Michelle Obama; Mark Bittmann, Alice Waters & Michael Polan; Forks Over Knives; The China Study; Skinny Bitch; Kris Carr (Crazy Sexy Diet etc.); The Engine 2 Diet; Ellen Degeneres; Alicia Silverstone; Kathy Freston’s Veganist; Eating Animals; Veganomicon & co.; Thrive; The Green Smoothie Revolution; oldies-but-goodies like Moosewood, Deborah Madison and Diet for a Small Planet…
… and last but NOT LEAST (!), the hundreds (thousands?) of us veg(-an)(-etarian) bloggers flinging our daily dose of healthy recipes and wellness tips into the blogosphere for our mothers to read.
Even if you’re not a vegan or a vegetarian or even remotely interested in foodie-ness in its many incarnations, you’ve heard of at least one of these (Michelle O.) and maybe quite a lot more than one. A surprising number have made to to the NY Times best-seller list and even to place No. 1 on said definitive list; several are selling very well here in Germany (in translation) (Eating Animals, Michael Pollan and Skinny Bitch). And naturally almost all of them are sitting on my bookshelf, which gets heavier and fuller by the day, because this is a strange hobby of mine.
I can’t help but marvel (despite ingrained cynicism) about what’s going on here. True, the authors above aren’t all singing the exact same tune. Some are animal-lovers, some politicians, novelists, celebrities; some foodies, vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists, whatever. Yet they’re all in the same disharmonious choir, to complete a bad analogy. There are a growing number of voices clamoring (loudly) for a change in how we feed and care for ourselves and our planet. And not just a little bit of change. From McDonald’s to kale smoothies – I call that a drastic change. There are some really thought-provoking, radical ideas about food being put forth in the US right now. Whether you agree with all or none of the above positions, you’ve surely at least noticed that people are growing increasingly passionate, pissed off, and active. Ironic, huh? From the country that brought you fast food and industrialized animal farming: veganism and the farm-to-table movement!
Perhaps I am being way too optimistic. Perhaps the only people buying these books are the same ones who already eat sprouts and make kale chips in their dehydrators. Yes, I am guilty as charged. And we can’t forget that there are deep-rooted social, political and economic realities underlying obesity and poor health & nutrition in the US and elsewhere, complexities that call for true structural change and that can’t be addressed here in my little rant. But as one health book creeps up the bestseller lists… then another… it’s hard not to feel at least a tiny twinge of excitement.
I don’t know why I care so much about this issue – but then, who can explain why we’re passionate about the things we are?
Okay, rant over. I am going to resume my Saturday now.
If you were curious: this post was powered by a pot of Sencha green tea and homemade whole-wheat bread with jam. Well, doesn’t that make me feel like a snob?