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Vegan Stories
The Vegan Society, 2000. 329 pages ISBN 0-907337-24-4

by Julie Rosenfield

Reviewed by Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.

In spite of recent progress, vegetarians and vegans are often frustrated in a world so centered on the consumption of meat and other animal products. Some may experience burnout in their attempts to make others aware of the importance of dietary changes. A wonderful antidote to these feelings is the recently published Vegan Stories, with its wide variety of personal stories of courage, compassion, and determination by a wide variety of vegans, stories that will entertain and inspire vegans and non-vegans.

Julie Rosenfield has been active in vegan and vegetarian activities in England for many years. She has worked with the London Vegans group and the Vegan Society, serving on their Council from November 1998 to February 2001. She was editor of the International Jewish Vegetarian Society publication Jewish Vegetarian for many years, and she contributed many articles to it. She has attended international vegetarian and vegan festivals and conferences in Europe, Canada, and the United States. To gather the wide variety of material for this book, she posted appeals on the Internet and in vegan publications and she distributed leaflets at many vegan and vegetarian events.

Among the many positive features in the book are:

* short sections on "vegan for starters" and "vegan nutrition" to provide help to people new to veganism.

* a selection of warm and rich stories of vegans and families, stories of people from 2 to 92 years of age that provide insight and inspiration.

* a section of stories of how people became vegans, how their lives were positively changed by their choices, how they responded to and overcame resistance and criticism from others, and how they tried to make others aware of the many benefits of veganism.

* a section of stories showing the powerful influence a vegan lifestyle has had in converting others to veganism.

* a section of stories about vegans and their experiences in Africa, South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe which help show the universality of the vegan experience.

* a group of stories about people who overcame and reversed diseases after
they adapted vegan diets. Several stories indicate how a shift to veganism led to increased bone density. An especially moving story is that of Ruth Heidrich whose adoption of a vegan diet helped her change from a cancer victim at age 47 to the winner of the grueling Iron Man Triathlon.

* a section on "Vegan Love and Kisses,: indicating how vegans found romance.

* many humorous and poignant poems scattered through the book, on subjects from pursuing a "Flat Stomach" to "In Search of a Mate" and "Vegan Kisses."

* a valuable concluding section with information about vegan international groups, social groups, web sites, publications, restaurants, and merchandise, animal rights and welfare groups, and raw food resources and health consultants.

Vegan Stories is a wonderful addition to the many recent books on vegetarianism and veganism. It is highly recommended for both vegans and not yet vegans who are seeking lighter reading and inspiration, while they continue to increase their knowledge and apprecaition of veganism.

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