Wild rice, onions and Brussel sprouts

Lots of reactions to yesterday’s post on The China Study. Some people sent along skeptical and detailed posts about the conclusions in the China Study – which I read along with some thoughtful rebuttals – and some asked if I really was going to give up cappuccinos.

The most helpful “some’s” sent along supportive stories.  Here’s an example:

Hi Sasha,

A good friend recommended The China Study about 6 months ago.  My girlfriend read it immediately and we set out to change our diet – not 100%, but just tilt the scales towards plants.  Our 30 day trial has morphed into several months.  We aim for a Vegan/Vegetarian work-week and then on the weekend we might enjoy fish or lamb on a dinner out.  We’ve both lost weight – 15 pounds for me, 10 for her, and we feel great.  I’m glad to hear you are giving it a try.

Of course it is so tempting to cling to the counter-arguments, the skeptics and the doubters that let me say to myself, “You’re doing everything right already, don’t change anything.”

Then again, radical change shouldn’t be taken lightly, and before making any leaps one has to get back to one’s own sense of what makes sense, informed by the data and analysis we can get our hands on.

The most sensible, pithy advice on diet I’ve ever found was in Michael Pollan’s Food Rules:

Eat food, mostly plants, not too much

Which translates as:

  • Eat food: processed junk is not food.  Food is food.
  • Mostly plants: the majority of your calories should come from plants
  • Not too much: eat in moderation

And when I’m honest with myself, I’m following “eat food” and “not too much,” and falling way short on the “mostly plants” bit.  And I’m 100% sure if I shift to “mostly plants” I will:

  • Increase the amount of fiber I eat (almost no one eats the required minimum of 30g / day, and we all should)
  • Decrease my cholesterol
  • Eat more nutrient-dense foods
  • And probably decrease my overall calorie intake

So lunch today was wild rice, onions and Brussel sprouts, and it was delicious.  And while I’m sure I’ve not consumed my last latte, my last yoghurt, or even my last piece of meat, I think that the time has come to “tilt the scales towards plants.”

And the thing is, you can always do this tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes.  Today is the only time to act, to make change.

Thanks for coming along for this slight dietary detour…we’ll now get back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

(and here’s Graham Hill’s 4-minute TED talk on becoming a weekday vegetarian.)

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One Response to Wild rice, onions and Brussel sprouts

  1. Sasha,
    I don’t know anything about the China study (other than what you shared), but I do generally agree with Michael Pollan’s 3 pieces of advice. Starting a year ago, we’ve stuck pretty well to 1 and 3, buying mostly local, sustainably raised whole ingredients and making most things from scratch at home. (The other tenet Pollan asserts in Omnivore’s Dilemma, as I’m sure you know, is “if you want to eat it, make it from scratch” — and he counts French fries — the idea being then at least the end result will have been made from whole foods, and you’ll probably have burned a few calories in the process!)

    We used to travel a lot more for work, and now that we don’t, it’s a lot easier to stick to eating homemade, “real food”. We still eat meat, but we eat less than we did before, either by eating vegetarian meals more often or using meat as a flavoring rather than the centerpiece of a meal. The bit of dairy we eat mostly comes from goat yogurt, which I found leaves me feeling LOTS better than ingesting cow milk products, and when I’m feeling indulgent, cheese. I lost 13 pounds, my husband lost 10, and we both feel a lot better.

    I’d love to hear how this new lifestyle goes for you!

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