Leveraging Plant-Based Nutrition to Treat, Prevent & Reverse Disease

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of being a keynote speaker & instructor on the  Holistic Holiday at Sea  — 1500 people cohabiting for 7 days on a Caribbean cruise ship for the specific purpose of learning more about health. How to eat better. And live more fully.

When I agreed to participate, I had no idea the magnitude of this event. The incredible scale of this thing. I’m not a cruise ship kind of guy.  Quite honestly, I prefer a shack on a deserted beach to a floating mall housing 2200.

I was leery.

In the aftermath, I can’t say the experience converted me to cruising as a lifestyle. But I will say it ended up being an extraordinary experience — an event I highly recommend to those out there looking for something different to kick things into a new gear. I got to meet and spend time with some of the leading minds in the plant-based wellness Universe. Some I already knew, like legends T. Colin Campbell, author of  The China Study*  and  Whole*  (podcast coming soon!),  PCRM  founder  Neal BarnardChef AJ  ( RRP Episode 56 ), bodybuilder  Robert Cheeke, fitness impresario  Koya Webb  and many others.

But what made the experience so memorable was meeting and spending time with people I had never before met. Presenters like today’s guest of course, but mostly just normal people interested in learning more about getting better — and sharing their intimate stories. And so – despite my preconceived notions of what this experience would hold – I left rather inspired.  By the lives and experiences and struggles and obstacles people face. And the success stories of overcoming everything from obesity to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, food addictions and more to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Leeriness transformed. A win-win.

Today’s guest is one of the guys I met on the cruise.  I guy who I’ve admired from afar for some time, but had yet to meet.

Dr. Michael Klaper.

A rare bird this one.  A physician who actually really cares about the patient.  Before you get angry and defensive about docs — I’m not saying that doctors don’t care about their patients.  I am saying that this insane institutionalized system of medicine we have created basically forces well intentioned docs from getting too invested in their patients.  They just can’t.  Economics prevents this kind of time and emotional investment.

Well, Dr. Klaper is a guy who got fed up with that system – like Peter Finch’s epic famous lament in Paddy Chayefsky’s Network — I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore! – and started treating patients the way he felt they should be treated.  It wasn’t exactly the best business plan – there was the time he went broke trying to make it work.  It’s that hard to do. But his story, his message. and how he now makes it all work, is educational.  And inspirational.

“Health comes from healthy living.”

As an acute care physician for many years practicing in many locales (Canada, New Zealand, Hawaii and now Northern California), Dr. K began to realize that many of the diseases his patients brought to his office – 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-fat, high sugar, overly processed Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).

Not dissimilar to  Dr. Frank Lipman  ( RRP Episode 72 ), Dr. Klaper came to understand how crucial proper nutrition and a balanced lifestyle are essential for health and, in many cases, make the difference between healing an illness, preventing an illness and even reversing an illness versus merely treating the symptoms – or masking them with drugs that have no impact on dealing with the illness’ cause.

So he began to treat his patients accordingly – with astounding results.

In addition to being on staff physician at  TrueNorth Health Center  in Santa Rosa, California — a nutritionally-based medical clinic specializing in therapeutic fasting and health improvement through a whole-foods, plant-based diet — Dr. Klaper is also a pilot.  A teacher. An author. And generally a great, very kind and giving, affable guy.  A throwback to the friendly family docs of a byegone era.  The trusty guy who would make house calls in the middle of the night (which he did). Sit and have tea with your mom while you lied in your bed upstairs with a thermometer in your mouth.

All I can say is that I hope I look as good and have as much energy as he does when I’m his age.

A few weeks back he sat down with me — in his little cabin on this huge boat smack in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle — to tell us all about his journey.

Let’s see if we make it out alive….

Peace + Plants,



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