Click to find at a library near you!
Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet; 20th Anniversary Edition is a very well known source of information on healthy eating for yourself, society and the planet. It is clear to me that this book influenced many current authors like Woody Tasch, Michael Pollen and Mark Winne, to name a few.
Lappé points out that people can eat a very healthy diet while eating minimal amounts of meat, if any. By eating less meat, the argument goes, we can use grain to feed the world, instead of feeding it to our livestock, which is a very inefficient use of calories. According to Lappé, the grain used to make one pound of steak could instead feed 40 people. That is a powerful statistic, albeit not one on which all sources will agree. As a part of her reduced meat diet she explains protein complementarity, which is a way of combining proteins to maximize nutritional value. This method, however, is no longer accepted as necessary by nutrition experts.
Briefly explored is the idea of power in the American democracy and the way our current set up leads to many people going without, while others become obese (from eating more protein than our bodies can even use, she says). Her arguments are well supported and clearly stated.
The last part of the book is full of recipes to support her diet plan. She presents the recipes in an approachable way that shows how simple it really can be. Also included are helpful tips on saving time and money while cooking and shopping. Though none of the recipes contain meat, Lappé is not necessarily advocating vegetarianism; she simply wants people to realize that cooking with little or no meat is easy, healthy and satisfying. If more people cooked this way our world would be much better nourished overall.
Read this book if:
- You are interested in helping our food system become more sustainable (more aligned with the earth’s natural ability to produce food).
- You want to learn to reduce your diet’s footprint on the earth.
- You have read a lot of current authors on nutrition and agriculture and want to read a book that likely influenced them.