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Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  463 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Sistah Vegan is a series of narratives, critical essays, poems, and reflections from a diverse community of North American black-identified vegans. Collectively, these activists are de-colonizing their bodies and minds via whole-foods veganism. By kicking junk-food habits, the more than thirty contributors all show the way toward longer, stronger, and healthier lives. Suff ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Lantern Books (first published October 2009)
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Start your review of Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism, food
Here is a personal story, which you are welcome to skip (view spoiler) ...more
May 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to get this book as soon as I saw it - it seems very rare to come across a book about vegans from an African American woman's perspective. I've enjoyed the vegans of color blog and recently picked up Vegan Soul Kitchen, but I had yet to come across anything specific to African American women. And after reading, I think this is a great anthology. I was impressed with the diversity of experiences in the book and it was nice to find some voices that I could relate to. If you are a vegetari ...more
Jul 15, 2010 added it
A nice mix of essays and poetry! It's good to know that there's more to the vegan movement than snobby little white ladies like me.
Jul 08, 2014 rated it liked it
There are several essays in this book that every vegan, no matter what their gender or racial identity, should read. Access to healthy food is a civil rights issue, and as several writers make devastatingly clear, many communities of color are paying the ultimate price in America's "food deserts."

Fresh fruits and vegetables aren't subsidized at nearly the same levels as meat and dairy is by our government, and they aren't on the menu at the fast food outlets and convenience stores that may be th
Jessica Rodriguez
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
So far, this book has been mind-blowing. I consider myself a socially conscious person, yet I've never questioned my consumption of sugar or coffee. Reading the chapter written by Breeze Harper was eye-opening, to say the least.

Hearing other black vegan women's perspectives on their lives as vegans has been refreshing, especially in light of the loud voices of middle-class white vegans.
Apr 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book debunks the myth that veganism is a "white thing," and is a must read for vegans and vegetarians of all colors.
I recently took the 30 day vegan challenge beginning August 1, 2017. I asked people on Instagram friends/followers for information, suggestions, recipes, etc. An old high school classmate who has embraced the vegan lifestyle, immediately responded and suggested I read, Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak by A. Breeze Harper. I purchased the audible version (I like to listen to books as I commute to and fro work) and I can honestly start by saying, “I WAS ...more
Sarah Rogers
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was quite excited to delve into "Sistah Vegan", to immerse myself within diverse voices on the margins of veganism. I wish the collection of essays lived up to my expectations. I found some essays well-written, informative, and powerful, but most were rather repetitive both internally and with respect to the other essays. In this way, the voices within the book were not as diverse as I'd hoped. I found the book relatively unchallenging in content for well-read SJW vegans, and sometimes dangero ...more
Mar 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Reading a book filled entirely with Black vegan women, invested in discussing not only animal rights, but also racism, classism, environmental justice, and food justice was super validating for me, as a person who's told all to often that I'm not "Black enough." Too bad it was penned by mostly academic cis women, many of whom seemed far too invested in ad hoc Afrocentric rituals based on the sanctity of the womb and some other gender essentialist, cissexist nonsense, to make room for the existen ...more
Pam Glazier
Jul 08, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was cool in establishing a feeling of "hey, there's different people just like me." But it did little to bring the "real life" of veganism into its pages. It's a series of essays about cultural experience.

I found the "Brown Vegan" blog to be much more relatable in terms of finding out how veganism can work within your life without you starting off as a perfect yoga herbivore. Plus, Monique, the Brown Vegan herself, has recently created a book of her own that helps guide the transition
May 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: vegans, women of color, vegetarians
Recommended to Cy by: Breeze Harper
An excellent collection of essays exploring different intersections of blackness, wombanness and veganism. Most sophisticated and inspiring are Breeze's own commentaries and contributions. I also found Ain Drew's entry, "Being a Sistah of PETA" extremely interesting in that it brings to the table a living example of the ways in which the "mainstream" vegan movement mis- and disconnects with communities of color. I really look forward to reading more of Breeze's work in the future.
Denise Williams
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a must have book for those transitioning to vegetarianism or veganism. You do not have to be african american to enjoy this book. It allows you to see why different people have chose this lifestyle and why it works for them.
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had a lit of expectations reading this book, often conflicting. Like, I both wanted to hear really strong anti-meat and animal products arguments, but I also cringed at the thought of reading "another angry vegan" rant. I really respect that this anthology contained a little of it all. The angry pieces were alright, but I was most moved by a piece about looking within and learning to listen to what your body wants. And also breeze's compilations of women's thoughts around body size and vegan i ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
i like women, and i like eating consciously and living a cruelty-free lifestyle. but the vegan argument will always fall apart, in my eyes, when it comes up against small, family-owned farms that raise their meat animals humanely and eat whole foods themselves. that's the revolution i'll throw my weight behind, when it comes time for throwin'. plus, it will NEVER BE OK to say that a chicken is the same as an african human slave. a pig is not the same as a displaced, disenfranchised native americ ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I appreciate this book for what it is but there are things I don't agree with. I still do not think it is okay to equate the suffering of people with that of animals. I don't think it's ok to assume fatness is unhealthy (although an essay at the end pushed back against this.) I don't think not vaccinating your kids in the name of veganism is ok. All that being said, I will probably become vegan when that is possible for me, partially because of this book, partially because of my own awakening. I ...more
Danni Green
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: having-a-body
This is a solid collection of essays by vegan Black women which address, in great depth and breadth, issues surrounding bodies, identity, race, class, feminism, families, health, decolonization, environmentalism, compassion, and so much more. I appreciated the diversity of perspectives represented; many of the essays resonated with me strongly, while others I had some disagreement with (there are a couple anti-vax mentions) but still appreciated the opportunity to hear those points of view and t ...more
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I did. The perspectives of vegans of color (and particularly vegan women of color) are much needed in our overall discussion of animals and health and the environment. Unfortunately the amateurish writing in most of the essays was a major turnoff. I wish that Harper had been able to enlist more WOC with writing experience. I did appreciate the diversity of the contributors (even if I was bored to tears by discussions of religion, pregnancy, and other topics t ...more
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I first discovered that there was a book dedicated solely to the voices of Vegan Women of Color and their stories I was overjoyed and Sistah Vegan did not disappoint. I enjoyed the diverse narratives in the book, even if I didn't agree with all of the opinions expressed, I will always go back to it whenever I question my Veganism.
Karly Kaufman
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful book filled with incredible women's stories of food and their personal lives. It made me really consider what products I consume and who I buy them from. I am choosing to go vegetarian and maybe one day vegan due to this book and others I'm reading for my Feminist Food Studies class. Interesting experiences coming from eat of these writings. I really enjoyed reading them all.
Books of essays by many people can be such a mix, and this is. enough so that I would recommend the book wholeheartedly to very few, but the last essay, by Tara Sophia Bahna-James, to everyone.
Amy Layton
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Now THIS is the vegan anthology I've been waiting for!  A. Breeze Harper gathers the thoughts and ideas of multiple black female vegans ad uses them to create a complex, multi-faceted look at the whole foods trend.  Some women deny the label vegan, other women profess a holistic lifestyle, some women worry about the neocolonialism of consumerism today, others discuss what health means to them--as well as the doctors they no longer visit!  

This variety of perspectives is wholly necessary in this
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book
Interesting stories, poems and essays on Black women and being vegan. Definitely has me thinking outside the box.
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think it is important to hear the perspectives of the writers in this anthology. Great read.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Actually 3.5
Raoum Bani
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you ever asked someone why they're vegetarian/vegan please read this book.

You have to keep an open mind while reading this book to truly get the benefits of it and learn new perspectives. I have been a vegetarian for over four years now, and thinking about becoming vegan, that's why I purchased this book, but I found that this book contains much more than veganism. It talks about how nonwhite vegans have a hard time being accepted by their communities, as being vegan is considered "a white th
Jim Thompson
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't read a lot of vegan books any more.

It's not that they're not good. Many of them are quite good.

It's just that I don't get a whole lot out of them any more.

I went vegetarian 26 years ago and vegan about 17 years ago and in the early days I read lots and lots of books to keep me inspired, to arm me with new information, to just feel like I was connecting to someone else out there on the same path (there was no vegan "community" in my town at the time).

Over the years, I've gone through a wh
Dec 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm on the fence about this one. It's important especially for white vegans to understand the perspectives of other, black, vegans - where people came from, how they came to veganism, how white colonialism and the history of slavery has affected others.

On the other hand, this book contains essays from non-vegans (one woman even declaring that she doesn't "understand" animal rights, and that human rights are more important - speciesist crap if I ever heard it). So the title is misleading. And th
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was reading the Bible, you know OT stuff that speaks to the diets of those seeking to fast or be sanctified for the Lord and the idea just hit me like a ton of bricks: Google the terms "black women" and "vegan". I stumbled upon an article concerning the health of black woman and a brief review of Sistah Vegan.
I'm new to conscious, health eating as a young, black identified woman, so reading this book has been a plus. I do like the academics who are featured in the book (someone even quoted my
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
It was awesome to read about veganism from a point of different than my own. I appreciated so much that not all the contributors agreed with each other on their reasons for why veganism is important to them. I also loved the intersectional nature of this book. Very little of white vegan writing seems to take into consideration the layers of gender, race, class, agism, sizeism, ableism, healthism that pervades vegan culture. These authors are already dealing with at least the intersections of the ...more
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I haven't written my review yet because I've been taking notes in the book, and I want to provide comments on each essay.

Kudos to A. Breeze Harper for putting together this collection of opinions from women who identify as black and vegan. I loved that the women spoke out about their own opinions freely and strongly. The various voices in the essays did not agree with each other; each one was unique. I loved also the essays in poetry or rap format. Would love to hear the authors perform these as
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