American author and public speaker Will Tuttle is on a tour in South African to promote veganism. Picture: Yazeed Kamaldien

Cape Town - It’s the sort of talk many people roll their eyes at, but American author Will Tuttle truly believes that veganism – a diet free of any animal-based foods – can save the planet.

California resident Tuttle is in Cape Town this week to run a two-day workshop based on his book The World Peace Diet.

In 1980, Tuttle adopted a vegan lifestyle and has been advocating the benefits.

“We can transform our society in a positive way by looking deeply into our food choices. And specifically moving away from meat, eggs and dairy products because of the environmental devastation and cruelty involved.

“I’m asking that people take time and understand the consequences of our food choices, especially that involve animal-based foods.

“If people do that they will naturally begin to eat less meat, eggs and dairy products,” said Tuttle.

He links veganism to creating a sustainable planet: “People are realising if they eat animal-based foods, their health is going to suffer.

“They are also realising it’s the biggest contributor to global warming and environmental devastation,” he said.

Tuttle said “social justice, health and environment issues, and the compassion for animals and caring about wildlife” have been motivating people to turn to veganism.

“All these animals that are such a resource are being driven to extinction and it’s because of animal agriculture,” added Tuttle.

The author last year featured in the documentary film Cowspiracy which unpacks how “animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution”.

The film also shows how animal agriculture is “responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean ‘dead zones’, and virtually every other environmental ill”.

“This is the ultimate challenge. It’s a message that people do not want to hear. I respond by trying to live what veganism is. It’s love, kindness and caring. I’m not blaming anyone or saying anyone’s wrong. I’m just saying we don’t need to eat animals anymore.

“It’s devastating the outer landscape of our world and the inner landscape of our consciousness. It’s completely unnecessary.”

Tuttle said he still feels energised in his 60s: “Eating a plant-based diet gives you all the nutrients you need to be healthy.

“Vegans have far lower rates of diseases that are killing people.

“If you want to live a longer, healthier, happier life physically, it’s the best thing you can do. Psychologically, spiritually and emotionally it’s also much better,” he said.

Cape Argus