Interview6

Transcript of Interview 6


S.J.: The appendix of the China Study provides a very useful explanation of the metabolic pathways for biosynthesis of vitamin D as you have already explicated, so deficiency can cause many disorders possibly even multiple sclerosis?


T.C.C.: Right


S.J.: Many people test low in vitamin D. Should D get supplemented during the winter or during days spent in doors without exposure to sunlight, or by the elderly every day?


T.C.C.: Unfortunately, the measurement of vitamin D in our blood in many of the studies has depended on the measurement of the storage form of vitamin D in our liver. That is the first metabolite that is produced, called the hydroxyl vitamin D. Within limits, the storage form doesn’t have a lot to do with what vitamin D is really doing because it’s the subsequent dihydroxy D that makes the difference, and the body has this marvelous way of being able to control how much of the storage form is converted from moment to moment as it needs it. Of course, our body can work with a fairly low level of storage as well as a high level of storage and still do it just about the same. So, we’re measuring the storage form of vitamin D and finding out that supposedly we’re low and then we get more vitamin D in order to fill up the storage form. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It doesn’t make a lot of biological sense. What we need to do if we’re going to measure vitamin D status is to measure the dihydroxy vitamin D in the blood. The really good stuff, which is only present in about 1/1,000th of the level of the storage form but it’s also about 1,000 times more active. That is really the business end of the story. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been measured. Now, in more recent studies that I have seen, some studies have started to measure that a little more effectively and that’s good, but that in turn, the amount that is actually produced, we can’t administer that end stage metabolite because it’s very active and in fact, it’s toxic. If you tried to inject that into people, it possibly could kill them. The body is working with this very powerful vitamin D metabolite, this dihydroxy, but it’s deciding on its own basis when to make it and how much of it to make. So, I think it’s a great story of how nature has framed this thing has developed this whole thing to control how much of the final metabolite is produced from time to time. Over the long term, we should recognize that things like animal protein, for example, impede that formation. So, I didn’t want to put that chart scheme at the end of the book just to illustrate a point, not so much that I wanted to put all the emphasis on vitamin D, but instead, simply to illustrate how interconnected reactions are. This is only a very small snapshot of that kind of interconnectedness that occurs throughout our cells and throughout our body but it’s certainly something that shows how sunlight, in this case, interacts with food, interacts with hormones. The parathyroid hormone interacts with very specific kind of disease responses and health responses. It’s all there.


S.J.: And you have mentioned how animal proteins can inhibit the metabolism of vitamin D so that might be why there is an epidemic of D deficiency even in milk drinkers, even though D gets added to milk?


T.C.C.: Correct. You have said it well.



S.J.: Why do vitamin D and calcium help to alleviate some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome like anxiety and irritability?


T.C.C.: I don’t know, I can only sit here and speculate on that one. Premenstrual syndrome is when the estrogen levels, the normally high estrogen levels that are circulating during the reproduction cycles begin to drop, and when the estrogen levels start going down, then it puts at some risk calcium metabolism and some other kinds of changes and so this simplistic pharmacologic answer to that, if you will, is to just give calcium supplements or give more estrogen such as an HRT, hormone replacement therapy, and vitamin D in that particular case is an important player in the whole calcium metabolism scheme, and so during the premenstrual period when estrogen is going down this will allow more calcium to be lost in the bones. One way to stop that is to give some vitamin D, store it of course; you can give calcium too. It’s rather a simple minded way of trying to manage a complex system that is probably better managed by whole foods and eating the right food in the first place.


S.J.: Then the estrogen swings might not become so extreme.


T.C.C.: Yes, that is right. Not so extreme and the total amount of estrogen in the blood during reproductive years is not going to be so high if they eat the right food.


S.J.: In fact, I believe that binging can result when the swings of estrogen level are very extreme because of cravings that arise during a low period.


T.C.C.: I didn’t know that.


S.J.: So, it’s another example of how it all comes together when switching diet to plant based food.


T.C.C.: Right


S.J.: Again, plenty of calcium can be obtained from such foods.


T.C.C.: Right.


S.J.: Dr. Campbell, throughout your career, you have conducted research that puts animal products in a bad light. What has been your motivation, are you an animal rights activist or an environmentalist?


T.C.C.: No, that is not what propelled me in the beginning, not at all. If I were an animal rights activist, I guess I would not have used experimental animals in the laboratory to learn what I have learned. I mean that is answer enough. So, I simply was not that. I don’t want to discount it at the same time. Obviously, I don’t want to discount it, it’s very important, the arguments in favor of animal rights. There are obviously very good arguments. We have to be conscious of this and sensitive too, and I am becoming more sensitive as time passes, to be honest about it, but it was not my motivation. As far as environmental concerns, I think I can say more or less the same thing. I love the outdoors, I love the environment. I think we’re doing terrible things to our environment but that wasn’t my motivation, but I certainly appreciate the arguments that are made on that score, if we just eat right.


S.J.: On an evolutionary time scale, people have been consuming milk products from other species for very a brief period, so milk products could be called unnatural and least likely to be tolerated by people. Many vegans argue that people evolved as plant eaters since the length of the intestinal tract, with respect to body length, is so much greater than that of carnivores making the rotting of animal foods with our virulent pathogens much more likely than in carnivores. Many other aspects of our anatomy conform to that of herbivores, for example our incisor teeth are short and stubby like those of cows not like long fangs of cats. However, looking at the other side of the coin, to take the devil’s advocate side, since close primate relatives of humans, the chimpanzees and bonobos eat rodents and insects, it’s plausible that the progenitors of humans ate small animals for millions of years? Hasn’t that consumption of animals over an evolutionary time scale led to dependency on getting a very small amount of animal products several times a week? For example, our low synthesis of L-taurine, the amino acid, compared to herbivores and the existence in people of intestinal receptors specifically for the absorption of heme iron since it’s found in significance amounts only in animal foods?


T.C.C.: I’m not sure what your question is.


S.J.: So, in short, since we’ve consumed, our progenitors have consumed animal products in very small amounts over a long period of time, evolutionary time scale, and we have made adaptations over that period such as absorption of heme iron does that make a case that humans are not herbivores but rather omnivores?


T.C.C.: Well, perhaps. I don’t know whether we’re total herbivores. I’m not an anthropologist or paleontologist so I can only rely on what others have said and published. One of the people who actually has become quite popular in this field, at least whose view and my view are being distorted, is Lauren Cordain, a professor at Colorado State University who wrote the Paleolithic Diet. I have heard him, I’ve met him. I have been on a panel with him, and unfortunately, his views are being used to argue that we should be consuming a very high animal foods diet, but in reality, he actually argues that our nearest living primate relatives, are only consuming 3-5% at most animal based foods and that is mostly insects. Now, he also is opposed, he says drinking milk makes no sense. It’s not generally known about his work, I think, and there are others in that field too who argue that eating wild animals because of having different fatty acid composition are more favorable omega 3 to omega 6 to give a specific example. Eating some wild animals in small amounts may have been in our past, and I can’t dispute that. I think what they’re saying is perhaps correct, as part of our dietary history, and we may, in fact, have, as a result of consuming a bit of that, adapted to, lets say, absorbing taurine or may have adapted to some extent of having some modest ability to handle that kind of food, but, if that is the truth, if that is what really happened, to me in no way does that argue that in a context of the modern world that we’re supposed to eat not 3-5% of our diet in the form of animal food but 70% as we do. The average American ranges somewhere between about 50% of total calories in the form of animal food to close to 100%. In the case of protein, which is our most important signal indicator, about 75% of our total protein is animal based on average. So we’re largely carnivorous. That is no where near what maybe we did in the past, not even close, and so, I believe not only on those grounds but even probably more importantly on biochemical grounds just seeing how all the biochemistry relates in a favorable way to the chemicals consumed in plants and in an unfavorable way to the chemicals consumed in animals, the nutrients if you will. That combination of evidence from the biochemical level, from the archeological level, anthropological level, that combination and also today from the empirical data, we’re just seeing things. We were basically a vegetarian type species. We may have consumed some animal food, yes, we have. I think that is probably true, but I don’t buy the argument that somehow that justifies eating this very large supply of animal food these days that, quite frankly, is so different. It’s not even close to being the same as wild animals. Feed lot operations and animals pumped up with all kinds of stuff these days to get them to grow twice as fast as they otherwise would. No, that is not in my book.


S.J.: If we were carnivores then we would be able to handle such a huge load of animal products with a short digestive tract.


T.C.C.: Yes.


S.J.: But ours is very long, indicating that we’re mainly herbivores to a greater extent.


T.C.C.: Yes, I would even say in a much greater extent.


S.J.: And to such an extent that many people can thrive on a vegan diet.


T.C.C.: Of course. One of the interesting questions that is raised here, though, is that some people have tried this and then gone off and said they need just a little bit of animal food. I don’t know how to judge that kind of comment. If they were being really honest with themselves and they’re not somebody being prejudice or biased…who knows? Maybe they do need a little extra protein, I don’t know, or something.


S.J.: It may be that some small percentage has problems with absorption, so that they fail to thrive because of that reason.


T.C.C.: That’s right, it could be.


S.J.: So they eat a small amount? If that is what is required to thrive. As long as the rest of the diet is a whole unrefined plant based diet? Otherwise…


T.C.C.: Yes, I think we totally agree. It seems to me that is the kind of consensus opinion that should form and not the alternative, bipolar kinds of opinions. It has to be 100% vegan for every single person on the face of the planet and we’re supposed to expect excellent health for everybody. This is just probably not a realistic assumption, and in contrast, I know somebody who eats nothing but animal food. He’s still pretty young but I don’t know what is going to happen to him.


S.J.: Not even pizza with a crust?


T.C.C.: I don’t think so. Not that I am aware of. He’s a bit overweight already.


S.J.: Oh, he’s following a high protein diet, so he’s going to the extreme and testing that diet. Unfortunately, he might end up with some kidney problems.


T.C.C.: That is right. He’s just not of the age yet so he might not necessarily see the problems.


S.J.: He could very shortly unfortunately. As we age and make fewer growth factors, could the growth factors in milk give us more vim and vigor?


T.C.C.: I don’t think so. I think that, if anything, they’re likely to cause us to be a little more hyperactive. Especially for young children. It’s acknowledged, incidentally now, even by people who are likely to be defenders of dairy consumption, it’s acknowledged in print, in official print literature, that the single most important food allergen we consume is dairy, and it’s also acknowledged that the kind of allergic responses that we get are highly variable, ranging from hyperactivity to acne to intestinal disorders to all manner of problems so dairy is a problem there.


S.J.: So then as you mentioned, rather than giving us more vim and vigor, milk products, including cheese, contain components that make people feel less vigorous?


T.C.C.: In the long run, yes.


S.J.: What would you say to people who can’t envision letting go of cheese?


T.C.C.: Well, I would be talking to myself a little bit, because I happened to have liked cheese a lot and was raised on a dairy farm, and that was the one food that I had the most difficulty giving up, and I don’t know what I would say to them. I guess I’d say to them the same thing I say to everybody, make the change, be persistent, have patience and eventually

you will begin to discover there is a whole new world of taste and you will begin to be adapted to those tastes and then you certainly won’t have that addiction to the old foods, and you will actually begin to reject them. But I don’t know whether that is ever true with cheese for people who like cheese.


S.J.: What is a safe amount of animal based foods for those who choose to eat some? Is there a safe level?


T.C.C.: It’s going to vary between different individuals. Obviously, some people can tolerate, as we talked before, smoking all their lives and live to be quite old, a very small fraction of people of course, and I think the same susceptibility to animal foods is going to vary a lot between different individuals. For certain individuals, especially those who are highly vulnerable to heart disease or already have heart disease, consuming even small amounts of that kind of food could be really quite a problem. Others, probably, can tolerate a little more, but it’s a very hard thing to quantitate. With animal foods, when you think of them in their totality and you ask yourself ‘are they likely to do harm or good on balance for any individual?’, all the evidence to me points that if it has any effect at all it’s going to do harm.


S.J.: In fact, it’s hard to eat just a little of some food.


T.C.C.: Yes, that is true. Because if you really like that food you get addicted to it, we all know you can’t smoke one cigarette a day if you are inclined to want to smoke. It doesn’t work that way.


S.J.: From the standpoint of human health, are milk products the first to let go of while minimizing or eliminating other animal products, in a transitional state?


T.C.C.: I almost want to say yes. Primarily because I think the evidence for dairy is more incriminating.


S.J.: Ironically, many vegetarians gave up the flesh products in favor of the milk products. Unfortunately, and possibly not to the benefit of their health.


T.C.C.: Right, they may have made the wrong choice.


S.J.: But as a transitional phase, the first would be to let go of milk and then ideally to migrate to almost an entirely or entirely a plant based diet.


T.C.C.: Right.


S.J.: What problems can eggs present?


T.C.C.: I think there are at least a half a dozen studies that have shown an association with egg consumption, because their high sulfur content creates a condition in the intestine that leads to certain kinds of colon problems, possibly colon cancer. The old story, of course, is that eggs have a lot of cholesterol and this is a very cholesterol rich food and that was talked about a lot over the years, but there are some studies showing that some people can consume quite a lot of eggs and don’t necessarily get a high cholesterol level, but it varies across the board again. I was just talking to someone this morning, Dr. Esselstyn, my friend who talks about that. They’re doing the brachial artery-tourniquet test. You put a thing on your upper arm, stop the flow of blood, and then you eat an Egg McMuffin breakfast and the amount of pressure that is formed under those circumstances happens very quickly after consuming that breakfast: the arteries tighten up and get occluded and the pressure builds up and you can test it by this test. That is my understanding about the way it works.


S.J.: That is astounding!


T.C.C.: And it happens within minutes.


S.J.: An autoimmune reaction?


T.C.C.: He’s very interested in the effect of foods on the endothelium of the inner artery. He’s interested in the role of the endothelial cells in not only healthy arteries but also in the process that leads to atherosclerosis.


S.J.: But how could it occur after a few minutes, I mean it takes a while to digest it?


T.C.C.: Have you ever eaten asparagus and seen how fast it comes through to your urine?


S.J.: Yes.


T.C.C.: It’s pretty fast.


S.J.: Okay.


T.C.C.: It’s really pretty fast. I don’t know how it gets in there so fast.


S.J.: Some digestion and absorption occurs very quickly.


T.C.C.: Yes, it sure can.


S.J.: Are we engaging in scare mongering sensationalism or is the problem that the effects of animal based foods are just plain scary?


T.C.C.: Well, I don’t look it as scare mongering, and certainly, I am not interested and have no interest in scaring people. I think that if we just state the facts as they exist, for some people that is going to frighten them quite immediately. Other people are going to pass it off, but we have to have sort of a sensible sane approach to this kind of information and just realize that you know that there is something better than consuming those kinds of foods.

So, if we’re really interested in our health and decide to try it (plant–based foods), most of us will learn we like it.

I don’t like to think of the scare tactic. I have no interest in using that approach myself.

I generally think people are reasonably rational but obviously, unfortunately, I am probably wrong and a lot of people are not very rational.

S.J.: How come people lose weight and control any tendency towards obesity by eating lots of complex carbohydrates?


T.C.C.: A couple different reasons: When they’re consuming lots of complex carbohydrates, that means a very high plant based diet, and unless they add oil to it, it’s going to be low in total fat and oil. On that account, they’re consuming much lower amounts of oil or fat, which has 9 calories per gram compared to carbohydrates and they’re less likely to over consume into those high calorie dense foods if it has fat in it, calorie dense fat. There is another issue here though, too and that is when consuming a high carbohydrate diet, the protein intake tends to be somewhat lower which favors that combination of the low protein high carbohydrate, complex carbohydrate I should say, that favors more of the energy that is being consumed to be extended by body heat or perhaps to stimulate physical activity. In which case then, it doesn’t get laid down ­as body fat. So there are a number of things going on here and we could talk a long time about that but I think probably the most important thing is simply consuming a diet that favors the disposition of calories in the form of body heat. It increases a bit the metabolism and it doesn’t take much.


S.J.: In addition to using oil, a very high calorie density food, the mistake frequently made in following a high carbohydrate diet is eating low nutrient highly refined processed carbohydrates instead of the whole grains.


T.C.C.: Right.


S.J.: So to lose weight, one needs to eat whole unrefined vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains containing these complex carbohydrates plus a small amount of fatty foods such as avocado, nuts and seeds. But doesn’t eating health food taste like cardboard?


T.C.C.: A lot of it does, but the way I look at it, I guess, is that industry is still in the early stages and they gradually evolve to produce better products as time passes. Some of their products are obviously very good.


S.J.: You are talking about processed foods.


T.C.C.: Yes, and that raises another question, when I say very good, I mean they’re tasty. However, processed foods even though they may be vegan can be a problem.


S.J.: So how can you avoid the cardboard image of the health based diet?


T.C.C.: I only speak from personal experience. In our own home where my wife has been so good about creating different kinds of dishes, it turns out that there are many just wonderful dishes that you can consume and they look attractive on top of it, if that is important to people. There are all these interesting tastes and people have become accustomed to them and they like those tastes. I have become addicted to having a salad. For somebody else that may be cardboard and maybe it was for me to some extent in the beginning too.

S.J.: Do you use an oil based dressing?


T.C.C.: No, if there is any oil in the dressing that I use it’s a very, very tiny bit.


S.J.: What kind of dressing do you use then?


T.C.C.: Mostly vinegar or some kind of vinegar derivative. I may use some ginger in it.


S.J.: So, basically, a water based dressing.


T.C.C.: Primarily.


S.J.: Actually, considering the huge variety of plant foods, the choices are much broader than the standard meat and potatoes kind of plate that you get in the restaurant or at home.


T.C.C.: Absolutely, the variety is much greater. Someone can play around with trying all different kinds of things more so than just throwing a slab of meat in the frying pan and frying it.


S.J.: And you can use lots of herbs if you want.


T.C.C.: Right, exactly.


S.J.: And make it totally delicious. But, I do still have to limit myself if I want to lose weight. I can’t just eat all I want.


T.C.C.: I think that is generally true, but again, another thing you can do to control weight, of course, is to maintain a good exercise program.


S.J.: Or eat a lot of the green veggies which are low calorie and in addition to exercise.


T.C.C.: That’s right.


S.J.: Because if you want to fill yourself up, you can fill up with that mainly and then go to the legumes and the grains.


T.C.C.: Right.


S.J.: A friend once asked, ‘Doesn’t eating lots of veggies poison you with pesticides?’

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T.C.C.: There’s been a tendency for people to think there are so much more pesticides on vegetables than in animal foods. As far as the concentration on some of these foods, yes, you can see more pesticides on the leaf of a spinach if it’s grown under those conditions than you can see, lets say in a piece of meat, in theory, because it means you are not getting _______. That is only a surface argument though. The important thing about this is that a lot of these pesticides, especially if they’re fat soluble, bio accumulate. Animals spend their time eating grass and crops like that for several years perhaps and these chemicals don’t get metabolized, they don’t get excreted, they accumulate in the fat. So, things like dioxin, DDT, these kinds of pesticides and things like that which are fat soluble, it turns out they accumulate in the fat of the animal. So, it’s estimated that somewhere around 95% of our intake of those kinds of pesticides, etc., are coming from animal foods. They aren’t coming from plant foods because where there is a concentration in the overall animal food, especially when you consume the fat along with it, people do, that is where we get our pesticide from. Not from the plant foods, even though the initial concentration on the plant food may be under some circumstances higher than animal foods. But the animals have been accumulating and storing, we’re eating pesticide stores when we’re consuming animal food.


S.J.: In regards to heavy metals, can plant based foods help us control the adverse effects by chelating, helping the body to chelate the heavy metal and excrete it?


T.C.C.: I have heard some reference to that, but I don’t know. I don’t know especially with reference to the heavy metals because the heavy metals don’t seem to be in very much of the natural environment although they can be. I mean you can find arsenic in certain areas that are much higher than in other areas, and in Taiwan, I believe, it’s said that arsenic can be found in some of the water supplies. There are some pretty classic studies showing arsenic poisoning can occur even though those people for the most part are consuming plant based foods. Lead, mercury, there are some others, they tend to get in food because of our industrial world for the most part, the lead and the mercury. I don’t know whether plant foods can really attenuate those effects very much or not.


S.J.: So far as chelation goes. That is binding it and allowing it to be excreted.


T.C.C.: Right.


S.J.: However, in other respects, it can help the body deal with harmful substances.


T.C.C.: Yes, chelation is positively a factor that could help.


S.J.: Discounting the effects of concentrated poisons, how do animal products affect the nervous system, contributing to emotional problems such as depression, irritability or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?


T.C.C.: I simply cannot speak to the mechanisms of that at all. I am not sure that really anybody can very much, but the ADD or ADHD, as sometimes we call it, those are disorders that seem to represent an allergic response in many cases, because we know, if you take kids, for example, who have that problem and take them off of dairy, there is a lot of evidence, either with dairy or in some cases other offending food allergens, you take them away and their hyperactivity disappears. In one of these I suspect an embryological response, but which of those immune function components are really misbehaving and getting out of whack? That, I don’t know.


S.J.: Have you found that since switching your diet you have been able to more patiently seek the emotional and spiritual centers?


T.C.C.: Yes, definitely.


S.J.: Without the barrage of irritants to the nervous system from animal products?


T.C.C.: Right. I don’t know whether it’s because of not being exposed to those things or whether it’s something else I don’t know, but I know in my own life and here in many others as they sort of begin to take on this lifestyle and eat that kind of food, you become more aware of things that you should have been aware of before and weren’t. I think it’s likely to lead to a more contented feeling, spiritual feeling, higher level of consciousness, especially on matters concerning violence against other people. I have become very much more sensitive to the fact that eating animal based foods has a lot of consequences and those consequences for the most part are having to do with the way some people mistreat other people and the way they mistreat animals, the way they mistreat the environment. I call that just global violence. Why do we do that? Why do we do the things that are often times not in our best interest and violate the rights of others or abuse? Whether it’s human beings, or whether it’s abuse in the environment, it’s all the same. So I see where just choosing the right kinds of foods, we would be decreasing violence: end of story, full stop. It’s just the way it is.


S.J.: That actually has been found in prison studies.


T.C.C.: Yes, it has. It’s very interesting, that is right. Whether that increased awareness and consciousness, I’m not sure. I guess you get it from eating the right kind of food, but what is the reaction there? Is it because we’re then avoiding animal foods? You know, that may in fact cause those kinds of alleged responses that we don’t want to have. I mean the fight or flight syndrome maybe even. Yes, there are some very good studies showing that people tend to be more contented and less violent when we do that. Dr. Antonia Demas was showing this in a remarkable way in a couple of settings, one in Miami, Florida, and the other in Oakland, California, where she was working with troubled youth who were incarcerated. She changed their diets and, wow, what kind of changes she was seeing. It was just remarkable. You have to sort of wonder, especially in those settings because they were mostly African American or Hispanic, and those folks are very sensitive to dairy. They have a very high lactose intolerance index which suggests they’re probably going to be sensitive to a lot of problems with dairy. Take them off of dairy, and we might empty half our prisons. Just stop and think about it, all the consequences. When you start thinking about these kinds of things, it’s bound to increase one’s awareness of what is going on, seems to me.


S.J.: Beyond our physical health, so many problems and tragedies might well have been caused by our so called affluent diet.


T.C.C.: Right, we rape the earth, take the resources at an unprecedented rate in order to eat the food to make us ill, and then we make drugs that command still more costs.


S.J.: An enriched lifestyle, and an impoverished humanity.


T.C.C.: Yes, this issue is a very important issue, a very big issue. It has far reaching consequences when we start thinking about what food can do for our very existence. This is the kind of discussion I wish we could have with young children. It can occur. Young children should know. They seem to have more open minds and I have often wondered along these lines. It’s just curious, in fact, why is it that we don’t want children to ever go to a butchery, yet we’re going to let him eat the products of a butchery. Why do we do that? If you were to go into the public school system and say I would volunteer my services, I would like to take your class over to the local slaughter house. You would get no place. But yet they’re going to sit there and eat their hamburgers, and a lot of kids don’t even know where the hamburgers come from, but you take those kids over to that slaughter house, it would be a life changing experience for them, a lot of them. They wouldn’t eat it, and so just show them a film of the abuse of their pets.


S.J.: Or even not abuse but how it actually works in the ideal way with the animals stunned. It’s a pretty brutal process.


T.C.C.: Yes, that would change things around.


S.J.: People don’t like to think of their food being killed and skinned, dismembered, intestines splattered around.


T.C.C.: I think, most children would find that really abhorrent, and they don’t need to be told that it’s abhorrent; they will decide that on their own. You don’t need to say anything, just let them see and say that is where your hamburger comes from. This is where your breast of chicken comes from, a chicken that can’t even turn around in a cage. I mean, these kinds of things. That is just human nature, and so we deny. We’re denying young people their humanity by not telling them what is going on. We’re really denying them their humanity and I think it’s disgusting.


S.J.: All because we think that they have to get the flesh and the white stuff into them to lead an optimal life, whereas in reality, we’re setting them up for future disease or maybe even present autoimmune response.


T.C.C.: That is right and why do they think that? They think that because all they have to do is walk over to the walls of their classroom and if there is anything hanging there that has something to do with health, it’s what are they being told. They’re being told to drink that 3rd glass of milk instead of 2 glasses. They’re being told to be sure and get enough protein. You know, very simple message like that. Who is producing that? It’s the industry producing it. They’re cultivating in the children a new market for life. So their companies knew this very well when they were starting to market to the kids and increased the amount of nicotine in the cigarette for example, get them addicted.


S.J.: Children have been a target of the dairy industry for a long time, for decades.


T.C.C.: Yes and that is a crime. That is literally a serious crime and they should be held accountable for it. Originally, we started the discussion talking about ‘Does it increase our awareness of such’, and I am saying things now that I wouldn’t have said 20 or 30 years ago. So why am I saying it now? I criticize myself or critique myself I should say. Well, why did I do that, I just have become aware. I don’t know why I became aware. I should have always been aware, but I am more aware now.


S.J.: Of the effects on human health as well.


T.C.C.: Yes.

T.C.C.: I mean, I come from a background of hunting, trapping and slaughtering animals, milking cows, I did all that. So, I know what that world is like.


S.J.: Well hopefully, the results of your research will become better known and reduce the motivation to continue promoting the animal industry.


T.C.C.: Right.


S.J.: Genetic engineering is being used to increase the content of beta carotene in rice, yet a possible unintended consequence is the creation of allergenic proteins. Do you think genetic engineering should be used to increase the functionality of foods?


T.C.C.: No, not at all. I know that there are what appear to be some very powerful arguments for going down that route of genetic engineering of foods and creating foods that have higher nutrient content and particularly in the 3rd world, where increasing the percentage yield of foods is needed in order to feed more kids. That’s a pretty powerful argument. You know that is being used to support that, but there is another way of doing that besides having genetic engineering or genetically engineered foods and running the real risk of unintended consequences. All the alternative ideas really have to do with is just simply going into these societies and asking questions about how you could get a little bit more equitable distribution of resources and wealth and opportunity. That is also possible. So that instead of them having to depend on the food that has to be handed out to them, they could be learning how to do some of these things themselves. I know, my view on that is a little bit simplistic in an international setting because I have worked a lot in an international settings, and I know there are areas of the world where there are people living and they can’t go out an make a garden in a rock pile as much as they might want. In a situation like that, you can study the question a little bit and maybe relocate them in areas where they can do that. There are ways. We just don’t think along those lines. We just don’t. To give an illustration, when I was working in the Philippines with malnourished children, we had a Food for Peace Program which primarily accounted for sending in dried milk powder for these children because they needed dairy. But they didn’t say the reason we’re sending that because this is a byproduct of our subsidy program. And why do we have a subsidy program? Because it would make good politics. It would produce all this extra milk. We dried it down and sent it abroad. We wanted to help feed the world, feed the kids, take care of them. Forget it, nonsense.


S.J.: Seems like with the benefits of a diet consisting of a large variety of whole unrefined plant based foods and possibly supplements of vitamin B12, vitamin D, DHA, maybe minerals as called for, as well as exercising, emotional and spiritual practices, we could be healthy and vigorous well into old age and avoid or possibly heal the degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, impotence, constipation and many others that Americans eventually suffer. Have I got that summary about right?


T.C.C.: Yes you do. The only qualification, you named some outcomes that are obviously considered diseases and problems or at least we think they’re diseases and problems. In some cases, they only became diseases because somebody decided to call them diseases. The pharmaceutical industry decided to call them diseases and the medical committee went along with it and you would get a name for a disease, now you got a new disease. Everybody becomes aware of it. Now there is an epidemic, now we need drugs and the natural order of things is that we don’t have to. I’m thinking like you said impotence. That was coined by a pharmaceutical industry marketing group and then once you opened up that market, you got a problem and you’ve got a market, instead of thinking it was the natural order of things. I don’t think it’s quite the natural order of things because people are eating the wrong food. We don’t go down the road even asking ‘What effect does this bad food have on creating that problem?’, if you will. We don’t go down that road. Rather, we go down the road, ‘Let’s call it a disease, let’s give it a name’ and ‘Now let’s find something to give to people a billion dollar drug’. It’s all messed up.


S.J.: Why do many nutritionists and doctors advise drinking milk? Do they know about the problems with dairy and other animal products?


T.C.C.: Mostly not. A lot of well meaning good people in the practice of medicine and science and the public, of course, they’re led to believe that three glasses milk a day is better than two glasses, builds strong bones and teeth. I mean I have heard that since I was a kid. Being raised on a dairy farm we were doing great things. We were producing health food you see because that is what everybody believed, but I think, of course, you are referring to the fact that those recommendations to consume three instead of two are based on policy committees that have been corrupted by the industry itself. Those kinds of people get in there and they develop these kinds of recommendations.


S.J.: Although correlation does not show causation, with the results of population studies and with biological plausibility such as turning cancer on and off, increased levels of the hormone estrogen as well as negative calcium balance with animal products, is all that research regarding the harmful effects as about as close to proof in biology as is possible to come short of knowledge of the detailed metabolic pathways, some of that is coming out now, and more of the formal clinical studies that have been done? Who paid for the studies of the metabolic pathways and the clinical studies?


T.C.C.: Well, the clinical studies certainly were mostly paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. The whole concept of doing clinical trials which everybody thinks is the gold standard, which I do not accept, that concept was built around the idea that you have to test single things to see what they do, keeping everything else under control. Of course, it’s never said that everything that is being kept under control also includes all the factors that are the more important factors.

Not everything can be kept under control. So, you stick in one chemical and see what you can do. That is a clinical trial usually used for the development of drugs of course and things like this. Pharmaceutical industry pays for most of that, pure and simple. The government pays for some of that. National Institute of Health will put up some funding to help that get under way, but they in turn are greatly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry as well. If you go back to your first statement, if you look at all the biological evidence that has to do with knowledgeable plausibility, evidence having to do with comparison over a broad range, the relationship between our diet and lifestyle, disease, and then you put all this together and by that, in my view at least, the way I sort of want to do that is I want to look at some of the basic biochemistry and see if I feel it’s right, and then I want to see if that is consistent with a bigger picture. I also want to ask questions too, ‘Is this consistent with, is it practical in a sense?’, and maybe in some cases ‘Is it economical, feasible?’. You have a variety of different kinds of studies. You have studies that determine biological plausibility. You have studies that look at just general associations. It’s putting it all together to see if you have run across a fundamental truth. So it’s a much more holistic approach.


S.J.: How about reversal of even severe diseases, that is, using plant based foods to support the body’s own healing processes for example to shrink tumors? Has any formal clinical evidence been found? We mentioned formal clinical studies using only isolated cases as being somewhat irrelevant, but formal clinical studies of people consuming the whole plant based diet.


T.C.C.: Yes, the most famous are Dr. Esselstyn’s in my view. Reversing advanced heart disease. Obviously, Dr. Dean Ornish also did this too but his studies were shorter. Esselstyn’s now have gone on for more than 20 years and it’s just remarkable. I don’t know anything in the drug field.

S.J.: How about shrinking tumors?


T.C.C.: That is a little more problematic because nobody wants to look at and quite frankly, there is really, really serious bias against doing those kinds of studies. I had an experience and I can tell you this: on one occasion when I was lecturing at the McGill University Medical Center and at that time it was a university-wide lecture, essentially, and there were about 800 people in the audience, and this is maybe at least ten maybe more than that maybe 15 years ago, when I was simply just offering the idea that diet was not only important in terms of preventing cancer in my view but what about the possibility of using it in a broader sense for maybe reversing advanced cancer and no one said anything until after the lecture was over. I went to dinner with the head of surgery, head of chemotherapy and the head of radiation therapy, those three gentlemen took me to dinner, and of course, they brought the topic up. ‘What did you mean by saying that?’ Well, if you look at the biology, the theory of it, it seems to me to be a reasonable idea to test. I would like to see it done, but nobody is doing this. If a person gets cancer, put them on a dietary regimen for example, and the guy on my left who was the surgeon said, ‘You will not get any of my patients. I know what I can do. That’s it. You just simply will not. I know what I can do. You can’t just take patients like that and try something really strange’ or whatever word he used. He said something that irritated the guy on the right who was the chemotherapy guy. He said ‘I can do this, surgery can do this and this and this’. The guy on the right suddenly heard him say something he didn’t really care for and said ‘no, no you can’t. I’ll tell you right now this chemotherapy will work better than what you just said’, and the two of them started arguing with each other and one of them said something to annoy the guy sitting on the opposite side, the one involved in radiation therapy. He jumped in and said ‘No, neither one of those work, it’s radiation therapy’. The first thing, it was really amusing. Those three guys are there arguing about what was the best treatment for a couple different cancers amongst those three different ways, but they all agreed to one thing. Forget diet. That is not the way.


S.J.: Protecting their own turf. Not considering a completely different playing field.


T.C.C.: That’s right and I have seen this played out so many times.


S.J.: And to your way of thinking, has it been proven as close as you can prove in biological terms or at least shown to your complete satisfaction that animal based foods play a major role in causing or promoting cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis among other degenerative disorders?


T.C.C.: True. What’s proof? Proof is the accumulation of evidence, weight of evidence. That is the way I like to look at it. If you look at all the evidence on animal food versus plant food just to look at that comparison. I find the weight of the evidence against animal foods far, far in excess of the weight against plant food, from many, many different perspectives. You can call that proof or not. I don’t know, but I think it really is more the weight of the evidence. I would, in these days, at least, become, I think, a little more conscious of something else that I hadn’t paid much attention to before and that is processed foods. Start thinking about processed foods. Process foods are something less than the whole plant foods. They might all be plant based, but if they’re less than whole and they only contain white flour and sugar, oil stuff like that and some salt thrown in and make a biscuit out of it, I am concerned about that. So, I am going to take a lot of processed food and put them in the same basket with animal foods and say we have a mixture here of stuff that is not in our best interest. The health basket is the one with whole plant based foods.


S.J.: Has there been any evidence generated against that diet?


T.C.C.: No, not as far as I am concerned. Not any convincing evidence. There are organizations that will argue this vehemently that animal foods offer a lot. Obviously, the dairy industry is looking out for the dairy, the meat industry looks out for themselves, the egg board looks out for eggs, and there are other organizations that are strange and we don’t know where they get the money from that would make that argument such as an organization called the Weston A. Price Foundation in Washington. They’re quite vigorous. They have quite a lot of money and those people are out there using Weston A. Price’s work to argue in favor of consuming livestock. I have gotten to know Weston A. Price’s work and they’re distorting it.


S.J.: How are they distorting it?


T.C.C.: Weston Price was a dentist, a dental surgeon who mostly was working in the 10’s, 20’s and 30’s and he was going around the world surveying indigenous peoples when he could find them who had not yet been touched by commercialism. He found about 14 such groups, one case living in the Alps in Switzerland, another group in the Hebrides of Scotland, Polynesian islands, mountains of Peru, in Africa, like the Maasai. He was looking at all these different people and what he measured was their dental caries, he was a dentist, and what he found was that these groups had not yet been touched by the commercial western world and they really had good teeth. That is not surprising. He also talked about their dental arches. They had fuller faces, they looked healthy, he was impressed with their health and as soon as they got access to a port or someplace where there was food being brought in, all of a sudden deficiencies shot up. Then he was making this generalization that that is bad health, and probably I am sure it was, and he was sort of, to some extent inferring a little bit about other diseases also beginning to occur in those circumstances but he didn’t record anything on that point. He did give some evidence on caries. He did all this and so he was arguing that we should go back to the indigenous diet. He said that fish was important and the fishing communities. In some cases, he inferred that animal foods might be important but he also acknowledged that these people, in a lot of cases were living on plant based diets. This foundation in Washington that now exists populated by nonscientists giving these hostile reactions against things that I say or that Dr. McDougall says or Dr. Esselstyn says, they’re really going out there to do everything they can to try to discredit us on any grounds. They’re extremely hostile, rude, and I know they get funding from the agriculture industry, the livestock based agriculture industry. So that is the caveat of it, I’d say. There are people. I mean they really believe, I think, they act like they believe that what we’re saying is wrong. One of their people has written something to say that we should consume as much cholesterol as we can, and it turns out it he happens to be a 24-year-old young guy with no training in nutrition. He writes well, and he makes these outrageous statements like this.


S.J.: Well, he’s like a debater who is trained to argue one side or the other and come up with as many points in favor of one side and as many points against the other side. It’s just a debating…


T.C.C.: Ploy.


S.J.: Exercise. An exercise like a tennis player practicing his tennis. The man is just debating, practicing his debating expertise whether or not he believes in what he’s saying.


T.C.C.: Right, that is true. He has no training in the field. He never did any research in the field, never has published a paper that was peer reviewed and yet, he somehow, he will put his things around on the internet, or maybe distribute papers at meetings that I may at or presenting.


S.J.: Unfortunately, he’s not putting on a high school debate, he has a nationwide audience in a life-critical subject.

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