Statistical methods are vast and varied. A set of studies of this type can be interpreted in many ways. The professionals that collected the information and arrived at the conclusions contained in the book hail from the highest levels of academia. Their conclusions are peer reviewed (checked by other professionals).
Ms Minger's analysis is not only impossible to understand, it has not been peer reviewed. I am not doubting her intention or motivation but her methods were of her own invention. She is a blogger with something to say. She uses a lot of words and picks around the edges of the data but does not attempt to evaluate it as a whole and reach an informed conclusion. She is looking at the data to find what she considers points of contention that she inflates to bring the data's conclusions into doubt.
My understanding of her motivation involves her having been a strict raw foodist that felt ill as a result then switched to a meat based diet and felt better. This screed of hers is her way to justify her own personal switch and is an excellent example of justification.
What I find most convincing is the fact that more and more doctors are gaining the courage to come out and say that their own decades of treating patients quietly on plant based diets agrees with Campbell's research.
I'm in the process of reading the China Study. While I am enjoying the information, I am discouraged at the section when he speaks about Western diseases and how a plant based diet is the answer. My diet is very clean, and as someone who is challenged by auto-immune issues, it's important to realize that it's not my diet causing my problems. My diet has helped me deal with my issues, but they are still there. Therefore, if an individual is dealing with heart disease, cancer...they should not feel like it's their fault and that they caused the illness. While diet is a major factor, it's not the only one
This is a big problem. There is implicit in this sort of information, the concept of consequences. When we learn the etiology of our most common and destructive diseases there may be a tendency to assign blame. I don't think that blame and guilt are helpful but they do show up here and there.
A smoker could be blamed by society when they get sick. They may feel guilty and be demoralized. Some one with heart disease or diabetes doesn't tend to feel the same way. Why? What is it about making yourself ill from smoking that differs from doing it with food? Smoking is an addictive drug that most started before the age of consent. The other degenerative diseases that associate with the modern western lifestyle are just as destructive. Society seems to feel it's OK to blame these patients if they are obese.
Auto immune disease is even more sticky. The majority of incidences arise as a result of our habits. This is evident in the statistical analysis of which populations experience more incidences. Those populations exposed to those more dangerous nutritional practices suffer greatly, others are immune. Not only do some populations have higher rates of incidence but some individuals end up getting more then one disease.
It may or may not be the diet of the sufferer that is causing any specific disease process to endure, but dietary adjustment offers the most potent treatment strategy to overcome these disorders. Leave the guilt and judgement behind, try to move forward with the hope and effort this fight requires. It is not a "clean" diet so much as one that works for you that may lead to remission. Fault for past suffering cannot be assigned without guilt and regret. I don't have an answer for those feelings except to ignore them and stay positive and keep trying.
I would have a patient with an auto immune disease change their diet rather drastically whether it was clean or not, and would use the superhero plan as a great place to start.
I am so glad you adressed those questions, Justin! It is just what I was thinking, but could not put it into words so well as you did. Curiously, you have a love for science, that is obvious, but you are a bit of a philosopher as well, although you may not realize it. I find that very interesting, as most scientifically minded individuals are less open to philosophy per se. Anyway... thanks for your post. (sorry, I am still trying to wake up)
another plan is the Elimination Diet From Dr. Barrnard of PCRM
Start with a simple baseline diet, excluding foods that are more common triggers (dairy products, corn, meats, wheat, oats and rye, eggs, citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts, and coffee), and including only those foods not implicated in auto-immune disease, listed below:
Cooked or dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, pears, prunes).
Condiments (modest amounts of salt, maple syrup, vanilla extract).
After approximately 4 weeks on this diet, if symptoms have improved or disappeared patients may introduce previously eliminated foods one at a time, every 2 days. Patients should keep a food diary and add these foods in generous amounts to observe which cause auto-immune symptoms. Foods listed above as common triggers should be added last. A newly added food associated with auto-immune symptoms should be removed from the diet for 1 to 2 weeks, and reintroduced to see if the same reaction occurs. If no symptoms are experienced, that food can be kept in the diet.
I have successfully dealt with my auto-immune issues up to a point by making changes in my diet (I do eat mostly Superhero) and limiting/changing the amount of exercise I participate in daily. However, I said up to a point, because I am dealing with a rare auto-immune hepatitis diagnosis. In my previous post, I was emphasizing that diet is a major factor for sure in one's health, but it's not the only factor. I refuse to blame myself for something like auto-immune hepatitis when I do all that I do to treat myself with love.
What about high cancer rates for individuals living in environmentally unsafe areas? It's not their diet that is the contributing factor as much as it is their exposure to unsafe chemicals...
It's just important to not place blame and think that we are in total control of our circumstances.