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Book Review: Meat is For Pussies

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On the spectrum of human diets, I’ve now spent more than half my life closer to the herbivore end than the carnivore end. When I first began my awakening, most vegans I knew were intellectual types. They were smart and compassionate, but they were not athletic.

Many of them were scholarly to the point of being boring. Their tactic for spreading the importance of a plant-based diet was to shove a 500-page scholarly text at others. While that technique worked on them, asking someone to read a lot will never be a good way to reach the common man.

With himself as but one example, John Joseph sets all this to right. Because of my previous experience with plant-power, I learned very little new facts from this book, and yet I still loved it. Finally, the benefits of a vegan diet have moved beyond the intellectual crowd. Now there’s room for a guy with a sense of humor, a guy who curses once in a while, a guy who likes loud music and athletics.

It is way past time for a book like this. The world needs someone to get in people’s faces and tell them the truth: that meat is not essential to exceptional health (Joseph is a tri-athlete) that mass animal-slaughter is devastating to our environment and barbarically cruel. For the message to really stick, the messenger has to be athletic, to cut off the most common avenue of denial: that a plant-based diet is unhealthy and produces only sickly nerdy types. In short, John Joseph for president!

Is this the most scientific book on being vegan? No. Is this the most articulate case for being compassionate to animals? No. Is this the most fact-filled assessment of factory farming’s environmental destruction? No. All that said, it was the most fun book on a plant-based diet I’ve ever read. It actually makes you want to be vegan by listing all the benefits (for yourself and the environment) as well as the athletic accomplishments of Joseph and his fellow travelers, who include active-duty Navy SEALs and MMA fighters.

Just like punk rock, Meat is for Pussies lacks finesse, but it has so much heart that it ends up being more powerful than more refined works.

I used to be shy about announcing my vegetarian leanings. No longer. Joseph has inspired me to be proud of this choice. So let me say, yes, I am a guy, I like heavy metal and sports. I am also compassionate toward the earth and all her creatures as best I can be.

If you don’t like any of that then you can go fuck yourself.

 

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