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Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

By April 14, 2014September 12th, 202311 Comments

Wow! Last week’s guest, T. Colin Campbell, got a huge response. It’s only a week since publication and the episode is well on its way to becoming one of the most popular editions of the RRP to date. Glad you enjoyed it and — as always — thanks for tuning in.

Because the Dr. Campbell conversation introduced a large new population to the show, thought I would take a brief moment to clarify what we do here. You may think this is just another podcast focused on running & triathlon. I love those subjects and feature plenty of guests in those arenas. But my focus is broader.

In short, each week I do my best to bring to you the most forward thinking, paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, wellness, diet, nutrition, spirituality, creativity, entrepreneurship and life transformation.

My goal is pure and it is simple. To help motivate and inspire you take your life to the next level. To help you discover, unlock and unleash your best, most authentic self.  BOOM. 

If you have yet to check out last week’s episode, I urge everyone to give that one a listen before checking out today’s show. Even if you think you know all there is to know about T. Colin Campbell, his research, The China Study* and the quote unquote alleged “controversy” surrounding the findings of this seminal work, you might be surprised. Dr. Campbell demonstrated tremendous candor. It was an honor to peek behind the curtain at a life well lived in service to the betterment of humankind.

In any event, last week’s guest relates directly to today’s guest. As I mentioned last week, Dr. Campbell was intended as Part 1 of a 2-part series.

What began with Dr. Campbell continues today with Howard Jacobson, Dr. Campbell’s contributing author on his latest book Whole: Rethinking The Science of Nutrition* – a book that picks up where  The China Study*  left off by addressing the inherent flaws in our “reductionist” approach to nutrition research and refocusing how we approach and begin to understand nutrition and it’s impact on human physiology from a wholistic point of view – food functionality at the cellular level, working its way up to how it impacts the entire organism.

Great.  But who is Howard Jacobson?

Well, Howard’s background isn’t quite what you would think. He’s not a doctor. He’s not a nutritionist. physiologist or even a scientist. But he is a very smart guy. After getting his B.A. from Princeton, Howard began his career as a school teacher before becoming a successful marketing consultant, running an online marketing agency and writing the book Google AdWords for Dummies*  (mental note: I should probably read this one).

But how does a “marketing guy” end up hooking up with one of the world’s leading minds in health sciences and ultimately become contributing author on such a seminal work on nutrition?

I had the same question on my mind.

You’ll have to wait for the interview to hear the answer. But I can tell you it’s a very compelling story – the story of a life journey in search of greater meaning and greater authenticity. A story of faith, serendipity and what can happen when you take the leap into the unknown. Set sail without a paddle. And remain open to the possibilities the universe presents — the idea that truly anything is possible.

We do it all – starting and ending of course with plant-based nutrition, and the central role it has played in his life, and that of his family. Howard shares his perspective on Dr. Campbell’s work. He picks up where Dr. C left off on the so-called China Study “debunkers”. And we discuss the crux of Whole — in particular our reductionist proclivities when it comes to nutritional science and how we must reframe how we think about food and how it impacts the body if we want true understanding.

Because our current health system and practices are unsustainable, the public has more power of influence than ever before. Change is finally within our reach. We now know that most heart attacks and strokes, cancers and unnecessary deaths are preventable through nutrition, and we can choose wisely what we put into our mouths every day. This conversation with Howard will help you see Whole as an extraordinary tool to show us how to free our bodies, our minds, and our planet from the economic disparity and biological logic that is making us sicker and poorer than ever before.

As an aside, over the last few years I had met Howie a few times at various events and conferences, but I hadn’t really spent enough time with him to understand the trajectory.  It wasn’t until the recent Holistic Holiday at Sea that my family and I had the opportunity to spend quality time with him, his wife and his two amazing children. Together they are an extraordinary family unit doing amazing things. So it is my pleasure and honor to bring this conversation to you today.

Let’s dig in.

PS – we recorded this on a huge boat. Huge. You will hear the gurgling. The anchor rearing up. The engine. Tyler did his best to optimize the audio, but it it is what it is. Not much I can do about that, so let’s live with it with a grateful smile on our faces.


*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


  • BYOL says:

    Another great show. Having read both Whole and just finished Low Carb Fraud, I’d love to hear more from Dr. Jacobson on the new books as well as some of other topics you guys didn’t get to today!
    Thanks again!

  • Will Kriski says:

    Based on this podcast and the previous one I think the plant-based movement needs some re-branding and re-wording like the republicans do with Frank Luntz. Words are powerful! Call the low carb diet ‘high animal fat diet’ for example. I called my page Potato Strong instead of plant strong as I feel plants seem like people have to eat leaves or a houseplant. Paleo and primal are names that appeal to the neanderthals within some of us, so we can take our cues from other successes.

  • sarah says:

    Personally I like plants better than potatoes, which just sounds like a boring diet to me (I don’t like the whole starch diet thing; to me starch is just filler-food).
    But I have noticed that Vegans love to call the low carb diet “Atkins”, thus reminding everyone that a) Paleo isn’t really new, and b) it’s creator died younger.

  • lee says:

    Great great episode.

  • Lorie M says:

    Great Episode, I’ve been telling a number of my running friends who are considering plant based nutrition about your podcast. We were sorry we’d be missing your May 4th event in Toronto, ON, because of our big Half and Full Marathon event in Mississauga, ON. Now that your event is canceled, are you and Julie interested in cheering on the Bramelea and Mississauga Running Room Runners? LOL! Actually we were saying how incredible it would be to have you and Julie come talk to runners at our store location about nutrition and ultra running! 🙂 You never know… one day… ??? Thanks again for all you do!

  • James G says:

    I loved this discussion, especially the ending when you guys talked about Howard’s standard response was to kick his own ass and that just made things worse. I do exactly the same thing with the same results. These podcasts are becoming a Monday morning staple, and Rich I thank you for putting them together.

  • viii_ball says:

    Rich, another great episode. I think you should have Denise Minger as a guest on your Podcast. Let her explain why she “debunked” the China Study. You know she has a nutrition book out right? I just think this would be an interesting voice for your podcast. I don’t agree with her and very much feel Dr Campbell and Mr. Jacobson are on the right path with their whole food plant based approach to nutrition.

  • Trish Ward says:

    Loved this two part kind of program! Lots of great thoughts and truth being shared. Can’t wait to finish Whole and go on to the Low crab fraud!! I’m not on the good road yet but everyday it gets closer.

  • Kent Pomare says:

    I agree!

    @RICHROLL I loved the podcast, there is one thing I must point out though; I disagreed with the commentary near the end when you encouraged people to go out and try Paleo or Vegan and stop the dogma.

    The dogma and shock is what attracts the would be plant base diet crowd to videos/blogs. The likes of DurianRider is gaining critical mass for 801010, through challenging alternative views and extreme youtube videos. There is outrage with sites like 30 banana a day sucks dot com against 801010 because it doesn’t work for many. This is destroying the image of plant based diets. We now have polarisation, 801010 fail’s are reverting directly to paleo (Tribe affect) without trying plant base properly.

    Plantbase (VEGAN) is for the extreme. When I started living this way friends called my choice “yuck!”

    The combination of paleo and crossfit is making people tough and buff… this is more appealing to gen Y’s than longevity, not many of our friends are sick or getting sick. we can’t relate ?

    It is simple;

    Paleo is sexy!
    Plant based is holistic. Holistic is Hippy. Hippies are not rich, Hippies are not sexy!

    Plant Based appeals to Baby Boomers as they seek alternative routes to good health. Prevention is key, we must market to Gen X.

    We need to revert to fundamentals, fund sexy plant based Gen Y’s to promote the china study/whole/FOK in a subtle and ‘cool’ manner.

  • JasonRH says:

    Rich, the MBG course is awesome. Not even halfway through it but already learning a lot and putting that knowledge into action. Thanks to you and Julie for taking the time to put that together. And thanks to Tyler for kicking ass as podcast producer.

  • Stephanie says:

    I’m way late to this party but I really wanted this interview to go on! I want to hear about his book on Low Carb Fraud and home schooling!!! When his #2 coming??

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