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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 024. | April 20, 2023
024: Choosing Healthy Lifestyle Solutions with Maya Acosta and Dr. Riz
024: Choosing Healthy Lifestyle Solutions with Maya Acosta and Dr. Riz

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Maya Acosta and Dr. Riz Bukhari share a passion for plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine. Their journey began with their personal experiences with food and health, which eventually led them to create Plant-Based DFW, an organization that aims to spread awareness about plant-based nutrition and the plethora of health benefits for those who eat this way.

Maya’s interest in healthy eating began during a nutrition course in college, which opened her eyes to the impact of certain products on the body.

Dealing with her own struggles with food, Maya transitioned to a mostly pescatarian diet, but her relationship with food was off kilter.

She was afraid of gaining weight and had health problems for years, including adrenal fatigue and weight gain.

Doctors couldn’t determine the cause of her health issues until a biological dentist discovered high levels of mercury in her body. This revelation made Maya realize the impact of her seafood-heavy diet and led her to transition to a plant-based diet. With the help of her husband, she was able to heal her body and overcome her health issues.

Dr. Riz, a vascular specialist, has seen the impact of lifestyle changes on his patients’ health outcomes.

He emphasizes the importance of teaching patients to live healthier lifestyles to reduce the risks and complications of surgeries and interventions. However, he acknowledges the challenges of patient compliance with lifestyle changes and the influence of cultural, social, and psychological factors on their choices.

Maya and Dr. Riz also discuss the importance of incorporating whole food, plant-based nutrition into medical education. They hope that younger generations of physicians will have a better understanding of nutrition and its impact on health and are encouraged by the interest they’ve seen from medical students and young doctors in training.

Their passion extends beyond work into their community. They love promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet and hosting events to build a sense of community among like-minded individuals. Maya also hosts the Healthy Lifestyle Solution podcast where she highlights individuals who support healthy lifestyle choices.

Overall, Maya Acosta and Dr. Riz Bukhari’s dedication to promoting plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine is making a significant impact in their community as well as globally due to their online presence.

Day by day they are achieving their goal to educate and raise awareness to help improve the health of individuals and society as a whole.

Episode Highlights

[02:30]             A love of sailing turns the tides

[04:30]             Maya shares the star of healing her relationship with food

[08:00]             Understanding the human condition and food

[10:20]             The fear of gaining weight becomes a reality

[15:00]             Dr. Riz’s big revelation

[20:00]             Healthy eating makes patients better candidates for surgery

[26:00]             Complimentary cultures for Dr. Riz and Maya

[32:30]             Healthy Lifestyle Solutions emerges

[37:00]             Moving the message into the community

[42:00]             Being the example is the best example

[49:45]             What reinvigorated Dr. Riz’s spirit as a healer

About Maya Acosta and Dr. Riz Bukhari

Maya Acosta is a prominent advocate for whole-food, plant-based living and is co-leader of the Plant-Based DFW Pod in Dallas, Texas. Maya is committed to educating the public on the benefits of healthy living through her involvement in initiatives such as lectures, potlucks, and walks with the doc. Maya’s interest in health outreach was sparked by witnessing the effects of poor lifestyle choices among her husband’s patients, which led her to promote nutrition education and lifestyle medicine.

Maya also hosts the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast, inviting health experts to discuss various topics related to plant-based living. As a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine’s Women’s Health Interest Group, she is particularly interested in promoting female health, covering topics such as pregnancy, thyroid issues, and menopause. In addition to her various roles, Maya also serves as a Pod Action Committee member for PlantPure Communities, supporting pod leaders in positively impacting their local communities.





Rizwan H, Bukhari, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a board certified vascular surgeon who treats a variety of vascular issues including aneurysms, carotid artery stenosis, lower extremity arterial blockages, gangrene, dialysis access grafts and varicose veins. He has seen the ravaging effects of poor lifestyle choices on his patients’ health. Cardiovascular disease, and its risk factors, such as obesity, tobacco use, hypertension, and diabetes are largely acquired diseases secondary to the foods that we eat and our lifestyle choices. Dr. Bukhari promotes food as medicine and lifestyle medicine to help his patients and the general public prevent, halt, and in some cases even reverse disease. He is the owner of North Texas Vascular Center where he offers diagnostic services and minimally invasive outpatient procedures largely related to amputation prevention and limb salvage.

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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, stress

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:

Conference (75th Annual)

A one-of-a-kind experience, the annual NHA Conference features top leaders in the plant-based movement. Attendees of the in-person event enjoy 100% no SOS plant-exclusive meals.

To learn more and reserve your spot, visit


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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