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10 Must Reads if You're Interested In Plant-Based Living

If you're looking for resources related to plant-based living then you've come to the right place! Check out our top recommended books about everything from climate change to food security to plant-based nutrition and more. Each of these authors offer insightful opinions on some of the most important issues related to plant-based living today.

#1 We Are The Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer

This book covers why we all need to accept the reality of climate change and what we can do to make a difference in our everyday lives. This is something here at PlantEd we really believe in, so we are here for it! The key to making a difference is being aware and trying your best to make small, incremental changes in your everyday life, which can start with something as simple as eating plant-based at breakfast.


This book is a super interesting and easy read for anyone who's new to the world of veganism or just simply interested in the general ideology behind it. We definitely recommend this book for anyone looking to start out with an informative, but manageable read that doesn't overwhelm.


#2 How Not To Die by Michael Greger M.D.

This book was a game-changer in how we view our relationship with food and how it impacts our health. We've already started working to incorporate a few new foods into our daily routine. It is an absolute must-read, and by far one of our most interesting books yet.


Part 1 is jam-packed with all the latest studies that repeatedly show that whole foods are the way to go when it comes to taking control of your long term health outcomes. We loved Part 2 of this book, which is when Dr. Greger dives into what he calls his "Daily Dozen" where he shares some of the 12 categories of food you should aim to incorporate into your diet every day. He includes lots of fun facts, examples, and recipes. We've since downloaded the free app (Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen) and although we're already both vegan, it's still prompted us to make some changes.

Throughout the duration of the book, Dr. Greger emphasizes that the food and lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis can help determine our short and long term health outcomes. But it's important to remember not everyone has access to healthy foods and there are often real barriers to eating healthy (cost, food deserts, education, resources etc.). We'd 10/10 recommend checking out this book if you haven't already and sharing it with your friends and family - this information could change someone's life.


#3 Meatonomics by David Simon

To be completely honest, we found this book to be a slightly difficult and emotional read. It was very statistics-heavy and focused on the financial and legal systems in the American context which made it fairly difficult to relate to. But if you're up for it we feel that this is still a super important book in understanding the larger factors at play in the meat and dairy industry.

The subsidies given to these industries drive down the price, which also leads to higher consumption. The author believes that just choosing not to participate in this system at an individual level isn’t enough, we need to lobby for governments to stop participating and investing in misleading checkoff programs and understanding the hidden costs of animal products. The solution proposed by the book is to create a meat tax to reflect the true cost of meat and stop a cost-driven market. We can also participate at consumer levels by not purchasing these misleadingly cheap products that end up coming at a huge cost that hurts the animals, the environment and our health.


#4 Food Justice: A Primer by Saryta Rodriguez

This book had so many amazing facts and great insight into the food justice movement. It delves into the ways that Veganism and animal rights are interconnected with human rights and food justice. It discusses how the issues that exist in our global food system, including the disparity of food access, stem from environmental racism and how one of the best ways to bring justice into the world starts with what we put on our plates every day.


We highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about food justice or food systems in general. This book shed light on the multi-faceted issues behind our food systems and why it is so critical to pay more attention. This is a fact-heavy book with lots of varying perspectives, but it's well worth the read. 


#5 Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

In all his books Foer does a great job at introducing people to the idea of veganism and in this one he particularly focuses on the animal rights aspect of the vegan philosophy. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in veganism or who's newly vegan.


Keep in mind this book can get graphic at times since it goes into detail about the factory farming industry, so some parts of the book may be hard to read. But if you're willing to learn more about the truth behind these industries and what it means in today's society we highly recommend you give this book a shot.


#6 Veganism of Colour Edited by Julia Feliz Brueck

This eye-opening take on issues like animal rights, human rights, and food justice includes a collection of essays showcasing various perspectives from vegans of colour. This book delves into some of the most important systemic issues of society today focusing on the intersection between veganism and human and nonhuman liberation. It also provides a super helpful starter guide for veganism at the end which we love!

Because it's a collection of short essays we found it easy to read, but that doesn't mean that there wasn't a lot of information to digest. The issues that this book touches on are so important and relevant especially in the world we're living in today. We all have to take the time to read other's insights and perspectives on topics like this so we can continue to learn about other's ways of life. Vegans of color have so much power and that is exactly what the author was trying to portray in this book.


#7 All We Can Save by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine Wilkinson

This book is a wonderful collection of inspiring essays and poetry that highlights a wide range of women's voices in the environmental movement. We love how there was such a wide variety of stories told from unique perspectives, but some stories are more compelling than others. We found that the ones written by young people were by far the most powerful - our favourite was “We Are Sunrise” by Varshini Prakash. Overall, we thought the book was both empowering and uplifting. If you’re in need of inspiration or you’re experiencing activist burnout, this is definitely the book for you.

Our biggest critique of this book was that there was little to no mention of the impact of factory farming, which is one of the world’s leading drivers of climate change and global diversity loss. Factory farming is also a human rights issue since factory farms are often built in lower-income communities, disturbing their air, water, and soil quality. Working in a slaughterhouse is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and many of these positions are held by migrant workers or undocumented workers. If factory farming is a climate justice issue and a human rights issue, why didn’t even one of the dozens of stories in this book address it? In our opinion, this was a missed opportunity to help educate and empower people to think much more critically about our food systems and choices we must make at both an individual and system level. We can’t continue to leave this topic out of these discussions - it’s simply too pressing to ignore.


#8 There's Something in the Water by Ingrid R.G. Waldron

This is a book that helps redefine parameters of critique around the environmental justice movement in Nova Scotia and Canada by opening up the space for a more critical dialogue on how environmental racism manifests within the context of white supremacy, settler colonialism, state-sanctioned racial and gendered forms of violence, patriarchy, neoliberalism and racial capitalism.


This book is a wealth of knowledge and is an absolute must-read for anyone living in Canada. Using settler colonialism as the overarching theory, Ingrid Waldron explains how environmental racism must be understood within the context of white supremacy, colonialism, capitalism and neoliberalism. She drives home the point that these issues don’t exist in silos - they are deeply and intricately connected and are used as mechanisms to harm communities with pre-existing vulnerabilities.


#9 The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell

This book encompasses the most comprehensive nutrition study ever conducted while uncovering implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health. The primary author is a researcher who grew up on a dairy farm but due to his research studies has discovered the compelling health benefits of a vegan diet.


This is a book packed full of interesting facts, research findings, and astonishing discoveries. Keep in mind this is a big read, so take your time to get through it. There are a lot of dense sections of data and findings from various research projects, but it's definitely worth the read to find out more about human nutrition. The end of the book also includes a great guide for going vegan with helpful tips and tricks. We definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking to dive deeper into the science behind plant-based diets.


#10 Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

While training to become a scientist, Robin Wall Kimmerer learned to study nature from a scientific perspective. She is also a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and understands that living things are our real teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, she draws on both Indigenous knowledge and Scientific knowledge and asks us to examine and deepen our relationships with the land.


This is one of the most interesting and compelling books we’ve read in a long time. It was packed with beautiful stories and knowledge that really challenged our ways of thinking and compelled us to work harder to examine our relationship to the land.

Our favourite chapter was “Epiphany in the Beans” where she shares that one of the best ways to restore the relationship between land and people is to plant a garden. Kimmerer says that “In the garden, food arises from a partnership.” The garden provides the gift of fresh fruits and vegetables, and taking care of the garden is a way of giving back. We cherished this read so much, and plan to go back and reread it soon to make sure we picked up and properly absorbed all the details. This is a must-read for absolutely everyone!

 

If any of these books sounds interesting to you, feel free to reach out and request a copy from the PlantEd Library. We have copies of each of these books that you can borrow if you're in the Ottawa area. Send us an email to info@plantedproject.com to request your copy!





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