The following is a conversation between a lawyer and his expert witness, a cardiothoracic surgeon. My close friend is the lawyer, so he relayed this story to me yesterday that he’d had after taking the doctors deposition for the case he’s working on. Here is a recording of the conversation that came up after their meeting. This is what he told me.
The conversation started with me asking him, since he’s from California, if he’d heard that Kaiser Permanente is now recommending a Plant-Based diet as a nutritional approach to health care. He rolled his eyes and said, “Oh, another diet!” I said, not trying to p.. this guy off since he’s my expert witness and a very smart man, “It seems like a pretty compelling approach to health.” He said, “All these diets have fairly serious health consequences when you eliminate certain proteins and minerals out of your regular consumption.” I said, “Well, I’ve started a whole foods plant-based diet six months ago and I’ve been reading quite a bit of information and studies about this diet approach to health.” I asked him, “Have you ever read “The China Study” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell? He said, “No!” I briefly explained it to him, the scope of it. “The study doesn’t reach any specific opinions, but the findings paint a pretty compelling picture of diet impact on primarily cancer. However, the author of The China Study, utilizing that study as the foundation, draws on a number of other peer reviewed studies and articles, as well as overwhelming anecdotal information from a multitude of physicians to reach opinions and conclusions regarding diet. Not only cancer and heart disease, but diabetes, osteoporosis and a variety of other serious health maladies. Clearly, the only significant vitamin that may be lacking from a strict plant-based diet is vitamin B12.”
He said, “Really? You’re telling me that this study documents that you don’t need meat or dairy for adequate protein?” I said, “Yes, clearly! There is without question more and better protein found in various beans and vegetables than in meat and dairy without the serious medical health effects from meat and dairy!” I then told him that I was seeing you and about your involvement with PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) and how you had introduced me to this diet, plus had made all of these delicious meals for me, making it somewhat easier for me to make this switch to a whole foods plant-based vegan diet!
Then he said, “It’s frightening! Here I am a cardiothoracic surgeon and I have literally no education or training in nutrition. We get nothing in medical school about nutrition and you’re a lawyer who has read some important nutritional studies and who’s smart enough to understand the body’s nutritional needs and how it can be accommodated with diet and you’re telling me something I’ve never heard before after 30 years of cardiothoracic surgery, which is pretty much at the top of the food chain in medicine!” Then I (lawyer) discussed with him the documentary, Forks Over Knives and brought up Dr. Esselstyn, whom he’d never heard of, but he was certainly familiar with the Cleveland Clinic. He made notes about both and said he would watch and read.
He said that, “In medicine we tend to address all of these issues with medications. High blood pressure pills, cholesterol pills, Beta blockers, Ace inhibitors, etc.” He did say that in his personal life his wife had been cutting him back to one serving of meat per week. However, he didn’t see chicken and pork as serious as red meat. I said, “Well, that’s not really so! They are just, if not more problematic! They are still animal protein and also high in saturated fat and cholesterol.” Further, I told him that in America, 78% of antibiotics are being given to farm animals, so we are screwing up our ability to respond to serious infections down the line.” He agreed.
On a final note, from me: The next time you see a medical doctor, before putting your life and trust into their hands, you might want to keep this conversation in mind. It certainly is compelling and food for thought! I hope that you will share it! Here’s to hoping that more doctors will educate themselves further on nutrition and health!