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Book Review: Beyond Broccoli: Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn’t Work by Susan Schenck

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Beyond Broccoli: Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn’t Work by Susan Schenck explores the nutritional viability of vegetarian, vegan, and raw diets. Schenck maintains that completely mean free diets are not sustainable for good health. The book explores facts and misconceptions about vegetarian diets. The book is quite in depth and provides a lot of information but the concepts may be difficult for both vegetarians and meat-eaters to embrace.

This is the second book by author Susan Schenck. Her first book, The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit, & Planet, is a guide to implementing a raw food diet. The Live Food Factor was published in 2009. Now two years later Schenck has reconsidered some of the philosophies behind a raw food vegan diet. Some might be frustrated by Schenck’s apparent about face. One might wonder if Schenck might change her mind about her newest book as well. It’s a valid thought. However Schenck points out that many researchers have changed their minds about their own theories as more information came to them.

After six years following a raw food and vegan diet Schenck began to notice a decline her health and overall energy levels. She suffered from a severe vitamin B12 deficiency which resulted in memory loss and nerve damage. Schenck cautiously added some meat back into her diet and experienced a reversal of her anemia and associated symptoms. This is where her newest book Beyond Broccoli comes in. Upon reading this newest book it is clear Schenck has not abandoned the principles of The Live Food Factor. Beyond Broccoli could be seen more as an expansion of her previous work rather than about face.

Non-meat eaters may be put off by Schenck’s addition of animal flesh to her diet, but she goes to great pains to explain the reasons why. Schenck still follows a primarily raw diet. In fact she even eats her meat raw (pork products excluded, which she doesn’t eat at all). This practice will likely seem distasteful to many but Schenck does a good job of explaining why meat should be eaten raw and how to prepare it. She still abides by basic raw food principles that cooking food kills nutrients and adds toxins. There is a wealth of information about nutrients and what types of food are the most nutrient dense.

A good portion of Beyond Broccoli discusses what she calls “myths” about vegetarian diets. He addresses issues such as ecology, basic nutrition, and even spirituality. While Schenck acknowledges that some people are able to maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet and stay healthy, she says not everyone has the physiology for it. She also acknowledges that many make the choice for vegetarianism based on spiritual and animal rights issues. I was surprised by her attempts to address these issues as they are very personal and difficult to argue with logic. I did think she made a strong argument on the issue of animal rights in saying that naturally raised meat is healthier as well as better for the animals.

Beyond Broccoli is not a menu plan. It is a resource for learning about food. It is hard to know exactly what to eat and how much. What it does provide is an overview of what Schenck considers to be a healthy diet. It also addresses health issues associated with vegetarian, vegan, and raw food diets. This book is a good resource for anyone exploring a more natural diet. Even if someone does not want to implement a raw foods and raw meat diet, the information on nutrition is very informative.

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About Sherry Lipp

Sherry Lipp is an entertainment and food writer who specializes in film and television reviews. She has published the gluten and grain-free cookbook Don't Skip Dessert.
  • http://www.lunch.com/DrJosephSMaresca Dr Joseph S Maresca

    Raw fruit and vegetable diets should be supplemented with nuts, seeds, water, fish like salmon and occasional red meat devoid of fat.

    Antioxidant vitamins are an important addition to the diet, as well as
    Vitamin D3 and elemental calcium to mention just a few. Additionally, exercise is critical for ongoing good health.