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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 074. | April 04, 2024
074: From Rocket Scientist to 100% Plant-Based Lifestyle Doc with Dr. Niki Davis
074: From Rocket Scientist to 100% Plant-Based Lifestyle Doc with Dr. Niki Davis

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Dr. Nikki Davis is a notable advocate for lifestyle medicine, seamlessly blending her background in mechanical engineering with her passion for promoting wellness. From her early adoption of a vegetarian diet to her transition from rocket scientist to board-certified physician, Dr. Davis’s journey is nothing short of inspiring. Her dedication to plant-based nutrition and holistic health has made her a sought-after expert in the field.

Dr. Davis is this week’s featured expert on the NHA Health Science Podcast hosted by Dr. Frank Sabatino. Through this platform, she shares her profound insights and expertise on lifestyle medicine, expanding her impact and reach to a wider audience, something she is very committed to.

Dr. Davis amplifies the importance of lifestyle interventions in improving health outcomes and fostering well-being.

A Unique Path to Wellness

Dr. Davis’s early decision to adopt a vegetarian diet as a teenager stemmed from a desire to improve her health and align with her values of compassion for animals. Despite initial skepticism from her family, she persevered and eventually influenced them to adopt healthier eating habits as well.

Before transitioning to medicine, Dr. Davis worked as a rocket scientist, leveraging her engineering background to solve complex problems. Yet, her passion for promoting wellness led her to pursue a career change and embark on a journey into the field of medicine.

Championing Lifestyle Medicine

During her residency in family medicine, Dr. Davis recognized the limitations of traditional medical approaches, which often prioritize managing symptoms rather than addressing underlying lifestyle factors. This realization fueled her passion for lifestyle medicine, leading her to pursue additional certifications and training in plant-based nutrition.

Through her work at Love.Life/Telehealth, Dr. Davis has found a platform to deliver personalized care and empower patients to take control of their health. With longer appointment times and a focus on preventive measures, she can delve deeper into patients’ lifestyles and provide comprehensive guidance tailored to their needs.

Advocacy and Community Engagement

Dr. Davis’s advocacy efforts extend beyond clinical practice, as she actively engages with communities through initiatives like Plant-Based Montana. She was very active in Plant-Based Montana when living in Billings. Now in Salt Lake City, Dr. Davis continues her advocacy by organizing events, potlucks and workshops in order to inspire others to embrace healthier lifestyles.

Empowering Change

One of the most significant challenges in healthcare is patient compliance. However, Dr. Davis finds that most patients who seek her out are already motivated to make lifestyle changes. They recognize the importance of incorporating healthier habits into their lives, whether it’s adopting a plant-based diet, managing stress, or improving their physical activity levels.

Even for those who may initially need convincing, Dr. Davis approaches her practice with a collaborative mindset. She acknowledges the importance of primary care physicians and works to complement their efforts rather than replace them. By focusing on results and the improvement of the patient’s health, conflicts between different approaches to healthcare can often be resolved.

Comprehensive Approach

Dr. Davis’s practice encompasses all pillars of lifestyle medicine, including nutrition, physical activity, stress management, sleep hygiene, and social connections. While many patients are drawn to her expertise in plant-based nutrition, she also dedicates significant time to addressing other aspects of holistic health. By understanding each patient’s unique circumstances and needs, Dr. Davis tailors her recommendations to promote sustainable lifestyle changes.

Leading by Example

As a proponent of holistic health, Dr. Davis practices what she preaches. She prioritizes physical activity, enjoying regular walks with her dog and participating in activities like forest bathing for mindfulness and connection with nature.

Additionally, she fosters community engagement through monthly potluck events, fostering social connections and promoting healthy eating habits.

Looking Ahead

While Dr. Davis has established herself as a leader in telehealth-based lifestyle medicine, she envisions expanding her impact through in-person events like retreats and medically supervised programs. Her upcoming retreat in Belize exemplifies her commitment to empowering individuals to take control of their health in a supportive and immersive environment.

A Journey to Better Health

Dr. Nikki Davis is not just a healthcare provider; she’s a partner in her patients’ journey to better health. With a focus on empowerment, collaboration, and holistic well-being, she’s changing the way we approach healthcare one patient at a time.

To learn more about Dr. Nikki Davis and her services, visit or explore Love Life Telehealth at

Episode Highlights

[00:00]            Introduction

[01:45]             From the space shuttle to lifestyle medicine… the big leap.

[04:45]             Family backlash doesn’t deter Dr. Davis from eating plant-based.

[08:00]             The motivation to specialize in family medicine.

[13:15]             Into lifestyle medicine before becoming a doctor.

[15:00]             Plant Based Montana sets the tone for future endeavors.

[17:30]             Love.Life/Telehealth offers a greater reach to patients.

[22:40]             Aligning patient’s care with their primary care physicians.  

[27:00]             Walks in the park, forest bathing and potlucks.

[31:30]             Retreats, retreats, retreats.

About Dr. Niki Davis

Dr. Niki Davis is a board-certified family medicine and lifestyle medicine physician. Earlier in her career, she worked as an engineer on the space shuttle program. However, after finding her passion for using food as medicine to prevent, treat, and reverse chronic disease, she left her job as a “rocket scientist” and transitioned into medicine. While in training, she had the opportunity to intern with Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Anthony Lim, Dr. Alan Goldhamer, and Dr. Michael Klaper. She is a regular guest on Chef AJ Live! and speaks at events around the country. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and young son.

Dr. Davis attended medical school at the University of Utah School of Medicine and completed her residency at the Montana Family Medicine Residency, American College of Lifestyle Medicine. She is certified in the Starch Solution and has a Plant-based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies through eCornell.

Dr. Davis specializes in chronic disease prevention, treatment, and reversal. This includes (but is not limited to) diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, obesity/overweight, thyroid health, and inflammatory arthritis. Her focus is helping people navigate the transition to a plant-based lifestyle and how to maintain it, deprescribing medications as needed.

Dr. Davis enjoys spending time with family, spending time outdoors (forest bathing, hiking, camping, snowboarding, river rafting), cooking, watching her son play baseball, and traveling the world.

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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