The Mad Cowboy rides again! The long-awaited continuation of his rants and raves on veganism and politics comes through as madcap as ever but with a smart edge that promises to leave a trail of vegan converts. We all know someone who went vegetarian after reading Diet for a New America, and Howard Lyman is threatening to become the next John Robbins, with an endearing smile and naughty wink. No More Bull is a Howard Lyman hit.
The infamous cattle rancher-turned-vegan has a no-holds-barred writing style that occasionally smacks of his mischievous speaking style. I envy his matter-of-fact manner and I'd hate to find myself debating him, but I count on him to tell it to me straight. As a fan familiar with his speaking style, I often hear his co-writers in the pages of No More Bull, as if two others are sitting with Howard and me over coffee discussing veganism. Their writing styles gel together well.
Lyman doesn't mince words when he addresses meat-eaters in the chapter "Message for My Meat-Eating Friends":
"To state the obvious: vegetarians live longer than meat eaters simply and solely because we do not consume the filthy, fatty, disease-ridden, decaying flesh of animals. (Forgive me for being so blunt, but there is no such thing as a clean, lean form of meat, and no other honest way to describe meat - even if you buy it "organic," or blessed by rabbis, or hunt it down yourself.) Vegans live longer still because we avoid as well the fatty, hormone-rich, cholesterol-ridden by-products of the lactation of other major mammals."
Simple as that, my friends.
His call to arms comes in the next chapter - "Message for My Fellow Vegetarians and Vegans." Referring to milk as "liquid meat," Lyman asks "for those of you who are still merely vegetarian and not yet vegan, I ask, what in heaven's name are you waiting for?" He's endearing, nonetheless, not obnoxious, though some vegetarians might take offense if they understandably feel singled out.
Lyman pushes the point that herbivores shouldn't feel like they're saving the world through their food choices. It's not good enough to hide out and have meals with other vegans. Talk to children, talk to schools, invite omnivores over for vegan dinners, question authority, stop preaching. "You're better off serving the seitan stew than preaching the gospel of animal rights."
Unlike many recent books on veganism and health, Lyman doesn't discuss the tragic conditions of factory farmed animals. "People either feel for animals or they don't; while I believe they ought not be shielded from seeing what a slaughterhouse looks like, and the conditions in which their 'food' animals exist, I also think it serves no purpose to browbeat them over animal rights. If you must browbeat them, do so about their health."
Luckily, there are many voices out there describing slaughterhouse conditions. I'd personally eat white rice and cauliflower for every meal if it meant helping to prevent animals from experiencing such suffering. To me, health reasons pale in comparison to animal rights issues in my own personal vegan path. Lyman trusts that the average person is much more focused on their health, and he's left the environment, disease and political manipulation outside his scope.
Half of the 200-page No More Bull is recipes - great recipes from the likes of Neal Barnard, T. Colin Campbell and Frances Moore Lappe', among many others. I enjoyed Bryanna Grogan's Vegetarian "Meat Loaf" and Joanna Samorow-Merzer's Stuffed Eggplant, but the main event of this book isn't the star-studded recipe section. The highlight is Howard's convincing words.
He has seen the insanity of the meat and dairy industries first-hand. As a fourth-generation dairy farmer and cattle rancher, he's one of environmentalists' greatest resources in terms of exposing the truth of chemical fertilizer use, health side-effects of meat and dairy consumption, and the political nightmare we've become caught in like quick sand. In the genre of bold, inspirational books about veganism, Lyman's voice can't be ignored.
John Robbins' review of No More Bull encourages, "If you read this book, several things will happen. There will be more health in your life. There will be more joy in your life." Indeed, in today's sad, troubled world we could all use Lyman's humorous, honest, unapologetic words. --Caity McCardell