A WHOLE New World


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. 

WHOLE by Colin Campbell

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. 

Colin Campbell Quote

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. 

WHOLE and TCS cookbook

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!

Laura xo


  1. LL says:

    Great post LT!! The first thing that comes to mind re: weird nutrition advice was a friend told me that she heard from someone (probs her mom’s friend’s aunt’s best friend’s dog) that a key to weight loss was to always eat fruit with a protein.

  2. Lindsey says:

    My mum when she was younger went on a rowie diet. She had 3 rowies a day and that was it. She couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t losing weight!!

  3. Ashley says:

    I don’t know if it counts as weird advice, but the whole premise of the Slimming World diet seemed to be not not mix your carbs and proteins. I am not exactly sure as to why. Also, someone I went to uni with doesn’t believe no matter how much I tell them that white bread is not a health food. It’s really annoying. Can I have the book now please?

    • Laura says:

      I think it would be unethical for me to just hand over the book to you but I’ll let you borrow my copy! On what planet is white bread a health food??

  4. maritza says:

    oooooh! I love a give away plus this one sounds great!
    To be honest I’ve never actually had any professional advice about nutrition. Shocking, isn’t it! This just shows how little doctors in the UK care about nutrition in regards to health.
    Oh, and someone I once worked with truly believed that they could get everything they needed from Angel Delight!!!!!! :-D

  5. Lindsey Tischuk says:

    I'm gonna put it out there but I think the subway diet is a weird one! Especially now that we know that the bread contains so much chemicals!! While I'm at it, Slim Fast and the Special K diet- not looked at these in too much depth but you can't be getting enough calories to be keeping your body out of starvation mode! 2 bowls of cereal and a 'healthy dinner" why don't they introduce a Lucky Charms diet while they're at it!!!

  6. Claire Harkins says:

    I was once informed that you can burn calories and enjoy an endorphin spike by maintaining a continuous, high-velocity rotational motion whilst consuming alcoholic beverages.

  7. Joey McGee says:

    Many moons ago I was advised to eat all kinds of junk food in order to gain muscle mass (from high school football peer); it was said to aid in football training. Lesson learned: guys are basically dumb until we reach our forties . . . so don't take the advice at face value until the age of wisdom has been achieved : )

  8. Nicola Brown says:

    I am officially from “wherever” – New Zealand – so it’s cool to find a giveaway that I can actually enter! Weirdest nutrition info that I heard was when I was a teenager and MacD’s opened in my city – there was a rumour going around that cheeseburgers made girls taller. This was appealing to me at the time, as I’d stopped growing when I was 10.

  9. brerehley says:

    A friend of mine promotes what she calls the “hyperventilation diet.” She says that, since you expel mass from the calories you burn by exhaling out CO2 and water vapor, you can lose more weight through extreme breathing. Very very silly, but she thinks she’s going to get rich from the idea. ;)

  10. Beebo says:

    I’m not sure if this is true but I’ve heard that the lycopene in tomatoes becomes more bioavailable after the tomatoes have been thrown at Sarah Palin. I’ve also heard that flavonones have anti-establishment properties. Anyways, I know I’m too late to win this, but I have all Dr C’s books anyway, so I give ZF’s. Try and listen to some of his interviews if you can. He’s been through mad ish that he didn’t even talk about in the books. Absolute trailblazer of a man.

    • Laura says:

      Yeah he’s a great dude! I was lucky enough to meet him at a local dinner party. I’m sorry to see that some people in nutrition disregard his work so easily.

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