The China Study – #1

Our lives have taken a little turn lately as we have become embroiled in reading, no rx analysing, information pills talking about and thinking about this book.

As a rule, healing I hate diet books.  Diet, in my mind, is a noun, and not a verb.  It is the net sum of what you eat, not some clique-y or fad thing that you *do*.

As a scientist, I despise anything that cites a single source, a single paper, or a single study for the basis of their thoughts, and I really despise things that mask themselves as having a basis in science when they really do not.  Unfortunately most lay people don’t know enough to know the difference.

The China Study, however, is in a different class.  It is a nutrition/life diet (noun) book that cites hundreds of papers, review articles, summary articles, studies, and does so over a period of decades.  The author is a scientist, and doesn’t include recipes – he includes facts.  It is filled with charts, diagrams and graphs.  Some of them are a little simplistic, but with epidimeology you take what you can get sometimes.  It is also filled with the big names of health research (both health centres and people).

As a scientist with a heavy penchant for critical analysis, however, I appreciate his wide-ranging citations and coverage of “Western” diseases in a critically thought out and scientific manner.  It is definitely food for thought despite the occasional leaps of logic he makes where there is a research gap.

Melanie and I have taken to reading it together as the implications are so wide-ranging to our lifestyles that it is best discussed, parsed, dissected and analysed together.  And while we haven’t finished reading it yet, the sheer weight of evidence that “Western” diseases like Coronary Heart Disease, Cancers (of various sorts), Diabetes, Obesity, Osteoporosis and a host of others are related to animal protein consumption is rather staggering.  And for the children it is just as, if not more, important.

I started off poo-pooing the book, as everyone knows that milk builds healthy bones and meat helps you grow up big and strong.  And if it was just one study, I would toss the book like I have every other fad diet book that seems to pass through our house.

But the evidence that we should be removing animal protein from our diets has been heaped on top of evidence has been heaped upon evidence.  As a supposedly open-minded scientist I can’t help but consider the sheer weight of evidence that my family’s “history of heart disease” is not because of genetics, but rather because I come from farmer stock that ate milk, eggs & bacon as regular fare.

And if all I have to do is (mostly) remove animal protein from my diet to avoid angioplasty, stints, anginas and strokes – well, sign me up.  As the author says: a “Whole foods, plant-based diet.” (about once a page… lol)

So I will be posting more posts related to this topic (Melanie is run off her feet with Fionnuala), but this introductory post is to let everyone know where we are now.  While most people would call it “vegan”, we aren’t conscientious objectors.  If there is whey powder in margarine we will have to live with it due to costs and practicality issues.  Ditto with Worcestershire sauce and anchovy paste.  But we will eat brown rice instead of white, which isn’t standard “vegan” mentality, and tofu or beans instead of chicken or beef.

As a psychological eater I have turfed the burgers in the freezer because all I see is heart attack waiting to happen when I look at them.

I will post more on where we are, and where we’re going.  As well as some more thoughts on the book.  Feel free to comment below.

Edit: You can find all the posts in this series HERE

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