I’ve written on a number of occasions here at WorkSaveLive how having knowledge about a certain subject matter is worthless unless you decide to utilize and implement the information for the good of yourself, your family, and others around you.
To be flat out honest, for a long time on the subject matter of diet, health, and nutrition, I didn’t follow my own advice.
However, after months of gathering knowledge from sources such as the movie Food, Inc., the book The China Study, and other movies such as Forks Over Knives, and Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, the proof and factual evidence about the reality of eating meat and animal-based products can no longer go ignored and has resulted in ‘The China Study Diet and Fitness Challenge’.
While I’ve heard of numerous diet fads and success that some people have with them, I’ve never been convinced that they made sense and were actually healthy for you. I mean seriously, anybody can lose weight if they starve themselves. Even after watching the movie Food, Inc. and discovering the horrifying reality of how meat, corn, soybeans, and grains in the United States are altered from their original forms for the sake of mass production, it didn’t convince me to change my personal eating habits and overall diet.
However, after being turned onto The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, the overwhelming amount of factual evidence provided in the study made me finally realize that neglecting my diet and not taking responsibility for my health was something we could no longer continue to do.
While I loved the book because I’m a fact-driven and numbers-based person (hence the reason I’m a financial advisor and run a financial blog), The China Study is not a book that everybody would be interested in reading.
T. Colin Campbell takes dozens of pages to explain his authority, the organizations he’s worked with, and all of the various studies over the last 30-40 years that went into his assertion in The China Study.
In The China Study he delves into the scientific relationships between protein, Afltatoxin, enzymes, and the effect that protein intake has on cancer initiation. T. Colin Campbell then explains a study involving various tests he performed on rodents that revealed the effects of giving one group of rodents a diet with 20% animal-based protein and another group a 5% animal-based protein diet.
In that study T. Colin Campbell revealed that it was possible to INITIATE and STOP cancer cell growth by simply altering the amount of protein the rats had in their daily diet. It was noted that the rats eating a 20% protein diet would not stay as active on their running wheel and would nap and sleep for longer periods. Whereas the rats with a 5% protein diet would run for much longer intervals and not succumb to the “fat rat syndrome” caused by the animal-based protein.
Taking the knowledge from this initial study, Dr. Campbell then was involved in a larger project that studied the diet, diseases, and cancer of people in China. After years of research and studies in China, Dr. Campbell then came to the conclusion that part of the reason people living in the U.S. have much higher cancer rates than those living in China was merely due to diet (particularly the intake of animal-based protein).
The chart below illustrates the average daily diet in China and the U.S. by an individual weighing 143 lbs:
As you can clearly see, the diet of the Chinese involves taking in far more calories per day however a FAR less amount of fat. They take in greater amounts of fiber and still a healthy amount of protein despite the fact that it comes from plant-based sources and not the animal protein that fills many Americans’ diet.
Other fascinating charts I found throughout the study are the ones that showed the correlation between animal protein intake and rates of cancer throughout the world:
So, while The China Study may be a bit dry for most people, the ultimate conclusion of the study is that the intake of animal-based protein has a “statistically significant association” with a myriad of diseases and cancer. Furthermore, having high amounts of protein in your diet will increase the growth rate of cancer cells, and reversely, you can reduce and sometimes STOP the growth of cancer cells by having less animal-based protein in your diet.
Dr. Campbell grew up in a dairy farm (yes, ironic…and he addresses that and his initial animal-protein bias in The China Study). He studied veterinary science at Georgia and went on to graduate from Cornell after getting a M.S. in nutrition and biochemistry.
Upon graduation he served as a research associate at MIT and then worked 10 years in the Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition at Virginia Tech where they were responsible for a 10-year study in the Philippines investigating the high prevalence of liver cancer.
After his work at Virginia Tech, T. Colin Campbell started a laboratory program which would study the role of nutrition (particularly protein) in the development of cancer. This program was funded for 27 years by the likes of National Institute of Health, the American Cancer Society, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and ultimately the information would be revealed in his national bestselling book, The China Study.
Our 8-Week China Study Diet & Fitness Challenge
I’m not here to tell anybody to change their diet and become vegan or vegetarian and go as far as the China Study suggests; all we’re doing is running a little science experiment on ourselves and we’ll see how the results turn out. Of course I realize that we need longer than 8 weeks to make long-lasting changes to our health but this is a start.
Here are the guidelines for our China Study Diet and nutrition challenge:
1. Eat meat only once a week – no, this is not suggested as a part of the China Study, however I believe it will be nearly impossible to eliminate meat completely from our diet (for now).
2. Limit portion sizes
3. Make a concentrated effort to avoid animal-based products – we do a good job of this already, but we’ll continue to drink our 1/2 gallon of milk, eat small amounts of cheese, and on occasion an egg or two.
4. Eat primarily plant-based and whole grain food – our meals will consist of beans and grain with vegetables and fruit being the centerpiece. If you want to follow the China Study Diet to the tee, then this is all T. Colin Campbell suggests that you eat.
5. Work out more – our goal will be to work out at least 4 times a week. This will involve 2-3 days where we’ll run (we have a 2-mile route and a 3-mile route), and a few days where we’ll stretch, do yoga, or some other minor weight lifting.
The Start of our China Study Diet
Knowing that we were going to embark on this diet challenge and post it on the blog, Toots and I donated our blood a few weeks ago for the sole purpose of finding out our cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this the cholesterol results hadn’t come in, so I’ll update that as soon as it’s available.
As for now, here are my measurements before we started the challenge.
Over the next 8 weeks I’ll update you on the progress of our ‘China Study Diet and Fitness Challenge.’ My plan is to make a post every two weeks updating the weight and waist measurement along with detailing some of the meals we had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I have modest expectations going into this personal study. We’ve eaten relatively healthy for over a year now so I find it hard to believe that I’m going to drop 5″ off my waist by having a better diet. Sure, the working out more will help but it’s difficult to stay motivated with that. Saying all of that, I do expect to see some minor changes, a drop in my cholesterol, and noticeable increases in energy level…so here goes nothing!
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