Have you ever felt that you must meet an author because you have so thoroughly enjoyed every book they have written? I was ecstatic to meet one of my favorite Vegan authors, Dr. Neal Barnard. On Wednesday, June 29, 2011, Neal Barnard, MD, discussed and promoted his most recent book 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart. Rip Esselstyn, local Austinite and author of Engine 2 Diet introduced Dr. Barnard to the more than 100 people in attendance at the Flagship Whole Foods (aka a Foodies Paradise) in Austin. I have read and devoured almost all of Dr. Barnard’s books. He is a relentless researcher and animal activist. As president of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), he has amazingly changed and improved the lives of so many of his subjects.

As Hippocrates suggested eons ago, “Let thy food be thy medicine,” Dr. Barnard and Rip Esselstyn, in essence, are suggesting and living by the same quote. Dr. Barnard’s discussion was thought-provoking and important to hear. His research has shown that by eating a low-fat vegan diet (no animal products, minimal oils and minimal refined foods), we can stave off the plethora of horrible, degenerative diseases that are all too common in the United States such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis and others. The beauty of the low-fat vegan diet is that you do not have to control your portion size, how many carbohydrates you consume, nor exercise extensively as by choosing to eat this diet. It will help “boost your metabolism, lower your cholesterol and dramatically improve your health” as noted on the front cover.

After Dr. Barnard discussed his research findings and suggestions, which can be found in his book, he signed copies of his books and the Whole Foods chefs provided samples of a few of the recipes included in his book. The recipes were delicious as always and a quick little chat with Dr. Barnard will hopefully lead to his diabetic books being translated to Spanish.

The following night, I went to a Vegan potluck at Rip Esselstyn’s house. It was absolutely refreshing being surrounded by like-minded people and being able to eat everything that was there. The food was delicious and conversations were plentiful. My children also thoroughly enjoyed their time in the sand pit and on the slip n’ slide. After playtime, the children in attendance all gathered around a large bowl of broccoli, carrots and cashews and noshed away. How amazing is that?

As Dr. Barnard was finishing his lecture, he discussed the importance of adopting a Vegan diet, not only for your own health, but for that of your children and future generations. Many people ask me why I am Vegan and the simple answer is that this is a powerful choice to help animals, the environment, my health, my children’s health and the future of our planet. Here’s to a happy, healthy planet!

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