The China Study

June 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm 2 comments

Before I begin my very first Frugal ‘n’ Fit Book Review, I need to catch up on my day’s food!

For a snack, I had the very not-China Study friendly snack of a hard-boiled egg.  Say what you will about animal protein, there is almost nothing as simple and satisfying to me as a hard-boiled egg.  One large egg has about 78 calories and 6 grams of protein.  It also has 71% of your day’s cholesterol, though!

You will notice Dr. Snuggles’ handiwork on my pinky finger there.  The scratches are healing, but I still look like I got in a fight with a metal fence!

For lunch, I had, of course, a salad.  I wish I could mix it up for the blog’s sake, but there is nothing as tasty and satisfying to me as a salad for lunch!  Sorry dudes.  There are many more crappy iPhone pictures of my salads ahead of us.

This one is almost identical to yesterday’s.  Instead of almonds, though, I had walnuts.  Ah, variety!

I am just about to eat 4 squares of dark chocolate.  I am a creature of habit when it comes to lunch, that is for sure.

So, The China Study!

Source of picture

I decided to read The China Study because I had heard so many good things about it.  People who had read this book seemed to come away with a completely revolutionized idea about diet and health.  I am always interested in reading about the diet’s affect on health, especially in terms of its affect on disease and longevity.   I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to live to be 100.  But I want to be 100 and playing shuffle board in Boca Raton, not shriveling away in some nursing home!

This book is divided into four parts.  In the first, Dr. Campbell talks about his own scientific experience conducting experiments based on animal protein.  He also participated in an epidemiological study conducted throughout China.   The study itself focused on over 100 different rural counties.  Rural counties were chosen because people tend to have similar genetic backgrounds and have lived in these villages over the course of many, many generations.  A correlation between diet and disease was created by comparing the results from the counties, and this study confirmed that the consumption of animal protein contributes to an increase in diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  He compares the diets of the rural Chinese with that of the typical American.  He also compares the incidences of disease.  He includes many graphs and bibliographic references.  It is some impressive stuff.

The second part delves into the realm of each of these major diseases:  cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc.  Here, he discusses how studies have proven that consuming animal protein increases the likelihood of acquiring each of these diseases.  He references specific studies and again includes many references and graphs.  It is hard to ignore the power of a graph!

In the third part, he briefly discusses the actual diet he recommends based on these findings.  In essence, it’s a well-rounded vegan diet focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, tofu, and anything that isn’t made from the body of an animal.

Lastly, in the fourth part, he talks about why these findings have been hidden from the public for so long.  He talks about the business of science and how government, lobby groups, and corporations don’t want you to know that a vegan diet can greatly benefit your health and longevity.  I mean, how else are they supposed to sell Kraft Dinner to schlubs like me?  🙂

The first half of this book was absolutely fascinating.  I was giving the evil eye to my Greek yogurt which is saying a lot!  It really opened me up to the idea of embracing more vegan food and less of my beloved dairy and eggs (and cheese!).  The second half of the book got more into the politics of science and the various conflicts the author has been involved in, trying to get the word out about veganism and health.  I found this part boring and skimmed over a few pages.

After finishing the book and giving it some thought, I am definitely going to embrace more vegan foods and try to eat less dairy and eggs.  I am at a bit of an advantage having been a vegetarian for 10 years, but I think it is well-established how I feel about cheese.  I am not going to come out as a declared vegan.  But I am definitely going to do more research about vegan diets and find more vegan recipes.  I am definitely inspired.


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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day Breakfast for dinner

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Carrie @ TV and Dinners  |  June 16, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I have serious mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the research is pretty compelling. On the other, I don’t know if really proves causality between animal protein and disease. He throws so many numbers and statistics at you that you feel like a compelling argument has been made, but it’s really difficult to prove a definitive link between the two. I do think that a Western diet is one of the worst out there, but I think it might have to do with many more factors than just animal protein. Also, if we need B12 to survive and that is only found in animal products, isn’t eating a certain amount OK? I don’t know. Nutrition is such an inexact science sometimes.

    Now, I might be saying all of this because I read that book in January, freaked out and gave up Greek yogurt…and today decided to eat some for the first time in months. It was delicious. 😉 I will say that this book caused me to cut back on my meat and dairy intake greatly in general. I just was a bit put-off by the “vegan or death” sentiment.

    • 2. Frugal 'n' Fit!  |  June 16, 2010 at 1:35 pm

      I totally agree with you. The B12 thing is a huge factor. He criticizes supplements but then says you may need to take a B12 supplement. I would rather eat food with B12 in it.

      And, yes, the “vegan or death” sentiment is intense. I wish he advised more of a “cutback” approach. Going from omnivore to vegetarian is one thing, but going from vegetarian to vegan seems much more involved and, at times, scary (especially being pregnant).

      Sometimes I think that the stress of worrying about nutrition will kill me before the actual “bad” food will!


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What happens when you love to eat healthy (and some unhealthy!) food, love to live frugally, and love to write? You start a food blog, of course. Of course!

Eating well and living frugally does not always come easy, but Lord help me, I am trying! This blog will detail my endeavor to live the best life possible. This will include pictures of my cats, odes to almond butter, and the general miscellany that makes up my life. Enjoy!

June 2010
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