In some ways it’s pretty common to walk into work and see one of your heroes’ faces plastered on the wall—i.e. that Fathead poster you have posted up in your office. But in this case, it’s a bit unusual for a few reasons:
1. I work in a cubicle.
2. My heroes aren’t always well known because they eat plants.
3. Most people think I’m weird, so my heroes get that unfortunate distinction, too.
So imagine my surprise when I walked into the long hospital hallway and was met with a poster of Colin Campbell's face and the announcement he was going to be giving a talk at UC!
It was quite the double take, like running into someone from one place in another. “Hey! I know that guy,” I thought, as I processed T. Colin Campbell’s face on the poster. Then I realized even more excitedly that he was going to be speaking on the very subject that inspired me to explore the roots of a Plant Life: evidenced based ways to keep good health!
Since I know that T. Colin Campbell was the author of The China Study, and Whole, not to mention a “star” of “Forks Over Knives”—insightful works that I’ve covered in the past —I knew that he would be speaking on the value of a whole food, plant based diet.
Colin Campbell has been a pioneer from the beginning of this plant based adventure, providing fundamental and thought provoking research, creating educational programs for plant based nutrition, and now continuing to spread the word about the value of adopting a Plant Life.
In addition to his talk to the medical community, he brought his son with him, director of the new movie “Plant Nation.” The theme of the movie is the struggle to get plant based education and facts into the mainstream of a nearby state: Kentucky.
So what’d I do? Obviously, sat in the front row.
Yep, I was that guy.
Campbell’s lecture reaffirmed several facts. First, being a plant person in a meat world is a challenge. Lots of misinformation and misunderstandings persist in the world—and it isn’t just limited to the layman (hah—last name joke). Medical and nutritional research singles out individual molecules as culprits or silver bullets, trying to incriminate or sanctify each. Figuring out the roots of a disease or a cure helps us understand our body, but in reality, the incredible complexity of food and our body makes it infinitely more complicated! That’s why plant based, whole foods work so well—they contain so many of the positive molecules, and so few of the negative ones.
Another point he highlighted was just how seldom medicine covers nutrition information. Medical school barely covers the idea of what foods can cure or curse us, and yet the expectation is that your doctor knows all the answers when it comes to what to eat! From personal experience, I can tell you that medical education is 99% about what to do after things go wrong! Just because we know what to do after there is a problem doesn’t mean we know how to prevent it. Sadly, though, it’s not often that you’ll hear a healthcare provider admit that…
After his lecture, I went up to chat with him. I have to say that when I originally started to explore living the Plant Life, I sent Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn emails asking for input and advice. Only Esselstyn wrote back, so I will admit I wasn’t sure if Campbell would be too cool, like a vegan Kanye.
Turns out he was a great guy. We chatted a little, and my main questions related to how to continue to get the word out. I did mention my effort with Plant Life, but he was pretty focused on his son’s movie.
I also chatted with his son about the upcoming “premier” and we chatted about the many people out there living a Plant Life and wanting to connect them. Team Campbell is way ahead in their efforts, and through “Plant Nation” they are hoping to launch more plant based nutrition efforts in medical education, and the creation of Plant Pods in communities to help “grow” the number of plant people in the world!
Finally, I did make it to the movie. It was great to see a few hundred people there to see the movie, from some typical vegan hippie people, to business-attired physicians. Unfortunately, I thought the movie was kind of long and repetitive, so I’m going to give “Forks Over Knives” the thumbs up as the movie you should pick for your plant movie Friday. I’ll let you decide for yourselves, but let me know what you think if you get around to seeing it!
As for my heroes, I’ve met Caldwell Esselstyn and Colin Campbell, the men responsible for proving the value of living the Plant Life. So there’s Dean Ornish, McDougall, Rich Roll, and Roger Federer (he’s not vegan, just awesome) left on the list.
The cool thing about my Plant Life heroes is that instead of dying happy, now I’m ready to live happy.
Below is a video of the whole event. Keep a close watch for a couple of Plant Life cameos!!