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The China Study: Food for Thought

The China StudyLast month I read The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. I had been putting it off for some time, partially because I had been afraid of what I would learn. Working within health and wellness, however, I knew I’d be doing myself, as well as my readers a disservice if I didn’t push my “fears” aside, and crack the book.

The China Study has been acclaimed my countless scientists, doctors, and experts in health and nutrition for its comprehensive look at nutrition and its impact on our health. The premise of the book is that western disease (read: cancer, diabetes – both Type I and II, obesity, autoimmune disease including arthritis, and even mental illness such as Alzheimer‘s), is prevalent in societies that consume large amounts of animal protein, with the worst offender being dairy – casein protein. More specifically, if an individual is genetically predisposed to get any of these diseases, their risk for getting them increases with the level of animal protein in their diet. On the other hand, those individuals who consume whole, plant-based diets are less likely to fall victim to these diseases. Why? It is about gene expression.

Many people will argue that they have bad genes, that they are genetically predisposed to get these diseases. However, gene expression is what causes the disease to manifest itself. And the China Study argues that animal protein increases the likelihood of gene expression. For someone who has always loved animal protein, including cheese and meat, this was a hard pill to swallow, but the research presented in Dr. Campbell’s work is beyond convincing. What’s more, Dr. Campbell admits that he too, who grew up on a dairy farm eating animal protein throughout most of his life, never imagined that the food he was used to eating was such a problem.

Although the book is called The China Study, the research goes far beyond Asia. Studies around the subject of animal protein’s impact on gene expression have been done all over the world, including right here in the United States. Dr. Campbell argues that the secret to solving and “curing” much of western disease doesn’t lie in a drug or science, it lies in nutrition. Food is Medicine.

I’ve been slowly moving my diet from full omnivore to vegetarian over the last year. Now, I’m starting to focus mostly on a whole, plant-based diet. My theory is: what harm is there in doing this? Why wouldn’t I try to decrease my risk for disease? I love fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes and grains, so why not eat more of them and less of the foods that may put me at risk? Whether or not you completely believe the research presented in the China Study, we all know that there is indisputable evidence that plant based foods positively impact our health.

Because I think that The China Study and its message is so important, I’m going to probably write about this in the upcoming weeks, delving into various aspects I think are worthy of your time in reading.

Have you read the China Study? What are your thoughts on the subject?

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