Sunday, February 27, 2011
Sunday night I met one of my vegan crushes: the studly and knowledgeable Dr. Neal Barnard, that fella behind The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (And Sexy Veganism). I made sure to don my Sunday Best for my visit with the doctor.
Dr. Barnard was speaking at USF about the benefits of plant-based nutrition, specifically its ability to potentially reverse diabetes. There was a pretty decent turn out, as well as some snackage from Whole Foods.
Soon it was time for Dr. Feel-Good-Neal to take the stage. Let me just say, that there are few finer things than a knowledgeable, educated, and attractive vegan man in a suit.
Dr. Barnard started out with sharing some of his past work and studies he's done with diabetics on a plant-based diet. He talked about the results of some of the participants in his studies, who not only lost weight and went off of their medications, but cured other ails increased their energy, and were just happier people in the end.
He also touched on food addictions, the government's involvement in food marketing and advertising, and how to begin a healthful diet. The only part of that last segment that I didn't like was his encouragement to use mock meats, which are overly processed and full of sodium and shouldn't be the focus of a plate or diet. However, he later explained that mock meats are great as "transition foods," which may be true, but I still felt like he put too much emphasis on them as part of a daily diet.
And of course, he mentioned the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program, which starts again in April. After hearing and reading a lot of mixed feedback on it in January, I'm curious to find out how the program will have changed, if at all, for this next session.
It seemed like just about everyone in the audience took something away from Dr. Barnard's talk. There were plenty of vegans and vegetarians in attendance, but also a lot of on-the-fencers and people who are driven more by science and research, rather than just that "hippie" feeling of compassion toward animals. Dr. Barnard definitely had everyone's attention and I wouldn't be surprised if several people in the audience that night turn vegan in the very near future. Also, I think he got some long-time vegetarians and vegans to really think about their diet and maybe improve upon it in some areas.
And then dessert was served! (All vegan, of course.)
And then I was sucked in to dessert and conversation with nice people and gushing about how stinkin' cute Dr. Barnard is, that I almost didn't get a chance to meet him! By the time I tracked him down, he already had his briefcase and was saying his goodbyes. I politely asked for a quick picture and wanted to comment on some things afterward, but several other people came up and I was lost in the shuffle.
Oh well. I liked his talk, and I was excited about the reaction of other people from his talk, too, and at least I snapped one (kind of lousy) picture of him. And there was dessert.