I’m not sure what I was expecting when I opened the cover of The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony by Dr. Will Tuttle. Maybe a feel-good book about eating more plant-based food, taking only my share of the world’s food resources, practicing mindful (spiritual) eating, and living happily ever after in total harmony with my fellow human beings.
However, that is not what I got. Sure, it’s definitely about eating plant-based food and living in harmony with our fellow human beings, but that doesn’t even begin to sum up the depth of the contents of this book.
The World Peace Diet is a academia-level plea to stop the violence committed on a daily basis against the animals whose flesh (he uses “flesh” instead of “meat” – makes it sound grosser) we devour and make part of our bodies. Dr. Tuttle blames our violent world on the 10,000 year-old “herding culture” that enslaves, tortures, and kills animals to feed the wealthy people of this world. Until we stop eating all animal products (including milk, eggs & honey) can we be fully healthy (both spiritually and physically) and live in harmony with all parts of creation.
Dr. Tuttle certainly makes a strong case. If you are teetering on the verge of veganism, this book will send you over the edge in a heartbeat. The author does not paint a pretty picture of our current food culture. (Remember – not a feel-good book…) I read things about the food industry that I didn’t even know (and I’ve read Fast Food Nation, watched Food Inc, and truly studied this topic!). I think the chapter on dairy and eggs (“The Domination of the Feminine”) was the most disturbing. Did you know that “extraneous” teats are removed from calves without anesthetic so they won’t interfere with electric milking machines?? Ouch! And cows have feelings just like we do. Definitely makes me think twice about eating dairy.
My biggest complaint about the book is that it is a little too long, a little too academic, and a little too repetitive. I must confess I skipped/skimmed some of the chapters in the middle with titles like “The Metaphysics of Food” and “Reductionist Science and Religion.” And the author continuously harped on animal cruelty (I guess that’s the point of the book…), almost to the point of exhaustion. A secondary complaint is that I didn’t see a strong discussion around the organic food industry. If you’re going to use the practices of the conventional food industry to support your thesis, what about eating meat from animals who had a great life, were not abused, and killed in such a way that it did not cause pain (of course, how do we know?)?
My favorite chapter was Dr. Tuttle’s life story. I like real and I like practical. I love reading about other people’s journeys (especially if it’s going in the right direction). It was interesting to read about the author going from omnivore to vegetarian to vegan. And the results of veganism were pretty astounding (like a much higher IQ).
What The World Peace Diet is saying makes sense. We should focus on eating a plant-based diet. It would affect everything in a positive way (except the beef, pork, poultry, hunting, fishing, honey, and dairy businesses, I suppose). I am a firm believer in the power of food and how it affects your health, your mood, and your mind. I agree that we would see a decline in disease, and increase in food availability (enough for everybody!), and a restoration of this planet we call home.
So why don’t we do it?
Why am I not a vegan? Probably due to lack of education. What do I use instead of eggs in my Swedish gingerbread? How long does tofu stay fresh in the fridge and do you really have to keep pouring water over it? How can I get my body accustomed to eating large quantities of beans?
Excuses, excuses, excuses…
My guess is that it’s never been a better (or easier) time to live a vegan lifestyle. I see “vegan” this and “vegan” that everywhere. Vitamins are labeled as vegan. Shoes are labeled as vegan. “Ice cream” is labeled as vegan.
After reading this book, I am inspired to give veganism a try. Because if we just read about what we should do and nod our head in agreement, what good is that? I will have to do some research. I’d like to take a vegan cooking class. I’ll have to practice making meals with tofu. And once our family is settled (hopefully by this summer!), I want to give it a go.
The World Peace & Yoga Jubilee looks like fun. Perhaps I can make it the culmination of my experiment…
Any vegans out there? I’ll take any tips I can get.
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