Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book review: The Vegan Solution by Matt Stone

The Vegan Solution by Matt Stone (w/Chris Randall)

131 pages Self-published

So lets get something out of the way. I've been strictly vegan since January 31st 1993. I became vegan for ethical reasons both environmental and animal rights. I didn't give a ding-dong about health reasons for the first two years. Still I more worried about cookies than health. The majority of my time as a vegan I have had a sweet tooth, but for me that doesn't me fruit. That means cookies, cake and such. I am not a potato chip vegan, but far from pure of diet. Balanced, Yin and Yang. The majority of vegans I know are like me.

For the record I don't eat a vegan diet. I have never eaten a vegan diet. For twenty years I have been vegan. That is how I live, that includes eating but a big difference between how Stone and I think.

I have known hundreds of long term vegans, and only have none two who I believe actually failed at veganism. This book is kinda of picture for those rare people, but the majority of vegans I will roll their eyes and call Bullshit on this book. I'm getting ahead of myself.

The book starts with a disclaimer where the author admits that he has no medical training infact in all the stuff about the author I see no sign that he is a MD or ND. Infact I see nothing but a self trained nutritionist and honestly when he is mocking people who have those degrees it makes me scratch my head. I know plenty of doctors don't know anything about nutrition, but I am not sure this guy does either. Alot of the sources listed in the back of the book are Wikipedia.

I have been very critical of Raw fooders, but If it is an issue of trusting this self-published author or Gabirel Cousins (a doctor running a successful raw foods retreat) I think I'll listen to Cousins.

This book starts right away with a literally STUPID introduction that undermines the professed mission of the book. Mocking the people your book is aimed at and belittling them is a pretty silly way to start. If I want to convince someone of a point of view starting by mocking and belittling is the single worst way. It also makes me think Stone is not a smart person. If the book was not a gift, I would have quit right there.

He also says "would it kill you to eat a piece of cheese? It's not immoral,or harmful to your spirit quest." Besides how insulting this is, to those of us who believe in Animal rights, eating cheese is very immoral. If Matt Stone was subjected to rape,torture and slavery to make dairy products for other people then he might feel differently. As a serious vegan we live with the curse of empathy, we don't want others to suffer for our benefit. Matt Stone however even states that if eating Babies (he must mean human babies since humans eat non-human babies like lambs all the time) helped with heart disease he would report it.

I admit I don't like his attitude, but if you are writing a book on this topic, attitude is a deal-breaker. That said I read on. Because the book was a gift.

P.16 is where Stone starts making all kinds generalizations. He assumes long term vegans will develop long term health problems. I know hundreds of vegans, I only know of a small handful, infact I can only think of two that I know who developed diet related problems. He also assumes that all vegans will escalate their diet to higher levels of purity. That escalation actually can lead to actual starvation, because people eating these ultra pure diets can lead to problems.

I admit this is a problem, but a Raw fooder community problem not a problem with Veganism. I live in Portland, we excel in Vegan junk food. Tens of thousands of vegans who are not starved for calories. We have a vegan BBQ cart that sells battered deep fried sandwich cookies. So when Stone implies that vegans have a problem with dietary purity I laugh. Wrong dude. Raw fooder problem.

Again on page 19 he assumes that you will have health problems on a vegan diet, but as I read his book I thought he should have written about a raw diet, not a vegan diet.

The chapter that starts on p.21 with "Not doing so hot on a vegan diet?" When I read that I thought. Actually I am doing well can I quit reading? on page 25 he lists thirty symptoms of what he calls starvation. Things that he thinks might be a problem vegans experience. my problem with this 30 item list is everyone probably feels one or two of those things. But i don't feel that list is anything I relate too.

I understand that some get caught up in getting specific about getting certain nutrients. Again I think this is a raw fooder problem. I don't think about diet purity, if pop tarts are vegan I'll eat them.

There is a whole chapter called Vegan mistakes, most of them I find to be total crap.

not consuming enough calories -Raw food problem. For real - vegan cookies, Vegan cheese pizza, tofurky sausage three examples I ate in the last two days.

Being over puritanical. - Ethics I deserve firmness. Health not so much. I don't totally disagree, but again I know plenty vegans who eat junk food. He talks several times about vegans avoiding sodium. In 20 years of hanging out with hundreds of vegans I have never known a vegan who did that. Not once.

Consuming to many watery foods.- Again only raw fooders I have known to be the ones who eat 30 bananas in a day, or a 12 pound melon sitting. I can see that is a problem but not a vegan problem.

Drinking too much water - Ok that is insane. I have never heard of anyone being over-hydrated. on page 44 Stone admits that he has "not formally seen this documented anywhere I am aware of." Not even wikipedia?

He co-writes a few sections with a vegan, who has not been alive as long as I've been vegan, so I am not sure how valuable his opinion comes off. I think some one who has been vegan for a long time. Matt Stone randomly calls Dr. Joel Fuhrman a dick, but it is Stone that comes off as know it all jerk with very substance to back it up. He writes checks his ideas can't cash.

Not fan, my friend Ryan Love bought me this book. I see why he liked it. Why he thought he thought it was valuable. He made alot of the mistakes listed in this book. He had major food issues. I saw those as Raw food issues, and not vegan issues. The Advice in this book could been valuable to Raw fooders. The word vegan didn't need to be involved. In my opinion.

1 comment:

Shelly said...

Hey David.. thanks for this review. I was thinking about getting this book and you talked me right out of it.