Veganuary Inspiration Featuring Interviews with Dr. Neal Barnard on Plant-Based Nutrition as Healing and Personal Trainer Karina Inkster on Plant-Powered Fitness

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This show features interviews of Dr. Neal Barnard on the reasons why he is a plant-based advocate and Karina Inkster on weightlifting and fitness as a vegan personal trainer. We also introduce three new guest co-hosts, Meaghan Beattie, Grace Wampold, and Leah Thompson with their stories on how they started on veganism and why they choose to continue to live a vegan lifestyle.

Veganuary: Does it Count?

All of January, we have been advocating for the month-long event called Veganuary. We know that there are skeptics on how just a one month trial on a plant-based diet could make any difference in our world, especially since each of us are just one person alone. Since January 16th, 2020, more than 385,000 people have pledged to go plant-based for at least 21 days. In 2019, almost half of all participants had indicated that they intend to stay on a plant-based diet even after the end of the month – not so bad for a month-long trial!

What does this mean for the environment, and also for the animals? With their estimates based on their initial goal for 2020 of 350,000 participants, they found even that even a one-time participation significantly reduces the impact on the environment as well as the demand for animal-based products, especially with the participants who choose to continue a plant-based diet beyond the Veganuary challenge. For clean air, clean water, and more than a million animal lives, Veganuary is a brilliant idea that has taken off tremendously this year worldwide.

Why Dr. Neal Barnard is a Plant-Based Advocate

Dr. Neal Barnard is an established Doctor of Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and an avid advocate of plant-based eating for health and for the environment. He has published over 90 scientific articles and 20 books for readers from all fields, and is the editor in chief of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians, a textbook for American medical students. His research contributed to the acceptance of plant-based diets in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In 2016, Dr. Neal Barnard founded the Barnard Medical Centre as a model for making nutrition a routine part of medical care, covering the much-needed nutritional guidance in a meaningful and realistic way for patients to lessen or recover from the effects of food-linked conditions.

Diet is an important factor to many diseases, particularly cardiovascular and hormone-related complications. As a physician, Dr. Neal Barnard looks at what the patient is eating, and often, the problem is the intake of animal-based products. He came to the conclusion that patients transitioning into and staying with a plant-based diet is directly linked to improvement of their medical conditions. and this has been shown numerous times through peer-reviewed studies for decades. He states that the science to this is not conflicting whatsoever; however, industries feel threatened by the loss of profits and many fund their own studies to introduce enough doubt to make the science of countless studies look skeptical. This is similar to how tobacco had been linked to lung cancer from more than 50 years ago. Diet is an important factor to many diseases, particularly cardiovascular and hormone-related complications. The tobacco industry chose to create more marketing to keep their profits and message strong, and funded studies to show that tobacco may not cause lung cancer. Even now, the tobacco industry exists and despite clear warnings, the practice of using tobacco has permeated into our cultures.

The key to helping a patient, family, friend, or even co-worker incorporate more plant-based foods or transition into a plant-based diet is to diffuse the animosity people have towards concepts that are outside of the culture they live with. This process begins with information: we need to share relevant knowledge to answer their questions and concerns, show them how a plant-based diet works, and how to adapt to this new diet in a way that works for them. Luckily, there is no negative shock to your system when going from an animal-centric diet to a plant-based one. All you are left with is a more well-informed knowledge base on how to feed yourself nutritious and healthful foods and the vibrancy of providing your body with what it needs. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has a free app for both Android and iPhone users called the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart to guide anyone who is interested in getting started on a plant-based diet.

Dr. Neal Barnard has an exciting new book called Your Body in Balance which shares the science behind how common hormone-related conditions like weight gain, thyroid problems, and acne can be affected by and improved by simple diet changes. This book will be available from February 4th, 2020. He also has several videos available on if you would like to learn more from him.

Personal Trainer Karina Inkster on Plant-Powered Fitness

Karina Inkster is a personal trainer who has been vegan since 2003. She is now 100% online, offering personal training and nutrition coaching to clients around the world and inspiring them to become more healthy and strong without harming the animals in their progress. Karina has a masters in gerontology, specializing in health and aging, and works with vegans, vegetarians, and those aspiring to take on a plant-based diet. She became vegan through her compassion towards the animals and understanding that animal agricultural industries are inherently linked, particularly the connection that buying dairy ends up financially supporting the veal industry where most male calves are sent to shortly after birth as they are not valuable to raise long-term without being able to produce dairy like their mothers.

Many pro-athletes are going plant-based due to testimonials in the athletic community raving about on the performance-enhancing effect of eating a plant-based diet. Karina denies the myth of vegans not getting enough protein. As long as you’re getting enough total calories to support your activity and fitness goals, it becomes very easy to consume even double the amount of protein required by your body without even thinking about it. Karina regularly has a protein intake of four times the amount needed in her 3000 calorie diet as an athlete. The beautiful fact is that all the protein intake required in a human body can be obtained through plant-based foods. Karin’s favourite protein-rich foods include lentils, beans, tempeh, and edamame. One neat idea she has is to dry-roast edamame such that they are similar to dry-roasted chickpeas, except about half the dry weight of this edamame is pure protein!

One of Karina’s passions is creating accessible content for those who want to start or continue a plant-powered active lifestyle. She is the author of two written books, Vegan Vitality: Your Complete Guide to an Active Plant-Based Lifestyle and Foam Rolling: 50 Exercises for Massage, Injury Prevention, and Core Strength. She also offers free resources on her website. One is a printable workout card deck she created called Personal Trainer in a Box, and another is the e-book Vegan Food Logging 101: Calculating Calories and Macros, and Fuelling Fitness on a Vegan Diet. Karina also has a free 10-day email course on how to go vegan, a 350-item plant-based grocery list to inspire new ways to look at food.