Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The World Peace Diet - A Non-Hippie Review
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.
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!