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Diet for a New America

How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth

By John Robbins

Book Review by Gary F. Zeolla

The book reviewed on this page, Diet for a New America by John Robbins, is available at a reduced price from Amazon .

This book is a 400+ page treatise designed to convince everyone to become a vegetarian. And I am sure many have done so as a result of reading this book. The details about the mistreatment of farm animals alone are enough to turn a sensitive person away from eating animals. And for those concerned about their health, this book details how pesticides concentrate in the meat and fat of animals. And it presents stories of the health problems caused by the hormones given to animals. For instance, Robbins tells the stories of very young girls developing fully formed breasts as a result of eating hormone-containing meat. These facts alone do show that there is serious health risks associated with the eating of commercial meat.

Robbins also cites studies showing the correspondence between meat eating and the development of cancer and heart disease. But in my book God-given Foods Eating Plan, I detail how these studies are often flawed, as they do not take into account the types of meats people are eating. Moreover, in his zeal to promote vegetarianism, he tries to write off the eating of organic meat with one paragraph. But his main argument against eating organically raised meat is that such animals would still concentrate toxins from the grains they eat.

Now maybe at one time someone could label meat from animals that had been fed pesticide-laden grains “organic,” but that is no longer the case. There are now stringent regulations on the use of the term “organic.” Moreover, by definition, organically raised animals are not given hormones. And pasture-fed animals would not be subjected to the mistreatment of factory farm animals that Robbins describes in his book. In addition, I am now of the concerted opinion that when studies do show there are health problems associated with the eating of meat, it is not meat per se that is causing the problems but the pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and steroids in the meat, along with the high amounts of saturated fat in such animals. But such problems would not apply to organic meat or game meat.

So Robbins’ arguments in regards to the mistreatment of animals, contaminates in animals, and the health effects of meat eating would not apply to organically raised, pasture-fed animals. Similarly, his arguments would not apply to the eating of game animals. So if one can find organically raised, pasture fed animals or utilize game meat, then the bulk of the arguments in this book would not apply. The only argument left is Robbins’ contention that farm animals are “intelligent” creatures, and thus it is morally wrong to eat them.

Now the discussion of morals becomes much less concrete. And each person must decide for himself or herself if it is morally wrong to kill and eat animals. But personally, as a Christian, I look to the Bible for guidance on what is morally right or wrong. And the Bible makes it clear that the killing of animals for food is not morally wrong. I address this issue in detail in my book.

Having said all of that, the consumption of healthy plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes are definitely associated with decreased risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke. But you do not need to avoid animals to eat plenty of these foods. A well-balanced omnivore diet will provide plenty of both plant and animal foods, as detailed in my book.

As for myself, I tried following a vegan diet, but it ruined my health. I discuss this in my book, along with the benefits of eating both healthy plant foods and healthy animal foods. Given these many problems with this book, I do not recommend it. For a more balanced approach, see my God-given Foods Eating Plan.

The above review was posted on this site April 4, 2002.
It was updated October 22, 2014.

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