Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dr. Neal Barnard is Adorable, I Mean, Comes to Cleveland, Part I

Last night I had the privilege of attending a lecture at John Carroll University. Sponsored by Whole Foods Markets, the speaker was Dr. Neal Barnard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine ( In case you don't know him, he is one of the leaders in the fight against the obesity epidemic and guess what? His views are right in line with Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. McDougall, ie he recommends a low fat vegan diet as a healthy long term solution to our national weight and disease problem.

If you live in Cleveland and are interested in participating in a 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart, which is based off of Dr. Barnard's new book by the same name, there is one starting on Monday at Whole Foods!

Monday, April 25th - Monday, May 16th
Dr. Neal Barnard's 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart Immersion
7:00 p.m. (optional walk at 6:30) Free

Fresh off Dr. Barnard's Cleveland visit, Whole Foods Market Cedar Center is offering a 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart Immersion program, based on Dr. Barnard's recent book, conducted by our healthy eating specialist Ellen Darby. Immersions are conducted as a group with support, tips, and advice from Ellen. Four scheduled meet-ups will include educational and inspirational topics. This can be a great way to start a life-changing journey to improve your health! Sign up at the Health Starts Here Hub area (behind the bananas) on a form provided, or email to get registered!

I'm ashamed to say that I own a copy of Dr. Barnard's low fat vegan cookbook and I haven't had the time to explore anything in it yet! With the explosion of publishing of healthy vegan cookbooks of late, I've got my hands full! But seeing him live and in person last night will surely be the thing to get me to start testing his recipes and telling you about them.
Dr. Neal Barnard at John Carroll University 4/19/11
He's really, really funny.
It's a little hard to tell from this photo, but here is an example of a couple who participated in one of Dr. Barnard's test groups. Hillary and Bruce went from looking puffy and unfortunately very average (this is the sad state here in the US) to appearing lean and gorgeous. Their transformation was astounding. 
Dr. Barnard really geared his talk towards people who know nothing about the possibilities of a low fat vegan diet. He had some great advice for people just beginning to consider this way of eating. Clearly, Dr. Barnard knows that this diet seems radical to many people and that even the thought of making changes like this can be overwhelming enough that many people check out immediately.

His advice? Divide your "plate" or diet into four equal pieces. He calls it "The Power Plate."

Consume vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes in roughly the same volume and eat fats (nuts, seeds, oils, avocado) sparingly.

How does a newbie go about making the switch without hitting the off button?

Step one, explore the possibilities. Do you like pancakes made with eggs and white flour cooked in butter in the morning? Try a whole grain vegan pancake recipe and skip the butter. Write down what you normally eat and take the time to find low fat vegan recipes for the same or similar foods.

Step two, do a three week (21 day) test drive. Forget about what is going to happen twenty years or even one year from now. Don't think about growing a long hippie beard or wearing tie dye t-shirts! Just commit for 21 days. You will feel so differently after that period and you can make a decision whether or not to continue with a low fat vegan diet at that time. You do not need to look at this as forever or never! Chances are extremely high that you will lose weight and feel so much energy that something inside of you will shift, at least toward eating a lot more beans, vegetables, fruits and grains that even if you don't choose to become a Vegan you will fundamentally change the way you view food and nourish your body.

And lastly, as an option, certainly not a must do, use transition foods to get you through in the beginning. Basically, transition foods are fake meat products that are made from grains and highly processed to resemble animal protein. There are a lot on the market now--from sausage substitutes to "chicken" nuggets, "hot dogs," "hamburgers," and "cold cuts." It's not the preferred way of eating, but certainly purchase these products if it is the make or break thing from getting you to give low fat vegan a try!

Chefs Nichole and Eric from Whole Foods gave a speedy cooking demo of three Dr. Barnard recipes.
Low fat vegan cooking can be fast, easy and delicious!

Stay tuned for Part II of Dr. Barnard's lecture which I will post tomorrow.


JL goes Vegan said...

I would love to hear him speak. I have his Get Healthy Go Vegan book -- never opened (I have a problem with buying vegan cookbooks and waiting forever to crack them open!) I really respect him but I'm not reducing my oils, seeds, nuts and avocados. :)

Wendy said...

JL-I'm guessing that you already eat a limited amount of the fats and that you don't rely on them as a substitute for what you can't have. Never did he say this is a no fat diet.

Sindy said...

That is so cool! I can't wait to hear what you think of his book. I've cut down a ton on the oil I use to cook (most times I skip it all together and use veggie stick now), and can't tell a difference in terms of taste. Neither can my husband who has no idea I'm not using oil in a lot of dishes. Like JL, though, I eat tons of nuts and avocados and I'm stickin with them.

Wendy said...

Sindy-you and JL do not need to lose weight nor do either of you have a heart condition . . . so I'm pretty sure it's safe it consume nuts in moderation. These docs are really speaking to a large segment of the population that is very overweight and already has metabolic syndrome, prediabeties, diabetes and/or heart disease.

QZB said...

Agreed on the adorableness AND knowledge of Dr. Barnard. And I can vouch that there were MANY people in the audience who are desperately seeking a solution to their illnesses and frustration with the broken American diet. I have every confidence that doctors like Barnard, Esselstyn, & Fuhrman, as well as blogs like this one, can make the solution clear and (relatively) easy. As you said last night, Wendy, this IS the REAL DEAL!!

Jules said...

I heart Dr. Barnard! What a lucky girl you are. :-)

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan said...

Haha, I can't lie, I find him adorable too! :P

Cassie said...

I'm so glad to see this diet out there. I work at a Whole Foods and one whole day of orientation was what I lovingly call "EAT MORE KALE BRAINWASHING," lol... it's sort of like a joke around my store, but they are sort of 'brainwashing' us to eat healthy. I like it and I'm glad to see people outside the store participating!

Wendy said...

Cassie-that's the kind of brainwashing that I like to hear about!

Donna said...

I love Dr Barnard! I do have his new 21 Day Kickstart book, and I made the Tuscan Harvest Soup on Monday. It was a hit and I will certainly be making it again!

I wonder if Whole Foods in going to do an immersion program at my location? I'm not new to this way of life, but I would sign up!

Kelly said...

That's awesome! I am on week 3 of the 21 Day Kickstart that began online April 4th. I have to tell that there are awesome recipes in this program! It is a great way to transition yourself (and your family) into a meatless lifestyle! I have had so many recipes that I made for the entire family, that my husband (a true meat eater) ate the leftovers and said how good it was! Southern Bean and Greens, Hoppin' John Salad, Buckwheat Blueberry pancakes and Mexican Corn Salad just to name a few. I encourage everyone to try it! I also purchased his Get Healthy, Go Vegan cookbook after checking it out at the library and there being too many good-sounding recipes that I wanted to try! I would have loved to see him speak in person - lucky you! ;)

Anonymous said...

Just saw him speak Saturday in Atlanta, he is just brilliant!

ViviDu said...

I would never recommend fake meat products to encourage veganism, horrible and would send me running for the nearest cow! (maybe you have nicer products in US than in Aust). Much prefer a homemade bean dish, of course meat to beans requires learning how to cook these new things and this must scare people, I tell friends just open a can of lentils to replace any ground beef dish.
Just wonderful these sorts of talks and programs are getting out there.

Anonymous said...

Wendy--thanks for sharing info about Dr. Barnard--he is amazing. Parma Hospital has a Cancer Project nutrition program based on his teachings--the cooking course is excellent. Also, Drs. Campbell, Esselstyn & Barnard will be on the Dr. Oz show on April 27! Dr. Roizen is the keynote speaker for a FREE healthfair at Independence Library on Sat. Nov. 12. We have so many wonderful resources in northeast Ohio!

katshealthcorner said...

I love his three steps!!! Starting small and gradually is one of the best ways to start going Plant Strong! Is that the way you did it too?

I love how he says to do substitutions for foods you already love. :)

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) said...

It definitely was a gradual process for me over many, many months and not something that I changed in one day. It started with my reading of Eat to Live, which led me to incorporating more and more veg, fruit and beans into my diet, eliminating most processed food but not oil, meat or dairy (although I certainly started to eat less of these things). I did that for months and months and then one day I heard Dr. Esselstyn speak, followed right up by Rip Esselstyn, and that is when I knew that I would go vegan (but even I have some dairy in a dessert once in a while) and use as little oil as possible.

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) said...

I had never heard of a Dr. recommending the fake meat products as a way to go Vegan, but if I think about it, it makes sense. You may not have ones in Australia that taste good, but the ones in the US are getting more and more tasty. They are, in my opinion, NOT healthy at all!!!!!!!!! But, as a transition food, I've got to give it up to them, they would work. I know that I used transition foods like low calorie, sugar free, fat free processed garbage to wean myself off of dessert everyday and it totally worked for me. Now I eat fruit for dessert if I have any at all.

Bonnie said...

I was happy to read about the talk at John Carroll. I found out about it Tuesday morning in the PD and it was too late to make plans to attend. Wish I wasn't always a day late and a dollar short for these talks. I love following your blog and reading about Dr Barnard's talk was almost as good as being there. Thanks!

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