I have been struggling to find something interested to read (listen to) recently. My schedule has been so tight that if a book starts a little slow, I just quit the thing. I just don’t have time for a lot of fluff right now.
When I came across, WHOLE: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell PhD, I was expecting another boring start and early exit. I was wrong.
The premise of the book is one that I have been reading quite a bit about (and starting to accept) recently. The idea is that a diet of whole; plant-based foods (WFPB), will keep us healthy and even reverse maladies that many believe can only be treated by pharmaceuticals. Don’t jump to the idea that he is espousing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Campbell is really saying that what we put in our mouths will do far more to prevent, halt and even reverse illness than anything else.
He goes off on his distaste and distrust of reductionism. It seems like a sidetrack at first, but is such an important part of the story that it not only makes sense, it must be included. Reductionism is the Western belief that by breaking things down to their smallest understandable part, we can learn how things work and thus effect outcomes. Rather than spend a lot of time giving examples and explaining the effect that reductionism has had on our healthcare system, I will simply say that the results are things like believing cholesterol causes heart disease. If some drivers are pregnant, it doesn’t mean that driving causes pregnancy. (Although parking might 🙂
Although there is some great stuff in WHOLE, it is not altogether without issues. The main one is Campbell’s use of reductionism himself to blame meat eating for everything from animal cruelty to global warming. If you can chuckle at the irony of this tactic rather, you can digest his political rant for what it is and still glean the good info.
The crib note version of WHOLE is this: eat foods in their natural forms, skip processed foods and consume animal based foods in moderation. The book may be a bit dense at times, but it is an excellent read with great information.
by Chris Doelle
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