We at Vegetarian are launching a series of articles aimed at helping those who are just thinking about vegetarianism or have recently embarked on this path. They will help you understand the most burning issues! Today you have a detailed guide to useful sources of knowledge, as well as comments from people who have been vegetarian for years.
What books to read at the beginning of the transition to vegetarianism?
Those who cannot imagine their life without an hour or two of exciting literature will have to discover many new names:
The China Study, Colin and Thomas Campbell
The work of an American biochemist and his medical son has become one of the biggest book sensations of the last decade. The study provides detailed descriptions of the relationship between animal diets and the occurrence of many chronic diseases, tells how meat and other non-plant foods affect the human body. The book can be safely given into the hands of parents who are worried about your health – many communication difficulties associated with a change in nutrition will go away by themselves.
“Nutrition as the Foundation of Health” by Joel Furman
The book is based on the results of the latest scientific research in the field of the impact of diet on overall health, appearance, weight and longevity of a person. The reader, without undue pressure and suggestion, learns proven facts about the benefits of plant foods, has the opportunity to compare nutrient compositions in different products. The book will help you understand how to change your diet without harm to health, lose weight and learn how to consciously relate to your own well-being.
“Encyclopedia of Vegetarianism”, K. Kant
The information in the publication is really encyclopedic – brief blocks are given here on each of the issues that concern beginners. Among them: rebuttals of well-known myths, scientific data on a vegetarian diet, tips for a balanced diet, diplomatic issues of vegetarianism and much more.
“All about vegetarianism”, I. L. Medkova
This is one of the best Russian books on mindful eating. By the way, the publication was first released in 1992, when vegetarianism was a real curiosity for recent Soviet citizens. Perhaps that is why it provides comprehensive information about the origin of the plant-based diet, its varieties, transition techniques. As a bonus, the author has compiled an extensive “range” of recipes from vegetarian products that you can easily and simply please loved ones and yourself.
Animal Liberation by Peter Singer
Australian philosopher Peter Singer was one of the first in the world to draw attention to the fact that the interaction of man and animals should be considered from the point of view of law. In his large-scale study, he proves that the interests of any creature on the planet must be fully satisfied, and the understanding of man as the pinnacle of nature is erroneous. The author manages to hold the reader’s attention with simple yet solid arguments, so if you’re thinking about switching to a plant-based diet after thinking about ethics, you’ll love Singer.
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cow Skins by Melanie Joy
American psychologist Melanie Joy in her book talks about the newest scientific term – karnism. The essence of the concept is the desire of a person to use animals as a source of food, money, clothes and shoes. The author is directly interested in the psychological background of such behavior, so her work will resonate in the hearts of readers who love to deal with inner emotional experiences.
What films to watch?
Today, thanks to the Internet, anyone can find a lot of films and videos on a topic of interest. However, there is undoubtedly a “golden fund” among them, which in one way or another was appreciated by already experienced vegetarians and those who are just starting this path:
“Earthlings” (USA, 2005)
Perhaps this is one of the toughest films, without embellishment showing the realities of modern life. The film is divided into several parts, covering all the main points of animal exploitation. By the way, in the original, the notorious Hollywood vegetarian actor Joaquin Phoenix comments on the picture.
“Realizing the Connection” (UK, 2010)
The documentary consists of in-depth interviews with representatives of various professions and fields of activity who adhere to vegetarianism and see new perspectives in it. The film is very positive, despite the presence of factographic shots.
“Hamburger without embellishment” (Russia, 2005)
This is the first film in Russian cinema that tells about the suffering of farm animals. The title is consistent with the content of the documentary, so before watching it is necessary to prepare for shocking information.
“Life is beautiful” (Russia, 2011)
Many Russian media stars took part in the shooting of another domestic film: Olga Shelest, Elena Kamburova and others. The director emphasizes that the exploitation of animals is, first of all, a cruel business. The tape will be of interest to beginners in plant nutrition who are ready to think about ethical topics.
ИRena Ponaroshku, TV presenter – vegetarian for about 10 years:
The change in my diet took place against the backdrop of a strong love for my future husband, who had been “vegetarian” by that time for 10-15 years, so everything was as pleasant and natural as possible. For love, literally and figuratively, without violence.
I am a control freak, I need to keep everything under control, so every six months I pass an extensive list of tests. This is in addition to regular diagnostics by Tibetan doctors and a kinesiologist! I think that it is necessary to monitor the state of the body and regularly undergo MOT not only for beginners, but also for those who have already eaten a dog on a conscious diet. Soya.
Do you need help with the transition to a vegetarian diet? If a person knows how and loves to educate himself, listen to lectures, attend seminars and master classes, read relevant literature, then it is quite possible to figure everything out on your own. Now there is a sea of information on how to compensate for the absence of animal food in the diet. However, in order not to choke in this sea, I would still recommend contacting one of the vegetarian doctors who conduct those very lectures and write books.
In this matter, it is very important to find “your” author. I would advise listening to one lecture by Alexander Khakimov, Satya Das, Oleg Torsunov, Mikhail Sovetov, Maxim Volodin, Ruslan Narushevich. And choose whose presentation of the material is closer, whose words penetrate the consciousness and change it.
Artem Khachatryan, naturopath, vegetarian for about 7 years:
Previously, I was often sick, at least 4 times a year I lay with a temperature under 40 and a sore throat. But for six years now I don’t remember what fever, sore throat and herpes are. I sleep a few hours less than before, but I have more energy!
I often recommend a plant-based diet to my patients, explaining the physiological processes that depend on one or another type of nutrition. But, of course, every person makes his own choice. I consider veganism to be the most adequate diet today, especially in a metropolis with its negative impact on our health.
It is important to understand that positive changes will ensure a smooth transition to a completely plant-based diet. After all, if a person simply stops using animal products, most likely, he will face a lot of problems that doctors of traditional medicine are trumpeting about! If he realizes this and does everything correctly, cleanses the body, grows spiritually, increases the level of knowledge, then the changes will only be positive! For example, he will have more energy, many diseases will go away, the condition of the skin and general appearance will improve, he will lose weight, and in general the body will be significantly rejuvenated.
As a doctor, I recommend taking general and biochemical blood tests at least once a year. By the way, the notorious B12 in vegetarians can slightly decrease, and this will be the norm, but only if the level of homocysteine does not increase. So you need to track these indicators together! And it is also worthwhile to carry out duodenal sounding from time to time in order to monitor the condition of the liver and bile flow.
For a novice vegetarian, I would advise finding a specialist in this matter who could become a mentor and lead along this path. After all, switching to a new diet is not at all difficult in the physical aspect. It is much more difficult to resist in your decision before the oppression of the environment and misunderstanding of loved ones. Here we need human support, not book support. You need a person, or better, a whole community where you can calmly communicate on interests and live without proving to anyone that you, as they say, are not a camel. And good books and films will already be advised by the “right” environment.
Sati Casanova, singer – vegetarian around 11 years old:
My transition to a plant-based diet was gradual, it all started with immersion in a new yoga culture for me. Simultaneously with the practice, I read spiritual literature: the first lesson for me was T. Desikachar’s book “The Heart of Yoga”, from which I learned about the main principle of this ancient philosophy – ahimsa (non-violence). Then I still ate meat.
You know, I was born and raised in the Caucasus, where there is a beautiful culture of feasts with ancient traditions that are still carefully observed. One of them is to serve meat to the table. And although in Moscow I could not eat it for six months, returning to my homeland, I was somehow tempted, listening to my father’s logical arguments: “How is it? You are going against nature. You were born in this region and cannot help eating the foods you were raised on. It is not right!”. Then I could still be broken. I ate a piece of meat, but then suffered for three days, because the body had already lost the habit of such food. Since then, I have not eaten animal products.
During this period, many changes have taken place: excessive aggressiveness, rigidity and grip have gone. Of course, these are very important qualities for show business and, apparently, I gave up meat just when they were no longer needed. And thank God!
Thinking about materials for beginning vegetarians, I immediately thought of David Frawley’s book Ayurveda and the Mind. In it, he writes about the Ayurvedic principle of nutrition, spices. He is a highly respected professor and the author of many books on nutrition, so he can be trusted. I also want to recommend the book of our compatriot Nadezhda Andreeva – “Happy Tummy”. It is not entirely about vegetarianism, since fish and seafood are allowed in its food system. But in this book you can find a lot of interesting things, and most importantly, it relies on both ancient knowledge and the knowledge of modern medicine, as well as on your own personal experience.