Thursday, 26 January 2017

Book Review : A Vegetarian Lifestyle

A Presentation by Beauty Without Cruelty

NOTE from Website :
Moreover, there was no point in BWC approaching food manufacturers to fill questionnaires up, because in 2001 the Government of India made it mandatory for all packaged foods to carry the veg/non-veg symbol. Some years later these labels began being affixed by manufacturers on all beverages like carbonated waters. Then in 2014, BWC’s persistent efforts bore fruit, when the new Prime Minister, in response to our request, extended the veg/non-veg labelling law to cover cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and toiletries.

This current guide being reviewed is an old one I found in my family

The title of the book almost says it all; this is a book that is entirely focused around being a Vegetarian; though its primary focus is on Veganism, you can easily find Vegetarianism also in its pages. For the uninitiated, Vegan people don’t take anything associated with Animals, like even Milk. The reason for the same is the underlying animal exploitation that is inherent in most Vegetarian Products that are of Animal Origin – like Milk, and Milk Products as an excellent example.

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This book just goes much, much farther than your dietary habits, and introduces you to Animal Exploitation in products and categories where it isn’t so readily apparent. That is one of the biggest plus points of this excellent guide – for that is what it is, a one-stop guide, a reference book on what is Vegan, Vegetarian and non-Animal sourced, covering nearly all categories one normally encounters in ones daily life. It also goes into products that are Animal sourced, and lists them, which is excellent material especially for fully committed Vegans

The other stupendous plus point is the amount of research that has purportedly gone into this book; the base of the book is a questionnaire that was sent out to manufacturers. Sadly, not all of the manufacturers chose to respond – and here I agree with the book, if indeed you are saying that one or more of your products are 100% Vegetarian, then where is the issue in answering? Hearteningly, in some cases, upon learning that their products were actually not in consonance with the claim, the manufacturing process / ingredients were changed. This is the way it should be – no one is saying they are perfect. But being open and transparent can yield a win-win situation, as above.

This is a book that forces you to think of your choices – especially if you, like me, are slowly but surely increasingly edging towards Veganism, driven by your own internal choices, beliefs and value systems. Like I increasingly abhor leather, wool in all forms; I don’t know why. Leather, I can say for certain that it is due to Animal Slaughter; Wool, well, it happened all by itself. I find it hard to even kill an ant; so for me, with the increasing awareness of age, it began to occur as to why am I participating in killing? In some cases, like in leather, the push was medical, as injury forced me towards soft shoes. In food, I similarly don’t know why a Non-Vegetarian like me is now 100% Vegetarian… it just happened, primarily driven by an exposure to great Vegetarian range post marriage, added to by my natural instincts

But if you are, like me, discovering the joys of Vegetarianism, or is slightly uncomfortable about misuse of Animals and their exploitation, or is a nature and animal lover, then I highly recommend this book. Of course, if you are a non-vegetarian, my advice is to avoid this book. The content actually requires a receptive mind; the non-receptive mind is more likely to spot the myriad practical issues and the so-called unavoidability that is bound to occur in the quest to abandon non-vegetarianism in all its forms. My only take on this : to each his own. And one other point : no one is being adamant or hard about this; do it as far as is practical, like I do. Anyway- individual call.

You will find lists of products, brands, catagories that are listed, after research and/or study, of their contents, as well as {from what I understood}, the manufacturing process, or rather the intermediary products that go into the final product. This part of each chapter is a true stunner – as one gets to learn of a host of normal everyday use products that are almost unavoidable, and yet may be objectionable. This is where I felt the book goes way too far; and almost gets into preaching mode and philosophical territory, as it seems to advocate total Veganism from the tone, at least to me

This is, unfortunately, the way of the world; it is an entirely new discussion and philosophical point as to whether humanity has gone too far; and this is applicable in many aspects, not just treatment of animals. My personal opinion is yes, we have gone way too far – and we need to deeply introspect as to what our species has become and is increasingly turning into. We need to stop, take a deep breath, and really face ourselves in the mirror & see the hard reality of our daily existence. Yes, we have become enslaved to desire, naked ambition, greed, and so-called practicality. Yes, we have gone too, too, too, too far – of that there can be no doubt whatsoever.

But, and this is a significant  but, change doesn’t happen overnight. To be fair, the book makes no such attempt; but the endeavour & and what seemed to me the tone -  of the book was titled towards Veganism, which is frankly not fully feasible in the modern world. Even I would love to live in a simpler world, but as of now, there is little choice. My own inability to fully control my desires, despite being among the few to be aware, is only part of the problem. The other part is that I have to coexist in a society which places near-zero value on these personality attributes, and views such habits as quaint, impractical, ideological, and in some cases, foolish.

And this is where this book scores big time: it gives you feasible choices wherein you can make adjustments to your lifestyle, so long as you aren’t going over-the-board, that is feasible. It gives you information to make an informed choice, gives you choices that are in consonance with your values and belief systems. And, in some cases, {at least one so far as I am aware}, it actually gives solutions to problems or issues that you were facing, as I was in digesting at least one food item, for which I now have an alternative that is readily available… and that is why the title of the book is so apt! 

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