Yesterday Luisa and I went to a lecture that I’d been waiting for a long time. I mean, I wasn’t waiting specifically for this lecture, because it came a bit as a surprise, but for the opportunity to be able to assist a lecture on this subject. I’m talking about Will Tuttle, Ph.D., and his presentation of his best seller book, The World Peace Diet, one of the best books about veganism out there. When I met Luisa, I immediately lent her the book. The beauty of it touched her so deeply that she also said it was one of the best books she had ever read! It was first published in 2004 and, to this day, Will Tuttle keeps traveling the world giving lectures on it. How amazing is that?
So why did I looked forward to assisting his lecture? Well, we always want to be near people who inspire us, right? And this is one of those peoples. When I read The World Peace Diet, 4 years ago, I was no longer eating animals, maybe some pastry with eggs and milk now and then, but, eventually, I think I knew I was going to exclude all animal products from my diet. This means that much of the content of this book was not news to me. The reason this is one of the best books on the subject I’ve ever read is not the fact that it points out the suffering animals go through at the factory farms and the detrimental health aspects we humans also suffer from eating animals, but the relevance given to the interconnectedness of all aspects of life.
It’s not the scope of this post to give a summary of the book, but what I mean with the “interconnectedness of all aspects of life” (a Buddhist idea, you might think) is that what we put out into the world, we receive accordingly. So it’s not just our physical health that’s potentially at risk, but also our mental, emotional and spiritual health. And also the health of our societies, of humanity and the planet. Any vegan or even vegetarian has clear ideas and knowledge about this connection. As we sow, so shall we reap.
The World Peace Diet is wonderfully and beautifully written. Even when a particular subject in the book deals with suffering and disease, you can feel the elevation and beauty of the message. This is, after all, a book of peace and beauty. This message is so well presented throughout the pages of the book that it wasn’t possible for me not to feel it when reading it. It was like a blessing descending upon me. Ultimately, the message is so simple, you just have to use your intelligence, your ability to make connections, to see the whole picture.
If we look at animals in general, we realize that there is probably no more fundamental and essential teaching given by parent to offspring than how to feed.
The human child is a well-trained child, that is, it absorbs the attitudes and qualities of the society it was born into without questioning it (at a tender age, he can’t question anything at all), perpetuating the main patterns and principles the society has. This is what Will Tuttle calls “indoctrination” – our old herding culture tries to replicate itself in each generation, primarily through the family and secondarily through the religious, educational, economic and governmental institutions. That’s what every living organism yearns for: to extend its life through its offspring. This is perfectly normal. The problem is that this particular indoctrination extinguishes biodiversity and wildlife, devastates great amounts of land, slowly destroys the planet, it’s not sustainable and accounts for the majority of diseases people have. It shuts our eyes and our ability to make connections. It makes our minds dull. We don’t want to know how our food got into our plates, we just want to eat it without thinking. We practice disconnectedness at every meal. But this is not our fault. We were born and raised in a society where these values prevail. Remember, the most precious ritual our culture has is the meal. We learned that through our family when mom, dad and we sat together at the table. It’s a beautiful ritual, but not always conscious. To be truly conscious, we would be aware of the origin of our food, aware of the benefits (or not) our body would get and we would also give thanks for having food that nurtures our body and our mind.
We have to wake up and see the web of interconnectedness all around us and to see the simplicity and beauty of life. More and more people are making this conscious shift, whether it be for health reasons, for the animals, for compassion towards all living creatures, or just for the sake of feeling better.
If you have not read The World Peace Diet, vegan or not, you should definitely do it! Will Tuttle speaks from a deep awareness, with a humble and compassionate attitude, that will make you feel empowered to pursue your true purpose in life. Why true purpose? Well, you can only go through that path when you have the ability to make connections and when you have a sense of spiritual development or spiritual unfolding within yourself. You have set a goal for yourself, you’re always going to try to be better tomorrow than you are today. This is only possible when your mind is not dulled by some indoctrination, by the flesh of dead animals, when you’re not confined to patterns inherited, not established by you. And since our meals are the most valuable ritual our culture has, being truly aware of your food choices is just the beginning. Veganism is just a starting point to a more rich, beautiful, simple, self-assured, spiritual, connected, conscious and blessed life!
Thank you, Will!