verdun“Rock star!”

In the vegan and plant-based world, this is what immediately comes to mind when you think of Dr. Neal Barnard. What may be news to you is that “rock star” – when it comes to Neal Barnard – has double meaning.

Dr. Barnard generously gave me a lift from Washington D.C. to the Eat Well Stay Well Immersion Day in Columbia, Maryland where we were sharing the stage with Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and Del Sroufe.  Previously an Uber virgin, I had been using its lift services- along with the Metro – to get around D.C. during this stop on The Plant-Based Journey book tour. Today, I became inspired to have some fun and introduce Dr. Barnard as my driver. He graciously played along. Quite literally, as you see and hear on the video.

For in case you didn’t know it, our dear Dr. Barnard is also a star in a rock band. Listen in as we play for you some of the music he has composed (really!) and you’ll hear him playing (piano and guitar!). You can get his new CD Carbon Works soon, and already available is a previous release Verdun.  (More about Dr. Barnard’s rock endeavors here.)

Neal Barnard in the studio (left) and with featured Italian singing artist Naif Herin (above)

PCRM: Plant-Based Journey Book Tour Stops Don’t Get Better Than This

I had been invited by the Physician’s Committee – PCRM – to come to their offices to present to members, guests and community about mindful vegan living. As you know that’s the focus of my new book and I was very excited to connect with attendees all about it.

In typical stellar fashion, PCRM team member Jill Eckart and Karen Smith, along with an enthusiastic fleet of several others, prepared a gorgeous buffet for people to enjoy as they arrived – including Pumpkin Muffins and Double Chocolate Cherry Muffins from The Plant-Based Journey.

I was thrilled with the positive and enthusiastic response with which mindfulness as part of plant-based living was welcomed by the group at PCRM (left).  A natural companion to living a happy vegan lifestyle, backed up by the brain research and documented benefits.

A close-up of the Double Chocolate Cherry Truffles and Pumpkin Muffins prepared by PCRM staff for this festive occasion – recipes from The Plant-Based Journey. (above)

Happily between two plant-based rock stars in their own right – Karen Smith and Jill Eckart, PCRM staff. (bottom left)

The Eat Well Stay Well Immersion

From PCRM, it was on to Columbia Maryland – courtesy of my charming and handsome Uber driver Neal Barnard, of course! The Plant-Based Journey and her five universal steps were the focus – along with several fitness breaks!

Event co-host Sharon McRae, Dr. Barnard, and yours truly

At first I couldn’t figure out what I was doing in this snapshot – then I realized, of course, it’s during the singing of my Plant-Based Fight Song.  And EVERYONE jumped up and sang with me for the encore performance! (right)

We had several fitness breaks built into the day – a chance to get everyone on their feet and having fun with Fit Quickies! (above)

Del Sroufe – plant-based chef and author of several cookbooks, including the Forks Over Knives Cookbook and The China Study Quick and Easy Cookbook – presented a cooking demonstration with tasters for everyone. Del’s presentation was such a treat – he makes you feel at home in the kitchen, no pretensions or fancy processes – anyone can cook plant-based!  Plus Del has an inspiring story of dramatic weight loss and transition to plant-based living (left).

The Cheese Trap

cheesetrapcoverIn the video, you also hear Dr. Barnard give us some of the juicy details about his newest book release, The Cheese Trap – in preorder as we speak – and you can reserve your copy here now.

Talk to anyone who has recently gone vegan or embarked on a plant-based diet, and they often say that cheese was (is) their last holdout. What’s with that?  After all, once you’ve been vegan for awhile, cheese smells like a barnyard.

Yet as Dr. Barnard underscores in our Uber conversation, we know that cheese contains compounds that have a particular allure to our biochemistry. Called casomorphins, these compounds are protein fragments that circulate in your system upon the digestion of casein (concentrated in cheese) – and they have an opoid effect in your body, renowned for their ability to generate feelings of euphoria. Cutting out cheese can lead to cravings for same in a kind of withdrawal symptom scenario. Knowing this can make all the difference.

With an introduction by Marilu Henner, an exciting bonus is the big batch of recipes contributed by Dreena Burton and some contributions from Miyoko Schinner of Miyoko’s Kitchen fame.  Any recipe section touched by these two talented chefs is a sure-fire winner. Other contributors such as Tal Ronen are also brought in.

21 Day Vegan Kickstart Underway Soon – Online with PCRM

pcrm21dayTo help you get over the pull-of-the-cheese, or to otherwise fast forward your plant-based journey,the countdown has begun to the monthly PCRM 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. With the distinct honor of being one of the coaches for this program – which includes celebrity tips every day from everyone from Brendan Brazier to Alicia Silverstone to Victoria Moran, Marco Borges, and…well, you can see the listing here.

As Dr. Barnard said it the video above, the 21 Day Kickstart is now up to 500,000 participants overall in the few short years that it has been featured!  And it runs in several languages.  Countdown officially begins on Monday September 26, so you can get all prepped and ready for the 21 day journey ahead.

DC Outtakes and Bloopers

I was able to squeeze in a few adventures while back east – I adore visiting our nation’s capital and am never afraid to make a fool of myself climbing around the gates at the White House or hopping on a train to a vegan destination meal.  Here are a few snapshots from my adventure.

Arrived at the White House just in time for brunch with Michele and Barack.  I’d heard that they had a vegan menu! (above)

The leaning tower of D.C.?  I caught it just in time! (below)

The charming and uber-cozy Baker House, donated by a patron years ago as a place for presenters and guests of PCRM to stay while in D.C.. A quick walk to the metro station, the PCRM offices, and great eats – the perfect spot.(left)

It’s Easy Being Vegan in D.C.

stickyfingersNot only for the reasons I’ve already noted in my trip report, it’s easy being vegan in Washington D.C. because there are so dang many eating options!

To scout out all the options for you, for lunch Saturday I hopped on the Metro to zip out to the famous Sticky Fingers vegan eatery (that’s the sign in their window, right). Even though it was already nearly two o’clock in the afternoon, the ‘brunch’ line snaked out the door and started around the corner.

We’ll let the pictures tell the story here.


To this country grrrl who lives in the middle of the woods of northern california, this kind of place makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. If you’re an urbanite, this may look like every day to you – for me, this was such a treat!  Thank you D.C.!

Now, when’s that Carbon Works CD gonna arrive?

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