Once a vegetarian for more than 25 years I thought, like most, that I needed dairy to get my much needed calcium and protein and oh boy cheese and ice cream tasted good! Well I was soooo wrong and so is everyone else who thinks the same thing. There is scientific proof that consuming animal protein from any source is not only fattening but it causes tons horrible diseases.
I would not be vegan if it were not for the likes of several doctors who preach a plant based (vegan) diet and share that knowledge with the world. These doctors have helped change so many people’s lives for the better, opened many eyes to the health benefits of eating a vegan diet and should get more recognition than they do. I would love to see a whole panel of these doctors on the Oprah, Ellen, Dr. Oz, The Doctors, The Today Show and any other show that wants to show American’s how to improve their lives and stop disease. The message they are spreading IS the answer to the health care crisis in the country!
I think that all vegans should know all three sides of being a vegan and knowing about the way it can change your health for the better is a very important aspect. Many vegans eat a very high fat, high sugar diet (I understand why for sure it is good!) but need to know the benefits of eating a low fat high nutrient rich diet and try to strike a balance to be even better role models for why eating vegan is the right thing to do for your body, the planet and the animals.
Here is a brief description of some (there are so many more out there) of the doctors who have made a difference in my life and have amazing books and websites to back up their claims. These summaries are all in my own words and not direct quotes or facts directly from these doctors, I hope to represent them well in my descriptions as I respect each one of them immensely. Please take some time and learn about each doctor and you never know you might want to change how you eat to improve your health too.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell. Dr. Campbell wrote the first book I read about how eating a plant based diet can change your health and it is a life changer for anyone who reads it called The China Study. Dr. Campbell was raised on a farm and ate the typical American diet and never thought twice about doing so until he was part of a group of doctors trying to help hungry and sick children in other countries. He discovered that the children who ate the most animal protein had higher incidence of disease thus starting him on a path of discovery. He was part of a more than 20 year study that was eventually called The China Study and in that 20 years they discovered that animal protein of all sources (including low fat) is the cause (or trigger) of most disease even genetic ones. This book is not a diet book or a recipe book but a book based on scientific facts that prove time and time again that animal protein can cause disease and plant protein can halt, reverse or prevent it. I think ever single person alive should read this book and that it should be the main book studied in all health classes.
Dr.Neal Barnard. I find Dr. Barnard to be an amazing writer, speaker and human being. He is so well spoken that even the heavy meat eater might be swayed to at least try some vegan food with his encouragement. He is honest, gentle, direct and knows what the hell he is talking about without ever flinching in his devotion. Neal Barnard is the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) which is an amazing group of doctors dedicated to health through a kind, plant based diet. PCRM is responsible for the 21 day Vegan Kickstart that so many people have been joining to get healthy and so many celebrities are part of promoting. Dr. Barnard is also president of The Cancer Project, a nonprofit organization advancing cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research. I actually went to almost a whole year of classes at the cancer center in Arizona. They always have a dietitian speak about the topic of the night, the benefits of eating a plant based diet to prevent disease, cancer in particular being at the cancer center, you watch a short 5-10 minute video featuring Dr. Barnard, then a wonderful chef makes 2-3 meals right before your eyes and at the end of it all you get to eat the food and it is all FREEEEE! Click the Cancer Project link to see if you have a class near you so you can benefit from them too. These are a few of Dr. Barnards books that I have read and highly recommend. Breaking the Food Seduction, Food for Life, and Turn off the Fat Genes
Dr. John McDougall. I discovered Dr. McDougall while reading The China Study and immediately bought 3 of his books, Program for Maximum Weight Loss, 12 Days to Dynamic-Health, Program for Women and then headed over to the library to rent any other ones they had to read while waiting for my shipment. I also went to his website and read everything I could on health and nutrition. If you don’t know my story as to why I was looking so deeply into health please read it here. Although I do not 100% follow his program (I’m around 90% depending on the day or month-HOLIDAYS UGH) I believe that if anyone does they will be the better for it. He, like Dr. Campbell, promotes a plant based diet that is extremely low in fat without any added oils and is starch based. The plan is strict in that you can not have any animal products, added oils and must keep refined foods and sugar to a minimum if at all. I aspire to be a 100% follower but with a family of 6 to feed and 2 of them being meat eaters (not to mention my sweet tooth) it something I must balance to keep everyone happy. If you follow my blog at all you will see that I do follow his teaching most of the time but I also have some recipes that I just can’t or won’t McDougallize and those are my cheats if you will. I think if everyone on the planet were to adopt even a 70% McDougall diet while still being 100% vegan we would see diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more drop to a record low. Please take some time to educate yourself on your most important asset you have, your health. Dr. McDougall has a live in clinic where you can be a patient and learn everything directly from him and his staff but if you can’t afford it or would not want to make that big of a commitment he also has a FREE program on his site that will more than educate you on how to change your diet for the better. He also has a FREE forum that you can join and learn from as well as hundreds of free recipes. There is a doctor and dietitian section on the forum where those professionals answer questions. I have also personally emailed Dr. Mcdougall directly and he has always replied with wonderful information. He is just amazing!
Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Dr. Fuhrman like Dr. McDougall is very strict about his dietary guidelines and although he promotes a vegan, plant based diet that is low fat he suggests keeping cooked starches and whole grains to a minimum and maximizing nutrient density through salads, particularly greens. He suggests eating 1 lbs of raw vegetables a day and 1 lb of cooked vegetables a day. He also has a consulting practice like Dr. McDougall but you can actually get in to see him without being part of a whole group of people going to a 10 day, 5 day or 3 day program if you would rather approach it that way. He also offers phone consults but neither is cheap by any means but if your health is in dire straights he can probably help you. I do not like that you have to pay to be part of his forum (Dr. McDougall’s is free) because I feel that limits his ability to spread the word. I have read and would highly recommend these books by Dr. Fuhrman Disease Proof Your Child, Fasting and Eating for Health, Eat to Live.
There are many more plant promoting doctors around and I could go on and on but these should get you started if you have not yet heard of them. Again, I highly suggest everyone read at least one book from each of these guys and at a minimum read The China Study. As a vegan you will have even more reasons to stick to your devotion to eating plant based as even more ammo to combat the angry meat eaters who ask questions like “where do you get your protein?”, “where do you get your calcium?” and “you need meat and milk to be healthy”. Happy Reading