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The Skeptical Vegan: My Journey from Notorious Meat Eater to Tofu-Munching Vegan--A Survival Guide

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Growing up in an all-women household and coddled endlessly by his Italian mother and grandmother, Eric Lindstrom was nourished to obesity on meaty sauces, fried eggs, and butter-laden cookies. After spending the first half of his life as an adamant omnivore, Lindstrom went 100% vegan. Reluctantly. Overnight. From burgers to beets, from pork to parsnips. It’s time for a down Growing up in an all-women household and coddled endlessly by his Italian mother and grandmother, Eric Lindstrom was nourished to obesity on meaty sauces, fried eggs, and butter-laden cookies. After spending the first half of his life as an adamant omnivore, Lindstrom went 100% vegan. Reluctantly. Overnight. From burgers to beets, from pork to parsnips. It’s time for a down-to-earth book that proves anyone can go vegan (even someone who once ate sixty-eight chicken wings in a sitting). How can a man adopt a vegan approach? Won’t he die of protein deficiency? What if he is married to a vegan woman? How would he order a salad at a Minnesota steakhouse? What should he bring to a gluten-free, nut-free, macrobiotic, nightshade-free, oil-free, vegan potluck (true story)? The Skeptical Vegan explains how simple it really is to be vegan, covering topics from food and nutrition to social challenges and lifestyle. Snarky, witty, and opinionated to a fault, Lindstrom speaks as a male vegan, contesting the notion that “real men” should only eat meat. With twenty original “veganized” recipes including portobello steaks, carrot hot dogs, tofu wings, “meaty” chili, and cauliflower bites (which helped him shed thirty pounds), Lindstrom demonstrates how to take control of your diet while still eating “meatily” and taking into account the ethical considerations of living a better life for the animals, the environment, and yourself.


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Growing up in an all-women household and coddled endlessly by his Italian mother and grandmother, Eric Lindstrom was nourished to obesity on meaty sauces, fried eggs, and butter-laden cookies. After spending the first half of his life as an adamant omnivore, Lindstrom went 100% vegan. Reluctantly. Overnight. From burgers to beets, from pork to parsnips. It’s time for a down Growing up in an all-women household and coddled endlessly by his Italian mother and grandmother, Eric Lindstrom was nourished to obesity on meaty sauces, fried eggs, and butter-laden cookies. After spending the first half of his life as an adamant omnivore, Lindstrom went 100% vegan. Reluctantly. Overnight. From burgers to beets, from pork to parsnips. It’s time for a down-to-earth book that proves anyone can go vegan (even someone who once ate sixty-eight chicken wings in a sitting). How can a man adopt a vegan approach? Won’t he die of protein deficiency? What if he is married to a vegan woman? How would he order a salad at a Minnesota steakhouse? What should he bring to a gluten-free, nut-free, macrobiotic, nightshade-free, oil-free, vegan potluck (true story)? The Skeptical Vegan explains how simple it really is to be vegan, covering topics from food and nutrition to social challenges and lifestyle. Snarky, witty, and opinionated to a fault, Lindstrom speaks as a male vegan, contesting the notion that “real men” should only eat meat. With twenty original “veganized” recipes including portobello steaks, carrot hot dogs, tofu wings, “meaty” chili, and cauliflower bites (which helped him shed thirty pounds), Lindstrom demonstrates how to take control of your diet while still eating “meatily” and taking into account the ethical considerations of living a better life for the animals, the environment, and yourself.

30 review for The Skeptical Vegan: My Journey from Notorious Meat Eater to Tofu-Munching Vegan--A Survival Guide

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    Full disclaimer: I am not vegan. I am not even vegetarian. I have chronic anemia, and while I do take all the necessary precautions and supplements, I do occasionally need to eat meat. It’s not ideal, and it’s often hard to reconcile with my Zen Buddhist and yoga practices, and I do the best I can to live as compassionately as possible. Also, I’m a cheese and honey addict, so if you want to ignore my review of this book based on that, please go ahead and skip it. I didn’t grab this book as a skep Full disclaimer: I am not vegan. I am not even vegetarian. I have chronic anemia, and while I do take all the necessary precautions and supplements, I do occasionally need to eat meat. It’s not ideal, and it’s often hard to reconcile with my Zen Buddhist and yoga practices, and I do the best I can to live as compassionately as possible. Also, I’m a cheese and honey addict, so if you want to ignore my review of this book based on that, please go ahead and skip it. I didn’t grab this book as a skeptic. In fact, I agree with almost everything Lindstrom wrote in these pages. I don’t believe it takes a genius to see that there are multiple benefits to cutting back (or eliminating) meat and animal products from one’s diet or consumerist habits. It’s not just the ethical aspect of limiting animal suffering: there are considerable impacts on our health and on the environment (and consequently on society as a whole – the compassion is not just for animals, it’s for every living being that stands to benefit). And while this book didn’t bring any new and ground-breaking information to my table, it is still a very informative and possibly challenging read for people who are contemplating lifestyle changes. It’s also great to see how Lindstrom changed. Because he didn’t get bullied by what he refers to as “Angry Vegans”; he tried a thing, found out that the results were great and that it made all aspects of his life better, so he kept going. To Lindstrom, veganism is not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle, and that’s what he preaches, that’s what he wishes everyone in the world would do. He goes through all the details of his experience, from his life as a chicken-wing lover to raising his kids vegan, and answering all the questions vegans are asked on a daily basis. It’s inspiring to see him stick to his commitment, even if the original motivation was to win a bet and not do house chores for a month. Whatever works for you! He has a good self-deprecating humor, both about himself and about vegans in general (who are, alas, often very easy to poke fun at). He’s quick to point out the bad, but he also extensively explores the good too, so what you get is a fairly balanced portrait. He is also a clever and entertaining writer, who comes up with gems such as “While the future of your health can’t be read in the palm of your hand or at the bottom of a teacup, it can in fact be read around your belt”. I must say that I also love that he’s from the Finger Lakes region: my in-laws are in Western New York, and he has the same brand of humor they do, which made me feel right at home. (I can also relate to his experience of having Italian relatives who essentially fed you as if you were next Sunday’s roast (and to this day, when I spot skinny people, my first instinct is to feed them). But my dad is not just French, he’s a French hippie, so I was raised with plenty of tofu, hummus, miso and bulgur alongside the chicken parm and ragù. And the Brooktondale macrobiotic parties he describes are eerily similar to my dad’s gatherings.) The issue with this book is that you’ll find a lot of inspiring and non-judgemental sentences like “It’s not always easy to do, but it’s always easy to try”, quickly followed by remarks that basically mean he thinks everyone who doesn’t do as he says is a massive jerk. I’m not a big fan of doublespeak, and it’s difficult to reconcile his encouragement from his dogmatism. Yes, I get it: you can’t be a “part-time” or “almost” vegan. Fine, no arguments from me there. It’s the judgemental aspect of his rants that grates me. I agree that some people just don’t know where their food comes from, and would make different choices if they knew (or just thought about it a bit more critically), and that others are willingly ignoring it so they can keep doing whatever they want - and that those people kinda suck. Maybe it’s just my contrarian spirit, but aggressively antagonizing people (even when you think it’s for their own good) undermines every sane argument you could bring to the metaphorical table, so I am not receptive to that approach. You catch more flies with agave syrup… In that same line of thought, immediately judging people as bad or dumb because of their dietary choices makes anyone sound like a jerk: there might be information you don’t have about their health or history, so I think being kind is the best strategy to encourage education and change. I think the most crucial line in the book is this one, which is near the end: “Every time you make a choice on whether or not to use or consume products with these ingredients, think about the impact you’re having on your own health, the environment, and the animals.” In my opinion, that’s always the best angle at which to approach any conversation about lifestyle and consumer choice. It’s thought-provoking without being confrontational. Just sayin’. Regardless of the above-mentioned issue, I enjoyed the book. The stories are good, the recipes included in the final section look great (and I will definitely be trying some very soon!) and the answers to the questions vegans are asked by omnivores all the time are answered in great details. Definitely recommended, even if the tone can be grating and inconsistent.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daria Zeoli

    It was a pleasure to read this memoir! Vegans are a minority, but our stories are varied, and the author's path from meat-eater to vegan is entertaining, amusing, and informative. Full review here: https://www.chicvegan.com/the-skeptic... Thanks to the publisher for a review copy! It was a pleasure to read this memoir! Vegans are a minority, but our stories are varied, and the author's path from meat-eater to vegan is entertaining, amusing, and informative. Full review here: https://www.chicvegan.com/the-skeptic... Thanks to the publisher for a review copy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet"- Albert Einstein I've been through a slew of Vegan reads. The title says it all....if you are skeptical of the lifestyle and are curious about Veganism through humor, this is your book. It provides the facts in a less text-booky way. Besides several that I'm aware of, Vegan memoirs seem to be dominated by women. This is a great male take, especially coming from some "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet"- Albert Einstein I've been through a slew of Vegan reads. The title says it all....if you are skeptical of the lifestyle and are curious about Veganism through humor, this is your book. It provides the facts in a less text-booky way. Besides several that I'm aware of, Vegan memoirs seem to be dominated by women. This is a great male take, especially coming from someone who used to win chicken wing competitions and devoured meat several times a day. You will also hear a refreshing male perspective on the challenges and rewards of raising Vegan kids. I am forever thankful for the books, documentaries, and YouTube footage that provided me food education and allowed me to reach the critical point of animal-lover connection that "This is not right. Why would I eat this way with my core beliefs about animals being friends and not food?" No more cognitive dissonance for me (haha, at least in this area of my life:-P). The irony is that Lindstrom comes to Veganism from the opposite end- he stumbles onto the lifestyle and education through a 30 day bet with his wife. In the ABCs of Vegans, I firmly fit in the Ethical Vegan category. Lindstrom defines this as follows: "These vegans are in it for life and in it for the lives of the animals. Each and every day, they make decisions about what they eat and wear and are compassionate and ethical in these decisions....once you've arrived here, there is no "going back"." No matter what your reason is for going Vegan, it is commendable. You are trying to suck less. I'm coming up on 6 months and couldn't be more pleased. Life is brighter because of it:-)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    I'm the kind of person who reads up on places I go and things I want to learn more about, and I've done so on countess subjects. I read and watched lots of nonfiction book and documentaries on the topic before I "turned" vegan, and was on the lookout for a memoir that would also make me laugh, because there is lots to laugh about here people. This one started out great, and I thought I had found just what I needed. The author decides to take a bet and like me went vegan overnight. The tone start I'm the kind of person who reads up on places I go and things I want to learn more about, and I've done so on countess subjects. I read and watched lots of nonfiction book and documentaries on the topic before I "turned" vegan, and was on the lookout for a memoir that would also make me laugh, because there is lots to laugh about here people. This one started out great, and I thought I had found just what I needed. The author decides to take a bet and like me went vegan overnight. The tone started out with the right level of snark and humor, but about midway the writing lost its charm, and I slogged through to the end. It's my understanding that he's got a popular blog on the subject, and this book might work better for people who like his style, but while I did find things I appreciated, it wasn't a book I enjoyed as much as I expected to. If anyone has books on this topic you'd recommend please do let me know.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    If you're looking for a book that is full of valuable information and will make you laugh out loud throughout, this is the book for you. The author never claims his journey was easy but proves that anyone is capable of giving up animal products and loving it. The recipes at the end are tried-and-true and an excellent addition to seasoned vegans', new vegans', or even omnivores' collections! While many vegans will be able to relate to the author's journey, this book would also make an excellent gif If you're looking for a book that is full of valuable information and will make you laugh out loud throughout, this is the book for you. The author never claims his journey was easy but proves that anyone is capable of giving up animal products and loving it. The recipes at the end are tried-and-true and an excellent addition to seasoned vegans', new vegans', or even omnivores' collections! While many vegans will be able to relate to the author's journey, this book would also make an excellent gift for someone who is considering the vegan lifestyle. Anyone who says vegans don't have a sense of humor will be proven wrong!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I agree with the overall sentiment of this book however, Eric’s style is just not for my taste. I also feel that a huge emphasis is placed on vegan junkfood which will not make anyone healthy, although it will be kinder to the earth and the animals that are not being sacrificed. Perhaps his style of writing will reach a specific audience.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Overall, I really enjoyed it. The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way was when he said that he won't celebrate the holidays with his family any longer because they will not have Vegan Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. I don't think you should force your lifestyle, dietary beliefs on others and his children are missing out on years of memories with their grandparents. Bring your own vegan dishes. How hard is that?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shoaib Ahmed

    this was a very exciting book .i would recommend it to my class.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    The book gave me some laughs...until....the author stated that he no longer celebrates holidays with his mom. I have a hard time understanding that. But then again, I've been married for 30 years to an omnivore and have raised 4 children. I don't necessarily agree with how many in my family choose to eat, but rather than eschew their company I cook up my dishes and introduce them to the family. I have found that they are more open to eating a plant based meal than if I just decide I won't share The book gave me some laughs...until....the author stated that he no longer celebrates holidays with his mom. I have a hard time understanding that. But then again, I've been married for 30 years to an omnivore and have raised 4 children. I don't necessarily agree with how many in my family choose to eat, but rather than eschew their company I cook up my dishes and introduce them to the family. I have found that they are more open to eating a plant based meal than if I just decide I won't share a meal with them. But to each his own. Mr. Lindstrom can enjoy his "new and better friends and family" and I will continue to love those who have known me all of my life and introduce them to kinder gentler ways.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Nicola

    I have such mixed feelings about this book. It was a super interesting book and I definitely learned quite a bit however the author is so dismissive of any other point of view that I began to dislike him. He openly mocks those who talk about "humanely" eating/slaughtering animals. That being said, the world will never change without people who are as passionate as Lindstrom. Recommended read!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christi

    Great read! Hilarious, interesting and a bit snarky. I really enjoyed reading about his journey.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    I enjoyed this light, entertaining story about the author's path to veganism.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kajah

    Really three point five stars. Overall I found myself reading to completion and appreciated that the author keeps it fun and compelling. Sometimes the constant dad joke stuff was too much; it became overwhelming at times. It also feels like he buys into certain claims without really giving specific reasons why, but nonetheless his story is an interesting one, and his transformation is one I have gone through myself so I appreciated his candor.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Smith

    I really was excited about this book. I was hoping to read a story about the struggles that one goes through while becoming a vegan. I was hoping to hear a down to earth message about what it takes to make this transition. This was not that book. First off, this author is so full of condescension and contradictions, I actually flipped back to previous pages to make sure that he had just said the opposite of what he said a chapter before. I didn't count how many times he told the reader he did th I really was excited about this book. I was hoping to read a story about the struggles that one goes through while becoming a vegan. I was hoping to hear a down to earth message about what it takes to make this transition. This was not that book. First off, this author is so full of condescension and contradictions, I actually flipped back to previous pages to make sure that he had just said the opposite of what he said a chapter before. I didn't count how many times he told the reader he did this on a bet. At the beginning, he talks about how he became vegan overnight on a bet but had every intention of giving it up as soon as his weak girlfriend caved. By the end of the book, he says he knew this would be a forever lifestyle change. He also spends a great deal of time chastising people who "claim" to be vegan but make exceptions to suit their lives. They can do that, he says, but don't you dare call yourself a vegan. But then in a later chapter, tells us of the exceptions that he has made in his life. But he still gets to call himself a vegan. This book contains a quote from Maya Angelou that says, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better." Just know that Mr. Lindstrom will be judging you the whole way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jazmin Ferdinandi

    This book was just... bad. The author sounds like someone I would NEVER want to be stuck talking to at a party. He comes off as a huge know it all and a hypocrite. He loves to talk about why some people misidentify themselves as vegan because of certain choices they make, but then he admits to a bunch of stuff he does too that’s not “vegan”... Yet somehow his indiscretions still mean he’s a vegan but those others can’t be? He also talks about being “attacked” by omnivores but then goes on to des This book was just... bad. The author sounds like someone I would NEVER want to be stuck talking to at a party. He comes off as a huge know it all and a hypocrite. He loves to talk about why some people misidentify themselves as vegan because of certain choices they make, but then he admits to a bunch of stuff he does too that’s not “vegan”... Yet somehow his indiscretions still mean he’s a vegan but those others can’t be? He also talks about being “attacked” by omnivores but then goes on to describe a time he called a friend for no other reason but to bother him about his meat eating choices. I don’t know if it was supposed to be funny, if he was trying to show that vegans are just as bad as omnivores, or if he’s just a jackass. Either way, he’s a well off white man trying to tell everyone how easy being vegan is. I literally was constantly rolling my eyes reading this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Good personal account of going vegan on a bet, liberally peppered with clever turns of phrase and jokes (groan-worthy to LOL quality.) It feels a little bit like a collection of essays or blog posts all hitting similar beats toward the end. There's some stuff that a lot of vegan books get into that I'm not comfortable with like making promises about things, especially health benefits that should fall into the "Results may vary" category in my experience (5+ years vegan.) Overall, it's a good per Good personal account of going vegan on a bet, liberally peppered with clever turns of phrase and jokes (groan-worthy to LOL quality.) It feels a little bit like a collection of essays or blog posts all hitting similar beats toward the end. There's some stuff that a lot of vegan books get into that I'm not comfortable with like making promises about things, especially health benefits that should fall into the "Results may vary" category in my experience (5+ years vegan.) Overall, it's a good perspective, not perfect. I think it could get your average reader to think about some things and hopefully continue on to other in depth resources from vegan doctors and dietitians and science communicators as well as the great voices for compassion and justice in our community.

  17. 5 out of 5

    K.N.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Eric at one of his book signings, and I really just want to hang out with the guy and follow him to these potlucks and dinners he talks about. He’s very funny, and while the book got a little repetitive by the end, I still enjoyed it. I’ll definitely have to try out a few of his recipes; I am the opposite of a meaty vegan, so it’ll be a change for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    April

    I absolutely adore this book. This book contains humour and excellent knowledge. I found myself laughing, and at times frustrated right along with the author. This is a must read for anyone who is a.) wondering what vegan really means. b) The vegetarian who is looking to make that move, but wondering how c.) I need recipes and I love books about vegans. A absolute must read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I liked the book and it gives you some grist for thought. However, he really needed some more actual citations or data to back up his claims and he's not quite as funny as he seems to think he is. Also, there are recipes but I didn't bother reading or making those. Overall, worth reading if you're considering changing over to veg/vegan.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    Disclosure: ARC received from Edelweiss & publisher in exchange for an honest review. (They may regret this.) Any and all quotes were taken from an advanced edition subject to change in the final edition. Disclosure: ARC received from Edelweiss & publisher in exchange for an honest review. (They may regret this.) Any and all quotes were taken from an advanced edition subject to change in the final edition.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen Mayes

    Good rational book! Down to earth explanation on the ethical meaning of veganism, which I appreciate.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Gilliland

    Loved this book. Hilarious and full of insight. Reads super easy and you won't want to put it down.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Great read if you’re vegetarian, vegan or thinking about it!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    As a vegan, I wanted to love this book. It was occasionally funny, but the derision of non vegans just built until it was intolerable. I agree with veganism! I’m on board! I don’t feel like making fun of everyone who hasn’t come around. With the saturation of marketing to the contrary, it’s difficult to come to terms with being wrong about animals as food. And though he insisted everyone needs to be vegan, he did not address how he thought those in poverty should accomplish this or those in the As a vegan, I wanted to love this book. It was occasionally funny, but the derision of non vegans just built until it was intolerable. I agree with veganism! I’m on board! I don’t feel like making fun of everyone who hasn’t come around. With the saturation of marketing to the contrary, it’s difficult to come to terms with being wrong about animals as food. And though he insisted everyone needs to be vegan, he did not address how he thought those in poverty should accomplish this or those in the world who do not live with access to money or vegan alternatives. Also, he seemed vague on the environmental impact of veganism and mocking of those who are trying not to contribute to the destruction of the planet, like a woman who asked about local food or another who did not want to waste food. I found it unsatisfying in general.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    Very informative. The author does a great job of making a plant-based diet realistic and relatable for those of us who still eat meat.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dezeray

    A little preachy, which I suppose is to be expected. But it had some excellent starting points and encouragement for switching to a plant based diet

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Great easy read Loved this book. As a newly vegan bud, it gave me needed direction and tips. Well written and a joy to read

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A fairly consistent vegan gospel. I can see where he’s coming from and how he got there.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Philip Bailey

    Very preachy' The information is okay but almost as exaggerated as the opposing side. I don't necessarily disagree with the entirety of the book. The author does want to convict you as much as would any fire-and-brimstone preacher. Would the book convince me to go vegan....No. Eat more of a plant-based diet...maybe but that concept, which is what made me interested in the book, came from other sources. Meh... thus a three star.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Darling Jones

    I'm not good at writing book reviews but I felt like I had to write something about this book because I could resonate with so much in it! From the comments made by non-vegans to vegans and the struggles vegans go through to make ourselves understood. I also learned about a few "accidentally vegan" foods from this book that I had no idea about. This book also ends with some delicious vegan recipes. This book is for anybody interested in veganism, anybody who has friends and family who are vegan I'm not good at writing book reviews but I felt like I had to write something about this book because I could resonate with so much in it! From the comments made by non-vegans to vegans and the struggles vegans go through to make ourselves understood. I also learned about a few "accidentally vegan" foods from this book that I had no idea about. This book also ends with some delicious vegan recipes. This book is for anybody interested in veganism, anybody who has friends and family who are vegan or anybody who cares about animals, not just dogs and cats but ALL animals.

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