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
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
* 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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