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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 085. | June 20, 2024
085: Increasing Heart Health Through Plant-Based Eating with Dr. Daniel Chong
085: Increasing Heart Health Through Plant-Based Eating with Dr. Daniel Chong

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Cardiovascular diseases stand as the foremost cause of mortality worldwide, with an alarming toll of approximately 17.9 million lives annually, according to the World Health Organization. In combating this global health crisis, innovative strategies and advanced technologies are imperative. One healthcare professional committed to bringing achievable solutions to the forefront is Dr. Daniel Chong, a naturopathic physician. With specialized focus on cardiovascular health and holistic care, Dr. Chong is passionate about reversing cardiovascular diseases through lifestyle choices.

Early Influences and Background

Growing up in Hawaii amidst a health-conscious environment, Dr. Chong was inherently drawn to natural health, influenced greatly by his father, a surgeon with a passion for proper nutrition and exercise. Despite initially pursuing conventional medicine, Dr. Chong’s encounter with naturopathic medicine ignited a transformative journey, shaping his career trajectory profoundly.

Transition to Naturopathic Medicine

Driven by a desire for holistic and preventative care, Dr. Chong immersed himself in naturopathic medicine, with a high focus on cardiometabolic health and clinical lipidology. Recognizing the underrepresentation of cardiology in both conventional and alternative medicine, he embarked on a path to address this disparity.

Discovering Plant-Based Nutrition

A pivotal moment in Dr. Chong’s career was his exploration of plant-based nutrition, inspired by the groundbreaking work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish. Transitioning from a proponent of the paleo diet, Dr. Chong embraced the profound impact of plant-based nutrition on cardiovascular health, both personally and professionally.

Integrating Lifestyle Medicine

Dr. Chong advocates for a comprehensive approach to cardiovascular health, emphasizing whole food plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine. Despite ongoing debates in the nutritional community, his approach remains flexible, tailored to individual patient needs while prioritizing evidence-based practices.

Collaborations and Continuing Education

Through collaborations with experts like Dr. Joel Kahn, Dr. Chong continues to enrich his practice, gaining insights into surgical techniques and lifestyle interventions in cardiology. Such partnerships underscore the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in advancing holistic healthcare.

Navigating the Complexity of Nutrition: A Holistic Perspective

In the realm of nutrition, simplistic narratives often overshadow the intricacies inherent in dietary choices. Misinterpretations and reductionist viewpoints hinder progress, emphasizing the need for a nuanced understanding of nutrition science.

Understanding Lipidology and Its Implications

Lipidology, integral to cardiovascular health, requires a comprehensive understanding beyond conventional markers. By considering the multifaceted nature of lipids and their interplay with lifestyle factors, a more holistic approach to cardiovascular care can be achieved.

Embracing a Comprehensive Approach

Resisting reductionist viewpoints, embracing complexity, and acknowledging individual variability are pivotal in promoting holistic well-being. By integrating evidence-based research and personalized interventions, a more nuanced approach to nutrition and health can be fostered.

Dr. Daniel Chong’s journey epitomizes the evolution of holistic healthcare, particularly in the realm of cardiovascular health. His story underscores the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, evidence-based practices, and a holistic approach to patient care. Navigating the complexities of nutrition and health requires a nuanced perspective—one that honors the interconnectedness of dietary choices, lifestyle factors, and individual needs. As the landscape of healthcare continues to evolve, embracing complexity is essential in promoting optimal health and well-being.

Episode Highlights

[00:00] Introduction 

[01:30] An upbringing of natural care started Dr. Chong’s path to healthcare.

[05:30] Dr. Chong’s father, a surgeon, had concerns about Daniel’s reputation. 

[09:45] From paleo to plant-based diets proves quite a journey.

[14:00] Dr. Chong’s passion for food and lifestyle medicine comes to the forefront.

[17:30] Testing the plant-based eating protocol on himself proves to be a positive experience. 

[23:00] Healthy vs unhealthy fats and oils. 

[29:00] Truth and lies of lifestyle medicine.

[38:00] Vital Human teaches people how amazing the human body is and can be.

[43:00] What comes next for Dr. Chong.

About Dr. Daniel Chong 

Dr. Daniel Chong earned his doctorate in naturopathic medicine from National University of Natural Medicine and has been practicing as a licensed lifestyle medicine physician in Portland, OR, since 2000. His practice focuses on advanced risk assessment, prevention, and drug-minimizing treatment strategies for cardiovascular disease. In addition to his degree in naturopathic medicine, Daniel has completed certificate training in cardiometabolic medicine with Dr. Mark Houston at The Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, a BaleDoneen Method Preceptorship, and served for 4 years as a clinical consultant for Boston Heart Diagnostics. You can learn more about his work at




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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