We’re interrupting your regularly scheduled programming to bring you a super-special Q&A with Leah E. Mintz, M.D. Dr. Leah Mintz is a plant-forward physician, GFI monthly donor, and force for uncommon good.
Leah! What a pleasure to speak with you today. You’re a doctor in Southern California, trained in western medicine. What initially inspired you to help build a good food future?
Leah: The pleasure is mine! It should be simple: We can tackle some of the world's most pressing problems if we just educate people about how important their food choices are and inspire them to change what they eat. But unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Ah, yes! Precisely. Despite many years of advocacy, global meat consumption is skyrocketing. Behavioral change is extraordinarily difficult. I’m sure you see this first hand in your work, yes?
Absolutely. In my medical practice, I recommend plant-based nutrition to my patients, telling them about the health benefits of a plant-based diet and how industrial animal agriculture negatively influences both personal and public health, hoping that this will compel them to change their diet.
Does antibiotic resistance ever come up in your conversations?
All the time. I explain the relationship between food choices and antibiotic resistance, chronic disease, climate change, and the suffering of animals used for food. All of my patients want to be healthier, but many people still find it hard, or are disinclined, to make meaningful changes in their diet. So while the solution may seem simple, change will not come about—quickly enough or perhaps at all—by personal choice alone.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Leah. I commend your willingness to educate your patients. Can we clone you?
Haha! Can food scientists do that yet?
That’s a definite no. Fortunately, they’re spending their time and effort making meat from plants and cells. How has your direct experience with human health shaped your decision to make monthly gifts to GFI?
These problems affect me personally - and professionally - every day, traveling to work past hillsides scorched in one of the increasingly frequent and devastating Southern California wildfires, passing the trucks that transport live, intelligent pigs to the slaughterhouse that’s hidden in downtown Los Angeles, and reading data on emerging antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which pose perhaps the greatest threat to human health.
As one person, even with all of the interactions I have with my patients, my impact is small. But by contributing to the Good Food Institute each month, I can be part of something much bigger, and show my support for the inspiring, world-changing work that GFI is doing to help create a sustainable, compassionate future.
You mentioned that you wanted to amplify your impact beyond what you can accomplish in your practice. Was this the impetus behind becoming a monthly donor to GFI?
Definitely; GFI is unique among the organizations I support in its mission to solve these problems by fostering the innovation and entrepreneurship needed to transform the global food system, striving to eliminate human reliance on animal agriculture while still supplying people with food that tastes good and is as convenient and affordable as the food they're choosing now. GFI's focus on growing a food industry that produces plant-based and clean-meat versions of the foods people want makes the solution seem not just possible, but achievable in the foreseeable future, without relying on convincing individuals to change.
Achievable, not just plausible, only because of our family of supporters. We cannot do this work without people like Leah. Her monthly gifts empower our team to pursue bold solutions to climate change, food insecurity, animal suffering, and antibiotic resistance. We’re still a start-up nonprofit, funded 100% by individual philanthropy, like yours. Thanks to monthly support, we can remain nimble on the road to total food system transformation.