50 episodes

The Plant Yourself Podcast features interviews with guests who are healing the world in various ways. From plant-based nutrition, to joyful movement, to evidence-based healthcare, to gardening, to environmental action, to social justice, to spiritual common sense - basically, all the folks I want to be friends with.



Listen to a few episodes, subscribe if you like, and meet my friends.

Plant Yourself - Embracing a Plant-based Lifestyle Howard Jacobson, PhD

    • Nutrition
    • 4.9, 285 Ratings

The Plant Yourself Podcast features interviews with guests who are healing the world in various ways. From plant-based nutrition, to joyful movement, to evidence-based healthcare, to gardening, to environmental action, to social justice, to spiritual common sense - basically, all the folks I want to be friends with.



Listen to a few episodes, subscribe if you like, and meet my friends.

    Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy with Jeanne Schumacher and Debra Shapiro, MD: PYP 420

    Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy with Jeanne Schumacher and Debra Shapiro, MD: PYP 420

    The COVID-19 pandemic is not a great time to be pregnant, according to my guests, Jeanne Schumacher and Debra Shapiro of The Pregnancy Advantage. It is, on the other hand, a terrific time to prepare to get pregnant.

    How does a woman do that, other than paint the nursery, give up booze, and buy a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting?

    By getting healthier, detoxifying her body and environment, and taking other personal actions that contribute to a healthier world for the next generation.

    In our conversation, we cover the evidence linking maternal food choices and weight to the baby's health. In addition to the commonly known stuff about the relation of diet to disease, maternal obesity predicts a lower IQ for her infant. How's that for a good reason to get to a healthy weight?

    We also talked about the importance of other lifestyle factors, including restorative sleep, stress reduction, exercise, and that illusive social support.

    And – and this is what I found most shocking – about the toxic chemicals in our foods, our environment, and other skin care products and cosmetics that can wreak havoc on the mother and the fetus.

    We also talked about how one person's actions can help others who are less fortunate. Given that freedom from air and water pollution and access to fresh produce are unfairly distributed by class, what can the privileged do to bring about a healthier world for all?

    Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

    Links

    The Pregnancy Advantage

    Environmental Working Group's Healthy Living App

    Research article: Understanding Epigenetic Effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

    Research article: The impact of prepregnancy obesity on children’s cognitive test scores

    Research article: Early Life Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Childhood Obesity and Neurodevelopment

    Review article: EDC-2: The Endocrine Society’s Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

    3-minute explainer video on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)

    Wall Street Journal article about toxins in sunscreen (paywall protected)

    Jeanne's favorite Latin music

    Hombre G

    Carlos Vives

    a href="https://www.youtube.

    • 1 hr 28 min
    Healing from Racism with Bianca and Michael Alexander: PYP 419

    Healing from Racism with Bianca and Michael Alexander: PYP 419

    I reached out to Bianca and Michael because I was turning into an a*****e.

    Specifically, I was full of rage and outrage and judgment at all the racists out there.

    And the fact that I was right, and on the side of right, and standing shoulder to shoulder with people of color, and fighting against systemic oppression that has been going on far too long – just made me more of an a*****e, to be honest.

    There were two costs to my assholery that I became concerned about.

    First, the cost to my own mental and physical health. I was angry, and reactive, and negative – all of which can trigger a cascade of unfun chemicals that wreak havoc on the immune system, digestion, nervous system, you name it.

    But that would have been OK if the societal upside were positive. You know, if my righteous anger were productive, effective, leading to meaningful change.

    Which brings me to the second cost: while I was preening my virtue on social media, getting kudos from the choir, I was completely alienating everyone who didn't agree with every single word I said. Rather than bringing people together in understanding, I was actually contributing to the divisions and fears and traumas that are at the heart of our society's great suffering.

    And I know – know in a fully-intellectual and semi-experiential way – that judgment of others is essentially me projecting my shit out onto the world. The spiritual traditions that have nourished me over the years are quite clear that me feeling better than others is me in the full grip of illusion.

    So I “should” be full of love and compassion for all the racists, for all the deniers, for all the intellectualizers, who are failing to rise to the moment. Who are fighting tooth and nail for their right to oppress, to harm, to degrade, to objectify, to exploit.

    But… but… but…

    That's when I reached out to Bianca and Michael. They've been on the show before, talking about conscious living. About love and transcendence and meditation and universal consciousness and all that stuff that I was tossing overboard in my crusade to help Black people.

    And they had just sent out an email broadcast from Conscious Living TV, written by Bianca, titled, “The First Time I was Called a ‘N*gger.'”

    And just before the cute-as-a-button photo of 3-year-old Bianca, before the article itself, about her not being invited to her friend's birthday party because her daddy didn't want a person of her color in his swimming pool, there was that wonderful Rumi quote:

    “Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.” – Rumi 

    And I thought, “Huh!”

    If Bianca can hold that Rumi quote, about there being a transcendent perspective that doesn't include right and wrong, in her heart as she tells the story of painful hurt and discrimination, maybe she can help guide me to a more constructive relationship with race, politics, and allyship.

    Bianca is Black. Her husband and business partner at Conscious Living TV, Michael, is white.

    And together they are my (and perhaps your) guides to love, healing, humility, liberation, power, and karma.

    We talk about all the negative things: guilt, shame, fear, anger, hatred, senseless pride.

    And explored the path forward. A path that can hold both righteous anger and love. A path of worldly action and spiritual contemplation. A path in which reparations – repair – is contextualized as karma rather than political or economic calculation.

    A path in which we may acknowledge, remain curious about, and bravely face our own pain-bodies: individual, ancestral,

    • 58 min
    Broccoli alone won’t get you to 100 with Marta Zaraska: PYP 418

    Broccoli alone won’t get you to 100 with Marta Zaraska: PYP 418

    For the last 7 years, I've worked to improve human health and wellbeing by focusing on better nutrition, vigorous physical activity, sleep hygiene, and stress management.

    Turns out I may have been missing the most important determinants of health – the social ones.

    Marta Zaraska has written a book that is fun, fascinating, scientifically sound, and socially revolutionary. In Growing Young, she argues that eating well and exercising are all well and good, but spending time with friends, cultivating a positive attitude, and helping others are far more powerful (and enjoyable!) determinants of health.

    And, as an added benefit, living an engaged, happy, and meaningful life can certainly cut down on cravings and binges and other self-destructive behaviors.

    The research that Zaraska shares on loneliness as a health threat is stunning. And given the current pandemic anxiety and social distancing and lockdowns, I suspect that the long-term health effects of all this isolation may prove as devastating as the immediate physiological harms wrought by the virus.

    My biggest takeaway from Growing Young is a reminder that health is not found in individuals, but in collectives. As a health professional, I'm usually working with one client at a time, and getting paid by that person. So it's easy for me to focus all my attention on their individual behaviors: what they're eating, how much they're moving, whether they're meditating or getting sufficient sleep, and all that. This individualistic approach isn't based on science, but on an invisible paradigm of the hero pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Yes, it's great for individuals to improve their diets and lifestyles. AND – the big gains in human (and planetary) wellbeing come from the connections and relationships among us.

    And that's really good news, actually. For at least two reasons that I can think of.

    First, as Zaraska points out, positive social interactions are highly contagious, in a way that eating broccoli is not. Do a random act of kindness, and others are more likely to do one themselves. (Wait until you hear about the Tim Horton drive-thru line.)

    Second, being socially engaged and positive and altruistic feels really good right away. In the moment. You get those squirts of dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin instantaneously, as evolution's incentive to pass on your genes by mating, rearing young, and forging strong social bonds. Contrast that with eating well or exercising, which (at first at least) typically suck in the moment, and give you positive results way down the road.

    Also, Zaraska is optimistic that the pandemic, for all its challenges and hardships, may serve the purpose of reminding us of the life-giving and health-affirming value of community. Like Joni Mitchell sings, “You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.” Now that we've been deprived of much of our social life, may we understand its value, and as we move forward, may we prioritize WE over ME. After all, if it's a long, happy, healthy life you're after, taking care of others is the most selfish thing you can do.

    Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

    Links

    Growing Young, on Amazon

    Growing Young website, with lots of cool stuff

    Follow Marta on Twitter and Instagram

    Support the Podcast

    This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay,

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Empowering Black Health with Lisa A Smith: PYP 417

    Empowering Black Health with Lisa A Smith: PYP 417

    Lisa A Smith is a serial entrepreneur who's made it her life's work to empower the Black community with information, skills, and philosophies that support health, peace of mind, and mutual support.

    Ms Smith is the founder of the Black Health Academy, creator of the Pharm to Table course, and executive director of the 7000+ member Plant Based Nutrition Support Group operating in Detroit (see below for an interview with the founder, Paul Chatlin).

    The mission of the Black Health Academy is to “eradicate the most common and preventable lifestyle diseases which disproportionately impact the black community.”

    Ms Smith began her career as a social worker in the foster care system, and discovered the dysfunctions of her diet when she lived abroad, in Italy and China, and saw that other cultures used food in completely different – and far more empowering and healthy – ways.

    Upon her return to the States, Ms Smith became a certified personal trainer, a certified plant-based nutrition counselor, and an advocate for plant-based health in the Black community.

    We talked about the need for Black representation in the plant-based and vegan movements, the problem of people of color not seeing anyone who looks like them at plant-based conferences and Vegfests (specifically the paucity of Black women presenters), and ways in which the cuisine and recipes of the mainstream don't satisfy the taste buds of communities of color.

    We also spoke about why the Black community is receptive to “alternative” approaches to health, based on a long history of being lied to and exploited by the medical establishment. We spoke about Dr Sebi, the Honduran healer who is universally known and revered in the Black community, and almost unknown – and typically reviled as a quack – by whites.

    We also explored the obstacles to change, including addictions to salt, oil, and sugar, and how to address the unmet needs underlying those addictions with clarity and presence and compassion.

    Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

    Links

    Lisa A Smith's website

    Black Health Academy podcast

    Fast Food Genocide – by Joel Fuhrman, MD and Robert Phillips

    Medical Apartheid – by Harriet A Washington

    Sweet Potato Soul Cookbook – by Jenné Claiborne

    Sweet Potato Soul – Jenné Claiborne's blog

    French Kiwi Juice and Masego – Tadow 2017

    Masego on NPR's Tiny Desk

    Paul Chatlin on Plant Yourself

    Support the Podcast

    This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by . Click the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.

    Announcements

    Group coaching with me for $15-50 per month: https://sicktofit.com/coaching.

    Ready to embark on your Big Change journey?

    Are you tired of knowing what to do, and still not doing it consistently? The WellStart Health Big Change Program,

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Empathy is Stronger than Fear with Glenn Murphy: PYP 416

    Empathy is Stronger than Fear with Glenn Murphy: PYP 416

    Glenn Murphy returns to Plant Yourself to talk about how we can self-regulate our emotions and actions during a time of great societal upheaval and division.

    We talk about our own impulses to “fight” with others, and where there's a messy intertwining of good intentions and unresolved psychological issues.

    We discuss the physiology of the stress response, particularly as it relates to the shame and guilt that accompanies some of our attempts to right wrongs and redress injustices.

    We talk about why and how to take breaks from work, from social media, and from the need to be always “in the struggle.”

    And a strategy for transcending our need to be “right” and instead seek to make the world a better place by embodying sanity, peace, and love.

    Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

    Links

    StressProof.net – Glenn's website

    info@stressproof.net – for information about the first online StressProof program.

    Freedom app – vs internet addiction

    The Conformity Experiment – Solomon Asch (the thing I blanked on during the conversation)

    Support the Podcast

    This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by . Click the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.

    Announcements

    Get coached (private, 1-on-1, unlimited laser coaching for an entire year): https://plantyourself.com/laser

    Ready to embark on your Big Change journey?

    Are you tired of knowing what to do, and still not doing it consistently? The WellStart Health Big Change Program, led by Josh LaJaunie and myself, will help you take the steps to finally live according to your knowledge and values.

    Go to WellStartHealth.com/program to learn more, and to get notified about the next program.

    Ask your questions or share your feedback

    Comment on the show notes for this episode (below)

    Connect with me

    Subscribe, rate, and review in iTunes

    Join the Plant Yourself Facebook Page

    Music

    The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

    It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

    You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

    Gratitudes

    Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Anthony Dissen – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Christine Nielsen – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar –...

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Going from Racist to Anti-racist with Dustin and Josh LaJaunie: PYP 415

    Going from Racist to Anti-racist with Dustin and Josh LaJaunie: PYP 415

    Dustin and Josh LaJaunie have amazing transformation stories. They went from obese to fit. From junk food addicts to plant-based eaters. From hunters to vegans. From sedentary to active.

    And everyone in the plant-based and vegan communities celebrates them for these achievements.

    But what's most inspiring and exciting to me about their new identities has nothing to do with food or health. Instead, it's about how going plant-based started a domino-chain of changes that opened them up to full-on compassion.

    First, for themselves.

    Next, for animals.

    And then, for all life on the planet.

    From homophobic to celebrating Pride with  rainbow posts. From reactionary to progressive. From racist to antiracist.

    I've gotten some flak for publishing this conversation. I fully expect my Patreon funding to decrease. And my risk is nothing compared to Dustin and Josh, who live not only in the plant-based world, but also in the small bayou town in Southeast Louisiana where they were born. A community that is struggling to rise to the challenge of the present moment, where so many white Americans have begun to say, “This stops now.”

    The main gist of the criticism is, why can't plant-based people just stick to that topic, without going all gooey about social justice and turning people off? Stay in your lane, herbivore!

    You be the judge – does the LaJaunie brothers' transformation turn people off to the possible sequelae of going plant-based, or is it perhaps the most eloquent and beautiful argument in support of eating with compassion?

    I want to say one other thing to my white audience. I'm a little uncomfortable sharing this conversation at this moment, precisely because so many white liberals and progressives can look at the old, racist LaJaunies and say to themselves, “Well, that was terrible, and good for them for changing, but I've never been a racist.”

    If that's your reaction (and I certainly share it, because it makes me feel good about myself), then I invite you to listen to this conversation through a different lens.

    I want you to ask yourself: Where do I need to start showing the courage that Dustin and Josh demonstrate right now? Where are my core beliefs unsupported by my actions on a daily basis? Where are my current blind spots about how I'm contributing, without intention or consciousness, to the perpetuation of racist outcomes in my society?

    We're not having this conversation to be congratulated. Instead, we're having it to model discomfort. The same discomfort we feel when we stand up for our way of eating in the face of peer pressure and even ridicule. The same discomfort we experience when we exercise to the point of exhaustion.

    Being healthy in this society; being plant-based; being vegan: these are all gyms where we've honed our discomfort muscles.

    Now it's time to get out of the gym, and start lifting weights to make this planet great – for everyone.

    Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

    Links

    JoshLaJaunie.com

    Dustin and his mom's cookbook: Pure Ambrosia: LaJaunie Family Traditions Recreated for Health and Longevity

    Grow Where You Are (Eugene Cooke)

    Books (Where possible, book links are to Mahogany Books, a Black-owned bookstore in Washington, DC. These are not affiliate links.)

    Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

    Passing, by Nella Larsen

    To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

    Videos

    13th documentary from Netflix (free on YouTube...

    • 1 hr 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
285 Ratings

285 Ratings

Maureen_CA ,

Smart, funny, relatable

Howard is so humble - he is so incredibly smart and has so much experience, and the fact that his shows seem so effortless is a testament to how well-prepared he is and how much research he has done beforehand if there is a guest on his show. I always enjoy his conversations with Dr. Glenn Livingston and his post-pandemic era shows have been particularly good. This podcast consistently stays on my weekly must-listen to list.

Rgbrgb11 ,

An extraordinary podcast

I can't recommend this podcast highly enough. The guests on the show are extraordinary and the topics could not be of more importance and urgency. If you have any interest in living a more just, healthy, compassionate, and sustainable life, give this a listen!

QueenOfSalads ,

Solid, fast paced, and well researched interviews

Just finished listening to the “straight talk on Covid-19” for the second time through. Probably the most rational information I’ve heard on this topic. I’m a long time listener of this podcast and enjoy the guests almost as much as your thoughtful and insightful interviewing skills. Well done. Please keep them coming!

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