Book Summary: The China Study, Part II Continued

If you only read one part of this, read the Osteoporosis section.  Shocking!


Chapter 8: Common Cancers

Breast Cancer

  • Exposure to excess amounts of female hormones leads to an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Women who eat more animal-based foods and less plant foods reach puberty earlier and menopause later, thus exposing them to hormones for a longer period of time.
  • Breast Cancer is genetic, but about half of the women who carry these genes do not get cancer.
  • Many environmental chemicals do not metabolize when consumed, and therefore are not excreted from the  body.  90-95% of our exposure to these chemicals comes from consuming animal products.  Another group called PAHs (in auto exhaust, factory smoke, and petroleum tar products) can be excreted if ingested.  However, they produce products that react with DNA, which is the first step in causing cancer.
  • Instead of using Hormone Replacement Therapy, try eating a plant-based diet.  The following will happen:
  • Hormone levels will not be as elevated during the reproductive years.  At the end of reproductive years, hormones will drop to a base level, however the crash will not be as hard.

Large Bowel Cancer (Colon and Rectum)

  • Colorectal cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the world, and 2nd in the US.
  • Environmental factors play the most important roles in this cancer.
  • One of the strongest links between any cancer and dietary factor was between colon cancer and meat intake.
  • Fiber containing diets significantly reduce the risk and are much better than taking a fiber pill.
  • Whole, complex carbohydrates and fresh fruits and vegetables contain fiber.
  • Exercise plays a big role.
  • In rural China were calcium consumption is modest and almost no dairy is consumed, colon cancer rates are much lower.
  • Get colonoscopies at the recommended times.

Prostate Cancer (something very dear to my heart because my sweet Grandpa beat this!  Love you, Gramps!)

  • As many as half of all men seventy years and older have latent prostate cancer.
  • Diet plays a key role, and one of the most consistent links between prostate cancer and diet has been dairy consumption.  (My personal question is this:  is it the dairy?  Or is it the hormones and antibiotics that are in pumped into the cows and therefore into us?   It makes me want to go read the study…maybe I will!)
  • There is a possible link tied to calcium and phosphorus consumption.
  • The breakdown mumbo-jumbo:  Animal protein causes the body to produce IGF-1 (a growth hormone), which throws cell growth and removal out of whack, stimulating cancer development.  Animal protein suppresses the production of “supercharged” D (how the sun helps your body produce vitamin D- it’s a good thing).  Excessive calcium (in milk) also suppresses “supercharged” D.  Persistently low levels of this create an environment for different cancers, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, etc.
  • P. 181 **”Our institutions and information providers are failing us.  Even cancer organizations, at both the national and local level, are reluctant to discuss or even believe this evidence.  Food as a key to health represents a powerful challenge to conventional medicine, which is fundamentally built on drugs and surgery.  The widespread communities of nutrition professionals, researchers and doctors are, as a whole, either unaware of this evidence or reluctant to share it.  Because of these failings, Americans are being cheated out of information that could save their lives.  There is enough evidence now that doctors should be discussing the option of pursuing dietary change as a potential path to cancer prevention and treatment.”**
Chapter 9: Autoimmune Diseases
  • Autoimmune Diseases occur when the body systems attack itself.  Ex.  Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Type I Diabetes, Rheumatic Heart Disease.
  • Autoimmune Diseases become more common the greater distance from the equator.
  • Antigens that trick our bodies into attacking itself may be in our food and remain in our bodies as undigested proteins.
Type I Diabetes
  • There is strong evidence that this is linked to dairy products.  He talks about babies being weaned too early and being fed formula made from cow’s milk, and Dr.s pushing dairy products on young babies (this was completely true with my kids.  My pediatricians hounded me about yogurt, cheese, and milk to make sure they were getting at least 3 servings).  This idea is difficult for people to accept, and is controversial, even when a person reads scientific articles on the subject.  He goes into detail on a few studies, trying to show significant links.
Multiple Sclerosis/Other Autoimmune Diseases
  • It is commonly thought these are due to genetics, viruses, and environmental factors.  Once again, cow’s milk appears to play an important role.
  • Dr. Roy Swank conducted studies on 144 MS patients over a 34 year period.  He advised them to consume a diet low in saturated fat (less than 20 g daily).  He found that in those 34 years, 80% of patients with early-stage MS who consumed higher fat diets died of MS.
  • Some studies have found a link to MS and cow’s milk that might be due to the presence of a virus in milk.
  • Autoimmune diseases are more common at higher geographic latitudes where there is less sunshine.
  • Today, almost no indication of the dietary connection to  autoimmune diseases has reached the public.
Chapter 10:  Wide-Ranging Effects: Bone, Kidney, Eye, and Brain Diseases
  • Americans consume more cow’s milk per person than most populations in the world, so wouldn’t it make sense that they also have the strongest bones?   No.  American women aged 50 + have one of the highest rates of hip fractures in the world!
  • Why?  Animal protein increases the acid load in the body, which means blood and tissues become more acidic.  The body tries to neutralize it by releasing calcium (a base) from the bones, thus weakening them.
  • Advertising is aggressive in the dairy industry, especially pertaining to women, pregnant women, and nursing women.  However, claims are not justified.  One study showed that a higher consumption of calcium was actually associated with a higher risk of bone fracture.  Increased animal consumption increases risk of Osteoporosis.
  • To lower risk:  Stay physically active, eat a wide variety of whole plant foods, keep salt intake to a minimum.
  • Kidney stones are common in developed countries and rare in developing countries – a Western problem.
Eye Problems
  • Cataracts and Macular Degeneration can be decreased by 70-88% if the right foods are eaten.
  • Eye health can be maintained by eating broccoli, carrots, spinach, collard greens, winter squash, and sweet potatoes.
Mind-Altering Diets
  • Animal-based foods lacked antioxidant shields and tend to activate free radical production and cell damage, while plant-based foods, with abundant antioxidants, tend to prevent such damage.
  • For every 3 additional servings of fruits and vegetables a day, the risk of stroke will be reduced by 22%.
  • The food you eat can drastically affect the likelihood of mental decline.

New Segment: Work It

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what I do for fitness.  It comes in waves and phases.  Sometimes I am really enjoying something so I do that a lot (like running) and sometimes I like to switch it up.  I will occasionally report what I did during the past week for those who are interested.  The most important thing I have learned with exercise is that you have to do what you enjoy.  Otherwise you will not stick with it.  Exercise should not be torture, but fun.  Not to say that I enjoy every minute, but I love the way I feel afterward and it is really important to me.  Anyway, here’s last week:

Monday: BodyRock

Tuesday: Ran 3 miles at the track, then 10 stadium sprints

Wednesday: Day off

Thursday: Body Rock

Friday: Ran 4 miles easy pace

Saturday: Competed in a biathlon – Swam 1/2 mile and 5k run

Book Summary: The China Study, part II

Part I found here and here.

I’ve been reading The China Study, and it’s taken me longer than usual with all of our weddings and vacations (plus my m.i.l.gave me two addicting books to read and I can’t put them down).  This last week I finally picked up The China Study again.  The main driving point of the book is: High protein diets from animal sources will cause debilitating disease.  Try to switch over to a whole-foods, plant-based diet.  He mostly covers many studies (including The China Study) and their results to prove this point.

I think T. Colin Campbell (and his son) has some interesting things to say, but is a little extreme.  I think there is a broad spectrum between being vegan and eating animal products multiple times a day, and the extremes are just that – extreme.  There is a perfect balance in there somewhere and I’m trying to find it.  Nevertheless, it’s an interesting read.  There’s a lot of information here, so I’m going to break it up into a couple posts.


The China Study: Summary Part II

Diseases of Affluence

  •  Americans eat like kings and have completely different diseases than underdeveloped countries: We suffer from heart disease, cancer, strokes, Alzheimers, diabetes, etc., and underdeveloped countries battle mostly infectious diseases.
  • There is not a “Cancer Diet” or “MS Diet,” but there is one diet that will counteract all of these diseases – a whole foods, plant-based diet.
Chapter 5: Broken Hearts
  • Over the next 24 hours, 3,000 Americans will have heart attacks.
  • P. 111 “Women’s death rates from heart disease is 8 times higher than their death rate from breast cancer.”
  • A study was done at the end of the Korean War on the hearts of 300 male American soldiers who were killed in action.  The average age of the soldiers was 22 years.  77% of their hearts had “gross evidence” of heart disease.  This was startling since these were very physically fit and young men.  It was now evident that young Americans are largely at risk for heart disease.
  • It turns out that large plaques  (a large build up/blockage of proteins and fats in an artery) are not the cause of heart attacks, but rather smaller, thin placque accumulations which break, causing the thick fat to mix with the blood until it forms a large clot and therefore a big blockage. It is the plaques that block less than 50% of an artery that are the most dangerous.
  • The Framingham (Massachussetts) Heart Study came up with risk factors for heart disease: They found a strong correlation between high blood cholesterol and heart disease.
  • In the late 50’s, reasearch expanded to include world populations.  P. 115 “American men died from heart disease at a rate almost 17 times higher than their Chinese counterparts.”  It is not genetic; it’s lifestyle.  As soon as people relocate from their native country to America, they fall into western living practices and their  risk increases.
  • Animal foods are linked to higher blood cholesterol, and plant foods are linked to lower blood cholesterol.
  • Dr. Lester Morrison conducted research in LA on his patients in the late 40’s.  At the time it was thought heart disease was a result of aging and nothing could be done.  He discovered a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet would extend his patients’ lives.
  • The research has been working, because the death rate from heart disease is 58% lower than in 1950.
  • Surgery is a phantom fix – Within 3 years of bypass surgery, 1/3 of patients will suffer chest pains again.  Within 10 years half of the patients will have died, had a heart attack, or had chest pain return.  The shocker: Patients who undergo bypasss do not have fewer heart attacks than those who do not have the surgery. (Remember the stuff about small placques causing the attacks…it is often not the huge blockage, which is what is operated on).
  • Angioplasty is temporary too: Within 4 months of surgery 40% of arteries will close up again.  (Side note – This reminds me of stomach bypass surgery as well.  Many people end up gaining the weight back and even more than before, because they have not fixed the root cause of the problem – eating habits).
  • We are missing the most important treatment:  FOOD.
  • Dr. Esselstyn tested plant-based diets on his patients and took before and after pictures of their arteries.  18 patients all with bad hearts (49 coronary episodes between them) participated.  Cholesterol levels dropped dramatically and after 11 years, there was only one coronary event.
  • Now we know the effects and need to implement this type of diet.
Chapter 6: Obesity
  • It’s obviously a big problem.
  • The solution is a whole-foods, plant-based diet (get used to that phrase), coupled with a reasonable amount of exercise.  This is a long-term lifestyle.  Anything shorter than that will not work.
  • One mistake people make – they cut out meat and animal products, and replace them with pastas, sweets, pastries, and refined foods thinking that this is “vegetarian.”  He calls these people “junk-food vegetarians.”  The key is whole foods.
  • Stop counting calories.  As long as you eat the right type of food, calories do not matter.  (Side note – I am a huge believer in this.  I have not looked at calories in years and years.)
  • Stop expecting sacrifice, depravation, and blandness.  Eating whole foods is a worry-free way to eat.  Allow your body to tell you what it needs and then do it.
  • p.  141 – “Vegetarians consume the same amount or even significantly more calories than their meat-eating counterparts, and yet are still slimmer.”  They also have a higher rate of metabolism at rest.
  • Campbell did an experiment on rats and found that the ones eating 5% casein (the main protein in cow’s milk) diet exercised twice as much as the ones fed a 20% casein diet.
Chapter 7: Diabetes
  • 1/3 of those with diabetes don’t know they have it!
  • There are many complications from diabetes: heart disease, stroke,  blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage, amputation risk.
  • Dr. James Anderson experimented with a high fiber, high carb, low protein diet in his patients.  His Type I Diabetics (this is the genetic type)  were able to lower their insulin medication by an average of 40%.  He had 25 Type II patients, and 24 of them were able to discontinue their insulin medication.
  • Another group of scientists has 40 diabetic patients all on medication, and prescribed a low-fat plant-based diet and exercise.  34 were able to discontinue their medication after only 26 days.

I’ve been meaning to watch the documentary “Forks Over Knives” for some time, but I want to finish this book first since his research is featured in it.  Stay tuned!

PGM Endorsement: Buddy Fruits

Oh readers, I have sooooo many things on my mind lately!  My head is swirling with information that I have to organize.  I’m still getting back into the groove after being out of town so much the last month.  Stick around – I’ve got some good posts coming up.  For now, I just have to share my new favorite life saver of a snack.  Buddy Fruits.

I’ve seen different brands of these around, but this is what I just happened to pick up.  These snacks went straight to the #1 spot for me when they rescued my sanity on our verrrrrry long drive back from Arizona this weekend.  Road trips are always hard, especially with toddlers.  I tend to do anything that will make us all suffer less (including…GASP…fruit snacks and candy).  I take along healthy snacks, but let’s face it – fruit is messy, and I’m not about to hand my 3 year old a cup of applesauce and a spoon.  This stuff just squeezes neatly out of a bag.  It’s SO easy, and even my 18 month old could do it all by himself without making a mess.  Even more good news – no choking hazard.  I just threw them back to the kids and kept on driving.  I was in heaven.


  •  ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS!  It is basically pureed fruit and 100% fruit juice.  Yes please.
  • No mess, no cleanup, easy for kids to use.
  • No refrigeration required
  • Doesn’t get bruised or mushy in your purse.


  • A bit pricey at about 88 cents a pop
  • it’s only 3.2 oz. so it doesn’t really fill anyone up, but it’s a good quick snack.

Bottom line – I won’t be buying a million of these on a normal basis, but YES on long drives, or long outings, or at moments of desperation.

Try em out!



Thai Peanut Sauce

Believe it or not this was a last minute meal last week before we left town.  I was in a hurry and I had a big bag of snow peas in the fridge.  I thought I’d grill them somehow and find a way to put it over rice when it popped in my head that I could do some sort of peanut sauce.  Luckily I had all the ingredients in my pantry and fridge and it all worked out!  Just a side note – Authentic Thai cooking does not involve peanut butter.  They don’t really use it over there.  Glad I’m not in Thailand because I love this stuff!

Thai Peanut Sauce (original recipe from

To make vegetables:

  • 2-3 cups of vegetables ( I used snow peas, carrots, peas)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken, cooked
Heat olive oil in a pan and saute vegetables until soft.  Add chicken, then add to sauce.

To make sauce:

  • 1 13 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 Tbs salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water

Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a gentle boil, whisking constantly.  Let simmer for 3-5 minutes over low heat.  Remove from heat and add to vegetables. Serve over rice.

The whole fam gobbled this baby up.  We sure love our Thai food.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

I’ll admit it – I am not a huge apple fan, but I had to switch up breakfast the other day, plus we had 1,000 apples to hurry and eat.  This recipe was actually super delicious.  It was sweet enough to eat without syrup even.  I love to spread peanut butter on my pancakes and it gets nice and melted and delicious.  These were a huge hit.  Give ’em a try for a weekend breakfast.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (originally from What’s Megan Making)

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour ( I used whole wheat and they came out great)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter

Mix ingredients and drop by 1/3 a cup onto a hot griddle.  They melt in your mouth.  mmmmm.

Oh! And I’ve been in the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix) all week for my little sis’ WEDDING!  So excited.  I’ll post pics when we get back.  Have a great weekend.

My Favorite App

How many times have you made the call to your mother: “What can I make for dinner out of zucchini and garbanzo beans?” or totally random ingredients like that?  I do it at least once a week, it seems.  Well, since I started getting Bountiful Baskets, I often get produce I’ve never used before, or even seen before.   So naturally, I have no idea what to make out of them.  I do a lot of searching online to try and find recipes, but a few months ago I found the best app ever.  It takes all the guesswork out of things.  It’s the Whole Foods Market Recipes App.

You can type in ingredients you have on hand and it will give you several recipes (complete with pictures!) that you can make.  Pretty awesome, huh?  Plus, it’s whole foods, so all the recipes are PGM approved!  So this morning I typed in zucchini and garbanzo and it gave me this:

+ Mediterranean Garbanzo Salad

+ Goat Cheese and Tomato Stuffed Vegetables with Chickpea Salad

+ Chipotle Veggie Stew

Sounds pretty great, right?

You can search  by category: cooking with kids, budget, entertaining, one pot meals, no cook, etc.

You can also search recipes by special diet: dairy free, gluten-free, vegan, sugar conscious, etc. 

I really really love this app.  Give it a try!