Kathy Freston is the author of the bestselling books “The One” and “Quantum Wellness,” and has appeared often on national television, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ellen, and The Dr. Oz Show

In her latest book, “The Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World,” she makes persuasive arguments as to why one should lean into a vegan lifestyle.  She uses the term “lean” because she feels becoming a vegan should be a gradual process for most people.  Freston herself grew up eating chicken-fried steak and loved barbecued ribs and vanilla milkshakes and didn’t become a vegan until her thirties, so she knows that most of us have a lifetime of habits to overcome before becoming a vegetarian or a vegan. 

Her book includes interviews with nutritional specialists such as Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. T. Colin Campbell (professor emeritus of Cornell University), and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic).  All these experts stress the benefits of highly restricting or eliminating animal-based protein from ones diet. 

Freston also includes many interviews with person who adopted a vegan lifestyle (and began to exercise more) and found that their health improved and their weight dropped as a result. 

One of the most striking statements made by Kathy Preston is that “A person prevents more climate change pollution by going vegetarian than by switching to a hybrid car.”  Having purchased a new hybrid car in 2010, after using my previous car for 26 years, this made me pause.  Preston bases this assertion based on the fact that it takes roughly ten times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie of animal protein as it does to make one calorie of plant protein. 

There are three weeks of suggested meals and a list of vegan convenience foods available in “big chain” grocery stores, Trader Joe’s stores, and health food stores at the back of this book. 

Having wanted to get off blood pressure medicine and lose some weight for years, I am definitely going to try leaning myself and my husband into a vegan lifestyle. 

Some books on vegan eating and cooking available to you at your Alameda County Library branches are: 


The Veganist : lose weight, get healthy, change the world /   New York : Weinstein Books, c2011   /  by Kathy Freston                                                                                                                                 613.262 FRESTON

Veggie burgers every which way : fresh, flavorful, healthy vegetarian & vegan burgers– plus toppings, sides, buns, & more /  New York : Experiment, c2010  / by Lukas Volger ; photographs by Christina Heaston                                                                                                                                641.5636 VOLGER

The voluptuous vegan : more than 200 sinfully delicious recipes for meatless, eggless, and dairy-free meals / New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers, c2000  / by  Myra Kornfeld and George Minot ; illustrations by Sheila Hamanaka                                                                                               641.5636 KORNFELD

This crazy vegan life : a prescription for an endangered species / New York : Home, 2008    /  by Christina Pirello                                                                                                                                   641.5636 PIRELLO

The kind diet : a simple guide to feeling great, losing weight, and saving the planet /  New York : Rodale : Distributed to the trade by Macmillan, c2009   / by Alicia Silverstone ; photographs by Victoria Pearson                                                                                                                                641.5636 SILVERSTONE