If you’re interested in going vegan, Jackie Day can show you the way. Her new book, The Vegan Way, is filled with helpful tips, fun stories, mouthwatering recipes, colorful photos, product suggestions, and more. While it contains information about cruelty to animals, environmental degradation, and health issues, it’s written in a lighthearted, chatty way, which is fitting because it’s really a “Hey, let me help you on a 21-day vegan journey” guide.
Whereas many books are dedicated to a specific acquaintance of the author, The Vegan Way is “Dedicated to YOU!” It features a 21-day diet plan, which is detailed in 21 short chapters. Readers are encouraged to peruse one chapter a day and complete the goal for that day. Usually it’s something simple, such as finding out where there’s a farmer’s market or vegan-friendly food store in the area.
Day has a very friendly, upbeat, positive, and encouraging style. Before talking about cruelty, she writes things like “Trust me, I won’t leave you hanging feeling sad and helpless. This is a book of empowerment, not despair. You and I are changing the world, together, in a very easy and delicious way!” Even when addressing serious issues, she usually includes some humor. While writing about eggs, for example, she jokes, “No wonder the Easter bunny drops off those eggs. He doesn’t want them!”
She manages to “sneak in” some information about milk and honey—and why they’re cruel—by telling readers how she learned about them. She was giving a virtual stranger—a vegan—a ride home after a demonstration. Day was vegetarian, but not vegan, at the time, and the woman answered all her questions in a calm and friendly way.
Day’s a seasoned vegan now—that’s for sure. Years ago, when she was working as a teacher, she won the National Healthy School Lunch Hero award for helping to get healthier (i.e., vegan) lunches in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The award, sponsored—ironically—by the National Dairy Council, came with a $1,000 prize, which she gave to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to use in its campaign to get cow’s milk out of schools.
Day also managed PETA’s Education Department for a while, something she mentions in chapter two of the book. After she left PETA, she went to law school and learned about animal-protection issues and the law. Now, she’s an author, and her first book is about vegan living. (Talk about a “Jackie of all trades”!) She presents a lot of interesting statistics throughout it. Here’s an example: “There are about 795 million people in the world who are hungry. That’s 1 in 9 people … more than the entire population of the United States, Canada, and the European Union combined. The grain we feed to animals could feed nearly 350 billion people.”
And here’s another stat: “Based on a survey of over 8,000 vegans, 42 percent said they became vegan after watching an educational film, movie, or video.” I didn’t know that.
The book presents a few points that might be new and interesting even to some longtime vegans. For example, I didn’t know that Trader Joe’s began as a convenience store but was so concerned about the competition from 7-Eleven that it morphed into what it is today.
While she discusses Whole Foods in a mostly positive light, she also touches on the “humane meat” claim and how there’s no such thing as humanely produced meat, milk, or eggs. There really isn’t much the book doesn’t cover, from sugar to wine to vegan dish detergent—all with a compassionate attitude.
As Moby says in his promotional blurb for the book, “When you feel like you’re hitting a bump in the road to vegan, there’s always a dash of comfort and inspiration here to keep you moving along. I only wish I had this book decades ago!”