My bookcase is expanding with books on veganism, as quickly as my belly has been since Greggs released the Vegan Steak Bake. And just like plant-milk you are spoilt for choice; from race, to gender, to activism, to communication, to relationships. Here’s my top 5 to tickle your fancy...
The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony
by Will Tuttle
Former Zen monk, turned educator, Dr. Will Tuttle meditates on what eating animals, and what they produce, means to us humans, as an individual and collective. Far from being a gentle meditative journey into plant-based living, Tuttle shakes the foundations of what we understand as modern living. He bites into masculine ideology and the imbalance we teter on in our current lives. Without acknowledging and acting on our destructive behaviour, we cannot fully be content.
“We can never reap joy, peace and freedom for ourselves while sowing the seeds of harming and enslaving others.”
The World Peace Diet expands on every dark corner of modern society, from fatal (and preventable) diseases, to violence. Tuttle brings in history’s big hitters such as Einstein, Gandhi and Pythagoras for back up. Reading, I sometimes felt overwhelmed by the onslaught of real world examples that eating animals related to, and the use of spiritual language didn’t reach me as it would others. Yet the book holds its own and provides real value to the expansive thinking needed to traverse the rocky landscape of non-vegan arguments.
The Pig in Thin Air: An Identification
by Alex Lockwood
Dr. Alex Lockwood is a journalist, lecturer, and all round top bloke. The Pig in Thin Air is kind of a memoir of his journey into veganism and activism. His writing is touching, with superb aspects of critique and exploration, through his emotive response to what he experiences and observes when witnessing animal suffering and the act of activism. What really stuck with me was his first experiences with the Save Vigils outside slaughterhouses; witnessing farm animals in their last moments.
“Bearing witness is about being present at conflicts where the truth of a situation requires people to be present, to hold power to account.”
This book is refreshingly vulnerable; reaching through to me on a number of personal levels, such as breaking out of the typical male social group, and looking back at it with clarity and criticism. Lockwood will lead you through your own personal journey by taking you along on his own.
Motivational Methods for Vegan Advocacy: A Clinical Psychology Perspective
by Casey T. Taft
I don’t know about you but every now and then I get upset by non-vegans and their twisted logic. I get so riled up that I have to lie on my front, on my bed, with the lights off. That’s when I reach for psychologist Casey Taft’s book. He calms me down with sound perspective and evidence-based advice, including remembering my own animal eating past:
“It can be helpful to think of non-vegans the same way that we think of ourselves before we went vegan. Even the most offensive non-vegan who is in the pre-contemplation stage of change has the potential to someday go vegan.”
So when people ask me where I get my protein from, or tell me plants feel pain, Taft provides a wellspring of advice, based on tried and tested behavioral science. He highlights the difficulty to embrace a vegan lifestyle without empowering and safe pathways, and points to celebrating veganism in our advocacy while insisting on vegan being the moral baseline. This book is stuffed with helpful guidance which is grounding and insightful.
How to Create a Vegan World: A Pragmatic Approach
by Tobias Leenaert
Leenaert and Taft go hand in hand when it comes to giving solid perspective. Vegan advocate and strategist Tobias Leenaert zooms out from the mind to the movement, specifically the goal: VEGANVILLE! Imagine...cow pals, tofu on tap, a place where B12 is a form of counting insects and nothing else. Yet the road to this vegtopia isn’t as straightforward as we think and hope, it’s a humbling, winding path; with one of the first obstacles being: getting out of our heads.
“If veganizing the world depends on each one of us choosing altruism over self-interest, then for the foreseeable future the world will be, at best, only partially vegan.”
Leenaert encourages us to strategise and realise change comes about through a variety of ways, from supply and demand to creative interventions. He instills faith that things will get better if we come together on a positive platform. So when I’m about to lose my cool with another ‘but bacon though’ bum scratcher, Leenart comes to my shoulder to say “rant it out in private, be pragmatic in public”. He contends that most people eat meat because most people eat meat; the more who don’t, and thrive as a vegan, the more will change.
Beyond Beliefs: A Guide to Improving Relationships and Communication for Vegans, Vegetarians, and Meat Eaters
by Melanie Joy
This book really left an imprint on me. Social psychologist Dr. Melanie Joy writes with lucidity of the struggles of living as a vegan in a meat eating world. Joy coined the term ‘carnism’ to label the invisible player in the room; an ideology so big it’s considered normal (eating animals). As soon as we become aware of this we gain control of our lives, and our relationships:
“Only with awareness of carnism can we reclaim our freedom of choice; without awareness, there is no free choice.”
Beyond Beliefs digs deep into communication skills, as well as developing an awareness on managing triggers, such as eating with family who are eating animal products. Joy also explores a secondary traumatic stress vegans can experience through living in a non-vegan world. The book offers expansive methods and examples of how to reach non-vegan loved ones, as well as developing robust integrity. I grew significantly reading this book, it’s given me the tools to be confident, clear and whole.
Thanks for reading. Did you know we run an online monthly book club? Well, now you do. We explore both fictional and non-fictional books around vegan values. It’s free and friendly. Click here to view our upcoming book club books and events.