Two days ago, I posted a blog entitled, “How many PhDs does it take to figure out what we should eat?” Then yesterday, I published one featuring the fact that President Bill Clinton has chosen to ignore the collective conventional wisdom of the entire world of nutritional science. (See links below)
Instead, he chose the simple wisdom of one lone renegade nutritional scientist from Cornell University. Why do I say renegade? Because of the way that he is now treated by the university where he earned his PhD and spent almost his entire career.
As of today, you can hardly find any information about this great man on the Cornell website despite this extremely rare, glowing endorsement from a legendary president of Cornell. As recalled by Dr. Campbell himself:
When the legendary long-term Cornell president Frank Rhodes retired in 1995, he cited Campbell’s China Project in his farewell address to 8,000 people as “one of the greatest embodiments of Cornell excellence to take place during my twenty-two years at the helm of this great institution.”
Cornell excellence? Nowadays, this example of one of the “greatest embodiments of Cornell excellence” seems to have become almost an embarrassment to this great university. Like so many of our elite schools of nutrition, much of their financial support comes from the producers of meat, dairy, eggs and other unhealthy products. So aligning themselves with a scientist who is now recommending the avoidance of ALL of those products is not good for the health of their revenue stream.
For the same reason, a few years ago, this great university suddenly canceled Dr. Campbell’s plant-based nutrition course that he’d been teaching for seven years. They didn’t even give him the courtesy of a phone call to let him know of their decision in advance. This is no way to treat a future Nobel prize winner.
Before it was canceled, it was the only such course offered for credit toward graduation from any accredited school of nutrition in the United States (to his knowledge). Like Cornell, all those other schools are feeding at the trough of the USDA and their misguided food guidelines driven by the special interests of the food producers.
Now, even though the United Nations has formally endorsed a vegan diet for a host of reasons, this travesty continues in our elite schools of nutrition. The U.N. put it this way on their website in a 2010 paper (See link below):
“A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change…As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable.”
Academic freedom? To me, this is a sad state of affairs in our overall education system. Because of pressure from our food producers, who provide the funding for our schools of nutrition, “academic freedom” is a thing of the past when it comes to providing our brightest young minds with the information they need to reverse chronic disease, tame our health care monster and preserve the planet’s ability to provide for the longterm sustainability of the human race.
I found one exception. Actually, there is at least one public university that has not succumbed to the financial muscle of the food industry—East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.
One of my readers told me about an associate professor there, Dr. Roman Pawlak (See link below). While speaking with Dr. Pawlak a few weeks ago, I learned that, after consulting with Dr. Campbell several years ago, he developed his own plant-based nutrition course and has been teaching it since. To my knowledge—and his, that is the only such course offered for credit toward graduation in the United States. Let me know if you know of others.
1-9-13 update. Dr. Pawlak has just published a new book, In Defense of Vegetarianism, which you can order by sending an email to him at email@example.com
So the United Nations talks about what we must do to survive, yet our schools of nutrition completely ignore it. What about all of those other nutritional science faculty members across the United States? How can we help them come to understand the harm that has been inflicted on the world because of their failure to consider the “big picture” when making their dietary recommendations.
How can we implore them to consider these four questions as part of their “big picture?”
- Has heart disease or type 2 diabetes ever been reversed by recommending more consumption of meat and dairy?
- What do the strongest animals in the world eat, and what do the chimps and the gorillas eat? (the animals whose DNA is closest to ours)
- How do meat and dairy foods stack up to plant-based when it comes to water consumption/pollution, climate change and energy consumption?
- Is the American diet (heavy in meat and dairy) sustainable in a world that will soon have 9 billion people? Is there enough land?
The Bottom Line. Although this is a very difficult mountain to climb, I am going to give it a shot. I am going to start by writing a few letters to some of the nation’s most prominent nutrition professors. In those letters, I am going to try to convey my genuine understanding of the frustrations that they must be feeling—given the overall state of poor health in the United States.
My first letter will be addressed to Dr. Nancy Rodriguez, professor in the Department of Nutritional Science at the University of Connecticut, just an hour’s drive from my home. I chose her for three reasons: She debated Dr. Campbell on Larry King Live about two years ago, she wrote the opposing view to the vegan diet in the recent Wall Street Journal article, and we both reside in Connecticut.
In that letter, I will mention that I have recently lectured in three university settings, including one in the state system in nearby New Haven, CT. The other two are Holy Cross and the University of Kentucky. None of those lectures were in a department of nutritional science, but rather in other areas related to my favorite topic: the promotion of health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.
Toward the end of my letter, I am going to offer my services as a guest lecturer. Not being a PhD myself, I would label my topic “An industrial engineer’s “big picture” view of a global feeding model that is not working.” The primary point in my letters will be that their “best and brightest” students who have managed to be accepted there—deserve to hear all sides of this crucial subject. (Watch for that letter in tomorrow’s future blog)
A little research. According to the Campus Explorer website (See link below), there are 264 schools of nutrition in the United States and probably well over 10,000 faculty members.
One of those schools is Cornell, which charges undergraduates a tidy $37,750 per year in tuition. You’d think that a good measure of scientific integrity would be included for that kind of money. If I were a parent paying the bill, I would insist on it.
Here are links to U.N. source document, to Dr. Pawlak’s page at ECU and a few of my earlier blogs on this topic.
- Source document. UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet–June 2, 2010
- Dr. Roman Pawlak, Associate Professor, Nutrional Science, East Carolina University.
- Bill Clinton in “TIME” — Has his moment of truth arrived?
- How many PhDs does it take to figure out what we should eat?
- Academic “Unfreedom” at Cornell—T. Colin Campbell
- Academic freedom in peril? T. Colin Campbell at Cornell
- Campus Explorer website listing 264 schools of nutrition in the United States
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The ”big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation