t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


The China Study and Dr. Campbell

On Friday I had a great opportunity to attend a conference where Dr. T. Colin Campbell was the keynote speaker. It was a priceless opportunity. What I took away from this conference is that Dr. Campbell is a man of integrity. He was motivated by research. His entire career he has spent researching nutrition and cancer while teaching at Cornell University.

I hesitated to post this picture because I look like gremlin. But here's the proof.

If I can be so bold as to summarize, what he has taken away from his lifelong research are the following things:

1. Do not exceed 10% animal protein in your diet. The SAD (standard american diet) contains 11-22%. Animal protein causes cancer to progress, while plant protein suppresses it. He trys to eat a 100% plant based diet.

2. Most diseases we suffer from (cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease...) are actually nutritional diseases. There is of course a genetic component, but this can almost always be counteracted through nutrition.

3. Nutrition is not about focusing on a single vitamin or mineral. Instead it is "the integrated effects of countless food constituents, which work in infinitely complex mechanisms for comprehensive health. It includes exercise, water, and sunshine. It is greater than the sum of parts. A biological symphony.

What I appreciate about Dr. Campbell is he doesn't have an agenda. His agenda is to educate and keep people healthy. He isn't selling a magic pill or diet, or special mineral drink. By simply eating a whole food (and that is key, not potato chips and candy) plant based diet we greatly reduce if not eliminate our chances of suffering from so many of the common, debilitating illnesses of our times. Plagues, if you will (my words).

I highly recommend his book The China Study. When I read it, it was the nail in the coffin of drastically reducing our dairy consumption. His advice was no mother should feed be giving their child milk (beyond breast milk). In his opinion (based on his research), casein, the protein found in dairy, is one of the most potent carcinogens known. It is a provocative claim to make. Read his book, examine the research and decide for yourself. It is worth your time and health.

I investigated those who have spoken out against him. The majority of the criticism has come from the Weston Price Foundation. This foundation promotes high cholesterol, high animal product diet. I just haven't found the legitimate evidence to follow a diet like this.

In the question and answer period, someone asked about fish and yogurt. Dr. Campbell responded that there is some emerging evidence to show that fish protein may not have the same affect as other animal proteins. He also said there is some evidence to show that the fermentation process negates some of the negative effects of dairy. He still does not recommend them, but did mention if he does choose to have animal protein on rare occasion, he choses fish.

I appreciated this, since this is alignment with how I have felt for my family. We aren't vegan but we are definitely committed to staying below the 10% mark.

After the lecture I was able to speak with Dr. Campbell and his son, who happened to sit behind me. I was impressed of the respect with which he spoke of his father. He said his entire career has been driven by integrity. My gut told me exactly the same thing.

I encourage you to decide for yourself. And then put it in context of modern revelation from a prophet of God, The Word of Wisdom D&C 89. How blessed we are to have the directive straight from God. We weren't required to spend our entire lives doing research. Our only requirement is to have faith sufficient to act upon His words.


Erin said...

That is neat you got to meet him. I'm so back and forth on things, especially the dairy thing. The meat thing is no question (though we're not totally vegetarian, it's definitely sparingly at our house) with D&C 89. But it doesn't say anything about dairy. No where that I can find, anyway. All about the flesh of beasts. And then, of course there is D&C 49, I think, which says animals are for food and raiment. ? I've studied and prayed. That's why I'm hung up on dairy.

Rebecca said...

Erin, I understand going back and forth on dairy. As far as D&C 49 verses 17-19, I think first it is important to understand the revelation was given specifically to the Shakers. The Shakers forbade the eating of meat. Clearly, eating meat has a place in our lives and should never be forbidden. However, the place of meat in our lives is different depending on the situation and times in which we live. There may be times when I need to eat meat (fish for me only).

Dr. Campbell mentioned if someone was undergoing chemotherapy that was one particular instance where the research shows their bodies actually NEED more protein. So it should be consumed. I have read the same thing when recovering from surgery, and in climates that are very cold. I thought this was further proof he didn't have an agenda, he was only driven by the truth of the data.

I understand the struggle with dairy. I read a book by John A. Widstoe "The Word of Wisdom A Modern Interpretation." I highly recommend it. He is actually quite a big proponent of dairy. But all dairy should be unpasteurized and unprocessed.

I think where there is no modern revelation given it is best to study it out and pray. As you have done. My conclusion for our family is to follow the data and my studies in this case.

Much of the problem with dairy is probably the massive quantities, which any animal humanely bred and kept cannot produce to feed the average American dairy consumption. All the pastuerization, additives, hormones, antibiotics and other processing the dairy undergoes could be a major source of the problems too. Our dairy isn't coming from the family cow anymore. In fact it bears very little resemblance.

So while agree it is not out of accordance with the word of wisdom to consume dairy, I find it is in accordance with the research I have done to drastically limit it.

The Lord has also told us not be commanded in all things. So in this, we have moved forward in a way appropriate for our family and our stewardship. I feel very comfortable in keeping our animal (fish/eggs from our chickens/raw dairy) at levels below 10%.

I don't know if that helps. But it maybe clarifies how I was finally able to come to a decision. Good luck. Let me know how it turns out.

Kelly Spence said...

China Study was life changing for me too. I really enjoy your blog. Erin introduced me to it.