Physician ProfileSharing the Knowledge: Mary R. Clifton, M.D.
Dr. Mary first became interested in vegan diets after she was diagnosed with prediabetes several years ago.
“My doctors could only advise nonspecific diet and exercise modifications, but I was already eating what I thought was a healthy American diet,” says Dr. Mary. After researching further options online, she discovered PCRM. She implemented the diet recommended by PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., and her blood sugars normalized.
In the process, she also shaved 70 points off her cholesterol and cured allergy symptoms that had plagued her since childhood.
“I had no idea how fantastic I would feel,” she confides. “At first, I did it for health reasons. But as I examined my diet and lifestyle, it became increasingly obvious that I couldn’t tolerate the suffering and cruelty inflicted on farmed animals, especially when I could get healthier proteins from plants. Before PCRM, I never thought about the impact my choices have on the lives of animals.”
Dr. Mary started sharing her knowledge of healthy plant-based nutrition with her patients, but transmitting the latest data on diet proved daunting. Inspired by Dr. Barnard, she started blogging at DrMaryMD.com, where she writes about healthy diets, osteoporosis, and menopause. She is also working on a book on nutrition and women’s health.
Additionally, Dr. Mary is interested in novel interventions that result in dietary change, like Meatless Mondays, and in studying the effect of vegan diets on common health problems. She hopes that if she can show that dietary change improves common conditions, it will encourage large numbers of people to change their diets.
After attending a PCRM conference on childhood obesity in Washington, D.C., she visited Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s office to encourage her to adopt PCRM’s healthy school lunch initiatives. Dr. Mary also worked on a campaign to establish a nonbinding resolution in her community for Meatless Mondays.
Committed to replacing irresponsible medical research, Dr. Mary assists with PCRM’s campaigns to shift away from animal experiments in favor of modern nonanimal research methods.
Dr. Mary received her undergraduate degree in physiology and medical degree at Michigan State University. She completed her residency training at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich. She currently practices internal medicine in Traverse City, Mich., and is an associate professor at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She is the nutrition advisor and coordinates a nutrition elective promoting plant-based diets for the medical school, one of the first of its kind in the United States.