Why, then, are drugs and/or surgery Western medicine’s go-to answers for most illnesses? Why do our doctors seldom mention poor nutrition as a major cause of poor health?
Those are the questions Dr. T. Colin Campbell seeks to answer. His book Whole focuses on the human body as a single organism built of dozens of interconnected and ever-interacting systems
Compare his philosophy to that of the medical specialist who treats just one part of the body and understands very little about how it interacts with the others.
That, Dr. Campbell says, is the same approach Western medicine takes to nutrition:
“Through the lens of reductionism, we see nutrition as a matter of individual nutrients rather than a comprehensive diet.”
Yet our bodies, he explains, are made up of a hundred trillion constantly communicating cells. And inside each of them is an “… array of enzymes working together… And the resources they use… to maintain health are the foods we eat.”
In other words…
Our Bodies Know They Need Whole Food!
Dr. Campbell explains that our bodies have developed to know how much of which nutrients they need to stay healthy (known scientifically as maintaining homeostasis).
And they’re smart enough to extract what they need from food — as long as it’s whole food.
What makes eating whole food so much better than simply tossing back a handful of supplements each day?
In answering this question, Dr. Campbell cites a study comparing the “Vitamin C-like” antioxidant activity in half a cup of fresh apple to taking supplemental Vitamin C.
They found that although it contained 5.7 milligrams of actual Vitamin C, the apple had “C-like antioxidant activity”of a 1,500-milligram supplement more than 260 times its size!
Why is that possible?
Because, he says, “there is a treasure trove of such vitamin-C-like compounds in apples. These include other antioxidants… found only in plants… The list of these chemicals in apples… is long, and likely reflects just the tip of the iceberg.”
In other words, the apple’s Vitamin C doesn’t work alone! By teaming up with a host of other antioxidants it produces results far beyond what a Vitamin C supplement can deliver.
Even with their remarkable nutritional punch, however, Dr. Campbell asserts that apples — or any whole foods — only benefit us when we need their specific nutrients.
If your body needs protein or fat, for example, an apple a day won’t do much to keep the doctor away. So it’s critical that we get as wide a range of nutrients as we can manage.
What are Dr. Campbell’s dietary recomendations?
· Eat plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible (“whole” foods).
· Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains.
· Avoid heavily processed foods and animal products.
Our bodies are remarkable. Given the proper tools, they’ll stay healthy. We don’t need to stress about getting enough vitamins or protein. They’ll absorb all they need, if we eat the right foods!