VegSource Interactive, Inc. | Book Review

Plant Based Nutrition and Health
by Stephen Walsh PhD
Published by The Vegan Society.
ISBN 0-907337-27-9 (Hardback) £12.95
ISBN 0-907337-26-0 (Paperback) £7.95

Reviewed by Vanessa Clarke

Available from the Vegan Society.

This is the one we've all been waiting for - all you need to know about healthy vegan eating, based on the most up to date scientific studies and researched and written by the Chair of the Vegan Society. The result of many months of study and discussion, both within the UK and internationally [the author is also Science Coordinator of the International Vegetarian Union], this is the book no vegan should be without - not just for our own health, but to challenge myths about veganism put about by the ignorant, the uninformed and those with vested interests in the exploitation of animals. Studies show that vegetarians live years longer than the general population.

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With the right choices, vegans could live even longer than vegetarians. We all know we should eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and make sure we get our B12, but after that it gets confusing:

  • Which foods help us to achieve and maintain an ideal weight?
  • How can we reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer?
  • We've all heard of cholesterol, but what about homocysteine?
  • Where should we get our omega-3 fatty acids?
  • Which foods protect our bones and which guard against dementia?
  • Why do the Japanese live so much longer?
  • What about the Mediterranean diet?
  • Do we need a host of expensive pills and potions to achieve a balanced diet?

From Vesanto Melina, MS, Registered Dietitian and co-author of "Becoming Vegetarian", "Raising Vegetarian Children" and "Becoming Vegan":

In his book "Plant Based Nutrition and Health" (The Vegan Society, 2003), Stephen Walsh PhD brings his considerable scientific expertise
to bear on some of the most fascinating questions and challenges in the realm of nutrition.

He combines unique perspectives and insights with common sense when exploring topics of weight management, glycemic index, raw foods and calcium balance; he also explores optimal intakes and sources of vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and other key nutrients.

This book is a tremendous addition to the libraries of health-conscious people, whether vegan, vegetarian, or just beginning to shift their diets in the direction of plant foods.

Acclaimed by The London Sunday Times as an "accomplished databuster" in debunking spurious claims by the dairy industry, Stephen Walsh has analysed the results of thousands of scientific studies to produce straightforward recommendations for optimal health at all stages of life. "I am not interested in research for the sake of fine debating points," he says, "but to help people improve their lives." Throughout the book, the emphasis is on support for individual choice rather than any uniform prescription. For those who want a balanced, healthy and enjoyable diet, there are simple guidelines indicating the best approach. For those who want all the details, there are full explanations and a wealth of scientific references. No expensive supplements or exotic foodstuffs are required and everything recommended can be easily and cheaply obtained.

All the recommendations are based on human studies, often involving many thousands of people. None of the recommendations is based on information obtained from experiments on animals.

Stephen Walsh holds a PhD in Process Systems Engineering from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine and specialises in data analysis and mathematical modelling. He is Chair of the UK Vegan Society and has a long-standing interest in vegan nutrition.

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