Vegan Diabetes Summit, Day 7

Published 4.11.2017
This is the eleventh, and penultimate entry in a series in which I am commenting on the Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, otherwise known as the Vegan Diabetes Summit. The two hosts, Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro, manage their type one diabetes (T1D) with a high carb, low fat diet, consisting of mostly fruit. Most of the discussion in the sessions were about type two diabetes (T2D) though, which is the type that most people have.

Links to the videos and audio recordings of the event expired Thursday, February 9th at 9:00 PM Pacific time. This entry covers all of Day 7, most of which was not all that interesting to me. I am breaking one of my rules here, because I am going to comment on John McDougall's presentation, albeit briefly.

Please remember: I am not a nutritionist or medical professional. I am stating what these presenters claimed, mostly without any fact checking. When I know a statement is false, I say so. However, no endorsement is implied for statements presented without additional commentary or fact checking. These are not intended to be recaps, merely some notes and commentary I made while listening.

John McDougall MD

McDougall was a late addition to the schedule, which suggests that they had a decent audience for the summit, and McDougall wanted in. McDougall is author of a number of books, the most famous of which is The Starch Solution.
  • McDougall is listed here because he mentioned Nathan Pritikin as one of the giants whose shoulders he stands on. Naturally, he doesn't note that Pritikin's protocol, while rigorously low fat, is not vegan.
  • Also mentions Kempner and his rice diet
  • However, after that he veered into questionably science claims and conspiracy theories. He really didn't help the cause here.

Ray Cronise

Cronise is a former NASA scientist (I'm going to assume, unusually for me, that readers know what the acronym NASA stands for.) Cronise was not an astronaut, though I have seen that asserted in various places online. Cronise helped Pann Jillette lose weight.

  • Penn Jillette gets mentioned.
  • Cronise is starting something called “Just Sides” which is plant based.
  • Apparently he was T2D? I didn’t realize that.
  • He does bash high fat diets too.
  • His analogy is cars and accidents. If you don’t drive (eat carbs) you don’t have accidents (high insulin and BG). The goal should be to drive safely.
  • The goal shouldn’t be no insulin, it should be an appropriate amount of insulin.
  • He’s more what I would personally consider “plant based” in that he’s mostly vegan, but still eats meat occasionally.
  • He wants people to talk about foods, not macronutrients (macros).
  • This is truly an alternative viewpoint for this summit, one of the few that were included.
  • He’s not creating a business he says… then what is Just Sides?
  • He doesn’t care if he’s wrong, but then goes into how he won’t become wealthy, he wants to change 10,000 people’s lives. A few hundred people have followed Penn into health.
  • All diets work in the same way, by restricting swallowing, he says. (Commenters under his talk did not like this) The energy balance for the win.

Rip Esselstyn

Firefighter (former?), son of Caldwell Esselstyn and genuinely honest man (see below). Rip Esselstyn is the creator and author of The Engine 2 Diet.
  • A bit of honesty. He felt no different after turning vegan when an athlete in his early 20s. He then tap dances that “eventually” he would have felt some difference. He competed until his mid 40s.
  • Again they rail again against the Paleo diet
  • Gatherer-hunters comes up again
  • "Plant Strong" vs "Plant Based:" So he’s now saying that “plant based” doesn’t mean healthy. Plant strong just seems to mean WFPBD (whole food plant based)— In other words, it’s a brand.
  • He runs a 7-day immersion programs, with about 1300 people participating.

Jane Esselstyn RN and her husband Brian Hart MEd

This day is just a family affair here. Father, son and daughter, and son-in-law.

  • So they start with how easy it is to be plant based. I think it’s a mind set. If you see a meal as being defined by a hunk of animal flesh (and plenty of people do) it is a bit daunting to replace that on the plate. Especially if you don’t (or haven’t) eat beans.
  • However, it’s not just the lack of animal protein that is the issue. WFPBD is not vegan junk food, so they have to convince people to cook without sugar, salt and oil. Right there is why people think it’s tough.
  • And cheeseless pizza is going to be a nonstarter for most people. They don’t even sanction vegan cheeses (too high fat).
  • They cover a lot of the same ground here.
  • “Plant Perfect” (PP) is their brand to differentiate from Rip’s Plant Strong which includes a bit of fat. PP does not. PP was designed for Esselstyn’s heart patients.
  • Calorie density is given as the reason to avoid oil. Just don’t have it in your house she says.
  • I will have one further entry in this series where I sum up … beyond "Just eat plants."

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