Schenck, an ex-vegan, offers a holistic look at eating a mostly raw, meat-enriched diet, and how it benefits our physical health and spiritual well-being.
Schenck (The Live Food Factor, 2009), following years of coping with deficiencies in her body caused by living on a restricted raw vegan diet, has made a daring 90-degree turn: daring because the vitriol cast upon meat eaters from vegans and vegetarians can be extreme. Her book is, in part, as much a study of diets as it is an interesting window into the vegan and vegetarian communities. Although the author now eschews a strict vegan diet, she remains committed to eating a largely raw diet. Using numerous scientific studies inside and outside the “veg” box in addition to conclusions drawn from personal observations made by herself and other eaters, particularly fellow ex-vegans, Schenck explains why peak, long-term health for most people cannot be attained without at least some meat in their diet (by meat, she includes poultry and seafood). Schenck details a fascinating discussion of our evolutionary diet, much of which supports her argument that meat is a natural, crucial part of eating well, particularly for the healthy growth of brain tissue. In striking contrast to our apparently ancient diet is the relatively new and faulty low-fat, low-cholesterol diet promoted by the USDA. Schenck describes this transition as one of the great health cons of the 20th century—a conspiracy that benefits grain growers and drug companies, and results in increased obesity and diabetes among Americans. In one of the book’s final chapters, Schenck imparts a well-reasoned, impassioned argument for eating small quantities of good quality, wild or humanely raised meat, and eating it mindfully, with thanks given to the animal who gave its life. Though Schenck impressively elucidates the complex nutritional analysis and competing dietary theories for the lay reader, the book would benefit from a glossary defining the repeatedly used, lesser-known words, like opioids and mitochondria, as well as the dozens of acronyms used in the diet and nutrition fields. Ironically, an ex-vegan has made an impressively convincing case for how to sustainably eat meat, with the well-being of the animal in mind.
An enthusiastic, compelling, exhaustively researched argument from an unlikely source.