Keep your mind busy during self-isolation with these inspiring, heartwarming and educational books that are perfect for the vegan reader.
To celebrate World Book Day (5th March), we asked the ProVeg team to share the books that have influenced them.
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Dr. Melanie Joy
While I had already been vegan for five years when I read it, this book solidified for me that animal consumption and denigration was both an individual mindset and part of a larger system of oppression.
It also gave me a roadmap to take strategic action to combat the tragedy of animal agriculture. Never before has a book given me such a logical and emotional foundation for an ethic, while also offering the tools to make progress.
Recommended by Michael Webermann, ProVeg US Executive Director
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
My journey to a plant-based diet began in infancy; surrounded by seven cats, as well as a mother who routinely fed pigeons and foxes. It’s no coincidence that one of my most formative childhood books was Fantastic Mr. Fox: a fox who does whatever it takes to provide for his family, including outfoxing three farmers intent on eradicating his community.
As a child, I didn’t realise the importance of the personification of animals, especially within the context of classism, but it reinforced my love for animals. Even for a child who ate meat, the seed of a plant-based future was sown.
Recommended by Sean Mackenney, Senior Campaign Manager
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell
It started it all, because for the first time I became aware of the potentially harming effects of animal foods, based not on anecdotes but on actual science.
To think that so many detrimental effects to human health could be avoided by simply eating a plant-based diet was mind-boggling to me and still is. That’s when I decided to go straight to veganism, skipping vegetarianism entirely, which was the best decision of my life.
Recommended by Adrian Schultze, ProVeg V-Label
Why Go Vegan by Animal Aid
I was vegetarian for a very long time and had started to eliminate milk from my diet, but I still ate eggs and cheese. I kind of knew that there must be cruelty involved in making these products but somehow I always managed to convince myself that this probably wasn’t the case, and that these were just ‘by-products’ from animals. I think I was avoiding finding out the facts, until one day I was manning a stand at a very early VegFest in Brighton. I picked up a little brochure from the Animal Aid stand.
On the train home I read the brochure and instantly knew I couldn’t hide from the facts anymore, I’ve always loved animals and what I read and saw could never be unseen. By the time I got off the train, I was vegan. Around eight years on, I’ve never looked back and I never will. My only frustration now is why it took me so long to make the change.
Recommended by Philip Mansbridge, Executive Director, ProVeg UK
The Higher Taste by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
I gave up meat when I was 13, but I still ate fish, dairy and eggs. When I was 17, I was walking down the high street in Bromley and a Hare Krishna devotee handed me a copy of The Higher Taste. I took it and read it on the bus home and got to the part where they suggest proof of a soul could be found where there are enough shared attributes with beings you assume to have a soul.
Although I feel a little differently about the idea of ‘souls’ now, this idea prompted me to give up fish and a few years later I gave up dairy and eggs as I discovered the astonishing cruelty inherent to both industries.
Recommended by Charlotte Baker, Communications Manager, ProVeg UK
When Elephants Weep by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
This book was pivotal for me. Although I was already a veggie, it cemented my love for animals and my commitment to protect them.
Throughout history, scientists have denied that animals feel emotion. This book proves them wrong. It shows, through real-life, heart-breaking stories that animals feel just as we do. They exhibit the same emotions – fear, love, anger – but also more complex ones, such as guilt, shame and loathing.
Recommended by Karen Branagh, International Major Gift & Development Manager
Spectrum by Dr Dean Ornish, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Eat to Live by Dr Fuhrman
As a student, I decided to take a closer look at my health, as my diet habits were not doing me any favours. I researched bestselling diet books and I was surprised to realise that none of them were meat-friendly! To my even bigger surprise, some were promoting plant-based diet as the most nutritional one or even having the potential to prevent and reverse many modern diseases. What’s more, all of them were written by health professionals, evidence-based, supported with valid data, making their case incontrovertible. I still follow these three books to this day.
Dr Dean Ornish promotes whole food and a mostly plantbased diet programme, specialising in reversing cardiac diseases. As a physician consultant for President Bill Clinton, he got him in shape after cardiac bypass. His book Spectrum presents a range of healthy habits one can adopt, but instead of imposing any restriction, it appreciates every step is in a good direction.
Next, there’s Dr Fuhrman with Eat to Live and his extraordinary approach to health defined as a direct result of the amount of nutrient intake. His Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (or ANDI) ranks food products according to their nutritional value per calories consumed. Kale, watercress, collard and mustard greens are at the very top, with animal derived product ranking low.
Recommended by Karolina Kosno, PR & Communication Manager, ProVeg Poland