Alec Baldwin is well known as an actor and impersonator of our president-elect – but did you know that he is also a vegan and animal rights activist?
On the evening of Dec 1, 2016, I had the opportunity to attend a New York City “Music for the Animals” event hosted by Mr. Baldwin, to benefit the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) – one of the organizations that Greg and I had supported together, and which I now continue to support through the Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund.
Mr. Baldwin spoke about his personal path to veganism, starting when he was diagnosed with a pre-diabetic condition – and about the dramatic health improvements he experienced after moving to a plant-based diet under the guidance of PCRM and its president Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D. Speaking of cutting animal products from our diets, he said, “You don’t have to be perfect – but when we walk out of this door, what we need to do is promise that we’re going to do better”- for the sake of animals, and for our own health.
Actress and longtime animal activist Maggie Q also spoke at the event, crediting her many years of veganism for her high energy levels – and crediting Dr. Barnard for inspiring her parents to move to plant-based diets and thereby turn their failing health around. “We live in a world where people don’t always show compassion, but they do care about themselves,” she said, “so if you can convince them that something’s good for them, voila – it happens!”
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine works to promote healthful vegan diets for disease prevention and works to end the use of animals in education and experiments.
Founder and President Dr. Neal Barnard is an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. He has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Barnard has authored more than 70 scientific publications as well as 17 books. In January 2016, he opened the nonprofit Barnard Medical Center in Washington, D.C., providing complete primary care with extra attention on improving health through prevention and nutrition. Dr. Barnard is also a guitarist, keyboardist and song writer – and he shared his musical work publicly for the first time at the December 1 “Music for the Animals” event.
In my personal experience, Dr. Barnard has been an incredibly kind man who makes time to get to know his supporters personally. Although our contributions to PCRM had been fairly modest, Greg and I had had the great privilege of joining Dr. Barnard for a backstage meeting with Paul McCartney in July 2013. Then in December 2015, I was tremendously honored that Dr. Barnard took a day to travel to Middleburg, VA for the event I hosted to celebrate Greg’s life.