Here are links to some of my favorite vegan doctors. For me becoming vegan was a process, an educational one that began with reading Diet for a New America by John Robbins, and then educating myself on the health benefits of a vegan diet, not just for me, but for the health and welfare of the animals and our planet.
The way I experience it, there are two belief systems; those who eat the typical American diet and those who eat a vegan, plant-based diet. From my reading, there is no in between as advocates on both sides make their cases. I am a hard core vegan for several reasons, firstly my health, and these doctors are my support and guidance system.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell
Dr. Campbell is the author of The China Study, arguably the most influential study done on the benefits of a plant-based diet vs. the effects of the Standard American Diet (SAD.) He studied the diets of rural Chinese, which are plant-based, and found virtually no diseases of affluence, namely heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Dr. Campbell created the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program at eCornell -- which I completed this year -- and has been at this work for over fifty years. He was recently featured discussing the benefits of a vegan diet in the Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
Dr. Esselstyn has been studying the effects of nutrition on health and disease for over 20 years and says that a plant-based diet can prevent and reverse heart disease. He is a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic and is prominently featured in the film Forks Over Knives, which I encourage you to watch. It is a documentary that features many of Dr. Esselstyn's past patients, many of whom were on death's door, and follows several new patients as they transform their health (e.g., getting off tons of medications and losing weight) You can see the benefits for yourself.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Dr. Fuhrman treats disease through nutrition. He has one of the best acronyms for remembering how to eat healthy: G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, seeds.) He says that eating just one mushroom a day will decrease the risk of breast cancer!
Dr. Dean Ornish
Dr. Ornish is a pioneering doctor in the field of nutrition and health. His book, Program for Reversing Heart Disease was the second book I read after John Robbins' book, provided the medical information to back up what Robbins' was saying: that a vegan, plant-based diet was the way to go. He is the doctor who convinced President Bill Clinton to adopt a vegan lifestyle for his health.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard has spent his career studying the effect of diet on health. He is the founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and another plant-based rock star doctor.
Dr. John McDougall
Dr. McDougall has been talking about a plant-based vegan diet for close to 50 years and has written several books. He is famous for his 10-day residential program designed to get people on the right track with their health. His book, The Starch Solution, is outspoken, right on, and inspirational. And it is a book that says carbs are good for you! Hello...love him.
Dr. Matthew Lederman & Dr. Alona Pulde
This vegan, plant-based power couple founded their practice Exsalus in order to provide holistic medical advice to their patients. They are featured prominently in the film Forks Over Knives and have written the book Keep it Simple, Keep it Whole: Your Guide to Optimum Health. A great read that ends with some great recipes.
Dr. Doug Lisle
Dr. Lisle is a psychologist and the author of The Pleasure Trap, a book that describes the psychology around food cravings, food addictions, and what can be done to overcome self-destructing food behaviors. He says that although we know what the right thing to is, we have to overcome the pleasure trap in order to change. Read this book!
Jeff Novick, MS, RD
Jeff gave the best lecture during my course at eCornell about reading food labels and how incredibly misleading they are. He is smart and funny and partners with Drs. Esselstyn and McDougall on many of their programs. His cooking DVD series is called Fast Food and volume 2 is all about veggie burgers.