Wise Gurus

Mind Your Feet, Forks & Fingers for a “Disease-Proof” Life…Meet Dr. David L. Katz, Author,Wise Guru & Renown Specialist in Preventative Medicine

Featured Book: Disease-Proof –The Remarkable Truth about What Makes Us Well


Dr. Katz has been extensively involved in medical education. He was a founding director of one of the nation’s first combined residency training programs in Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine (Griffin Hospital, Derby, CT); and served as Director of Medical Studies in Public Health at the Yale University School of Medicine for a span of 8 years. He has been named one of America’s Top Physicians in Preventive Medicine three times by the Consumer’s Research Council of America, and serves as a judge of best diets for the annual ranking published by US News & World Report. In 2009, he was a widely supported nominee for the position U.S. Surgeon General. He was named one of the 25 most influential people in the lives of children by Children’s Health Magazine. Dr. Katz has an extensive media portfolio, having worked for ABC News/Good Morning America as an on-air contributor, a writer for the New York Times syndicate, and a columnist to O, the Oprah Magazine. Currently, he is a blogger/medical review board member for the Huffington Post, a health contributor to US News & World Report, one of the original 150 ‘thought leader’ Influencer bloggers for LinkedIn; and a health writer for Everyday Health. And now a Wise Guru at World Wise Beauty!

Lauroly Opening– Welcome Dr. Katz, I am honored to have you here to talk about you new book “Disease Proof” co-authored with Stacy Colino. You are now officially a “Wise Guru” at World Wise Beauty.  Some of our readers will be just becoming familiar with your work via your new book, but the fact is you have been on the cutting edge of Preventative Medicine for the last fifteen years. You have a number of accreditations after your name.  I just want to give our readers a little background on your extensive education and expertise.  MD –Medical Doctor, MPH -Masters in Public Health, FACPM -Fellow of the American College of Preventative Medicine and FACP -Fellow of the American College of Physicians (internist).

Phew! What an impressive portfolio of work! You have been busy Dr. Katz and we are so grateful you have been.  Before you became a sort of “celebrity” in wellness you were tenaciously working hard to influence your own peers in the medical field about how to “reframe” how they were looking at healthcare and their patient’s wellness. But now you are on a big mission to educate us because without our own self-care we will all face the many diseases plaguing our society today. Let’s start with your opening paragraph in Chapter One of your book “Disease Proof”.  You start out with a strong statement about how we don’t have a healthcare system but a “disease care system”. Share your thoughts with us on this and why it is so important for us as individuals to take charge of our own personal health.

Dr. David L. Katz



Dr. Katz: Getting good care when we’re sick is certainly very important. As a doctor, I fully appreciate the value of clinical care. But health and vitality are not built in hospitals or clinics. The behaviors and choices that prevent disease in the first place have little to do with doctors. The real power to build health from its origins resides with us as individuals in the way we live our lives. True ‘health’ care resides with us, not the medical establishment. Only we can truly care for our own health.



Lauroly Q- You emphasize in your book “Disease Proof” how important it is to develop “skills” to lead a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes it’s amazing to think we now have to practically go back to school to learn to eat healthy and wise. You state in your book “The goal is to use your feet, forks and fingers wisely for the sake of your health”. What does this mean and how do you think we lost our basic instincts and common sense when it comes to eating and taking care of ourselves?

Dr. Katz: The evidence is overwhelming that if we eat optimally, exercise, and avoid tobacco- along with a few other good choices- we can reduce our lifetime risk of all major chronic disease by an astounding 80%. So, how we use our feet, forks, and fingers turns out to be the most important control we have over our medical destiny. As for losing our way, actually- our way lost us. Our instincts and behaviors are all suited for a Stone Age world where calories are relatively hard to get, and physical activity is unavoidable. The traits and tendencies that fostered our survival in that world conspire against us in this one. So to get to health in the modern world requires a skill set most people simply don’t have. Disease Proof provides it.

Lauroly Q- With so many diets passionately touting themselves as the “the best diet with proven results”, how does an individual create an “ideal diet” that will not only help them lose weight but also foster wellness and longevity? Often there is conflicting information in the health field, for example between Vegan and Paleo diets. You can have a nutritionist, doctor and scientist recommend very different approaches to diet and health often with a “one size fits all” mission and studies to back their prescriptions. Which “school of thought” is really superior and how do we decide which diet is right for us?

Dr. Katz: The best school of thought here is the objective, evidence-based, and unbiased school. It’s hard to be objective about the ‘best’ diet when you are trying to sell one! I routinely review the diet literature without bias, and reach the conclusion that the basic theme of optimal eating for human health is very clear (real food, mostly plants), while there is no clear evidence of any clear winning variation on that theme. You can get to health with really good versions of Vegan, Paleo, or Mediterranean diets and other besides. But all such diets that are good for both losing weight and finding health are made up of wholesome foods in balanced combinations, avoiding highly processed foods and the liabilities that come with them. We lay out the relevant case quite clearly in Disease Proof. As for what ‘diet’ is right for you- stay on the theme, and choose what suits your preferences and lifestyle. We should all be able to love the food that loves us back.

Lauroly Q- I love your chapter on “Taste-Bud Rehab” and can totally understand the concept! It is funny how we become used to and sometimes addicted to flavors over time. I accidentally tasted my friend’s coffee one day which was filled with flavored coffee-mate stuff and I literally had to spit it out. My friend can’t drink coffee without it and yet it tasted awful to me because I don’t drink artificially sweetened beverages in general.  It seems everything is overly sweetened and salted? How do you withdraw from unhealthy foods when our entire food system is determined to sell us products loaded with sugar and salt?


Dr. David L.Katz

Dr. Katz: We have choices in every food category- and the opportunity to trade up. Trading up little by little is easy, but it can exert strong effects on diet quality when you’ve done it enough, and it does retrain your taste buds along the way. Instead of giving up foods you love, trading up foods you love leads to better health, better weight, and better nutrition- but without any heavy lifting. This is just the kind of actionable advantage “skillpower” provides over relying solely on willpower.


Lauroly Q –Your book is more than just a book about changing diet, it is really about changing our “mindset” about what it takes to be healthy and disease proof.  It’s almost like we have to de-program ourselves from bad habits we slowly developed over time in our society. It seems daunting when you have so many” rituals” entrenched in our culture, like having an extra- large popcorn drenched in artificial butter with a mega size soft drink at the movies. Where do you think we should begin? The Mayor of NYC tried to make a change by focusing on limiting the sizes of soda sold and this created a real back lash from people. Yet if you don’t start with consumer culture how do you break through and reach people?

Dr. Katz: I work to change culture and the environment. But culture begins under our own roof, within our families. We are in charge. We can all start by changing our own health and behavior for the better. Guess what? When enough individuals and families have changed- when enough of us have disease proofed ourselves- we will have changed our culture and the world into the bargain!

Lauroly Closing – Dr. Katz, I completely agree about the idea of “us” being the drivers of culture. What we say yes AND no to defines our lifestyle and culture. I am thrilled to feature your book “Disease Proof” and thank you so much again for joining me at World Wise Beauty. Disease Proof offers a wealth of common sense knowledge but I hope many people will refer to your book as a handy “tool-kit”, to help them develop healthy habits, so they can actively take charge of their own health and live a “disease proof” life into their old age. Sounds like a really good “bargain” to me!

To discover more of Dr. Katz’s published books visit his website here.

Truly Herself,

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