The World Peace Diet
By Will Tuttle PhD
I want to start off by saying something nice about this book. The front cover has a colorful, pretty picture on it. And then there’s. . . well, that’s about it. Moving on.
The basic premise of this book is that violence against animals leads to violence against people. I will actually agree that people who sadistically abuse animals often fit the pattern that ends in human violence. This author goes further, however, by asserting that any animal-based agriculture is de facto violent to animals, and anyone who eats or is in any way an accomplice to animal-based farming will become violent also. Anyone familiar with the scientific method knows you only need one counter example to shoot a theory down. Shooting this one down is almost too easy. The Amish and Mennonites present a major problem for his theory.
At this point a trend is emerging that continues throughout the book. Tuttle repeatedly ignores any inconvenient evidence that does not suit his agenda. He insists that confining animals in any way is an act of terrorism. Confined animals are tormented animals. Therefore, according to Tuttle, since factory farms are evil, veganism is the only dietary solution.
Tuttle never even considers small grass-based, humane farms. As far as I can tell he has never been to a farm anything like Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm. I’ve been there many times. I’ve seen chickens that were completely free-range and able to bolt if they didn’t like it there. They didn’t go anywhere. All the animals there look quite content and happy. However, this option would muddy Tuttle’s agenda, so he ignores it.
Tuttle then attempts to add credibility to veganism by claiming it is promoted by major world religions, and he makes several references to Gandhi. True to form, there is no mention of the fact that while Gandhi tried very hard to achieve pure veganism, he simply couldn’t do it. He had to resort to raw goat milk to survive.
Then there is Christianity and we are told that Jesus was a vegan. It is a mystery to me how anyone can make such an assertion when one of Christ’s more well known feats was feeding five thousand people with bread and fish. Tuttle goes on to insist that the Apostle Paul was not a legitimate, good Christian because he was not a vegan. I’m sure Christians worldwide will be intrigued to learn this.
We next see this incredible, selective scholarship and bias go to work on nutrition basics. We are told about the “myth of complete protein.” Tuttle claims that animal fats contain bad trans fat. He provides no reference for this “fact” and I doubt he could find one if he tried. He might stumble onto the fact that butter does technically contain natural trans fat but it is not the harmful form that he and everyone else warns against. There is no evidence that he knows anything about this distinction, however.
The pattern continues as the author moves on to other specific nutrients. Vitamin B12 is a subject he clearly can’t avoid. His claim is that B12 is abundant in the soil and we could get it from plants except for industrial processing methods. If this is true, am I to believe no vegan-oriented farmers out there are willing to produce veggies that are not subjected to industrial cleaning?
Tuttle continues by pointing out that the vegan diet is higher in sixteen out of nineteen nutrients than the Standard American Diet. Now there’s high praise. Nutrients that are conspicuously absent from his list include the ones Weston Price found to be so crucial to real health—the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2. Tuttle does not say one word about them. I would guess he doesn’t dare.
We learn later that testosterone is a nightmare. Come to think of it, I didn’t notice much evidence of testosterone in the writing or style of the book in general. There is so much more I could say, but that wouldn’t be very nice.
The thumb is very DOWN on this book which is packed with sloppy logic full of holes, the occasional scientific façade, and oft-repeated emotionally charged drivel. If this is one of the better examples of vegan thinking it should stand as a testament to why you do not want to sacrifice your brain cells or general health to veganism. I will concede that if everyone in the world adopts a vegan diet, there will be world peace by the time the last one of us drops dead from malnutrition.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2010.