The Vegetarian Myth

    Lierre Keith boldly writes that “to save the world we must know it" (272). Keith encourages her readers to bravely face the world’s injustices---specifically those created by human hubris---and she shies away from using a dogmatic tone. Instead, she vulnerably breaks down her own set of beliefs, such as her past 20 years as a vegan, and asks questions that are uncomfortable, difficult, and all-encompassing. 

    The Vegetarian Myth tackles the topics of systemic racism, environmental justice, nutrition, eating disorders, war and violence, feminism, and religion---does anyone feel overwhelmed yet? Although these topics are dense and dynamic, Keith uses personal stories, reliable research, and a humanistic tone to break down the information. She sections her book into three categories: “Moral Vegetarians,” “Political Vegetarians,” and “Nutritional Vegetarians,” and she demystifies the lies that nutritionists and big agriculture have ingrained in us. To properly critique the vegan and vegetarian diet, one must rely on facts and research, not emotion or personal beliefs. This book details how soy, grains, and corn are ruining our soils but it does not simply ignore the atrocities of factory farming animals; moreover, Keith does not blame one diet or group of people, rather she uses research and multiple perspectives to balance her own biases. 

    In the end, Keith urges her readers to eat real, animal-based, nutritious foods. After 20 years of being hungry as a vegan, Keith realizes that “somewhere inside you is an animal that wants to eat. There’s no dishonor in that animal” (244). She doesn't force you to abandon all your previous beliefs or to immediately go and butcher an animal, she asks that you listen. She asks that you listen to your body, to the animals around you, to the world. She asks that you eat. 

    The Eastern Shore Food Lab accepts all lifestyles and ideals, and we do not force our ideas upon anyone else. Like Keith, we ask questions and learn as much as we can. Using our connection to the past and our modern resources, we are dedicated to nourishing both human nutrition and natural ecosystems. To learn more about Lierre Keith, listen to her on the “Peak Human” podcast (episode 11). 

    — Nicole Hatfield


    the vegetarian myth