I read The Happy Vegan by Russell Simmons over a year ago, but the lessons I learned from the book are still impacting my life today. So many of us enjoy reading self-help and informative books, but too often we retain the information, but don’t apply the information. What is the use of reading great books, if you don’t put them into action and allow them to transform your life? I’m guilty of this too. Putting the advice of the authors into practice is more easily said than done. Motivation does not always translate into discipline. Not so, with The Happy Vegan, this book really changed my eating habits for good.
Since reading this book, I have not eaten any poultry, pork, or beef in over a year. I have also stopped purchasing dairy products for my family. While it was a tough decision, after reading about the effects animal products have on our health and on our planet, and how poorly the animals are treated, I had a strong desire to remove myself from being apart of the problem.
“Did you know that chickens are fed PROZAC, because without an antidepressant, the might die from the stressful conditions they’re maintained in?” – Russell Simmons
I had already seen a number of documentaries regarding the western diet and food choices, but Russell Simmons urged his readers to check out a few that I had never seen before. One of which being Earthlings. All I can say is, “WOW!” This film needs a review all it’s own. If you’ve never seen it, check it out on YouTube. It’s gives viewers a peek into what it’s like for captive animals all over the world. From pets to laboratory monkeys, zoos, circuses, the fur industry, and of course food. Food being a major part of the documentary, it is extremely graphic and just as Russell Simmons said it changed his perspective, it also changed mine and my 8 year old daughters’, who also has given up most meats including poultry, pork, and beef. Had I not read this book, I don’t know if I would have ever heard of this film or others.
“That’s because the truth is, the only things that are going to bring lasting happiness to your life are good health and knowledge of self, which lead to a compassionate relationship with the world.” – Russell Simmons
Simmons also talks a lot about our connection with the food we are eating, and how living according to our values can empower us. He shares his own journey of how he became sober and regained his health and vitality through diet. But he also talks about meditation and yoga, which he also credits for his well being. Even though this book is not about meditation, he does include a chapter in the back for beginners who are interested in starting to practice meditation; which I found much more helpful than any other meditation guide I had read thus far. He also sites other books and authors, readers can seek out to get more information regarding the practice.
Like most books boasting about the plant based way of life, Simmons gives a lot of stats for the reader to think about. And along with all the other information, this book for me, was one of the best self-help books I’ve ever read. It was convincing and inspiring. I have been meat free for 1 year because of this book and I don’t see me ever going back to the common western diet, which is built more on the value of profits, than on healthy lives. If you are curious about veganism or vegetarianism, or if you don’t know where the meat you’re eating comes from, I implore you to read this book. It could change your life.