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PLANTS VS. MEATS by Meredith Sayles Hughes


The Health, History, and Ethics of What We Eat

by Meredith Sayles Hughes

Age Range: 12 - 18

Pub Date: April 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4677-8011-7
Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

The moral, healthful, and historical reasons we eat what we eat.

Former vegetarian and food historian Hughes begins her exposé by defining some “-isms,” detailing what people who call themselves vegan or vegetarian or pescatarian (among others) eat. She touches on the historical factors that influence what we all eat and then examines some religious and philosophical restrictions on what some of us consume. A discussion of fad diets and the ingredients their proponents feel are harmful (gluten, fat, etc.) is followed by a look at the sources of food and the way this affects food availability and the environment. Finally she explores the future of food: insect protein, 3-D printing of food, and hydroponics, among others. Hughes is careful not to paint black-and-white pictures of any stance on food or make strident arguments for eating one type of food over another (though she does promote healthful food over junk food), though some of the people she quotes obviously have strong opinions. She instead urges readers to make informed decisions based on their personal ethics and healthful food information. To further help with this, she provides source notes for the quotes she cites, a glossary, a list of further reading, and website and film lists at the close.

Good food for thought that won’t leave readers feeling stuffed. (Nonfiction. 12-18)