It was the end of February, 2012.
Coming up on Leap Day.
I was sitting at my in-law’s kitchen table, staring at the wall.
I’d been like that for days.
Periodically, I’d pick up the book from my lap and read a few more pages.
Then stare at the wall, processing.
My Mother-In-Law, Liliane, was chiding me.
Earth to Susan!
It hardly registered.
I looked down and read another page.
I don’t recall ever, in my entire life, being affected so profoundly by a book.
I hadn’t even read that much of it yet.
Maybe 40 pages, or something.
The book was The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., and Thomas M. Campbell II, M.D.
My Father-In-Law, Hugh, had tossed it into my lap at the beginning of our stay with them. He knows I’m interested in nutrition. He hadn’t read it yet. It had just arrived via Amazon.
I picked it up and glanced at the front cover, the back cover. I flipped through it nonchalantly. I was indifferent.
But then I really started really reading it.
And I couldn’t stop.
It sucked me in.
And didn’t spit me out again until it had altered me.
That night, the dinner on my plate looked different.
My throat closed.
I couldn’t eat it.
This was new for me.
Never once in my life, for ten seconds, had I ever even considered becoming a vegetarian.
Let alone vegan.
I ignored Meatless Mondays.
I ordered the Filet in every fine restaurant I went to.
I dished up not one, but TWO servings of dairy or eggs every morning for breakfast.
Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.
Or two eggs with cheese.
But on that Leap Day weekend, abruptly, it all stopped.
I didn’t go looking for this change.
It happened to me.
Suddenly, I was just changed.
My mom has had breast cancer twice.
Separate tumors, growing in each breast, so big there was nothing left of the breast to salvage.
Every woman on my mom’s side of the family, but one, has had breast cancer.
So much frickin’ cancer.
One in two men.
One in three women.
All at risk.
I never knew it was the meat.
The meat and the dairy.
I was done.
Done eating meat and dairy.
You can’t unring a bell.
You can’t unknow something that you know.
And now I knew.
Meat and dairy.
I was done.
I had never seen such gorgeous science in my life.
A tour-de-force presentation of decades of research conducted on two simultaneous grants at Cornell University, and studies involving over 880 million people.
A triangulated effect with lab studies on both rats and mice, using four different protein sources, showing 100% cancer growth versus 0% cancer growth…then epidemiological studies on hundreds of millions of people confirming the effects in humans…and molecular biology tests in a petri dish discovering the exact mechanism of action.
I could never do science like that.
But I know it when I see it.
So I stopped eating meat and dairy.
And let the rest of my diet, the abundant fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and hearty legumes, take over and fill up the whole plate.
What happened next was a surprise.
My digestion changed.
Within 48 hours, my lifetime problem with constipation and irritable bowel disappeared.
I went from having three or four bowel movements a week, with chemical assistance (chelated magnesium) and much difficulty, to having ten per week, with no magnesium and no difficulty.
My stools were suddenly what my friend’s Ayurvedic doctor would declare perfect: the size and consistency of an overly-ripe banana.
Whose body was this?
And my sexual functioning changed, too.
That happened even faster.
Within a day.
As open as I am, in deference to my husband’s modesty, I’ll spare you those details.
We were both pleased.
So when T. Colin Campbell put out another book, needless to say I placed my pre-order right away.
I couldn’t wait.
And then it arrived.
Co-written with Howard Jacobson, Ph.D.
If The China Study was an earthquake, Whole was the sunrise.
Everything just got brighter.
Brighter and clearer.
After The China Study, I stopped eating meat and dairy.
After Whole, I stopped taking those handfuls of nutritional supplements I used to gobble down with each meal.
And I got healthier, and healthier, and healthier.
So now, fast forward to 2015.
I’m in my office, working.
And what do I find?
From none other than Mr. Howard Jacobson, Ph.D.
He was inviting me to be a guest on his Plant Yourself Podcast.
Would I like to?
I emailed him back right away.
We did the we’re-both-busy scheduling dance, and then finally, the interview took place.
One week ago, today.
He called me, and we talked.
For over an hour.
We probably could have talked a lot longer, but as Howard told me, “people write in and say they don’t like that,” so we reined ourselves in out of kindness.
There’s one thing, far more than any other, that stands out to me from this experience.
It floored me.
/praz/ noun – The expression of approval or admiration for someone or something.
Remember, this is someone whose work has changed my life.