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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 088. | July 11, 2024
088: If Eating Is Not Easy, You’re Eating Sleazy with Dr. Scott Harrington
088: If Eating Is Not Easy, You’re Eating Sleazy with Dr. Scott Harrington

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Dr. Scott Harrington’s interest in medicine and healthy living began early in life, deeply influenced by his mother’s struggles with weight. Watching her navigate these challenges, he developed a fascination with diet books and a desire to help others achieve better health. However, it wasn’t until 2012, after watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives,” that his perspective shifted significantly. The film, which highlights the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet, inspired him to embrace veganism and adopt a more holistic approach to health.

Military Experience and Plant-Based Transformation

As an active-duty Army physician, Dr. Harrington faced personal health challenges, including maintaining his own weight. Despite efforts to manage his weight through portion control and intense exercise, he often felt hungry and deprived. A turning point came when a Special Forces soldier introduced him to the plant-based diet, emphasizing its performance benefits. This encounter, coupled with the influence of “Forks Over Knives,” led Dr. Harrington to adopt a plant-based diet, transforming his approach to health and wellness.

Integrating Military Insights into Healthcare

Dr. Harrington’s military service, including deployments in Afghanistan, profoundly shaped his understanding of trauma and recovery. He emphasized the importance of normalizing responses to traumatic experiences, such as PTSD, and helping patients view their reactions as typical under extreme conditions. This empathetic approach has been crucial in his practice, allowing him to build trust and provide effective care for veterans and others dealing with significant stress and trauma.

Transitioning from Military Service

After years of long deployments and rigorous schedules, Dr. Harrington sought a change from his demanding life in active duty. Desiring more time with his family and a less strenuous routine, he decided to transition to a career that allowed him to work from home. This shift led him to a telemedicine provider called American Well, similar to Teladoc or Doctors On Demand, where he served as a staff doctor.

The Telemedicine Experience

During his two years at American Well, Dr. Harrington was licensed in multiple states, allowing him to reach a wide range of patients. While the job provided the convenience of working from home, it lacked continuity of care. The nature of telemedicine meant he often saw new patients with minor ailments, leaving him unfulfilled professionally. He found himself yearning for deeper, more meaningful patient interactions and the opportunity to discuss lifestyle medicine more comprehensively.

Pandemic Pivot

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Dr. Harrington saw an opportunity to open his own telemedicine practice. He aimed to create a niche practice that aligned with his passion for veganism and lifestyle medicine. Despite initial concerns about attracting enough patients to a vegan-centric practice, his multiple state licenses enabled him to offer services nationwide. This broader reach helped him overcome the limitations of a local practice.

Establishing Vegan Primary Care

Realizing telemedicine was aligned with his values as a healthcare professional, Dr. Harrington founded Vegan Primary Care, a practice dedicated to promoting plant-based diets and lifestyle medicine. His website,, offers an easy way for patients to book appointments and access his services across 16 states. He also maintains a modest social media presence on Facebook and Instagram, further supporting his practice’s visibility and accessibility.

Balancing Online and In-Person Care

In addition to his telemedicine services, Dr. Harrington maintains a physical presence in the Tampa area. He sublets a clinic in Pinellas Park, where he sees patients in person one day a week. This blend of online and face-to-face interactions allows him to cater to a broader range of patient needs while still emphasizing the convenience and comfort of telemedicine.

Pros and Cons of Telemedicine

Dr. Harrington highlights several benefits of telemedicine, such as the convenience for patients who no longer need to drive and wait in doctors’ offices. However, he acknowledges limitations, like the inability to perform physical exams. To mitigate this, he advises patients to have basic vital sign equipment at home, such as scales and blood pressure cuffs. Despite these limitations, Dr. Harrington believes that the majority of medical care relies heavily on patient history, which can be effectively managed through telemedicine.

Challenges with Traditional Medicine

One significant challenge Dr. Harrington faces is the potential conflict between his lifestyle medicine approach and traditional medical practices. Many of his patients prefer to avoid long-term medications like statins or acid blockers, often recommended by other healthcare providers. While Dr. Harrington adheres to evidence-based practices, he sometimes finds that traditional recommendations do not always align with the latest lifestyle medicine research.

Promoting Lifestyle Medicine

Dr. Harrington emphasizes the importance of lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress management, and community connection in promoting health. He finds telemedicine effective for counseling patients on these aspects, drawing parallels with mental health professionals who have long utilized telemedicine for counseling. Although he has explored group programs and real-time classes for weight loss and exercise, he plans to develop more accessible resources, such as a YouTube channel, to provide practical guidance on plant-based living.

Serving the Military Community

Dr. Harrington’s background in the military has attracted several patients from the armed forces, particularly those who are retired and frequently travel. His telemedicine practice provides a consistent source of care for these individuals, regardless of their location. While many patients seek his services due to his expertise in veganism, his military experience also resonates with a specific subset of his patient base.

Personal Wellness and Future Goals

Dr. Harrington practices what he preaches by maintaining his health through regular running and shared cooking responsibilities with his family. Looking ahead, he aims to stay updated on emerging medical research, particularly in genetics and anti-aging, and expand his practice through public speaking and community involvement. His ultimate goal is to promote vegan primary care and lifestyle medicine more broadly, helping more people achieve optimal health through plant-based living.

Dr. Scott Harrington’s journey from active duty to establishing a nationwide telemedicine practice demonstrates his commitment to providing accessible, plant-based healthcare. By blending modern telemedicine with traditional in-person care, he addresses a wide range of patient needs while promoting the benefits of lifestyle medicine.

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Episode Highlights

[00:00]             Introduction

[01:45]             Dr. Harrington’s mom’s health influenced his life’s work.

[04:00]             Time in the Army, including West Point, influences direction.

[07:00]             The extra edge for high performing athletes.

[12:30]             From disease manager to true health care.

[19:30]             Putting time into educating patients about best choices for them.

[20:30]             From vision to reality… Vegan Primary Care.

[25:45]             The benefits of telemedicine in patient care.

[33:00]             Dr. Harrington’s military background attracts those in, or retired from, the military.

[36:00]             Looking to the future for Dr. Harrington.

About Dr. Scott Harrington

Dr. Scott Harrington, D.O., is a pioneer in the field of primary care, known for his revolutionary approach to healthcare. As the founder of, Dr. Harrington is a board-certified Family Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine physician, blending traditional medical practices with holistic principles to provide comprehensive care to his patients.

With a background as an Army officer and veteran, including service in Afghanistan, Dr. Harrington brings unique insights into performance optimization and PTSD management. His military experience, coupled with his journey toward adopting a plant-based diet for personal health benefits, inspired him to establish Vegan Primary Care. Through this platform, he offers telemedicine consultations to patients across multiple US states, providing convenient access to compassionate and personalized healthcare.

Dr. Harrington’s advocacy extends beyond individual patient care. He champions plant-based diets not only for health benefits but also for ethical and environmental reasons, believing in the transformative power of lifestyle changes. Based in Pinellas Park, Florida, his practice emphasizes building lasting relationships with patients, ensuring their health needs are met effectively and affordably.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Dr. Harrington is a devoted husband and father, embodying the holistic principles he promotes. He integrates mind, body, and spirit into his approach to health, advocating for wellness practices that nurture longevity and vitality. Dr. Harrington’s commitment to holistic care reflects his belief in supporting individuals on their journey toward optimal health and well-being.

About Dr. Frank Sabatino

As a recognized authority on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, Dr. Frank Sabatino has cared for and inspired thousands of people for over 40 years. Dr. Sabatino has a PhD in cell biology and neuroendocrinology and has done extensive landmark research on calorie restriction, stress, and aging. He currently is on staff at the TrueNorth Health Foundation in Santa Rosa, CA, and serves as the Director of Health Education at the NHA.

Dr. Sabatino’s passion and life’s work include raising awareness about the benefits of whole-food, plant-exclusive nutrition (without added salt, oil, or sugar), health rejuvenation and stress management.

Dr. Sabatino combines decades of research, experience, skill and lifestyle in his recently published book, Weightless: Compassionate Weight Loss for Life available on

About NHA

The National Health Association (NHA), founded in 1948, is a nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of a plant-based diet. The Association provides educational materials, educational events, and services to thousands of people around the world.

The mission of the National Health Association is to educate and empower individuals to understand that health results from healthful living. The NHA recognizes the integration of all aspects of health: personal, environmental, and social.

The NHA also provides travel experiences around the globe through the NHA Plant-Based Travel and cruise division.

More information:


A unique benefit of the NHA Conference is the selection of two medical students who receive a full scholarship to the conference.

Contact Wanda Huberman for more information on how to apply for the scholarship.  [email protected]

NHA membership

For a very nominal investment, you can enjoy incredible benefits of the NHA membership.

Members of the NHA enjoy a subscription to the award-winning quarterly health journal, Health Science, access to the “Members Only” section of the NHA Website (which contains all 43 years of back issues of the magazine),  the ability to download for free many classic out of print eBooks on the history of the Natural Hygiene Movement, including Fasting Can Save Your Life and The Greatest Health Discovery, discounts on books, and early notice of the NHA events.

Only $35 a year for basic membership within the United States.

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