From Publishers Weekly
What can we do to help stop global warming, feed the hungry, prevent cruelty to animals, avoid genetically modified foods, be healthier and live longer? Eat vegetarian, Robbins (Diet for a New America) argues. Noting the massive changes in the environment, food-production methods, and technology over the last two decades, he lambastes (in a manner less tough-mindedly restrained than Frances Moore Lapp's classic Diet for a Small Planet) contemporary factory-farming methods and demonstrates that individual dietary choices can be both empowering and have a broader impact. Robbins, heir to the Baskin-Robbins ice-cream empire (he rejected it to live according to his values), takes on fad diets, the meat industry, food irradiation, hormone and antibiotic use in animals, cruel animal husbandry practices, the economics of meat consumption, biotechnology and the prevalence of salmonella and E. Coli. Some details are downright revolting (euthanized dogs and cats often are made into cattle feed), horrific (some 90% of cows, pigs and poultry are still conscious when butchered) and mind-boggling (it takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef). Despite all this and more distressing information, Robbins ends on a hopeful note, detailing growth in organic farming, public awareness and consumer activism worldwide, as well as policy changes, especially in Europe. Well researched and lucidly written, if sometimes overly sentimental and burdened by clichd rhetoric, this book is sure to spark discussion and incite readers to examine their food choices. (July 2)Forecast: Diet for a New America was both controversial and influential; Robbins's name (and that of Dr. Dean Ornish, who provides a foreword) should draw readers, particularly to the author's six-city western U.S. tour. Global warming, animal rights, meat safety and genetically modified food are being recognized as important issues, but the kind of sea change the book calls for is unlikely to find a mass audience.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Robbins, author of the classic Diet for a New America, believes that plant-based nutrition and particularly vegan diets (free of meat, milk, and eggs) lead to long life and good health. Citing statistics, research studies, and selected quotes that extol the benefits of such diets, he also argues that animal products are responsible for such diseases as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Robbins deplores the inadequate sanitation and inspection in meat-processing plants and argues that many of the illnesses and stomach ailments that people complain about result from animal agriculture and the pathogens it introduces into our bodies. He also raises concerns about the dangers of fad diets that advocate high carbohydrates, high protein, or high fat. Robbins's zealous advocacy of plant-based nutrition and his refusal to consider the need for animal products in human nutrition throws his book off balance. Nevertheless, those who want to know more about vegan diets will gain many insights from his provocative book. Recommended for large nutrition collections with a diversity of viewpoints. [For more diet and nutrition books, see Anne Tomlin's "A Balanced Diet of Nutrition Resources" in LJ's May 1 consumer health supplement. Ed.] Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn College Lib., New Yor.
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- Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn College Lib., New York
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.