This is an odd title for Blue Planet Green Living. We don’t generally say flat out that our readers should buy a product, though we often make recommendations. We’re making an exception for The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony, by Will Tuttle, Ph.D., however.
Why? Two reasons, really.
Pass (by) the Meat, Please
The first, and most important reason to buy The World Peace Diet on March 12 (or any time) is that it will very likely reshape your thinking about the foods you choose to consume. Unless you’re already bypassing meat and dairy products, your diet isn’t as healthy as it should be.
I know, those of us in the US are drilled from a young age to believe we have to eat according to the USDA guidelines (remember the Food Pyramid and its many later permutations?). But those guidelines don’t take into account what’s happened to the foods we eat: The highly processed nature of the grains in packaged foods. The subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics administered to livestock. The filthy conditions in meat-packing plants, where E. coli and other bacteria and viruses contaminate the meat as it goes through processing.
The inhumane treatment of livestock and laying hens is another whole can of worms: The crowded, unhealthy conditions animals are raised in (think battery cages for hens and chickens, narrow farrowing crates for mother pigs, restrictive veal crates for baby calves, and the list goes on…). The brutal way chickens’ have their necks cut while hanging upside down from their legs on a fast-moving conveyor. The skinning alive of steers when the stun gun and the knife haven’t yet killed them. Chickens dropped alive into boiling water to loosen their feathers. And more, and more, and more.
If you’re reading this far, you probably already care about the animals whose lives are sacrificed for your diet. Perhaps you even have a few meatless days each week. If this is true for you, reading The World Peace Diet will no doubt push you farther along toward being a vegetarian — and perhaps even a vegan. Are you brave enough to consider such a radical change? It’s not easy to make the switch, until you learn how much difference it can make to your psyche and your health.
Improve Your Health
Consider these quotes from Chapter 5 of The World Peace Diet, “The Intelligence of Human Physiology”:
Besides clogging our body’s veins and arteries and contributing to heart disease and strokes, [the cholesterol and saturated fat in our blood] may block the capillaries that carry blood to individual cells, resulting in cells that are weak, lacking oxygen and nutrients, and unable to completely cleanse the toxins and carbon dioxide that are by-products of their aerobic processes. Swimming in this unhealthy environment, they may begin, over time, to degenerate and die off.
One example of this is the increasingly common occurrence of macular degeneration, which causes severe vision impairment and blindness, mostly in older people….
This clogging of brain capillaries by animal fat and cholesterol may also contribute to the diminished level of actual intelligence in cultures that eat diets high in animal foods. Clogged brain capillaries may reduce the brains’s efficiency and hinder its ability to make connections effectively….
Clogged pathways may also directly or indirectly cause low energy, chronic fatigue and a host of other ailments. In adult males, for example, the arteries in the vascular tissue of the genitals can become clogged by the saturated fat and cholesterol of an animal-based diet, diminishing the natural ability of many men to have an erection….
Kidney disease, kidney stones, and gallstones are another direct result of eating animal foods, since the kidneys have the difficult task of purifying our fatty, acidic blood….
The skin, the largest organ of elimination, is also severely burdened by the toxins in animal foods, and many of the skin maladies and allergic reactions we experience may be attributable to the body’s attempt to cleanse itself by passing toxins out through the skin. Our skin may be adversely affected by the excess fat and cholesterol in dairy products, which can clog the pores and may contribute to acne, allergic reactions, and excess body odor….
The cholesterol and large concentrations of saturated fat in animal foods increase our risk for obesity and the whole panorama of health problems to which being overweight contributes, such as diabetes and cancer….
When we get our protein from animal sources, we bring into our bodies much higher levels of toxic contaminants than we do by eating plant foods directly, because livestock feed grains are heavily sprayed with pesticides and these poisons tend to concentrate in animal flesh, milk, and eggs….
It is also well known that animal foods are heavily contaminated with viruses and bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, E. coli, campylobacter, and streptococcus, which can be harmful if not fatal to people, especially given our already overworked immune systems.
If this isn’t enough to make you rethink meat, there’s plenty more in this book that will. But Tuttle isn’t trying to scare the reader with unsupported statements designed to manipulate the truth to his point of view. He provides fact after fact to support his claims, to the tune of 56 references just in the 28 pages of Chapter 5. (Most other chapters have fewer citations, but they’re all well documented.)
But the book isn’t just about the perils to your health of an omnivorous diet.
As Tuttle says, The World Peace Diet “helps you understand the power of food, and the cultural mentality reinforced by our practice of food, for many levels of healing — physical, psychological, cultural, ecological, and spiritual.”
Why March 12?
I said there were two reasons to buy Tuttle’s book on March 12. The second reason is that for purchases made on March 12 only, many sponsors have donated excellent bonus gifts and prizes to anyone who buys The World Peace Diet.
These include downloadable audiobooks, recipes, music, e-books, discount coupons and the chance to enter drawings for some terrific prizes (like a weekend getaway!). There are over 50 gifts and prizes in all, and anyone who buys the book on March 12 (only) is eligible to receive them.
Here’s the link to this special campaign: http://worldpeacediet.org/promo.htm. You don’t have to purchase it through this link to qualify, but be sure to go read the information so that you know how to enter the drawing for prizes.
Again, from Dr. Will Tuttle: “You can help strengthen the forces of health, truth, transparency, sustainability, and peace by buying a copy of The World Peace Diet today (for yourself or to give to a library or friend). This will spread the message of compassion for all life. It’s a great way to help animals, the Earth, hungry people, and all of us — and to spread the message we believe in.”
When Joe and I heard Will Tuttle speak in Iowa City in late 2008, we were incredibly moved. The truth is, we both have struggled with our eating choices since that evening. I’m now eating a vegetarian diet, and many days — though not all — I eat a vegan diet. Joe is a bit more flexitarian in his eating preferences, generally conforming to relatives’ meal choices when we visit (I bring my own food or eat just the vegetables, fruits, and nuts), though his preference is to be vegetarian. He, too, aspires to be vegan.
We don’t claim to be perfect, and we’re no one’s role models. But we are on our personal journey toward a better, healthier lifestyle and a healthier, more humane diet.
I can’t say I’ve always been happy that I attended Tuttle’s lecture. “A mind once stretched never goes back,” a wise teacher once told me. And my mind has truly been stretched. I can’t go back to eating unconsciously, without considering the suffering of the life forms that I am devouring.
As I asked earlier, “Are you brave enough to consider such a radical change?” You don’t have to promise anything. Just read the book, and make up your own mind. Then let us know what you decide.
The Fine Print
Blue Planet Green Living does not receive any kickback or percentage of your purchase through Dr. Tuttle’s link. We are, however, Amazon affiliates, so any purchases made through Amazon ads on our website do contribute a small percentage to the operating budget of Blue Planet Green Living. (Oh, and we purchased our own copy of the book in 2008.)
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Last week, when I wrote a review of the Bora Bora Organic Almond Sunflower Bar, I mentioned that I’d purchased another bar as well. The Larabar Apple Pie bar is, according to my 29-year-old son, Aaron, “Not as bad as you would expect from an all-natural bar. Pretty cinnamony, with a little less apple taste than cinnamon.” Overall, he said, “It had more flavor than you would expect from something without artificial flavors added.”
I suppose that’s high praise from a guy who thinks Mountain Dew is the nectar of the gods. For comparison, he also had tried the Bora Bora bar, and reported “It had no taste. It was very bland.”
But we differ. Joe and I both loved the Bora Bora bars because of all the nuts and fruits they contain. The Larabars are good, too, in our opinions. They’re made of a mixture of dried dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon. The ingredients are formed into a dense bar that is packed with flavor and nutrition.
I’m not a fan of cinnamon, so that flavor is a bit heavy for me. Joe, who loves that spice, finds it perfectly satisfying. Although the texture is primarily like dried fruit smooshed together (in a very pleasant way, mind you), there’s still enough of a crunch from the occasional nut to appeal to those of us who like a firm texture. In fact, it’s the nuttiness that I like most of all.
So, what about the nutritional element? Here’s what the Larabar folks have to say about their Apple Pie Bar:
- All natural, unprocessed
- No added sugars or sweetners
- No sulfites
- No fillers
- No preservatives
- Gluten free
- Dairy free
- Soy free
The Larabar Apple Pie Bar has a bit of fat — 10g, to be exact. And half the bar’s total calories (180) are fat (90). Not great. But no transfat, so that’s a plus.
On the other hand, it’s real food, not artificial sugars and fluff. And it has actual vitamins and minerals, as opposed to a lot of the other snacks I might try.
At $27.99 for 16 bars, the cost is $1.75 each. But deduct the $4.19 cash back (for shopping through your own eCommerce site), and we’re down to $1.49 each. (Shipping charges apply if your total order is less than $167.) Most likely, you can also find Larabars at your local co-op or health food store.
Overall, though the Larabar is more expensive than a candy bar, it’s no contest when you compare the effects of the Larabar ingredients vs. typical junk food on your body.
Have you tried a Larabar? Let us know what you think.
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The following book review contains material that may be disturbing to some readers, due to references to animal cruelty that are an integral part of the book under discussion. — Publisher
Generally, I’m put off by diet books, because most seem to favor eating one food group over the other; which, commonsense-wise, doesn’t make much sense. Yet Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, was a provocative read exactly because it’s not your average diet book. This short, but extremely powerful, book may have a cheeky overtone, but at its heart you can tell the authors are passionate about what they preach. Although factory farming and animal cruelty are the driving points behind their book, no detail escapes these self-proclaimed skinny bitches. Alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, bleached flour, chemical additives like aspartame and many others, also make the no-no food list.
The authors’ philosophy is to get back to the basics — the time before artificial flavorings and harmful chemicals were incorporated into our foods. Freedman and Barnouin have devised a simple plan to help people lose weight by focusing on this traditional ideology: You are what you eat.
What does that mean exactly? To lose weight you must eat healthy. Or, in the authors’ words, “every time you put crap in your body, you are crap.” But Skinny Bitch is more about a lifestyle rather than a traditional diet, as it advocates veganism and natural foods.
If you are not already a vegan — or, at minimum, a vegetarian — chances are this book will make you want to become one. Skinny Bitch extensively explores the corruption and cruelty involved in the meat industry. You’ll read heart-wrenching testimonies from slaughterhouse workers guilty of the worst type of crimes against animals. Traditionally, so-called “humane” slaughter methods include stunning an animal by shooting a metal bolt into its skull before hanging it upside down and slitting its throat. Yet, the accounts also tell of unspeakable killings — hogs beaten to death with metal pipes or stabbed in the face with a butcher’s knife, cows raped with broomsticks by the workers, and baby chicks stomped to death. Despite the fact that I was already aware of some of the practices that go on behind closed doors at slaughterhouses, the book evoked in me an extreme sadness and anger. Certainly, this type of serial killer identity must not be true for every slaughterhouse employee, but it sure seemed so to me after reading Skinny Bitch.
The authors also bring to light new reasons to go vegan. Even though I am already a vegetarian, Freedman and Barnouin made powerful arguments about why vegetarianism is not enough, if you want to live a healthy, cruelty-free life. One part of the book that especially struck me was the description of cows’ udders being milked by metal clamps. I had always known this, but what I personally failed to consider was that no one is supervising this. The cows’ udders become sore and infected, and pus forms around the area; yet the machines keep milking, pulling dead white blood cells and pus from the udder, along with the milk. Not only is it cruel, it’s just plain gross.
Many people also know that animals are both fed and come into contact with hormones, pesticides, chemicals, and steroids throughout their lives. But what you might not know is that even unfertilized eggs contain these harmful substances. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol or uses drugs, her unborn child is affected by those substances; similarly, antibiotics and other chemicals injected into hens are found in the eggs they lay that are sold for human consumption.
Skinny Bitch also explores how health organizations, such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), put business first and the health and well being of people second. One example in the book tells how milk was included in the Food Pyramid solely because milk is such a profitable market.
Freedman and Barnouin discuss how the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine claimed that the USDA Dietary Guidelines were racist for including dairy products so prominently on the Food Pyramid, since most nonwhites are lactose-intolerant. According to Johnson & Johnson, lactose intolerance affects “over 50 percent of the Hispanic population, 75 percent of Native Americans, 80 percent of African Americans, and 90 percent of Asian Americans.“ Yet, instead of advocating for alternatives, such as rice milk or soy milk, the dairy industry uses the USDA guidelines to convince consumers that milk products are an essential element in their diet. They effectively push people into buying and taking Lactaid, manufactured by McNeil Nutritionals (a Johnson & Johnson company) so they can continue consuming (i.e., purchasing) milk products. The reader learns that similar practices are all too common in the meat industry, as well.
Skinny Bitch preaches using your head to think about what you are eating, as opposed to giving in to what government agencies and the agricultural industry want you to think about their product. Above all else, Freedman and Barnouin tell you to think. Meat is simply dead, decomposing flesh. Processed foods have been stripped of their nutrition. Cow’s milk and goat’s milk were designed for offspring of their own kind. An egg is designed to be fertilized and become an embryo. When you actually do consider it, none of the food you once found appealing remains so. The authors encourage you to find alternatives. If you are accustomed to eating animals, choose another source of protein. If you like refined sugars and foods filled with artificial flavors, consider something natural and healthier, such as agave nectar. Check ingredient lists and make your own decisions about whether to trust a food that contains ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Again, use your head.
Perhaps you are considering going vegan and aren’t sure what to cook. As a bonus, the end of Skinny Bitch includes a month’s worth of vegan recipes you can easily make. If the suggestions at the end of the book aren’t enough for you, be sure to check-out the sequel, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!) to get an even more extensive step-by-step recipe guide for healthy, cruelty-free meals.
Skinny Bitch is a book everyone should read. It transcends traditional diet ideology by teaching that being healthy is more important than being skinny, and to always love the body you have. By engaging in a vegan lifestyle, you can become the person you always wanted to be, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. No longer will you feel guilty about contributing to animal rights violations or overindulging in unhealthy foods. Your body is your temple, and after reading this book, you will certainly treat it that way.
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When it comes to eating, the majority of Americans confuse complicity with simplicity. The term “meat” encompasses a vast array of products: poultry, pork, beef, all terms that mask its origin. We don’t call cabbage or celery by another name, there is a celery stalk, or celery root, or celery leaf. On the other hand, food from a pig is called bacon, pork chops, or ham. The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony, by Will Tuttle, Ph.D., seeks to explain what meat is, and what its impact is on the environment and our bodies.
The impact is decidedly negative. If this book were to be read by everyone, and its argument accepted, the world would become vegan. Calling the vegan movement a “revolution,” Tuttle challenges the root of Western culture, taking it on as a violent and oppressive civilization, and tracing our eating habits from Homer, to the Bible, to Constantine, and then to what he calls the “military-industrial-meat-medical-media complex.” To consider veganism a revolution is idealist, but appealing, because Tuttle has a vision for a better human society. And that is why the book is worth reading.
Imagine everything that is wrong with society: drug abuse, domestic abuse, poverty, pollution, over-consumption, environmental destruction, government corruption, inequality, and depression. Imagine there is one answer to those problems. The The World Peace Diet argues that a simple change in what we eat, an easier change than most people acknowledge or accept, will eliminate all of these problems. Although it is a difficult idea to digest, there is ample evidence that our treatment of animals is replicated in how we treat humans — a theory repeatedly reinforced by the Pythagorean principle, or the Golden Rule.
What is at stake, Tuttle insists, is our spirituality, wholeness, benevolence. The depravity of humans is caused by our persistent oppression of animals, whose spirits we cognitively deny, because we deny it physically at meal times. This argument seems fallible. Looking at Native American culture, we see how omnivores existed in harmony with their environment. There is an important difference, however. Through observation of society, in the time I was reading this book, seeing chicken sandwiches in vending machines, yogurt in plastic containers, and the hollowness with which these precious products of flesh were consumed, I became aware that the disconnect that pervades society on many levels — political, intellectual, artistic — begins with what we eat.
“Looking undistractedly into the animal-derived foods produced by modern methods, we inescapably find misery, cruelty, and exploitation. We therefore avoid looking deeply at our food if it is of animal origin, and this practice of avoidance and denial, applied to eating, our most basic activity and vital ritual, carries over automatically into our entire public and private life. We know, deep down, that we cannot look anywhere, for if we do, we will have to look deeply into the enormous suffering our food choices directly cause.”
This statement is a challenge to anyone who considers himself capable of looking deeply. If you can look deeply, look at what you eat. Accept that animals are capable of suffering, that when you order chicken, a chicken suffers, not only death, but prior to that, a life of (often) extreme abuse. Tuttle asks that we see animals as spiritual equals, not as objects or property. It is a challenge to stop the hypocrisy of theory, and embrace practice. Veganism is a mode of thought that requires action, so while you may sin and still be Catholic, you cannot eat eggs and be vegan.
Tuttle blames the herding culture from which we are derived for instilling oppression in our habits. A true revolution, he insists, must overturn this influence, specifically what began as the domestication of animals, and spread to wars fought over grazing land. Today we are fighting a “War on Terror” that is strongly linked with oil, a resource necessary for production of animal feed in mass quantities. If we were vegan, the logic implies, we would not be a violent nation. The incredulity some express at that statement, a vehement objection, does not suggest the falseness of it, but instead the dependency on violence and oppression. America has overcome its dependence on slavery, finally recognized women’s right to vote (some 60 years ago), and there is no reason animals should not be accepted in the progression toward a liberal world.
“In a herding culture, nothing is more subversive to the established order of exploitation and privilege than consciously refusing to participate in buying and eating the animal foods that define our culture.” The culture he refers to is one dominated by the military-industrial-meat-medical-media complex. These industries profit from the production of meat, the book argues, at the expense of our lives. The chain of influence — from meat processors lobbying in government, to the medical industries denying the viability of a vegan diet because of the profitability of clogged arteries, to the commercials that perpetuate the societal norm that humans need meat to survive, which tells us to eat meat, but does so for selfish reasons. The destruction, personal and environmental, of these influences, can be overturned by individual decisions.
The health benefits of eating vegan are enough reason to make the switch. Granted, you must first accept that most of what you have been told about a proper diet was a lie designed to squeeze money from you. Disabilities such as heart disease; diabetes; breast, prostate, and colon cancer; gallstones; strokes; and liver and kidney disease may be caused by diets high in animal products. Vegans typically risk having insufficiencies of three vitamins/minerals. Meat eaters, however, may lack closer to seven. They may also lack sex-hormone-binding globulin, which increases testosterone in the blood and increases likelihood of aggressive-destructive behavior.
This is only a brief overview of the health problems for humans. On the opposite side of the fence is a system that exploits living animals and destroys them. This is our food, and the toxicity of animal-based food is terrific. Fish, for example, especially those living in polluted water, “absorb and intensely concentrate toxins like PCBs, dioxins, and heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic.” The same occurs for animals fed food sprayed with pesticide and grown with fertilizer, and enhanced with animal flesh from fish or any type of livestock.
There is also excrement to consider. Livestock produces 10,000 pounds of manure for every person in America. Where does it go? Some of it ends up in your stomach. The lax conditions in meat processing plants enable about any unbelievably disgusting thing you can imagine. Entrails and manure are reportedly shoveled off the floor and mixed with the meat being processed into hot dogs or bologna. If it doesn’t go into our food, it eventually ends up in the water, which helps explain the 7,000 square meter dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
The environmental costs of meat are appalling. The “Standard American Diet,” as issued by the US government, produces 1/15 as much protein per acre as a plant-based diet would. One pound of beef requires 5,200 gallons of water to produce, while a vegan meal requires 300. The waste production of livestock is 130 times greater than human waste. Methane from cows is a more important cause of pollution than carbon dioxide from cars. Natural habitats are destroyed for pastures. 521,000 square miles of US forests have been cleared to graze livestock, and that number grows by 6,000 every year.
The human expense of eating animal flesh, the effect on humanity, is tragic. Tuttle compares some obese men incapable of sex to Butterball turkeys. This is the justice of nature, that while we force feed the turkeys until they can barely stand, humans assume a similar posture by their consumption. I say it is tragic, because until we knowingly turn our head from the problem, we have not been made aware of a choice.
Eating animals has been a requisite of Western society for thousands of years. Reductionism, scientific and religious, are cited as causes for our oppressive habits. “The fourth-century emperor Constantine made Christianity the Roman state religion, that its earlier vegetarian emphasis was completely repressed… Constantine reportedly ordering his men to pour molten lead down the throats of any Christians who refused to eat animal flesh.”
Reductionism, Tuttle argues, permits the domination of animals through conventional, but outmoded, thought. The oversimplification of life and justification of eating flesh based on the principles our ancestors followed must be abolished. The glory and righteousness of man are more questionable the more we insist we are glorious and righteous. To accept animals as partners of the planet, we step beyond the theory of man’s goodness, overcome our depravity, and achieve the practice of goodness. On the other hand, if we choose to continue eating animal products, we reinforce ancient wrongs.
One example of the suffering we cause is the chapter, “Reviving Sophia,” the sacred feminine. The chapter discusses how dairy products destroy the respect for women, which our culture persistently searches for. With every baby calf stolen from her mother and killed, with every gallon of milk stolen from enslaved and broken mothers, with every thrust of the waking sperm gun… we kill the sacred feminine within ourselves.” This is an illustrative example, because the subject is one that is discussed more frequently; and, yet, the objectification of women continues on television, in magazines, and in relationships.
Once again, the connection might seem unlikely. After all, women have made significant progress in gaining respect, recognition, and equality. It is clear, however, especially among lower socio-economic groups, that women are subjugated to oppressive ideas of men that limit women to objects for sexual pleasure and domestic chore. I think again of the yogurt in the plastic cups, and how disconnected the food is, how far the cow’s milk is removed from its purpose. Aside from the research that suggests cow’s milk is nutritionally unhealthy for humans, the more significant idea is how dairy affects our psychology.
Since becoming vegan, barely more than a month ago, I can attest that I already feel more connected with living humans and animals, and am more involved in the life of the planet and removed from the destruction of it. Eating has become a greater pleasure than ever; my body, its cells, feel more connected to the earth; I look at my hand and see an open palm, not a fist. I am convinced that there is little to lose by refusing to eat animal products. Instead, I am proud, if not thrilled, to consider myself a part of a revolution, although I do not agree with the book’s claim that the only way for a spirit to be liberated is to not eat meat. I still do not condemn eating meat as evil, but I do see it as an unnecessary and costly act.
After reading The World Peace Diet, you will understand the excitement of eating, living, and being part of the revolution that fellow humans are beginning: to strive for greater harmony, to seek for inner peace, and to not yield to ancient and oppressive ideals. We are, I believe, on our way to a more united planet, not only for humans, but for all living creatures.
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