It is always amazing to see how many of the leaders in this whole foods, plant-based nutrition arena have backgrounds in dairy, and or cattle-ranching. T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Neal Barnard, Michael Klaper and others. My parents turned vegetarian but were still caught up in the old fashioned nutritional paradigm where protein was strongly emphasized. I remember in my summer vacation working on farm, the erstwhile biodynamic farm De Friehoeve, in Emmen, in the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands, and also on a farm in Gruyon-sur-Mer, in the canton de Vaud, Switserland. We were imbued with the belief that we needed protein nutrition and that milk was nature’s perfect food. It set my father up for a stroke at age 60 and another one at age 63, which did him in. He gorged on cheese all his life, thinking it was a health food and oblivious to the fact that it was 80% fat. Reading Dr. Neal Barnard’s The Cheese Trap put the final nail in the coffin of cheese in my life.
Not to be outdone, besides loving cheese all my life, I went through a period when I thought organic filet-mignon was health food. On and on, but fortunately for me, I later found my way to the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. and Dr. T. Colin Campbell. By now it’s been four years and I cannot even imagine going back. The bottom line is that nutrition was heretofore an agglomeration of normative assumptions that came together by historical accident and the order in which various nutrients were discovered. It turns out, of course, that merely because we eat a lot of protein, that does not mean it is healthy.
Now we know. With The China Study, we have, for the first time ever, a logical, and systematically evidence-based and proven paradigm for optimal human nutrition. Changing paradigms was never easy, and we can certainly see that with the resistance against the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet. Fortunately, the clinical results are so strong in many areas, that it seems right now the acceptance is growing at a rapid pace. And dropping dairy seems to be one of the biggest single steps one can take.
Other countries lead
It seems that in some countries are ahead of the USA, but change is in the air. Canada began to drop the emphasis on milk in 2019, and recently New Zealand has begun to de-emphasize dairy. And a lot came out during recent hearings in Washington for the 5-yearly revision of our nutritional guidelines by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, that is supposed to be independent but has always been swayed by food industry connections. Nevertheless there was testimony, among others by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams about the need to drop dairy in light of his own experiences. And, as I recently discussed, Dr. Milton Mills, testified to the fact that including dairy in the recommendations is outright racist, because of the number of people that are lactose intolerant – even among the “best” group, caucasians, the rate is 33-35%. It remains to be seen what is done about it. To be sure, here is another powerful video with Dr. Mills.
In order to really get what the issue is, it is necessary to understand the new plant-based nutritional paradigm, which is the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet without addition of Sugar, Oil or Salt, the 4-Leaf Survey, is an easy self-assessment that you can use. The gist of it is that our needs for protein where traditionally much overstated. We really need only 10% of our calories from protein, and that much we can easily get from potatoes and rice (9% each), beans and veggies (spinach provides 51% of calories from protein). The truth is the typical Standard American Diet (SAD) over supplies protein, and mainly from animal sources, which contributes to cancer growth. Even on a purely #WFPB diet, it is easy to get 10-15% of calories from protein. Stop worrying about protein from now on, the problem is getting too much of it, not getting enough of it – you simply cannot.