When Bill Clinton mentioned a book, published by an obscure Texan Publisher, written by a father and son research team, the results of a series of research studies based in China and Taiwan, who could have predicted that this academic text ‘The China Study‘ would become one of the best selling books on nutrition?
T Colin Campbell PhD and Thomas M Campbell wrote the book as a compilation of their research in a 20 year partnership between Cornell and Oxford Universities and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. They managed to illustrate that a high consumption of animal-based foods was definitely linked to the development of more chronic diseases in humans, and the healthiest subjects consumed in the main, a plant-based diet.
But, back to Bill Clinton, whose surgery had not fixed the problem of his clogged arteries and veins. He read a few books, he consulted with world experts. He lost 24 lbs and announced he had an answer. He did not use the dirty word. You know the one which begins with V and ends in N. No, it’s not VAIN, but started to talk about Plant Based Nutrition (PBN). That’s when so many of us began to take notice. Not because of any political leanings, but because here was a man to whom resources were not an issue and without moral indignation of anyone else’s choices or behaviour, he had discovered the scientific proof of what many of us knew and he came to it willingly to give himself better health. He began to promote it as common sense. As part of an awakening to whole planet, its resources and our responses to those resources.
Today, it’s easy to find a plethora of documentaries like ‘Forks Over Knives’ crying from the rooftops of the benefits of plant based nutrition.
Sadly, many new-age info docudramas also include claims which cannot be substantiated. Sure your risk of cancer and heart disease may be diminished through this type of nutrition, but nothing accounts for genetic dispositions and stress triggers… But the questions are out there. Does plant based nutrition really help you lose weight, make diabetes disappear or reverse poor bone density?
For many of course, plant based nutrition is not just about the body but involves the sense of wanting to protect a fragile Eco system or involves a paradigm shift which inevitably spills into other areas of their lives.
But what are the benefits?
The medical evidence shows that consuming ‘whole food plant based’ nutrition can reverse many diseases: inflammation, anxiety, depression, Lupus, MS, Diabetes, Osteoporosis to name but a few. The China study surveyed 6500 people in total, from more than 65 countries. It is still the most comprehensive study done on nutrition and it’s hard to argue with it. Not only can plant based nutrition maintain health but it can also act like medicine and change health.
“The science base is very strong that fruits and vegetables are protective for all the gastrointestinal cancers and all the smoking-related cancers,” says Tim Byers, professor of preventive medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.
Plant based nutrition keeps it all flowing, if you know what I mean. You’ll soon have no need for laxatives in the cupboard because constipation will be a thing of the past.
Fruit and vegetables are hydrating foods and as a result, skin glows, spots and acne clear up or improve greatly. Everyone loves having a healthy clear complexion and as your skin is the largest organ in the body, it’s important.
Plant based nutrition actually gives you more energy and often improves sleep patterns. However it is critically important to know what you are eating, to educate yourself and not just live on iceberg and tomatoes. Plant based nutrition is nutrient rich and calorifically low. It’s not about weight, it’s about clean fuel, clean energy for humans.
Whether you choose plant based nutrition because you want to improve your health or because you want to protect animals, the bonus, the end result will always be a healthier, happier body. If the body is not healthy, the brain does not function efficiently. Our suggestion is to allow yourself the courage to accept possibility and in that simple concept, embrace this way of eating, and enjoy the benefits. Of course, if your feel that you can’t do without your meat or fish, why not make the rest of your meal plant based? The benefits are long term and now, scientifically recorded. What have you got to lose, except perhaps a few pounds and either prevent niggle health issues, or get some relief for any you might have developed?
As always, it goes without saying that organic/homegrown produce will always be better for the body and mind as there will be no toxins used. But, if you are worried about pesticides on your fruit and vegetables soak them in a bowl of water and white vinegar for an hour before rinsing to reduce any residues.
This is a time of information, but knowledge comes from the application of information. Enjoy building your knowledge and apply these points to your life choices. We have, and the benefits to our lives come daily.
1. Bartolomeo Bimbi, Oranges, Limes, Lemons, and Citrus lumia, 1715, Oil on canvas, 174 x 233 cm, Villa Medici, Poggio a Caiano
2. Willem van Aelst, Still-Life with Fruit and Crystal Vase, 1652, Oil on canvas, 73 x 58 cm, Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence
3. Willem van Aelst, Still-Life with a Basket of Fruit on a Marble Ledge, 1650, Oil on canvas, 38 x 50 cm, Private collection
Text: JL Nash, 2014