After the vigil in support of victims and survivors of domestic violence was over last night, I wound up talking to a twenty-something woman who had been a vegetarian for two weeks. She was having difficulty adjusting to her new way of eating, and when she found out I had been a vegetarian for years, she wanted some advice.
My advice for her wasn’t all that good. While for the most part I still am a vegetarian, now my priority is eating organic and/or locally-grown food, and I realized that I’ve lost touch with the reasons for and mechanics of vegetarianism. So I recommended that she read Diet for a Small Planet, but then I realized that book was written before she was born, and is probably horribly dated. She said she had been reading a book called Skinny Bitch, but she wondered if there were other, easy-to-read, books on vegetarianism.
I was able to give her one piece of advicae based on my own experience as a vegetarian: be sure to take vitamin B-12 supplements (not the mega-doses — it’s a fat-soluble vitamin, and too much of it won’t do you any good). I also told her to be sure to get complete protein, and asked if she was a vegan or a vegetarian who would eat eggs and cheese. She hadn’t thought that through, and I couldn’t think of a good resource to help her figure out what kind of vegetarian she was.
In short, I realized that I’m out of touch with the world of vegetarianism and veganism. But I know that many of my readers are sure to be vegans and vegetarians, and you will be able to give me some good advice. Here are my questions for you:
- If you were giving advice to a new vegetarian, what one book would you recommend? The book should give some of the moral, ethical, and political implications of vegetarianism — and it should provide enough recipes (or cookbook recommendations) to get someone through the first month.
- Same question for a new vegan: If you were giving advice to a new vegan, what one book would you recommend?
- What are the top three pieces of advice you’d give to a new vegetarian?
- Same question for vegans: top three pieces of advice to a new vegan.
Or any other comments or help you think would be pertinent to new vegetarians/vegans….