Book Review: "Beyond Broccoli" by Susan Schenk
Nutrition is a great source of passion for me. It doesn’t take being a fitness coach, however, to get fired up about food. Like politics and religion, discussions regarding food are dangerously explosive. Beyond Broccoli by Susan Schenck plants its flag right in the middle of the fiery debate.
If debating nutrition were a boxing match, the conversation for and against the vegetarian or vegan diet plays the part of the heavyweight championship bout. The passion on both sides of this argument is incredible.
With Beyond Broccoli you have Susan Schenck, a long time raw food vegan, who has crossed over to eating meat in a more paleolithic diet and written this book. She isn’t just any ex-raw food vegan, however, she’s a famous author and former advocate of the diet, most known for her work The Live Food Factor. Clearly, the stage is set for quite a discussion.
Beyond Broccoli is an honest discussion of Schenck’s personal experience. It chronicles her days as a raw food vegan and the thought process and deliberate actions she took to remedy the damage she felt she had done to herself eating that way. Though she is firm about her feelings and the consequences of removing animal products from the human diet, she never appears to be condemning or motivated to convert vegans or vegetarians.
Though the tone is personal and approachable, Beyond Broccoli isn’t just a story. Schenck is a licensed acupuncturist who took on extensive research to become a subject matter expert. With the help of Dr. Stanley Bass, who has half a century of clinical experience in both vegan and non-vegan study, Beyond Broccoli discusses the science of both a diet with animal products and a diet without.
The anecdotal personal experience Schenck brings to the table makes Beyond Broccoli a rich resource without the feeling of being a textbook. While in some instances it feels as if the intended audience is the vegan/vegetarian community, I believe Beyond Broccoli is a great resource for anyone looking to raise their game with specific regards to nutrition. Whether you’re a wellness coach or you’re looking to tinker with your personal nutritional habits, there are hundreds of pages of information that can speak to you.
As an athlete and coach, I happened to believe in a diet of real foods, including meats, fish, poultry, and eggs. Given that I find no real dietary benefit to consuming grains, dairy, legumes, or sugar, most would call me a paleo eater. Really, I tend to be less concerned with what cavemen ate, and more concerned with performance and integrity.
For someone in my position, I think it’s important to read books like Beyond Broccoli. I’ve read more research than most that seeks to negate my very position, too. With that said, I don’t think “Beyond Broccoli” is only for gung-ho meat eaters that want to say, “I told you so.” In the same way, this text isn’t just for vegetarians that are doubting their lifestyle. I’d encourage die hard vegetarians and vegans to read Schenck’s book for the same reasons that I thought it was important that a passionate meat eater like myself read The China Study - perspective.
Given the heated nature of this nutritional debate, there are a daunting number of resources available on the topic, both for and against a plant-based diet. I think this is the perfect introduction to the topic. It’s packed with quality science and research, but it’s also approachable and personal. Regardless of your position on animal-based foods, Beyond Broccoli has purposeful insight for you.
Beyond Broccoli is available online for $19.77 on Amazon.com.