Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Studying The China Study

I have been raised as a carnivore with a fondness for gravy. I enjoy bacon, and steaks, and pork chops, and lamb chops, and fried chicken, and brisket and pulled pork, and grilled salmon. I am sure that over a lifetime I am personally responsible for more than one barnyard's decimation. And I don't like the word vegan either.

But, I have been reading "The China Study" lately, a book about nutrition by T. Colin Campbell. It is a book which promotes a whole-grain, low-fat, vegetable based diet, the benefits of which include...

Living longer
Having more energy
Lowering blood cholesterol
Reversing heart disease
Preserving eyesight
Stronger bones
Avoiding impotence
Avoiding strokes
Prevention of kidney stones
Avoiding Alzheimer's
A lowered risk of prostate, breast, and other cancers
Avoiding arthritis
and it may help to prevent diabetes.

The evidence suppporting Dr. Campbell's findings is scientifically based, well presented, and startlingly clear. So much so, that I am reconsidering the way that I eat.

I am reminded of a passage from Plato's Gorgias, during which Socrates wishes to denounce oratory by comparing it with "cookery"...

"Cookery puts on the mask of medicine and pretends to know what foods are best for the body, and, if an audience of children or of men with no more sense than children had to decide whether a confectioner or a doctor is the better judge of wholesome or unwholesome foodstuffs, the doctor would unquestionably die of hunger. Now I call this sort of thing pandering and I declare that it is dishonourable - because it makes pleasure its aim instead of good, and I maintain that it is merely a knack and not an art because it has no rational account to give of the nature of the various things of which it offers. I refuse to give the title of art to anything irrational..."

Source: Gorgias

Why is it that desire and reason pull in opposite directions?

For now I am going to incorporate more vegetables and fruit into my diet and take things one meal at a time. I'll write about this book some more, and leave you with a handy link for more information:

The China Study

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Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin