Monday, September 26, 2011

The China Study

I read The China Study over the past couple of weeks.  I had heard about it through a few of the vegan blogs that I read, but never made the leap to check it out.  Then, when I saw Forks Over Knives, I knew that I would have to read the book.  Honestly, it was very good.  I thought that the amount of research put into it was great.  I always like to see studies as to why things are a certain way, of course I am sure that the way you research and what you are expecting to find has some bearing on the results...maybe not.

 I'm not going to pretend that it wasn't a disturbing book, it absolutely was.  I am a big cheese girl, and one of the biggest points I took away from this book, and the movie as well, was that having dairy as a main protein source is seriously detrimental to your health.  The evidence they were showing about how cancer tumors grew in rats that had a diet of 20% casein protein (the protein from dairy), made me want to cry.  How do you know what is the right way to eat?  I am less concerned about being a vegan because of the ethical treatment of animals, and more because of the health effects on my kids.

It started with all of the spinach recalls.  I realized that I needed to eat more local foods.  We transitioned to a couple of great CSA's.  I started visiting the farmers' market.  I found local sources of most of the foods that we eat, and more importantly talked to the farmers that grew our food.  There were still many occasions when I would buy stuff from the regular grocery store because I was lazy, because I forgot the market was only open until 6 on Wednesdays and had a job.

Then I watched Food, Inc. and I realized that I couldn't buy meat from the grocery store anymore, I had to get it from Snafu, because I knew how they were raising their animals, and I was comfortable with that.  Of course, that meant a lot less meat in our house.  And changing the types of meat we were buying.  Instead of buying chicken breast, I would buy a whole chicken (at $2.50/lb) and use the. whole. chicken.  When you are paying $15 for a chicken, you decide to learn how to make chicken stock out of the bones, and use every last bit of meat for something - ok, I am not an organ meats kind of person, so maybe not ALL of the chicken was used. And red meat was pretty much out for us.  We still ate a lot of cheese at this point.  I would buy from Cabot because they don't use the growth hormones.

Now, after reading and watching all of the documentaries and books, it seems I am left with a vegan diet, and not a vegan diet that includes soy because I've banned that too, I'm talking a whole foods vegan diet.  Beans, legumes, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds.  Unfortunately, it gets a little tricky, because I am also committed to eating a local foods diet, and we don't have a whole lot of walnuts and almonds growing around here.  Seasonal eating in March in Maine is not as easy as I would like it, unless I have had the great forethought of preservation...which I never seem to have enough of.  And I am not nearly as strict about it as I should be, but when I buy something from the grocery store, I feel guilty and wonder if my laziness to prepare something local and from scratch is hurting my family.

Does anyone else out there have these issues with food?  Is there something wrong with me?  OK, don't answer the second question :-)  I would love to hear where you are at with food, if you think that all of these new documentaries are full of crap, if you believe animal protein is the best way to get protein, and is it healthy to eat the amount of protein that we, as Americans, eat.

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