We all know that omnivore who refuses to accept veganism as a healthy, ethical lifestyle. With relationships such as these, sometimes we need to let a third party do the convincing, which is why we’ve compiled a list of 10 books that make the most compelling arguments for a plant-based diet. Pick one you believe will resonate most, and casually offer the book to the stubborn meat-eater in your life. By discovering the truth on their own, there’s no doubt your omnivore companions will accept a plant-based lifestyle.
1. Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself
Finding Ultra is Rich Roll’s real-life story of an everyman who became a superman. This memoir chronicles his journey from an introverted, misfit child to his struggle with alcohol addiction, rehabilitation, and, finally, his adoption of a plant-based diet and training to be one of the fittest men in the world. Roll proves that going vegan was a crucial aspect of his turning point from a suffering, overweight lawyer to an accomplished ultra-endurance athlete. His story has the potential to be life changing, so help loved ones better themselves by gifting this incredible read.
2. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health
Marion Nestle’s Food Politics is an engaging exposé about the powerful economic and political drivers of the food industry and how these factors shape the American diet. For example, the author uncovers the massive influence of dairy lobbyists and their direct correlation to our health (or lack thereof). When dairy farmers produced more milk than they could sell, the lobbyists convinced the government to partner with national chains such as Domino’s and McDonald’s to increase the cheese on certain menu items. Food Politics is direct yet fascinating read that will make everyone question their food choices.
3. Mercy For Animals: One Man’s Quest to Inspire Compassion and Improve the Lives of Farm Animals
Speciesism is a tough mentality to crack, but it’s difficult to believe that anyone could read Nathan Runkle’s memoir and not go vegan. The book details the founding of one of the most influential farm-animal organizations of today, Mercy For Animals, and follows Runkle from his childhood in rural Ohio to his gruesome and shocking undercover investigations. Early in the book, the author describes a horrific scene of a high school classmate repeatedly slamming a piglet into the floor—a common practice in the slaughter industry. That scene alone could be enough to turn most people off bacon, but Runkle continues to account the animal atrocities he witnessed to further convince his readers to go vegan. Perhaps this book is not for the faint of heart, but often these stories are the ones that flip the compassionate switch in an omnivore’s mind.
4. Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
Philosopher/author Peter Singer pens a convincing and logical case for plant-based diets based on his principles of utilitarianism. Essentially, he bases ethical choices on the ratio of pain and pleasure. He asks his readers if the pleasure you experience while eating a cheeseburger is greater than the pain a cow goes through in the slaughterhouse. Give this book to your rational-minded omni-relatives, and watch their perspective change.
5. The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter
Yes, another book by Peter Singer, because he knows how to craft a persuasive argument for the plant-based movement. This one is a bit more mainstream. For anyone who has the slightest interest in the environment and sustainability, Singer and co-author Jim Mason will help them discover the path to conscious, plant-based consumerism.
6. The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health & Happiness
For the cheese addict in your life, doctors Douglas J. Lisle and Adam Goldhamer explore the science behind the addictive foods that damage our health. The duo makes a compelling argument for the whole foods, plant-based diet, with their solid research and alluring conclusion. Who wouldn’t want to enrich their lives and be rid of the suffering caused by animal-based foods?
7. How Not To Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
You might not live forever after reading Michael Greger’s book, but the tome does suggest that everyone can live a long, healthy, and prosperous life by following a plant-based diet. Give this work to the science-minded omnivore to make a compelling pro-vegan argument with proven scientific case studies and solid evidence. Bonus: they’ll never again ask you where you get your protein!
8. The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet
By sharing her personal vegan journey, actress Alicia Silverstone gives readers a gentle yet empowering nudge toward the plant-based lifestyle. The book also lists the benefits of a vegan diet and offers strategies for a successful transition. The Kind Diet is the perfect read for the vegan- or vegetarian-curious, as it will give them the insight they need to take the leap toward a more compassionate plate.
9. Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous!
Do you have a fun aunt or cousin who’s more like a best friend? Despite your close relationship, will she just refuse to take your advice when it comes to your vegan lifestyle? If so, offer some tough love in the form of Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin’s Skinny Bitch, a funny yet unfiltered guide to adopting a vegan diet to look and feel fabulous. The authors don’t sugar-coat the facts (because sugar is the devil, according to Chapter 3), and this blatant approach is motivating to get with the vegan program.
10. Approaching the Natural: A Health Manifesto
For the literary-averse, Sid Garza-Hillman’s short, simple, and entertaining read acts as a strong advocate for a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle. The author promotes a “small steps” approach to improving one’s health, making the transition to plant-based living seem completely doable. The best part? You can plow through the entire book in a few hours. A little time investment can lead to a lifetime of positive change!