Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
Before reading the China study I thought it would be a hard slog, lots of long worded research, tricky concepts and that I'd have to concentrate on it all loads. Not, maybe the perfect holiday read. Yet having had no time to read pre-holiday I took it all the same. And actually I really enjoyed it. I was intrigued, engaged and interested from beginning to end and would recommend to everyone with health concerns especially, but really anyone wanting to continue with or get back to good health. Yes there's lots of research discussed, and yes I had to concentrate - but it was well written and made compelling reading. I promised a good friend I'd do a short summary but should anyone wish to read the full version I did treat myself to a second copy so I could keep it and lend it out too... having my book and reading it!
The China study isn't the only research in the book referred to although it is certainly very impressive. A study of diet and health involving 650 000 workers looking at death rates for 12 different types of cancer within 2400 counties in China and 880 million of their citizens. The findings demonstrated that in China cancer was geographically localised - certain cancers were far more common in some areas than others, and, in some counties the rates of cancers were 100 times greater than those with the lowest rates. 'Western' diseases - those of affluence (or nutritional extravagance) such as cancers (colon, lung, breast, leukemia, childhood brain, stomach and liver), diabetes and coronary heart disease - occured more where there was higher cholesterol, higher animal fat intake, lower fibre intake, higher animal protein. T. Colin Campbell states:
'The same low-animal protein, low fat diet that helps prevent obesity also allows people to reach their full growth potential while working other wonders as well. It better regulates blood cholesterol and reduces heart disease and a variety of cancers.'
He later says: 'There is no such thing as a special diet for cancer and a different, equally special diet for heart disease. The evidence now amased from researchers around the world shows that the same diet that is good for the prevention of cancer is also good for the prevention of heart disease, as well as obesity, diabetes, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's, cognitive dysfunction, mutiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and other diseases. Furthermore this diet can only benefit everyone regardless of his or her genes or personal dispositions.'
There are statistics - incredible statistics throughout the book which give weight to the recommendations, and also scarily interesting information about how the governments (particularly in the states however I'm not so sure the UK is so much better) are aware of dietary recommendations for health and yet recommends different proportions and amounts in their literature.
To quote directly from Dr Campbell 's The China Study book (p348):
'Never before has there been such a mountain of empirical research supporting a whole food, plant-based diet. Now, for example, we can obtain images of the arteries in the heart, and then show conclusively, as Drs Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn Jr have done, that a whole food, plant based diet reverses heart disease. We now have the knowledge to understand how this actually works. Animal protein, even more than saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, raises blood cholesterol levels in experimental animals, individual humans and entire populations. International comparisons beween countries show that populations subsisting on traditional plant based diets have far less heart disease, and studies of individuals within single populations show that those who eat more plant based foods not only have lower cholesterol levels but also less heart disease. We now have a deep and broad range of evidence showing that a whole food, plant based diet is best for the heart.
Never before have we had such a depth of understanding of how diet affects cancer both on a cellular level as well as a population level. Publised data show that animal protein promotes the growth of tumors. Animal protein increases the levels of a hormone, IGF-1, which is a risk factor for cancer, and high casein (the main protein of cow's milk) diets allow more carcinogens into cells, which allow more dangerous carcinogen products to bind to DNA, which allow more mutagenic reactions that give rise to cancer cells, which allow more rapid growth of tumors once they are initially formed. Data show that a diet based on animal foods increases females' production of reproductive hormones over their lifetime which may head to breast cancer. We now have a deep and broad range of evidence showing that a whole food, plant-based diet is best for cancer.
Never before have we had the technology to measure the boimarkers associated with diabetes, and the evidence to show that blood sugar, blood cholesterol, and insulin levels improve more with a whole food, plant-based diet than with any other treatment. Intervention studies show that when people who have type 2 diabetes are treated with a whole food, plant-based diet, they may reverse their disease and go off their medications. A broad range of international studies shows that type 1 diabetes, a serious autoimmune disease, is related to cow's milk consumption and premature weaning. We now know how our autoimmune system can attack our own bodies through a process of molecular mimicry induced by animal proteins that find their way into our bloodstream. We also have tantalizing evidence linking multiple sclerosis with animal food consumption and especially dairy consumption. Dietary intervention studies have shown that diet can help slow, and perhaps even halt, mutiple sclerosis. We now have a deep and broad range of evidence showing that a whole food, plant-based diet is best for diabetes and autoimmune diseases.
Never before have we had such a broad range of evidence showing that diets containing excess animal protein can destory our kidneys. Kidney stones arise because of the consumption of animal protein creates excessive calcium and oxalate in the kidney. We know now that cataracts and age related macular degeneration can be prevented by foods containing large amounts of antioxidants. In addition, research has shown that cognitive dysfunction, vascular dementia caused by small strokes, and Alzheimer's are all related to the food we eat. Investigations of human populations show that our risk of hip facture and osteoporosis is made worse by diets high in animal based foods. Animal protein leaches calcium from the bones by creating an acidic environment in the blood. We now have a deep and broad range of evidence showing that a whole food, plant-based diet is best for our kidneys, bones, eyes and brains.
More research can and should be done, but the idea that whole food, plant-based diets can protect against and even treat a wide variety of chronic diseases can no longer be denied. no longer are there just a few people making claims about a plant-based diet based on their personal experience, philosophy, or the occasional supporting scientific study. Now there are hundreds of detailed, comprehensive, well-done research studies that point in the same direction.'
The evidence is out there. Much the same as the cigarette cover up years ago - the big food companies continue to run the show. I think more and more of us are hearing the truth though and really listening. Plant based is undoubtably the healthy way forwards - for our plant, our animals, but most of all, ourselves.
Do get in touch if you're confused on where to start - I'm always happy to help. I'm working on how to simpify things and make it even more accessible for even more people... more info to come!
Cheers - here's to healthy, happy, plant based feasts!
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.