Book Review … Why Animals Aren’t Food

I was kindly sent a copy of Rohan Millson’s book Why Animals Aren’t Food by the Vegan Lifestyle Association.

Before I begin my review of this wonderful, in depth discussion of many of the current debates surrounding veganism and vegetarianism, I want to say that I believe that this book could be very controversial and seem extreme to those who could think it’s conspiracy theory. If you read with an open mind, you will discover a wealth of truths and a number of reasons as to why animals aren’t food; not just moral reasons, but well founded health reasons.

Right now, more people die from eating animals than from all other causes of death combined.

Millson discusses his belief that most of us are dying years ahead of what we should – from a lack of knowledge. Many diseases are in fact preventable and symptomatic result of eating animals and processed foods.

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I love the way the author uses comedy and sarcasm to make this very serious subject a more light hearted read. Junking – the eating of hyper-processed muck. I admit to being guilty of junking from time to time (a problem with several processed foods being vegan), but I suspect after reading this book, that will decline somewhat. Millson believes that only whole plants are food, and therefore for the basis of this book, junking is bad.

Millson makes a link with both animal products and processed plant products (non foods) causing illness. Malnutrition is commonly thought to be a lack of calories, but is actually a lack of real food.

If the extensive list of parasites and pathogens found in animal products don’t put the reader off, the pure quantity of additives and preservatives, environmental contaminants, as well as the residual antibiotics and drugs that are taken in from the consumption of animals, really should open your eyes.  I found it interesting to read about aluminium exposure. I’ve heard many parents talk in a concerned manner about the dangers of aluminium containing vaccines given to their children, but they don’t lend a second thought to packing a cheese sandwich in their lunchbox.  Aluminium salts are used to make cheese smooth and sliceable – a cheese sandwich provides more than 5 days worth of tolerable aluminium intake, according to the World Health Organisation. With strong links between aluminium exposure and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, it’s a good metal to be wary of. And that’s just one example from the chapter.

This book is so informative and so much fun at the same time. There’s even a reference to the Trekkie’s favourite vegan, Mr Spock. I do wonder from reading the author’s reference to the less famous Dr Benjamin Spock, who recommend that children be fed on purely whole plants, if Mr Spock being vegan was a tribute to this inspiring doctor – someone who must have been considered to have crazy and wild ideas at the time, suggesting a diet free from animal products.

With a full listing of the carcinogens and other nasties that are in the non-human animals eaten, it’s enough to open the eyes of even the most food aware vegan. From fats and cholesterol to ammonia and arachidonic acid – which leads to inflammation in the nervous tissues of the brain and can lead to depression. In fact, drugs such as ibuprofen actually target arachidonic acid. Rohan Millson suggests it would be easier to stop eating the animal and cut down on the drugs, and I have to agree! Sounds like basic common sense to me.

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And yes, Millson tells us how eating meat and other animal products will lead to cancer, diabetes, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, Asthma,  and a host of other health problems. He backs this up with reference to science, not pie in the sky claims. Millson describes how our bodies effectively treat animal products as a foreign body, and therefore produce the resulting auto-immune responses. Many bacteria and viruses are also passed to us through the ingestion of animal flesh. There are huge amounts of details and evidence for these in the book itself – I won’t go into these now, but needless to say, they are pretty damn hard to argue with.

Millson explains why animal protein is often nutrient poor, why cheese is addictive (but not food) and how what we eat affects our hormones. In fact, once you’ve read through his A-Z list of all of the stuff contained in the animal protein deemed normal to eat on a daily basis, I’ll be shocked if you’re not reconsidering your diet. After all, who really wants to ingest faeces, pus, growth hormones, second hand antibiotics and putrefying animal flesh?  From meat glue and mercury, to phosphates and sulphates, I’d love to tell you more about the dangers that lurk, but you’ll have to read it for yourselves, otherwise we’ll be here all day.

Millsom touches on the politics of meat eating, and the environmental impacts. He mentions a little on the moral aspects of eating plants, ‘You Shalt Not Kill’ and ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.  Even if you are not religious, it can be seen that many of our great religious teachings encourage us that animals are not food.

This book might seem like a lecture on the science behind why you shouldn’t eat animal products, and in reality it is. But it’s not scaremongering, it’s not propaganda and it’s not a conspiracy theory drawn up by the growers of vegetables! It’s just the hard truth that the meat and dairy industries have done a wonderful job of hiding from you for centuries. If you take one thing from this book, it’s that eating meat and animal products leads to disease.

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I can’t possibly do this book justice on a simple review, but what I must say is that it’s an eye opener. In summary, … suggests with the support of scientific evidence that the consumption of animal products are the cause of many diseases, including cancer , Crohn’s disease and diabetes. These diseases can, in theory, be avoided through a healthy plant based diet, due to the avoidance of things such as environmental contaminants, animal fats, preservatives, additives, parasites and residual drugs, to name but a few. This is why the author believes that animals are not food, and eating animal flesh and by-products are in fact poison. The book is like an encyclopaedia and really makes you think. As a vegan already, I knew some of the dangers and detriments to health, but I didn’t realise just how bad some of them were.  After a damning look at animal products, the author reminds us that it’s not all bad. He reminds us of the great things that can come from a plant based diet; restoration of health, compassion, restoration of nature and the environment, a resolution to feeding the world, control of climate change, preservation of water, sunlight and air quality, and prevention of the next great extinction event – wow!

I will leave you to think on what I have written, hopefully with a desire to read the book, and with the author’s last words.

Meating was our opportunistic past…

Junking is our ignorant present…

Planting is our beautiful future.

I hope to see you there.

This review has been organised by the Vegan Lifestyle Association. It has not been paid for and the copy of the book I received was sent free of charge. This is my genuine and unbiased review of the book.

 

 

 

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Book Review. Fiction… Jerry’s Vegan Women by Ben Shaberman.

In this fun and heart warming book, Ben Shaberman leads us through the life of Jerry Zuckerman, via the vegetarian and vegan women he meets along the way. 

It would be easy to think that this book would be crammed full of heavy vegan manifesto, but that’s far from the truth. In fact, Shaberman cleverly introduces a range of core vegan values into his colourful characters with ease and a respectful subtlety.

Jerry is a young and impressionable boy at school when we are first introduced, via his friendship with the compassionate and intelligent Gail. Gail is the first person to open Jerry’s eyes to the idea that eating meat is an option, and to the suffering of animals on farms. I fell in love with this clued in young lady.

I hate spoilers, so I will keep my further discussions of the inner workings of the remainder of this novel short and sweet. Throughout each chapter, we meet a different woman who has come into Jerry’s life. Some romantic, some platonic. This is by no means a vegan version of Mills & Boon (which the title could lead you to believe)!

There are some very strong women represented in this book, and I love them. It’s a shame that there aren’t more vegan men in the stories, however, and Jerry digs a fairly lonely track besides his colleague Marty at a vegetarian charity.

Each of the individual stories touched me in a different way. From animal sanctuary owners to chance meetings at conferences, there a an ecletic mix of vegans, showing that we’re definitely not all the same, and a mostly just normal human beings.

This novel gives a light hearted and fun insight into the moral and environmental reasons behind choosing a vegan diet, and a window into the every day lives of those who follow one.

I thoroughly enjoyed each and every story, and found myself longing for Jerry to find happiness and success. The end of the book – no spoilers – an absolute heart warmer and one which took me by surprise.

This is by no means a ‘Vegan Only’ read, and I think that omnivores and herbivores alike will gain pleasure from the well constructed and engaging stories.

Jerry’s Vegan Women is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and you can take a look at Ben Shaberman’s website here.

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Recipe Book Review – Divine Vegan Desserts

You know you’ve found the perfect recipe book, when you open the pages and find yourself dribbling down your chin. No? Just me then. Oh well, I’m not ashamed. Lisa Fabry’s Divine Desserts has me doing just that, and with everything from simple poached pears and Summer pudding, to chocolate ganache and Black Forest Gateau it’s hardly surprising. A quick and simple dessert, or a masterpiece, this book has them all.

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Lisa describes the importance of using high quality ingredients. In this recipe book, you won’t find any call for artificial colours or flavourings, no hydrogenated fat, and a preference for natural sweeteners such as agave or maple syrup.

She explains how vegan cakes are kept moist without the use of eggs. I don’t know if it’s just because I love the word, but the squidgy fruit cake sounds divine!

There are stacks of gluten free and raw recipes too, so there’s no reason not to buy this book if you have allergies. In fact, this is one of the best options for a vegan with allergies. There are even hints on how best to make the cakes gluten free if switching the ingredients.

The huge cakes may take some preparation and a good dose of time, however I just love the teatime treats section – quick and simple, but just as satisfying,  In fact, I made these double fudge pecan brownies (with super healthy sweet potato) and they are one the best things I’ve ever tasted!

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I know it’s very early in the year, but there are -Ssssh, say it quietly – Christmas pudding and mince pie recipes to impress your friends and family with too. And for the summer months, there are sorbets and ice creams at the ready – did I mention that many of them  are sugar free!?

With recipes for biscuits, scones (complete with jam and cream) and some of the most delicious looking tarts and pies I’ve ever laid eyes on, this book will prove to anyone that you don’t need eggs and dairy to make dribble worthy cakes. Even the most determined of doubters! Give them any one of these puddings or pies and I doubt they’d be able to say a bad word.


Polite note: This review has been organised by the VEGAN Lifestyle ASSOCIATION. It has not been paid for and the copy of the book I received was sent free of charge. This is my genuine and unbiased review of the book.

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Random Tea… To Your Front Door

Love tea but bored of drinking the same flavours over and over?

Want to give loose tea a try, but not sure where to start?

Fancy a blend of zingy flavours all in one cup?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you’re in the right place. If you answered yes to all three, you might have a tea addiction like me, and therefore you’re still in the right place.

As my journalistic heroine Caitlin Moran once said:

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Oh Caitlin, you truly are the voice of sanity… and my every day excuse to eat a biscuit (or three) with my cuppa.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re wondering what this post is all about, rather than me praising the drinking of tea, the eating of biscuits, and the journalistic ramblings of Caitlin Moran. Well, actually, exactly that, but mostly in praise of one particular brand of tea… Piacha.

Piacha have a gorgeous tea bar in London, where you can drink tea to your hearts delight – I’m not sure if they have biscuits! Still, if you can’t make it to London, that won’t stop them – they send a packet of tea right to your door.

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This beautiful pouch of tea is the Chamomile Citrus blend, which Piacha kindly sent me to try. And this really is no ordinary tea. A punchy mix of chamomile, lemon verbena, rose petals, lime leaves and lavender. Relaxing and zingy all in one. You still get the subtle and soothing flavours of chamomile and rose, with a hint of lavender; then the lemon and lime really adds a sherbet like zing to the equation. There’s nothing quite like it – you really have to taste it to get it. My new favourite tea, with bells on!

You can buy a 30g pouch as a one-off for £5.30, or you can subscribe for a regular delivery and get 10% off. It’s also available in tea bag form (very handy for work).

Piacha pride themselves on high quality ingredients and skilful blending skills. Every single one of their unique blends has something slightly different and interesting about it. There’s a huge range of herbal teas, black teas, green teas and white teas. Something for everyone, and with free UK delivery too (50p for EU).

I’m 100% converted and next time I’m in London, I’m off to Piacha to find out if they have biscuits!

I was sent this product free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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Random Beauty… Lash Volume!

I do love my mascara – it’s one of my daily staples. I’m pretty lazy with regards to other eye make-up, but I feel naked if I leave the house without a whizz of the mascara wand. I’m often really sleepy in the morning, so mascara makes my eyes look bigger and brighter and helps to hide that half asleep look from the rest of the world!

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The Lavera brand, with around 25 years of experience in the beauty industry, is one I’ve come to trust.  I was therefore keen to try out their Volume Mascara, which retails at £11.90 on the MyPure website. I think this is a very reasonable price for a product which is completely natural, and 100% vegan.  You can never be too careful when using make-up products near your eyes, and this one is both dermatologically and ophthalmologically tested, as well as being suitable for contact lens wearers.

The mineral based pigments provide a really natural and deep colour, and combined with the organic waxes and natural shea butter, the mascara glides on without clumping, and provides a really full look, which will last you all day. I’ve found it doesn’t flake off during the day, like many mascaras can, and I think this is down to the lovely natural oils.

There are no claims of being waterproof or resistant to tears – but to be brutally honest, those which can withstand water and tears are probably packed full of chemicals which you probably don’t want to be putting that close to your eyes anyway. I can live without having a complete water resistant face – I love my eyes!

Another winner for the wonderful Lavera brand. Lavera are against animal testing and committed to producing natural and sustainable cosmetics.

I was sent this product free of charge from MyPure for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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Random Food… Just Gluten Free & Vegan Bakery

I’ve made a new food discovery – one of the best gluten free ranges I’ve ever tried – and they’re registered with The Vegan Society! Smiles and happy tummies all round!

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So far, I’ve tried the delicious hot cross buns and the delightful brioche style buns. I stood in Waitrose when I saw these and did a little squeal of delight upon seeing the Vegan Society logo. I’m so used to turning over a pack of gluten free anything and finding it contains egg or milk, and grumbling in disappointment.

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And to top it all, they don’t contain palm oil! Vegan cheers all round!

Just in case you’re wondering, the lush looking – and tasting – burger inside the bun is a Linda McCartney 1/4 Pounder – completely gluten free and vegan too!

Food choices are getting better for us vegans with allergies. Thanks to my local Waitrose for stocking the range from Just:.

 

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Random Beauty… Body Botanicals

I don’t think I’m the only woman who suffers from dry, itchy skin after shaving. Unfortunately, it’s one of the curses of summer. Of course, I don’t believe that women should have to shave their legs. If you have the desire and the confidence to run free with hairy legs, then that’s absolutely fantastic. I personally, just feel better with shaved legs. So, if you’re a hair remover, I would highly recommend this wonderful body crème from Sukin.

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It’s a really rich cream made with cocoa, sesame, jojoba and shea butters – none of this runny – need half a bottle to actually do anything – stuff. Just good, thick, slather it on and feel the moisture sinking in. It contains aloe vera and evening primrose, which provide the wonderful cooling and soothing effect. I do find it works almost instantly – especially if applied as soon as you’ve dried yourself off after showering.

Of course, this body cream does not have to be reserved for post-shaving alone, it’s a wonderful all rounder. Great for dry skin in general – and actually rather perfect as an after sun alternative – although with the weather we’ve had lately, there hasn’t been much call for that!

With the fantastic scents of lemon myrtle and lime, there’s also a bit of a fresh and vibrant feeling to this cream. Great for a Monday morning, post shower pick me up – and a particular good summer scent. Not too strong or overpowering, just right.

Sukin are a lovely family Australian brand, with a mission to provide natural beauty products which are both high quality and affordable. Their credentials are impressive, being 100% carbon neutral, cruelty free and vegan. Not only that, every single product is biodegradable – wow!

You can buy this lovely tub of moisture for £16.28 on the MyPure website, as well as the rest of the wonderful range, which I’m looking forward to trying myself!


 This product was sent to me free of charge by MyPure for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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