Robert Ostfeld was collecting Ivy League degrees like some people collect state quarters. With a BA from Penn, an MD from Yale, and a Masters in Epidemiology from Harvard, Robert was well on the way to a prestigious and lucrative career at the pinnacle of conventional medicine.
But he threw that plan away when he decided to become amazing.
Robert founded and directs the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. He works with one of the poorest populations in New York State, and treats them with conventional care, education, and food.
Plant-based food, to be exact. Somehow, Robert stumbled upon The China Study in his late 30s, and was convinced despite guffaws and dismissals from colleagues.
And now he and his staff have blurred the line between the individual practice of medicine and public health that my head spins as I think about it.
In our conversation, we cover:
- what triggered Robert’s disenchantment with the medical system that was so good to him
- why the “correlation isn’t causation” argument fails to debunk The China Study
- how dealing with lifestyle causes of disease rejuvenated his passion for medicine
- the special challenges of sharing a plant-based diet in a poor urban population
- how cultural perceptions of beauty can derail healthy eating
- why behavior change is the holy grail of medicine
- which is the more effective change strategy: baby steps or diving in fully?
- “driving through four intersections with your eyes closed”
- the “pissed-off patient syndrome” that Robert deals with all the time
- the perfect (in hindsight) quote Robert chose for his high school yearbook photo (you’ll be surprised how I know this)
- 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.
The music for today’s show was 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. You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
Intro/outro track: Dance of Peace (Sabali Don)
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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.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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