Book Review: Buddhism for Meat Eaters – Simple Wisdom for a Kinder World by Josephine Moon

Buddhism for Meat Eaters…

About the Book:

For many years Josephine Moon struggled with the question of eating meat, fervently wishing to live as a vegetarian yet requiring meat in her diet. From Josephine’s philosophical, spiritual and physical battle with eating meat came, Buddhism for Meat Eaters – a book for animal lovers, the environmentally and ethically conscious, and generally thoughtful people who eat meat but perhaps aren’t entirely comfortable doing so.

Open, honest and utterly without judgement, Buddhism for Meat Eaters encourages readers to be more mindful about their choices, rather than berating themselves for them, and offers ways for people to live ethically, honestly and guilt-free, whether as a carnivore, vegetarian or vegan. This highly practical guide also includes workbook-style activities and topics for consideration to guide you in your own journey to making wiser decisions on how you consume, how you live, and how to change the world around you.

My Thoughts:

I’ve been looking forward to this book ever since I first heard that Josephine was writing it. A book for animal lovers who eat meat but may not be entirely comfortable doing so. That’s me. I eat only a small amount of meat and I’m also pretty choosy about what sort. There are some meats I never eat: veal for one – I’ve hand reared too many calves over my life for that – and lamb, which I actually can’t tolerate the taste of. I’d love to do away with meat entirely but I have an iron issue that is tricky to manage. I can’t take iron supplements because they cause my body to go into iron overload, which can be quite dangerous, so I need to get my iron from small serves of meat only, trying to ensure that I’m getting enough iron to function but not too much that I’m blowing out my levels. It’s a delicate balance that I’m still trying to master. But I loved the whole idea of this book, and as Josephine points out in her introduction, there’s not a lot of writing out there from the animal-loving meat eaters. Until now!

This is a terrific little book, full of sensible wisdom and practical insight. Broken up into ten chapters, each chapter finishes with some journal questions for reflection and some suggested practical challenges. One of the things I appreciated most about this book is that it looks at loving animals in a holistic way. You may still need or want to eat meat, but you may also want to protect the welfare of animals. This book is very much geared towards not feeling guilty about this, steering the reader to other means of animal protection, and there is a big focus on reducing waste, which impacts animal welfare greatly. I’ve taken a lot away from reading this book and I will be returning to it regularly. It’s spurred me on to look into a couple of things further. One of which is my consumption of pork. I don’t eat a lot of it, but pork really is the only meat I actually like to eat, and while I’ve been making sure I purchase stall free pork from Coles, I want to double check now that this is actually the case, that what the label says is true. The other thing I need to think on more deeply and do some research on is pet food. With two big dogs, we go through a lot of pet food. After reading the section in this book on what goes into pet food, I am, quite frankly, horrified and worried about what I’ve been feeding my dogs. I’d love to be able to implement some of Josephine’s other suggestions, particularly the ones around fresh food purchases, but remote living offers its own special challenges with that. I also need to look a bit closer at my chocolate choices. It’s no exaggeration for me to say that I would eat more chocolate than meat. Seriously. This is true. But my chocolate choices are not ethically sound, so I need to get on to that as well. For many other things, I’m already on the right track for living ethically, but there’s always areas for improvement. I hope that by living this way, I’m showing my children that they don’t need to be mass consumers and mass wasters.

‘To accept impermanence is to live in harmony with the flow of life. Rigid ideals and labels lock us into non-acceptance of what is. To approach each moment mindfully – to question, “What is right for me in this particular instance?” – takes patience and compassion and practice. It is to understand that what is right in this moment may not be right in the next, and to be willing to be okay with that.’

Buddhism for Meat Eaters is one of those books that you can make work for you. It’s a gentle read, with no traumatic descriptions of animal cruelty, designed to shock you into never eating meat again. It also doesn’t preach at you, tell you that you must to this or that or suffer the consequences. It’s sensible, engaging, filled with anecdotes and examples, colourful stories about Josephine’s own experiences and it’s also backed up by research. I enjoyed this a lot and have taken many practical things away from it to put into action in my own life. I highly recommend this book.


Thanks is extended to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of Buddhism for Meat Eaters for review.

About the Author:

Josephine Moon is a bestselling author of contemporary fiction and non-fiction and is published internationally and in translation. Her first novel, The Tea Chest, was short listed for an Australian Book Industry Award. She once founded a horse rescue charity, which she ran for three years, is a sponsor for Story Dogs and The Smith Family, ran the 2018 ‘Authors for Farmers’ drought appeal and the 2019 ‘Authors for Townsville’ flood appeal. She lives in the Noosa hinterland on acreage with her husband, son and a tribe of animals that, despite her best intentions, seems to expand every year. She keeps trying to grow vegetables but they almost always succumb to the enthusiastic consumption of a goat or a horse.

Buddhism for Meat Eaters
Published by Simon & Schuster
Released on 1st July 2019

17 thoughts on “Book Review: Buddhism for Meat Eaters – Simple Wisdom for a Kinder World by Josephine Moon

  1. I wondered about this book when I saw the title!
    I actually crave meat (and have periods of being anaemic) – our bodies tell us something – however I’m also very aware of the environmental impact of eating meat. Sounds like this book hits the right notes – hope it gets a wide audience, so people can feel informed and not judged.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I posted this review because I enjoyed the book and was keen to share it with those who may be interested in the topic. But I was greeted this morning by some comments waiting for moderation that were extreme and judgmental – I should have forseen this, I suppose. There’s always a grey area for consideration in most things in life, and this book does a really good job at addressing it practically. I do hope it gets a wide audience because it has a lot to offer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Theresa, I’m sorry to hear you received some negative comments. I thought your review was very balanced and it sounds like this book is too. I’m not a big meat eater either, but I do wonder about the accuracy of the supermarket labels sometimes, especially when you are trying to do the right thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d like to think that we are buying exactly what is said on the packet but all too often an expose will come out completely debunking that and we find out packaging was only conveying half truths.
      I should have expected it I suppose, some negative comments, when I think of how extreme some people are on their social media accounts. I’m all for everyone having an opinion but there needs to be respect in play too, which those given to extreme views often leave out of the equation. I can manage that on my small stage here, but I hope Josephine Moon is not the recipient of too much backlash across her own media platforms. All well and good if someone reads the book and provides a considered rebuttal, but judging on the title and book description is poor form.


  3. Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had some unpleasantness about this, and I’m glad you didn’t publish them. I willingly publish opinions different to mine, but never if they attack the author or other people who comment. I don’t think we should ever make space for people who use social media to spread rudeness or conflict.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ZOMG, I had *no* idea that this was the book I needed until you posted this, thankyouthankyouthankyou! I’ve had periods of attempting vegetarianism and veganism, in deference to the ethical concerns of eating meat, but as a coeliac it made my nutritional world very small and very difficult to navigate (and a couple times I ended up quite ill with deficiencies). I feel like this book would be perfect to help assuage some of the guilt I feel about that and figure out how to make the best possible choices. As for any haters that were trying to comment here, I hope you were swift with the delete button 😉 That’s really crappy of them, and honestly in the end they’re only doing themselves and their own cause a disservice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great sounding book. I love eating meat and besides I can never become a vegetarian as my intolerances to food is so severe that if I didn’t have meat to live on I would fade away. At the moment I’m on a very restrictive diet that only allows me to eat a few vegetables, meat, fish and eggs and no fruit, dairy or grains and as I have problems with eggs I can only consume 1 or 2 once a week. This week I’ll be introducing half a banana and quarter avocado to see how I go.
    I’ve stopped buying my meat and vegies from the supermarket, we have a superb farmers market in our area where I can buy pesticide and spray free vegies and the meat mans meat is all grass fed and his bacon and ham is nitrate free. I feel so much better by eating these clean foods.
    Our dog trainer who worked with the police dog squad told us to stop feeding our dog on woolies dog food and to buy higher quality dog food so we switched to Eukanuba and our dog loved it and she never had health problems.

    Liked by 1 person

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