I guess I should be shocked by the interest The China Study generated from my post on Monday. Judging from my email inbox, twitter stream and even an old fashioned phone call or two it’s safe to say I’m not alone on the plant-based, whole-foods fantasy island. The theme of the questions I’m getting are all similar so I thought I’d follow up and further explain my brief mention of the book The China Study.
Q: Where did you hear about the book The China Study?
A: I first learned about The China Study three years ago which was roughly the same time I first read Michael Pollan’s books In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Truthfully, the book was information overload for me and the thought of being ‘VEGAN’ made me roll my eyes. About a year ago, some friends of ours from church shared how amazing they felt after adopting a completely plant-based diet after reading the book. My interest peaked. Husband’s? Not so much.
Q: Why did you re-read it now?
A: The short answer is the book was on my night stand and I spent the weekend in bed. Fate? Or maybe it was just within reach. The longer answer is despite my eye rolling I truly am drawn to the notion of a plant-based lifestyle.
Q: What does The China Study say that’s so important?
A: Dr. Colin Campbell explains why America’s health is failing. All of the diseases killing our over-fed population are linked to the Standard American Diet. Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, and Obesity can all be linked to the food (or food-like substances as Michael Pollan calls them) we consume. Dr. Campbell believes we can save our health literally at breakfast, lunch and dinner. And on those plates should be plant-based foods. A vegan diet if you want to cut to the chase.
Q: Do you believe what Dr. Campbell writes is true?
A: I don’t know. And clearly the overwhelming majority of America doesn’t know what to think either. Here’s what I do believe: America is in the midst of a full-fledged health care crisis. And the solution isn’t going to come from Congress or pre-packaged in a wonder drug.
Q: Are you going to become vegan?
A: Hell No! I mean, I’m not sure. I have a foot in both camps, so to speak. And it’s confusing. Intellectually I am so there and in my heart of hearts believe that a completely plant-based diet is nutritionally sound, in fact optimal for health. Practically speaking, the thought of eliminating all animal protein — meats, eggs, all dairy overwhelms me. We haven’t had cow’s milk in our house in over a year, but I still buy eggs and goat cheese! Plus, I really like bacon.
Q: But if you are intellectually there, why not just try it?
A: This was actually a text from a dear friend. And it made me really think. Why not? I think what’s been holding me back is that the incentive is so far removed. I don’t have heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, or any of the other epidemics that are plaguing our nation. Although I do need to lose weight. And based purely on health care statistics it’s highly likely I will end up with one of those diseases one day. Why are we so conditioned to treat an ailment rather than prevent it in the first place? It’s the whole buy-now-pay-later attitude that permeates our society. And it’s not just health that has me intrigued with a plant-based lifestyle. I believe in being a good steward of the land God has trusted to us. And the food industry is a far cry from practicing good stewardship. You only need to watch a film like Food, Inc. once to make you think.
So, dear friends have you ever considered a plant-based, vegan lifestyle?
I leave you with a trailer for the upcoming film Forks over Knives.
What do you think?
Barb Cooper says
I was a vegetarian for ten years and a vegan for exactly one month. It was incredibly difficult to sustain, especially on the road (and my job at the time required almost constant travel). I missed cheese like I would miss breathing. (Let me tell you, if you are desperate enough to eat a baked potato with soy cheese, you are DARN desperate.) AND, I didn’t feel any better. I DO feel a lot better on a vegetarian diet, though, and that’s the way I eat (mostly) today. For me, the key is always moderation –as soon as I go to extremes over ANYTHING, it’s a failure for me.
Barb, I remember your vegetarian days. Missed the one month of vegan though. 😉 I don’t believe I would ever do this long-term, but am curious enough to test it for a bit. Like you, I know I feel better on a vegetarian diet but think my happy place would allow egg whites and a bit o cheese too.
Although having gone dairy free for a year, when I have even a small amount my face breaks out like a hormonal teenager. Nice.
Barb Cooper says
Yeah, I did the vegan month before I met you as a bet with Jody Denberg. He caved after a week or two, but he didn’t tell me so I stuck it out. Wasn’t very spiritually inspired. I will tell you that I became a vegetarian as a Lenten discipline and it stuck for ten years until I got pregnant with my first child. Good luck with your 40 days!
Having been a vegetarian for several years and paying attention to food in general, I still got sick. I went gluten free by the FDA’s standards and would still have bouts with stomach ulcer type symptoms. I saw a nutritionists and had a bunch of testing done. He believes in a grain free, meat, fruits and vegetable diet. No legumes or sugar. I shuttered at going back to meat but I can tell you I am healed and have energy I haven’t had prior to kids. The food has to be whole and not processed gmo, meat should be grass fed. Now that really ought to give you more to think about! Haha
Oh my head is spinning from thinking so much! I’ve read Going Against The Grain and other similar books/studies and am equally challenged by knowing what’s right on this issue. I’ve bought only non-GMO products for a long time (and believe in labeling!) and love buying grass fed beef at our local Farmers Market. I do believe that if folks by beef, poultry, fish, etc. they should do so knowing the source of their food. I wrote a post about Whole Foods’ campaign Let’s Retake Our Plates here:
Love the motto: Every bite has a story. If you don’t know the story behind your food, don’t eat it!
I’m so glad you are healed and feeling energy! If it’s working for you, your body is affirming you are doing it right! Keep it up.