Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Veggie Hero: Dr. Amy Lanou

Dr. Amy Joy Lanou is a Senior Nutrition Scientist for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Assistant Professor of Health & Wellness University of North Carolina at Asheville. She's an expert voice for plant-based nutrition who is interviewed widely in the national media.

Dr. Lanou has also worked with the influential Dr. T. Colin Campbell and his son, Nelson Campbell, in various capacities for five years, writing and editingg the newsletter and Web site—New Century Nutrition — and developing a Web-based health promotion program for his company BioSignia.

Vegetarian or vegan?

How long have you been veg*n?
Been enjoying a diet entirely built from plant foods for nearly 10 years now.

What inspired you to go veg?
I stopped eating red meat as a teenager because I felt lighter and better when I was competing as a runner when I avoided it.

I became a low fat vegetarian when I learned in my sophomore year of college that I had very high blood cholesterol levels. I was determined to control it with diet because the cholesterol lowering drugs the doctors wanted to prescribe had not been tested on women of childbearing age.

Became vegan after I heard Dr. T. Colin Campbell show slide after slide of data about the atherogenic properties of casein (milk protein). When I stopped consuming the little bit of dairy that was still in my diet, basically 1 cup of skim milk daily and about a tablespoon of parmesan a week, my cholesterol level fell about 50 points. So my “N” of 1 experiment convinced me that it was the right thing for my body.

What's your best story of trying to find veg food?
First, let me say that in 10 years I have only found one restaurant (and it was in North Dakota during a huge motorcycle rally) that could not come up with something vegan to offer me. I encourage everyone to ask graciously for what you want and tip well when they are able to accommodate you. With all of us in force training food service establishments to meet our needs, things will just keep getting better.

My favorite stories involve getting lots of yummy vegan food at fancy restaurants—usually a plate of vegetable sides—for less than half the cost of an entrĂ©e and having others at the table wish the had ordered what I did.

How do you handle family holiday dinners?
I cook and share yummy vegan food.

What's your favorite veg food?
Steamed artichokes with curried veganaise.

Do you have a favorite veg book?
Cookbook--Very Vegetarian by Jannequin Bennett
Informational book—The China Study by T. Colin Campbell

Tofu or tempeh?
Tofu—it’s just so darn versatile.

What did you have for breakfast today?
Blueberries; hot chai tea with soymilk; and sourdough olive bread topped with avocado, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.


Anonymous said...

great down-to-earth interview with an out-of-sight vegan goddess.
dr amy shows us that the research is clear-- a plant based diet confers benefits aplenty
nice that she gives us a personal example of how her health has been improved

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Nice interview, my girlfriend has been a vegan for almost four years now, I respect her decision of not eating meat, but for me is impossible to not eat meat.

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