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'The Vegetarian Alternative' explains and explores myths of vegetarianism

This is the book cover of 'The Vegetarian Alternative' by Vic Sussman.
Rodale Press

'The Vegetarian Alternative: A Guide to a Healthful and Humane Diet' by Vic Sussman

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After someone has been a vegetarian for so long, it takes major restraint not to do an eye roll the millionth time she's asked, "What do you eat?" or "Where do you get your protein?" It's as if there's this private meeting for all omnivores that meat is the only option for protein, and vegetarians just don't know any better.

And although Vic Sussman's book "The Vegetarian Alternative: A Guide to a Healthful and Humane Diet" was published in 1978, many of the myths that are clarified in this book are still unknown to meat-eaters in 2014.

It's a curious thought that over three decades later, there's still the strange belief that Americans are protein deficient, although Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has repeatedly confirmed that humans get more than enough protein.

One of the most interesting vocabulary lessons in "The Vegetarian Alternative" also tackles why meat eaters should stop referring to themselves as carnivores instead of what they really are -- omnivores. (Humans don't have sharp enough teeth, powerful enough jaws or the strength to kill their food with their own hands, which carnivorous animals do. Humans also tend to eat both plants and vegetables, which is the definition of an omnivore.)

"The Vegetarian Alternative" is one big book of frequently asked questions (FAQs) without calling itself an FAQ book. What's a pescatarian? What is a lacto-ovo vegetarian? What's the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian? What purpose do food vitamins serve in the body?

The chapter "Bleeding Like a Stuck Pig" will probably be skipped by those who can't handle slaughterhouse videos, but for readers who can handle the details without visuals, animal cruelty questions are answered.

What's great about this book is it's not preachy. Sussman shoots the truth at readers and leaves it up to each individual to make the final dietary decision. But for readers who are on the fence about whether to go pescatarian, vegan, vegetarian or continue on with an omnivorous lifestyle, "The Vegetarian Alternative" will probably make that decision a lot easier.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all of her latest Chicago vegetarian entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Vegetarian channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her "Diet & Exercise" and "Vegetarian World" Pinterest boards.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all of her latest Chicago nutrition and fitness entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Diet and Exercise channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her @BlackHealthNews.