Helen Nearing

American writer

Helen Knothe Nearing (23 February 1904 – 17 September 1995) was an American author and advocate of simple living. She was the second wife of Scott Nearing.



Simple Food for the Good Life (1980)

White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 1999; originally pub. in 1980 (on Google Books)
  • [...] live hard not soft; eat hard not soft; seek fiber in foods and in life.
    • Ch. 1
  • This book on simple food is vegetarian, of course. It is the simplest, cleanest, easiest way to eat. I take it for granted that to live on plants and fruits, seeds and nuts is the way for rational, kindly and perceptive people to live.
    • Ch. 4
  • The sight of slabs of flesh should horrify and disgust any sensitive person if they exercised their inborn compassion. Habit has dimmed their native kindliness. Their palates have become abnormally corrupted and conditioned by a taste for dead food, its flavoring and odors. People who eat slaughtered creatures every day find it hard to imagine what to substitute for meat, not realizing that meat is the substitute for vegetables.
    • Ch. 4
  • The word "vegetarian" derives from the Latin "vegetus"—whole, sound, fresh, lively. The meat humans eat is neither whole, sound, fresh or lively. It is dis-limbed, tainted, decaying, stale and dead. A diet consisting of green leafy vegetables, root crops, grains, berries, nuts and fruits supplies all the body needs for strength and well-being. It is healthful food, aesthetic, economical, harmless to our brother animals, easy to grow, to prepare and to digest. Flesh-eating by humans is unnecessary, irrational, anatomically unsound, unhealthy, unhygienic, uneconomic, unaesthetic, unkind and unethical.
    • Ch. 4

Loving and Leaving the Good Life (1992)

White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 1992 (on Google Books)
  • When one door closes, another opens... into another room, another space, other happenings. There are many doors to open and close in our lives. Some doors we leave ajar, where we hope and plan to return. Some doors are slammed shut decisively—"No more of that!" Some are closed regretfully, softly—"It was good, but it is over." Departures entail arrivals somewhere else. Closing a door, leaving it behind, means opening onto new vistas and ventures, new possibilities, new incentives.
    • p. 1
  • The animals are our brothers; another nation living on earth, growing up beside us. They are not lesser beings; they are selves in different forms. Some of them have flippers, some wings for motivation; some have two propelling legs, some have four; we have only two. Some have thumbs, some have claws. We have manufactured claws and worse. We have no rights over these creatures; yet we exploit and imprison them. They should run wild and be on their own but we have corrupted them, enslaved them and modified their behavior and opportunities. Some of them like it, some don't. We have made friends of some and slaves of others.
    • p. 162
  • Everyone who feels "I love" adds to the heavenly glow. The love that has been felt all through the ages, everywhere, all through time... what a shining! What an eternal process and presence! Love is the source, love the goal, and love the method of attainment. A network of love crisscrosses the globe. The delicate shining lines form a tenuous web from one end of the world to the other. There are so many threads of love in the world, so much love going on, for and from so many people. To have partaken of and to have given love is the greatest of life's rewards. There seems never an end to the loving that goes on forever and ever. Loving and leaving are a part of living.
    • pp. 193-194
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