If you’re new to the plant-based movement, or if you’re just interested in who else is out there sharing the message of health, here are some of the top plant-based health professionals leading the movement.
These are certainly not the only plant-based professionals (doctors, nutritionists, dietitians, and other health care providers) dedicated to making this a healthier world, but they’re definitely 20 of the top individuals in the plant-based health movement that you’re going to want to follow. Learn from them. Share what they have to say with others.
There’s a health-focused plant-based revolution occurring, and it’s happening in large part because of these individuals who advocate a plant-based diet and lifestyle.
1. T. Colin Campbell, PhD
Dr. Campbell is the Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University who has spent the last few decades focusing on long-term health and nutrition through a plant-based diet. He has conducted extensive research on health. His expertise is in the relationship of diet and diseases, especially cancer. Dr. Campbell is a co-author of The China Study, a book the summarizes findings from over two decades of research in China on plant-based diets and disease. Dr. Campbell is also the author of Whole, and he’s the individual who coined the term “whole food, plant-based.” His most recent book is The Low-Carb Fraud.
The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies offers a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through eCornell, with courses taught by a number of plant-based professionals. Dr. Campbell is also featured in health-based documentaries including: Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, and the most recent PlantPure Nation.
2. John McDougall, MD
A long time plant-based advocate, Dr. McDougall is the author of The Starch Solution. He promotes a starch-based approach to a whole food, plant-based diet. Dr. McDougall emphasizes starches to make sure that people eat enough calories and don’t wither away on lettuce, thinking that a plant-based diet doesn’t work. The starch solution allows you to eat the foods you love, just keep it low fat. Potatoes, rice, corn, and beans make up the staples.
He has written various books over the years including the The McDougall Program. And, along with his wife Mary the McDougall’s have a number of other books and cookbooks helping people with the lifestyle. From The New McDougall Cookbook: 300 Delicious Ultra-Low-Fat Recipes to The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook to The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight loss, you’ll likely find something to help you get started. Become a “Starchivore” and get healthy by keeping it simple and enjoying your food. Dr. McDougall was also featured in the documentary Forks Over Knives.
3. Caldwell Esselstyn, MD
Dr. Esselstyn brings the clinical side of plant-based diet research, and he shares his program for health through the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. He has conducted long-term studies on heart disease, helping his patients to overcome heart disease through diet and lifestyle.
For people who want to reverse their heart disease, Dr. Caldwell advocates a very low fat, OIL-FREE, plant-based diet. Seriously though, no oils. Especially if people are interested in reversing their disease, they need to be strict. Positive results are definitely there to be had, but you have to be committed. Dr. Caldwell was featured in Forks Over Knives, is the author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure, and his wife and daughter co-authored the cookbook, providing a number of healthy recipes.
Dr. Caldwell is also the father of Rip Esselstyn, of The Engine 2 Diet which follows a very similar approach to Dr. Esselstyn’s guidelines, but with an emphasis on preventing heart disease by starting those diet and lifestyle recommendations younger, before disease sets in.
The Esselstyns also host an event called Plant Stock every year in New York. The event is comprised of a couple of plant-filled days with guest speakers; healthy, plant based meals; and like-minded people all in one place. Visit the Engine 2 website to find out who will be speaking at this year’s event; they’ve got quite the line-up!
You can learn more about preventing and reversing heart disease on Dr. Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Program website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
4. Neal Barnard, MD
Dr. Barnard is the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). He is also the president of the newly opened Barnard Medical Center. Dr. Barnard’s focus is on preventing and reversing diabetes through a plant-based diet and lifestyle. He has written various books and was featured in Forks Over Knives.
Some of his books include: Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, Power Foods for the Brain, and he is the co-author of The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook. Dr. Barnard’s work shows that diabetes isn’t a lifelong diagnosis, or at least it doesn’t have to be. You can take control of your health through a low fat, plant-based lifestyle. Follow Dr. Barnard on Facebook and Twitter.
5. Michael Greger, MD
Dr. Greger puts out free daily videos and articles on his non-profit website NutritionFacts.org, where he provides nutrition advice on various aspects of a plant-based diet and healthy living in general.
NutritionFacts.org takes a very science-based approach to health. On the site you’ll find updates of current findings studies and the latest scientific news regarding health. He is also the author of the new book How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. Dr. Greger has garnered quite a following, and for good reason. His informative videos make it easier to understand and share the information with others. Setting the example for a healthy lifestyle, he also walks on his treadmill everyday to fit in his exercise while working and sharing the plant based message.
6. Michael Klaper, MD
Dr. Klaper is a long time plant-based diet and nutrition advocate who recognised the link between diet and disease which led him to develop his own lifestyle programs. After following his own program he lost weight and considerably reduced his cholesterol levels. Dr. Klaper is at various conferences and speaking events throughout the year, including weekly talks at the TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA.
He has written Vegan Nutrition: Pure and Simple and Pregnancy, Children, and the Vegan Diet, and he features in a number of informative health videos including Sense and Nonsense in Nutrition: A Look at Today’s Most Common Health Myths. Along with a number of other plant-based educators he’ll be on the Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise this year from late February to March. Learn a bit more about Dr. Klaper on his website.
7. Joel Fuhrman, MD
Dr. Fuhrman has written several books including: Eat to Live, the Eat to Live Cookbook, and The End of Diabetes: The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Diabetes. His approach to health and a plant-based diet involves eating nutrient-rich foods: vegetables; fresh fruits; beans; nuts, seeds and avocadoes, starchy vegetables; and whole grains. Keeping other foods to a minimum, there’s also an emphasis on raw foods.
Dr. Fuhrman strongly promotes eating nutrient-dense foods, as he calls them “micronutrient-rich foods.” To explain his approach to health, he uses his “health equals nutrients divided by calories” (H = N/C) equation. And if you’re following his Nutritarian food pyramid, you should eat a variety of colourful foods, and lots of vegetables. The logic is simple: get healthy by eating healthy foods. Go to his website to learn more.
8. Alan Goldhamer, D.C.
Dr. Goldhamer is the co-author of The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health & Happiness. He is also the director and co-founder of the TrueNorth Health Center in California, along with his wife, Dr. Jennifer Marano.
The center is a well-rounded facility that focuses on the different aspects of health, having medical, chiropractic, psychotherapy, counseling, massage, amongst other health-related services. The TrueNorth Health Center also specialises in, and is well-known for its’ therapeutic water fasting where you can heal under the supervision of medical professionals knowing that your health is their top priority.
You can learn more about Dr. Goldhamer and meet the rest of the TrueNorth staff by visiting their website.
9. Doug Lisle, PhD
Dr. Lisle, with Dr. Goldhamer, is a co-author of The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health & Happiness. He is also the Director of Research at the TrueNorth Health Center. Dr. Lisle has a private practice in psychotherapy at TrueNorth, and he is a lecturer for the eCornell Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program. Watch a Tedx presentation on The Pleasure Trap by Dr. Lisle on his personal website, which can also take you to the TrueNorth site where you can learn more about him.
10. Matt Lederman, MD
Dr. Lederman seeks to treat patients with chronic illness by reversing disease through diet and lifestyle changes, eliminating the need for medication. He was featured in the Forks Over Knives documentary and is an eCornell Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program lecturer. He works at Transition To Health, a medical, nutrition, and wellness center where they take a holistic approach to health. And he is co-author of The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet. Dr. Lederman is currently working with Whole Foods Market as a medical health and wellness expert.
Visit the Transition To Health website for more.
11. Alona Pulde, MD
Dr. Pulde also works at the Transition To Health Center. With an education in traditional oriental medicine and western medicine, Dr. Pulde brings a unique blend of eastern and western influence to nutrition and lifestyle medicine. She is co-author of The Forks Over Knives Plan and you can read some of Dr. Pulde and Dr. Lederman’s article contributions on the Forks Over Knives website. With Whole Foods Market, Dr. Pulde and Dr. Lederman are currently working to create medical centers that use nutrition and lifestyle when possible to prevent and reverse disease, avoiding the need for pills or other procedures.
12. Thomas M. Campbell, MD
Dr. Thomas Campbell is the son of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and co-author of The China Study. You can find numerous articles he has written on health and a plant-based diet on the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies website. A marathon runner and health advocate, Dr. Campbell is also the author of The Campbell Plan: The Simple Way to Lose Weight and Reverse Illness, Using The China Study’s Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet. Learn more about Dr. Thomas Campbell on The Campbell Plan website.
And follow The Campbell Plan on Facebook.
13. Garth Davis, MD
Dr. Davis is a plant-based doctor based in Houston, Texas. As a weight loss surgeon he decided to figure out what really led people to his operating table. He began a plant-based diet for health reasons and now shares the message with others. Dr. Davis, along with Howard Jacobson, is the author of Proteinaholic: How Our Obsession with Meat Is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It. You can listen to a podcast with Rich Roll about “Our Misplaced Obsession with Protein,” and learn more about Dr. Davis in another Rich Roll podcast “Weight Loss Surgeon Turned PlantPower Crusader.”
14. Dean Ornish, MD
A long-time plant-based diet and healthy lifestyle advocate, Dr. Ornish has written a number of books including: The Spectrum; Eat More, Weigh Less; and Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish. Dr. Ornish advocates a low-fat, plant-based, mainly vegetarian diet along with other healthy lifestyle practices for reversing heart disease and improving overall health. Find out more about Ornish Lifestyle Medicine and learn more about Dr. Ornish on his personal website.
15. Pam Popper, PhD, ND
Pam is a Naturopath and Executive Director of Wellness Forum Health, which offers individuals and health care providers educational programs to encourage evidence-based and informed decisions regarding health. She is co-author of Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Could Save Your Life and was featured in the Forks over Knives documentary. You will also find informative videos on all aspects of health on her YouTube channel. Learn more about Pam on The Wellness Forum website or visit her website.
You can follow The Wellness Forum on Twitter.
16. Ginny Messina, MPH, RD
Ginny has helped research and develop advice and information regarding a vegan diet for PCRM. She is also co-author of Vegan for Her: The Womans Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet, Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet, Never Too Late to Go Vegan: The Over-50 Guide to Adopting and Thriving on a Plant-Based Diet. There is a dedicated Vegan for Her website, and Ginny has her own website The Vegan RD where she shares health advice and her thoughts on vegan living. An ethical vegan with a long-time interest in animal rights, learn a bit more about what led Ginny to become vegan.
17. Jack Norris, RD
Jack Norris a registered dietitian and also the President and Executive Director of Vegan Outreach. He co-authored the Vegan for Life book with Ginny Messina. He is the author of B12: Are You Getting It?, and the website VeganHealth.org is also maintained by Jack. His website JackNorrisRD is dedicated to plant-based nutrition information and news, as well as information for vegan advocates. Follow the blog to get resources and find out about updates to VeganHealth.org.
18. Joel Kahn, MD
Dr. Kahn takes an holistic approach to heart disease, and he is the author of Dead Execs Don’t Get Bonues: The Ultimate Guide to Survive Your Career With A Healthy Heart. His newly opened Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity addresses various heart-related conditions with treatments that stop and reverse heart disease. Dr. Kahn’s approach focuses on natural treatments whenever possible. Learn more about Dr. Kahn and his natural treatments on his website.
19. Jeff Novick, MS, RD
Sharing the plant-based message with a sense of humour, Jeff is a dietitian and nutritionist. He was Director of Nutrition for almost a decade at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida. Both past and present, Jeff has held a number of other health-related positions at various institutions and initiatives. With years of experience specialising in the areas of health, nutrition, fitness, and natural living, he is now an educator and lecturer on these topics. Jeff also works at the TrueNorth Health Center. Learn more about Jeff on his website.
20. Julianna Hever, MS, RD, CPT
A well-known plant-based figure, Julieanna is the Plant-Based Dietitian. She has been featured on a number of plant-based and healthy living programs, sharing the plant-based message. She is the author of the best-selling book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, The Vegiterranean Diet, as well as The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking, and she also contributed recipes to the Forks Over Knives The Cookbook.
On her website there are a series of videos covering various aspects of plant-based life from her TV show What Would Julieanna Do? on Veria Living. On the show, she also spoke with a number of other plant-based professionals. You can find Julieanna on Facebook where she often shares informative posts with lots of quality plant-based diet resources for you to check out. Learn more about the Plant-Based Dietitian on her website.
21. (Bonus) Dr. Kim Williams, MD
Last, but certainly not least, is someone who particularly deserves a mention: Dr. Kim Williams. He is a cardiologist and head of the cardiology department at Rush University Medical Center. And, in no small feat, Dr. Williams was also the first vegan president of the American College of Cardiology! Watch a video of Dr. Williams talking a bit about his experience. Further, you can read an article in The New York Times about the reasons behind his transition to a vegan diet.
You can follow Dr. Williams on Twitter.
You can follow these individuals on social media or visit their websites to find out more about what they do.
As you’ll find out, many of them have passed on their passion for health to their children and family who are also actively helping to share the powerful message of plants.
Change is happening, and these plant-based health professionals are helping to lead the way. They’re part of the plant-based revolution, out to end chronic illness through a whole, plant foods approach.
It’s not hard to transition to or follow a plant-based diet, it just takes a change in mindset. Out with the old, in with the new.
Take control of your life and health. Let these plant-based health professionals lead the way for you. They know what they’re talking about.
They have a lot of overlap in the advice they give, but find someone who suits you. It can really help to have some solid advice to follow when you’re getting going with the plant-based lifestyle. Or, maybe have a few approaches that you blend together to come up with something that works for you.
But, whoever you follow, the fundamentals are generally the same: eat whole plant foods.
Get some healthy, plant-based cookbooks to help get you started.
It’s not rocket science, but it’s your ticket to health.
Many of these individuals also speak at various plant-based events throughout the year, so keep your eye out for them. They have a lot of knowledge and experience to share.
These are certainly not the only great plant-based health care professionals out there, but they are definitely 20 of the most influential leaders of the plant-based movement that you’re going to want to follow.
These individuals are primarily based in the US, but there are plant-based professionals around the world.
Find a Plant-Based Doctor
There’s a growing list on Plant-Based Doctors. Just “Browse Our Database” to see if there’s a doctor in your area.
There may be some overlap with the above sources, but you can also check out Happy Herbivore’s Plant-Based Doctor List.
An excellent way to get started with the plant-based lifestyle is with vegan recipes that show you that being healthy can still taste great!
Here’s to the plant-based health revolution!
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