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Book Review

Plant Based Nutrition and Health

Dr. Stephen Walsh is the Chair of the UK Vegan Society and Science Coordinator of the International Vegetarian Union. In Plant Based Nutrition, Stephen Walsh synthesizes the vast ocean of nutrition research into solid recommendations.

It’s important for vegetarian advocates to stay on top of nutrition research to discuss it intelligently with others as well as maximize their own health. Plant Based Nutrition and Health is the latest book to update our movement on recent (and previous) research. I found it a very interesting read, learning many things I had not previously known. Some of the chapters are:

  • Healthy Life Expectancy
  • Homocysteine and Health
  • Balancing Calcium: A Team Game
  • Fat Wars (how much fat and what kinds should people eat)
  • Natural Imperfections (Vitamin D, Iodine, Selenium, and Other Minerals)
  • Fusion (Japanese, Mediterranean, and raw foods diets)

Each chapter ends with recommendations to follow. One recommendation is for vegans to take 20 mcg (800 IU) of Vitamin D per day during the winter months (unless you live in the tropics). This is higher than I have seen recommended before, though not surprising given the latest research on Vitamin D.

Plant Based Nutrition and Health is a breath of fresh air in a movement often dominated by gimmicks and propaganda. While my article “Staying Healthy on Plant-Based Diets” (available at VeganHealth.org) gives an overview of vegetarian and vegan nutrition and recommendations, all of which are similar to Dr. Walsh’s recommendations, Plant Based Nutrition and Health touches on many other subjects that are not covered in that article.