Book Review: Protest Kitchen

I was so thrilled when a signed copy of Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time showed up at my doorstep. The latest book co-authored by one of my long-time professional role models Ginny Messina, MPH, RD, and the feminist writer and activist Carol J. Adams, this work is a truly unique and perfectly timed resource.

Going beyond the typical animal rights, health and environmental conversations about veganism, Ginny and Carol dish up some serious real talk about social justice and how what we choose to eat can be a form of resistance. It’s no secret that American politics are in the toilet right now. While we may feel helpless, our food choices are one way to feel empowered to take a stand against oppression.

The coolest part about this book is there are delicious (and hilariously named) recipes scattered throughout. So as you’re learning about food justice, climate change, misogyny and inclusive democracy, you’re also provided with tasty ideas to fuel your activism!

The book also provides 30 daily actions to align your food choices with your values, vegan nutrition tips, resources and two “resistance feast” menus (featuring “Drain the Swamp Kitchen Cabinet Compote,” “Trumped Up Vegan Cutlets a L’Orange” and “imPeach Crumble”).

“Our lives are a meaningful stand against injustice, and we can make meaningful choices every day.”

I highly encourage everyone to read the book cover to cover. It’s super eye-opening and I guarantee you’ll learn something. Here are a few topics I thought were particularly thought-provoking:

  • The co-occurrence of the rise of factory farming, housewives, white flight and regressive politics in the 1950s
  • Factory farms are usually located in or near lower income communities (who have to deal with the terrible effects and often cannot afford to move away)
  • A large proportion of racial minorities cannot consume dairy but plant-based alternatives are not subsidized like dairy is and are therefore less affordable
  • Slaughterhouses are full of human rights violations affecting predominantly marginalized individuals
  • Undocumented workers are exploited by the animal agriculture industry
  • Plant-based foods align more closely with native diets and these options are not as accessible or affordable as animal-based and highly processed foods
  • The link between meat and rape culture
  • Reproductive exploitation of farmed animals
  • Animality fuels racism, social oppression and disempowerment
  • The U.S. government classifies animal rights activists as terrorists because they impact the bottom line of the powerful meat, egg and dairy industries
  • Simultaneous activism for marginalized people and animals is possible and necessary

I’m a full believer in the power of compassion and expanding it across species. The way our society abuses and exploits animals is absolutely linked to the oppression and abuse of people of color and people who identify as women.

“Adopting a vegan diet brings your choices and actions in line with those same beliefs that underlie a commitment to resisting regressive politics.”

At the core of the work I do is body liberation and autonomy for everyone, including non-human animals. This book beautifully ties together these topics and is a wonderful, quick read that belongs on every bookshelf in America.

If you love these two women and their work as much as I do, you’ve also got to check out Even Vegans Die: A Practical Guide to Caregiving, Acceptance, and Protecting Your Legacy of Compassion.

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