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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 041. | August 17, 2023
041: Answering the Age-Old Question… “Where Do You Get Your Protein?” with Brenda Davis
041: Answering the Age-Old Question… “Where Do You Get Your Protein?” with Brenda Davis

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Embarking on a plant-based journey inevitably invites the familiar inquiry, “Where do you source your protein?” from those curious about this nutrient-rich lifestyle.

This very question found its place in this episode of the Health Science Podcast, where the spotlight was cast upon the distinguished registered dietitian, Brenda Davis.

Brenda Davis’s impact on nutritional science extends across diverse cultures and nations. Her pivotal role as the lead investigator in a diabetic intervention program in the Marshall Islands highlights her commitment to improving health outcomes.

Additionally, her involvement in establishing a lifestyle intervention in Lithuania demonstrates her global reach in advocating for a plant-based approach.

A Glance at Brenda’s Work

Brenda Davis’s extensive body of work includes authoring books that have transcended language barriers, with translations available in 13 languages. Her titles, such as “Becoming Vegan,” “Kick Diabetes Cookbook,” and her latest publication, “Plant Powered Protein,” underscore her dedication to guiding individuals towards healthier dietary choices.

The Journey: From Compassion to Commitment

Brenda Davis traces her journey back to her early childhood, where an inherent compassion for animals was ignited during a visit to a bullfight in Spain. This formative experience laid the foundation for her lifelong commitment to making the world a more compassionate place. Brenda’s desire to lead a meaningful life, driven by ethical values, prompted her to reevaluate her dietary choices and transition towards a plant-based lifestyle.

Facing Professional Challenges

Brenda’s shift from her role as a public health nutritionist to a vocal advocate for plant-based diets was not without its challenges. Initially, she grappled with the fear of professional repercussions.

However, her unwavering determination and pursuit of knowledge emboldened her to stand up for her beliefs. Brenda’s dedication to thorough research and education allowed her to confidently navigate the transition.

Empowerment Through Knowledge

As Brenda delved into research and connected with like-minded individuals, her understanding of plant-based nutrition deepened.

She acknowledges the invaluable role played by influential figures like John Robbins, Michael Clapper, and Ginny Messina, whose work provided inspiration and reassurance that her path was both valid and impactful.

Overcoming Industry Challenges

Brenda candidly recounts co-authoring “Becoming Vegetarian,” a groundbreaking book that prompted responses from the dairy industry.

Despite challenges and attempts to discredit plant-based nutrition, Brenda’s work was met with considerable support from fellow dietitians.

Invitations to speak at various associations affirmed the growing acceptance and recognition of plant-based dietary approaches.

Brenda Davis’s Impactful Career

Dr. Sabatino and Brenda discussed in detail her work in the Marshall Islands, where she spearheaded a diabetic intervention program.

Davis highlighted the challenges posed by a processed food-centric diet in the region and discussed the design and implementation of a lifestyle intervention aimed at combating diabetes through education, nutrition, exercise, and stress management.

The Power of Personal Convictions

Brenda Davis’s journey serves as a testament to the power of personal conviction, compassion, and the pursuit of knowledge.

Her transition from a public health nutritionist to a renowned advocate for plant-based diets underscores the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs, even in the face of adversity.

As Brenda continues to impact lives positively through her work, her story serves as an inspiring reminder that everyone’s choice can contribute to a more compassionate and healthier world.

Episode Highlights

[02:30]             The start of a magical journey spanning a lifetime.

[03:30]             The bullfight that changed everything.         

[09:00]             Veganism becomes a family affair.

[12:20]             Becoming Vegetarian book turns out to be a vegan book in disguise.

[16:30]             Plant Powered Protein book is about the symphony of deep nutrition.                  

[20:45]             Protein absorption challenges for seniors require focus.

[22:00]             Analysis of percentage of protein in plant-based foods.

[25:30]             Why we must stop demonizing good fats in whole foods.

[29:45]             A discussion on global iodine deficiency.

[36:00]             Taking the lead with diabetic intervention in the Marshall Islands.

[41:40]             Type II Diabetes is NOT the luck of the draw… it’s lifestyle.

[44:20]             The biological process of forgiveness.

About Brenda Davis

Brenda Davis, registered dietitian, is one of the world’s leading plant-based pioneers and an internationally acclaimed speaker. She is widely regarded as a rock star of plant-based nutrition and VegNews referred to her as “The Godmother” of vegan dietitians.

As a prolific nutrition and health writer, Brenda has authored/co-authored 13 books with nearly a million copies in print in 15 languages. Her most recent works include Plant-Powered Protein (Melina, Davis, and Davis, 2022), Nourish: The Definitive Plant-based Nutrition Guide for Families (Shah and Davis, 2020), Kick Diabetes Essentials (Davis, 2019), The Kick Diabetes Cookbook (Davis and Melina, 2018), Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition (Davis and Melina, 2014) and Becoming Vegan: Express Edition (Davis and Melina, 2013). Nourish won gold in the 2020 Nautilus Book Awards and was also a Canada Book Award winner. Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition won a 2014 REAL Best of 2014 Book Award and Becoming Vegan: Express Edition won the Canada Book Award and was a finalist and received honorable mention in the Foreward Book of the Year Award.

Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive and Express Editions have also received a star rating by the American Library Association as the “go-to books” on plant-based nutrition.

Brenda has been a featured speaker at medical, nutrition, and dietetic conferences in over 20 countries on 5 continents. With colleague, Dr. John Kelly (founding president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine), she was the lead dietitian in a diabetes lifestyle medicine trial in the Marshall Islands, and a lifestyle intervention demonstration project for the medical community in Lithuania.

Brenda has co-authored numerous professional and lay articles. She is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. Brenda has been promoting plant-based diets since making the transition herself in 1989. Her personal and professional life goals are one in the same – to make this world a more sustainable, more health supportive, and kinder place.

Brenda’s work focuses on ensuring that everyone who wishes to be plant-based can succeed brilliantly. In 2007, Brenda Davis was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame, and she was the 2022 recipient of the Plantrician Project’s Luminary Award. Brenda lives in Calgary Alberta with her husband, Paul, and has two grown children and 2 grandchildren.

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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 management.

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.

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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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