Michele Dodman was 15 when her cousin took her for a walk through a meat-packing plant. She had always been concerned about animals, but her cousin wanted to prove that some of the worst cruelty happened in the meat industry. She has been a vegetarian ever since.
As a gastroenterologist, Dr. Dodman knows that her conscience isn’t the only part of her that benefits from her vegetarian diet. “Being a vegetarian is a much healthier lifestyle—there are no two ways about it,” Dr. Dodman said.
She’s seen that firsthand. Dr. Dodman’s two children from Guatemala, ages two and four, were underweight and had low iron counts when she adopted them. They quickly caught up to their healthy peers by eating soy-based proteins and are being raised as vegetarians.
Dr. Dodman also shares advice about healthy eating with her patients, who come to her with problems ranging from heartburn to fatty liver disease. “My patients are surprised by how easy being a vegetarian is,” Dr. Dodman said. She takes the time to guide them with tips on shifting to vegetarian foods.
Dr. Dodman is an avid educator. She has been an active PCRM member for many years, and she has a starring role in “House Call,” a PCRM public service announcement about childhood obesity that has played on television stations across the country.
As a physician, Dr. Dodman would like to see people taking more responsibility for their own health. “When you solve a problem you have to define it, and then you have to take action,” she said.
“Every time my patients say, ‘Well I don’t want to do that because that involves change,’ I tell them what my mother always told me: ‘The only thing constant is change.’ Why not be the master of our own changes?”