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PYP 104: Robert Ostfeld on Healing Individuals and Communities from the Roots Up

robert-ostfeldRobert 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.

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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.

Music

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)

Links

Robert's Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center

Robert’s articles on ForksOverKnives.com

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Music

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.

Gratitudes

Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – RuthAnn Funderburk – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Martha Bergner – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Bonnie Lynch of Plant Happy Oregon – Sabine Kurtzhals – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Justine Divett – Joshua Sommermeyer – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Valarie Hummel – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Ian Cramer – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – for your generous support of the podcast.

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