Even the best and brightest still think there’s a “need” for animal protein.
This blog was inspired by a New York Times article entitled, “Breeding the nutrition out of our food.” (Jo Robinson, 5-25-13, see link below). Her article got me to thinking about the enormous challenge we face—in getting our field of nutritional science and medicine back on the right track.
It’s a daunting task and will take decades. And who’s going to lead it? The nutritional scientists will be in the lead someday—but not anytime soon. I believe that it begins with consumer acceptance of the overwhelming preponderance of evidence supporting the “whole foods, plant-based” diet for humans.
The benefits are enormous. It prevents cancer. It reverses heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It consumes 90% less land, water and energy for the same number of calories. I mean, really, what more do we need? We need our experts to start getting it right, and Ms. Robinson got a lot of things right in her article, beginning with:
WE like the idea that food can be the answer to our ills, that if we eat nutritious foods we won’t need medicine or supplements. We have valued this notion for a long, long time. The Greek physician Hippocrates proclaimed nearly 2,500 years ago: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Today, medical experts concur. If we heap our plates with fresh fruits and vegetables, they tell us, we will come closer to optimum health.
She went on to explain what has been happening to the nutrients in our food since humans began to farm over 10,000 years ago. She points out how the first GMOs hit our grocery shelves in 1961 and then shared this very troubling information:
The United States Department of Agriculture exerts far more effort developing disease-resistant fruits and vegetables than creating new varieties to enhance the disease resistance of consumers. In fact, I’ve interviewed U.S.D.A. plant breeders who have spent a decade or more developing a new variety of pear or carrot without once measuring its nutritional content.
But no sense of urgency. While Ms. Robinson’s excellent article revealed much of what is wrong with our system, it did little to change it. In fact, even she seems to believe the old “protein myth” that we “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy. She states:
Experiment with using large quantities of mild-tasting fresh herbs. Add one cup of mixed chopped Italian parsley and basil to a pound of ground grass-fed beef or poultry to make “herb-burgers.” Herbs bring back missing phytonutrients and a touch of wild flavor as well.
The Bottom Line. No doubt Ms. Robinson is right about the way we’ve bred most of the nutrients out of our food. Even so, the whole foods, plant-based diet that is still available today is capable of promoting health, reducing obesity and reversing heart disease. The good news is that we can all take charge of our health TODAY—even with the food choices that are out there NOW. Here’s an example on Amtrak:
As I draft this blog from Amtrak 183 to Baltimore, I am sitting in the Cafe Car and just enjoyed a hot bowl of oatmeal with nuts and fresh banana for $3.50. And, over the weekend, four of us dined at the Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, NJ. We had a few drinks and kept ordering sides of things like roasted asparagus and sweet potato fries until we were full. Not quite a 4Leaf meal, but a great deal healthier than ALL of the entrees on the menu.
So, as more of us begin to demand a greater variety of WFPB on the menu, the food industry will respond, animals will be saved by the billions and eventually our special interests-controlled Congress will be forced to put our dietary guidelines under an agency whose number one priority is the health of our citizens.
Only then will our descendants be able to bring our human species back to living in harmony with our planet. As Dr. Campbell states in his new book, Whole, “No less than our future as a species hangs in the balance.”
What about the un-learning? Changing the “system” is going to take decades. And it will be driven by a brand new kind of thinking about nutrition—the kind of thinking that Dr. Campbell described in his new book. Sadly, Colin is among a tiny handful of nutritional scientists whose brain is not imprisoned by the narrow, reductionist thinking that dominates the field today. As the “un-learning” of the old begins and the “whole” thinking begins, it could take fifty years before our government, schools of nutrition & medicine, and food companies get it right.
Meanwhile, we need to do our best to tell people exactly what they should be eating NOW—and it doesn’t include the grass fed beef and free-range chickens referred to in the article. Other than that bit of confusion, it’s an excellent article.
- Source article. Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food – NYTimes.com.
- Link to my web page with dozens of links to articles about Dispelling the “protein myth”
- Order Dr. Campbell’s new book, WHOLE. Click here to order on Amazon
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.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to email@example.com
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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation