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Diet for a Living Planet with Michael Klaper, MD: PYP 246

Michael Klaper, MD, is one of the world's most eloquent, convincing, passionate, and persistent advocates of a plant-based diet. He's studied the health effects, the environmental ramifications, and the psychological aspects of eating meat and junk food, and can put the most complex science in totally accessible terms.

Here's how he explains the vast majority of chronic disease in the Western world: “We're putting diesel fuel in a gas engine.”

Boom. Simple. Powerful. Inarguable.

For the past eight years, Dr Klaper has practiced nutrition-based medicine at True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, California. Come January 2018, he's unleashing his best self into the world of education, sharing his knowledge and passion with medical professionals, medical students, and the public. Once you hear our conversation, you'll be as excited as I am about his unfolding quest.

My fingers are aching from all the notes I took during our conversation, and the amount of typos due to his excited and speedy delivery are unusual even for me 🙂

But let's see if I can make sense of some of my typing and give you some bullets of our conversation:

  • preparing for a 3-year stay in a remote hospital on an Indian reservation in Northern California
  • “I didn't know what to tell them” – his failure to improve their health or their lives
  • leaving general practice to become an anesthesiologist
  • the big revelation in the OR: that stuff they were pulling out of coronary arteries that looked like chicken fat — WAS chicken fat
  • discovering the root cause of disease – the wrong diet for our species
  • finding Dr Dean Ornish's and Dr Frey Ellis's early research
  • returning to general practice in Florida – this time with nutrition as the basis of disease reversal
  • the heresy of taking patients off their meds (“you know this is lifetime medication – hand in your stethoscope”)
  • striving to become a Man of Peace after serving on the trauma unit of Cook County hospital in Chicago and seeing all manner of violence (“you might want to start with that piece of animal flesh on your plate”)
  • growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin (“I knew the violence inherent in every piece of meat”)
  • the best sources of evidence for a plant-based diet
  • Dr. Milton Mills' presentation on humans as herbivores
  • gas-burning engines don't adapt to kerosene – they tolerate it in small amounts, sometimes
  • the paleo myth (“it's a diet of death”) and the clinical fallout from the fad
  • Brenda Davis, RD's expose of the saturated fat scam
  • why new vegans sometimes fail to thrive – and how to withdraw safely from animal flesh
  • “animal flesh is like an expensive multivitamin that's toxic in large doses”
  • Dr Klaper's involvement in the Mars nutrition project
  • what if earth were a new planet – how would we design our food system from scratch
  • Dr Klaper's new mission of education
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Dr Milton Mills presentation: Are Humans Designed to Eat Meat?

The Vegan Health Study

Richard Oppenlander's website:

Dr Milton Mills' first appearance on the Plant Yourself Podcast: Soul Food, Liberation, and the Myth of Predatory Eyes

Dr Milton Mills' second appearance on the Plant Yourself Podcast: Our Marvelous Microbiome

Brenda Davis, RD, on the Plant Yourself Podcast: Defeating Diabetes and Debunking Paleo


Download the PDF transcript here or read it online below.

Read the full transcript here

HOWARD: Dr. Michael Klaper, welcome to the Plant Yourself Podcast!
DR. KLAPER: Thank you, Howard. It’s great to be with you and your listeners.
HOWARD: Yeah, I haven’t seen you in person in a couple of years since the vegan cruise.
DR. KLAPER: Right. That’s true.
HOWARD: So, I’ve been following your work absorbing your materials. I got a couple of your DVDs…
DR. KLAPER: Thank you.
HOWARD: … and so there’s a whole bunch of things that I would love to explore with you. First, for folks, for the three people out there who don’t know who you are and what you do, can you kind of give us a little bit of background?
DR. KLAPER: Sure. I am a classically trained Western physician graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago and had postgraduate training in internal medicine, surgery, anesthesiology, orthopedics at the University of British Columbia hospitals and obstetrics at University of California in San Francisco. For the first… I’ve been a doctor for 46 years. For the first ten years I was doing basically blood and guts medicine in the emergency rooms, operating rooms, urgent care clinics. But for the past 35 years my focus has been trying to keep people out of hospitals and off of operating tables because I found myself dealing with a small group of grim diseases: obesity, clogged artery, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a host of inflammatory diseases, which has become very clear in recent decades is largely due to the Western diet that sends a wave of cooked animal protein, hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, dairy protein, and a host of associated chemicals to the bloodstream hour after hour, and it causes… it plays the major role in these diseases.
And if you get someone on a whole food plant-based diet, lo and behold, these diseases go away, and the body turns back to a normal healthy body who doesn’t need the services of the people like me. So, in the past eight years I’ve been on the staff at True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, California, about an hour north of San Francisco where we do exactly this. We feed folks who come to us from around the world with all these classic diseases, feed them a whole food plant based diet, and we send them to cooking classes and do food demos and show videos so they can make this food at home, and so they don’t have to come back and see us again. We’re trying to put ourselves out of business, and it’s been the most satisfying eight years of my medical career to see all these fearsome diseases that I was told were relentlessly progressive, the clogged arteries, the high blood pressure, diabetes… it is from the wrong fuel. We’ve been putting diesel fuel into gasoline burning engines so to speak with our bodies…
HOWARD: [laughs]
DR. KLAPER: … and you put them on the right plant-based fuel, like we are designed to run on, and it’s just humbling and so inspiring to see these fearsome diseases melt away. The obesity starts to melt off, the arteries open up, the high blood pressure comes down, the joint stops hurting, the skin clears up, the asthmatic lungs stop wheezing, the migraine headaches go away, and people get their lives back. So, for the past eight years I’ve been the happiest doc I know and now I’m off to [inaudible due to background noise] my colleagues to help get the word out and so it becomes a standard part of medical care in America today.
HOWARD: So, one thing I noticed. I like to take notes so I can do a write-up afterwards. And when I was trying to write down your CV, you listed the stuff much faster than I could write it down. So, it sounds like you’ve memorized this list. I got surgery, anesthesiology, obstetrics. Is that normal to do… to go into so many different fields or would most doctors kind of pick one or two and kind of stay there?
DR. KLAPER: That’s a very perceptive question. This is back in the mid-1970s. There were no family practice residencies or they were just in their embryonic form. And I was headed off to a remote hospital in the North American Indian reservation, and I had only had one year of internal medicine for training, and I knew if I was alone one night in some isolated emergency room and someone had come in and put a chainsaw into their leg, I really didn’t know what I was doing. And so, before I went to the Indian reservation, I went back to the university teaching hospitals, and I went to the head of surgery, and I said I need to learn how to open an abdomen and take out an appendix. I was going to do six months of general surgery, and he said okay. I went to the head of orthopedics and said I need to do three months of work to deal with initial fracture care, and he said okay. I went to the anesthesia folks. They had a six-month training program in anesthesia, so I did that. And then I had to go down to San Francisco to do six months of obstetrics, and so I kind of assembled my own postgraduate family practice residency to equip myself with all the arrows and quiver I thought I would need and headed out to the Indian reservation for three exciting years of frontier medicine where I used every one of those skills that I picked up during that time. So, that’s what that training was about, and it’s helped me even now in my dealing with patients with nutritional diseases. I know what’s happening in their bellies and in their arteries from my acute medical training, so I’m very glad that I had that part of my education.
HOWARD: Wow. Was the time on the Indian reservation something that you chose or part of the deal for your education?
DR. KLAPER: No, I chose it.
HOWARD: Tell me about that. Where was it and what was it like?
DR. KLAPER: Right. Yeah. This is the Hupa Indian Reservation up in Northern California in the Redwood Country just south of the Oregon border along the… where the Trinity River flows through Hupa Valley on its way to join the Klamath. And there were about 3,000 Hupa Indians in the valley, 3,000 loggers, and they kept the local knife and gun club pretty active on Saturday nights. They were very busy birds there, and that was my first hint of degenerative diseases, the obesity, the clogged arteries… but back then I didn’t know what to tell these people. You ought to lose some weight, and I’d fiddle with their insulin doses, and I really didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t understand what I was looking at, and it got so disconcerting to me that I left general practice. I went back to training to become an anesthesiologist. I didn’t want to deal with my failure in trying to help these people. Some events happened in the operating room during my anesthesia residency that made it very clear that it’s largely the animals that people were eating that put them on that table with the Stryker saw going up their chest.
HOWARD: Yeah, how did you start to put that together? I guess this was in the early 80s, maybe?
DR. KLAPER: Early 80s. Very good. Yes, I was on the cardiovascular anesthesia service at Vancouver General Hospital, and day after day I’m putting patients to sleep and watching surgeons open their chest and open their coronary arteries and pull this yellow guck out of their arteries. They look like chicken fat and cow fat. Then it dawned on me there’s a good reason why it looks like chicken fat. It is chicken fat and cow fat and fat of other slow animals they were eating. And my dad was already showing signs of clogged arteries. He already had a cold leg, and he was getting angina. I knew I was going to be laying on that operating table with that Stryker saw going up my sternum, and I didn’t want that at all. And Dr. Dean Ornish was starting to do his work on reversing heart disease. There were already studies in the book from the 70s about a vegan diet reversing clogged arteries from Dr. Frey Ellis in Great Britain, and the light was really flashing that I really needed to change my diet.
And that was one of the main factors that made me move on to a plant-based diet. And when I did, my body responded beautifully. My 20-pound spare tire fat around my belly melted away, my high blood pressure came down, and my cholesterol came down, and my… I felt great waking up in a nice lean body every day. And there I was listening to surgeons complaining about their taxes and their golf games. And nobody was really talking to these patients about what put them on that operating table when it was becoming very clear to me that it’s from their diet so much so that I eventually left anesthesia. I didn’t want to spend my time putting people to sleep. I wanted to go back to general practice and help them wake up.
HOWARD: [chuckles]
DR. KLAPER: So, I did. I went back to a practice in Florida. I started nutritionally based practice. I found some people who could teach vegan cooking. And I sent my patients to these people who would teach them how to make these wonderful salads and hearty soups and vegetable stews and bean burritos. And the same thing would happen with them over there. They would get leaner, and I not only could get them off their blood pressure medications, I had to get them off their blood pressure medications. They would stand up and their blood pressure would drop, and they’d pass out. And the first time I told the patient, “Stop your blood pressure pills; they are too strong for you,” I thought there would be a puff of smoke and the ghost of my internal medicine professor would appear saying, “What did you just say? Stop his medicine? You know this is lifetime medication. Hand in your stethoscope. You’re no longer a doctor!” But of course, nothing like that happened, and I knew I was right. These people did not need the pills once they no longer had the disease and high blood pressure. Same thing with a diabetic patient. First time I stopped insulin on a patient, I not only could stop, but I had to stop. He was going hypoglycemic. That meant he was no longer diabetic, he melted off 30 pounds of fat, he no longer had insulin resistance, and he didn’t have diabetes and didn’t need to be on insulin. Most of these diseases go away, you know.
HOWARD: So, as you were making this transition personally, you started seeing these studies. You did the experiment on yourself. Were there periods of sort of holding your breath in doubt, like you must have been the only person you knew personally who was doing this for a long time, right?
DR. KLAPER: Yes, that’s true. But there was another factor as well. I had spent much of my fourth year in medical school on Saturday nights in the trauma unit of Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and I saw the worst of what humans do to each other, the horrible violence. And I knew I wanted to get the violence out of my life. And so, I became a student of the Indian saints and Gandhi and folks who were trying to lead a nonviolent life. And I wanted to become a real man of peace as hokey as that made sound. And one night I went out for dinner with a friend and pontificating about how much I wanted to become a man of peace while I was polishing off a 14-ounce porterhouse steak at a local keg and cleaver, and he looked at me with great compassion and said, “Well, that’s all very nice, Michael, but if you want to get the violence out of your life, you might want to start with that piece of the animal flesh on your plate because in satisfying your desire for the taste of meat in your mouth, you are paying for the death of the animal and for the next one in line in the slaughterhouse.” And when he said that, my mind immediately came up with all the rationales, “Oh well, the cow is dead already. That’s what they raised him for.” But before the words could escape my lips, little voice on my shoulders said, “You know, he’s right, he’s right.”
I’d done much of my growing up on my uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. I saw the cows shot in the head when they no longer could give milk. I chopped the heads off chicken. I knew what it really took to get meat on the table. I knew the violence inherent in every piece of meat. And at this point the light was flashing so brightly in my mind and heart. So, between the incident in the restaurant and what I was seeing in the operating room, there was no choice. I just couldn’t. When I went up to pay for the steak dinner, I felt complicit in a crime when I pulled that twenty-dollar bill out of my pocket, and I knew that was the end of my meat eating.
And to complete the story, as the days went by after that incident… I had been raised in a Jewish household after World War II, and I was very aware of the pictures of the lampshades made out of the skins of the Jews. And I looked at my leather shoes and my leather belt and my leather wallet and they’d look positively cadaverous, and I didn’t want to put them on my feet or around my waist, so I went out the back of the house and dug a hole, put my leather shoes and belt and wallet in there and filled in the hole. As I stepped back the hole, I apologized to the animals because if you don’t know, you don’t know, but once you know… they say once you look behind the curtain, you can’t pretend you don’t know what’s behind the curtain. In the end, the curtain was ripped down, and so I said, “Sorry. I didn’t know,” and I went out and bought a hemp wallet and non-leather shoes, and that was the end of it. I didn’t say anything to anybody, but a few months later I was mentioning this to a friend of mine about this process I had gone through, and she said, “Oh, you’ve become a vegan!” I had never heard the word. I had no idea. “Oh, ok. I guess I have.” But that’s how I wound up there.
But by then I knew I was leaving the operating room. It was just so glaring, and general practice suddenly became much more interesting and inviting, and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve been a GP for the last 35 years. I guess I’ve always been a general practitioner, and it’s the most exciting position for me. Ironically, they might say you’re just a GP, you know, like the lowest man on the totem pole, but actually this gives me the best platform as a physician to talk to the surgeons and talk to the cardiologist and talk to the dermatologist and talk to the rheumatologist and talk to the gastroenterologist because they’re all looking at the same disease! It’s what your patients are eating, and it’s bubbling up through all these organ systems. And the cardiologist sees the clog arteries, the internist sees the high blood pressure, the rheumatologist sees the inflamed joints, the dermatologist sees the psoriasis, the gastroenterologist sees the colitis, and the psychiatrist sees the depression. They’re all looking at the same disease as the Western diet becomes so toxic and bubbles up through all these organ systems causing these diseases. But it’s the food, and you put them on a whole food plant-based diet, and these diseases correct themselves. When you stop hitting yourself in the head with a hammer, the headaches go away. You know, it’s the same thing. Stop injuring your tissues, and they heal. I tell my patients I want to see you in two places: the natural food store and bike path. Other than that, I don’t want to see you again, go eat healthy food and go live a healthy life, so you don’t need the services of people like me. Of course, if they need to see me, they can, but I really wish people don’t need the services of doctors. I’m trying to put myself out of business.
HOWARD: Well, “doctor” means “teacher,” right?
DR. KLAPER: It does! Doctori. In Latin it means to teach, and that’s what we do, and that’s our most important role. And it’s more than just working in a clinic. It’s a matter of teachers teaching the community. We have used meat eating up as individuals and a society no matter what role hunting and meat eating and the mighty hunter played in our survival in the past… doesn’t matter. At this point seeing the cost to the earth and to people and to the animals of a flesh-centered diet, it’s time to realize we have used meat eating up. Time to turn the page. We’ve used fishing up. We are strip mining the oceans. We are clearcutting the oceans. We’ve used fishing up. We’re being called upon as individuals and as a species to evolve ourselves to the next level of a plant-based diet. If we do that, we will heal the planet. We will heal, and our future will be viable. If we don’t do this, at this time there are prospects that are very grim indeed. So, it’s time to teach. Big time.
HOWARD: So, it’s interesting that you grew up partly on a dairy farm. That puts you in very good company with a lot of other plant-based…
DR. KLAPER: Yes. Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn. Yes.
HOWARD: Yes. Dr. Barnard, too. I think.
DR. KLAPER: Yeah, his dad had a ranch in South Dakota. Right!
HOWARD: Yeah. I’m afraid we’re going to raise a generation of vegans that are going to become, you know, meat advocates. I’ve gotta grow up on a dairy farm.
DR. KLAPER: [laughs] No, you don’t. Absolutely not. I just came back from a lecture tour in Australia, and I gave lectures in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Whangarei, and the response was so different than in the years past. Before, there’d be six vegetarians in the basement of the Y, and a newspaper reporter would be cynical about scrawny vegans not getting enough protein. Just the opposite. We had 250, 300 people in every one of these audiences. About a quarter of them were health professionals. I asked for shows of hands, and the interest and the openness to this… so I didn’t pull any punches. I got a slide saying to my fellow health professionals, it’s time we stop pretending that what our patients are eating has no bearing on these diseases they are bringing to us, and it’s time to open to the role of nutrition in both the cause and treatment of these diseases. Not only were the audiences positive, but the press, the New Zealand Herald and the city newspaper, their articles were very respectful.
I was interviewed on Auckland morning AM TV and they can be really snarky and negative. “Tell us about plant-based nutrition, Doctor. What diseases do you find them useful for? Take us through a day of plant-based eating.” It was such a validation of the truth of the message as well as how much the world has changed, how open it’s becoming to this message, and there were a lot of young doctors and medical students in there as well. That was really hopeful, so after all these years of slogging away at the coalface, you know, the wheels are starting to turn. And I’m getting enthusiastic and excited. Good things are happening.
HOWARD: So, you’ve done a lot of these DVDs and talks and you’re kind of… I look upon you as one of the folks like Dr. Gregor, who really has the bird’s eye view of the whole gamut of research, and there’s a lot of… I’m talking to different groups about doing interventions, and I always get stuck with like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, like the health center would say, “Well, our diet is compliant with that.” If you go into an audience of nonbelievers, what are the key points or studies or what’s your best ammunition? Who hits, you know, first second third and cleanup in your presentation because there’s so much stuff out there, and I find myself getting overwhelmed by it.
DR. KLAPER: Right. Okay. It’s really important. If you let me refine this a little bit… for people to understand the message of Dr. Milton Mills. Um, the issue is the true nature of our body and the optimal nature of our diet. Our simian ancestors, the ape family, has been on this planet for 115 million years. Our gorilla and bonobo cousins are up in the trees right now eating leaves and fruits like they’ve been doing for tens of millions of years. We didn’t suddenly change our physiology in the last two million years. Our saliva still contains starch digesting enzymes. We still have long intestines. We still don’t have claws on our fingers, and first of all, understand we are plant-digesting creatures. If you have any questions, I urge you to go to YouTube and find the presentation by Milton Mills “Is Man an Herbivore or an Omnivore?” and he will make it very clear, extremely convincing presentation. We are herbivores. That then puts these diseases into perspective. Because when people say, “Well, we can adapt to eating meat.” No, we can’t. That’s what these diseases are about. It’s the wrong fuel. It’s like putting diesel fuel in a gasoline burning engine, and the pipes clog up.
In fact, to make it real clear, I use this automotive analogy. I say, “Look, if you get a brand-new Ford car or Chevrolet that’s got a nice V6 gasoline burning engine and you’ve got high test octane gasoline in there [makes the sound of engine – vroom, vroom] runs great. You can add a little bit of kerosene diesel fuel. You can put a little kerosene into your gas tank, and your car will still run okay. You won’t notice it. A little more kerosene, ehhh, probably still okay. A little more kerosene, now it’s running a little rough. A little more kerosene, now you get a black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. A little more kerosene, now it’s coughing and sputtering. Yet a little more kerosene, yeah, the gas line kinks up and the engine stops. It was always a gasoline burning engine. It didn’t adapt to the fuel. Not for one moment was it not a gasoline burning engine. All you did was pollute the fuel with some other kind of engine fuel and you cause malfunction.
We are plant-burning organisms, plant-digesting, plant-metabolizing organisms. We are never not plant-burning organisms. You can pollute the fuel with animal flesh and dairy fat and all that stuff. Well, a little bit and you can get away with it. A little bit more and you can get away with it. But you start adding significant amounts of animal flesh or go all the way over like the Paleo folks do and eat the diet of a mountain lion or your house cat. You’re going to cause disease. And I have a presentation on the Paleo diet, and these folks are setting themselves up for an epidemic of clogged arteries, diabetes, colon cancer, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease. This is the diet of death. This pendulum is going to swing back real hard on this diet. Plus, it’s destructive to the planet and animals on a level that borders on grotesque, but…
HOWARD: So, to kind of carry on that metaphor, so the darlings of the Paleo movement are, you know, the Inuit, and I’ve read recently that they have an adaptive gene that allows… So, it’s basically saying… there’s all these different vehicles out there, and some of them can handle the kerosene slightly better than others. So, after a while we’ll just drive those. Right? So, it’s still causing problems, but it’s just taking a little bit longer to cause those problems.
DR. KLAPER: Perhaps. But go to Dr. McDougall’s website. He has lots of beautiful articles on this, and it turns out when they dig up their old bodies and mummies from the ice, these folks had terrible vascular disease, and the traders who first contacted the West, they said there’s no old people here because they won’t live that long. In the end as far as nature goes, she just wants you to make it to your 20s and your 30s, have kids, raise them until reproductive age, and she’s through with you. Nature doesn’t really need us around in our 50s and 70s and 90s, and if you’re eating a lot of animal flesh, you won’t be around in your 60s and 90s. The fact is, there’s a couple of old canards, “Oh, the Inuit eat meat.” But they get these diseases. They get bad osteoporosis. They get bad blood vessel disease. It’s just not a healthy diet for them. You can live on it for 30, 40 years, but you aren’t going to have a long healthy, disease-free life, which is what people really want. It’s not a human diet. It’s survival till you can get into reproductive years. That’s all it’s good for. We need to advance beyond… We know better than this at this point.
HOWARD: Okay, so you give your talk, and you talk about Dr. Mill’s work. He’s been on this podcast a couple of times, and he’s a favorite.
DR. KLAPER: Mmm hmm.
HOWARD: And then somebody says, “Yeah, but…”
DR. KLAPER: Mmm hmm.
HOWARD: “Just like the American Heart Association has been lying to us. It turns out that saturated fat is not bad for us, and the cholesterol myth is a myth.” Then, what’s your next move?
DR. KLAPER: Right, yeah. Take the time to really look at these studies, and I invite them to go to Dr. Gregor has been really eloquent in dealing with the saturated fat issue and the cholesterol issue, and there’s all sorts of ways to skew the studies. If you give someone a high fat, high cholesterol diet and saturate their cholesterol receptors so they walk around with high cholesterol, and you give them one more egg yolk. You don’t notice a change in their cholesterol, so they say “A-ha! See, eggs don’t raise your cholesterol level.”
Then, the saturated fat thing. I invite people to go to the website by Brenda Davis. She did a beautiful deconstruction of this whole rationale that has been roundly condemned by most nutritional scientists, these guys who came up with a statistical manipulation that said saturated fats don’t raise cholesterol. They certainly do. Especially plant-based folks. Give them a bunch of saturated fat. You’ll see their cholesterol skyrocket. Saturated fat incites inflammation. No question about it. It creates insulin resistance. No question about it. There’s lots and lots of studies that show that. Those are two nonstarters. Any constituent that incites inflammation and insulin resistance is not something I want to ingest on a regular basis. That said, there’s some saturated fats in avocados and saturated fats in walnuts, and a small handful of walnuts every day or two, a little piece of avocado is not going to cause any harm. But people who eat flesh and high fat foods, eggs and coconut oil with every meal, thinking “Oh, saturated fat – that’s my savior.” I'm afraid they’re going to wind up with terrible diseases from clogged arteries or diabetes to inflammatory states of all kinds.
Look at our anatomy! Back in ancient times, saturated fats were a rarity. You found berry bushes. This whole Paleo thing is a myth. Most calories… First of all, most hunts were unsuccessful. Most time the guys came back empty handed. If they brought a carcass back into camp, it rotted within days. There was no refrigeration. When you examine the fecal droppings of the Paleolithic folks, you see the massive amounts of fiber, 150 grams a day! Look up the work of Dr. Nathaniel Dominy, the anthropologist from Dartmouth, and you'll see it. The truth is most of the calories brought into the Paleolithic camp were gathered by the women who spent all day pulling up roots and tubers and starchy corms and nuts and berries and edible grasses. Once again, the women got us through the tough times, and this whole idea that mighty hunters who ate meat with every meal is nonsense. It is a rarity, and the diet… we were starchivores then, and we’re starchivores now.
You can shoot holes in all these things, and it doesn’t make sense for us. Look at our bodies. We’re not carnivorous apes, no matter what the Paleo folks tell us. We’re not Homo carnivorous, and I’m afraid these young folks are… it’s just a matter of time till the chest pain shows up and the blood in the stool and the breast lump shows up and trouble peeing and the prostate cancer, and they’ll say, “Oops, oh, gee.. something about that diet didn’t seem right.” But they’ll have a bad disease by that time. I urge people to get off their Paleo train. It is carrying you to a place you do not want to go.
HOWARD: What do you think the time frame is for that? Because there’s a lot of people who are promoting Paleo. On the surface they look like they’re in great shape.
DR. KLAPER: Yeah, right.
HOWARD: There’s a lot of people who do YouTube channels, write articles, and I go, you know, I would give my left big toe to look that good.
DR. KLAPER: Yeah, right. There’s no question that when people shift especially from the standard diet to a diet that is being recommended by Paleo camp. They’re going to do some good things to their nutrition intake. There’s a few things that I totally agree with Paleo folks. They say no caveman ever ground wheat into flour and made doughnuts and muffins and so they’re down on flour products. They’re right. Yay, Paleo. They say no caveman ever milked a dairy cow. They’re down on dairy products. They’re right. Yay, Paleo. They say no caveman ever squeezed the fat out of olives and poured liquid fat all over their food. So, they’re down on liquid oils. Yay. They’re right. Well, you eliminate the flour, the baked goods, and the dairy products and the oils from your diet, you’re going to trim down. They can do good things for you. I’m all for that. Yay, Paleo. They’ve got the right idea there. So, yeah, people look more trim and buff.
But when you elect to put animal flesh down your gullet and eggs two, three times a day, the food we eat determines the bacteria that live in our gut. You eat sugar, you’re going to summon up sugar-eating bacteria. You drop animal flesh, salmon, steaks, and chicken, and beef two, three times a day down your gut. You’re eating a large amount of molecules called carnitine and choline. That’s going to summon up the population of bacteria that eat carnitine and choline, and when the next salmon, steak or chicken breast comes down, they don’t care about you. They’re going to turn that carnitine and choline into a molecule called trimethylamine. So, what? Well, your liver is going to turn that into trimethylamine oxide. This is a molecule from hell. This drives cholesterol into the artery walls. And they may look thin on the outside, but inside their arteries, evil things are most likely happening. These are the guys who drop dead on the treadmill at the gym at 49. And people say, “Oh, he looks so healthy!”
But the issue is how healthy, how old are your arteries. And if you’re kinking them up and inflaming them like a diet full of meat and saturated fat, it will do. You’re an old, old man on the inside. I don’t care how ripped and buff your muscles look on the outside. What’s really happening in these guys’ colon walls? How many of them are cooking up a colon cancer by smearing animal protein on their colon wall hour after hour after hour from this diet? How many of these guys are cooking up a prostate cancer from all the IGF-1, the insulin-like growth factor one, that they eat that their liver puts out with these big bolts of protein that come in with the meat-centered diet? The hormones and the growth factors in these animals that are fed to increase their growth factor… what is that doing? We all make a few hundred cancer cells every day. Do you want to be eating a bunch of growth factors from the chicken and from the beef?
All meat, even organic meat, comes from the slaughterhouse. And every cutting surface in the slaughterhouse is covered with the bacteria from the guts of these animals, and so there’s a thin layer of bacteria on every piece of chicken and beef and lamb that you buy. And when these bacteria die, their cell walls create a nasty molecule called endotoxin. Ooh. Bad stuff. This stuff injures your artery walls, sets off inflammation, releases histamine, sets off blood clotting, makes your gut leaky, and food protein starts leaking into your gut because these Paleo folks are eating endotoxin two, three times a day, and that’s going to set them up for rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases. Only animal flesh has another molecule, a neuraminic acid called Neu5Gc. This stuff sets off inflammation all over the body. You see it in coronary artery lesions and rheumatoid arthritis joint tissue, and our Paleo friends are eating neu5Gc three times a day. This fuel is a hot lava flow.
And we’re understanding now through the science called nutrigenomics that food brings in not only nutrition, it brings in information. Every meal that you eat, molecules of that meal, every bite within minutes, molecules of that food are washing through every cell in your body where your DNA lies unfolded, and these food molecules wash through your cells, and they play your DNA like a piano, and they turn genes on, they turn genes off, they turn enzymes on, they turn enzymes off. Every meal changes who we are on a molecular, cellular level.
Hippocrates was right on a level he couldn’t begin to understand: let food be your medicine. Every meal changes us. And if you are flooding your tissues with cooked animal protein and new5Gc and endotoxin, what genes are you turning on, and what are you spawning in these tissues where they are not supposed to be dealing with these kind of molecules, and this pendulum is going to swing back hard. I’ve just seen my first colon cancer in a Paleo lady. It is not going to be my last time, I fear. And you watch. I’ll put a 50-dollar bill on the table that we’re going to be seeing… Paleo diet associated with rheumatoid arthritis, Paleo diet associated with type 2 diabetes, Paleo diet associated with pick-a-disease because it’s not the fuel that this simian body is supposed to run on.
HOWARD: Right. I gasped inside a little bit when you said that this nutrigenomics… food brings in information because, you know, I’m a gardener.
HOWARD: And so, I’ve developed in my own mind kind of a spiritual relationship with plants and they want to work with us. And I know I can’t speak to this scientifically, and I’m probably losing a lot of credibility. But I don’t know how we can even study this or talk about it. But since you mentioned you were interested in sort of Indian spirituality. There’s something there. It’s not just the nutrition. It’s like you’re eating a book. You’re either eating, you know, some form of positive… like a blessing for you, like the plant wants you to consume it versus the animal that doesn’t want to be eaten by us.
DR. KLAPER: Yeah. It’s not a crazy analogy, Howard. There’s a validity to that, and the biochemical equivalent of that is again, our Paleo folks eating cooked animal flesh are flooding their body with carcinogens and inflammatory molecules and insulin blockers. And these molecules that cause an imbalance in the body, and they keep it in their bloodstream meal after meal, day after day, week after week, month after month. I have a picture of a hot lava stream in Hawaii with all these contaminating molecules. This is what your blood… your blood should be bringing soothing, healing molecules, and you’re turning your bloodstream into this hot lava stream flowing through your tissues, turning on genes you do not want to be turning on. But when you eat a whole food plant-based diet, you’re doing the 180-degree opposite. You’re flooding your tissues with these phytonutrients, these sulforaphanes and various molecules that are antioxidants that are stabilizing… these molecules flow through your tissues, and they send the chemical message to your tissues basically saying “Shhh… calm down. Everything’s okay. This is normal function. Inflammation is not needed here.” It really whispers a different chemical message to your tissues, and it lets the fearsome inflammatory processes just dissipate, arteries relax, the inner membranes of bronchial tubes and arteries open up, and blood flows better, urine flows better, and you have to think even the brain functions better without inflammatory molecules.
So, it’s not a crazy thought. With the food, you know, it changes who we are, and we have to stop pretending that it doesn’t. And the people who are in psychiatry… there are types of depression and they talk about endogenous depression. The guy who says, “Doc, I have got a great life, a great wife, a great job. But why do I feel like jumping off a bridge?” Most psychiatrist would say, “Well, you have a chemical imbalance. Take these SSRIs.” I want to know since the food that we eat determines the microbes that live in our gut and these microbes are not passive bystanders there. They put out neurotransmitter molecules. They put out norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin that flow up into our brain and change our brain chemistry. I want to ask this guy, what have you been eating? If he’s been eating a bunch of meat and sugar and he’s spawned a bunch of Bacteroides bacteria in his gut. No wonder he’s not feeling so good. Yeah, this is a chemical imbalance, but he’s causing it from an unhealthy diet. So, you have to start looking at it…
HOWARD: It is a form of information.
HOWARD: … saying, “Boy, things are bad out there, and the things you’ve been eating are not real food. So, maybe, we better depress you to put you in your cave for a few days so you can fast and not go and do those things.”
DR. KLAPER: Absolutely. Yes. Maybe that’s the message. But usually the guy goes out and gets another Dunkin’ Donut. But you’re right. Ultimately, a good nutritionally aware psychiatrist would ask the question that I ask every one of my patients: take me through yesterday’s eating day. What did you put in your mouth from morning to night. Take me through your eating day and listen to what he tells you, doctor, because that’s probably where the problem lies. And if it’s full of eggs and Snickers bars and burgers and pizzas, then you’ve got to start with that. You know, you may not be able to change his brain chemistry directly, but that you can change. And we get them on a whole food plant-based diet for three weeks, six weeks and have them back in and see if you don’t have a different guy in front of you. I can’t tell you how, over the years, how many people went to a plant-based diet for their blood pressure or cholesterol or whatever, but they say, “I just started feeling so much better. I wasn’t so moody anymore. My kids like me better.” I’m thinking yeah, of course, that should be in line too. Just like the rest of your organs or your brain and your heart also get better. Your spiritual heart changes you.
HOWARD: Right. One thing that we see is lapsed vegans, like people who try it, and you were part of a really long, in-depth study of the vegan health study.
HOWARD: Can you talk about that and why it was initiated in the first place and what you were looking for and what you found?
DR. KLAPER: Sure. Well, the reason I did it… realizing again, a plant-based diet is really our life raft as individuals and a society. It’s just right. We just have to stop killing everything, and we can’t use killing as a solution to political problems, economic problems, and for our food. It’s time for the killing to stop. You know, their man of peace is still in there, and I’ve never heard a carrot scream, you know, and it’s time to stop killing these magnificent animals. And so, I guess that’s my bias. Yes, I’m a vegan doc. I want them to succeed, and yet I run into, as you have, quite a few number of folks who try to be vegan and didn’t work. “After a couple of weeks, I didn’t have much energy. I was still feeling out of sorts. I started dreaming of salmon steaks and cheeseburgers, and then I ate some meat. Wow! I feel a bit better. Boy! Vegan schmegan. Man, I’m a carnivore. I’m a Paleo guy.” And I was hearing this so often that I said what’s going on here. Did they all get together and said let’s drive Dr. Klaper nuts and tell him we’re all feeling better when we’re eating meat, or are they telling us something we need to listen to? There’s some physiology behind this. What is going on?
And here’s what I think. Here’s my theory, but I think it’s pretty close to being valid. It goes like this. Like everything else our metabolism is tremendously influenced by our earliest years in this body. You know, if you want to train Olympic gymnasts, you find three or four-year-old kids, and you can bring them to gymnastics class. Well, us human beings in this society at age six months old, the baby is still nursing at the breast, still drinking out of the nursing bottle, and with the best intentions in the world to nurse their baby… your mother didn’t know, my mother didn’t know... but that jar of baby lamb, baby chicken, or baby turkey is opened. And from that point on three times a day animal flesh is slathered on that child’s intestine. All through infancy by age two or three or four, they are in a fast food restaurant eating happy meals. They’ve adopted an animal-based diet, a piece of animal muscle in the center of every meal three times a day. Well, you put animal flesh down that frequently in a developing child, you’re going to induce some changes.
Our muscles make molecules like carnitine, creatine, and myoglobin. Your body and your muscles make all you need. But if it’s coming in preformed in the food three times a day, well, what’s the child’s genes going to do? They’re going to downregulate it. We don’t have to make the stuff that’s coming in and preformed. And it is. It’s in the Western diet. Carnitine, creatine, and myoglobin, and those three names are shorthand for probably hundreds of muscle-related nutrients that come in when you eat animal flesh. And as the years go by, you become dependent upon this steady stream of these muscle-related nutrients. Not that you couldn’t make it on your own. But the body develops dependency. Then at age… you do this for 10, 20, 30 years, you really downregulate your genes. It’s called genetic imprinting.
Well, then at age 35 or 45 you tune into Howard Jacobson podcast or you see Forks over Knives or you see What the Health? and the plant-based light goes on, and yay for the animals, yay for your cholesterol. But what happens? Suddenly, all those animal-based nutrients, all those muscle-related nutrients – gone! Now, you got to gear up your own production of these things. Right now. Most people can do it. Not that hard. But significant numbers, I suspect, might take them a few weeks, few months to gear up their enzymes and wake up those silent genes to start producing these molecules. And along the way, they draw down on their own carnitine stores, creatine, the muscle-related nutrient stores, and they don’t feel so good, and then they eat a piece of meat. And all this preformed carnitine, creatine, myoglobin flood through their tissues. “A-ha! Boy, I feel great. I’m a Paleo guy!”
But what are we observing? What is this phenomenon? This is not normal human physiology. This is an acquired dependency produced by feeding animal flesh three times a day to a human infant while they’re still developing their metabolic machinery. No advanced primate does this. No gorilla does this. No bonobo feeds the young animal flesh at all, let alone three times a day. And the kids who have been raised as vegan since birth, they don’t have meat cravings. Their mouths don’t water when they walk past the barbecue. This is something we create by this bizarre flesh-based diet, which again is given by the parents with all the love in their heart. They don’t know. Your mother didn’t know. My mother didn’t know. But we’re creating this phenomenon and then we say, a-ha, this is the natural state of man. No, it’s not. Raise your child on plant-based foods. You won’t run into this phenomenon, and that’s what I think we’re looking at.
HOWARD: So, is there anything we can do for those folks?
DR. KLAPER: Thank you. Absolutely! So, what happens is that we just have to recognize that these folks might take a few months or a number of months to gear up their machinery so we work with them. I tell my folks in the office who’s there. They come to True North, they do okay, but the guy says, “I’ve got to eat meat twice a week.” Okay. Twice a week beats twice a day. You know there’s 21 meals in a week. If 19 of them were squeaky clean whole plant-based… well, if all 21 were plant-based but two of them had a little piece of animal flesh, I take that right now compared to what we’re doing. Everything would change for the better. So, I say fine. Have twice a week. I tell folks, look at animal flesh like a very expensive vitamin tablet. If you become dependent on it, that’s toxic in large amounts. You don’t need handfuls of multivitamins. You don’t need big slabs of steak. I tell them find the smallest amount of animal flesh. It’s about the size of a deck of playing cards, producing the least harmful way. I don’t know what that means anymore. It’s always harmful to the animals. Eat it as slowly as you can. Have a little piece on Monday. Coast on that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday until you think you’re starting to crave it. Then have a little bit more. Coast on that as long as you can for about five, six days and start to widen out the intervals between ingesting the animal flesh.
HOWARD: What you’re talking about is withdraw.
HOWARD: The same way you wouldn’t withdraw somebody from an SSRI instantly…
DR. KLAPER: Certainly. Exactly!
HOWARD: … or suddenly take them off all of their insulin.
DR. KLAPER: Well said, Doctor. Absolutely. That’s exactly right. You’ve got to get their genes time for their metabolic machinery to gear up and so you taper them off. What I hear, the guy… “I’m eating meat twice a week.” Okay. You see him back in the office two months later. “Well, we just eat it on Sundays,” and then two months later, “Well, I think we had it twice last month,” and then two months later, “Well, we stopped buying the stuff. It just didn’t look appetizing.” You know, people, if you want to, you can certainly get off it. You just got to be patient. But I would urge people: Don’t linger. Move right along and get that stuff out of your diet.
HOWARD: That reminds me of a talk I heard that Dr. Peter Gøtzsche, the creator of the Cochrane Collaboration…
DR. KLAPER: Uh huh.
HOWARD: … gave on some of the pharmaceutical studies of psych meds where the reason they were seeing positive results with the psych meds was that they were doing this cold turkey withdrawal, and so therefore the people who were withdrawing… they would have people withdraw and people not withdraw, and the people who withdrew had these terrible symptoms from kind of, you know, in their irresponsible withdrawal.
DR. KLAPER: Yeah, sure.
HOWARD: I’m imagining that there’s probably some studies of meat eaters that are doing the same thing and misinterpreting the results.
DR. KLAPER: Indeed. Well said. It’s probably quite analogous in many ways. Yes. It’s an abnormal diet. We’re not flesh eaters. We have to recognize that. That’s all.
HOWARD: So, speaking of abnormal, I noticed in one of your bios that you’d worked with NASA on Martian food.
DR. KLAPER: Yes. Right.
HOWARD: So, I’ve seen The Martian with Matt Damon, so I know how it turns out. We live on potatoes grown in human feces.
HOWARD: Can you tell us, like what the heck was that about? How did that come about? And what did you discover?
DR. KLAPER: [laughs] Yeah, and to think of it, when I saw The Martian, I did get a little glimmer from that. The year was 1988, and NASA was, and they still are, contemplating putting long-term space colonists on the moon and on Mars. Back in 1988, the economic recession was… it’s probably worse now. But back then, to put anything in lower Earth orbit, it cost 16,000 dollars a pound for anything to get up there to escape the gravity. Well, it dawned on them that they probably weren’t going to be rocketing 700-pound dairy cows and 80-pound bales of hay up to the moon for their astronauts. It makes for very expensive yogurt. And when it came to the calorie and nutrient provision for these colonists, it dawned on them that their space colonists were going to have to be, heaven forbid, vegans, and they had no idea what to feed a vegan. Could it even be done? Is it even really feasible?
Back a year before, I had published a little booklet on vegan nutrition, Vegan Nutrition: Pure and Simple, and somehow one copy of my little booklet found its way to the NASA engineers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. And so, I get a call from them. They say, “Doctor, I hear you know something about feeding people on plants.” I said, “I do.” They said, “Well, we’re very interested in that subject. Would you like to come down here and help us get some type of program together?” Am I going to say “no” when my country calls? I said, “Sure.” So, they flew me down Johnson Space Center, and I spent about ten days down there, and we discussed with their dietitians, with their engineers, with their horticulturists, and we went through all the basic nutrition requirements of calorie, protein, vitamins, and minerals, and we looked at what kind of plants are going to pack the most nutritional punch for the inputs, for the water and other nutritional inputs. Sure enough, it came down to potatoes and greens and basically some sort of legume or fast-growing lentils or whatever. And when we did the calculations, carrots would also be very helpful, some yellow vegetables would be very helpful, carrots or sweet potatoes and regrowing them. And with those four plants, you could do very nicely actually.
And so, we did all the calculation, they all filled out right as far as the metabolic aspects of it, and the botanists and the engineers were pretty happy with their hydroponics setups and all that stuff. And so, they said, “Okay, we got it.” Mission accomplished. And they brought in their high power, high techy folks to try and turn this into fast growing foods and preserving and all that stuff. But at least I got them started. I stayed in touch with them for several months afterwards, had some nice communication with them, and then they moved on to a level way beyond my expertise. But now, every time the international space station goes over, and I know they’re growing their sprouts up there, and when I saw Matt Damon plant those potatoes, I said, “Yes!” So, I had a little bit of spark, a little bit of contribution to our space program that is helping them get comfortable with the idea of vegan nutrition in NASA.
HOWARD: It’s fascinating though. You know, it’s the way you describe the process of coming up with a solution. I can’t imagine anything more reductionist in terms of, you know, getting out your calculator, calculating the nutritional contributions and the soil and water requirements. Yet, you end up with a whole food plant-based diet under these extreme constraints. Like we are under some sort of mass illusion that we don’t live on a planet with extreme constraints.
DR. KLAPER: True. Right.
HOWARD: You know, like how long can we continue living the way we’re living as Westerners, as Americans?
DR. KLAPER: Not much longer. There’s no question about it. And that’s ultimately my major beef, if you will, with the Paleo philosophy that they say it’s a diet of death. It is going to kill the animals. It kills the people who are going to eat this, and it’s going to kill this planet. Are these people truly, with a straight face, advocating Paleo is the best diet? Everybody ought to be eating Paleo. Are you seriously advocating a flesh-based diet three times a day for eight billion people? Gentlemen and ladies, this is an elitist, arrogant, unsustainable food philosophy.
Large scale animal agriculture is the driving force behind every environmental disaster we face: deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, water depletion, global warming. That’s why they’re cutting down the forest. That’s where the soil is eroding of corn and soybean fields for cheap cheeseburgers. Most water goes to irrigating alfalfa and corn and soybeans. Most water pollution is off feedlots and herbicide sprayed fields for animal flesh. Most greenhouse gases come from the 80 billion living animals every year on this planet that are slaughtered. Every one of them breathing out carbon dioxide, belching out methane, eating grains produced with nitrogen-containing fertilizers that release nitrous oxide. The three major greenhouse gases are largely from animal agriculture.
People say, “Well, transportation puts out more greenhouse gases.” They play these silly numbers games. “Don’t tell me the cows farting put out more than all the trucks on the road.” That line of reasoning dissolves into absurdity with one question: what’s in the trucks? The entire agriculture industries are in those trucks. The entire restaurant industries are in those trucks. The entire fast food industries are in those trucks. Meat eating has its tentacles into everything that we see that’s just destroying this planet. There is no difference between the truck transportation and the animals on the farm. It’s the same malignant process that’s killing this planet, and as I said earlier, we have to use meat eating up. It’s time to get off the train that’s destroying this planet, and I tell the audiences, every time you’re in the restaurant if you’re not vegan and you turn to the wait person and say, “I’ll have the beef,” “I’ll have the chicken,” “I'll have the veal,” “I'll have the lamb.” Every time you say those words, your children and your grandchildren’s world gets a little hotter and a little drier and a little deader.
We’ve got to stop pretending that these flesh foods come from the farm somewhere. They come from your children’s future, your grandchildren’s future. Every time I see a little kid in a stroller, I feel like running up and apologizing to them for what we’ve done to their world and their future. And the first thing that we can do is change our diet. And I urge people to go to the website of Dr. Richard Oppenlander and read his beautiful book Comfortably Unaware, which is just what the meat and dairy industries want us, read the book and see the videos on his website, and educate yourself on this issue. But you can put solar panels on everybody’s house. You can give everybody an electric car. Unless we change our diet, if we keep producing meat like we are, all efforts will be for naught. But to change to a plant-based diet is the one thing we can all do tomorrow for free. It doesn’t cost a thing.
What is the huge sacrifice we’re being asked to make? Order the bean chili instead of the beef chili. That’s it.
DR. KLAPER: That’s the huge sacrifice we’re asked to make. Good heavens, people! Your life, your health, your future, your kids’ futures depend on it. It’s time to leave the beef chili behind. We’ve got to… it’s the podcast like this that will do the figure-ground reversal in people’s heads where “Why are you eating a vegan diet?” We need to flip it around. “Are you still eating meat in this day and age?” And that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to make it like cigarette smoking and wearing fur. And this podcast will help. So, you’re practicing good medicine today with me.
HOWARD: Thank you. It’s funny because one of my notes that I want to explore with you and I decided not to but I’ll bring it up is, you know, whether you’re worried about confirmation bias that you went vegan first and now you’re looking at all the evidence. Well, what I really want to say about that is, imagine that you are conferring with the best scientists on the planet about some uninhabited planet that was exactly like Earth and you were trying to figure out if we wanted to colonize it, what would our diet be like? And the confirmation bias right now that keeps people from seeing that if we had another Earth and we were going to planet like rational human beings, what our diet would be like. Like that’s where I see the problem of confirmation bias.
DR. KLAPER: Oh, I don’t see the problem. If we treat that planet number two like we’ve done, if we cut down the forest, turn it into grazing land and crop land, and run beef cattle and dairy cows and sheep all over, how can we not create the same environmental disaster that we have on this planet, right? This should be the definitive answer to any rational… confirmation. We’ve done the experiment, and it doesn’t work. We have seen what happens if you turn the billions of people into flesh eaters. We have seen that the waters run with animal manure…. the carbon dioxide. Methane builds up in the atmosphere, the ice caps melt, the sea levels rise. This is what happens when you institute large scale animal agriculture. You want to do it again in another planet? We’ve seen that plant-based economy and nutrition reverses that… come back to soil, stabilize…. the water is clean, the other greenhouse gases are taken out of the atmosphere, put back into the trees as the planet heals, and it seems so evident. I don’t see where there’s room for confirmation bias. We’ve done the experiment. Animal flesh production is fatal to the planet and people, really.
HOWARD: Well, yes. As a consultant and coach, one of the questions I ask that can loosen people up is if you had to make this decision today, like would you choose this job, would you hire this person today, if you had a do-over. And that really opens people up because they don’t see that the past is not a prison for them. If we look at it… if you take the best scientists in the world, I’m sure the NASA people weren’t, you know, Hare Krishna chanting hippies.
DR. KLAPER: No, they weren’t.
HOWARD: And they determined that we need to be vegan in Mars. If you just created a blank slate and said, “What is the optimal diet for this planet for human beings?” It’d be pretty clear.
DR. KLAPER: Absolutely. Absolutely. True. True. It is pretty simple and clear. Absolutely. The best minds would have to come to this same conclusion no matter how you look at it. You know, water doesn’t run uphill, and animal flesh production poisons the planet. You know, we know both those things now, and there’s no reason to repeat this dreadful experiment again.
HOWARD: So, I mentioned earlier that I’ve enjoyed a whole bunch of your DVDs and lectures and talks, and I’d like more people to see them because the more people who see them, the better conversations I have in the world, and the better the world is. How can people find you, follow you, and consume more of your generous wisdom?
DR. KLAPER: Well, thank you. I’ll certainly tell them to ultimately go to my website: – it’s all spelled out, no spaces, and go to the answer section. I’ve got a whole bunch of articles on Paleo diets and healthy nutrition. Got a whole bunch of videos to see there, and I want to… and it’s so timely that we’re having this conversation… for the past eight years, I’ve been working at True North Health Center. I’ve loved every one of those years. But the reality… and I’ve learned a lot about applied nutritional medicine, but the reality is that seeing patients one at a time is too slow for the work that needs to be done. Right now, it’s a matter of education of the medical profession and the public. And so as of January 1st, I’m leaving my dear True North. I’ll stay friends with them, but I can’t...
I need to take my own time for some very important projects. I need to create a course on applied plant-based nutrition for practicing physicians. Colleagues, this is what you’re seeing here. Here’s the pathology behind it. Here’s what you need to be telling your patients. Here’s how to get your patients healthy. I need to do a webinar course for medical students currently in medical school and hold up that plant-based nutrition as they learn their physiology and they learn pathology and they learn these various medical specialties. It’s what these diseases are from… what these people are eating. Once you understand that, then there’s that click of reality, and ah, it makes sense to me now. And so, I need to do these webinars for medical students, and I need to write a book or two for the public on making plant-based nutrition work for them.
I need to do weekly Q and As with the public for various subjects from raising kids to athletics. I really need to shift to the electronic platform, and this is going to be a year of high output creativity. So, I’m inviting folks, get on my website and get on my mailing list and stay tuned because I’m going to be producing works that you can take to your doctor – both a full book and just a single page handout – saying, “Doc I’ve got Crohn’s disease. I’ve got diabetes. I’ve got hypertension. How about going along with this treatment program?” I really want to change the medical profession and change how we interact with our doctors and wake up the doctors. So, that’s going to be my focus, and you can stay tuned to all that on the website, and I’m going to be doing… you’ll be able to interact with me. Once a week I’m going to have big Q and A sessions, and you can send your questions. We get questions answered. So, I want to get closer to all my viewers and listeners, and so do it through the website:
HOWARD: Wow! Your excitement and energy is infectious!
DR. KLAPER: Yay! Good, good.
HOWARD: So, people can get on your mailing list from your website: I’ll include a link in the show notes for this episode if people just want to go to PlantYourself and do a search for your name there. Boy, that’s so exciting because you know this idea of… there’s a certain point at which we need to just speed things up, right? Because the forces of death are speeding up.
DR. KLAPER: They sure are.
HOWARD: We can’t, you know. Standing still is going backwards.
DR. KLAPER: It’s not an option. Absolutely, sir. We both agree with that. And I was serious. This is a high-grade form of medicine we’re practicing as we educate your listeners. If lights are going on in people’s heads and hearts as they’re listening to our words, yay, we’ve done some high-grade healing here and in the world. And these people will be healthier for it. So, I’m grateful to you, Howard. It’s a fine service you’re providing.
HOWARD: Well, thank you. I feel healed myself. I’ve got a big smile on my face. For folks who are just listening to this on the regular podcast where we had a successful video recording, which will be up on YouTube, and you can see I’m smiling ear to ear. I’m so grateful for your energy and your spirit and your generosity and your time and your stepping up as a warrior at this exciting opportunity for our planet. Dr. Michael Klaper, thank you so much for everything.
DR. KLAPER: You are most welcome. Hopefully, we’ll cross paths before too long. You’re a fine man. I miss a hug and a smile from you. I look forward to our next connection.
HOWARD: Me, too. Thank you.
DR. KLAPER: You’re welcome. Bye-bye.

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

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3 comments on “Diet for a Living Planet with Michael Klaper, MD: PYP 246

  1. Mike says:

    Minor point on space launch costs: Dr. Klaper cites $16 000 per pound to low Earth orbit in 1988, and says it has likely got worse since then. That’s not the case. The price he cites sounds like it’s for the Space Shuttle, which was a spectacularly expensive thing to operate – the exact opposite of what it was meant to be originally – and was actually grounded for almost three years up to 1988 in the aftermath of the Challenger disaster.

    Simpler, unmanned rockets were much less expensive even then, and recently, with the SpaceX Falcon 9 approaching true reusability (the first stage comes back and lands vertically after launch), may become much less expensive still. At the end of the Shuttle program in 2011, its cost was estimated at $8000 per pound. The current estimate for the Falcon 9 is $1200 per pound, when the rocket is expended. SpaceX has now reused first stages at least a couple of times, but there’s no public pricing information yet for launches on previously flown rockets. If they work out reusability in practice, the price might come down significantly.

    None of this makes a difference for producing animals on Mars, though. Those cited prices are for low Earth orbit. Getting anything to Mars is still going to be spectacularly expensive, even if the rockets and spaceships are fully reusable. On top of that, water, energy and soil are likely to be extremely precious resources on Mars, and you wouldn’t want to spend them on animals when eating plants is much more efficient.

    1. Howard says:

      Wow, thanks for that fascinating lesson! I’ll share the data with Dr K.

      Out of curiosity, are you in aerospace?

      1. Mike says:

        Ha. No, just mildly obsessed with SpaceX and the way they have disrupted the industry. Btw. there’s a Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral scheduled for Tuesday 30th, and it’s the second flight of that first stage. They won’t be landing it again, though, as it is an older version of the rocket and they have plenty of newer, previously flown ones in their hangars already. So this one is going to the bottom of the Atlantic. Shortly after that, they’re going to launch the Falcon Heavy for the first time ever. That is essentially three Falcon 9 first stages side-by-side, and the second stage on top of the middle one. All three first stages will come back to land (if they didn’t end up in a fireball in the sky, it’s the first time). The Falcon Heavy might also make a big difference in the cost per pound of payload, since a larger proportion of the rocket is recovered.

        A video clip of the static test firing of Falcon Heavy yesterday:

        I should say that your podcast is great! And one of Dr. Klaper’s presentations on Youtube got me started on going plant-based and led me to Dr. McDougall, back in 2014. I’ve been eating this way ever since.

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