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PCRM Ads Shame Obese

Posted Feb 16 2012 7:32pm

Once again, you all blew me away! Thank you for all of your amazing comments on yesterday’s post . You freakin’ rock. (If you didn’t check out yesterday’s post , you have until midnight on Friday to enter the giveaway!)


Thursday is another one-class-only day, which frees up my morning and makes me feel a bit more relaxed about my workout. Despite this, I still woke up at 6:30 a.m. I’m such a morning person! I awoke ready to tackle a workout and did just that, starting with 30 minutes of easy biking on the stationary bike. After, I hopped off and headed to the exercise room to complete this booty/lower abs/love handles workout from the lovely Tone It Up ladies. Uh-may-zing! This is one of my all-time favorite lower-body workouts.


You can annoyingly sigh now.

At least I’m switching up the fruit, right? ;-) I enjoyed my beloved protein oats with freshly sliced mango. Side note: Does anyone else wish mangoes weren’t so stinking hard to slice? I’m always a total slime monster by the time I’m finished slicing!


Mid-morning, I met with my professor to go over my last exam. It turns out that I didn’t really do as poorly as I thought. There were two huge aspects of the material that I missed the mark on – and that sort of screwed me over for about 14 questions. Regardless, my professor knows I’m trying and the session went well!

After meeting with my professor, I headed to my friend Kristin’s apartment to study for our Community Nutrition exam. Before heading over, Kristin’s texted this to me: “Hey, if you want to eat lunch here, I have a bunch of kale.” Le sigh. A friend after my own heart. 

I munched on a big salad of massaged kale in Annie’s Papaya Poppyseed dressing , topped with apple slices, walnuts and diced carrots. On the side, I enjoyed a bowl of garlic-infused brown rice and quinoa. In short, it was a meal of my dreams.


Post-study session, I made a pit-stop at Whole Foods (it was on the way…how could I not?!) and then headed to class. Afterwards, I couldn’t wait to dig into the delicious goodies I purchased from the prepared foods counter.

The babies in the middle are gigante beans in zesty marinara sauce, surrounded by cajun sweet potatoes and asparagus. Oh my goodness. They were so flavorful and delicious! It was one of those meals in which you never wanted it to end. Whole Foods, I am forever indebted to you. Actually, I’m just forever in DEBT to you. But it’s okay.

PCRM Ads Shame Obese

On Tuesday afternoon, in my Computer Applications in Nutrition course, I was on the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine’s (PCRM) web site . Our class had a particular assignment to complete and I chose to make PCRM part of my assignment. For those of you that are not familiar, PCRM, led by Dr. Neal M. Barnard, M.D., is a team of doctors and researchers who advocate for and research preventative medicine. Their primary focus is alleviating health problems with dietary lifestyle changes and they also promote ethical clinical research methods.

I am a huge supporter of PCRM and their advocacy. I am not, however, a supporter of their latest ad campaign. On Tuesday afternoon, I stumbled across something that truly disturbed me.

( Source )

Seriously disturbed.

The above ads were accompanied by this news release , stating the ads were displayed as billboards in Albany County, NY, home to one of several dairy farms. Following the billboards’ release, Dr. Barnard sent a letter to Albany County school districts, urging them to cut down on the amount of dairy products being served in public schools.

Now, let me ask you this: Would you listen to Dr. Barnard after seeing these ads? I sure wouldn’t. Here’s why.

The Ads are False

Focusing solely on the ads’ words for a minute, the message is downright false. Cheese is not what causes people to become obese. It might play a role in obesity but it is not the cause. The etiology of obesity stems from repeated high energy intake of foods rich in unhealthy carbohydrates, saturated fat and sodium. This puts people at risk for a myriad of issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, type II diabetes, cancer, etc. I firmly believe that a plant-based lifestyle is the best way to avoid and/or reverse all of these risk factors – sans medicine in most cases. However, to say that cheese is the root cause of obesity is misleading and ridiculous. It is a combination of unhealthy habits.

In response to the ads, Dr. Barnard said, “Just as cancer organizations have used images of tobacco-damaged lungs and anti-drunk-driving organizations have shown grim accident scenes, graphic visual reminders are painful for the victims of these conditions.”

This is true; graphic images are effective. But cigarettes cause lung cancer and drunk driving causes “grim accident scenes.” Cheese does not cause obesity. As a result, the general public might take these ads the wrong way and think that cheese will make them fat. Not the case! It’s a multi-faceted lifestyle that causes someone to reach the point of obesity.


These ads are downright vulgar. They are mean and give plant-based living a bad name. When I first saw these ads, I literally almost threw up in my mouth. The above ads make people turn their backs and, for those that are obese, feel shamed and bullied. That is not a message we should be sending out. People need to feel loved and need to have trust in order to change.

In reality, plant-based living can be beautiful and rewarding. Why can’t PCRM show that side of it? I understand that minority groups (i.e. preventative medicine professionals up against a pharmaceutical-driven industry) need to speak volumes to get others’ attention. But why must they speak this loud? There is a better way: honesty, kindess and compassion. Just look at Kris Carr , for example. She has taken the world by storm with grace, sass and heart. She is an example of a true pioneer for plant-based living, with an honest and pure approach – and it makes people stop and think twice. 

How YOU Can Help

Please join me in contacting PCRM and sending them a much-needed nudge in the tuckus. All you have to do is click here , select the envelope button, type “” in the “To” box and copy and paste this message:

“Dear Dr. Barnard,

While I appreciate PCRM’s passion for plant-based living, the recent ads have gone too far. The ads do not promote compassionate, honest plant-based living. They promote vulgarity and bullying of the obese public. This is not the message we want to send out. As advocates, it is our responsibility to lead a life by example. PCRM does such wonderful work and advocacy for the plant-based community. Please do not discredit your work with these horrific ads.

Sincerely, _____”

Note: Gena also did an incredible post on these ads as well. Her post is much lengthier and in-depth. I encourage you to read it!

Stay lovely,

Question of the Day: What do you think about the PCRM ads? Let’s have an honest (and compassionate) discussion. 

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