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Diet for a Small Planet (20th Anniversary Edition) Mass Market Paperback – May 12, 1985
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About the Author
Mark Lappe's work in health policy and ethics has focused in recent years on toxic substances and hazard evaluation. His most recent book is <i>Evolutionary Medicine: A Radical Rethinking of the Origins of Disease</i>. He lives in Northern California.
Top Customer Reviews
The secret of "Diet for a Small Planet" is that it contains something for everyone, whether you believe in vegetarianism, the ecological production of the food supply or just want better health.
If you are an animal activist or don't eat meat for religious reasons, Lappe provides valuable info on how to get the proper balance in your diet by matching foods to get all the essential amino acids you need (the building blocks of proteins.)
If you are interested in health, you can use Lappe's book to provide alternative main dishes that are satisfying and lower in fat, higher in fiber. Meat is a major source of saturated fats, beans and rice and other grains provide lots of benefits such as soluable and insoluable fiber, vitamins and minerals.
If you are ecologically minded, and this is the thrust of the book, you can eat comfortably, knowing your dietary items take up less resources to grow.
I don't subscribe to all Lappe's philosophies, yet, this book had and continues to have a major influence on me. Rice and beans or grains and beans are regular items on our table, meatless days outnumber days when meat is on the table, and this is because I read Lappe's book long ago. I am sure I am better for knowing the information here.
Much of the controversy of this book arose regarding its 2 main points.
1) When proteins are assimilated or metabolized as a 'complete protein' containing all amino acids in proper proportions, there is a high 'protein utilization' by enzymes / human digestive system. (see note, this was researched and refuted in 1981)
2) The 'food chain' pyramid of feed grains to animal meat has about a 10% net protein efficiency. That is, you get 10 times more protein eating corn & beans vs. eating beef or red meat protein.
Lappe's contention that we could feed many of the world's malnourished if we in rich nations were vegetarians or used meats as seasoning rather than entrees may be a scientific & nutritional ideal. The bad news is that it is as difficult to change traditional patterns of food consumption as it is to change religion or culture. The good news is 'protein complementarity or not', combos of legumes and grains have for centuries been the traditional pattern of food comsumption by the poor in most of Latin America & Asia. whether eaten as a meal or not, the 'survival value' of these protein-rich combos made them the 'fittest' for the environment so they became traditions.
For similar food chem books, try Harold McGee or especially Shirley Corriher's classic 'Cookwise'.
Note from Wikipedia:
'In fact, the original source of the theory, Frances Moore Lappé, changed her position on protein combining.Read more ›
My new friends included a small group of women in their late twenties and early thirties who had left abusive husbands, had small children, and were in the midst of gaining a new awareness that later on took on the sobriquet, "consciousness raising." Among other tools we acquired a number of books including, THE WOMEN'S ROOM and DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET.
DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET is a gem, not because it contains wonderful recipes (it doesn't) but because when you read it, you can get an inside view of a subculture that has disappeared. Sometimes I think the happiest moments of my life occurred in those days. I had no money, but I was in college--a life long dream my mother had and never realized--and with friends who helped me to feel good about myself for the first time in my life. DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET nourished this feeling. DIET explained how the real food chain worked and that everything we ate affected some other life form. We learned that we could eat and hurt others less, and save a few bucks because the meals were cheap.
My kids still laugh at some of the meals I served them based on the recipes in DIET. Over the years, we've had many discussions about which food was worst. They say the "yogurt and barly soup" wins hands down. This book explains how to make awful food and many better veggie books are on the market.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book explores the very essence of taste and history. Amazing and creative dishes. This book helped me give up bad sugars replacing with healthy food choices.Published 1 month ago by DottieCullen
Great old classic reference for Vegetarians.
Good dietary information for all, even meat eaters! Read more
Don't buy this book. I bought it as supplemental material for a course I was taking, it's boring and long. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Pugwrangler
I first read this over 20 years ago. I bought it again because I lent out my old copy and it never came back. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mac McD
Small book, quick read, to the point. Lappe has some interesting philosophies, and even though I don't agree with all of them I would still recommend this book to anyone interested... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Anonymous
A gift for my grand daughter in law. I had a copy when I was a young woman and it taught me a lot. The best oatmeal pancake recipe is in here.Published 5 months ago by Dona Grossman
I love the premise but humans are not meant to eat grains unless sprouted or fermented. There are nutrients that humans can only get from meat. Read morePublished 7 months ago by shorty95618