Part of the problem with nutrition generally and I’d say especially with diets is that there is so much conflicting choices or opinions, or at least enough conflicting opinions that it makes it hard to choose the best diet or nutritional strategy to follow. So what ends up happening is that people don’t follow any one course of action when it comes to nutrition and in fact they flit from the first big thing to the next big thing.
This is especially true when it comes to mainstream diets. There have been the grapefruit diet, the Atkins diet, the slow carb diet, the paleo diet, the primal diet, the Hollywood diet and on and on.
This is true with the vegetarian and vegan diets out there too.
With just a sampling of them there is the crazy, sexy diet, the McDougall plan, Dr. Ornish’s diet, Dr. Furhman’s diet, skinny bitch and skinny bastard, Dr. Graham and the 811 diet and many others I’m sure.
Granted, many of these are more lifestyle choices than just diets focused on losing weight, but the point is that vegans and vegetarians aren’t free from the onslaught of opinions on what is the best vegan diet or vegetarian diet. We have our share of controversy too.
With that in mind, this is my opinion on who you should follow for the best and most complete dietary advice as a vegan or vegetarian. As the title of the post goes I’ll be offering up one doctor who I think if you only had the choice of following one vegan nutritionist/counsellor/researcher it would be him.
But before I give him up to you and most of you will be very familiar with this vegan doctor, I want to explain why some of the other familiar doctors didn’t make the cut.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
Now all of the doctors I’m going to recommend are absolutely fantastic. Just because they aren’t the ONE to follow doesn’t mean they’re less valuable and I hope you’ll understand why when I get to the reasons why my number 1 was chosen.
Dr. Esselstyn doesn’t make it because he is mostly focused on heart disease. This is great and it is the number one killer in America but when I’m looking for one vegetarian doctor to follow I want the full or holistic nutrition picture.
T. Colin Campbell PhD
Colin Campbell as many of you know did the landmark China Study which conclusively proved that a plant based diet is the best diet out there bare none.
I haven’t chosen him as my number one vegan mensch because although he is a genius and his research and advice are solid, as a researcher I find him less approachable than my number one choice. He is erudite and well spoken and speaks on many health issues but I find it more difficult to understand the practicality of his offerings.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Dr. Fuhrman is a neat guy, many of you might not know that he was a world class pairs figure skater before adding much to the understanding of the benefits of a plant based diet.
Why Dr. Fuhrman isn’t number one is because I disagree with his approach. He recommends a plant based diet centred around vegetables. That’s just not appealing to me. I agree that nutritionally, vegetables are the most nutritionally dense but they are also calorically sparse.
Also, he allows for limited animal based foods if you check out his nutritarian pyramid, and as an ethical vegan I disagree with that. He recommends way too many supplements, primarily his own, which is cool, I’m all for someone making money off of their work, but I don’t think supplementation is necessary beyond what I’ve suggested in my vegan supplement recommendations.
I also find his website a bit confusing and difficult to navigate. And it appears to me to get to the real goodness of what he is offering you need to subscribe to his monthly forum. My number one choice offers everything you need to get started on the ultimate and most healthy vegan diet for free.
Dr. Michael Greger
As mentioned earlier, I love all these vegan doctors and the important work they’re doing, and this is especially true with Dr. Greger. As you might know, he made my post on the top 10 vegan super stars list.
Why Dr. Greger isn’t number one is because he focuses more on current research related to diet and what the best evidence suggest is best for us to eat.
This is important work to be sure, but I think that for the layman it can lead to some confusion and questions even though he distills it very nicely for us into layman terms.
As an example, he suggests that we not eat potatoes because there seems to be some evidence that the potatoes inherent natural glycoalkaloid toxins may be harmful to humans. I think there is more to this than meet the eyes and in time we’ll learn the truth. I also did not read the scientific study and how it was conducted. But intuitively I believe potatoes can make up part of a healthy diet.
This is the kind of confusion that I was talking about earlier. Dr. Greger also suggests vitamin D for most of us in North America though there do seem some health hazards related to vitamin D supplementation. So I feel getting adequate sun in the spring and summer is the best approach to tide you over the fall and winter.
So that leads to my number one choice of vegan doc you should follow if you were to choose just one vegetarian doctor, and that my friends is Dr. John McDougall the starch eater.
Dr. John McDougall
Dr. McDougall is my number one choice for vegan doctor because he is arguably one of the longest if not the longest active vegan doctors practicing and preaching about a starch based vegan diet.
He also offers everything you need to get started and keep going on a plant based diet for free on his website. Free videos, a free nutrition program, free monthly newsletter and he is also very approachable. He helps normal people who reach out to him too.
It is a goal of mine to join him on one of his Costa Rica adventures when I can afford it. I have been following him for decades. Probably as long as I’ve been vegan and he has never led me astray.
He succinctly and eruditely communicates the benefits of a starch based vegetarian vegan diet and how you can easily put it into practice. I highly recommend you buy his DVD lecture, most of which I think I have. And you’d do well to buy his latest book coming out in May of 2012 called The Starch Solution.
I think this one vegan doc has done more for helping folks heal their health and regain vitality and vigour than perhaps any other doctor. I have also seen him soften and embrace the plights of animals that are used for food. He has a real caring compassion for helping to also end the needless suffering of animals.
A mensch among men. A patient’s doctor amongst egoists 🙂