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Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  3,274 Ratings  ·  279 Reviews
From John Robbins, a new edition of the classic that awakened the conscience of a nation. Since the 1987 publication of Diet for a New America, beef consumption in the United States has fallen a remarkable 19%. While many forces are contributing to this dramatic shift in our habits, Diet for a New America is considered to be one of the most important. Diet for a New Americ ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 448 pages
Published April 14th 1998 by HJ Kramer (first published September 1st 1987)
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Morgan
Oct 21, 2008 Morgan rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who already don't want to eat animal products
Recommended to Morgan by: Bark & Grass zine
The experience of transitioning into veganism was, for me, one of "coming out." Over the course of a week in March of 1993, I stopped wanting to eat dairy, eggs, sugar, chocolate, or anything artificial. I didn't completely know why I was I doing this other than it was what my body needed. The first books I read about veganism were cookbooks that focused on recipes and a smattering of nutrition. I figured I'd get around to learning about the moral, ethical and environmental merits of veganism la ...more
Lisa Vegan
May 28, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: compassionate people, vegetarians, everyone
This is the book that introduced me to veganism. It makes compelling arguments for eliminating animal products, and happily living on all plant products for all you consume. Talks about the ramifications of animal vs. plant products concentrating on 3 aspects: for the animals, for the earth, for human health. If you care about the future of the earth and its inhabitants, you'll be interested in this book.
Andrea
Sep 28, 2009 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
I have been 95% vegan now for two years and finally got around to reading this classic expose of American factory farming, food industry propaganda and brainwashing, and environmental destruction, plus so much more.

Written in 1987 by the heir to the Baskin-Robbins empire, Robbins' book was highly influential and shocking at the time. These days, with Fast Food Nation, Michael Pollan's proselytizing on organic produce, and, really, the Internet's vast stores of information on feedlots and food p
...more
Lain
Apr 08, 2009 Lain rated it it was ok
I know I should love this book, or at least consider it life-changing, but I just could not muscle my way through it. The typos and poor grammar had me questioning everything (if you can't bother to proof-read, did you bother to fact check?). And the individual anecdotes, cute though they were about dogs tracking hundreds of miles to find their owners and hens who surrogate parented ducks did not have the intended effect of making me see animals as more like "us." In fact, the whole idea of cond ...more
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Dec 26, 2013 Cindy Dyson Eitelman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-14
Why couldn't I have read this when it was published in 1987, before I brainwashed two innocent children into the same screwed up fallacies about nutrition that I was raised on? I remember reading the pregnancy and first year books and believing all of the nonsense they taught me. Must have balanced protein. Must drink milk. Animal cholesterol required for growing brain. Must take prenatal vitamins.

And all this hogwash is based on (1) Western cultural history (2) studies on rats who were fed milk
...more
Kathryn
Jan 31, 2015 Kathryn rated it liked it
Eye opening facts about the food system. However, it only focuses on animal products and not the mass deforestation to promote corn, soy, and wheat fields to feed a vegetarian diet.
Chris Mcmullen
Oct 15, 2010 Chris Mcmullen rated it it was amazing
This book was a very detailed depiction of where our food comes from here in America and how it affects our diet, our health, our community, and the effect it has on our planet. The book starts with stories of human encounters with animals in which animals prove to understand more than what most people think. It is clear that animals have the capacity to show love, gratitude, and friendship toward people, however, it is even more clear that they feel pain and they hurt just as humans do when the ...more
Erin
What a wonderful book! I have been a vegetarian for over 9 years and this book just convinced me to be a vegetarian until the day I die.

I read "The China Study" a few years ago and was amazed to see all the benefits of having an animal-free diet. For one, there is a drastic reduction in cancer rates among vegetarians, they have lower cholesterol, healthier hearts, bodies, and live longer and healthier lives than their meat-eating counterparts.

This book, unlike The China Study, delves further in
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Aleks
Oct 29, 2009 Aleks rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
When I first started reading this book, I felt it was overly sentimental. I'm not one to be moved into great emotion or change by stories of smart animals or their friendliness or human-ness. However, in the end, this book turned me vegan overnight.

Though the book opens with the sentimental, it moves onto information on how food affects the body, the environment, and the social impacts it makes to the world at large. The latter two were what affected me most.

While I've had lapses into lacto-ovo
...more
Lani Muelrath
Feb 02, 2013 Lani Muelrath rated it it was amazing
Shelves: healthy-living
The honorable John Robbins - it seems 9 out of 10 people I meet who follow a vegan and plant-based diet credit John Robbins and this book with their initial inspiration. EVERY bookshelf should have a copy!
Beth
Mar 04, 2016 Beth rated it did not like it
Read this many years ago. Remember disliking it intensely. So I've erased most of the content. It is a very preachy kind of book that doesn't simply present fact but tells you what to think about them and how to behave based on them.
Mila
Jan 21, 2009 Mila added it
For those who are ready for a paradigm shift. Not for those who can go through life with blinders on. Reaffirms my choice to be a vegan.
Olya Korzh
Jan 12, 2013 Olya Korzh rated it it was amazing
If you only choose to read one book in your entire life, choose this one.
Mary Lou
Feb 19, 2017 Mary Lou rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My rating is based on my memories of reading this several decades ago. At that time, for me, it was life-changing.
Amanda
Jan 16, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an eye opener! I have known for a long time where most meat found in the grocery stores comes from. I know that it is absolutely horrid how most of the animals raised for meat in the US are kept. It is inhumane and most people don’t know it. Yes, this book spends a few chapters opening reader’s eyes to this but this book is about so much more than just how animals are raised. Diet For A New America is going to open your eyes to things that I’m sure most people are not aware of. For ...more
Lin
Oct 22, 2013 Lin rated it it was amazing
He was a millionaire twice over. He produced and sold more ice cream than anyone on the earth at the time. But when it was John Robbins turned to take over the Baskin-Robbins (31 Flavors) ice cream empire from his father Irvine, he left, leaving his fortune behind.
Diet For a New America (HJ Kramer Publishing, 1987), is Robbins’ potent condemnation of American food consumption and is a revealing expose of the truths about the meat and dairy industries.
Robbins’ father lived the materialistic Ame
...more
Marshall
This is one of the pivotal vegetarian advocacy books. Now I understand why. Reading this book made me a vegetarian all over again. My understanding of the issues that led to my decision to become vegetarian is only a fraction of what this book covers. I was truly astonished by what this book revealed. I really understood how so much of the meat industry depends on ignorance and deception.

It starts out by going straight for the heart. It talks about what animals are like--what they're really like
...more
Amanda
John Robbins was born into one of the most powerful corporations in America–Baskin-Robbins. A company based entirely on selling animal products. Yet he took it upon himself to investigate the reality of animals products and their impact on Americans, American land, and the world overall. This book summarizes his extensive research, including personal visits to factory farms.

There are books that you read that are so incredibly powerful you are left almost speechless. Simply wanting to hand out co
...more
Don
Oct 12, 2008 Don rated it it was amazing
I have been married to a vegetarian for 25 years and have been encouraged to eat a healthy vegetarian diet during all of these years. This has been based on scientific health supporting information. During my years with this wonderful intelligent woman I have attempted to become a vegetarian numerous times. Each time I have felt better and seemed healthier. Nutrition and diet have been important in our raising of our 6 children and I can say that my wife has done an incredible job. Not only are ...more
Erin
Oct 20, 2009 Erin rated it liked it
I didn't realize that this book was published in 1987. So I sort of skimmed through the bits about factory farms (sad they've been around that long) and mainly read up on the health issues in the back.

Things that I remember:

Vegan breastfeeding moms have way way way lower contamination in their breastmilk than meat eating moms. In a New England Journal of Medicine article the vegan mothers who had the highest level of breastmilk contamination was way lower than the lowest level of contamination i
...more
Monicaaa
Feb 15, 2016 Monicaaa rated it liked it
Shelves: veganism
The thing about Diet for a New America is not that it isn't important in the vegan movement, but that it's not necessary to read as of right now. First published a couple of decades ago, it was a game changer. People were confronted with their impact for the first time. The idea that propaganda could be so neatly tied into the milk, egg and dairy industry was so new that it shocked so much of the US population. To not aknowledge this book's impact is not what this review is saying. Of course thi ...more
Stacy
Dec 01, 2010 Stacy rated it it was amazing
First, I point to point out that this book was written in 1987. To me this is amazing, why didn't I hear or know about this book sooner. Could this be because veganism has become more mainstream?
Second, this book was extremely enlightening. I am not a vegetarian at this point in my life but this book definitely has me reconsidering it. The author not only discusses the cruelty towards the animals, but also the multitude of chemicals that is pumped into the meat/animal flesh that we consume.
Third
...more
Erik Akre
Jul 31, 2015 Erik Akre rated it liked it
Recommends it for: on-the-fence vegetarians; seekers of truth about the consequences of eating meat
Shelves: human-ecology
This book is still valid after so many years. I think that whether you follow its tenets or not, attention to its message gives you valuable information, to act on or not. The more you know, the more options you have.

For example, whether you are a vegetarian or not, or somewhere in between, you simply cannot argue that animals don't undergo enormous suffering in the process of their exploitation. You may (as I do) continue to eat meat after reading this book, but your consumption may be much les
...more
David Meyer
Sep 11, 2014 David Meyer rated it it was amazing
Why did this book change my life forever???

First of all my uncle died of a heart attack at 37 years old. My mother passed away from cancer at 44. A teacher of mine died of a heart attack at 38.

Since reading this book I have been close to 99% - 100% plant-based for the last 13 years. I am able to do over 125 pushups in a 6 minute military style pushup test at 37 and have never felt stronger or more energetic in my entire life.

I eat superfoods like broccoli (one pound 1/2 per day), oatmeal, blube
...more
Josh Hernandez
Nov 20, 2014 Josh Hernandez rated it liked it
I was suggested to read the book, Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth by John Robbins, by an english teacher who previously read the book.

I have never read this style of reading (Non-Fiction) nor have I read anything by John Robbins. So far in my reading i have enjoyed it, it's not my favorite but so far it's interesting enough to keep me reading.

So far in the book i have read various anecdotes about animals saving humans in
...more
Kristan
Aug 26, 2008 Kristan rated it liked it
Diet for a New America was a little sappy in the first few chapters. Robbins offers up a few quirky animal-themed anecdotes that are meant to tug at the hearts of animal lovers who may not have made the connection that beef, pork, and chicken come from the adorable, doe-eyed creatures cuddled at petting zoos. He finally starts to make some sense about a quarter through the book. He basically lays down the plot-line for his second book, Food revolution; a
book, I feel, was more organized and had
...more
Sean Michael Hall
Jul 20, 2013 Sean Michael Hall rated it it was ok
This book inspired me to eat a purely vegan diet for 5 years, which I regret. The book also inspired me to eat a healthy, whole foods, mostly organic and local diet, which I am thankful for. His arguments for a vegan diet being healthy are deeply flawed. He does, however, bring to light many of the moral and environmental issues our culture faces through its reliance on factory farmed animal products. I believe his moral convictions caused him to "throw the baby out with the bathwater". Animal f ...more
Claryn
Sep 15, 2009 Claryn rated it it was ok
To his credit, John Robbins has written a very comprehensive book as to why one should go veg. (I say "veg" because although Robbins seems to believe a vegan diet is the best one a person could adopt, he does leave room for "happy" meat and dairy and does not promote the inherent worth of animals.) Furthermore, it's dated, rendering many of the plentiful statistics unimportant except in a broad sense, and contains an irritating number of cutesy anecdotes and pseudo-profound, often irrelevant quo ...more
Kathleen
Aug 10, 2007 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All thinking people
Diet for a New America is to Kathleen, as My First Summer in the Sierra is to Sylvia Seymour (by John Muir, see review). Though I did not drop to the floor in tears, I did begin a no-looking-back, 20 years and counting, life of ethical vegetarianism. This book completely changed my thinking about the world, and my place in it. This honest, intelligent, and gentle appeal to consider how food gets to the table is transforming at a cellular level. Without anthropomorphizing, Robbins explains the tr ...more
Melissa
Oct 05, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
Even as a vegetarian and given the fact that this book was written in the 80's, I was still shocked by the statistics. It was an easy read that definitely was written for the shock value but still gave a good argument for avoiding the meat industry. It, once again, made me realize how selfish and overindulgent some Americans are. We constantly think of nothing outside our little suburban realities. if only half of us would have some compassion, enough to make a lifestyle change, it would have a ...more
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John Robbins is an American author, who popularized the links among nutrition, environmentalism, and animal rights. He is the author of the 1987 Diet for a New America, an exposé on connections between diet, physical health, animal cruelty, and environmentalism.

Robbins is the son of Irma Robbins and Baskin-Robbins co-founder Irv Robbins. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in
...more
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“...The real cause of hunger is a scarcity of justice, not a scarcity of food. Enough grain is squandered every day in raising American livestock for meat to provide every human being on earth with two loaves of bread.” 4 likes
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