What I Learned from a Weekend with Dr Neal Barnard
This past weekend I was grateful for the opportunity to meet Dr. Neal Barnard when he visited our office. Read on to an inside peek at my favorite parts of the weekend.
The weekend started with a wonderful talk Dr. Barnard gave on brain health. There were so many profound things he talked about but I’ll highlight a couple of my favorite:
1) That cast iron skillet that your were told was a great source of iron….yeah….not so much. I won’t go into too many details, but long story short the extra iron oxidizes in the brain, increasing free radicals, ultimately increasing our chances for Alzheimer’s. He also noted that we need to be careful with iron (as well as copper) in the supplements we take. Yes, I’m going to plug holistic practitioners here. This is just another reason it’s a great idea to work with one (at least once a year) They will help ensure you are taking the best supplements for your body and in safe doses. If you want more science on the subject visit his website.
2) A glass of wine a day is NOT what’s best for our health. I know the media constantly publishes articles saying a drink a day is great for heart health. Well Dr. Barnard decided to challenge this theory. He thought that potentially it wasn’t the alcohol that helped the heart, but the grapes, and he was right! Grapes contain anthrocyanins that are protective to our neurological health. Additionally friends, it has to be said a drink a day is linked to increased breast cancer risk.
Next, we had a great book signing/ meet and great reception with tasty vegan snacks. The treats we tasty and apparently all his own recipes. Ladies, it must be said Dr. Barnard is 60 and looks much younger. I was shocked when I found out his age. He is clearly walking his walk. Next, we had an awkward moment…. First, I didn’t have his book, but I had Crazy, Sexy Diet (he wrote a few pages) so I played it off and asked him to sign it. Bad move?? Maybe, but this was Dr. Neal Barnard people!! Next, I asked for a photo and the lady behind me said she had an IPhone. She did not have an IPhone. The famous Dr and I stood there, arms around each other and I felt my primal pit paste melting away as this lady snapped away. Luckily, he had a pretty good attitude about it all and was pretty funny. Yes, he’s handsome, cooks and is funny.
Oh yeah and coconut oil lovers, you’ll want to hear this! I asked what his thoughts were on this beloved oil. I was expecting an all fat is bad kind of answer, but here’s where my admiration for him grew. He said, “I don’t know, the jury is still out.” Whhaaaa?!?!? I smiled, thanked him and said “good, I’ll continue eating it!’ I love honesty. It’s refreshing and appreciated. Now we’re at handsome, cooks, funny, no ego and honest! ;)
The next morning we were lucky enough to have a team building session with the good doctor. He was really encouraging about the community health improvement program we’re working on locally. I sit on the leadership board and I cannot tell you how hearing this super famous and brilliant guy level with us really helped our team. It was a privilege and I wish I could share some of the details, but most would bore you to tears!
Lastly, Dr. Barnard gave one last talk elaborating further on brain and nutritional health in general.
I think the most shocking thing he spoke about was cheese and that it is addictive!! Yes, addictive is what I said friends!! Milk contains trace amounts of morphine, particularly during spring time. Oh, but this is not what makes cheese addictive. Opiates actually form from casein and that’s where the addictive properties come in. Additionally, opiates are very constipating, because they slow digestion, and that’s why we get all stopped up when we eat too much cheese. While I’m at it, just 2 servings of dairy a day increase migraine, arthritic, digestive issues and prostate cancer is 34% more prevalent. Why? Well milk contains insulin like growth factor (because it’s for baby cows!) and it causes cellular growth, cancer or otherwise. Again, if you want more science, go poke around on his site. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.
Thank you for letting me share my fun weekend with you. If you liked what you read, please go share it on Facebook!
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Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.