I must preface this review by saying that I have been vegan for six years and I fully support books encouraging Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables and eventually transition to a vegan diet. On that front Carr’s goal is laudable and I can see this book being a great introductory resource for people unfamiliar with a vegan diet. However I found this book overall to be problematic and would not recommend it over the plethora of vegan health and fitness books available.
Crazy Sexy Diet reads like a Cosmo article. The writing is far from endearing; Carr’s cutesy “girlfriend” tone quickly becomes irritating, making finishing this book a chore. This book is clearly targeted at women (upper-middle class white women, to be exact) but Carr’s tone is patronizing, isolating readers who do not fit her intended audience.
Educating and encouraging others to go vegan is beneficial to their health, animal welfare, and the environment, but there are good and bad ways to go about this. Readers unfamiliar with veganism are likely to be overwhelmed by Carr’s lifestyle recommendations, which are expensive and unsustainable. She wants you to invest in a blender, juicer, water filter, supplements, yoga classes, and a meditation room on top of the large amounts of (organic) fresh produce necessary to follow her plan. For Americans privileged enough to be able to afford these luxuries, her plan may be achievable, but the majority of us cannot afford these luxuries.
This book is full of junk science. Eating more fruits and vegetables (organic or not) is a goal in itself: countless studies have shown the many health benefits of eating these foods. Carr, however, advocates for eating veggies to achieve a balanced pH. According to Carr, eating alkaline food like fruits and vegetables leads to better health. But there is little scientific evidence to support these claims. Some may see improved health outcomes because they are eating more fruits and vegetables, not because of any effect on blood pH. Focusing on your food’s pH is time consuming and complicated and may turn people away from following this diet entirely.
The anecdotal “success stories” featured at the end of every chapter make it clear that following Carr’s plan will replace the need to take prescription drugs. It is wildly irresponsible to encourage people to stop taking their medications without their doctor’s knowledge or advice. Some conditions like diabetes may be reversible when following a vegan diet but there is little evidence that other chronic conditions can be “cured” this way. Carr’s recommendations to see a naturopath are irresponsible as well – naturopaths are not medical doctors and are not qualified to treat chronic diseases.
Additionally, I had issues with a few miscellaneous aspects of this book. At least twice in the book, Carr lists autism as a preventable disease caused by poor diet. This claim is not supported by any evidence and is incredibly offensive and ignorant. Carr (unsurprisingly) advocates for the use of essential oils, specifically endorsing Young Living Oils as a favored manufacturer. This company is a known MLM and it makes me uncomfortable that she would support an industry that adversely impacts so many people. For a “diet” book, Crazy Sexy Diet contains shockingly few actual recipes. The few recipes included in the book are very similar, providing little variety.
It is wonderful to see so many vegan health and diet books on the market. But if you are interested in learning more about the many health and environmental benefits of going vegan, please consider the many (much) better books that are supported by actual science.