We recently spent a lovely weekend in Santa Rosa, California. The weather had been rainy for weeks, but the three days we were there, the sun came out and it was beautiful.
We attended Dr. John McDougall’s Advanced Study Weekend. Dr. McDougall is a board-certified internist (licensed in five states), author of 13 national best-selling books and a clinical instructor for four schools training young physicians.
The above picture was taken at the St. Francis Winery & Vineyards as we were leaving town on Sunday afternoon.
Dr. McDougall puts on his 3-day lecture series two times a year. He usually invites 8-10 distinguished lecturers for us to listen to. This year the line-up of speakers was exceptional as always.
First up was Dr. Wayne Dysinger, a preventive and family medicine physician who is Chair of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine. He talked about the four core lifestyle medicine vital signs of: Nourishment, Movement, Resilience and Connectedness.
Dr. Monica Aggarwal is an assistant professor of medicine in the University of Florida Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. She specializes in treating women with heart disease and their prevention of heart disease. She also serves as the director of nutrition in cardiology and focuses on promoting food as the foundation of healing.
Andrew Taylor gave a very emotional and motivating talk about his year of eating only potatoes. He was a former junior Australian Champion Marathon Kayaker and currently a high school physical education and health teacher. But in late 2015, weighing over 300 pounds and suffering from clinical anxiety and depression, he decided he had to do something about what he called his “food addiction.” He spent six weeks researching ‘the perfect food’ before settling on the potato. Andrew ate only potatoes for an entire year. The world watched through mainstream media as his weight melted away, his health improved and the dark clouds of depression lifted over the course of that year. Once he decided to do this year-long diet, he began to worry that he might fail – and everyone would know. But, he said he then began to ask himself, “But, what if I succeed?” Another good quote from Andrew was, “If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.” His web site is spudfit.com.
Irminne Van Dyken is a general and trauma surgeon at the Queen’s Medical Center in Hawaii. She is a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, the Society of Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons. Her talk was titled “Ten Ways a Vegan Diet Will Help You Avoid the Scapel.” Her first two points were: 1.) Avoid heart surgeries by preventing heart disease through a plant-based diet. 2.) Avoid breast and prostate cancer, the most common cancers in the U.S. She showed a landmark research paper published first in 2007 by The American Institute for Cancer Research and updated every year. The title of their paper is “Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity in the Prevention of Cancer.” In that paper is a very important statement, “Diet can reduce incidence of cancers by approximately one third, and another third can be prevented by abolishing smoking .” That’s huge!
Dustin Rudolph, a board certified clinical pharmacist spoke about the “hidden danger of drugs for diabetes and the power of food.” (Sorry I didn’t get a picture with him.)
Nick Delgado, PhD, was a fun speaker. He is the World Strength Endurance Champion and has eaten a “plant-based, no oil” diet for over forty years. His secret is to carry around a tub of vegetables wherever he goes, so he always has something to nibble on if he gets hungry. As most of us know, the downfall of most “diets” or “eating plans” is when we get hungry and then we start grabbing whatever foods we can find – healthy or not. Dr. Delgado also spoke about the effects of hormones in meats and showed the slide of “real men” who eat meat.
John Mackey, coFounder and CEO of Whole Foods was in attendance. He has spoken at the conference in previous years, but this time he was just there for the learning. He has been a vegan for 13 years and abstains from processed food. He said, “It’s not a big sacrifice. People fear changing their diet — food is one of the great pleasures in life, after all — and we think we’ll have to eat things we don’t like and lose all the pleasure. But whatever you eat, you get used to it and you start to like it.”
Dr. McDougall opened the conference and ended it with talks about the diabetes epidemic and the money being made by the pharmaceutical companies selling drugs for diabetics. Drugs don’t reverse diabetes, but a plant-based, no oil diet, does.
If you ever get a chance to attend one of these conferences, I think you would thoroughly enjoy it.