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Podcast: Power Up with Plants: Insights from Dr. Jennifer Davis



Introduction to Podcast

Join Dr. Orlena in this exciting episode of "Fit and Fabulous" as she welcomes the incredible Dr. Jennifer Davis, a pediatrician turned lifestyle medicine expert.

Discover the transformative power of plant-based nutrition and how it can revolutionize your health and wellness.

Dr. Davis shares her personal journey, practical tips for incorporating more plants into your diet, and the amazing benefits for both kids and adults.

Whether you're looking to boost your energy, manage weight, or simply feel your best, this episode is packed with valuable insights and inspiration. Tune in to "Power Up with Plants" and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you.

You can listen on your favourite podcast app here: 

Transcript of Podcast "Power Up with Plants: Insights from Dr Jennifer Davis"

Dr Orlena : Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to Fit and Fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena I am super excited because we have a fabulous guest who is going to talk to us all about the power of plants. Hello and welcome Dr. Jennifer Davis.

Dr Jennifer: Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here today.

Dr Orlena : My absolute pleasure. I do really just love the power of technology and that we can connect. And feel like we're in each other's living room. It's just amazing. Jennifer, would you like to just introduce yourself and tell people a little bit about yourself, what you do, and then we can dive into your journey and your exciting wisdoms that you're going to share with us?

Dr Jennifer: Okay. My name is Jennifer Davis. I am a physician. I'm actually a pediatrician, pediatric intensive care training. And I did that for many years and recently became certified in lifestyle medicine, became very passionate about that. Now I'm combining a little bit of lifestyle medicine with my.

Dr Jennifer: Traditional medical practice, but also coaching mostly women, but all people to help them transition to healthy lifestyle.

Dr Orlena : You like to explain what lifestyle medicine is? Cause I'm sure that not everybody understands what lifestyle medicine is.

Dr Jennifer: Yes. Lifestyle medicine is amazing. Specialty that I learned about recently. Like I said, that uses the power of plant based nutrition, plant forward nutrition, exercise, sleep stress reduction, and uses evidence based practices to help prevent reverse and treat disease.

Dr Orlena : I love it. I love it. And on this podcast, we always talk about four pillars and my four pillars are nutrition, exercise that lights you up, sleep and emotional wellness, which is obviously includes your stress levels. And I always say to people, my pillars might be quite similar to other people's.

Dr Orlena : And there's a reason for that. That's because they're the ones where all the research is. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your journey? Cause you said you had a journey. of how you discovered how amazing plants are. We would love to hear that.

Dr Jennifer: physician. I didn't know that much about nutrition. I knew basics about nutrition like macros and, you know, carbohydrates, fats, protein, but I actually became passionate about becoming plant based because of sustainability, but because of the mission to, you know, Try to have a positive effect on the planet.

Dr Jennifer: And in that journey, I actually learned, I actually watched the movie forks over knives. And that was my first introduction to the power of plant based nutrition in treating disease. I was amazed to see that people were actually, you know treating their heart disease using plants and, you know reversing or managing autoimmune disease and diabetes and all these things that I hadn't learned about in, you know medicine.

Dr Jennifer: So it became plant based, felt great myself and wanted to tell everybody about it. And then when I learned about forks over knives and about the actual, this is something that people use to treat disease, I became more passionate about learning it, being able to share it more widely with my friends and family initially.

Dr Jennifer: it changed the way I practice change the way I looked at my patients, the way I looked at disease, the way I looked at everything. It really still lights me up every day. I mean, I have to say, I love practicing pediatrics, general pediatrics. I love seeing children grow, but seeing the effects of, changing diet and really addressing all of these lifestyle factors and seeing the effect is.

Dr Jennifer: It's the best thing.

Dr Orlena : amazing. That's amazing. And I think, I think you bring up a good point and you say, as when you were training, you didn't know anything about nutrition. Well, I didn't either. And I think to be honest, it's not something that was really taught. Well, it definitely wasn't in my UK medical school. I remember being a, did pediatrics as well.

Dr Orlena : And I remember being a pediatric trainee and having, A session with the dietitian and she asked us what macros chickpeas were and we all went carbohydrates? And she was like no. You're definitely not that alone there. I'd love to hear some examples from your pediatric practice of, of some examples of, you know, Changing people to a plant based diet and how that's helped them.

Dr Jennifer: a lot of problems children have are belly pain. A lot of times with constipation. , a lot, maybe not changing the complete change to plant based, but being more aware of the power of plants. , encouraging people and finding ways to incorporate more.

Dr Jennifer: Fruits and vegetables in the diet and seeing how that really has a positive effect. And I have to say, you know, I do urgent care now, and I can say that I use lifestyle medicine every single day in urgent care because it comes up so frequently when you talk about, you know constipation or belly pain or, you know, children being on antibiotics repeatedly trying to, Support the gut in a, in a healthy way.

Dr Jennifer: And you talk about eating more fruits and vegetables and limiting, you know, other things I really focus more on increasing the fruits and vegetables and giving people tools to do that.

Dr Orlena : My experience of children. I'm totally with you. I totally remember that being a pediatric doctor. And I remember saying to people when they'd come in and we'd diagnose constipation go, Oh, it's great. You don't need medicine. All you need to do is eat more vegetables.

Dr Orlena : And they'd look at me and go, what are these vegetable things that you're talking about and how do I get my children? This was before I had kids. I was just like, well, you just cook them and you give them to them. And then I realized. It's not as easy as that. When I was a parent. Oh my goodness, shock of all shocks, I remember one time my son sitting on the toilet with just tears streaming down his face and me feeling totally mortified.

Dr Orlena : Here's me, super, you know, loving healthy foods and all of that, and he's constipated. Why? Not because I haven't been offering them, But because he picks out all the pasta and leaves all the vegetables and he's constipated, it's not as easy. It's not as easy as just presenting it, is it?

Dr Jennifer: No, it's not. And you know, it's funny you say that my kids were seven and nine, when I went plant based, so that was like a big transition. That was like a big thing to try to figure out how to get them to eat more veggies. And I have all these different tricks. One thing is how having them help you in the kitchen.

Dr Jennifer: When they prepare and , they have a hand in it, then they're more likely to try it. Also, just sneaking things in, making smoothies and packing them with veggies, you know green leafy vegetables.

Dr Jennifer: Also, making fruits available and finding out fruit that kids love. Berries are one thing that's a great high fiber snack.

Dr Orlena : Yeah, perfect. Perfect. And I'm sitting here recording and I've, we've got this amazing mulberry bush outside and I'm looking at it Oh my goodness, I have to go and pick the mulberries before the birds get to it.

Dr Jennifer: Love mulberries. Oh, that's wonderful.

Dr Orlena : It is wonderful. So listen, I want to talk a little bit more about adults because although we have some parents who listen to the podcast, not everybody who listens to the podcast has young kids. Tell us about the power of plants for women who are over 40, maybe looking to lose weight, may not be, but you know, energy level is important.

Dr Orlena : We reach that kind of time in life where, oh, it just feels like there's more to do. We're more tired and it feels like it's a downward spiral. Well, obviously podcast, it doesn't, but that's where a lot of people listen to. Let's talk about That cohort of people, what can you tell us about vegetables?

Dr Jennifer: I think it's the best thing ever because the great thing about plants is that they're more nutrient dense. They support your gut health. They support just you feeling better, your energy, but they're also less dense, less calorie dense. You can eat more.

Dr Jennifer: You can eat, actually more calories plant based and your body doesn't absorb as many. If you're really focused on weight loss, which I try to focus more on nourishing your body, but focusing on weight loss, that really is the key. If you focus on a plant forward diet, you will automatically get better.

Dr Jennifer: Be consuming fewer calories and your body will function better, right? Your gut health is improved. Your energy's improved. it's positive reinforcement all the way around.

Dr Jennifer: A huge thing when you talk about hormonal changes is that higher fiber intake helps stabilize your hormones.

Dr Jennifer: That also helps with feeling better, even , improving hot flashes . When you focus on a more plant forward diet, higher plant protein. . That also is much more powerful more helpful and more holistic, sustainable way to feel better in this stage of life.

Dr Orlena : Perfect. Now, I want to just, you've picked it, made a few points that I want to just elaborate on. And the first one was, I totally love this, that you talk about, you know, plants and really saying it's actually kind of difficult to eat more calories. And I always think of this as an analogy. I think most people can relate if you've got, well, I call them biscuits, you probably call them cookies, I'm guessing.

Dr Orlena : But a whole packet of biscuits. And I remember when I was revising for my A levels and my finals, chocolate digestives were my, like my little reward after I'd done some work. Oh my goodness. Could you eat an entire packet of chocolate digestives? I think you could. I think most people can agree that it is relatively easy to eat an entire packet of biscuits or cookies.

Dr Orlena : Now, I also really love cabbage. It's one of the things that I have every single week. I talk about giving the cab, crab, excuse me, cabbage crown to people. You're, you're allowed to have the cabbage crown this week. Now, can you eat a whole cabbage in one sitting? the answer is, as much as I love cabbage, you get to a stage where you're just like, I just actually can't eat any more cabbage anymore.

Dr Orlena : And I think that's a really And I think it also leads into, we don't really want our food to be hugely, hugely appealing because when it is that appealing food, it's so much easier to eat than when it's vegetables. Like I have lots of vegetables for lunch and I feel full up after lunch. I don't feel like I can eat anymore, but I don't worry about my weight.

Dr Orlena : just carry on doing the things that I normally do. So that was a point that I just wanted to elaborate on a little bit. Now you talked about hormones and our age. Could you just elaborate a little bit more on hormones and plants and how the two of them are related? by each other.

Dr Jennifer: you have a lot of variation and hormones when you're perimetopausal. The effective plants, the higher fiber implants helps. It helps stabilize because it decreases the circulation , of the hormones, intra hepatic circulation.

Dr Jennifer: That's one way it stabilizes hormones. Also phytoestrogens from plants, that also helps with supporting some of the menopausal, paramenopausal symptoms that you have because the phytoestrogens in plants help. You know, stabilize those symptoms.

Dr Orlena : Fabulous. And you also mentioned plant proteins and sneak peek. I do have somebody who's going to come and talk just about protein. Because protein is a really controversial area, I think. And I think that one of the reasons it's controversial is because us mere mortals have to listen to experts. And obviously there's a certain knowledge out there that we have in research.

Dr Orlena : It's not something that I spend my time going through loads and loads of research, but experts don't seem to appear, don't seem to agree on, on protein and how much we need and who needs what and all these things. That's something that we're going to talk about in a bit. But what I really wanted to talk about with you is different plant proteins.

Dr Orlena : And I know that A lot of people think, Oh my goodness, if I'm vegetarian or plant based, then I'm just not going to get enough protein. So could you talk a little bit about plant sources of protein, please?

Dr Jennifer: So this, I have a lot of thoughts on this protein thing.

Dr Orlena : Say, say all your thoughts.

Dr Jennifer: I do think we focus way too much on protein. I do think that if you're eating a well balanced plant based diet, you get plenty of protein. I was thinking about today actually, because if you're consuming whole grains, whole grains have protein in them.

Dr Jennifer: If you're eating, consuming vegetables, they obviously have protein. Beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, they all have higher amounts of protein. But literally, if you have a plate that's balanced, which ideally that's what we teach in lifestyle medicine, you're having, half ideally of vegetables, a quarter of whole grains,

Dr Jennifer: If you have a balanced plate and that's what you're consuming, you're generally going to get enough protein. Now, I'm not saying if you're a bodybuilder or an elite athlete, obviously that's all that's wrong, but generally you're going to get enough protein that way. And I feel like the focus of consuming protein is on the body.

Dr Jennifer: Protein, especially if it's animal protein, you end up with other problems, right? Higher cholesterol, saturated fat, which leads to all the other chronic diseases that we see a lot here in America. Definitely. So that's my farm. I think that protein isn't everything. In fact, I was thinking I, today I made my I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Dr Jennifer: And my bread had cause I never count macros, but I had to look just to see my bread had I think it was, Seven grams or four grams of protein and my peanut butter had eight grams of protein. That just in my half of peanut butter sandwich, that's all 14.

Dr Orlena : Now you do nuts. Cause you always can say you've left out nuts. I eat so many nuts.

Dr Jennifer: I'm

Dr Orlena : I live off nuts.

Dr Jennifer: course. Yes.

Dr Orlena : Like nuts are my thing. I think I get most of my protein from nuts and I'm very athletic and I do a lot of exercise and I notice on the days. Okay. Well, I noticed on the days that I exercise more, I probably feel more hungry and I eat more nuts.

Dr Orlena : I don't know if it's that I just directly eat the nuts or I just eat something which happens to be nuts. , you are very active as well, is that correct?

Dr Jennifer: Yeah,

Dr Orlena : Tell, tell us about your, your activities that you do.

Dr Jennifer: well, I'm a runner. I like to ultra run actually. So long distances. It's funny that as I became plant based, it was around the time I started doing ultra races. And so I was very concerned initially about my protein intake and all of that. But I actually found that, like you said, when you're hungry, you eat more.

Dr Jennifer: If you eat more and you're eating the unprocessed foods and good foods, you're, you're fine. I found that I recovered faster. I could run longer. And, and run again, you know, after that. So that really is. Something

Dr Orlena : How, how long is an ultramarathon?

Dr Jennifer: Ultra marathon is anything longer than 26. 2 miles. Anything longer than a marathon.

Dr Jennifer: Anything from 50 K to 100 miles, 100 miles is actually higher. You can go many, many more miles. 100 miles is the

Dr Orlena : What is the longest marathon that you have run?

Dr Jennifer: I've done 100 miles a couple of times.

Dr Orlena : That is crazy! How could you have done that? That's amazing! I don't

Dr Jennifer: It's great. I mean, once you do it, you want to do it again and again. Yeah, it's amazing.

Dr Orlena : could walk 100 miles in one day be honest.

Dr Jennifer: Well, it's more than one day.

Dr Orlena : That's amazing. And are you plant based or are you totally vegan or vegetarian?

Dr Jennifer: vegan, .

Dr Orlena : Okay, perfect. Perhaps we should just explain the difference between plant based and vegetarian and vegan,

Dr Jennifer: Right. , , vegetarian is you eat plants, but you may also consume dairy and cheese. Basically, that's it. Vegan is no animal products at all. That's, you may have processed foods, meat replacements and things like that, but no animal products in any way. No leather. That means that it's really a, a ethical choice is veganism and plant based means that you focus on consuming mostly whole unprocessed plant foods.

Dr Orlena : but potentially with some meat in it. I would consider myself plant based. I would like to be vegetarian, but I have four children who are carnivores and I just, life is easier if I eat a little bit of meat than if I cut it out totally. But one day we will see. That's absolutely amazing. As a vegan, do you find that you need to take any supplements or anything like that, if you're doing such amounts of exercise or just not, she's shaking her head, you need to talk,

Dr Jennifer: no, no, I don't. I mean, I do use supplements, but I don't need to. I mean, I sometimes do, but that's not something I have to do. Definitely. I do races. I focus again, like I'm eating whole foods. Like even when I do long races, a lot of times people will, will use other things, but I eat food. I'll eat peanut butter and jelly.

Dr Jennifer: I'll eat, you know, whatever along the way. And I find that I recovered better. I feel good. That's another good thing that's related to ultra. Long distance endurance races. You find that your digestion is a problem because your body, all of your blood flow is going to your muscles.

Dr Jennifer: But I find that when you eat plant based, I have no problems at all. I don't have problems with my digestive system when I do long

Dr Orlena : that's amazing. That's amazing. And do you just refer into your supplements? Do you take supplements for specific things or do you take general supplements that you would advise other people to take

Dr Jennifer: My schedule's a little cuckoo sometimes, , so sometimes I'll make a protein shake or something like that, and I do take some vitamin D, because I live in the northeast,

Dr Orlena : vitamin D in Spain as well in the winter? ,

Dr Jennifer: Yes, but but yeah, I, you know, one of the things I love about being plant based is because you're eating such a nutrient dense diet, I really don't worry about supplements that much.

Dr Jennifer: Vitamin B12. Sorry. I do take that.

Dr Orlena : okay. And I think that's specifically because you're vegan rather than for any other, and anybody who's, like, even vegetarians who are eating, like, a little bit of dairy products, they're going to get that vitamin B12

Dr Jennifer: Right. You know, it's interesting though. I did do a little coaching for an adult practice and I found that a lot of, as we get older, especially around perimenopause or absorption, depending on what your diet is, if you're not eating well, I think absorption of vitamin B12 might be lower. So I found a lot of people have low B12 levels.

Dr Jennifer: Something to consider as we get older that it may help.

Dr Orlena : Okay, and so what would be, what would those people who have got low vitamin B12, what symptoms would they be looking at?

Dr Jennifer: the thing with B12, it's vague, you can be tired, but the concern is your, you can have neuropathy,, with long term vitamin B12 deficiency, it can affect your cognitive function. Those are things that you may not see until the, you know, it's causes significant effects. It's something that you want to stay ahead of.

Dr Orlena : So, people can either take a supplement, or they can go and get their levels checked. Okay, perfect. Fabulous. Well, thank you so much for coming and telling us about your amazing journey and your amazing inspiring life. Do you have any last words of wisdom for us?

Dr Jennifer: I think that this has been great. Thank you so much for having me. And you know, I always say focus on, you know, nourishing your body with whole and processed foods. I don't know, feel you feel your best. And I, I will say that there's a lot of controversy or confusion out there. And so it's like, keep it simple, focus, focus on consuming more plants or increasing the plants in your diet.

Dr Jennifer: And you'll be doing it.

Dr Orlena : Perfect. And where can people find you on the internet? What services do you offer? And what gifts do you have for us?

Dr Jennifer: I'm on Instagram as healthy living with Dr. Jen. You can find me there. I have a demystifying food labels ebook, which you can get for free. If you go to my Instagram, you'll see the link to download.

Dr Orlena : And that is an amazing gift. That's an amazing gift. It's really interesting. Actually. I, I have minimal processed foods in our house, but I recently, I sometimes buy pastry, you know, that you could just make a pie and it's just a little bit quicker. And I looked at it and I looked at it and thought, Oh, actually it's quite good ingredients.

Dr Orlena : It's got flour. It's got a bit of olive oil in it. I think they put lemon juice in it. Not very much. Then, my children like noodles, and I had no idea that there was a difference between regular noodles and something called instant noodles. And I bought these noodles, which are apparently instant noodles, and I looked at the ingredients.

Dr Orlena : They do come with a spice sachet, which you'd think would just be some spices, but no. But the ingredients in these noodles were just such a long list. I'm like, they're just noodles. How could they have so many horrible things in them? I'm not ever buying those again, but it's a really useful tool to be able to read labels and understand what you're consuming.

Dr Orlena : That's amazing. And I will leave the link in the show notes for people so that they can hop on and get that amazing gift. So thank you very much. And thank you so much for spending some time with

Dr Jennifer: Thank you for having me.

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