my mom became a vegetarian in the early 90s, she read Diet For A Small Planet. I remember thinking, “wah wah wah my mom is such a boring loser moron head.” I pitied her for picking up a book with the words “diet” and “small planet” on it—and a pile of grain, to top it all off. This was around the time that I hid all the “Now Serving Veggie Burgers!” pamphlets from our favorite diner, because I didn’t want that nasty crap on my table. But Mom was onto something. Although it was written in 19...more
Elizabeth
I would have been really excited about this book in college. Written in the 60s, it was one of the first books to link US food policy and production with global poverty and poor diets. Reading it now feels a little outdated, not because the information is old (indeed, much of it rings familiar to contemporary complaints about the global food industry), but her enthusiastic 'look what I've discovered!' style of writing reminds the reader of how new many of these findings were in the 60s and how m...more
Pike
Apr 17, 2012 Pike rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Pike by: Father
If I had been new to the subject this would have been at least a 4 star for me, but since I was familiar with it I felt it a little basic. This book should be noted for its influence on current public knowledge on how protein comes from the majority of foods and not just animal products. I am a vegan and I frequently recommend this book to people who critique me on how I am starving my body of protein by only eating plants. I wish this book had included more vegan recipes, as well as more tables...more
Karen Floyd
My edition is from 1980, and I often found myself wondering how much, if anything, has changed in the 30+ years since then. For the better? For the worse? Today's food poisoning crises in various avenues of food production would seem to indicate that not a lot has. The laws seem to be there to protect the big producers not the consumers. And certainly not the health of the Earth. The book is full of important information about the way our food is produced and new products are developed, and the...more
Emily
While very familiar with Frances Moore Lappe's key messages of knowing the food system, eating less meat, and going for complementary proteins, I hadn't ever read her book. This semester, however, I'm taking a free course at Northeastern University for which this book is suggested reading and Lappe is one of the speakers in February.

I think because I got my MPH at UC Berkeley, I've been so routinely fed Lappe's main themes that they seem like second nature, rather than extraordinary claims. I'm...more
Martha
This book was groundbreaking in its day. At the time it was first published, in 1971, it wasn't common knowledge that eating a meat-centered diet was unnecessary and possibly even unhealthy, and that meat production uses up a lot of resources and contributes to world hunger.

Now a lot of this is common knowledge, and since the last time was updated was 1991, a lot of it is outdated. (For instance, at the time the book was last revised, it wasn't common knowledge that obesity is linked to diabetes...more
Anne
This book changed my life. I went from a blissful carnivore to a happy vegetarian. It exploded my worldview: it was my first foray into thinking globally and viewing the planet as deserving of justice.
Sabrina Robinson
May 07, 2009 Sabrina Robinson marked it as cookbook
Shelves: our-library
Classic manifesto on the why, hows, and wherefores of vegetarian eating. A good 25 inscrutable pages on "protein theory" that probably fairly outdated, charts. table about nutritional requirements and comparisons - but finally gets to recipes around page 162...to 350. more charts, lists, equations, etc. afterwords. Actually haven't cooked much (any? I can't remember doing so... although I may have used it as a source to create my own recipes in the all-too frequent incident that I want to cook s...more
Vampire-lk
Good book! The parts I read for my school assignment was very interesting! Lappé still remains on of the most known/assigned books on this subject according to my prof!!
Loraine
A seminal book in the awakening of my consciousness as regards whole grain food, rather than cow meat, etc.
Maureen
May 28, 2008 Maureen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: ecology, cookbooks
Many people trace their interest in not just vegetarianism, but also ecology to the reading of this book. It influenced everyone from chefs to politicians. Molly Katzen, author of the Moosewood Cookbook, cites FML as one of her biggest influences. Let's face it: FML's recipes are not all exactly yummy, although I have made the soybean casserole a number of times. There are so many writers out there now whose cookbooks focus on fresh, organic produce, we don't need FML's recipes any more. What we...more
Ben Williams
Though many such books exist today, this book was akin to Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" in that it brought to life an entirely new way of looking at or thinking about food. It encouraged people to look more deeply, to see that food contains a hell of a lot more than the obvious elements one normally is exposed to. I read this book after completing my first semester of college, read it late into the night, feeling a new sort of excitement well up as the pages went on. Almost seven years later,...more
catherine
i saw this book primarily as a good introduction to the issues of meat production and consumption (environmental and economic). it presents no new information to the already somewhat informed, however, and it may be a bit scattered for the neophyte. and frankly, i dont give a rats ass about how this lady came to her own decisions - id prefer the facts and omit the commentary, thankyouverymuch.

i will say that some recipes are good, and its worthwhile for vegetarians who only care for the shriekin...more
Simone
This book was groundbreaking when it first hit the scene, but much of the wisdom contained herein is stuff I've grown up knowing (probably because both of my parents read this when they were my age). Lappé provides a lot of fascinating statistics about the rate of return from crops being fed to livestock, but I had a hard time staying focused on what she was saying and retaining the information. However, I think the problem was on my end. This is a good book to read in order to have some solid r...more
Trilety
Vegetarian or not, this is must read. This is the practical pre-cursor to Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma." Where OD is more of a personal journey through food, DFSP is a journey through economics and social orders, sans the personal touch. Oh so good - even three decades later. How great to have read the book upon its first publishing, but I wasn't able to read at the time.

Oh, the recipes in the back and the nutrional information make this book a must have, at least for the resourceful kitcheneer.
Leabelle
I read this book a long time ago. I still think it is one of the best books describing responsible vegetarianism not only from the perspective of the abuse of animals but from the human-health perspective as well. As a naturopath, I've seen many people run their bodies into all sorts of disrepair through an ill-informed approach to vegetarianism, those people would be well-advised to read this and other books to ensure their intake of essential nutrients and vitamins is adequate.
Dan O'connell
Read it 26 years ago, and still stuck in my vegetarian phase, apparantly is less wasteful of resources. Apparantly this phase will only last another 50 years or so, but thats OK. Now, despite climate change I can take all the airplane rides I want due to years of vegetarian carbon offsets. Apparantly FML was 30+ years ahead of her time. It only too the complete industrialization of the entire food industry for Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan to update her thesis.
Nancy
This was a re-read; I've owned this book since the 1970's. The first part explains the author's theories, mainly that meat should not be the primary source of protein for humans. She explains it well with facts and statistics (which are out dated, but still applicable). The second half contains recipes.

Although I believe Lappe, I would find it hard to put her ideas into practice. Many of the ingredients are not things I regularly stock and my family would not eat.
Rebecca
I used to have my own copy of this book, but it was lost in one of my many moves.

It's still one of my favorite cookbooks. The front half is an excellent textbook on developing a good vegetarian diet. I have relied on the complimentary protein chart most of my adult life when throwing together snacks or experimenting with meals.

The recipe half of the book features relatively simple meals from various cultures as well as healthier versions of favorite junk food.
Kim
Jul 25, 2012 Kim marked it as to-read
This book I read in the 70's and followed the diet when my kids were young. Maybe this is why they are all watching what they eat. I am not sure they remember eating so healthy when they were young. My daughter is
making sure my granddaughter eats healthy. I started weight watchers and am going to refresh my self to eating whole foods and little meat. I am waiting for a juicier at work an then will detox my system.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Nuratrim Weight Loss Top Tips 1 1 Mar 27, 2014 06:52AM  
  • Recipes for a Small Planet
  • The New Laurel's Kitchen
  • Vegetarian Epicure
  • The Tassajara Bread Book
  • Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen
  • The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest (Mollie Katzen's Classic Cooking)
  • Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook
  • Passionate Vegetarian
  • The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant
  • Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth
  • Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals
  • More-With-Less Cookbook
  • The Vegan Sourcebook
  • The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter
  • The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook
  • Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat
  • Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights
  • The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food
43822
Frances Moore Lappe--author of fifteen books, including three-million-copy bestseller Diet for a Small Planet --distills her world-spanning experience and wisdom in a conversational yet hard-hitting style to create a rare "aha" book. In nine short chapters, Lappe leaves readers feeling liberated and courageous. She flouts conventional right-versus-left divisions and affirms readers' basic sanity -...more
More about Frances Moore Lappé...
Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet World Hunger: Twelve Myths Getting A Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear

Share This Book