Reading The China Study is like living in fast forward. I READ the pages. The author LIVES the pages. I spend HOURS. The author spends YEARS. I feel comfortable, the author travels. I sip my herbal tea, the author WORKS. Basically, I put my feet up while the author puts in a GREAT DEAL OF TIME AND EFFORT. To what end? Knowledge and understanding. Both reader and author arrive at the same destination. We both have the SAME knowledge. The SAME understanding. Incredible. How good are books? Man, I'm grateful for them!! Thank you Dr. T. Colin Campbell for living out what I am now reading and knowing!
Guess I need to share with you what I'm learning. What the years/pages actually say! Dr. Campbell is a biochemist to say the least. He held very prominent positions at both Cornell University and Virginia Tech's Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition. His work involved countless experiments including large-scale human studies. He received more than 70 years worth of peer-reviewed funding. Dr. Campbell was able to thoroughly investigate the relationship between nutrition and disease.
Surprise! What astonishes me the most about this book is the content. Light bulb moments everywhere "ding" "ding"..."DING!!" They simply happen on every second page. New information. New information. All the time I'm coming across new information!! Begging the question, why is this information not everywhere? Why didn't I hear about Dr. Colin's research in university when I was studying biochemistry??? Peer-reviewed. Statistically significant. Meta-analysis. Sigh. Never mind why. The most important thing now, is that I'm learning and applying the new information I discover. The discoveries and outcomes from Dr. Campbell's scientific work can not be taken lightly. It's not opinionated. It's weighty. The conclusions from each study are backed again... and again... and again...
Protein. A macro-nutrient like carbohydrate and fat. Though it differs from the other two. Protein is used for growth, repair and maintenance. Not so much energy. It helps us grow healthy hair and nails, muscles and bones, as well as every other tissue and cell in our body... We are able to make all the proteins we need from plant-based foods. As well as animal-based foods. Though, sadly, eating too many animal-based foods comes at a price.
As well as learning about protein I'm learning about cancer. What causes cancer? Cancer has always freaked me out. Even as a naturopath it's the BIG one. The disease you don't want to have to deal with. It's a life or death thing. Well, essentially driving your car to work each morning is a life or death thing. It's a CHOICE we make, accepting the risks involved. However, up until this point I haven't quite known that some diseases, namely cancer, can be a CHOICE. We all know certain diet and lifestyle choices increase our risk of disease. Think of cigarettes. Just look at the packet. Smoking causes..
Cancers of the lung, throat, mouth, tongue, nose, nasal sinus, voice box, oesophagus, pancreas, stomach, liver, kidney, bladder, ureter, bowel, ovary, cervix, and bone marrow (myeloid leukaemia), heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis (occurs in about half of all heavy smokers), stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), type 2 diabetes, peptic ulcer disease, eye diseases, lower fertility in women, low bone density, periodontitis, respiratory symptoms, faster decline in lung function, impaired lung growth, problems during pregnancy and childbirth including restricted foetal growth and low birth weight, ectopic pregnancy, complications that can lead to bleeding in pregnancy and the need for caesarean section delivery, and shortened time in the womb and preterm delivery, erectile dysfunction, tuberculosis disease and death, rheumatoid arthritis, worsening asthma.
If you smoke it's entirely your choice and you accept all the risks that follow. That's the way I'm starting to see eating animal-based foods in excess of 5% of total foods. Cancer can be switched on or off depending on how many animal-based foods you consume. Everyone is not like me though. Obviously!! Not everybody wants to put in the effort to live a long happy healthy life!!!! Active till the day I die. Seriously. It's not everyone's cup of tea. The costs and sacrifices involved in living a health lifestyle may not appeal. If you are one of these people then I respect you. Life is about other things. We're all different. However if you are like me. You want to live long and disease-free and cancer-free then eat a diet that is plant-based (keeping animal-based foods to 5% or lower!) What are animal-based foods you may ask? Any food that has been derived from an animal; like milk, eggs, cheese, beef, chicken, fish etc.
Cancer. Carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue) cause cancer only in the right nutritional conditions. We are very likely exposed to a certain amount of carcinogens on a daily basis. The analogies used in Dr. Campbell's book are helpful! Cancer grows like lawn. Starting small, like seeds planted in the soil, slowly growing and developing into lawn which can then overtake the whole garden!
Stage 1. The carcinogen is absorbed into the body, travels in the blood and is taken up by a cell where it affects the genetic material - the DNA of the cell. New cells are made with altered DNA.
Stage 2. These altered cells grow into many altered cells and are visibly detectable. A tumor forms. This stage can occur over many years. Where as Stage 1. can occur in minutes.
Stage 3. The tumor begins to take over its surroundings. This is when the tumour would be termed malignant. When the tumour breaks away, called metastasizing, the result is death :(
Key findings about cancer..
"Prominant Report by Sir Richard Doll and Sir Richard Peto of the University of Oxford (U.K.) submitted to the U.S. congress summarised many of these studies and concluded that only 2-3% of all cancers could be attributed to genes."
"...nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development"
Key findings on disease (so far... I'm only 1/4 of the way through the book!!!)
- diet and lifestyle are the PRINCIPLE CAUSES of Western diseases, diseases of affluence (cancer, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, chronic respiratory diseases). For example, "90% of new cancer cases diagnosed each year in the Western Pacific Region occur in developing countries".
- one of the strongest predictors of Western diseases is blood cholesterol (not JUST heart disease..)
- animal protein is effective at increasing blood cholesterol, even more so than saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.
- with almost no exceptions plant-based foods are associated with decreasing blood cholesterol.
Tune in next week to learn what else I have discovered!! One more thing. If you are seriously interested in reading The China Study and would like to improve your health.. contact me for a free copy of the book.