If you are like most who are investigating the benefits of eating lower on the food chain, you'll have inevitably come across the book The China Study.
It was published in 2006, and the authors join the ranks of Drs. Ornish, Fuhrman and others in promoting a "whole, plant-based foods" diet to rid Western society of the majority of its "diseases of affluence," including diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart disease.
The main author is a leading scientific researcher in the field of health and nutrition, and the findings he presents have convinced many over the years to adopt a diet with significantly less animal products. He prevents findings that indicate diets low in animal protein can significantly reduce and even reverse the onset of many cancers (including liver, breast, and colon), as well as many circulatory ailments such as strokes and heart disease. He discusses the role of vitamin D and calcium in regards to multiple sclerosis, and how cow's milk and dairy is actually doing us more harm than good.
What you come away with in reading this book is that many of the ailments we think we need Big Medicine for could easily be treated just by changing our diets. He details how the majority of physicians today learn courtesy of curriculums developed by the drug companies, and how the pill and surgery route is favored over a more non-evasive approach.
He also goes into a lengthy discussion about how "The System" is essentially bought by agricultural interest and lobby groups, and how difficult it can be to find unbiased information. The agricultural interest groups purposefully target young children, and develop curriculums of their own. They have also worked tirelessly to squash or redirect studies that unequivocally state that dairy/eggs/meat negatively effect your health. You think milk is good for you because the Milk Council has told you milk is good for you. It started 100 years ago and is so innocuous in our society that we think the only place you can get calcium is milk.
While the China Study is a legitimate epidemiological study carried out by the lead author, you don't hear much about it in the book, save to compare disease rates from time to time. For the most part, China has far fewer of our diseases, mainly because they consume significantly less animal protein than we do. And more often than not, when a person moves to another culture and takes on their eating habits, they in turn develop the diseases of their adopted home.
While the author has a habit of repeating himself a bit and he's not afraid to toot his own horn, he does an excellent job of explaining the research out there, why some things are good and why others may seem good but aren't. This guy knows his stuff - he spent his life researching this, struggling against the status quo and meeting road blocks and overcoming them.
I would have liked to have known more about the China Study and was a little disappointed that there wasn't more in the book about it. And while I am all for conspiracy theories revolving around the major pharmaceutical companies, I know a lot of people (myself included) who probably wouldn't be here today without them. As much as I agree they push a for-profit agenda at the expense of citizen's health, some of the stuff out there is genuinely doing some good.
A lot of people scoff at the idea of animal rights. No one scoffs at cancer. This book gives you solid ideas and reasons for reducing animal food consumption that have everything to do with you living a longer, healthier, more active life. I highly suggest you read it. You can take your life into your own hands, and it doesn't need to involve medical intervention. Eat fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and grains. Ease off on the dairy, eggs, and meat. The less you eat of the latter, the longer you'll be eating the former.