You might wonder why we are offering vegetarian recipes. In the summer of 2007, one of our daughters was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Fortunately it was caught early so that there was little if any chance of it having spread. In spite of that, it was very frightening, and became all the more so when the next 14 biopsies over the next few months were dysplastic or pre-cancerous. I, Dr.Thompson was diagnosed with melanoma in 1990. I have a cousin who also had melanoma and my wife has a sister and a brother who had it. Our daughter apparently got the genes for it from both of us.
That fall a patient had told me about a book "The China Study" by Collin Campbell PhD, one of the leading researchers in the world into diet and it's relationship to disease, especially cancer. Having grown up on a dairy farm, he was interested in doing research that would show that a diet rich in dairy products and meat was good for ones health. Contrary to his wishes, his research showed the opposite and in particular demonstrated a very strong relationship between consumption of casein, the most abundant protein in milk and cancer. In many of his studies, rodents were exposed to aflatoxin, a powerful carcinogen that causes liver cancer. If they had sufficient levels of casein in their diet, they developed liver cancer, if on a vegan diet, they did not develop cancer. If they developed cancer and casein was removed from their diet so that they were on a vegan diet, their cancer would cease to develop at any stage in it's progression. Although most of his research was conducted with casein, he cites evidence that he says implicates all animal based protein.
His book contains a graph that shows that until the casein content of the diet reached about 5%, their was a very very slow increase in the incidence of cancer. At 5% it started to increase significantly and at 10%, it skyrocketed. There is much more detail that we have insufficient space to cover here. Our daughter immediate switched to a vegan diet after reading the book. Her first 15 biopsies had been abnormal. Starting with her biopsies performed a few months after switching to a vegan diet, she has had 15 straight normal biopsies. I had been diagnosed with a second melanoma a few months after my daughter's diagnosis and had multiple dysplastic biopsies. Since a few months after switching to a vegan diet in January 2008, I have had nothing but normal biopsies. If these experiences had happened without any other evidence of the relationship between diet and cancer, they would be easy to explain away however in light of the evidence presented in this book, it is not so easy to explain away, at least not for us.
A few months after switching to a vegan diet I spent days doing literature searches on the relationship of fish consumption to cancer. The overall results seemed to indicate that fish in ones diet reduced the risk of cancer. We therefore added modest amounts of fish back into our diet. Since then we have resumed eating meat infrequently and in small quantities, with it constituting much less than 5% of our diet, what has been called a flexitarian diet. One of the amazing benefits of these dietary changes is increase in consumption of fresh produce in addition to what you are not eating, the meat and dairy products.
This would have been a very difficult change for us but for my wife Melanie's total support, since she does nearly all of the cooking. She is a great cook and takes the time to search out and develop amazing recipes so that we have not felt the least bit deprived. The delicious fresh food we harvest from our garden in the summer helps tremendously. It is surprising how much your appreciation for produce grows the more of it you eat.
Even if you are not vegan or vegetarian, these recipes are so delicious, you won't mind having them as a main course once or twice a week.