Trying to Reduce: A Review of The Book of Veganish by Kathy Freston with Rachel Cohn

The Book of Veganish is a book for anyone who is interested in moving toward a vegan (or vegetarian) way of eating–or an entire lifestyle based on vegan principles. Author Kathy Freston is a vegan (primarily for animal rights reasons), while co-writer Rachel Cohn admits in the acknowledgements that she is striving toward full veganism but still eats cheese.

What sets The Book of Veganish apart from some other books on veganism is its tone. While some books (and websites and people) that support veganism can be very strident, Freston is notable for taking a much more supportive tone. She is encouraging in her outlook, noting that any move to reduce one’s consumption of animal products and increase one’s consumption of fruit and vegetables can have numerous positive effects.

While she often brings up the benefits to animals in avoiding animal consumption, Freston also notes benefits to health and the environment. She realizes that people approach veganism, vegetarianism, and flexitarianism for a variety of reasons, and she is supportive of all of them. She provides facts without trying to be alarmist or shocking, and she offers sources for people interested in deeper knowledge.

The book also offers 70 recipes by chef and cookbook author Robin Robertson. I have not tried the recipes yet, but for the most part they look to be easy, inexpensive recipes that are aimed at people beginning on the road off of meals centered around animal products to meals that are not. I can see some of these recipes becoming ones that I return to and spin variations off of in the future.

I am coming to this book, and this lifestyle choice, for a variety of reasons that include animal well-being, the environment, and health. I don’t know if I will ultimately end up fully vegan, and so Freston’s approach provides me with a framework to think about my eating choices and how they affect me and the world around me.

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