take it the ADA is not unlike the AMA in how they approach
differences of opinion?"
PP: "Well, the ADA has done some similar
things. A lot of people know about [Dr.]
to be a Registered Dietician. She published
a bunch of articles about 'essential fatty
'stop eating dairy products,' and I'm not
sure of the content of all the articles, but
She turned around and sued them, it was settld
out-of-court. The settlement is sealed, but
it's my understanding
that she got several million dollar from
the ADA before it
went to trial.
So this is a organization very intent of
maintaining its stamp on certain issues,
and I of course
I come back to
this issue if you're taking all this money
from industry, you just can't have your membership
out there saying
things against the party line."
MS: "So, you decided to stick your neck
out because you thinks it's critical that
aware of this
and be allowed to hear alternatives?"
PP: "Absolutely critical. That's why
if they actually hauled me out of the court
willing to do it. I have to thank my family
for being supportive
of me. My parents said you should go.
MS: "Did you have any doubts that you'd
PP: "I have had no doubts from the beginning
that I would win, the only question would
be 'how long it
would take' and 'what would be put into it.'
One thing that I have found, and I'm really encouraged
about, is that the legislature in Ohio is very concerned
about this issue and a lot of legislators have spend
an enormous amount of time on this. I've very optimistic
I'm one of those people who thinks that it
all comes out okay. It always does. People
me: "do you really
believe that?" I really do.
MS: "Sounds like that director in the movie "Shakesphere
in Love", where he says, "it always
PP: "I'm one of the happy kind of people.
Everything that's always happened to me has
always worked out
for the best, and comes out okay in the end."[go
MS: "Let's change gears a little bit.....
you're a marathon runner? How did this
PP: "I used be a ballet dancer when
I was younger. And so I was in great shape
of all of my terrible habits, which included
not being a
very good regular exerciser, I became sedentary
cookie-eater and coffee-drinker.
So I started doing some exercises when
I started changing my habits, but I wasn't
A bunch of people that I knew where running
York City Marathon every year.
that maybe I might like marathon running,
and I wasn't too terribly excited about
them said: "well,
maybe you can't do it."
MS: [laughs] "Oh no... the wrong thing
to say to you...."
PP: [laughs] "I'd never run to the mailbox before.
I ended up agreeing with this thing, and then wondering: "what
have I gotten myself into?"
So, for the couple of months that I was running, I was
just doing it because I committed to doing this thing,
it's like if I have to crawl through the streets of New
York, I'm going to finish.
Then I fell in love with it, and I LOVE
running. It's been a couple of years since
a marathon, because of
I've been very busy with this legislative
I still run almost every day for fitness.
My ideal run is
an hour. It's the perfect amount of time,
as it completely de-stresses me, get my
MS: "So that's how you burnout and
relax, basically you run."
PP: "That, and yoga. I do "Bikram" Yoga.
And I workout with trainers and do weight-training
a couple of times a week. So exercise has
become an real
part of my life; I do something aggressively
physical every day."
MS: "What do you generally enjoy for
PP: "I make a smoothie! In fact, Howard
had it when he was here. It has soy powder
in it, and
and green tea leaves, and ground up flax
seeds, brewer's yeast, and bananas, and
milk. I make it in a blender and it has
500 calories, about
24 ounces. I make it for breakfast in the
morning and it's
very powerful food."
MS: "What do you usually have for
PP: "I have a great big salad, and
like today, I had some tofu chili that
I love big salads, and for dinner, same
thing, big salad
and a side dish, like a vegan quiche or
soups, or rice and beans with some really
MS: "I'm almost afraid to ask what
your favorite food endulgence is...."
PP: "I still like chocolate, so I'll
only do a vegan chocolate. I don't eat
fact, I know how to make a really good
candy for Easter or Christmas,
with vegan chocolate. The other thing that
I like, once and awhile, is coconut macaroons.
I have a
for them and it's in my cookbook."[go
MS: "How did you meet or know of Howard?"
PP: "I started about a year and a
half ago doing a public series of lectures,
on a national scale. We had Dr.
McDougall come.... and Howard was one of the people
to come and speak.
Oh, I read his book. Because I follow
all the stuff going on legally in the food
he had been
my hero for a long time.
So, that's how I knew about him... I
got to get this guy to come to Columbus." When
he was here, we had 250 people in that
room, and he talked
for a few hours, and not one person moved.
I mean, we're talking nobody moved ---
with what he had to say."
MS: "Do you have a short list of
people who have most inspired you in
PP: ".... Howard's one. Dr. McDougall... in fact the
very first cookbook I bought was by Dr. McDougall. And
I liked it, so I started buying his books. And again, that's
when I was saying to myself every day: "why
doesn't everybody know this stuff?"
Dr. McDougall... Dean
Ornish, has been
an incredible influence... Dr.
guy that wrote: "Excitotoxins:
The Taste that Kills"... Joel Fuehrman, and all of
the people associated with the National
Health Association (it
used to be the Natural
the Marilyn and Harvey Diamond and their book ["Fit
for Life"]... they're a lot of people
who've influenced me. Neal Barnard, and
all the work
that PCRM has done.
I've always been an avid reader, and
reading is what kind of started this
John Robbins, definitely, "Diet for a New America," Dr.
T. Colin Campbell and everything he wrote,
MS: "You've sure covered all the
PP: "Oh yes, these are people I read early on. Every
day I'd read one of the books and go: "Omigosh,
everyone should know this!"
MS: "You've met most of these people?"
PP: "I've met a lot of them, but
I haven't had the pleasure of meeting
I'll have them come here and talk! That's
one good way to meet them..."
MS: "I there something common or
similiar to those luminaries you've met...
PP: "They're incredibly courageous,
because they're all going 'against the
I respect that a
lot. I think the second thing is, that
they are all focussed,
and absolutely dedicated to improving
the health of every individual they come
health overall. I love people with a
mission statement, because
that's what I identify with.
I think that they have a keen ability
to decypher the difference between an
and a scientific
which not many people these days have
the ability to do."[go
GUESTS FROM TIME
MS: "If you were able to pick, oh,
let's say five, dinner guests from the
you have over for a meal?"
PP: "Omigosh, that would be so hard.
I think the five people that would be
Dean Ornish, John McDougall, Howard,
Neal Barnard, John Robbins... because
collectively I think we'd
MS: "I don't want to be morbid,
but can you think of anyone from history?"
PP: "Benjamin Rush. Do you know
who he is?"
PP: "Dr. Benjamin
Rush was one of the framers of the
Constitution. He wanted to put "Health Freedom" into
the Bill of Rights. So I'd love to have
Benjamin Rush come and attend the Commerce
Issues here in Ohio."
MS: [laughs] "You might have to help
him in, y'know."
PP: [laughs] "He's the person from history to have
around and comment. What a prophetic thing back then! He
actually said we need to write this into the Constitution
like we have "religious liberty," because
if we don't, we're going to have a
small group of people who
get command and control of industry,
and that's going to be a bad thing
for the country."[go
what if I give you a million dollars with no strings
PP: "I'd put it into my foundation. We'd be in every
school system in the country tomorrow morning."
MS: "Are you finding schools more receptive now?
PP: "No... you have to do what I call "guerilla
warfare." When people call me up and ask what do they
do, I tell them "guerilla warfare." First thing
you do is get one teacher who's your ally, who believes
in what you're doing, and gets knowledgable about it, and
starts using the material in his or her classroom. Then
that teacher helps get other teachers. And you reach a
point where you've got 50 or 60 teachers in the school
system that have an understanding of this and you can start
working on school system-wide cafeteria offerings and so
First of all, you've this whole issue of who's planning
the menu, and what's sound nutrition and what's not.
I was at one meeting where a dietician suggested that one
of the things we could do to improve the health of school
children is give 'em ice cream with "Splenda."
MS: "What's "Splenda?"
PP: "Artificial sweetner. Of course, I'm sure that
the makers of Splenda have contributed handsomely to the
ADA [American Dietetic Association]
MS: "Yeah, it's the equivalent of pouring
PP: "Right. So I think it's going to be awhile, and
you have the problem in terms of "who's the expert?" And
then you also have some issues as to the financial aspect
MS: "Follow the money."
PP: "The schools are very addicted to the money the
pop machines bring. And the other thing is that when the
Feds cut back the funding for school lunches several years
ago, what the school system told the food service people
to do was to devise a way to make the operation profitable.
How they did that was "a la carte" items that
the kids were willing to spend money on, that didn't have
to comply with any Federal Regulations. That's how the
pizza and all the other garbage got into the cafeteria.
We have to be careful, first of all, that we don't villify
these Food Service people, because they just did what they
were told. But, by the same token, we have to understand
the economics of the lunch program dictates that the junk
be sold at this time.
So, back to your question about "what would I do with
a million dollars," I'd be out making grants to the
school system so we can get this [expletive] out of here...
I'll help you out until we can figure how to do it differently."[go
MS: "What's big the biggest surprise or failure since
founding the Wellness Forum? Let me change that so surprise....
I've got a hunch that 'failure' isn't in your vocabulary."
PP: "I'm kind of like Thomas Edison when somebody
said to him: "aren't you discouraged? You've done
this 10,000 times and it still doesn't work." He said, "Nah....
I've had 10,000 opportunities to find something that doesn't
work, so I don't do that any more, and now I'm closer to
For example, it took us a long time to figure out how to
find people to open centers in other cities. We've finally
done that. We did a lot of things that didn't work, but
every time we found out one that didn't work, we got closer
to one that did.
So, I can't really say that we've had failures.
First of all, I've been surprised at how quickly the human
body responds to good nutrition. I never get tired of watching
that happen, I never get tired of e-mails and people calling
me on the phone and telling me "Dr. Pam, you've changed
my life. I've got my life back." And I don't mean
that from an egotistical standpoint, I mean it because
I get joy out of people improving their lives. That has
continued to astound me, and I still have that child-like
wonder whenever somebody picks up the phone and calls.
I think the second thing, is how much our market has expanded,
and how much more receptive people are to our message.
Eight years ago I was really nagging people about the connection
between diet and disease. Today, everybody understands
it, now they just need to know what to do about it. That's
a whole different issue.
The other thing, too, is I guess I'm surprised at how well
this has all gone. I mean, we've had this legislative thing,
the battle with the Dietetics Department. And in spite
of all that, we are growing by leaps and bounds, and our
messages gets out to more people every day. I guess the
way I feel about it is that we must be doing something
right, because the universe is making all the planets line
up so we can do it bigger and better."
MS: "If you look back on it all, would you have done
anything differently? You know, hindsight being 20/20?"
PP: [laughs] "Oh, YEAH. [laughs again] You have probably
have heard this before: "if I'd know what I was getting
into, I never would have done this."
I think, I think the one thing that I really didn't have
a feel for, was how stressful it was going to be to go
to school full-time and build a company full-time. I did
this by myself in the beginning, and Howard knows this
because he was here, now I have the most incredible people
working with me, and it's a pleasure to be here every day.
In the beginning, I was the one packing the boxes and teaching
the classes. I had another associated, but between the
the two of us, that's all there was. And so, when finally
I got out of school and got my education out of the way,
somebody asked me "how did I feel?" and said "I
feel like I'm coming out of the abyss." I'm not exaggerating.
I spent years doing an entire week's worth of work on a
weekend. I'm was putting 40 hours into it on the weekend.
I think if I had really understood that in the beginning,
maybe I would have finished my education first. But it
all came out great in the end. I wouldn't trade where I
am today for anything."
MS: "It's probably hard for you to go to bed at night
and easy to get up in the morning."
PP: "I get up in the morning at four forty-five, I
bounce out of bed like I'm shot from a gun. And I love
every minute of the day! The only reason I look at a clock
is to make sure I'm not late, it's not because I'm counting
the hours until I'm finished. I think the big challenge
for me, and I've found ways to deal with it, is that it's
easy for me to to just keep working all the time and not
MS: "It sounds like you've got that mastered, with
the running and yoga."
PP: "The other things is that in the summertime, my
significant other has a house on Lake Erie, and we get
out of here on Friday afternoon and go up there for the
weekend. If I take things with me, it's for reading. I
don't take work to do..."
MS: "Books on nutrition, no doubt."
PP: [laughs] "... a couple days out on the boat, and
in the sun. It's nice. Helps a great deal, too."[go
MS: "Tell us about the future of the Wellness Forum."
PP: "We're going to have one of these Wellness Forums
in every city in the country, and then in every country.
I visualize a time when we'll have our conferences, when
we bring all our facilitators in, and we'll have 700,
800, 900 people that our teaching our classes. We're
our way to getting that done.
As to the future of the Wellness Foundation, it will grow
along with the Wellness Forum, because that's where the
funding comes from. So the better the Wellness Forum
does, the better the Wellness Foundation does, because
have more resources to work with."[go
MS: "What do you think are the biggest threats
in this country and this planet to more people eating
and having good nutrition or diets?"
PP: "The biggest threat we have is the ignorance
MS: "This is the average person you're talking
PP: "I'm not talking about ignorance as a derrogatory
comment. I've said this for years... we've have got
to wake people up. And that's one of the reasons we
the way we do at the Wellness Forum. We can't change
and legislate that people eat properly or legislate
shouldn't take drugs that their medical doctors prescribe.
We have to educate them from the ground up to make
The biggest problem that this presents is we have a
populace that doesn't read, it doesn't vote. People
attention to issues that are so important to their
lives. We've got
to get people involved in the process. Because, politically,
how the American Medical Association and the medical
establishment and the dieticians in Ohio get control
of these kinds of
things, is that they do it while people aren't paying
attention. And I used to not pay attention."
MS: "Do you worry about companies like Nestle's
[the largest food company] , and Kraft, and these multi-national
PP: "If we educate enough people to make decisions
differently, they'll have to respond economically.
And we've already little hints of that with McDonald's
new requirements their chicken producers, and Kraft
is going to take the trans-fat out of their food because
they think people won't buy it."
MS: "So you're saying that the only reason corporations
run the show because we let them?"
PP: "We let them. And the only reason the doctors
are in control is because we let them. And the only
reason why all of this is going on is because we let
I'm almost on the verge of ranting about all this....
I'm downtown, all the time, talking with legislators
state government buildings. These buildings should
be full of people who are concerned enough about what's
to come down here and scream and holler, and talk to
people. They're not. And that's very very disturbing,
how this whole situation got to the where it is.
And the way we'll undo it, and this is why the work
that Howard's doing is important, what I am doing is
is we just have to go out there. Everytime I'm in front
of a hundred people, two hundred, ten thousand, doesn't
matter, because those people are going to tell other
people, and we're going to build this critical mass
to the place
where so many people are educated, that these companies
and these governments can't get away with this stuff