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Meat-eating vegetarian? Well, at the very least it helps you consume less meat...
on April 14, 2010
I will disclose that I am vegan and that I am looking for books that I can have at the ready to recommend to anyone asking me how to eat in a more vegetarian way. I, myself, am pretty intense in my beliefs against using animals and products made from them in my life, but I realize that not everyone who turns to me for advice is ready for this level of commitment (though it's not as difficult as you may think!). I picked up this book in pursuit of being able to offer something on the path to veganism without scaring people off; however, I was still puzzled by the philosophy espoused in the book.
The author refers to herself as a meat-eating vegetarian; that is an oxymoron that I don't find to be clever marketing. Vegetarians, by definition, do not eat the flesh of animals. If you eat animals, you are not vegetarian. That the author didn't want to forgo important meat-eating life events was also troublesome because she plainly admits that the vegetarian way of life is healthier. Politics aside, she would rather put her health on the back-burner and eat meat so as to not cause ripples at certain events. I'm not saying that she has to set out to turn everyone into a vegetarian or a vegan on Thanksgiving, but she gives up her principles of healthy eating in order to conform. To me, that doesn't sound like a good eating philosophy.
Going further into the book, however, I did find that her information on food was a good introduction for someone who may not be familiar with veggie white meats (tofu and tempeh) and the vast array of vegetables available besides those found in a garden or Cesar salad, or Chinese stir-fry. Though some of the recipes mention a meat swap, they don't focus on meat as the main ingredient. I wholeheartedly embrace this as someone could make the recipe as stated and leave out the meat entirely. A few of the recipes are simplistic in nature (jicama with hummus; pistachios), however, what I appreciate is that I never would have thought of some of the flavor combinations she presents. Additionally, since the book contains a complete five-week meal plan, keeping it simple is key and therefore the basic recipes are necessary.
Though this book is not vegan, I would still recommend it for the diet information (not the philosophy behind it, just skip to the recipes) for someone who isn't politically motivated by veganism or vegetarianism, but wants to adopt some of those principles for a healthier lifestyle. I would want people to do something, which this book offers, rather than nothing if they couldn't do everything. It's not an "all-or-nothing" proposition to become healthier. Do something because every little thing counts. Less meat consumption, however it is achieved, is a positive in my book.