Full disclosure: One of the authors, an online friend since 2007 at Goodreads and elsewhere too, gave me a copy of the book. Also, I was interviewed aFull disclosure: One of the authors, an online friend since 2007 at Goodreads and elsewhere too, gave me a copy of the book. Also, I was interviewed as a participant for the book as it was being written.
I recommend this book for all vegans, especially those who have shamed others or been shamed for anything other than optimal health, all those who believe in end of life planning, all feminists, all disability activists, all caregivers and those who need the help of caregivers, all those who fear illness or death or want some guidance about how to deal with them regarding themselves or others. In other words, most people, though I’ll be actively recommending it mostly to vegans who either feel a vegan diet is a cure all or feel uncomfortable when they discover it isn’t and also to those who want a book that gives some useful tips on steps to take during end of life planning. I consider it a must read book for all vegans.
I will admit that I came to this book with feelings of excitement and high expectations, but it didn’t disappoint at all. It’s a superb book. It’s broader in scope/topic(s) than I’d anticipated and that makes the book even stronger than I thought it would be.
It’s an excellent addition to the genre, and for me maybe the best vegan book I’ve read in a long time, and that’s saying a lot since I’ve read dozens of great vegan books in recent years. This one is so timely and important though and is sorely needed.
The vegan movement needs this. And because of the topic, any reader can benefit, vegan or not. The authors are a wonderful team and they heavily utilized the wisdom and knowledge and experiences of many people. Engaging voices, friendly and non-judgmental, fun to read despite its sober subject, a perfect mix of issues and science/philosophy and personal stories. While it’s a mostly enjoyable read, the parts about mourning brought up painful feelings. Luckily they were presented in such a kind and helpful manner that I felt as supported as I did sad, and even if I was in acute grief I think I’d find comfort along with experiencing the painfulness of the subject.
So many in the vegan community act as though being a healthy vegan will keep them healthy forever, and fat shaming, disease shaming, etc. of other vegans is running rampant over at Facebook and in real life too. It's driven me crazy for years, even prior to the internet. I first noticed it in force and directed at me at a vegan convention 2 decades ago. Also this is an end of life, and caregiving, and dealing with disease, and showing compassion book for everyone, so really 90% of it is applicable to all readers. I’m sure I’ll be posting about it every time I think a vegan or a group of vegans need a reality check.
At times I wanted to cry it addressed these issues so well. That’s not to say I don’t think vegan eating is healthy because I do, but I’m an ethical vegan, 100% for the animals and also for the environment on top of that. I never went vegan for my health nor could I be a 100% vegan eater for my health. That said, I know what I’d be eating if I was still a lacto-ovo vegetarian or omnivore and I know I’d be much more unhealthy (maybe dead) if I hadn’t been eating vegan for so many years (decades.) I never expected my health or longevity would improve by eating vegan though, but it probably actually has helped, though I can’t know for sure, even though I’m not always a health food vegan. Still, I never make false promises about following a vegan diet, nor do I blame anyone who has health problems. As this book points out so well, there are usually multiple and often unknown reasons for developing many health problems, and everybody dies. We don’t have complete control over our health and no control over our mortality. Vegans who fat shame, disease shame, feel invincible don’t help the non-human animals or their fellow humans, and veganism doesn’t need hyperbole to make it a convincing choice. Veganism isn’t about human health anyway, at least for me it’s not. I know for some that vegan eating is about their health and that’s fine too, but no living being is indestructible no matter how well they live their lives.
I like how the authors stress the compassionate part of veganism and also the goal of being compassionate with those who are sick or dying, including being compassionate with ourselves.
I appreciate some of the big, thought provoking ideas brought up and some of the connections made about vegans & animals & health/mortality.
As far as the end of life planning sections, my mother died when I was 11 and death, including my own death, has been at the forefront of my mind since then. So I’ve already thought a lot about and done many of the suggestions that are given in this book. I’ve had a will since childhood and since my teens everyone who’s known me well knows what I want done and not done medically. Even so there is more I’d like to do and revise, and reading this has given me the motivation to update some of my paperwork. I believe it will be well worthwhile to get my affairs in even better order.
And I want to state that this book makes a very good guide for end of life planning, no matter what your age or state of health and whether vegan or not. Whether or not readers have given much thought about this issue, this book provides a gentle way to read about and think about it and take the actions that will ease the process.
The contents are a perfect ratio of philosophy and information and personal stories. What’s presented is scientifically sound, including being honest about what we don’t yet know about diet and health. These are pro-vegan authors so they do cover what is healthy or likely healthy about following a plant based diet.
Even though I’m a slow reader I did finish it in less than 48 hours. For many readers this will be a book they can read in one sitting.
This book is a book pusher. I added many books to my to read list that are mentioned in it.
What most thrilled me about this book is the takeaway of what I can do with my own vegan advocacy and support work, and I’m so glad I have this book to recommend to vegans who aren’t inclusive of others or who believe vegan eating is a magical cure all.
Contents outline: Foreword Introduction: Facing Your Own Mortality Can Enhance Your Life and Advocacy Part 1: Vegan Health: The Myths and Realities 1. Even Vegans Get Sick… 2. How Shame and Blame Affect Our Health and Advocacy… Part 2: Caregiving as Vegans 3. A Vegan Ethic of Care… 4. When Someone You Love is Seriously Ill or Dying… Part 3: A Vegan’s Guide to Death and Dying 5. When You Have a Terminal Illness… 6. Mourning… 7. Protecting Your Legacy of Kindness: Wills, Trusts, and Other Legal Protections… 8. Last Words, Organ Donations, and Resting Places… Afterword: A Vegan Understanding of Death – We Are Animals Who Will Die Acknowledgements Sources and Further Reading Index About the Authors About the Publisher
And as someone who’s struggled with weight issues I love this quote the authors provide and think that it’s a good guideline re weight: “The Canadian Obesity Network defines your “best weight” as whatever weight you achieve while living the healthiest lifestyle you can truly enjoy.” (page30)...more