Perhaps the most influential [American] book that helped move many people (including the author of this article) to vegetarianism was the popular Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe (1971). While it did not directly promote vegetarianism, it made many people aware that raising animals for food was extremely wasteful of land, grain, water, energy, and other resources, at a time when millions of people were dying annually due to hunger and its effects. Her book also introduced the concept of protein complementing, an approach she initially thought necessary for getting adequate protein. This theory has since been discredited, and Ms. Lappe abandoned it in the 10th anniversary revised edition of her book. Her research led her to become an activist for helping the hungry; along with Joseph Collins, she started the Institute for Food and Development Policy and wrote Food First: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity (1977), a comprehensive analysis of causes of world hunger and approaches to alleviating it. Under their direction, the Institute has produced many books and other educational material that have helped people better understand food and development issues.
- Richard Schwartz
We got hooked on grain-fed meat just as we got hooked on gas guzzling automobiles. Big cars `made sense' only when oil was cheap; grain-fed meat `makes sense' only because the true costs of producing it are not counted. - Diet for a Small Planet