Thursday, February 11, 2010

The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell

I finished reading 'The China Study' by T. Colin Campbell today.  It was one of those 'love/hate' books for me.  :)  I kind of knew that going in, and I'm really glad I read it. Ok, to be honest, I scanned some of it, but I did read most of it anyway.  Chris Masterjohn gave a negative review/rebuttal on the Weston Price website-definitely worth reading, if you are interested in that kind of thing.

Also, this is a great rebuttal as to why his study was not scientific or thorough.  

I first heard of the book when I found in the spring of 2008.  I started making the green smoothies with my Vita-Mix.  It was actually a big reason why I purchased it, although I knew I wanted it for other things as well. 

I was still really searching and confused as to what was really, truly healthy for a body.  I knew there was a lot of stuff a body shouldn't consume, but I still had no idea what it should consume!  I had read a lot from the raw community, and even bought a cookbook.  But it didn't ring right with me.  Maybe a funny, intuition thing.  Who knows.  But, I found through the raw community, and started reading her website/blog and drinking the smoothies.  The kids and I actually started liking them, but only with a lot of fruit added.  I had read in a number of places that spinach should be cooked before being consumed in large quantities, and that pineapple inhibited the nutrients of spinach from being used by the body properly.  Guess what-the only way we could manage the smoothies was with plenty of pineapple/pineapple juice.  Not only was I depressed, but I was overwhelmed to realize that the whole 'nourishing' thing was a lot more confusing then I ever imagined!  Preparation and food combination was important?  Spinach wasn't spinach, wheat wasn't wheat and a vitamin wasn't simply a vitamin?  Ahhhh!!!

I still remember finding that out and wanting to pull my hair out.  WHAT WAS TRUTH?!?!

Anyway, this is about The China Study, not me.  :)  Sorry about the rabbit trail, it was somewhat relavant anyway.

 So for almost 2 years now, I've wanted to read The China Study, but I've found a lot of other books that interested me more.  I was at the library the other day and happened to see the book and decided it was time to read it.

I felt a bit like a traitor when I took it home and opened it up.  I knew it was very non-NT/WAP.  But I am interested in finding truth, not being a groupy, so I wanted to read it.

Campbell grew up a farmer and went to school to become a doctor.  He ended up working on the scientific end of health.  After growing up on raw milk, fresh veggies and meat, he became a vegetarian/vegan after his years of research and work and teaching.  I was impressed with how much he believed what he wrote, and how he practiced it as well.

Here is a quote that sums up the whole book quite nicely:

"There is nothing better the government could do that would prevent more pain and suffering in this country than telling Americans unequivocally to eat less animal products, less highly-refined plant products and more whole, plant-based foods.  It is a message soundly based on the breadth and depth of scientific evidence..."  p.305

I agree 100% with his premise that all current degenerative diseases start and end with nutrition.  He said that separate diseases do not call for separate diets or treatments.  If you eat properly, you'll heal yourself of cancer and heart disease and diabetes and any other degenerative disease.

Now, I do think it's a bit more complicated then diet.  Esp since we are so far removed from our ancestral, truly nourishing diets.  Some of us are not into the 3rd and 4th generation of people who have had very little in the way of nutrition, so our needs are pretty intense.  And on top of that, we have had little or no wisdom about such things passed down, so we have a pretty steep learning curve to deal with, on top of severe nutritional needs.

But, there is hope, and I think it's less complicated rather then more complicated.  *big sigh of relief*

Campbell believed that animal products in the diet, and fat of pretty much any kind except vegetable, are evil and cause diseases.  He felt the best way to eat is lots and lots of plants-veggies, fruit and grains mostly.  He even thought eggs were evil.  Hello!?!  The incredible, edible egg?


I really don't have the time or talent to go into the science of it.  If you are interested in that, please read the review from WAPF here.  

Campbell makes a very convincing case against protein.  But, there were holes in the theory.  And I just don't believe it's true!  We not only need to stop eating processed, carcinogenic junk, but we are in desperate need of nourishment.  Our disease of 'affluence' are really just mal-nutrition in disguise.  People in Africa are dying of starvation and you can see their rib cages. People in Europe and America (and all over really) are dying of starvation at a cellular level, but they can barely see their toes!  But it amounts to the same thing-a desperate lack of nutrition.  And the most nutrient-dense, bio-available foods to mankind are the ones God gave us to eat through animals.  

Each body is different. We have different history, ancestries, needs, limitations, etc.  I really don't believe in a 'one diet fits all' approach.  You do need to listen to your body.  But we are so confused and misguided today that it's hard to hear our bodies above the screaming studies, reports, scientists and doctors.   But we need to, desperately.  

I think 'The China Study' is a good wake-up call to people, to realize that what we put into our bodies affects us in a million ways (literally).  That we do not need to be dependent on the government, healthcare, doctors and drugs.  We can take our health into our own hands.  We MUST do so in fact.  However, I hope once a person has this information and courage, they would continue on their quest for understanding, while listening to their bodies and seeking for ways to take care of it the way God intended.


  1. Thanks for this review. I've never read the book but know a couple people who have.

    And he thinks protein is bad?!? I've never heard such a thing! Especially being pregnant, that is so important to me right now.

    But I have come to believe after all the reading I've done that each person is very different in regards to their nutritional needs. While there are some underlying principals true for everybody (sugar is bad, veggies are good, etc.), different bodies have different needs. I don't do well on grains, other people do just fine on properly prepared grains, and even need them to feel optimal. This probably has a lot to do with our ancestry, as you mentioned.

    Thanks for shedding some light on this book!

  2. Thanks so much for this review! I haven't ever heard of the book, BUT I LOVE TO READ! I may have to request this at the library!