Valerie Bloom profile image

Diet for a New America: Animals, the Environment, Human Health, and the Vegan Diet

Diet for a New America is the book I read during my first days of becoming vegetarian, and then vegan. It is forever linked with that profound stage in my personal history, and I am grateful to have picked it up during that time of transition.

This book is a powerhouse of information and inspiration!

For about eight or ten months prior to reading Diet for a New America, I had an uncomfortable feeling that eating animals was wrong. This was a disturbing concept, since -- like most other people -- I had been raised to believe that eating meat, eggs, and dairy products was perfectly fine, natural, and healthy. For some time, I tried not to listen to my inner voice telling me that it may be better to be vegetarian. But my thoughts kept returning to this "crazy" idea of not eating meat. (I had not yet heard the term "vegan.")

I had the vague sense that eating meat was unhealthy for both my body and the environment. And it was obviously not healthy for the animals being consumed. It seemed that these things were all connected somehow, but I didn't have a clear sense of exactly what that meant.

I decided to learn more about vegetarianism. Browsing in a bookstore, I found Diet for a New America and started reading it within a day or two of when I stopped eating meat.

To say that reading this book at that time was a powerful experience would be a great understatement.

It truly changed my life and altered forever the way I saw myself, the meat, dairy, and egg industries, and how my food choices matter to myself and the wider world.

Diet for a New America puts into words that vague, nagging feeling I'd had that eating animals went hand-in-hand with poor human, environmental, and animal health. It compassionately and scientifically connects the dots to create a compelling picture of why a vegan diet is better for human health, the earth's environment, and the lives of animals.

I saw for the first time that the egg and dairy industries are every bit as unethical as the meat industry, and that they are inextricably tied to it. This was a huge reason for why I then became vegan and not just vegetarian.

Although the topics covered in this book can be depressing, Diet for a New America is also uplifting, optimistic, and empowering. That is because it is clear that we all have a choice. We have an opportunity with each and every meal to make a difference in the world!

It should be noted that the author, John Robbins, is from the Robbins family of Baskin-Robbins, the great ice cream empire. He was raised strongly believing in the greatness of dairy and the dairy industry. The fact that someone with his background has come to the conclusion that the vegan lifestyle is far better for humans, animals, and the environment says a great deal to me about both veganism and his personal integrity and capacity to learn and grow.

Diet for a New America is an intelligently written resource outlining the facts about the benefits of a vegan diet. It cites numerous scientific studies and other data while also stressing the compassion of cruelty-free meals.

Now, some 20+ years after I first became vegetarian, Diet for a New America has been updated with a second edition, providing current information and statistics relevant to the discussion.

Here is a video interview with John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America. He gives a bit of information about the benefits of a plant-based diet and also clearly states that we must each make our own decisions with regard to our diets. Importantly, though, we cannot make good choices unless we know the facts and can understand the issues.

This video is less than 7 minutes long and gives a good sense of what he's all about.

What John Robbins has to say is truly profound and important, though the video itself is decidedly understated.

John Robbins Interview

 Last updated on September 13, 2014

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Your comments are welcome here! 19 comments

sousababy profile image

sousababy 8 months ago Level 4 Commenter

Great review, I've heard of this book - going to get it for sure now.


Valerie Bloom profile image

Valerie Bloom 8 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Hub Author

@sousababy: Thanks! It's been a treasured resource for me for more than 20 years!


MelanieKaren profile image

MelanieKaren 8 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Level 4 Commenter

Hello and nice to meet you. :) Thank you for sharing your review with me. It's a great review and really well written. I can relate to your struggles, and I've written about it myself as well. I was vegan back in the 90's for a few years, however, now I'm vegetarian. I'm actually the "Lacto-ovo Contributor" for Squidoo, and Leanne (Vegan Contributor) have already talked and are looking forward to working together. What I feel is most important is that people think about and understand where there food is coming from. Decisions on what to eat for numerous various reasons is all so important today. Again, nice to meet you. :)


Valerie Bloom profile image

Valerie Bloom 8 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Hub Author

@MelanieKaren: Thank you so very much! I couldn't agree more that we each need to make our own individual decisions based on solid information. Over the years there have been times that I chose to be vegetarian for specific reasons, and I respect everyone's choices. I think it is counter-productive for vegetarians and vegans to act disrespectfully toward each other, and I see myself as more of a bridge builder than anything. I am delighted to contribute in any way I can to your and Leanne's efforts!


evawrites1 profile image

evawrites1 8 months ago Level 3 Commenter

Great review, now I think I must go to the library :)


Valerie Bloom profile image

Valerie Bloom 7 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Hub Author

@evawrites1: Excellent!


ArthurPrittNdub1 profile image

ArthurPrittNdub1 7 months ago

wow!!! i love your reviews. i have heard people say that eating veggies also reduces old age. i do not if that is true but i do believe.


MelanieKaren profile image

MelanieKaren 7 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Level 4 Commenter

Congratulations on receiving the "Review of the Day" spot. woohoo! :D


tonyleather 7 months ago

Sounds like a book I need to read!


Valerie Bloom profile image

Valerie Bloom 7 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Hub Author

@ArthurPrittNdub1: Thanks! A healthy, plant-based diet certainly has had good scientific studies to indicate that it can reduce the risk of many diseases.


Valerie Bloom profile image

Valerie Bloom 7 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Hub Author

@MelanieKaren: Thank you so much! I was really surprised and honored by this!


Valerie Bloom profile image

Valerie Bloom 7 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Hub Author

@tonyleather: I hope you do. Even if a person doesn't choose to go vegan, this book frames the facts to help us make informed choices about what kinds of foods to put on our plates.


Faye Rutledge profile image

Faye Rutledge 7 months ago from Concord VA Level 5 Commenter

Thanks for this great review.


Merrci profile image

Merrci 7 months ago from Oregon's Southern Coast Level 8 Commenter

Sounds like a very interesting book. Thanks for sharing.


DebMartin profile image

DebMartin 7 months ago Level 3 Commenter

We're all starting to lean toward vegan diets. Some more than others. But I think there's a shift coming, yes?


Valerie Bloom profile image

Valerie Bloom 7 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Hub Author

@DebMartin: I agree -- there is definitely a shift! People are becoming increasingly aware of how their dietary choices matter to their own bodies and to the wider world around them!


DaveSumner LM profile image

DaveSumner LM 7 months ago

Facinating review. I had heard of Mr. Robbins and how he left the dairy industry but somehow never knew of his book. Your review did a compelling job of explaining why I should read it.


Valerie Bloom profile image

Valerie Bloom 7 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA Hub Author

@DaveSumner LM: Thanks! Both John Robbins' personal history and his book tell compelling stories. It really challenges our cultural assumptions and gives us "food for thought!"


TerriCarr profile image

TerriCarr 7 months ago Level 5 Commenter

We have really come a long way when it comes to changing our eating habits. I wonder where we will be in another 15 or 20 years! I agree the video is a little understated :-) Although John Robbins is very articulate, a brightly colored shirt and the occasional smile would help a lot.

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