“The purveyors of the Great American Food Machine don’t want you to know how the animals have lived, whose flesh, milk, and eggs end up in your body. They also don’t want you to know the health consequences of consuming the products of such a system, nor do they want you to know its environmental impact. Because they know only too well that if word got out, the resultant public outcry would shake the foundations of their industry. But I want you to know.”
This introduction of “Diet For A New America” by John Robbins sets the stage for a sense of enlightenment we simultaneously seek and fear. But ignorance is not bliss … it is ignorance. And this ignorance is costing us our health, our planet earth, our future and our humanity. This book is such an important read that it will shake us to our core, wake us up and start us on a new path of peace and health and survival. If that does not interest you, then I fear you are not participating in your own life.
Robbins’ story is a fascinating one. He was the heir to the world’s largest ice cream company. Maybe you have heard of them — Baskin-Robbins. He grew up living theAmerican dream on a scale few people will ever experience. As a child, he swam in the backyard swimming pool that was built in the shape of a gigantic ice cream cone. Needless to say, the life he had been born into was literally and figuratively very sweet. But when he walked away from this dairy industry’s immense wealth and fortune, he realized “There is a sweeter and deeper American dream than the one I turned down. It is the dream of a success in which all beings share, because it is founded on a reverence for life. A dream of a society at peace with its conscience because it respects and lives in harmony with all life-forms. A dream of a people living in accord with the laws of Creation, cherishing and caring for the natural environment, conserving nature instead of destroying it. A dream of a society that is truly healthy, practicing a wise and compassionate stewardship of a balanced ecosystem.”
The chapters in this book take us on a journey of understanding. Robbins’ style of writing is so easy and flowing that you won’t even realize how much you are learning. You’ll be enveloped and held in his conviction, his awareness, his knowledge and his genuine compassion for you. He covers the history and psychology of a way of life we’ve been so familiar with and uncovers why we are so hesitant to challenge it. He makes it very clear that it is something that must be challenged. Chapter 7 (”The Rise and Fall of the Protein Empire”) will answer the No. 1 question vegans are continually asked: “But, where do you get your protein?” This is an important myth that needs to be cleared up once and for all, because all this excess (animal) protein is making us very sick. Most diseases are conditions of excess, not deficiency. Have you ever known anyone to go to the doctor and be diagnosed with protein deficiency?
I was blown away (can you say that in a book report?) by the way this book shines a light on the health issues that we just do not correlate with our food, but we should — we must. The health conditions we are needlessly battling in epidemic proportions are remedied and prevented by the food we choose to eat and feed our families.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
— Hippocrates (the father of medicine)
But here’s the clincher. In many ways, we are not in control. We do not have free choice. We are “hooked” on these foods and we don’t even know that we are and we certainly do not understand why! Reading this book will answer those questions — questions that way too often go unasked. How is that for eye opening?
To give you an example, after reading this book I finally understood how indoctrinated we are to believe that meat, dairy, fish and eggs are the foundations of a healthful and nutritious diet. The Dairy Council, the National Livestock and Meat Board, the National Commission on Egg Nutrition and other such “Councils” seem like they would be the unbiased experts, advocating for our health and welfare. On the contrary, these are industry organizations that are formed to promote and propagandize to the public — so we will consume more milk, more meat, more eggs … and we will do so while believing that this mass consumption is absolutely normal and healthy. These “councils” are formed by the very industries that profit from the sale of meat, dairy and eggs. They provide and distribute the educational materials to elementary schools to teach our children early on (as they taught us) about what we are supposed to be eating. Robbins tells us that “A child may be only three or four years old when he or she first gets a taste of National Dairy Council materials such as ‘Little Ideas,’ a set of food pictures ostensibly designed to help preschoolers identify foods. It starts out with butter and continues on with 16 other milk products, most of which are high in saturated fat. As the child progresses, he or she unknowingly continues to receive the Dairy Council message. The Dairy Council produces a sequence of curriculum packages to nursery, elementary, junior high, and senior high schools called, ironically, ‘Food; Your Choice.’ ” This council spends over $14 million each year to encourage more consumption of dairy. That’s quite a bit of promotion to convince us that milk does a body good — especially when it doesn’t.
This inspiring book provides a bright side, solutions and optimism for the future. It is a book you will not soon forget. Be brave, be bold, be informed and enlightened. Make this book your summer read and let each season you live thereafter be healthy, energized, liberated, compassionate and joyful.
Sande Nosonowitz is a certified yoga and meditation teacher as well as a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator. Reach her at Sundara website: www.sundarajewel.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org