Plant-Based Praise

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.

Animal carcass.

My throat closed.

I couldn’t eat it.

This was new for me.

Totally new.

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.

With glee.

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.

Double mastectomy.

Every woman on my mom’s side of the family, but one, has had breast cancer.

So much frickin’ cancer.

Forty-one percent of Americans will get cancer.

One in two men.

One in three women.

My husband.

Your daughter.

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.

I swear.

As open as I am, in deference to my husband’s modesty, I’ll spare you those details.

We were both pleased.

Enough said.

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.

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition.

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?

An email.

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?

Heck yeah!

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.

Howard’s praise.

/praz/ noun – The expression of approval or admiration for someone or something.

Remember, this is someone whose work has changed my life.


Take a listen.

With love,








  1. Leyla Paker

    Dear Susan, I like your blog and can very well identify myself with almost everything you write. But regarding the “The China Study” it seems, that the claims Campbell made in his book are not supported by the data. If you are seriously interested in your own health and the health of your clients, then please consider reading following critiques on the “The China Study”:

    Kind regards

    Reply ·
    1. Manuela Hrasky

      Dear Leyla, as a medical doctor, I have great respect for the scientific method. But when it comes to critiques of science research I try to be open-minded. I accept that western medicine does not have all the answers. However, I am going to be more inclined to consider the opinions of someone with decades of training and research in his field (that would be T. Colin Campbell) than the biases of a young woman who clearly had a bad experience with a poorly planned vegan diet and who has no training in nutrition or science (that would be Denise Minger).

      Reply ·
  2. Ann Vanover

    I had the same experience with that book about 4 1/2 years ago. I was a big fan of The Biggest Loser. When I found out that Bob Harper went vegan after reading the China Study I was intrigued. I got it, red it, & meat & dairy have been gone from my life ever since! ( of course Bob has gone back to meat, but I still love him. He brought me to this great way of life, and he’s just awesome!) :))

    Reply ·
  3. renee

    Well, as the old saying goes, “In for a penny, in for a pound.” First I went ‘no chemicals’ on my own and switched to Mexican and Himalayan salt plus switched to nothing but coconut oil from the Philippines and the freshest olive oil I can find on the planet (definitely not something that has been sitting on pallets in a warehouse for months) now I’m learning I can live without sugar and flour. So……no meat? Not too happy about that but no dairy?? Hmmmmm. Just when I’ve found a local dairy with Dutch Belted cows living in fields with the lowest possible amounts of antibiotics and the milk left unhomogenized and heated at the lowest possible temp.???? I think I may have to make these changes a bit slower…..I’m only 46 days into BLE so I’m still adjusting to the world around me with Bright Blue Lines everywhere. I do love to read and quite honestly…..I think I picked up the China Study for free at a yard sale and it’s kicking around here somewhere.

    Reply ·
    1. Joseph Fleischman

      Renee, when you find the book (China Study) please commit to reading the first three chapters, which is mostly about Campbell’s exhaustive laboratory studies on thousands of mice and rats. By switching their feedings from high animal protein to low animal protein they were able to consistently grow the cancerous tumors (of each species) and then reduce them. Growing and reducing their tumors was as predictable as turning a spigot on and off.
      Joseph in Missoula

      Reply ·
  4. Veronika

    I had a similar experience with PBWF – was not looking for it, but it changed everything! Will listen to the podcast now 🙂

    Reply ·
  5. Lauren Ard

    Huh. So…your Bright Line Eating focuses on no sugar, no flour, yet there is more scientific evidence that a plant-based diet promotes weight loss and weight control. You do both of these things, so…how are you sure that it’s the no-sugar no-flour aspect of your diet that has caused weight maintenance success and not the plant-based part? In other words, do you feel your Bright Line Eating plan is somewhat disingenuous because it includes only part of your success story?

    Reply ·
    1. Jan

      Hi Susan, Whoppee !! i just listened to the podcast and you were great – so much to get across in a limited time and you did it.
      My turn on a dime moment was watching the video Forks Over Knives – I watched it twice the first day and then shared it with everyone I knew. I have not eaten meat or dairy from that day on. I went on to read The China Study that week – I think I’ve bought 3 or 4 copies because i give them away. I went to one of the seminars with The Esselstyns’ and T Colin Campbell at Kripalu and went to hear Dr Campbell talk about Whole at the Boston Veg Fest.
      One recent BIG turn on a dime moment was when I heard you on Katie Mae’s teleconference in February. I couldn’t wait to sign up for the Bootcamp right then. Bless you – I am Happy Thin and Free. Jan Deutsch

      Reply ·
    2. Joseph Fleischman

      First, I’ve known Dr. Thompson for decades, and I can attest to the fact that she doesn’t have a disingenuous bone in her body. But you don’t have to take my word for it. What she has said is that she always had a weight problem until her experience with a 12-steps eating program, a program that focuses on no sugar and no flour. She has said that she combines that with her knowledge of neuroscience, and that’s what BLE is. She has said that she has been slim for well over a decade and that she read The China Study three years ago. In other words, the 12-step eating program of no flour and no sugar is what made her slim, long before she read the China Study and went Vegan. You must know that one can be Vegan, be hopelessly overweight and desperately starved of the nutrition that we all need.
      Which bring us to this: It’s not just one thing, it’s a lot of things that we have been doing for a very long time. And together they’ve made us fat and sick, and in many cases morbidly obese and deathly ill. Statistics show that half the people in our country will die of either heart disease or cancer. Half! And studies clearly show that it’s because of how we eat. Susan wants to change that. We all do, right?
      Joseph in Missoula

      Reply ·
      1. Angela Jackson

        Well said

        Reply ·
  6. Debbie

    Susan, I was just listening to an interview by Howard the other day, and I said to myself, someone has to tell him to interview Susan. And now he has! I can’t wait to hear it. Tomorrow. Chef AJ should be next.

    Reply ·
    1. Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.


      Chef AJ *WILL* be next! She has reached out to me as well! We don’t have anything firm on the docket, but I suspect it will be coming up in the next couple/few months.


      Reply ·
  7. Brandon Letzin

    After seeing these books recommended from you I’m going to have to finally read them. So far everything you’ve said has changed me very fast and many of my minor (headache, upset stomach etc) health problems have vanished. Time to take the plunge and finally read these books at this point and see where else I end up.

    Reply ·
    1. Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.

      Awesome, Brandon. Happy reading!

      Reply ·
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