Category Archives: Vegan

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Vegetarian to Vegan by Sarah Taylor (Book Review)

This book really opened my eyes. I was already vegan and well aware of the horrific abuse of animals in factory farms, but this book helped me really see and understand just how serious the situation is from a health perspective, animal abuse perspective, and environmental crisis perspective as well. Sarah Taylor cites important peer reviewed research to give you the information needed to understand WHY? & HOW? to go from Vegetarian to Vegan.

I could never be vegan, I love cheese too much.” 

Chances are if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or know anyone who is you’ve heard or even said this before.  No doubt, you’ve thought it before.  Cheese and other dairy products are everywhere in the American diet and that’s the way we love it.  We add it to our eggs, our sandwiches, our cakes; we fry it, grill it, cream it, and even string it.  It has embedded itself into our culture, become a staple of comfort in our diet and adopted the term “American”.  But is it really good; not just for us, but for those that produce it?

Cheese is not the only dairy product we’re obsessed with, though it may be the only one with its own category of addiction (cheese addiction being an actual issue now), eggs and milk have become a mainstay of our diets as well.

Just learning about how horribly the animals are treated, abused, tortured and murdered should be reason enough to stop contributing to this madness, but Sarah gives compelling research showing how this animal agriculture business is literally destroying our environment at accelerated levels everyday. The demand for meat and dairy is just not sustainable.

After all the research she shares about why you should go vegan from vegetarian and then how, which is dealing with the health benefits and how to start replacing dairy and eggs with healthful vegan options, she ends the book with many great recipes by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld.

In the very beginning of her book Vegetarian to Vegan, Sarah Taylor makes a point of giving vegetarians credit for the ways their food choices help animals. And she should know, having been a vegetarian herself until 2002.

That’s when Sarah read John Robbins’ Diet for a New America. His groundbreaking indictment of how America’s milk and egg producers were torturing dairy animals and chickens while destroying the environment persuaded her to go vegan overnight.

She wrote Vegetarian to Vegan to give anyone wanting to make the same switch “a strong enough reason to do it.”

Without brow-beating the reader, Taylor specifically details the short, painful lives and cruel deaths of dairy cows and egg-laying chickens.

Of dairy cows, she writes that between 1950 and 2000, their numbers decreased by half — yet the amount of milk they produced more than tripled. The brutal facts?

Dairy cows live with no access to pasture.

They’re separated from their calves within two hours of giving birth.

They’re also milked by machine several times a day.

Having to yield such an excessive amount of milk is unsafe and unsanitary. Most dairy cows live lives of misery before heading to slaughter at just four years old.

Taylor’s description of egg farms reminded me of the endless stacks of crammed-full cages I’ve seen when visiting them. The hens on lower levels were covered in urine and feces. The smell was unbearable — and unforgettable.

But I’ve also seen so-called “cage-free” chickens living in terrible conditions, with dead hens littering their enclosure’s floor.

What’s worse, Taylor writes, is that egg-laying chickens often turn on each other:

“Cannibalism [among chickens] is a major problem in battery cage systems, but is even worse in free-range and cage-free systems as the hens have greater access to each other and are harder to control.”

In the book’s Part 1, Taylor also bolsters her argument for making the vegetarian-to-vegan switch by pointing out the health and environmental benefits that come from giving up dairy and eggs:

“The truth is that these products are terrible for your health, terrible for our environment, and in almost all cases, are unconscionably cruel to animals.”

In Part 2, she moves on to covering all the bases of making the change. This is where you’ll find info on:

• Learning to tell healthy from junk vegan foods.

• Getting enough protein, calcium and Vitamin B12 on a vegan diet.

• Eating out and entertaining vegan-style.

• Staying vegan away from home.

• Vegan substitutes for eggs, dairy foods and honey.

Part 3 is devoted to cooking vegan, with an extensive collection of recipes and tips by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld.

For any vegetarian struggling to give up dairy and eggs, this book is one of the most important that plant-based literature has to offer!

I highly recommend this book to anyone, wherever they are in their journey, whether meat eater, vegetarian or vegan. It’s thoroughly researched and filled with data that is undeniable in consideration of the impact we all have individually with our eating and spending choices.

To your health, peace to the planet and may all beings be happy and at peace.

~Sakshi Zion