For the past year, I have kept running into people who tell me to read the book, The China Study. It’s written by T. Colin Campbell, a biologist from Cornell, about research he did in rural and developing China on peoples’ diets and the role played by protein. The book also relies on a, “survey of death rates for 12 different kinds of cancer for more than 2,400 counties and 880 million (96 percent) of their citizens.”

What he found was that people whose diet has a lot of animal protein, from cow’s milk or meat, specifically, are likelier to get illnesses like cancer than those whose don’t. If your diet has more than 10 percent of its calories coming from animal protein, which is the Recommended Daily Allowance by the FDA, your chances shoot up astronomically. The book also debunks a lot of misconceptions people have about whether it’s possible to get enough protein on a vegan diet (yes, it is.)

I suspect that in a few years, veganism will be very mainstream the way that vegetarianism is now. As much as I love salty cured meats and taleggio, after reading this book I am viewing meat and dairy the way I view drinking martinis: only once in a while, or suffer the consequences.

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