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.)
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
In 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
To 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.
Not 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?
Lani, this is great! The video is so special. I’ve never seen Dr. Barnard be so funny! And it’s so interesting to find out some of his other ventures, too.
Your trip seemed to bring a lot of fun and happiness in other places, too. I hope I get to see you at one of your presentations soon. Thanks for putting this article together.
Sarah, isn’t it fun to see this previously – to most people, anyway – side of Dr. Barnard? Somehow it all fits and is no surprise, but it’s spectacular as it unfolds, isn’t it?
I so appreciate that you stopped in to share your thoughts, it means a lot!
This was so fun and interesting. It is sort of like peeking in a window and finding out a lot of surprising facts and characteristics that do not come out in the meetings, or veg fests.
I know what you mean! I’ve never seen Dr. Barnard so forthcoming and fun. He’s always a delight, but something – just as you so eloquently said – that doesn’t come out at veg fest presentations definitely shone through on this one. Delightful!
I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!
I find that by going plant based, the amount of carbs I eat is so high, that I find inflammation has become a problem for me. I keep sweets to a minimum. I do not use sugar, and try to keep any use of healthy sugar alternatives to a minimum. My C Reactive protein as gone too high a 3.0 and I have been told I am now pre-diabetic, which was never an issue since the past few years of eating a Mediterranean/ Pescaterian but largely plant based diet. How do we keep this inflammation down by eating such high carbs? Please help
At some point it becomes an issue of finding out the best match for your particular biochemistry, which can be done within the vegan and plant-based realm. Some people seem to need to pay more attention that others to refined and even partially refined or processed foods, which might mean flours. Sugar can also show up in the form of too much dried fruit or come along in food products or disguised as refined flour products. Some need to investigate a gluten connection. Some do better with more fats in their diet, meaning more avocadoes, nuts or seeds, olives and other plant fats. And this can vary within one person from time to time.
If you can swing it, it might be a good idea to work with a plant-based dietitian to advise you moving forward.
All best in your healthy quest and keep me posted!