Dr. Michael Klaper is a gifted clinician, internationally-recognized teacher, and sought-after speaker on diet and health. In addition to his clinical practice and private consultations with patients, he is a passionate and devoted educator of physicians and other healthcare professionals about the importance of nutrition in clinical practice and integrative medicine.
Dr. Klaper is the author of Vegan Nutrition; Pure & Simple (no longer in print) and has produced numerous health videos, webinars and dozens of articles for both scientific journals and the popular press. As a source of inspiration advocating plant-based diets and the end of animal cruelty worldwide, Dr. Klaper contributed to the making of two PBS television programs, Food for Thought and the award-winning movie, Diet for a New America (based on the book of the same name). Dr. Klaper teaches that “Health Comes From Healthy Living” and he is dedicated to the healing and flourishing of all living beings and our planet.
“Health is having a body that moves without pain, breathes without distress and allows us to perform the activities of life with complete presence and focused energy. Then, we can love fully and enjoy our lives to the fullest.”
Dr. Michael Klaper graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1972. He served a medical internship at Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada and received training in surgery, anesthesiology and orthopedics at the University of British Columbia Hospital in Vancouver. Additionally, he was trained in obstetrics at the University of California Hospital, San Francisco.
As his medical career progressed, Dr. Klaper began to realize (true to what science is bearing out today) that many of the diseases his patients presented – clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity, adult-onset diabetes and even some forms of arthritis, asthma, and other significant illnesses – were made worse or actually caused by the high sugar, high fat, high salt, overly processed, animal product-based, Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).
Dr. Klaper served as Director of the Institute of Nutrition Education and Research from 1992 through 2015, where he conducted a study that focused on people who ate a completely plant-based or vegan diet.
Dr. Klaper practiced acute care medicine in New Zealand for three years and from 2009 through 2018, served on staff at the TrueNorth Health Center, North America’s premier nutritionally-based medical clinic that specializes in therapeutic fasting and health improvement through a whole food, plant-based diet.
A member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Klaper was a member of the American Medical Student Association’s Nutrition Task Force and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Plantrician Project and the “International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention.”
For over 10 years, Dr. Klaper hosted a popular medical information radio program “Sounds of Healing” on WPFW in Washington, DC and KAOI on Maui, Hawaii.
Dr. Michael Klaper is licensed to practice medicine in California and Hawaii.
Please enjoy my conversation with Dr. Michael Klaper.
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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 111
Dr. Michael Klaper 0:00
Within minutes of eating anything, molecules of that food are flowing through every cell in your body where your DNA lies unfolded there these are your genes and the food molecules wash over your DNA and they turn genes on they turn genes off they induce enzymes they shut enzymes down. In this information age we can't be amazed or surprised that food brings in Natalie nutrients it brings in information.
Alex Ferrari 0:42
I've been able to partner with Mindvalley to present you guys FREE Masterclass is between 60 and 90 minutes, covering Mind Body Soul Relationships, and Conscious Entrepreneurship, taught by spiritual masters Yogi's spiritual thought leaders and best selling authors. Just head over to nextlevelsoul.com/free. I'd like to welcome to the show Dr. Michael Klaper. How you doing Dr. Klaper?
Dr. Michael Klaper 1:15
I'm just fine today. How are you doing today?
Alex Ferrari 1:16
I'm good, my friend. Thank you so much for coming on the show I I am a fan of your work. I've seen you on many of the documentaries that that I've watched over the years in regards to plant based diets and, and health and health and all of that stuff. And it's a passion of mine. And many of my listeners know that I've been a I've been playing bass for over 10 years now got cheese, almost 10 years I've been doing it. And I was a hardcore meat eater. You know, Cuban guy eating pork, and steaks and all that kind of stuff before. A lot of Burger King a lot of Taco Bell back in the day. But then I decided to do a plant based and it's I've never looked back. So I wanted to kind of dive into your reasoning. And you're you're one of the original voices in this movement back from the early 80s. So when and why did you decide to go plant base?
Dr. Michael Klaper 2:11
Well, I like you, I grew up eating the standard American diet until I was 34. I was I had become a physician, again, eating the usual stuff. And again, the hospital cafeteria there that I was a last I had been in general practice for six years. And I got so frustrated because my patients were just getting fatter and sicker and having heart attacks and strokes. And I didn't know what to tell them. I didn't know anything about nutrition. And I was to saying that, if I can't help these people, then I'm leaving and I left general practice to become an anesthesiologist. And I was a resident of anesthesia in Vancouver, BC and I was on the cardiovascular anesthesia service and day after day, I'm putting people to sleep and I'm watching surgeons open their chest and out of their arteries in their heart, the coronary arteries pulling this yellow greasy gunk called atherosclerosis. That was leading to the heart attacks and strokes. And this is 1980 and I in 1981. And I already had read studies showing that this is basically the fat of the animal these people are reading and, and this stuff can be melted away this stuff is reversible with a plant based diet 1977 The first report came out. And I was aware of this and I was acutely aware because my father died of clogged arteries and I know I had that those genes. And unless I change my diet, I knew I was gonna be laying on an operating table with that Stryker saw going up my sternum and I didn't want that. And so I adopted a whole food plant based diet and started eating the bean chili instead of the beef chili. What's that creative sacrifice? Well, my body just loved it my A within 12 weeks a 20 pound spare tire of fat melted off my waist, my high blood pressure went to normal my cholesterol went to normal. I felt great waking up in a nice lean body every day. And at that point, I realized I had the key not only to my own health, but to all those poor patients I left behind in general practice. Now I knew what to tell them. And now I realized that I did not want to be an anesthesiologist for my career and spend my time literally putting people to sleep. I'd rather go back to general practice and help them wake up. And so I did. Now with six months left in my anesthesia residency, much to the dismay of my parents. I went back to general practice, but now I knew what to tell my patients and to help them make that transition to a plant based diet. I found people in my area that could give plant based cooking lessons. And I said the patients there and those who were able to adopt the plant based diet experienced the same wonderful effects, they lost weight, their high blood pressure came down. And it wasn't long before I was getting calls from my patients who have had a high blood pressure Doc, I'm standing up and getting lightheaded. Because they're on these blood pressure pills, it was dropping their pressures now too low, they no longer had a blood pressure. So I said those fateful words that I was told never to utter stop your blood pressure pills, you don't have high blood pressure, you're gonna you're gonna pass out if you keep doing this. Well, I looked around, I thought there was going to be a puff of smoke. And that goes to my internal medicine professor would appear, say what did you say? Stop their blood pressure bills, nobody gets lifetime medication. And in your stethoscope. It will of course, no, no such thing happened. And these people were no longer had high blood pressure. And it wasn't long before I was getting similar calls my patients with diabetes who I had had 2030 units of insulin. They're calling me to die, my blood pressure, my blood sugar's going down to 40 and 50. And I say, you know, cut your insulin and a half. And they did and they're low blood sugar is still going down and too low. And so I cut it in half again. And then finally I said those fateful words to them stop your insulin, you don't have type two diabetes anymore. looked around for the puff of smoke, it didn't appear. And I realized what a powerful tool that says these these dreadful degenerative diseases to plague so many Americans. And all we're reduces the doctor to managing their products, they'll manage your high blood pressure, I'll manage your diabetes. I didn't go to medicine to manage chronic disease. I wanted to cure people. Now realize these are curable. These are reversible diseases. Why didn't somebody tell me this in medical school? Well, there, you know, you can't unring the bell? You know, you can't once you look behind the curtain, you can't pretend you don't know what's behind the curtain at this point. How can I practice medicine any other way? So I became an official plant based physician in 1981. And haven't looked back, I'm the happiest doctor, I know, my patients get healthy, right before my eyes. And now we're trying to teach young medical students this very same reality. And that's a bit of another story here through our moving medicine forward initiative. But every doctor should know this, you know, I shouldn't have to be telling these students, it should be part of the medical school curriculum, what a powerful tool is, is, it's unethical to withhold this from our patients, we owe our patients this information. So that's how I became a plant based solution and how I came to do what we're doing today.
Alex Ferrari 7:47
So I have to ask you, though, as a doctor, why is the why don't doctors know more about this? The problem I have, I have a lot of doctors in my family. So I and I get into arguments with them sometimes, because there's a lot of dogma attached into in medicine and in medical school, and they're like, oh, that's anecdotal, or this or that, and you're like it at a certain point. It's been like when you were doing it? It could have been there was an argument to be had that was anecdotal. It's, it's been, what, 40 years since then. At this point in the game, everyone understands that a steak and a salad. One one's going to keep you alive longer than the other one, generally speaking on a long term basis. So why hasn't the medical establishment come to grips with this for God's sakes?
Dr. Michael Klaper 8:39
Oh, it's it's embarrassing. It's this huge chasm and for my profession, who go Canada medical scientists so powerful, we can identify a genetic mismatch on gene A 21, of chromosome 14 boy we can implement that with precision. But the thought that cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizzas might be clogging up our patient's arteries somehow this is to me as truce a concept for my colleagues to grasp. Why is this nutrition is not taught in medical school, we just blow right past it right into drugs and surgery. And because doctors don't know anything about nutrition, they don't respect nutrition and let them eat whatever they want. Doesn't matter doesn't make any difference. And they're eating the same foods themselves are eaten the burgers in the cafeteria, the steaks and lobsters out in the restaurant, not going to tell their patients not to eat it. And without getting too conspiratorial here. The the medical school curricula that the students are exposed to are hugely influenced by the drug companies. The meat and dairy industries have input here. There's a there's a huge juggernaut to keep the American diet going just as it is. And so the medical curriculum folks, they don't want to stir up that Hornet's Nest, it's easier to is to focus on the things they know the drugs and the surgery. That meanwhile real people are dying on real operating tables from operations. They don't need it. It's it's unethical to withhold this information from our patients. But we're, you know, they said we're trying to reach the medical students before pharmaco sclerosis seeps into their brains. And because once that happens, they become very resistance. But the students now are far more open. This is turning out as I'm lecturing the med students, they are in every med school class. Now there are 20 3040 students, they've seen films like Forks Over Knives, they've seen what the hell they've seen conspiracy the lights on, and the students they're hungry for this knowledge so to speak, can so they're very receptive to this. And through our moving medicine, forward in a shift, we are assembling documentation for the students, a syllabus of the five rated or 10 studies on each of the high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune diseases or gastrointestinal diseases that they can take to their professors. Showing there's solid evidence in the medical literature plus a series of questions to ask your professors in diabetes clinic to ask your professor Do you think this patient's diet had anything to do with their obesity and their type two diabetes and hypertension clinic ask your professor Do you think his patients die with all this salt and fat and it has anything to do with his high blood pressure doctor and we started we want to light a fire from the bottom up from the from the students through the professor's till finally, they it's becomes unendurable. And so we're it's like turning an ocean liner. It's slow work, but we're we have no choice. We have to do this our our professionals, very derelict in its education and its service to our patients. So long road, but we're getting there and year by day.
Alex Ferrari 11:56
Yeah. And it's it is something that I think that it isn't an editable. I can't say the word inevitable. Because it is the new generations are coming up more educated. There are those kinds of films, there are those the informations out there, it's in the zeitgeist, I have a lot of spiritual teachers on the show. And I always tell them in the 70s, meditation was considered woowoo. And now we have CEOs and everybody understands the physical, the physical benefits of just meditation, take the spirituality out of it, just pure physical health benefits of something like meditation. So now everyone's on board with that. So now and even plant based diets with these, these, you know, the foam meats, which aren't the greatest, but they're also there. They're a gap. They're a bridge.
Dr. Michael Klaper 12:48
They're a bridge. Exactly. I'm very grateful for that. If they can get Joe six pack meat eating American to put their burgers mouse, oh, I could eat bad. That's not bad. That's plant based. I could eat that, you know, you've opened the door in his mind a little bit to plant based nutrition and plant based diets. And then And nowadays, the food is so delicious. This plant base there and all the different international cuisines, the Asian curries, and the stir fries and the Mexican chilies and it's not a sacrifice. Absolutely the healthiest way to eat. We are plant eating hominids.
Alex Ferrari 13:23
Right! Exactly in the image of the vegan from the 60s and 70s which are these emaciated, you know, really thin unhealthy people? There was a lack of education back then to because if you eat just Iceberg lettuce all day, you're gonna die.
Dr. Michael Klaper 13:42
That's what we were told. Absolutely. Right. But really, but the film The Game Changers who knows all these magnificent vegan athletes that are doing these fabulous feats of strength and endurance really blows that out of the water? We again, you know, ask any girl really ask any buffalo any elephants? No, we we need don't need to be in the bowl to be as strong as one that's for sure.
Alex Ferrari 14:08
Absolutely. So So I wanted to ask you so when you made your change, because I know a lot of people listening might not be plant based and want to learn more about it. When you made that change early in the in the early 80s. What was the first thing that you noticed that changed? What were the what were the things that were physically happening to you that you noticed right away?
Dr. Michael Klaper 14:29
Well, that if I could speak from medical contents of why my bowel movements change, I started passing unique soft stools. I have no problem with my elimination at all. My belly got flatter. My girlfriend noticed your body odor has gone away. Yeah, you don't smell like a locker room anymore. And it turns out there's some good science why that happens is to plant oils replaced the animal fats in the diet. It changes the skin oil chemistry and And that disappears, a bad breath goes away and and my energy level just went up I needed less sleep I could run further I just felt too good like a light Gazelle instead of a ponderous spunk ponderous trying to think of a cast aspersions on our on our plant base. Really, I just thought it was a light, lean excellently functioning body with normal blood pressure, I was really afraid of having a stroke and unclogging artery like my dad did it, well then all just went away. My cholesterol was 112. And I just, I knew that I was a healthy man, and I was eating more food than ever.
Alex Ferrari 15:43
It was fast. It was fascinating. When I when I jumped into be becoming a plant base, I started with a juice fast. I'm gonna get a juice fast for two weeks, because I wanted to just tested I saw that movie. Sick, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It was a great documentary, by jet by I forgot to Jeff Cross. And I was like, You know what, let me give it a shot. And I did it a few days. I was like, You know what, I'm gonna go for a week, you know what, I'm gonna go for two weeks. And then when I got off of it, I decided I was like, I'm not going to eat me for a day. I'm not going to need for because I really didn't know what was going to happen to me. Even though I've already gone two weeks, and I looked, I felt wonderful in those two weeks of just drinking juice. Because of all that, it just, it just completely changes everything. But then after a week or two, I'm like, I think I can I don't think I need meat anymore. And I just kept going and I just haven't really looked back haven't eaten any meat meat. I think I might have fish once or twice in the last 10 years. A sushi or something like that. But other than that really never touched meat again, any kind of meats, chicken, meat, fish, pork or anything like that. And the thing was fascinating. I'd love to hear your thoughts about it. You know, I was pre diabetic prior to doing that was like on there was about 110 109 was the was my test. I when I was on the juice and the juice cleanse drinking sugar, basically, fruit juice, had kale and spinach and things but there was a lot of apples in there because I needed when I was a plant, I was meat eater, I needed something sweet to make this thing go down. So I drink a lot of apple juice, you know, freshly freshly crushed and all that stuff that I was doing. And I tested my blood a weekend. And it was like 90. Then I tested it a week at like right before I jumped up and I was 73 and I was just like how can I my blood sugar go down with me giving it basically sugar water, which is apples, but mixed with all these other nutrients and vegetables. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on why that happened to me.
Dr. Michael Klaper 17:50
Oh, because people with pre diabetes rational diabetes type two, with all concern who avoid those carbs avoiding sugar. The truth is we are sugar eating sugar metabolizing organisms are the mitochondria in our cells burn glucose, so as a preferential fuel, and we have basically the same digestive system that our gorilla and bonobo cousins have, and they're up in the trees eating leaves and fruit all day, which the high carbohydrate diet, then you have their insulin receptors are working just beautifully and they are able to metabolize that sugar very efficiently. Why? Because instead of avoiding those carbohydrates, which is really our natural fuel, it turns out is the excess fats in the diet that really clog up our insulin receptors and make their blood sugar go up. And now we need a little bit of fat in our diet but didn't get that out of walnuts and flax seeds, etc. But it's the high fat diet that clogs up the insulin receptors. So when you eat a little bit of sugar water its way up. And the Paleo folks and the Keto folks, they see those carbs are bad, but it's because the insulin receptors all clogged up with fat. If you take the fat out there, the majority of the fat and open up those infamous receptors, very little insulin is needed to keep that blood sugar nice and even. And the gorillas in the wild, they don't develop diabetes vadose develop clogged arteries, even though they're eating a high carbohydrate diet all day. And so it's just our natural diet if we eat it in its whole plant form. Now, if you're eating Oreo cookies and energy drinks and coal is all day, that's something else. But if you're getting your diet, you're getting your carbohydrates out of whole plant foods, the blood sugars rise very gracefully and it's easy to metabolize with a very little bit of insulin, then you wind up with these lovely low blood sugar levels like like our other hominid cousins do.
Alex Ferrari 19:50
So can you talk a little bit about the carb myth because carbs have been demonized for so many years now? as it is in it all started with Dr. Atkins, who, oddly enough died of heart attack. Just putting out what is the truth, but he, but he started this whole, you know, eating meat, meat, sugar, bacon, and bacon cheese, and you'll lose weight. And you'll go into ketosis, KATUSA of Catoosa for what the word is. And that's, that was so popularized in the 90s and the early 2000s. And it's still a myth, to this day, where you look at traditional diets in, let's say, Asia, which is really rice, heavy, white rice, heavy, no less, not even brown rice, white rice, heavy, and noodles. And in South America with the tortillas and the corn, which is all starch. And yet, generally speaking, you know, there were very, very few overweight, Chinese, or Asian, or, you know, Latin Americans. Nothing like in America or the east or the west, nothing like it. So can you talk a bit about the myth of carbs?
Dr. Michael Klaper 21:06
I absolutely. And it's related to what I just said. It turns out, it's the it's the fats in the diet that caused the problem when combined with the sugar, the fats clog up your insulin receptors. So insulin doesn't work well. And then when you eat a little carbohydrates, the sugars go way up. And Dr. Atkins says, See, it's there's no bad carbs are causing all the problems. And the 1927 Dr. Harvey surely did such a powerful illustrative study that he took medical students he was teaching at the medical school, I think up in Canada, and he took a whole bunch of med students divided them up into two groups. One he put on a high carbohydrate diet, he just looked him up with white sugar and white bread, and just pure a high carbohydrate diet. And the other group, he put a high fat diet loaded him up with with butter, and olive oil, and then fatty meats. And then after a week on both those kinds of diets, he did a glucose tolerance test where you have eaten sugar, and draw blood sugar and blood sugar test every hour. And it turns out that the med students who are eating the high sugar diet had an absolutely normal glucose homens COVID, sugar went up went down by two hours, their sugar was back down to normal, even though they were eating a high carbohydrate diet. But the med students who were eating at a high fat diet, even though they were healthy young men or women, they all developed diabetic with glucose tolerance grow, their sugars went up and stayed up for hours effort from the high fat diet. And it was all reversible when they went back to their normal diet and everybody reverted back to normal again, but it showed how a high fat diet clogs up your insulin receptors and put you in creates that effect of type two diabetes. And so now the Paleo folks eat all this meat and fat. Now they'll they'll lose some weight initially, because they go into ketosis and then blunts the appetite. So they eat a bit less, and they and they may have be absorbing less fats after a while their their stomach, their intestines want to absorb so much fat, so they'll lose a little bit of weight. And, and that may improve their cholesterol levels of debt. And the Paleo folks, they see it's a healthy diet, my patients lose weight, they're close, so it gets better. But I say do not be seduced by these early, early beneficial results. You pack your intestines full of meat three times a day, that is a recipe for an epidemic of colon cancer. For clogged arteries, if you're going to generate all this to trimethylamine oxide in the blood is going to damage your arteries, folks who are setting themselves up for heart attacks and strokes. It's a great way to give yourself type two diabetes with all this fat. And we see what a how it damages the artery wall, especially in the brain. It's a recipe for dementia. And as you follow these people over the years, you're going to see more and more folks who follow this high meat high ketone diet are suffering and terrible incidents of again, high blood pressure clogged arteries diabetes, colon cancer, it's a diet of death but you got young healthy folks initially jumping into this and they're feeling good they love their taste the steak in their mouth, and yay, you know, they think they're doing better. But this is a this a diet of death is a diet of disaster if they continue on it. So so it's a physiologic parlor trick to just eat a high meat diet and sugars don't go up because you'd need to get a sugar and if you do eat any sugar or it goes way up because your insulin receptors all clogged up until they point their fingers out. Oh, bad carbs, but it's It's a Alison Wonderland inversion of really the truth of what we ought to be eating. So no gorilla in the wild eat so a high fat diet no bonobo eats a high fat diet, and they don't develop high blood pressure or die or diabetes.
Alex Ferrari 25:14
Right! It's the same thing with the Atkins diet. I mean it you will get some benefits. If you just eat protein all day. You will lose weight. I mean, there's but it's short. The second you stop it. The second thing happened to me. I did. I did Atkins so many times when I was in high school, it's not even funny trying to get the shape. And but the moment you go back to normal diet, it all just come rushing right back.
Dr. Michael Klaper 25:38
Yeah. And then all the meat it damages the kidneys, a high protein diet or forces the kidneys go into hyperfiltration This is a ticket to the dialysis unit to be eating meat at the level that they're doing. You know, once or twice a week you probably get away with but to be eating animal flesh two, three times a day. We are not carnivorous apes and they said no, then the people advocating this this is this is drive by nutrition advice. I asked the dogs who are advocate if you're going to be around in 10 years, when this guy passes his first bloody stool from their colon cancer your die gave me won't be around for your new appointment in Seattle at the luxury spa there. You're going to be around when this lady has her stroke from that carotid plaque your artery spot in your diets point in her arteries, you won't be around to see it. This is a foolish and dangerous piece of advice to be dispensing and the cows will will cover the chickens will come home to roost unfortunately.
Alex Ferrari 26:36
Now what was your biggest challenge making the switch from a meat American diet general American diet or Western diet to a plant based diet even in the end, by the way when you did in the 80s it was not easy. It wasn't easy. 10 years ago when I did it there was there was no beyond the meat there was no what nobody. It was horrible. It was really rough. I can only imagine when you did it. So what was the biggest challenge?
Dr. Michael Klaper 27:02
Well, I have to admit I had meat cravings for years after after I stopped eating it and I went back to eating fish once or twice didn't feel good, but I've stopped that. But you know if you've been raised it eat meat two, three times a day since infancy. I mean, at age six months of age with all the love in the parents hearts. The baby still nursing on the breasts but that bottle of baby chicken and baby lamb and baby Turkey is opened up. And from that point on three times a day animal flesh is slathered on the internet child's intestine, all through infancy and childhood and adolescence and puberty in your teens in your 20s and 30s. Doing animal flesh three times a day for 30 years, your your body will set enzymes in your liver that is expecting all that cholesterol and animal protein coming up. And if you suddenly stop it the you got to make all of your own carnitine and creatine it was coming in preformed three times a day from a meat based diet. Now you gotta make all your own. Most people can make their transition. But some folks it may take him a few months to gear up their enzymes and change their microbiome over. And during that time if they're if their levels of carnitine creatine myoglobin, all those animal based nutrients start to start to fall, then need some meat and all that stuff. Let's see their tissues again, they feel better Oh, I'm a carnivore. But there is not normal human physiology that is an acquired dependency created by feeding a human infant animal flesh three times a day since infancy. No other primate does that. But we spawned this dependency. And when people transition out of it, most of those can make your transition well, but some folks will have cravings for meat for quite a while. And if so they should eat a little piece once a week or twice a week medicinally for a few months and and stretch out the intervals mid some people may need to wean off of it. And I was one of those folks for but my disgust level but I am a scuba diver and while I was in Hawaii and I would I would scuba dive in and the fish would come up to me and check me out and they've got personalities and curiosity. I could kneel because I do so so at that point, I just left it behind me cravings faded away but that was a bit of an issue. And then socially when I would go out with friends and then some would make a few comments you were still eating that rabbit food or whatever. But after a while, you know they're not paying my medical bills you know and I know I have to answer to the animals they have to answer to the children because we're ripping off their futures with all these this animal based diet if the answer to the planet as we're, as we're cutting down the For us to make cropland and grazing land for beef, I just can't contribute to that any longer. And so I don't care, let them make their comments at lunch. And after a while, I realized, you know, it's nobody's business what I ordered for lunch, and I just went on and got leaner and healthier. And after a while, people just, that's what my beliefs and they became not a problem.
Alex Ferrari 30:21
Good, good. Good. Now, there's another thing I always get asked, Where do you get your protein? Where do you? How are you surviving? What do you argue for you worried about nutrients? Like if you are you getting enough and like, it's so fascinating to me, because I look, I'm like, do I look like I don't get enough protein? I mean, am I emaciated? Like, so that's always the most ignorant of the questions that people ask is, is the protein. So are you I'm gonna ask it. Are you worried about where you're getting your protein from? Are you worried about where you're getting your nutrients from?
Dr. Michael Klaper 30:56
Absolutely not. Again, ask any buffalo ask any elephant where you get your protein, it's in the grains and the legumes and the grasses that grow out of the ground, that's where all protein comes from even lions and tigers. As they eat other animals with the animals protein came from them from the ground or it all comes from the plants and, and especially the legume family, beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, there's full of protein. And, and I make sure during my eating week, most nights we'll have something from the legume family. A couple of lentil stew of being burrito hummus sandwich. We make big salads every day and open up a can of chickpeas or beans and pop it on the salad there. And we get plenty of protein there. The grains, the quinoa, millet, buckwheat, they're full of protein. It turns out when you do the nutritional analysis, that if you are eating 2000 calories of whole plant food, not not granola bars, but whole plant foods. You can't help but getting 5060 grams of high grade protein it's in it's in the rice and beans and greens and fruits and veggies, it's in there, there really isn't an issue. And in 40 years of doing plant based medicine now Never once have I written the diagnosis protein deficiency on anybody's medical chart, it just it just doesn't happen. Assuming you know they're not anorexic, you know, assuming they're actually eating the food, that they're going to get enough protein it's an automatic and so again, that's why a whole food plant based diet now when processed food heavy diet is is the key to getting enough protein not an issue. The only nutrient we have to be concerned about vitamin B 12. Haha, it's not a national diet if you got to take a B 12 supplement. No, it isn't natural diet to be 12 comes from from the natural world. When we were Nica, it's made by microbes that live in the soil live in the waters. And million years ago when we were eating Earth leading Earth connected lives. And we would forage all day and pulling up roots and tubers and eating and we would get beat 12 on the surface of the vegetables. When we were thirsty we would drink out of streams we would get beat 12 We would get in from the same place that the that the deer and the antelope get there be 12 today, but thanks to modern sanitation, which I'm all for the nobody's drinking out of streams anymore. Nobody's eating unwashed vegetables. And and in that bargain of clean drinking water we've given away our natural be 12 sources. So a couple of times a week we'll take a multivitamin Scots and be 12 in it or I'll have some soy milk that's gonna add in vitro. It's not an issue. Just a difference to modern life. We're not nobody's the leading nobody's leading natural lives these days. No, none of the food is what our caveman ancestors used to eat soy. So it's a it's a trade off. I'm happy to make other than that. There's no nutrient you can't get from a whole food plant based diet.
Alex Ferrari 34:05
Now, of vitamin D, of course, because vitamin D comes from the sun
Dr. Michael Klaper 34:10
The sun but nobody's out in the sun and don't know what's out there enough. Yeah, so I take some vitamin D in my multivitamin a couple times a week as well. Yes, but then again, that's not in traditional deficiency. That's a lifestyle deficiency. Exactly. Exactly.
Alex Ferrari 34:24
Now, you mentioned granola bars. I've heard you say before you can't get healthy eating granola bars. But sir, I have to tuck granola bars are as healthy as they come. I've seen I saw hippies do it in the 60s and 70s What do you mean granola bars aren't healthy, sir.
Dr. Michael Klaper 34:40
And no aspersions on granola bars per se. They've kind of symbolic for all the process. sugary junk foods that are vegan, but are just a big jolt of process of dextrose and, and fructose and other sugars and like what's holding the ground Nola bar together usually high fructose corn syrup. And these are oats that are usually been toasted down the aisle and oxidized and held together with with some sticky, sugary syrup. That's really just spikes up your sugar for no good reason and makes a big insulin spike necessary. It's really an unhealthy diet. I've never seen any gorillas eating granola bars there. And so it's only because they're just highly processed, highly sugary stuff. But the oats themselves healthiest thing in there, they're okay, but they have some oatmeal in the morning, get your oats that way,
Alex Ferrari 35:34
I'm because I've made my own granola at home, because I'm a hippie, apparently. But, but I do a very, you know, just roast them and put some nuts in and put some raisins in them, maybe sprinkle them around with a little bit of maybe a little bit of maple syrup, just a little bit even less on some. But other than that, something simple, it is enough, and there's not like 1000 things in it as well. And that's the other thing a lot of a lot of people think that you have to be perfect. When eating like you, you can't go off the reservation a little bit here or a little bit there. Or treat yourself here there is and that's something that when I first started, I was very militant about it, you know, and I was like, No, you can't do like, you gotta loosen up a little bit. But to a certain extent, you just have you know, like, if you're at a party, there's a cake. And I'll take a piece of cake or you know, if there's a cookie, you're not, you're good. You can't eat perfect all the time. But within reason it is that fair statement?
Dr. Michael Klaper 36:31
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, as long as the majority of food going down, you're gonna, you know, you could recognize it growing in the garden, well, there's a tomato as a cucumber, as long as it's real, whole plant food for the majority of your of your eating week. If during that eating weak, again, you have some processed food or sugary dessert, you know, lightning will come down and strike you down there. It's so relaxing. We're not here to suffer, we're not here to eating should not be an anxiety producing event. You know, it should be a joyous nourishment of your spirit as well as your body. And you do the best you can. This is the 21st century we're all doing the best we can. But he's pretty forgiving as long as you don't abuse it.
Alex Ferrari 37:15
I mean, if most people eat meat most of their lives, and they still live until 60s 70s. And even sometimes 80s with a lot of health issues. The body is a fairly resilient organ is is
Dr. Michael Klaper 37:26
So amazing to me. Constantly, item of wonder to me the way we could abuse it. And but eventually these diseases show up and we're seeing strokes and younger people we're seeing colon cancer and younger Alzheimer's and Alzheimer's, none of this should be happening. And that is largely due again, to the kids you're inclined to the the it's the whole foods stream day after day. And if it's loaded with meat and dairy and oil and sugars, you're going to spawn some diseases off of that. That's the standard American diet. But if the whole food plant based diet day after day after day, and if every once in a while there's a sugary dessert in there. Again, your body's pretty tolerant of that kind of food stream.
Alex Ferrari 38:09
So let me ask you in regards to fats because fats also have been demonized for a lot for a long time as well. Obviously animal fats not good but there are whole food of fats like avocado, that that is natural. But then the processed olive oil which has been touted as being a health food even Can you talk a little bit about what kind of fats and what kind of the amount of fats that we should be taking it
Dr. Michael Klaper 38:34
Sure. Fats are absolutely essential I'm not anti fat or hormones are made of fat or skin oils are made of fats or brain cells are wrapped in fat you need to fail every day. But as you imply the please get them out of whole plant foods out of avocados and walnuts and flax seeds and olives. Why is that better than getting it out of a bottle of olive oil, because when you eat an olive, or a piece of coconut or a walnut, the micro droplets of olive oil or coconut oil are firmly attached to the plant fiber of the olive of the walnut of the coconut. And when you chew up that piece of all of them goes down to your intestine takes hours through digestive enzymes to get into that piece of Olive for the the amylase enzymes to start breaking down the carbohydrates that are holding the micro drop of the valve well then the lipase enzymes have to come in and emulsify the fast and as a result, the actual amount of olive fat olive oil that's in that whole Olive is a tiny amount. It rises in your bloodstream very slowly, one pass through your liver it's pretty much taken out of there doesn't have much of a pharmaceutical effect. But you take 50 hours 100 hours you crush the fat out of him now you got liquid olive fat in a bottle. We're coconut fat or any any liquid fish oil and you know Mediterranean Diet. You pour that oil on your on your salad and on your food and eat that nothing slows down the absorption that stuff leaks into your bloodstream. Now you got two tablespoons of liquid fat floating in your blood, you can see the glow the globules of fat in the bloodstream under the microscope. And that's that starts having pharmaceutical effects. And those, those droplets of fabric work their way into the walls of the arteries. they inhibit the production of nitric oxide that allows the artery walls to dilate keep your blood pressure low, then fat works its way into your liver cells and muscle cells interferes with your insulin receptors makes you more insulin resistant. It interferes with blood clotting down that liquid oil has pharmaceutical effects that are not healthy for you, and people who are reading this day after day after day. Plus, it's fat that flows through your fat stores and sticks there. When you look at the studies of the Mediterranean diet. And they were they compare people eating nuts versus olive oil. Both groups as the study goes on for two years. Both groups are putting on weight, they're both getting fatter. None of these people had reversal of their heart disease. None of them died with all this fat will not melt away the plaques in your arteries like the whole food plant based diet will as Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish have demonstrated. It's just no other animal crushes the fat out of their food and pours liquid food on their other food. It's just a bizarre thing to do, strictly a taste thing. But again, they thought to me, Dougal says people love to hear good news about bad habits. And ooh, olive oil is good for you. No, it's not none of these fats really are. And, and when you stop eating them, we saw to our veggies in vegetable broth now. And when you stop eating, your taste buds change, and it makes such a difference. My wife and I were out at a restaurant a few months ago, and we ordered our meals and becomes sauteed vegetables on the side who that's nice. Well, they were sauteed in oil, and the waiter brought him to the table, it was dripping with where we couldn't eat it. It was it was just disgusting. We realize how much our taste buds has changed. You really don't need oil in your diet at all you need healthy fats. But again, get it out of olives and avocados don't get it out of glass bottles, it just just not healthy.
Alex Ferrari 42:22
I never thought of satsang my vegetables and vegetable broth. I've never thought of that before. That must taste delicious.
Dr. Michael Klaper 42:28
Oh, it is you can buy boxes of it at the grocery store there. Or you can make your own. But oh, that's that's what you saw to your veggies. And but anything what will work water. If you make it? Well, my wife then makes these fabulous soups, and it will take couple of tablespoons of the soup broth, throw it in the skillet. And when we stir fire veggies in the soup, beer will work the alcohol evaporate anything you anything will work. You don't have to resort to your veggies and oil. And once you stop, they taste much better.
Alex Ferrari 42:59
And I've heard from other other doctors who've told me that they're like, look, olive oil is not healthy. But if you're using lard to cook your food every morning, it's a gap. It's a it's a bridge to get you to where you need to be.
Dr. Michael Klaper 43:13
Yeah, but none of it is necessary. None of its really hungry for your time to grow past that already. Fair enough. Go for it.
Alex Ferrari 43:23
So what is what is the what is the best time to eat? What are the time periods of the day you should eat? Because there's a lot of myths about that you should be eating five, six times a day you should be eating three meals a day should be eating one meal a day intermittent fasting. What is the what is the what's the truth in European right?
Dr. Michael Klaper 43:39
We're still feeling our way through that. But it isn't. The folks who think oh, I graze all day I eat five meals a day. Now the good thing especially you're eating a whole food plant based diet, or even worse, even a refined plant based diet with refined carbohydrates and flour products etc. Why? Because they keep your insulin levels up hour after hour after hour if you're constantly eating flour products and refined grains etc. It's not good walk around with high insulin levels, hour after hour that may foster inflammation and nature, stat storage etc. So yes, we should eat discrete meals a couple of times a day. And so then we get into the intermittent fasting folks who just eat during an eight hour window. You know just don't start your reading till noon. You will finish reading by six and fast the rest of the time and there may be some advantage to that. It's turning out that I'm listening now to a Rich Roll podcast who has Dr. Valter Longo as his guest and Dr. Longo says the research is showing that actually it's a 12 hour window seems to be the most beneficial as far as improving the To the oxidative stress in your body etc so stop eating at say seven in the evening and don't start again until seven or eight in the morning and that seems to be a doable and and physiologic appropriate way to tiny reading. So, so we can have a breakfast and say whole grains. I have a big salad for lunch. And we have a very light dinner and steamed veggies we live on soups, salads and Greens we have big salads, steamed veggies, and and hearty vegetable soups. That's the majority of our diet is yeah, we're through by six or seven evening we're through with eating and that that seems to work very well for us at least the 12 hour window seems to be the most practical
Alex Ferrari 45:49
So um, so another issue is salt a lot of people talk about you know, plant based I'm gonna plant based diet I'm plant based, I'm vegan and vegan, but they're putting tons and tons of salt and we've already discussed fat was generally fat and salt that was put in so can you talk about what a high salt diet does even if you're eating a plant based diet which from my understanding nullifies it little just a little bit, it's better than eating meat obviously. But even then, what can you tell us the warnings about what a high salt diet can do to you even on a plant based diet
Dr. Michael Klaper 46:23
We absolutely need some some salt in your diet we need sodium and but it's in the celery is in the veggies, it's in the everything has a little bit of sodium added do very few people need to add additional salt. There's some folks who have the bell shaped curve of human beings or some folks who needed a little extra sodium, their blood pressure is too low without it. So the best way to look at this is one you want to avoid a high salt diet. Why? Because one, the salt stiffen your artery walls and makes you retain fluid that will raise your blood pressure and set you up for heart attacks and strokes. But also we're learning that a high salt diet stimulates certain immune cells, your th 17 helper cells and that opens the door to autoimmune diseases who knew but a high salt diet can lead to lupus and other autoimmune diseases. So between the high blood pressures and strokes and autoimmune diseases, you don't want to be eating a high salt diet. Now people say well we stopped using my salt shakers at the table we're okay. Turns out that that's not where most of the salt comes from in the in the standard American diet. It comes from the processed foods and you can't control it. With at the salt shaker at the table you can at least control how much salt you're putting on your food. But it's already in this spaghetti sauce Italian restaurant it's in the soy sauce in Asian restaurant. Now it's in the frozen dinners. It's it's the processed food that contains all this sodium even the veggie hotdogs are their full assault and and so that's why you want again is too much as possible. Stay at a restaurant if you can at least hold it to a minimum Yeah, restaurant food is full of salt and sugar and fat tastes good and it's really not healthy for you and Ben certainly minimize those processed foods don't be bringing back the veggie hotdogs etc etc. And if you think any little bit of salt turns out that a pinch literally a pinch of salt it's about an eighth of a teaspoon on the surface of your veggies at the table because the salt crystals land on the surface of the vegetables when you eat it you get this big salty taste here for very little actual sodium you know that really is the best way to get salt in your diet is a pinch of salt on your vegetables. A pinch three meals a day I don't know how much you use of breakfast but certainly at lunch and dinner. A little bit of salt on your little spray of tamari sauce will give you just a couple 100 milligrams of sodium that's a safe amount of salt to use there for flavoring so just to have the spit a little sprinkle on your food if you want some at the table but it's their stay away from the processed foods another reason you know as we say whole food plant base has become like one word their whole food if you know without all this extra salt and sugar and fat added to it they're so so stay away from the processed foods as much as you can a little bit you can get away with and add a little bit of salted table and a lot to do okay but these high salt diets are dangerous they lead to strokes and autoimmune diseases.
Alex Ferrari 49:43
Now can you talk to me a little bit about genes and the in the part that they play in our health and our you know our that our life essentially so a lot of people talk about genes being like, Oh, I have genes of this in my family or genes and that my family my understanding is that With the proper diet, it really doesn't matter as much as people think it does. But I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Dr. Michael Klaper 50:08
Absolutely. When I went to medical school, in the Dark Ages there, we were talking about your your genes or your fate. You know, if you've got genes for heart disease in your family, you're gonna get heart disease, and there's nothing you can do. And as you know, this is imprinted. And you may well have these genes who knew back then, but we know now that you may have the genes for a particular disease. But whether those genes actually manifest in your particular body largely depends on the food you are flowing through your cells. Why? Because within minutes of eating anything, molecules of that food are flowing through every cell in your body, where your DNA lies unfolded. There, these are your genes. And the food molecules wash over your DNA. And they turn genes on, they turn genes off, they induce enzymes, they shut enzymes down. And in this information age, we can't be amazed or surprised that food brings in Natalie nutrients, it brings in information, that every meal changes us on a genetic molecular level, that this is the science of epi genetics, and that is external factors that turn genes on or turn genes off. And yes, there are other factors, stress levels, how much sleep you get daylight, etc, they can affect your genes. But by far, that's the food. It's the food, it's the food that influences our gene expressions more than anything. And again, eat a bunch of meat and dairy oil and sugars day after day after day, you're going to turn on genes that ignite inflammation and set off cancer growth. And, and the converse, you may have these genes, but if what's flowing through your tissues, day after day, are our beans and greens and fruits and vegetables, that gives the chemical message to your DNA to your genes should calm down, everything's okay, this is the natural food. And many of these diseases that people have a propensity to just don't show up in their bodies. So we have tremendous control over the actual disease or health status in our body. Largely again, depending on the food, we choose to flow through our our tissues with every meal. So we've got a lot of power, our your genes are not your fate, as they say you're on your genes may load the gun, but it's your diet or lifestyle that pulls the trigger. Well, it's good. Whether those those genes manifests as disease largely depends on the food, you're flowing through your cells on a daily basis.
Alex Ferrari 52:56
So for someone like yourself, who has been, you know, fighting the good fight now for over 40 years, how do you how do you feel about where we're going in this in this in this journey? It? I mean, there's a little bit different than it wasn't the 80s. So what's your thoughts on that?
Dr. Michael Klaper 53:11
Right! I'll say thank you not only for that question. And they call me a cockeyed optimist. But I'm I'm feeling very positive because of you and all your colleagues in the in the media and as internet educators, who are bringing Dr. Ornish and McDougal and Esselstyn and all those plant based diets, to get this word out, because at this point, it's a matter of education. And it's a matter of turning on the light in people's heads. You know, it's like turning an ocean liner, but the old, the 100th Monkey phenomenon, where I think we're at monkey number 94. So we're getting to that point where people Oh, yeah, I heard you can reverse diabetes of the plant based diet. Oh, yeah, I heard you can reverse high blood pressure and plant based diet. It's just becoming common knowledge. It's in the zeitgeist, as you said, thanks to you and your colleagues doing podcasts like this. So for that reason, plus, again, we're trying to create a whole generation of medical students and in all the allied health professionals, the dentists and the nurses and the pharmacist and the physical therapist, they're all dealing with people with plant based with nutrition based diseases, and the oil the health professionals need to open to the to the plant based message and if we do, we're going to have a healthier society and, and a much more efficient true health care system. So I'm modestly optimistic and if we had another 50 or 100 years I have no problem man, we're, we're gonna have a plant based society. In a century or so. Unfortunately, we don't have that kind of time, especially with with climate change. which is also driven by our animal flesh based diet. And that's that adds an urgency to this, the ice caps are melting. Because we're cutting down the forest to make cropland and grazing land for beef and feeding feeding most of our the food, we grow down the gullets of animals to create flesh based foods that cause diseases here, if we change to a plant based diet that will free up so much land, that the forest will come back. And as the trees grow, they take carbon dioxide out of the air and turn it into solid wood, and then reverses global warming and everything will heal with a plant based diet. And then we've got to get on with it for that reason. So I'm hoping we've got enough time on a climate wise level. Now, but as far as nutrition goes, there are some powerful forces, not the least of which is the economics, the the kind of medicine we're practicing. Now it's bandaid medicine with coronary artery bypasses that don't cure the patient with the stents and the auto immune suppressant cells, nobody's really getting healthier, and it's bankrupting our system, a plant based diet will see people getting truly healthy and that will free up money to fix the roads and send kids to college and put internet in everybody's house. Everybody wins with a with a whole food plant based diet. So every place I see it getting more and more accepted makes me more and more optimistic. So nothing to do, but keep on fighting the good fight as you well know.
Alex Ferrari 56:33
And you you are a cockeyed optimist, I have to say
Dr. Michael Klaper 56:39
There are some grim signs out there, there are some scary signs and you can easily get depressed. I agree. But you just got to focus on the progress we're making and try and make it happen faster. We owe it to the kids, we owe it to the animals, we owe it to the earth we owe.
Alex Ferrari 56:54
Absolutely. And look at that there's an entire industry wrapped around faux meats now. And this in this kind of that's a sign that says if you salutely I mean, I mean, it's just that one company. It's an entire industry.
Dr. Michael Klaper 57:08
We're all seeing it even even the meat companies are starting to make plant based meats, even patient and
Alex Ferrari 57:13
Milk and the milk. Oh yeah, they're all everyone's making. Everyone even Joe's has their own. So it's that and then the the plant based milks have been a big I mean, that's a big exploded.
Dr. Michael Klaper 57:25
Exploded, that's truth. Like say, see, you can't keep a gun in a cloth bag for very long, you know, the point comes out, you know, exactly that's happening with with the plant based foods.
Alex Ferrari 57:37
And the thing that I always find fascinating about, you know, plant based diets and when people change, because I've had over the years influence a few people to change over. Is that how quickly you feel the difference? Oh, yeah, within within a week or two? It's not like oh, months later, I felt that no, no. days,
Dr. Michael Klaper 57:56
Days, you feel it. Absolutely.
Alex Ferrari 57:59
It's, it's remarkable how fast you know, you'll start feeling different. And, you know, I sleep around five, five or six hours a day, sometimes a little longer. I can't, my body will let me sleep longer. I wish I could sleep those 12 hours I did when I was a teenager. But you're right, your energy levels are higher, you absolutely just feel better. And as you get older, these things become more important, you know,
Dr. Michael Klaper 58:25
They sure do next week next week, I turned 75. And I feel like I did when I was 40. I don't feel much different. I need very little sleep like you do. And I attribute it to a whole food plant based diet and I really urge people to adopt it while you still can. It will pay off dividends all through your life.
Alex Ferrari 58:47
Now I'm going to ask you a couple questions. I asked all of my guests clicking What is your mission in this life?
Dr. Michael Klaper 58:53
My mission as a physician is to help my colleagues open to the power and the beauty and the truth of a whole food plant based diet as a therapeutic tool to reverse the diseases, they are spending the majority of their professional lives treating, and but in doing so I through podcasts like this, I want to alert the general public for the same reason to help them change. And as they do, the doctors will, you know, say lay our politicians and when we change the state of our heads will change the heads of our states, you know, and the same thing with with medicine as the patient starts demanding Doctor, what should I be eating? You know, it's going to force the doctors to open to these nutritional truths. So I'm trying to create a generation of nutritionally aware physicians and health practitioners. So that's my particular mission. But we're all basically on the same mission to create a plant based world.
Alex Ferrari 59:48
And what is the ultimate purpose of life?
Dr. Michael Klaper 59:51
Oh to Love Of course, we're here to love. I mean, we're the only planets we know on the planet where there's beings around that Love each other and includes the animal kingdom. You take a baby calf away from its mother, you see the power of the love of this creature for its offspring. When you if you love you put love into your garden, it grows beautifully and it will feed you the food appears and beauty beautiful flowers appear. You take your love away, and the plants who wither and the weeds grow. The love makes every every good thing on the planet happen. And so we're here to love and to mentor. Were the were the keepers of the garden, we were given this beautiful garden of a planet. Now we're the we're the tenders of the garden and we're here to keep things healthy and and make it a place where our children can grow up safe, happy and able to love even more. So love is the purpose.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:49
And where and where can people find out more about you your books, of course and things that you you're doing?
Dr. Michael Klaper 1:00:54
Thank you please go to my website, Doctorklaper.com. And it's all spelled out Doctorklaper.com. There you will see our moving medicine forward initiative that you can learn about and to help us accomplish that mission. And go to my YouTube channel via YouTube, Dr. Klaper and three times a week we post Q and A's and helpful videos. So check out my YouTube channel and my website and you'll get the scoop on what we're doing.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:25
Dr. Klaper, thank you so much for fighting this good fight for over 40 years and really trying to help not only help people up help the planet out, I truly appreciate you my friend. Thank you so much.
Dr. Michael Klaper 1:01:35
Thank you so much. Keep up the great work!
Links and Resources
- Dr. Michael Klaper – Official Store
- Master Class in Plant-based Clinical Nutrition
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