I was kindly sent a copy of Rohan Millson’s book Why Animals Aren’t Food by the Vegan Lifestyle Association.
Before I begin my review of this wonderful, in depth discussion of many of the current debates surrounding veganism and vegetarianism, I want to say that I believe that this book could be very controversial and seem extreme to those who could think it’s conspiracy theory. If you read with an open mind, you will discover a wealth of truths and a number of reasons as to why animals aren’t food; not just moral reasons, but well founded health reasons.
Right now, more people die from eating animals than from all other causes of death combined.
Millson discusses his belief that most of us are dying years ahead of what we should – from a lack of knowledge. Many diseases are in fact preventable and symptomatic result of eating animals and processed foods.
I love the way the author uses comedy and sarcasm to make this very serious subject a more light hearted read. Junking – the eating of hyper-processed muck. I admit to being guilty of junking from time to time (a problem with several processed foods being vegan), but I suspect after reading this book, that will decline somewhat. Millson believes that only whole plants are food, and therefore for the basis of this book, junking is bad.
Millson makes a link with both animal products and processed plant products (non foods) causing illness. Malnutrition is commonly thought to be a lack of calories, but is actually a lack of real food.
If the extensive list of parasites and pathogens found in animal products don’t put the reader off, the pure quantity of additives and preservatives, environmental contaminants, as well as the residual antibiotics and drugs that are taken in from the consumption of animals, really should open your eyes. I found it interesting to read about aluminium exposure. I’ve heard many parents talk in a concerned manner about the dangers of aluminium containing vaccines given to their children, but they don’t lend a second thought to packing a cheese sandwich in their lunchbox. Aluminium salts are used to make cheese smooth and sliceable – a cheese sandwich provides more than 5 days worth of tolerable aluminium intake, according to the World Health Organisation. With strong links between aluminium exposure and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, it’s a good metal to be wary of. And that’s just one example from the chapter.
This book is so informative and so much fun at the same time. There’s even a reference to the Trekkie’s favourite vegan, Mr Spock. I do wonder from reading the author’s reference to the less famous Dr Benjamin Spock, who recommend that children be fed on purely whole plants, if Mr Spock being vegan was a tribute to this inspiring doctor – someone who must have been considered to have crazy and wild ideas at the time, suggesting a diet free from animal products.
With a full listing of the carcinogens and other nasties that are in the non-human animals eaten, it’s enough to open the eyes of even the most food aware vegan. From fats and cholesterol to ammonia and arachidonic acid – which leads to inflammation in the nervous tissues of the brain and can lead to depression. In fact, drugs such as ibuprofen actually target arachidonic acid. Rohan Millson suggests it would be easier to stop eating the animal and cut down on the drugs, and I have to agree! Sounds like basic common sense to me.
And yes, Millson tells us how eating meat and other animal products will lead to cancer, diabetes, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, Asthma, and a host of other health problems. He backs this up with reference to science, not pie in the sky claims. Millson describes how our bodies effectively treat animal products as a foreign body, and therefore produce the resulting auto-immune responses. Many bacteria and viruses are also passed to us through the ingestion of animal flesh. There are huge amounts of details and evidence for these in the book itself – I won’t go into these now, but needless to say, they are pretty damn hard to argue with.
Millson explains why animal protein is often nutrient poor, why cheese is addictive (but not food) and how what we eat affects our hormones. In fact, once you’ve read through his A-Z list of all of the stuff contained in the animal protein deemed normal to eat on a daily basis, I’ll be shocked if you’re not reconsidering your diet. After all, who really wants to ingest faeces, pus, growth hormones, second hand antibiotics and putrefying animal flesh? From meat glue and mercury, to phosphates and sulphates, I’d love to tell you more about the dangers that lurk, but you’ll have to read it for yourselves, otherwise we’ll be here all day.
Millsom touches on the politics of meat eating, and the environmental impacts. He mentions a little on the moral aspects of eating plants, ‘You Shalt Not Kill’ and ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. Even if you are not religious, it can be seen that many of our great religious teachings encourage us that animals are not food.
This book might seem like a lecture on the science behind why you shouldn’t eat animal products, and in reality it is. But it’s not scaremongering, it’s not propaganda and it’s not a conspiracy theory drawn up by the growers of vegetables! It’s just the hard truth that the meat and dairy industries have done a wonderful job of hiding from you for centuries. If you take one thing from this book, it’s that eating meat and animal products leads to disease.
I can’t possibly do this book justice on a simple review, but what I must say is that it’s an eye opener. In summary, … suggests with the support of scientific evidence that the consumption of animal products are the cause of many diseases, including cancer , Crohn’s disease and diabetes. These diseases can, in theory, be avoided through a healthy plant based diet, due to the avoidance of things such as environmental contaminants, animal fats, preservatives, additives, parasites and residual drugs, to name but a few. This is why the author believes that animals are not food, and eating animal flesh and by-products are in fact poison. The book is like an encyclopaedia and really makes you think. As a vegan already, I knew some of the dangers and detriments to health, but I didn’t realise just how bad some of them were. After a damning look at animal products, the author reminds us that it’s not all bad. He reminds us of the great things that can come from a plant based diet; restoration of health, compassion, restoration of nature and the environment, a resolution to feeding the world, control of climate change, preservation of water, sunlight and air quality, and prevention of the next great extinction event – wow!
I will leave you to think on what I have written, hopefully with a desire to read the book, and with the author’s last words.
Meating was our opportunistic past…
Junking is our ignorant present…
Planting is our beautiful future.
I hope to see you there.
This review has been organised by the Vegan Lifestyle Association. It has not been paid for and the copy of the book I received was sent free of charge. This is my genuine and unbiased review of the book.