After a Saturday packed with ridiculously awesome presentations, it was difficult to imagine that Sunday’s lectures would live up to the standard set. Nonetheless, there were some serious plant-based nutrition heavyweights (that’s obviously not in reference to their lbs, these people are rail thin) who had some amazing things to say.
But first, another phenomenal vegan breakfast. On the menu:
- Sliced fresh fruit
- Whole wheat bagels, whole wheat bread, corn tortillas
- Non-dairy milks
- Low sugar cereals
- Oatmeal with condiments – raisins, prunes, dried cranberries, raw cane sugar, honey, jams, jelly.
- Scrambled Tofu (McDougall Newsletter, August ’04)
- Baked Potato Patties (New McDougall Cookbook, p. 313) – these were like little awesome breakfast latkes!
I had the chance to sit next to Dr. Greger at breakfast, let him know how much I love his website, and then proceeded to annoy him with a flurry of questions.
After breakfast, Dr. Michael Klaper spoke about his evolution into a nutritionally-aware physician. Klaper is the director of the non-profit Institute of Nutrition Education and Research, is an author of successful books and videos on cholesterol-free nutrition, and is a member of the Nutrition Task Force of the American Medical Student Association. Listening his story of going from conventionally trained general practitioner and anesthesiologist to having an epiphany about nutrition and preaching the gospel was incredibly inspiring, and it’s a story that all doctors need to hear. He also spoke a bit about leaky gut, disease, and repairing gut integrity. One of the more interesting points he made is something most doctors don’t pay enough attention to, in my opinion: everything is interconnected, so if you make one change (eg taking anti-biotics) you set off a chain reaction that can affect countless systems in the body (killing off beneficial bacteria, etc.). You’ll have to review the rest of his talk when it becomes available online, because I really can’t do justice to his presentation.
Up next was Melanie Joy, author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism. I don’t really respond all that well to this aspect of veganism – as most of you know, I came to this way of eating purely for health reasons, and I think some of her presentation came off as a little preachy. Nonetheless, the psychology of why our society isn’t disgusted by the animals we choose to eat yet couldn’t imagine barbequing the family dog is fascinating. She also had us watch a disturbing video of some of the horrendous things that go on in various factory farms, which I’ll admit had a major effect on me. If I ever had any doubts of giving up meat for the most part, that video will definitely hold me off from going back for a long, long time. Chef AJ always says a quote (I can’t remember by who) that if slaughterhouses had windows, we’d all be vegetarians, and I can see how that might be true after watching that video.
Next up was another presentation by Dr. Joel Furhman about resolving America’s food addiction. I think this is one aspect of Furhman’s philosophy that I particularly struggle with, and his talk helped to reinforce some of his principles in my head. Here are a few bits of information from his talk:
- True hunger does not exist to put fat on your body, it exists for you to get adequate calories and nothing more.
- As far of micronutrient load goes, most people put emphasis on vitamins and minerals, but they are a minute portion of the nutrients your body needs – phytochemicals, of which there are thousands, make up the lion’s share of necessary nutrients for optimal health.
- Addictions: they’re hard to get rid of when you don’t realize you have them and when society promotes it. There are 2 types of food addiction – 1) overeating high calorie foods for a dopamine surge and 2) withdrawal/detoxification from nutrient-poor foods, symptoms which are mistaken for hunger.
- Toxic hunger is a symptom of addictive withdrawal – most people are not in touch with their true hunger, which is an amazing barometer to tell you how much food to eat and when. The only way to experience true hunger is to consistently eat high-nutrient foods, avoid nutrient-poor foods, and allow your body to go through detoxification phases between meals (aka no snacking!)
- The goal for optimal health and weight loss, Dr. Fuhrman says, is not to speed up your metabolism like many quick fix weight loss programs preach (eating lots of small meals throughout the day), but to slow down your metabolic rate to eat less food and not get too thin! Those who are thin with slow metabolic rates are the longest-lived people on earth.
These talks, along with everything from Friday and Saturday, were so packed with information, you’ve really gotta check out the videos online. I’m definitely going to watch them again and try to absorb some more of his knowledge.
That’s it for today! I’ll post the rest of the rest of my recap after the weekend. I’m in New York and headed to Candle 79 tonight for what I’m sure is going to be a ridiculously delicious and classy vegan feast. I’ll be sure to take photos and make you all jealous.