Q&A with Dr. Michael Greger, MD-the Go-To for All Things Nutrition

His name is Dr. Michael Greger, MD. And he’s coming to Portland.

And I am thrilled.

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A couple months ago, I learned that a family member had high LDL (the bad kind) cholesterol. Unfortunately, many people in this country have high cholesterol, but the cholesterol levels coupled with the family history made this more of an issue than it may be for others. I later found out that that same family member was just diagnosed with another possibly debilitating ailment, but one that, luckily, can be reversed and prevented with proper nutrition and a removal of meat (and hopefully dairy) from the diet. When I shared the news with Val, her response indicated she was reading my mind: “Watch some NutritionFacts.org videos about it and what can be done.” So we did just that and the family member was absolutely shocked at what she learned and I was shocked at how well she understood everything Dr. Greger was saying. I shouldn’t have been because I knew that his videos are so easy to follow and to grasp. I’m grateful to have a resource that is of such importance and one that my family can now utilize when they have their own questions and concerns.

As an aspiring nutritionist and with a fiancé who is studying naturopathic medicine, I look up to Dr. Greger as a kind of savior for American society. He understands the importance of nutrition as medicine and has made it his life’s work to teach others that you really are, or will become, what you eat…metaphorically, of course!

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When I first heard about Dr. Greger, it was from Val telling me that I needed to visit the NutritionFacts.org site and now I’m telling you to do the same. But don’t stop there. Watch his nutrition videos, read his articles, binge watch YouTube recordings, and if you’re local, come meet and hear him speak in Portland on January 19th. Oh! And if you really want to educate yourself…get his new book How Not to Die and prepare to have your eyes opened.

Dr. Greger was gracious enough to answer some questions I had for him and the following screenshot is semi-proof that I’m not making these responses up!

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Q&A with Dr. Michael Greger

Why did you decide to write How Not to Die?

It all started with my grandma, actually. The reversal of her end-stage heart disease with a plant-based diet is what inspired me to go to medical school, but when I got there I was shocked to find out that this whole body of evidence on reversing chronic disease with lifestyle changes—opening up arteries without drugs, without surgery—was being largely ignored by mainstream medicine. And so if the cure to our #1 killer could get lost down the rabbit hole, what else might be buried in the medical literature that could help my patients? I made it my life’s mission to find out. That’s what led me to start NutritionFacts.org and that’s what led me to write the book.
What should people who don’t like to be overwhelmed, but want to improve their health focus on first: their food/nutrition or exercise?

 

The #1 cause of death and the #1 cause of disability is diet (with smoking at #2 and inactivity somewhere around #5), so definitely changing what we eat.

 

It is a common belief, and one that is well-supported, that MDs generally do not have adequate education in proper nutrition for maintaining a healthy diet as well as fighting various illnesses and disease. Is any of your work targeting the lack of nutrition education in our society’s most esteemed medical profession?

 

Indeed. Doctors have a severe nutrition deficiency–in education. Most doctors are just never taught the impact healthy nutrition can have on the course of illness and so they graduate without this powerful tool in their medical toolbox. There are also institutional barriers, such as time constraints and lack of reimbursement. In general, doctors simply aren’t paid for counseling people on how to take care of themselves. Of course the drug companies also play a role in influencing medical education and practice. Ask your doctor when’s the last time they were taken out to dinner by Big Broccoli.

 

Are you optimistic that the overall health of our society will improve over time and that more and more people will be knowledgeable about food and nutrition?

 

Absolutely! It’s like smoking in the ‘50s. We already had decades of science linking smoking with lung cancer, but it was ignored because smoking was normal. Most doctors smoked. The average per capita cigarette consumption was 4,000 cigarettes a year, meaning the average American smoked a half a pack a day. The American Medical Association was reassuring everyone that smoking in moderation was ok. There was this disconnect between the science and public policy. It took more than 25 years and 7,000 studies before the first Surgeon General report against smoking came out in the 60’s. Until the system changes, we have to take personal responsibility for our own health and for our family’s health. We can’t wait until society catches up to the science, because it’s a matter of life and death. But just like [with] smoking, society will eventually catch up

 

More and more books, personalities, celebrities, restaurants, and films that focus on plant-based diets and veganism are being more frequently recognized and discussed in health, nutrition, and food conversations throughout the country. Do you think this is because more people in this country are recognizing that vegetarianism and veganism are healthier diets and lifestyles for a person and for the planet or do you think such recognition is just to satisfy a new market or audience?

My hope is that the science is slowly, but surely getting out there!

 

Information about his Portland visit can be found at the NW Veg website. I’ve copy and pasted some info below. As of this posting there are only 50 spots left! Click here to reserve your spot before it’s too late. Hope to see you there!

NW VEG and Adventist Medical Center present Dr. Michael Greger with “Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating Disease with Diet” on Thursday, January 19th at 6:30pm at the Adventist Medical Center (Amphitheater), 10123 SE Market St., Portland 97216. Doors open at 6pm. This event is free and open to the public.

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