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Figuring It Out

Jul 23, 2020

Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, and President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  


Dr. Barnard has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health, that paved the way for viewing type 2 diabetes as a potentially reversible condition for many patients. Dr. Barnard has authored more than 90 scientific publications and 20 books for medical and lay readers, and is the editor in chief of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians, a textbook made available to all U.S. medical students. 


As president of the Physicians Committee, Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research. His research contributed to the acceptance of plant-based diets in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In 2015, he was named a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. In 2016, he founded the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, DC, as a model for making nutrition a routine part of all medical care.    


Working with the Medical Society of the District of Columbia and the American Medical Association, Dr. Barnard has authored key resolutions, now part of AMA policy, calling for a new focus on prevention and nutrition in federal policies and in medical practice. In 2018, he received the Medical Society of the District of Columbia’s Distinguished Service Award. He has hosted four PBS television programs on nutrition and health.  

Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, Dr. Barnard received his M.D. degree at the George Washington University School of Medicine and completed his residency at the same institution. He practiced at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York before returning to Washington to found the Physicians Committee. 


In this conversation Dr. Barnard and I talk about...


  • How he discovered a functional, whole body approach to health over 35 years ago and the story that led him to veganism (let’s just say ribs are involved) 
  • The misconceptions and myths about soy products and protein
  • The United States government’s role in promoting unhealthy diets
  • Contrary to popular belief, a vegan diet is actually quite inexpensive
  • People’s emotional attachment to food.  
  • The relationship between diet, and the reproductive system
  • The importance of your Thyroid.
  • How veganism has supported his patients, both men and women, in improving their hormonal function - like decreasing period cramps and resolving endometriosis
  • Myths surrounding the amount of protein in a vegan diet
  • How to begin, and become accustomed to a fully vegan diet
  • Dr. Barnard’s ideal day of eating on a vegan diet


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