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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 062. | January 11, 2024
062: The SOS-Free Advantage of Plant-Based Nutrition with Dr. Malcolm Mackay
062: The SOS-Free Advantage of Plant-Based Nutrition with Dr. Malcolm Mackay

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Lifestyle medicine is a topic of discussion in many circles, and yet, it wasn’t always that way. In the past, few people could define lifestyle medicine. Today, more and more people are choosing this over simply handing their health over to medication and surgeries.

In a nutshell, lifestyle medicine is all about keeping yourself healthy and avoiding getting sick in the long run. It pays attention to what you eat, how much you move, and how you handle stress. The goal is to steer clear of issues like obesity, diabetes, or heart disease by addressing the root causes, such as unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity, or dealing with stress in not-so-healthy ways.

Although there is still a long way to go for people to embrace lifestyle medicine, there are many doctors and medical professionals around the globe who are committed to lifestyle medicine in treating their patients.

In this episode of the NHA Health Science Podcast, Dr. Frank Sabatino and Dr. Malcolm Mackay dig deep into lifestyle medicine, including salt, oil, sugar (SOS) free protocols, as well as the health climate in Australia.

Dr. Mackay, a Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician, and a fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, shared insights about his journey into the plant-based lifestyle and how that spilled over into his professional life.

Early Medical School Insights

Dr. Mackay’s journey into lifestyle medicine traces back to his medical school days in the early 1980s. A pivotal moment occurred when lectures on atherosclerosis and community health sparked a realization of the potential for prevention through plant-based living.

Evolution of Understanding

Driven by a passion for longevity and enhanced sports performance, Dr. Mackay adopted a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. The evolution of his understanding unfolded through encounters with influential figures like Nathan Pritikin and the Forks Over Knives documentary.

Calorie Density is a Critical Role in Weight Management

A key aspect of Dr. Mackay’s approach is the emphasis on understanding calorie density for effective weight management. Balancing whole, plant-based foods with nutritional requirements becomes paramount for sustained health.

Insights into Dr. Mackay’s Immersion Program

Dr. Mackay discussed the evolution of his immersive lifestyle medicine program. Initially spanning five days, it has evolved to a full seven days. Collaborating with his wife, Jenny, and other experts, the program incorporates a vegan chef, fitness trainer, and mental health specialist.

Medical Supervision and Medication Adjustments

One distinguishing feature of Dr. Mackay’s program is the emphasis on medical supervision. High-risk individuals receive consultations, and careful adjustments are made, particularly in cases involving insulin reduction for participants with type 2 diabetes.

Beyond Diet: Fitness, Mental Health, and Community

The program goes beyond dietary considerations, incorporating fitness training, mental health discussions, yoga, and meditation. Dr. Mackay highlights the creation of a supportive community, with ongoing support through follow-up Zoom meetings for program alumni.

Measurable Results and Continued Benefits

Dr. Mackay shares impactful anecdotes of participants experiencing immediate improvements, including weight loss and alleviation of joint pain. The importance of follow-up meetings is stressed, showcasing sustained positive outcomes for participants even years after the program.

Dr. Mackay’s Future Vision

As Dr. Mackay and his wife continue their journey, their mission remains focused on helping individuals and small groups adopt whole foods, plant-based, and other healthy lifestyle behaviors. Despite challenges in the broader health landscape, their commitment to educating and supporting those on the path to better health stands unwavering.

Both Dr. Mackay and his wife share a commitment to continue their mission, leveraging telehealth consultations, online programs, and valuable resources to guide individuals on the journey to optimal health.

With an active and vibrant lifestyle, including Dr. Mackay’s upcoming half marathon at the age of 65, the MacKay’s exemplify the principles they advocate – living a life of vitality and purpose through a plant-based lifestyle.

Episode Highlights

[00:00]            Introduction

[01:45]             Early stages of influence for Dr. Mackay for plant-based eating.

[04:45]             Learning the truth about disease reversal and remission through diet.

[06:30]             The pandemic of obesity transforms Dr. MacKay’s perception.

[09:15]             What’s the controversy of plant fats in the plant-based world?

[12:00]             The connection between obesity, body positivity and disease.

[17:45]             Dr. Mackay and his wife, Jenny’s, lifestyle immersion program.

[24:00]             Immersion retreat follow up proves very effective.

[29:30]             Low carb is currently dominating conversations in Australia.

[32:30]             People are mortgaging their health with quick fixes.

[36:00]             The reality of healthy food supplies in Australia.

[38:30]             Clarity of mission as it relates to healthy lifestyles for more people.

About Dr. Malcolm Mackay

Dr. Malcolm Mackay is a medical doctor and lifestyle medicine practitioner from Australia. He is a Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician and a fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine. He has a Graduate Diploma in Human Nutrition and a certificate in Sports Medicine. Malcolm is a member of the advisory council of Doctors for Nutrition, an Australian and New Zealand health charity promoting whole food, plant-based nutrition and educating health practitioners.

Dr. Mackay’s personal and professional interest in SOS-free plant-based nutrition began in medical school in the early 1980’s. He was active in the Pritikin Health Association of Australia in the late 1980s and continued to offer dietary advice to patients in his medical practice. His passion for treating patients with nutrition and lifestyle was reinvigorated by the emergence of the US whole-foods, plant-based movement around the time of the release of the Forks Over Knives documentary. Malcolm has strengthened his knowledge and made many friends through regular attendance at the International Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference.

Dr. Mackay sees in-person patients in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia, and provides Telehealth consultations to patients in all regions of Australia. Malcolm and his wife, Jenny, share a passion for helping others find their best health through a plant-based lifestyle. They provide evidence-based nutrition education and resources through their plant-based nutrition website and their online webinars.

Jenny facilitates health coaching groups for alumni of their programs and both Jenny and Malcolm regularly give community health talks. Malcolm, Jenny, and their lifestyle medicine team run a 7-day residential Lifestyle Medicine Immersion in a beautiful rural setting near Melbourne. The program includes education, group workshops and 100% low fat, SOS-free whole foods, plant-based nutrition.

Malcolm enjoys an active lifestyle, runs regularly, and loves to ski during the winter months.


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About Dr. Frank Sabatino

Dr. Frank Sabatino is the NHA National Health Director and podcast host for the NHA Health Science Podcast.

Dr. Sabatino is the past Health Director of the Shangri-La Natural Hygiene Institute, the Regency Health Spa in Hallandale, Florida, the Ocean Jade Health Retreat in Lauderdale by the Sea, Florida and the Balance for Life Health Retreat in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

As a recognized expert on water-fasting, Dr. Sabatino cared for and inspired thousands of people over the past 40 plus years on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle including whole food plant nutrition (without added salt, oil or sugar), health rejuvenation, stress management, therapeutic fasting and detoxification.

Dr. Sabatino is a Chiropractic physician, from the Palmer College of Chiropractic, who also has a Ph.D. in cell biology and neuroendocrinology from the Emory University School of Medicine.

He is also a proponent of Oriental energy arts and a long-time teacher and student of tai-chi and qi gong.

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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