Monday, February 23, 2015

Saving Lives Through Running

Those of you who read this blog know that I'm passionate about running, and trails, and dogs. Recently, I landed my dream job, a gig that allows me to bring these great loves together in a perfect way, at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Physicians Committee, it is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 by Dr. Neal Barnard to promote preventive medicine (particularly good nutrition) and higher standards in scientific research.

Ethical Research

Plenty of groups exist to draw attention to how awful animal testing is, or to encourage people to eat fewer animal-based foods, but the Physicians Committee is the only one I know of that makes valid scientific arguments for why animal-based research is not a great way to make strides in curing diseases or learn more about how our bodies work, and also offers better alternatives to animal experimentation.
Beagles are frequently used in animal testing.

Healthier Diets and Preventive Medicine

Additionally, while some people will decide on their own to eat fewer animal-based foods, or abstain from them altogether due to ethical reasons, the Physicians Committee is one of the only groups out there explaining the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and giving people interested in healthier eating the support they need to change unhealthy habits and live fuller, happier lives.
Coronary angiograms of the distal left anterior descending artery before (left) and after (right) 32 months of a plant-based diet without cholesterol-lowering medication, showing profound improvement. Image from Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD, The Cleveland Clinic

I've decided that this year, when I run the amazing trails at the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty, I will do so to raise funds in support of the Physicians Committee, through their VegRUN! program. If after learning more, you want to support the Physicians Committee, I invite you to make a gift through my VegRUN! page, or -- even better -- join the VegRUN! team and use your next race to raise money for the Physicians Committee's life-saving work. You may learn some great training and nutrition tips along the way, as the program includes insights from Brendan Brazier, Scott Jurek and Matt Frazier.

Glen Delman's photo of me running at the Dirty Thirty last year is one of my favorite race images, and I'm excited to think that in some small way, this year's effort will have extra significance because it will be helping an organization so close to my heart.

Happy running, friends, and see you on the trails!
Photo by Glen Delman Photography.

One important note: while I am an employee of the Physicians Committee, all views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not reflect the views of my employer.

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