Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The World Peace Diet - A Non-Hippie Review

Most hippie books are written by hippies, for hippies, and then later quoted by other hippies in support of their hippie agenda.  So I think it is important to say from the start that I am not a hippie and I didn't read The World Peace Diet with hippie eyes. I like beer, football and red meat; I even voted against the 2008 California ballot initiative that allowed chickens to get out of their cages and walk around for an hour a day. So it's safe to say that my take on this book is from an anti-vegetarian prospective.

Most people eat hamburgers and drink milk and try not to think about how the meat gets on their plate or how the milk gets in their glass. But this book forces you to confront a lot of the issues that the majority of people intentionally or unintentionally avoid.

Why do you eat meat? Is eating meat good for your health? What impact does eating meat have on the environment? Do the animals we consume suffer - and if so, how much?  All of these issues are addressed in the book.

These are difficult questions to examine. Most people probably know that they are not going to like the ultimate answers to these questions, so they avoid dealing with them.  I am no different, I guess, which is why the book sat on my shelf for over a year.  I knew that when I confronted these questions I was going to have a lot of thinking to do.  And I was right.

So why am I a meat eater?  Honestly, I never really thought about it very deeply. Do I eat meat simply because it tastes good? Do I eat meat because humans are designed to eat meat? Do I eat meat because by evolutionary luck humans have found ourselves on top of the food chain? Do I eat meat because I've made the choice that it is essential for good health?

Tuttle claims in his book that I have been socially programed to eat meat. And I think there is some validity to that argument. My parents exposed me to meat (I ate a lot of hot dogs as a kid). Their parents exposed them to meat, and their parents before them, and their parents before them.  That alone doesn't necessarily make eating meat wrong, it just helps explain why I - and maybe you - eat meat.

I must confess, the idea that we are socially programed to eat meat really fascinates me and it got me thinking about all the other things in life that people have been socially programed to do and think - religion is one thing that springs to mind. This probably isn't the intended message of the book - but it is the concept that personally struck the biggest chord with me. But I digress... Back to the book.

Tuttle makes some valid points on many other fronts, as well. He argues that it is morally wrong to consume animals, it is unhealthy to eat animals, and it is bad for the environment to eat animals, just to name a few. Several times he goes off the rails and gets a little too hippie on me. For example -- this isn't in the book but instead took place after the lecture I saw him give -- he offered to compose, for a small fee, a piece of music for me based on the connection he felt from my aura. Now, the dude can really play the piano - but no thanks.

I do have to confess, he makes some strong arguments to support his position that we should stop eating meat, fish and dairy, and that instead people should switch to plant based diet. Now, coming from a fervent anti-vegetarian this is hard to digest (pun intended).

For example, the book highlights the pain and suffering the animals we consume are forced to endure, which is 100 times harsher than I ever imagined.  I am not sure why, but the suffering of the average dairy cow is something I learned about in the book and it greatly troubles me.

Before I read the book, when I had a glass of milk, which I love to drink, I didn't give much thought to how that milk went from the cow to my refrigerator, and I definitely didn't give much thought to the quality of life of the cow that produced the milk. "Happy cows live in California,"like the TV commercial says. Right? Wrong!

If I considered cows at all, I had a vision of an old farmer getting up early in the morning, going out to the barn, milking his cow by hand, the milk going into an old bucket, and then somehow that milk got magically transported to me.  But that's not how it happens.

Deep down inside I probably knew that there aren't happy cows in California, or anywhere else for that matter.  I knew that there was no old farmer milking the cows by hand, but I just blocked it out of my mind like most people do, and I just enjoyed my glass of cold milk. The World Peace Diet forced me to honestly confront the process of how the milk I love gets to me, and the tremendous suffering endured by dairy cows in order for me to drink my milk.

I am not going to go in to detail about the animal suffering or environment impact.  You'll have to read the book for yourself - if you are ready.  But I truly think that everyone - especially meat eaters should read this book and educate yourself about the food you eat and the food you feed your kids. At the end of the day if you still choose to eat meat that's your choice - but at least it will be an educated choice.

So, now that I've read the book and a lot of these issues are at the front of my mind - what am I going to do about it?  Well, I am going to go vegan for 21 days, starting on May 28th. Right after I watch the Indy 500 and eat a fridge full of pork sausage.

I'll keep you posted on both my progress and struggles - I anticipate a lot of struggles. At this point, it's just an experiment and not a permanent life altering choice. It's possible that being a vegan is just too hard, but I'll give it a try - because deep down inside I know it's the right thing to do for many reasons - all illustrated in The World Peace Diet. But remember, even if I go vegan I am still not a hippie!


  1. Dear Skeptical Husband,

    I applaud your decision to go vegan for 21 days. I hope you choose to stick with it. My boyfriend, who I've been with for over ten years, was a big meat eater when we got together. He, on his own with my influence, went vegan two years ago. He is SO happy with his decision, and it is not hard for him at all, even though he was a regular visitor to McDonalds before.

    It is NOT difficult to be vegan these days, with a little planning. There are many meat analogs available in most supermarkets, first of all, and they are remarkable in the ways they taste quite like "meat." Also, you mentioned you love drinking milk. I used to LOVE skim milk, and consumed it, often, standing in front of the open frig door. Now I love drinking almond milk. There's also rice milk, coconut milk, hemp milk and soy milk. Also, Daiya (and other companies) make great vegan "cheeses" and there are even vegan yogurts, not to mention absolutely delicious vegan ice creams.
    It is SO worth it to live vegan. I live less than 5 miles from a small dairy farm, and I see the mothers living in a ramshackle open shed about 500 yards from their orphaned calves (who are taken from their mothers immediately,) each alone in a small open enclosure. I've visited with them, and it's immensely heartbreaking to see their confused and desperate faces. The calves try to suckle my fingers and the moms mouth the iron railings that are imprisoning them. I think of them always, and especially during the coldest days of winter and hot, humid days of summer. (I live in CT.) I often think that if they were human mothers and children, and I somehow stole them away in the middle of the night, I'd be a hero. As it, very unfortunately, is, with animals legally (and socially) identified as "property" I'd spend some time in jail.
    Believe it or not, I am NOT a "hippy" at all! Even when I worked for Greenpeace about 25 years ago (at the age of 25) I looked very "clean cut" next to my fellow Greenpeacers. (I am a massage therapist, though, and have sometimes seen, and very often felt, other's auras and energy fields.)
    Also, there are many very good vegan cookbooks out there. There's also Vegan for Dummies. :o)
    I think you will find that going vegan is delicious in every way!


    1. Beth, I love your story and you are absolutely right, being vegan has never been easier. I caution about eating too much processed vegan foods though as someone with a nutrition certification. Let's concentrate on eating foods like mother nature created them which is whole. Veggie meats and cheeses are great transition foods however. Funny you mention your boyfriend as mine did exactly the same thing as yours! From McDonald to raw foods and 26# less later and he is a happy vegan!

    2. I understand the importance of eating whole foods, Nicole. I also think that if one is craving the animal foods one has grown up with, anything vegan is much more desirable and healthy. I like to eat as much raw as I can, and LOVE to make fresh juices. My fave juice recipe is a few lemons, a few apples, two bunches of kale, romaine lettuce and ginger. I also make a tasty raw salad dressing, which I love to lace over raw spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and raw walnuts. Love to you and yours'.

  2. Hello Skeptical Husband! I want to congratulate you and bring you my support on your path to Ethical Veganism. I am extremely glad that you were open minded enough to allow yourself to confront these issues. Will's book is a powerful message (I should know as I have changed as well as a result of reading it). Eating Vegan should bring more clarity in your life and align your values with your habits. This is a very powerful transformation. I look forward to reading how that goes for you. Your health should benefit as well.
    My very best,

  3. Thank you God for bringing 'skeptical husbands' into the light so that we may continue living - all of us.

  4. Skeptical husband,
    You say at the end of this review, "...because deep down inside I know it's the right thing to do for many reasons - all illustrated in The World Peace Diet." Yes, that is exactly why to go vegan; because it is simply the right (moral) thing to do. Keep that mindset and the rest is easy. I've been vegan for 5 years now and went from running marathons to ultramarathons shortly after and have never felt better physically or mentally. I did it 100% for the ethics, but reaped many other benefits as a result of simply doing the right thing. Best of luck, from a fellow skeptic, Danny "Non-speciesistBatman" Nichols.

    1. to Anonymous, Beth and Nicole - thank you - namaste.

  5. Hello Skeptical Husband,

    I hope you succeed in your 28 day vegan trial. Once you learn about the suffering other animals endure to give us food that we don't need, that is harming the environment, causing hunger in other people, and is not good for us, it is difficult not to be vegan. You are doing the right thing. Here is an online Vegan Buddies site that might help you http://arzone.ning.com/group/vegan-buddies?xg_source=activity

    I hope you will become convinced that a vegan lifestyle is worthwhile, especially for the animals' sakes.