Wicked Chats with Doctor Alan

Gut doctor Alan Desmond on working on the frontline during Covid, smiling and converting the world to a plant-based diet.

Doctor Alan Desmond is a consultant gastroenterologist who is dedicated to educating the public on the health benefits of a whole food plant-based diet. He shares his plant-based meals alongside the latest research in nutritional science and health on Instagram @dr.alandesmond. His new book, The Plant-Based Diet Revolution: 28 days to a happier gut and a healthier you, is available wherever books are sold from 7 January. 

Describe yourself in three words.

Doctor, dad, plant-pusher

What’s been your worst job?

Working on the frontline during the first wave of Covid-19 in the Spring of 2020. It was an absolute privilege to play a part in the NHS response to this dreadful crisis, so I’m not sure it fits the ‘worst job’ description, but it was certainly the most stressful period of my medical career.

Your biggest fear?

That animal agriculture will not change in the wake of Covic-19 and that my children will have to live through further, and potentially more deadly, zoonotic pandemics in their lifetimes.

What do you value most in others?


What do you most like about yourself?

I smile a lot. I think it comes from finding the joy in almost any situation.

First memory?

Being pushed in my stroller by my mum. We were on the way to feed our neighbour’s chickens.

Your most treasured possession?

My health. As a medical doctor I am acutely aware of just how fragile human health is. I’m grateful for every healthy day I have.

Favourite comfort food?

Griddled bananas with peanut butter on toasted brown soda bread. Plus a big pot of coffee. I always look forward to breakfast and this is one of my favourites. (You can find the recipe in The Plant-Based Diet Revolution!)

Who would you have round for a dream dinner party?

Right now, it would be my parents. They live back home in Ireland. I haven’t been able to see them for almost a year.

What would your superpower be?

If I could, I would convert the world to eating a diet that is firmly focused on whole, plant-based foods. This would reduce the global burden of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, many cancers, and other preventable diseases, saving about 12 million lives per year. Plus the food is delicious.

The Plant-Based Diet Revolution: 28 days to a happier gut and a healthier you is out on 7 Jan 2021 (Yellow Kite, £20).


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  1. I had been vegetarian for decades but had got lazy with the variety of vegetables that I ate, it is too easy to reach for cheese and doughnuts. However, following a diagnosis of colon cancer five years ago, I went to plant based diet (based on Woollam’s rainbow diet) and now deliberately eat at least 10 different vegetables and fruit a day. I am convinced that it is this (plus a brilliant surgeon), that aided my speedy recovery. I can’t imagine turning back now, my plates are so colourful and as Dr Alan says, the food is delicious.

    1. Hi GeorgyH, what a journey, and also what a joy to discover a new way of eating that is both delicious and healthy.

  2. I hope your book does well and people follow your wise suggestions, we certainly need to rethink the way we treat animals for their sakes, as well as to avoid another pandemic.

  3. Good luck with the book. I just read the preview on Amazon and have ordered a copy. Looking forward to reading more as it sounds fascinating.

    I have swapped between vegetarian, pescatarian and meat based diets for years and always feel better on veggie but husband loves meat so I keep lapsing to make life easier.

  4. I work at being happy and positive, particularly at this time, but I also fear that we will not change our living with animals and treat them kindly. I don’t hear much talk seeking to remedy the cause of this and any other pandemic. from ministers. It’s like we are mopping the floor without turning the tap off!


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