Food Diaries: How George Washington University’s Dr. Neal Barnard Eats for a Day

The plant-based-food advocate shows how he stays fueled for a busy schedule of teaching and research.

You’ll often find Dr. Neal Barnard in his Friendship Heights office or around the George Washington University campus, where he’s an adjunct professor of medicine. When he’s not teaching, conducting clinical research trials, or leading the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine as president, he’s promoting “plant-based meals for optimal health.”

Read on to see how the doc lives by a simple philosophy: “Keep it low in fat and high in fiber.”

Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit. “Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I usually top oatmeal with fresh fruit and spices. Today it’s sliced strawberries, a banana, and a dash of cinnamon. Fun fact: Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon can lower blood-sugar levels by about 20 percent, which is helpful for people who have or are at risk for type 2 diabetes.”

Morning snack: Mango spice smoothie. “Today is staff breakfast day at the Physicians Committee. Each week, employees from our office take turns creating their favorite breakfast smoothies to share. This morning we have a mango spice smoothie made with frozen mango chunks, almond milk, bananas, a little bit of lime juice, and a hint of serrano pepper. Mangoes and bananas are both rich in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure. The lime juice and pepper offer a savory twist, making this smoothie delicious.”

Lunch: Bean burrito with leafy green salad. “Today’s lunch is my favorite meal: a bean burrito. I brought a green salad—kale, tomatoes, and cucumbers—from home. I make sure to have a variety of easy-to-grab meals in the office. You will find my office stocked with a few containers of low-sodium soup, apples, oranges, and rice cakes. These items are easy to throw in a bag and can double as meals when you find yourself working on a tight deadline.”

Dinner: Greens, grains, and beans. “My dinner rule is to combine greens, beans, and grains. Tonight the entrée is Hoppin’ John salad with steamed bok choy and sliced tomatoes. The salad is a mixture of black-eyed peas, brown rice, green onions, celery, tomatoes, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and garlic cloves. Studies find lycopene, which you’ll find in tomatoes, helps protect against prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. It may also help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

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