Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: The China Study

Wow. Where to even begin? This book is a must-read for EVERYONE. Well, vegans can skip it because they are already preventing everything from heart disease, cancer, alzheimer's, MS, etc. by eliminating animal protein and eating a plant based diet.

This is the basic idea of the book: eating a diet high in animal protein is linked to the progression of many diseases: called "diseases of affluence" in the book. For example, many studies have been done showing that mice fed a diet of 20% animal protein developed more cancer than mice fed a 15% diet...the mice that were fed 5% animal protein had very little cancer. Amazing.

Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune diseases....all preventable with a plant based diet.

Now there is no doubt that we as Americans are the fattest and unhealthiest people in the world. This is linked to our diet, which is linked to disease. It seems like people either don't want to believe that their diet is causing their health problems or they are so confused by all of the contradictory "scientific" information out there. In the book, T. Colin Campbell goes into great detail about how the big food industry works to try and confuse the public and keep us ignorant to the true health effects of eating their food. The dairy industry, meat industry, egg industry...they find ways to spin or hide the truth. The scariest part is that the dairy industry has almost all of our kids drinking milk by the time they first step foot in school and teaches them that milk is healthy for them! Never have I been so happy that a dairy allergy in childhood kept me from growing up drinking milk! (We drink soy, rice, or almond milk here and have for years based on my belief that milk from a cow doesn't make sense for humans to drink.)

There has been a lot in the news lately about the breast cancer "3-Day Walk for the Cure," and every time I see a commercial for it I think to myself, if all these women went home and changed their diet and their family's diet to a plant-based diet that they would be preventing cancer of all kinds. Too bad the drug companies don't really want you to prevent a disease- then they can't sell you a cure. See, surgery, pills, operations, etc. make companies money. Yes, hospitals are companies! Campbell explains everything in his book.

I read the book and approximately 1/4 way in he had me convinced that I needed to change my family's diet. I was unwittingly having them eat their way towards higher chances for so many diseases simply by feeding them foods that I *thought* were healthy!

Lean turkey meat
sandwich cold cuts

Prior to reading this book the list above would have looked like a list full of foods affording great sources of protein that I would feed my family on any given day (AAAHHHH!). It's protein all right: animal protein! The kind that increases risk for disease. As Cambell says in the book, there is nothing found in meat that is not found in plants but without any cholesterol or saturated fat! Nothing. And with plants you are getting extra vitamins, nutrients, fiber...the list goes on.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is simply life-changing. For the better! As Dr. Dean Ornish says on the cover of the book, "This is one of the most important books about nutrition ever written-reading it may save your life."

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