VegWeek, Day 1: Books and Documentaries

Welcome to day two of VegWeek at Fig and Thistle. Today I’m going to give a list of books (not cookbooks, that’s later in the week) and documentaries that helped to shape my ideas about eating animals.


Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. If you read one book on vegetarianism, let it be this one. Beautifully written, well-researched, and not judgmental, Eating Animals explores not only the why of vegetarianism, but also the importance of vegetarians working to change — not eliminate — the meat industry.

The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood. I don’t know if Atwood intended this to be a pro-veggie novel. Pigoons are so smart and factory farming has so devastated the environment in this trilogy. I don’t see how you can read this and not see that maybe vegetarianism is a good idea.

Ishmael: An Adventure of Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn. I almost didn’t include this book as I haven’t read it since college. This is the book that single-handedly changed me from a Randian Objectivist (pro-selfishness and all) to a far left liberal who wants to love every living thing. If you need a book to get you out of thinking of man as superior to all living things, this is the book to do it.

How to be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria. I picked this book up over the weekend. It is slim, friendly, informative and great for learning about veganism (and how to not be an asshole vegan) if you are a newbie.

Raising Vegetarian Children: A guide to Good Health and Family Harmony by Joanne Stepaniak and Vasanto Melina. I checked this out of the library last year when I was concerned about being vegetarian while nursing. This comprehensive guide is chock-full of recipes, tips, and health information about veganism / vegetarianism in children and infants.


Earthlings. I’ve only made it through about 15 minutes of this movie. Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, this film is nicknamed “the vegan maker.” It is full of undercover footage of the slaughterhouses AND the dairy and egg industry. This is certainly not a film for children and I wouldn’t let my teenager watch it.

Food Inc. I think a ton of people have seen this movie. This film talks about how factory farming has made getting healthy food near impossible and you may freak out about chemicals and conspiracy theories involving your food after watching this. Food Inc underlines my point about it being impractical for everyone to turn vegetarian; it will take vegetarians and omnivores working together to change the system. This title is streaming on Netflix.

The Garden. Watch this documentary after Food Inc and be prepared to get pissed. This documentary tells the story of some south side LA gardeners working in a community garden. Do to political corruption and capitalism, their expansive garden gets BULLDOZED to the ground. I like to have folks watch this film when I am told that vegetarianism is hippie dippie love stuff. Being vegan is completely punk. Our food is controlled by giant, wealthy, evil corporations. What better way to say F.U. to corporate evil than boycotting their main product and DIYing your food?

Vegucated. This is a great beginner documentary. Funny and illuminating, Vegucated follows three people as they attempt to go vegan for six weeks. This is a great beginner film and it is appropriate for teenage audiences. This title is streaming on Netflix.

Please visit your library, Netflix, etc… and check out one of these titles. Let me know your recommendations or what you are planning on reading/watching in the comments.

And don’t forget the contest:

The contest!

I’m going to be giving away at least two books by the end of the week: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals and How to be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria. All you have to do is leave a comment, like, share, or tweet my blog posts this week. That’s it. One entry for each mode of communication (for example, if you comment, like, share on Facebook, and tweet this post you’ll get four entries). Next week I’ll use the random number generator to pick the winners.

Thanks for participating in VegWeek 2014 at Fig and Thistle!



  1. I have toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian for years. I spiritually like the idea of refusing to eat anything with a face.

    I’m a nerdy book girl who loves your blog.

  2. The books that got me to switch to veganism is 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart by Neal Barnard. I know that it sounds like a weight loss book (marketing clearly) but it is actually a book about eating healthier. I didn’t even realize it was about veganism until half way through. I like the other books and docs you’ve picked as well.

  3. Dirt! The Movie is one you might enjoy. It’s not really about vegetarianism/veganism but definitely relates to your topics this week. And it’s especially appropriate to bring up today on Earth Day as it’s really about our planet and food. Another great post, btw. 🙂

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