Deb's Reviews > Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World

Veganist by Kathy Freston
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Feb 21, 11

bookshelves: healthy-eating-diet, vegetarian-vegan, foodie-books, non-fiction
Read from February 15 to 21, 2011

I'd liked to give this book 3.5 stars. Overall it is a good look at 10 excellent reasons to go vegan or become in the author's terms a "veganist." I like Kathy Freston and have read both her Quantum Wellness and her Quantum Wellness Cleanse and I recently watched her on Oprah discussing going vegan for a week (almost 400 of Oprah's staff went on a week long vegan diet), and ordered up the book on my Kindle after watching he show. The book is is Freston's philosophy of a veganist being a person who consumes a plant-based diet for their health and wellness but also for the global effects on the planet. There are a lot of statistics (many familiar, most quite disturbing), interviews with experts like Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Neal Barnardmany and stories of individuals who have become well or changed their lives in other ways through a vegan diet. Freston suggests that you read the reasons most important to you first and jump around the book if you want. Although Freston promotes a gradual shift--"leaning in" to being a veganist, the book does feel a bit "preachy" at times, and that and the push/reliance on so many processed vegan foods are why I just can't give it the 4th star. Granted a majority of Americans are consuming processed foods and are likely looking for meat substitutes but there are several days on Freston's suggested meal plan where every meal that day, or 2 out of the 3 plus snacks has at least some kind of veggie sausage, hot dog, chicken cutlet, frozen meal or burrito--which would be scary when you add up the sodium numbers. I think it is important to help people find good swap-outs for their favorites but I would have liked to have seen more emphasis on home cooking that doesn't involve prepared foods--like homemade bean burgers, etc. It is mentioned just not emphasized as much as the products. A personal bias probably but funny because my hero Michael Pollan was on the same Oprah show and did make the same point about some vegans/vegetarians consuming too many prepared foods.

In the end, I find myself because of health reasons (asthma / allergies) and other reasons exploring vegan diets and cooking more and more. This book was good to read and I highlighted a lot of quotes and statistics to use with some of my health and wellness clients interested in exploring alternative diets. I think for me personally. I will end up like Freston's husband, becoming "veganish" rather than a "veganist" and leaning more towards the diet without going there completely, and Michael Pollan who eats some meat but knows where it comes from and makes it more of an occasional thing, focusing on the veggies, fruits and whole grains. I am glad I read it but will likely go back to Freston's other books as resources more often.
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