Do you ever think about the link between race and food? Author Tracye Lynn McQuirter, MPH does. According to her book, Par tous les Verts nécessaires: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want to Eat Great, Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Look Phat, 80% of black women are overweight and 50% are obese. They have “the highest rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer” (p. xxiii).
Ms. McQuirter is working hard to change these statistics and her book, which Dr. Neal Barnard calls “a true gem,” offers personal empowerment to anyone who reads it.
Inspired by a talk given at her college by the humorist, civil rights activist and vegetarian Dick Gregory, McQuirter began her own journey towards Veganism. Her story is brave, honest, educational and inspirational. She shares her experiences – successes and pitfalls – never making the road to Veganism sound too easy or too difficult.
Reading Par tous les Verts nécessaires is like taking courses in Nutrition, Politics, Animal Sciences and Black History but all taught by your best friend. The language is conversational and engaging. It’s filled with so many references to other important books, articles, web sites and studies that I would suggest reading it with a highlighter so you can look them up later.
McQuirter covers topics such as why people make the food choices they do, myths about protein, how the food industries mislead us, and what cruelties happen to the animals who become our food. There are chapters about nutrition, guides to buying the right foods and sample menus. The chapter on how to transition to Vegan foods is filled with personal stories and advice for those common issues such as eating healthy on a budget, what to do when your partner doesn’t want to make changes, how to deal with family get-togethers, co-workers and eating out.
The last third of the book is filled with more than 40 delicious recipes with beautiful color photos. Avocado Nori Rolls, Pepper “Steak,” Spicy Black Beans, All Hail the Kale Salad, Curry Quinoa, Classic Cornbread, and Miso Sexy Dressing, just to name a few. There are also recipes for desserts like Coconut Date Nut Cake and Chocolate Mousse Tart and drinks including smoothies and Coconut Cashew Milk.
There are also invaluable resources in the back of the book: grocery lists, books, DVD, web sites and a large compilation of Black Vegetarian Groups.
Tracye Lynn McQuirter and her sister started the web site http://www.blackvegetarians.org/ a decade ago. Her mother, sister and niece are Vegan; that’s 3 generations of beautiful, healthy Vegan women! You should also check out her web site and blog at http://www.byanygreensnecessary.com/ which are favorites of mine (and received a “One Lovely Blog” award from me 🙂
Even though the target audience for McQuirter’s book is African-American women, I would highly recommend it to everyone. I learned so much from the book that my highlighter ran dry. Par tous les Verts nécessaires is a wonderful guide for anyone who is interested in eating healthier, helping fight animal cruelty, and gaining self-empowerment.