Denver: So we’re going to play Take Five with Dr. Neal Barnard, author of Your Body In Balance. Are you ready, Neal?

Dr. Neal Barnard

Neal: I’m ready. 

Denver: What is today’s most underreported story?

Neal: I think the most underreported story is the fact that you actually can change your health based on what you eat, more effectively than you can by taking medications in many cases. 

Denver: What is one of your favorite documentaries or movies?

Neal: What the Health.

Denver: What is something you believe that other people think is just insane?

Neal: That dairy products were designed for a calf, not for your dessert.

Denver: Name some organization or person that you have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for.

Neal: The American Medical Association for turning course and changing from being a very, very conservative organization to being on the forefront of certain aspects of preventive medicine nowadays.

Denver: In your current role, what would you say is the biggest challenge you face?

Neal: I think the biggest challenge that we’re facing really is people’s habits are so ingrained that they often are reluctant to try something new. 

Denver: What is the most important thing that makes for a healthy organizational culture? 

Neal: The boss has to believe it. You have to maintain a vision and want to go forward.

Denver: If you were a kitchen utensil, what would you think?

Neal: I’m a bit of a knife, but I’m working toward being a spoon now. 

Denver: If you were to be gifted two hours every Saturday morning to do something that you wanted to do away from family and obligations, what would that be? 

Neal: I would love to go for a good long run listening to French news. 

Denver: If you were to start your career all over again and do something completely different and away from this field, what would that be?

Neal: I’m sure that I would have become a rock musician, but halfway through my career, I would have regretted it and wished I’d gone to medical school. 

Denver: Give us a name of one of your favorite restaurants.

Neal: There is a restaurant in Paris, Michelin-starred, called Arpège as in arpeggio, where the chef has really made an effort at bringing vegetables to the fore. 

Denver: What is one thing you wish you really more fully understood?

Neal: How to reach the human heart. 

Denver: What topic would you speak about if you were asked to give a TED talk on something outside your main area of expertise? 

Neal: Why TED talk should focus on my area of expertise. 

Denver: What is something about you that very few other people know?

Neal: That I write and record a lot of music.

Denver: Given the choice of anyone famous in the world, dead or alive, that you could invite over as a dinner guest, who would that be? 

Neal: Well, I know I’m supposed to say Nelson Mandela, but I’m sorry. I don’t think I can say that. I might pick Dennis Burkitt who discovered the value of fiber in the diet and was one of the most generous medical pioneers ever. 

Denver: What is something that everybody else seems to love, but you just dislike?  

Neal: My smartphone. I would like to dump it in the garbage tomorrow. 

Denver: What is the last thing you taught yourself to do?

Neal: Learn Windows 10. 

Denver: What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

Neal: I would advise myself to really have faith that people are more reachable than one would have thought. I think I was like a lot of  late adolescents, a little bit more paranoid than necessary.

Denver: And finally, do you have a quote you live your life by, or think of often? 

Neal: When the League of Nations was formed, one of the founders was asked if he was an optimist or a pessimist, and he said, “I’m not an optimist and I’m not a pessimist. I’m determined.”

Denver: Thank you very much, Neal. 

Neal: Thank you. 


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