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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 051. | October 26, 2023
051: Chef Ramses Bravo on Water Fasting and Plant-Based Eating at TrueNorth Health Center
051: Chef Ramses Bravo on Water Fasting and Plant-Based Eating at TrueNorth Health Center

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TrueNorth Health Center is recognized as the premier medically supervised, water-fasting facilities in the world. In this episode of the NHA Health Science podcast, executive chef, Ramses Bravo joins Dr. Sabatino for an in-depth discussion about plant-based eating, water fasting and refeeding after a fast.

Beyond the mere act of cooking, the conversation explored the profound impact of plant-based living and mindful eating, drawing from Chef Bravo’s experiences at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California.

Many people in the plant-based movement have heard about the benefits of water fasting, yet few people get an incredible inside look from the Executive Chef from one of the premier locations for water fasting, TrueNorth Health Center.

In this episode of the NHA Health Science podcast, Chef Ramses Bravo, the Executive Chef at TrueNorth Health Center, shares his journey into the water-fasting and plant-based lifestyle.

Chef Bravo has a culinary journey rooted in his grandmother’s kitchen. From a young age, the enticing aromas, and the joy his grandmother found in cooking inspired him. His passion led him to culinary school in San Francisco and a four-year apprenticeship in West Virginia, shaping his skills as a chef.

Transition to TrueNorth Health Center

After a successful stint at a high-end hotel, Chef Bravo found himself at a crossroads. It was a phone call from a client of Dr. Alan Goldhamer, the founder of TrueNorth Health Center, that changed his culinary trajectory. Despite his initial reservations about veganism and plant-exclusive with the SOS-free (salt, oil, and sugar-free) approach, Chef Bravo was drawn to the challenge presented by TrueNorth Health Center.

Embracing the Plant-Based SOS-Free Lifestyle

Initially skeptical, Chef Bravo grappled with the absence of familiar ingredients like salt in his cooking. However, his journey led to a surprising personal transformation. Embracing the plant-based SOS-free lifestyle not only resulted in significant weight loss but also boosted his energy levels. Adapting his culinary techniques, he learned to maintain flavor without compromising the SOS-free principles.

Chef Bravo’s Tips for Plant-Based SOS-Free Cooking

A fun part of the conversation was when Chef Bravos shared ways to cook flavorful meals. A few of his recommendations are:

Layering Flavors: Chef Bravo emphasizes the importance of layering flavors in SOS-free cooking. By understanding the unique contribution of each ingredient, one can create depth and complexity in taste without relying on salt, oil, or sugar.

Creative Spice Blends: Experimenting with various spices and herbs can elevate the taste of SOS-free dishes. Chef Bravo suggests creating custom spice blends that enhance the natural flavors of vegetables, grains, and legumes.

Balancing Sweetness: Instead of refined sugars, Chef Bravo advocates using natural sweeteners like dates, figs, or apples to add a touch of sweetness to desserts and sauces. These ingredients provide a healthier alternative while maintaining the desired flavor profile.

Utilizing Umami-Rich Ingredients: Umami, the savory taste, can be achieved through ingredients like tomatoes, mushrooms, and nutritional yeast. These items bring a rich and satisfying depth to SOS-free recipes, making them more appealing and satisfying.

Smart Substitutions: Chef Bravo recommends using ingredients like vegetable broth, low-sodium soy sauce, and citrus juices as substitutes for salt. These additions provide the necessary seasoning without compromising the SOS-free principles.

Chef Bravo Online Courses

Chef Bravo has extended his expertise to online courses, catering to beginners in plant-based cooking. His programs cover essential topics such as knife skills, flavor combinations, and kitchen organization. His approach, rooted in simplicity and reason, resonates with thousands of participants, guiding them towards healthier eating habits.

Refeeding After Fasting

One of Chef Bravo’s significant roles at TrueNorth Health Center involves refeeding patients after fasting. He emphasizes the critical nature of this phase, wherein the body, cleansed by fasting, needs to reintroduce the right foods. Chef Bravo’s expertise ensures that patients are nourished with plant-based, SOS-free meals, setting them on the path to optimal health.

Bravo Cookbook and Bravo Express

Chef Bravo has also penned his popular cookbook that reflects his culinary philosophy. Bravo! Health Promoting Meals from the TrueNorth Health Kitchen, a staple for plant-based enthusiasts, offers a wealth of SOS-free recipes.

Additionally, Bravo Express!: No Sugar – Oil – or Salt, caters to individuals and families seeking quick, easy, and healthy plant-based meals, perfect for busy lifestyles.

Chef Bravo’s culinary journey from his grandmother’s kitchen to the helm of TrueNorth Health Center’s kitchen showcases the transformative power of plant-based SOS-free cooking. His dedication to teaching others through online courses and cookbooks is a testament to his passion for fostering healthier eating habits.

By embracing his expertise and incorporating his valuable tips, individuals embark on a flavorful journey towards a healthier, more vibrant life. For those seeking a taste of this transformative experience, Chef Bravo’s online resources are a valuable starting point.

Episode Highlights

[02:00]              Chef Bravo’s passion for cooking was because of his grandmother. 

[05:15]             Skeptical but willing to give vegan cooking a shot.

[11:00]             Chef Bravo goes deeper into the process and ends up losing lots of weight.

[13:00]             Once Chef Bravo experienced the shift, there was no denying the benefits of

                           plant-exclusive, SOS free diets.

[16:30]             Chef Bravo still struggles with salt from time to time.

[20:00]             Courses offered by Chef Bravo.

[23:20]             Chef Bravo’s core techniques to enjoy preparation and cooking.

[30:00]             Refeeding protocol after resetting one’s system from an extended water fast.

[35:30]             Transitioning to cooking highly nutritious plant-based meals is about redirection. 

About Chef Ramses Bravo

For Chef Ramses Bravo, a world-renowned chef, the journey into the world of vegan cuisine was a path unimagined in his early years.

Growing up surrounded by diverse culinary experiences, Chef Bravo developed a deep appreciation for the intricate flavors of different cuisines. His culinary aspirations led him to San Francisco in 1996, where he immersed himself in the art of cooking, mastering the techniques of preparing everything that moved, from veal to lobster.

After years of indulging in a diverse range of culinary delights, Chef Bravo found himself at the helm of various prestigious kitchens, where gourmet creations and exquisite dishes flowed freely. The excesses of his culinary adventures took a toll, and he recognized the need for a change.

Fate had other plans for Chef Ramses Bravo. An unexpected turn of events led him to embrace vegan cooking, a concept entirely foreign to his training as a traditional chef. Reluctantly, he delved into the world of vegan cuisine, initially thinking of it as a business strategy rather than a culinary passion. His journey was transformative. He embraced the challenge, channeling his culinary expertise into creating innovative, flavorful vegan dishes. His creativity knew no bounds as he experimented with plant-based ingredients, discovering a world of tastes, textures, and aromas he had never imagined.

Chef Ramses Bravo is currently the Head Chef for TrueNorth  Health in Santa Rosa, California. He is also the creator of, where enthusiasts can find his online plant-based cooking courses. He is the author of Bravo and Bravo Express cookbooks, showcasing his culinary expertise in the world of vegan gastronomy.

Chef Ramses Bravo’s contributions to plant-based cuisine are a testament to the power of embracing a new culinary path, redefining the culinary landscape, and captivating the palates of food enthusiasts worldwide.

More on Chef Bravo

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.

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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