Exactly one year ago, I reviewed Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s landmark research work, The China Study. The book relays his personal history; beginning with his dedication to studying the benefits of animal-based protein, and eventually leading to his acceptance of a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) dietary lifestyle.
In hindsight, I couldn’t have chosen a better book by which to start my WFPB blogging journey.
Dr. Campbell’s steadfast commitment to science is evident throughout the book, even to the point of acknowledging his conclusions aren’t “absolutely proven.”
In his own words:
“The findings from the China Study indicate that the lower the percentage of animal-based foods… consumed, the greater the health benefits – even when that percentage declines from 10% to 0% of calories. So it is not unreasonable to assume that the optimum percentage of animal-based products is zero… But this has not been absolutely proven.”
And he doesn’t back down, continuing:
“It is true that most of the health benefits described in this book have been realized at low but non-zero levels of animal-based foods.”
How refreshing it is, in a world where diet gurus twist the science to absolutely prove their ideologies, to read such humility and honesty in a doctor’s own assessment of his diet’s scientific shortcomings!
Even so, the balance of evidence is definitive enough that he later recommends unfalteringly “… the restoration of health through the WFPB dietary lifestyle.”
Because, he writes, “It has more to offer than all pills and procedures combined.”
Armed with this knowledge, I’ve spent much of the past week trying to convince people to choose WFPB for their New Year’s Resolution.
WFPB Dietary Lifestyle’s Timeless Staple Foods
As the midnight candle consumed 2020’s dying embers, I urged my sister to try a WFPB dietary lifestyle for one month. Our ensuing conversation was fascinating.
By birth, my sister is my mom’s first cousin from Peru. My parents adopted her as a teenager, and we’re close to the same age.
Growing up, she ate mostly plant-based because her birth parents couldn’t afford meat. She reminisced about all the different ways her birth mom would make potatoes and yucca, or rice and beans.
They’d usually enhance these staples with a few ingredients from their garden or a relative’s field. Once in a while, they could afford an egg or two.
Milk, cheese and meat, however, were much too expensive for any but the most special occasions. In other words, she lived like much of the world has for thousands of years- following mostly WFPB.
I recall visiting her in Peru before she joined our family. We enjoyed potato soup mixed with garden-grown vegetables and leafy greens. It was all they had, but it was so delicious I’m still savoring the meal 25 years later!
Getting Started with the WFPB Dietary Lifestyle
During our conversation last night, my sister’s husband asked me if I had a WFPB grocery list and recipes they could try.
Because it’s a question I often get, I’ll be adding more recipes to my blog later this year. Until then, I recommend Dr. T Colin Campbell’s NutritionStudies.org as one of the leading websites for information on this dietary lifestyle.
I realize starting a new diet can seem daunting. So it’s essential to begin simply. For a first attempt, I recommend one of our long-standing family favorite, rice with roasted veggies.
It might not sound like much, but one of my kids even requested this meal for his 2020 birthday dinner!
The scientific approach Dr. Campbell undertook in his groundbreaking research for The China Study has strongly influenced my own study-review process during the past year. I’m truly grateful – and remain committed to science wherever it leads me.
So far, it’s led me to begin 2021 resolved to keep promoting the WFPB dietary lifestyle!