Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, professor, speaker, musician

by | Oct 28, 2020

Dr. Neal Barnard—founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine, among other notable hats he wears—recalls growing up not particularly interested in being a doctor, like his Dad, then after becoming more inclined to pursue medicine, initially veering toward psychiatry. But  it turned out he ended up, among other areas, treating patients with diabetes—which had long been his Dad’s specialty, and I asked him to address how the medical perspective on treating diabetes has changed—just within one generation (maybe within one family, for that matter). In what becomes something of a running motif of the conversation, Barnard speaks to the connection between diet and certain diseases, noting that his Dad’s generation of doctors didn’t have the inclination to think in those terms, when the prevailing principle for treating various ailments was keeping the patient alive as long as possible, without directly dealing with the ailment. He discusses the evolution of PCRM, including the nutrition courses it offers to help satisfy physicians’ continuing education requirement, as well as annual conference featuring all sorts of programming and additional continuing education courses. Barnard offers a sneak preview of a webinar he’ll be delivering on Halloween day, “Your Body In Balance: The New Science of Food, Hormones, and Health AND How Foods Can Help Us Fight Covid-19,” part of a trio of webinars presented over Halloween weekend through a collaboration between Tampa Bay Veg Fest, Central Florida Veg Fest, and Florida Voices for Animals. (Tickets for the webinars: http://www.cfvegfest.org/webinars.html) He later weighs in on the Impossible Burger, Beyond Meat, and comparable products. At the end, we touched on a rarely-discussed topic in the realm of Dr. Barnard interviews: That’s he’s an accomplished guitarist and has played for years with a band called CarbonWorks—he describes their latest song, a lullaby, called “Everything’s All Right,” which can be accessed on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ER86cLvaC4 )as can the beautiful French version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsUm-q_cZb8 (https://www.pcrm.org, https://www.facebook.com/PCRM.org, https://www.instagram.com/physicianscommittee/)

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Jackie Ott Jaakola, executive director of the Cat Depot, in Sarasota, FL. She outlined the history of this multifaceted shelter (opened in 2003, moved to current location in 2009), and its mission, which includes adoption, a cat-only veterinary clinic, and a 10,000 square education center. She noted the adjustments they’ve made for Covid-19, yet pointed out their number of adoptions for the year, thus far, appears to be nearly on track with adoptions in pre-Covid years. She also discussed some of the cats there currently available for adoption, including orange tabbies Mario and Luigi, brothers deemed a “bonded pair,” meaning the two cats must be adopted together. (https://catdepot.org, https://www.facebook.com/CatDepot, https://www.instagram.com/catdepot/)

COMEDY CORNER:  Chris Porter’s “Vegan Date” (portion) (https://chrisportercomedy.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  The Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus”


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