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Posted by J Keistler on 12/10/2000
Lappe's original book converted me to vegetarianism in college in the early seventies. This is a very convincing argument for responsible eating. Her book was the first to my knowledge that explicitly set out how what we eat in this country affects others abroad. The most frightening aspect of our meat-eating habits then, as now, was the deforestation of huge tracts of land to make more room for raising meat sources.
Additionally, this book opened my eyes to the difference between subsistence living in 'third world' countries, as opposed to poverty in those same countries producing goods for Americans.
This book is literate and convincing for those willing to open their minds to a different world view. It's 'in your face' without being 'down your throat'.
Probably the best single book on things vegetarian
Posted by K. R. Vrieze on 9/6/2002
At the time of the first edition, this book was the best thought out and researched of all. The concept of protein complements, among others, is crucial to making a vegetarian diet work for any length of time. I tried to work with several others, and still have their books which I use occasionally. This one has stuck we me over three continents and as many decades. In times when I wasn't totally vegetarian it still provided a welcome change and a reminder that I wasn't reliant on the local meat market. Of all the books this has the philosophy and practicality to stay with one as a viable guide to a vegetarian lifestyle.
With this edition my wife and children have discovered, for quite different reasons (one from concerns about ecology, pollution, additives, GMOs, etc., the other from a more 'economic manipulation of peoples food habits' as well as nutrition) this book once again and found it as relevant now. They were thunderstruck to see my yellowed, fingermarked, and well-worn, copies with notes of variations I had tried. The beauty of the open-ended concept here is understated, but crucial. It has given us a stronger nutritional base as well as contributed to our growth as a family.
For someone new to this area this contains some of the most sound nutritional, philosophical, and economic, reasoning I've seen in print. Over time it becomes quite easy to adapt conventional recipes to the methodology in this book. As a guide for your cuisine and your life it is very good indeed.
Small planet, big influence
Posted by Joanna Daneman on 2/27/2002
This is an amazing book. It has lasted longer on the shelves than many other books of its kind and packs an influential punch.
The secret of "Diet for a Small Planet" is that it contains something for everyone, whether you believe in vegetarianism, the ecological production of the food supply or just want better health.
If you are an animal activist or don't eat meat for religious reasons, Lappe provides valuable info on how to get the proper balance in your diet by matching foods to get all the essential amino acids you need (the building blocks of proteins.)
If you are interested in health, you can use Lappe's book to provide alternative main dishes that are satisfying and lower in fat, higher in fiber. Meat is a major source of saturated fats, beans and rice and other grains provide lots of benefits such as soluable and insoluable fiber, vitamins and minerals.
If you are ecologically minded, and this is the thrust of the book, you can eat comfortably, knowing your dietary items take up less resources to grow.
I don't subscribe to all Lappe's philosophies, yet, this book had and continues to have a major influence on me. Rice and beans or grains and beans are regular items on our table, meatless days outnumber days when meat is on the table, and this is because I read Lappe's book long ago. I am sure I am better for knowing the information here.