Pianist and author, Dr Will Tuttle talks to Angela Paljor about the benefits of following a diet which is free of animal produce

Poor infrastructutre, hard flooring, improper lighting, repeated breeding is not something unknown to the cow sheds — be it big or small.

“We want to encourage people to question the consumption of animal based foods — meat, dairy products and eggs. It will be a platform to explain and discuss the benefits of moving to a completely plant based way of eating,” says Dr Will Tuttle, renowned Pianist and author of the bestselling book The World Peace Diet. He is on a lecture tour covering 9 cities which is being organised in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations.

Tuttle aims to spread awareness about the ongoing environmental crisis, the cruelty meted out to dairy animals and the impact of factory farming on the environment.

He feels that one should opt for a vegan diet as it has a five-fold effect — environmental health, cultural health, physical health, psychological health and spiritual health. “The basic idea is that meat based food is destructive and harmful to all five levels of our health. It’s wasteful and damaging to the environment, they increase violence in our society, lead to food shortages and war. They are also unhealthy — causing many chronic diseases effecting crucial organs  including liver, heart and kidney. Psychological health includes change in attitude, causing disharmony and injustice. Eating meat based food reduces our empathy and compassion and is especially harmful to the sacred feminine dimension of life.” Just as a mother loves, nurses and protects her baby, cows have the same yearning. “But if we steal her milk and her babies it causes a lot of suffering.”

For Tuttle it is a karmic process — what we sow is what we reap. “If we sow so many seeds of violence and disease in animals, it will have a repercussion on human world as well. Today we witness a lot of violence and new diseases being discovered which is directly proportional to our deeds. The idea of ahimsa (non-violence) does not just apply to humans but also to the animals.”

When Tuttle was in college, he was a big time meat lover. Later he started reading Upanishads and Gita, along with other religious text from India. He also read various American transcendentalists who were influenced by the writing of historical Indian literature. “I began to question eating meat based products and became open to vegetarian food. I even lived in a community which was inspired mainly by Buddhism. And I became a vegetarian after that, primarily because I understood the kind of violence that went into it. Indian history has thousand years emphasising spirituality in one’s life. On the contrary, West has always focussed on materialism — because of the large intake of meat and loss of spirituality. I believe that India

will help people follow a vegan life style.”

For the past 37 years, Tuttle has been leading a dairy free diet and “out of all my friends who are of my age, I stand out in terms of good health.” We are not designed to eat dairy products and can gain a lot of weight. It has become an absolute tradition, especially with India’s growing

population. “We can use plant based milk and  fruits — which will be both delicious and nutritious at the same time.

While the dairy industry may bring forward some economical benefits, yet the price paid is huge – in terms of environment, water pollution, water depletion, along with effecting one’s health. “If people till their lands for agriculture rather than using them for grazing cows, they will be better off — there will be more food for everybody. Since the White Revolution, the government has been subsidising milk, leading to exploitation. Even in the US, large corporates are encouraging dairy products so that people get sick which will in turn be beneficial to the pharmaceutical industries.” The White Revolution in India brought by the launch of “Operation Flood” in 1975, under which milk production in the

country increased from 22million tonnes in 1970 to 104 million tonnes in 2008. Currently, India is the largest producer of milk in the world, accounting for 18.5 per cent of world production. Thus, achieving an annual output of 146.3 million tonnes during 2014-15.

But how does he use music to create awareness about environmental crisis? “It opens people’s heart as music is both meditative and uplifting in nature. Also, it’s a universal language — musical melodies, rhythms and harmony. I have been playing piano for ages and it is a form of spiritual expression. It’s something we can all appreciate and a perfect medium to spread the message of love, kindness, caring, abundance, sustainability and freedom. I’m not criticising anyone as the idea of music is about spreading joy.”

Date: 4 Nov 2017