For those of you who don’t know, Colin Campbell (of The China Study & Forks Over Knives fame) lives in Ithaca. He, just lives there and goes about his business like it’s NBD, like he’s mortal or something. I also live in Ithaca, and every now and then I’ll spot Dr. Campbell, having dinner with his wife or at the market or something. And even after over a year of this, whenever I see him, I still have a total fangirl moment. every. single. time.
Setting aside the issue that I have the same reaction to a scientist that most teenage girls reserve for Harry Styles for a second, I really need you to read this book. It’s everything. The wonderful people at the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies gave me a copy of this book to review and giveaway on the blog last year around the time of its release and well, then I stopped blogging for a while as you know. BUT I did read the book and it was basically The Best. I’m giving away a copy of WHOLE and The China Study cookbook, a whole foods, plant based cookbook written by Dr. Campbell’s daughter Leanne. You have to read until the end to find out how to enter though!
Dr. Campbell starts off by describing how he committed the absolutely heinous crime of challenging the existing dogma in nutritional sciences. I know right?? A scientist querying the limits of a scientific paradigm! Quel horreur! I don’t know about you, but I hate it when my scientists ask difficult questions. He talks about how his colleagues at Cornell (and in the field of nutrition) thought he was batshit for suggesting that a reductionist approach to studying foods was probably not a good idea. A heretic they said. Rude.
Ok so, quick science lesson (real sorry). Reductionist biology is derived from the philosophical position which postulates that the whole is basically the sum of its parts. So by focusing on a teensy tiny part of a system, you can draw conclusions about the whole system. The opposite of this is a systems approach, which recognises that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Using an example from WHOLE I’ll try and explain how this happens in nutritional science. You can imagine an apple, as a system, as a whole. That apple contains different vitamins and minerals, some carbohydrates, and some other stuff; this is how a reductionist would choose to look at an apple.One of Dr. Campbell’s colleagues did and experiment on apples and found that 110g of fresh apple had an antioxidant, vitamin-C like activity (in-vivo) roughly equivalent to 1,500mg of vitamin C (around 3x more than most vit C supplements). When they actually analysed the apple for vitmain C, it contained only 5.7mg of actual vitamin C. The vitamin C-like activity of the apple was 263x more potent than the same amount of the isolated compound. In other words, the chemical scientists readily identify as vitamin C accounts for <1% of the vitamin C like activity we receive as a result of eating whole foods.
Dr. Campbell postulates that the the vitamin C might be more effective in food, than as a supplement, for instance. I for one, don’t think that’s too far of a stretch. I’d also rather eat a piece of fruit than take a pill. Anyway, hopefully that gives you some sense of the problems with the reductionist way of thinking; the reality is that there are far more health giving components in food than the ones that have been isolated and turned into supplements.
The book gets goes on to discuss various other issues around nutritional sciences and does get a bit technical and sciency at times, but you can skim over those parts if that’s not your jam. Even I was a bit “wtf” at parts and my PhD coursework was like 90% biochemistry. But I digress. This book seriously made me open my eyes to how nutrition and supplements are studied and funded, and how this ‘science’ is translated into policy which affects our health outcomes. You need to read it.
So want to get your paws on a signed copy of WHOLE and a copy of The China Study Cookbook? Obviously you do! All you have to do is leave me a comment below telling me the weirdest/funniest nutrition advice you’ve ever heard or read. For an extra chance to win, you can comment on my Facebook page or tweet me (@peaches_greens). You can also Instagram me one of your P&G’s creations, I know one or two of you are planning on making some Chocolate Rosemary Almond Butter soon and I can’t wait to hear what you think!
The rules are: you have a week from today to enter, and you can be from wherever. I’ll pick a winner at random from all the entries (remember you can enter more than once using social media).
Oh and just to clarify, it’s signed by Dr. Campbell, not me. That would be weird.
Be well little peaches!