Why Mostly Vegan

I have to return "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell, PhD to the library so I thought I would post some excerpts that highlight why you should make the switch to a plant-based diet.  Hopefully this will entice you into getting the book for yourself.

From Chapter 11 - Eating Right: Eight Principles of Food and Health
"The benefits of a healthy lifestyle are enormous.  I want you to know you can:
live longer
look and feel younger
have more energy
lose weight
lower your blood cholesterol
prevent and treat diabetes
avoid surgery in many instances
vastly decrease the need for pharmaceutical drugs
keep your bones strong
avoid impotence
avoid stroke
prevent kidney stones
keep your baby from getting Type 1 diabetes
alleviate constipation
lower your blood pressure
avoid Alzheimer's
beat arthritis
and more...."


Well that's a pretty long and convincing (convicting) list!
 Here are the eight principles with summary excerpts of their explanations:


Principle #1
Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
"The misguided may trumpet the virtues of one specific nutrient or chemical, but this thinking is too simplistic.  Our bodies have learned how to benefit from the chemicals in food as they are packaged together, discarding some and using others as they see fit.  I cannot stress this enough, as it is the foundation of understanding what good nutrition means."

Principle #2
Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health.
"A recent article in the New York Times documents this failure of nutrient supplements to provide any proven health benefit.  As time passes, I am confident that we will continue to "discover" that relying on the use of isolated nutrient supplements to maintain health, while consuming the usual Western diet, is not only a waste of money but is also potentially dangerous."

Principle #3
There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants.
Here is a nutrient comparison of plant and animal based foods. (per 500 calories of energy)
The plant-based foods are equal parts of tomatoes, spinach, lima beans, peas, and potatoes.
The animal-based foods are equal parts of beef, pork, chicken, and whole milk

Nutrient                            Plant-based food      Animal-based food
Cholesterol                                 -                                137
Fat (g)                                        4                                 36
Protein (g)                                 33                                34
Beta-carotene (mcg)              29,919                             17
Dietary fiber (g)                         31                                 -
Vitamin C (mg)                         293                                4
Folate (mcg)                            1168                              19
Vitamin E (mg_ATE)                 11                                 0.5
Iron (mg)                                   20                                 2
Magnesium (mg)                       548                               51
Calcium (mg)                            545                              252

Principle #4
Genes do not determine disease on their own.  Genes function only by being activated, or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed.
"We all have different disease risks due to our different genes.  But while we will never know exactly which risks we are predisposed to, we do know how to control those risks.  Regardless of our genes, we can all optimize our chances of expressing the right genes by providing our bodies with the best possible environment - that is, the best possible nutrition."

Principle #5
Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals.
"It is useful to think of this principle in another way: a chronic disease like cancer takes years to develop.  Those chemicals that initiate cancer are often the ones that make headlines.  What does not make headlines, however, is the fact that the disease process continues long after initiation, and can be accelerated or repressed during its promotion stage by nutrition.  In other words, nutrition primarily determines whether the disease will ever do its damage."

Principle #6
The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis).
"I believe that an ounce of prevention does equal a pound of cure, and the earlier in life good foods are eaten, the better one's health will be.  But for those who already face the burden of disease, we must not forget that nutrition still can play a vital role."

Principle #7
Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.
"So I'm afraid I don't have a different, catchy formula for each disease.  I only have one dietary prescription.  But rather than be forlorn about its effect on my book sales, I'd prefer to remain excited about telling you how simple food and health really is.  It is a chance to clear away much of the incredible public confusion.  Quite simply, you can maximize health for diseases across the board with one simple diet."


Principle #8
Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence.  All parts are interconnected.
"Conceptually, I believe in holistic health, but not as a catchphrase for every unconventional and oftentimes unproven medicine around.  Food and nutrition, for example, are of primary importance to our health.  The process of eating is perhaps the most intimate encounter we have with our world; it is a process in which what we eat becomes part of our body.  But other experiences also are important, such as physical activity, emotional and mental health and the well-being of our environment.  Incorporating these various sphere into our concept of health is important because they are all interconnected.  Indeed, this is a holistic concept."

From chapter 12 - How To Eat:
"The recommendations coming from the published literature are so simple that I can state them in one sentence: eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, while minimizing the consumption of refined foods, added salt and added fats."

There is the summary.  Once again, I must say, I highly recommend this book.  It is written with the layman in mind - giving excellent information in an understandable way. (unlike me- ha!)

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