Plant-Based Living: Interview with Plant-Based Chef and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach D Malfi

AS (00:10): Hey everyone. Welcome to Get Real, a podcast to empower you with sustainability know-how so you can improve your quality of life while doing your part to protect the planet. I'm your host, Alissa Stevens, an ecopreneur, Star Wars nerd, and relentlessly positive champion for transformation. Join me as I delve into global sustainability issues, break them down, and most importantly provide you with actions. So you can be an eco leader and your everyday life. In this episode, Chef D Malfi, plant-based chef and integrative nutritionist, and I are going to spend some time sharing stories and our personal experiences about something we humans crave and are seemingly in a never ending quest to find, that is balance. We're going to get vulnerable with you and break down the practices of holistic health. And plant-based living to show you how you can take ownership of your life and be empowered with whatever social environmental events matter most to you.

AS (01:09): But first a bit about our guest D is a multifaceted culinary entrepreneur, coach consultant, host, and author. She has a global online community with her weekly cooking show. Plant-Based made easy and she harnesses the power of a plant based diet in order to attain and sustain personalized, optimal health. Yes, we are here for that. Hey D Hey, I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for having me. Yes, absolutely. So I have to say just for our listeners, this episode is going to be a little different. Typically we dive right into all the nuances of some large sustainability issue and really break it down. And the inspiration for this episode is a little bit different. So I love the idea of plant-based eating and of regenerative agriculture and all of that, all of that good stuff. But in the past few months, I've really seen for myself that when it comes to sustainability changes and driving sustainability impact forward at the end of the day, the effectiveness of whatever programs you implement, or products or business activities or whatever it might be, it comes down to cultural shift and it comes down to us as individuals and who we are, what our relationship is to the things that we have in the world around us.

AS (02:44): So I met D and I thought this was a perfect opportunity to go over a topic that people deal with every day, which is food multiple times a day. Sometimes can't stop thinking about it, or it's like the nexus of your whole travel experience, whatever. Right? So I'm, I'm very excited and I'm fully aware that the choice to be sustainable, it starts with an understanding of where you're at, what works for you, what doesn't. So I'm all about teach Amanda fish and you know, that people have the tools to discover and work through things themselves, and it's an ever evolving journey. So I'd love to hear from you D and just for our listeners, what is distinct about integrative health and holistic nutrition? And why is this important to you?

Chef D (03:36): Such a good question. I think very few people will actually take the time to ask the question because it's actually it's nebulous. And so let me break it down for you and for the listener. I think holistic health is really all about caring for the whole person it's providing for your physical, your mental, your spiritual, and your social needs. And it's rooted in the understanding that all of these aspects affect our overall health and being unwell in one aspect affects you in others. Okay. Integrative health care is an approach to care that seeks to integrate the best of Western scientific medicine with a broader understanding of nature the nature of illness and then healing and wellness. So I really love integrative nutrition, integrative health, because I get the best of both worlds. And I think that in the modern approach to things that is can be one of the most effective ways to quickly and effectively look at what is going on and then approach it and take action. Hmm.

AS (04:38): So I'm hearing it's, it's, there's a, a real world element to it that it's, it's just like us as humans. It's a living breathing phenomenon, and it's not the same in one stage of life as the next. And it's, it's a journey,

Chef D (04:52): It's a journey. And one of the things that I really got when I was a student in integrative nutrition and actually going through the process of, of, of adding this to my skillset is I realized that we are all bio-individual. And when you think about that, that's obvious to most people, but if you really stop and really think about that, that means that each of us are really coming to it from a very completely different place. So we might, we might all feel a little bit of the same anxiety or the same, whatever nuances of things that we feel in our day to day, but we're all kind of dealing with things on a different, at a different place. And we're, I'm going to approach it from a different place. And so we have to respect our individuality and our bio-individuality is so key to really kind of approaching what one needs.

AS (05:41): That's so interesting. And I, I think about that all the time with regard to implementing change and effecting change with sustainability, because there is no one size fits all solution, right. You know, in different regions of the world, different countries, different States, different communities, different socioeconomic people with different socioeconomic backgrounds, race, all of that. It's, it's completely individualistic. And I think that we, as people though, we though we are communal society, we need social interaction. We need community. My experience is that we also are individuals largely, and it makes sense you gotta survive. So we got to focus on what's right in front of us day to day, but that's why I love food is it's, it's really an opportunity to go internal and realize what you can do that will be better for your life, but also have that big.

Chef D (06:36): Yes, absolutely. And that's, and that's why I love what I do. And that's why I do believe that what I do and what I offer is a solution for, for people. It's, it's actually what people are seeking. You know, I believe that life is separated into smaller, significant segments and that each contribute to one's overall feeling of health and wellbeing. And as a student of integrative nutrition, we have an understanding that being healthy is not just about the food that that's on our plate or the food that we eat. It's about the water that I drink. It's about the air that I breathe. It's about the love in my life, right?

AS (07:10): The love in my life.

Chef D (07:16): It's also about the amount of movement that I do each day. Whether I have a fulfilling career whether I have a spirituality or mindfulness practice and so on and so forth. So we, we actually have to see each of these aspects of our life as separate and as important. And each of these aspects, I call primary food. And the food that we eat is what I like to call secondary food. And both should be looked at together rather than separately.

AS (07:44): Ooh, this is so juicy. Okay. Pun intended. I love food puns. Bring it. So, and tell me about plant the plant-based living, because I know that you didn't start out your culinary journey and most of your culinary journey was not plant-based. So where did that shift happen and how has that made a difference in the offerings that you have and how you're able to be effective girl?

Chef D (08:07): Okay. I got to tell you this quick story. So last year, 2020 March, I was with Disney, I'm the host of the food and wine festival. I've been doing that for five years. I produce for the festival. I produce an event that's an like an in park cooking and nutrition and wellness experience. And I was doing a show.

AS (08:27): Okay,

Chef D (08:29): It's going to happen again this year. We'll see. But it was it was you know, amazing at an event. We were a three weeks into an eight week run and then the park closed. And we get news that we only have one more day and that they're going to shut the park down. Hopefully at that point they thought only for two weeks and nobody actually knew it was going to be kind of indefinitely. And I remember they called me and they said, can you come in and can you do your show one more time? And I thought, of course I can. And it was such an interesting experience because I had been working on this show, the show for the 2020 festival for years, I had been building for this for years. And I finally was able to write and produce a show that was all about holistic health and put that on a Disney stage.

Chef D (09:11): And to me, that was a life goal to me. I didn't even realize it was a life goal until I started working to this moment. And then finally, when I arrived, I remember having the moment of being, and doing the show and, and being present to it and thinking, wow, this is, this is actually exactly where I'm supposed to be. This is me on purpose. And I did my final show and there was hundreds of people there. And I remember it was so ironic because the theme of the show is how do we live healthy with the power of our families, our relationships and our food. And it felt as though the moment that I was walking off the stage and entering my dressing room, it was like, I was levitating. And I didn't understand, like, what is this power? Like I thought, Oh, I'm going to feel sad. I'm going to be whatever, whatever, you know, the show is ending. I was supposed to do a couple more weeks of this, but I felt inspired. And I, I went, I remember I was in my dressing room. I was cleaning up for the day, packing up all my things. And all of a sudden I heard a voice and I heard that voice say, you will no longer use animals.

Chef D (10:16): And the key word for me was used. And I remember sitting there and I was like, okay, this has very weird. I don't have experiences like this. You know, that's super woo. You know, I'm all of a sudden, I'm putting it into a category. That's not mine. I can't be mine. And I came home and I immediately called a couple of family members. And I was like, I got this message. And I don't know what it, where it's from or what it's about, but I, I cannot use animals anymore. And what I think that means is I think I need to actually change my lifestyle. And I did within a couple of weeks, I decided I cleaned out my entire house of all animal products. I got just this big kind of like aha moment that it was it's time to go plant-based. And I, for some reason, it was like, plant-based felt like that was, that was the direction for me.

Chef D (11:02): That was the language for me. And then I started reading every book and watching every documentary. And for me as a chef for 15 years, I think I sort of avoided this information for a long time, because I didn't want to face it. I was like, it's too painful to know about the actual food system, how we actually use animals and then kill them and then sell them for meat all the, while nobody actually knows what's going on. And I, I was afraid to look at it. And finally, once I did, I realized, Oh my gosh, I not only do I need to know about this, but it feels like it's, it's imperative for me, someone that is a food professional as a culinarian, it is my responsibility to use food better. It is my responsibility to change my life so that I can actually provide and serve people with the power of our plate using plant foods.

Chef D (11:54): And it was like, it was like a no-brainer once I actually stepped into it this, this like fear that I had once had around what it would be like if ever I considered changing my eating style or my lifestyle, it went away completely. And then when I realized that the power of a plant-based lifestyle can prevent and reverse chronic disease, it can conserve water. It cuts greenhouse gas, greenhouse gas emissions. It can conserve the land conserve land. It can help prevent species extinction, reduce waste pollution prevent Marine life destruction, slow deforestation, help alleviate world hunger. That in and of itself is enough and boost your body's performance, all of these things, then it's, it's really that's for me. I'm I knew at that point, I would never go back to the way that I was eating and the way that I was cooking for people. And so here I am living on purpose, living in alignment, and I always knew I would get here. I just never knew it would be like this.

AS (12:59): Yes. so I think what you experienced, what just hearing that it's like you actually did for yourself and listened to, and to what, on committed to that for yourself in the same way that you coach other people. Yes. And there's nothing wrong with how it was before. No, I mean, it's just how you grew up. Right. And it was, that was your self-expression and now that's transformed and that's different. And I've had my own reckoning with what feels good and what doesn't and, you know, personal detail that I share about all the time I had an eating disorder in college. So my relationship to food is very complex and it has it, it changed the way that I view the way that I view passion. And it changed the way that I view health and the way that I feel my body and my relationship to my body and how I treat that.

AS (13:54): So preciously now. So I think that all of those moments are defining for us. And that's awesome that you've listened to that. And I think that piece where you were able to notice that there is that voice telling us it's time for a change and to explore it and not have to be so hard and fast about it. I mean, for you, it was, but we don't have to necessarily be all or nothing in it, you know, and that's for us to discover. So speaking of that, I want to do a little exercise with you that you told me about, which is the integrative health circle of life. Yeah. Let's do it.

Chef D (14:34): That's actually going to give you a better idea of actually how I work with people and guiding people, because just like you said, it's for most people, it's not like this aha, like, you know, divine intervention, it's this like slow and steady. Something feels off in an area and it's time for me to look at it. Right. I mean, is that how it has been for you in your life, in certain areas or aspect?

AS (14:55): Totally. Well, ironically, I mean the, I grew up loving food and I've traveled a lot. So I've had those experiences and then where I was at emotionally for a time with things that were going on in my life, I totally cut off that relationship. And now it is restored and renewed and rejuvenated. And so I've had to, I've had to recalibrate myself, right. And like, it doesn't, it changes every few years, I've had health challenges in different ways since then or different emotional things that were going on in my life. And I always am looking in, in kind of recalibrating and trying to get to that ground zero balance. And sometimes it's frustrating because it really does affect your quality of life when something's off in that way. And I'm lucky to have had people in my life who always promoted mindfulness and taking the time to actually look at that.

AS (15:54): But I know there's always, you know, we have blind spots for everything. So yeah, so let's, let's do it, you know, tell us what the circle of life is. I have this visual aid up here, we'll make sure that all of you listeners have it on our social media channels so that you can take a look at it for yourself. And what I would invite, all of you listeners to do is as we're going through this, look for yourself and start to see in the context of your own life, how this might apply to you. Yeah.

Chef D (16:24): All right. So we're going to dive into this awesome tool. It's called the integrative health circle of life. And here's what it's all about. It's essentially a 12 piece visual representation of four equally important major categories for achieving optimal health and longevity. Okay. Cause that's really the goal for people. It's how do we feel our best for the longest, right? And so these four areas are relationships, mindfulness or spirituality, depending on your language for it career and then movement or physical activity, depending on your language for it. Right. And then with each of these four major categories, there are additional minor categories within and they're there as follows. Okay. So within relationships that includes social life and home environment within spirituality or mindfulness, that includes joy and creativity within career. That includes education and finances and within movement or physical activity that includes home cooking and health.

Chef D (17:25): Okay. And within my holistic health practice, this to me represents the rainbow of living well. And you'll see, when you, actually, if you look at the visual representation, each slice of this 12 pieces of the pie is a different color of the rainbow. And if you ever watch my show, you'll see that I have a huge rainbow in the backdrop of my studio in my kitchen, because I like to give you the constant reminder that we all aspects of the rainbow. We are coming from different colors. We feel different ways. We want to eat different various foods and all in all, everything together represents the whole, right. So that's a good reminder. So, so let's do it. Let's do it with you. Alissa. Let's actually use you as an example. I want you to actually look at the circle of life and actually Mark your balance within each of these cow categories with dots.

Chef D (18:17): Okay. So you can do this in your mind. I want you to look at each of these 12 aspects and I want you to Mark where you feel you have balance and where you feel you don't and for areas of your life, where you have balance, you can put your dot clutter closer to the center and for areas of your life where you don't have balance. I want you to put your dot closer to the outside of the circle. Okay? Okay. And then once you have that and you have your dots placed on each of these categories, then I want you to visually actually create a circle, actually connect all of the dots. And what you'll end up seeing is that it's not going to be a perfect circle. It's going to look like this, like blob this like something weird blob, amalgamation, this alien Mark. That's what it will look like. And that's what everyone's circle of life looks like. So take a second and do that

AS (19:07): Wonky amoeba circle of life. Yeah. Okay. Okay. So I will narrate this so you all listening can get it too. Okay. So physical activity, I would say balanced health ish, I'd say there's anxiety a little bit and sleep. So health, a little less balanced education, totally balanced career ish, finances, ish, creativity, super balanced spirituality, balanced, joy, balanced. That's nice. I like that pillar social life, social life. Eh, I feel connected to my people and I have a really strong nucleus here in LA. So I've, I've had people, my people around me mostly during this time, but it's been really hard relationships, I'd say pretty strongly balanced and home environment balanced. I have an amazing new apartment that I love and I'm obsessed with. And the last one home cooking, not so much not balanced. Okay, great.

Chef D (20:30): Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. Okay. So, you know, you just focused on where and why you are balanced kind of essentially you kind of give, you know, explanations a little bit for some of them and then the places where you're out of balance and where you're getting.

AS (20:45): So just to repeat, I was out of balance was home cooking, health career finances and social life. Yeah. Am I supposed to have five? There's only supposed to be four. No it's whatever. Okay. Am I doing it right, right. That's everyone's question. You could have

Chef D (21:06): 12 hours out of balance and that would be absolutely perfect for you. And that would be okay because that's where you're at, you know? So, but work for you, I'm really hearing I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm just going to really dive into social life. Finances and career are really the places where you are stuck. Those are your stiffnesses. Yes.

AS (21:24): Yeah, yeah. Stuckness is good word. Yeah.

Chef D (21:27): When you, when you think about that, and now we're going to dive in a little bit, you know, when you start to think about that, one of the things that I may ask you as your coach for this session is some high mileage questions. And these are questions that are really like things

AS (21:41): To get the oil, like

Chef D (21:43): Running in that, that heart to really like, get you to think about it and not just like yes or no, but like deeply. I want you to have some visceral reaction. So when we think about let's use you know, let's use career. Cause I think that that's a good one for you. I feel that for maybe for you career in social life could be very linked. And so we'll use career. Maybe the social life will come in. But when you think about the past and you think about, you know, your professional life in the past what has worked for you in the past, these are, these are rhetorical questions. You don't necessarily have to answer, but start to think about it, let it marinate in your heart, right? Another food pun. What is your story around your career and your social life from the past? Who would you be without your story around your career or your social life? Who would you be without that? You know? Hmm. Anything come to mind when you think about those related to the past high mileage questions?

AS (22:46): So you're essentially saying what is my relationship to work in the past, in my career? Yeah. I think that it's improved drastically. It's, I've always been a, like a high performer. So I don't know if I've ever said this out loud before a lot of the value that I, not a lot. This is so interesting. I'm like in my head, okay. I'm somebody, who's not just like a clock in clock out kind of person. Right. And I think there, my relationship to my career and my work improved a lot, when I was able to identify what, what purpose or what meaning I could attach to career my career. And that was sustainability. So yes, where I really felt kind of like kind of like I was expending more than I was getting. And I was just constantly like drained all the time was in the beginning of my career when I was working in advertising. And there just wasn't a lot of meaning and impact to that. And on top of that, I was working like 60, 70 hours a week, all the time, seven days a week, all nighters, it sucked, I learned a lot, but it sucked. So yeah. It's improved. Did that answer your question?

Chef D (24:12): Yeah. No, I think it's really great. It totally answered the question. And as soon as you said started to speak about your answer. All of a sudden I can feel sensation, right? I mean, did you feel it as well? It's like, you're pointing out something the moment you said the word sustainability, it's like, Right. That's it. That's what I'm, that's what I'm tracking for, for a coachee. That's what, that's what I'm sitting with when I'm sitting with people I'm like listening for what is the most sensational thing that they're saying? And in that is that, is that it is that the potency for them and for you, it is sustainability. I feel like that is your passion. That is your purpose. That is, that is part of why you're on this planet, right?

AS (24:52): Yes. I'm not leaving until I've done what I came here to do, put it that way.

Chef D (24:57): That's right. And you have that conviction, you know that. Yeah.

AS (25:00): Yeah. But the other thing I just noticed is like, yes, I have that impact. So I have the direction. Right. And I have like the ha the bigger purpose and not everybody has that. And that's okay. But I think if we're, if I were to speak to something that most people deal with as like, when you have something that you're really committed to, sometimes you can overcome it. And you know, this is something that keeps me up at night and I wake, literally wake up in the middle of the night. Now I'm outing myself. But like literally wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about soil, regenerative agriculture, and like all this stuff. So also being out of balance is this feeling and this pressure that I'm not moving fast enough, I'm not, am I really making the impact that I could make? And we don't have time and that could translate to other things for other people, such as I have three kids, I have mouths to feed. I have, you know, an or I'm tired, I'm tired of working. I've been working for, you know, 50, 60 years. I'm tired. Yeah. So that's, that's what's yeah. What, what comes up.

Chef D (26:12): Yeah. And when you say that, then, then we're into a little closer. So now I'm going to ask you a question related to the future. So I, I just went through some questions related to the past and you knew it automatically, and now, now let's go to the future. Right. And then we'll go to the present. So for the future, when I think about this for you, I want to ask you, what would success look like for you?

AS (26:34): Success would be, I think, to not only to make an impact out in the, but also to have impacted my family. That's right. That's my existing family, but also my, the family that I create and to know that I raised kids who were mindful and who, you know, who knew what their passions were and that they kind of left their Mark on whatever it is they wanted to do. If that's underwater basket weaving cool, like I can get into that. So I think that, and, and also having, I do want nice things and I do want, I want abundance and I want a nice lifestyle. And I also want that to be balanced with, I think, balanced with the experiences that I get to have and the time that I take to, to enjoy all of what I've built and creative created. Yeah.

Chef D (27:41): Yeah. And Alissa, how will it, how will it be different once you have a solution, do you think,

AS (27:47): Well, I can just stop focusing on, you know, where I'm going or the preoccupation with the, like, who, what, when, where, why, how long and just start living and just being in the moment, you know?

Chef D (28:03): Yeah, absolutely. That's it. That's exactly the ticket right there. It's like, here we are now we've arrived to the present because you're already starting to talk about it. So once you have arrived that place, then I can ask you one final question. I think, and this is, this is good for people. This is a question that's high mileage related to where we are right now. Then now moment, the Holy instant, as they say, in some traditions, what is most comfortable about where you are right now?

AS (28:31): Well, it's familiar, it's familiar. And I do have a lot of really amazing things around me, people, the, the work that I do every day, I do enjoy it. You know, I do. So there's that enjoyment. And I think that I, it could be a lot worse. And so, and yet there's that, there's that piece that's like, okay, well, is that what you really want though? So I'm in the dance. I don't, I I'm in the dance. Yeah.

Chef D (29:14): You're in a great dance and you're doing it really well. And with lots of grace and I can see you lady, and it's awesome. It's awesome to witness. So I thank you for putting yourself out there for us to like, do this. And there's so much that can be revealed here. I hope that you feel like even in this short conversation, you know, your stuckness went from stuck to liberated. It went from stuck to sensational is what happened. That's true. And

AS (29:42): I think for what, what I said a couple of few seconds ago about enjoying life food is a big part of that for me. And like the other pie piece was home cooking and I love food. I love good food. I like to eat really good food. I also just, I don't enjoy. I like cooking when it's just casual and I can have wine and my friends and dah, dah, dah, but day-to-day, I do not like cooking. I hate dishes. I eat the same thing all the time, which I make fun of other people for doing. I don't like a gang. I meal prep because it's cheaper and it's more responsible. And it allows me to have like food prep, because I know if I don't have food prepped during the Workday, I'm not going to stop and eat and I'm not going to eat.

AS (30:35): So but I feel like, kind of just like Nick, like, there's a lack of creativity and enjoyment and my my aunt who I live in the back apartment in her house, and she's a killer cook and she cooks stuff all the time and have like, man, this is what work lunch is supposed to taste. Like, I love it. Oh, that's so great. Just like, can't find it within myself to do it. And I've kind of just like, I've been a little resigned, kind of like, yeah, that's just how it is. And I'm just one of those people. But I don't like that per se. And the other piece is just to bring this back to, you know, plant, plant based living and holistic health. And we can start to pull, connect the dots a little bit to make this wider, but the other piece is I want to be plant-based, there's a time when I've tried.

AS (31:29): Plant-Based largely, that's kind of what my body was calling for. And then at the, I had a lot of reactions to that. Like I wasn't getting enough protein and the, a lot of the plant-based proteins just reacted badly with me. And so I eat meat and I've never, and I'm lactose intolerant. So, so that's also where I find myself as I've, I've experienced that there's a certain set of foods that work and are very reliable and that, you know, I want to eat cheese all the time. I love cheese, but I don't. And I know that that has environmental benefits, which is great, but I guess there's still a lack of freedom for that. And I would love to hear your thoughts on that. Like how to, how we can make powerful choices and be intuitive with our choices. Yes.

Chef D (32:23): So this is a question that I get more often than not, it's this idea of intuitive eating and people want to understand how do I let my body lead? You know, how do I listen to what my body needs? And so the question that I will pose back to you or to the listener is what is one small step that you can take this week that you know, that you can do successfully related to your food and your meal prep. That's where I would start

AS (32:46): So resistant. This is so funny. So resistance, you think? I just, I don't, I'm like, I know I'll enjoy it more, but I, I guess I'm just like, I don't want to take the time. Yeah. And, and I know, I know I'll enjoy it more and I'll be happier. I had my aunt to cook for me forever. I would love that too, but, okay. So what's one step I could take that would, what was the end of the question

Chef D (33:17): That, you know, that you can do successfully?

AS (33:19): I can go to whole foods or as I like to call it whole paycheck and I can get some of those like specialty non-dairy snacks and staples that I know I actually enjoy to like supplement my food. So it's not so boring.

Chef D (33:39): Yeah. Yeah. Okay, great. And that, you know, that you can do so you will be successful at it. And I think that's can be a great start for you. And sometimes it's just a matter of taking that first step, setting the goal and then actually taking the action to, to accomplish the goal. And then when you've done it, then you feel successful and your brain tells you, Oh, that feels good. I want more. So I'm now going to now focus on doing that tomorrow and the next day and the next day. And, and the thing about plant foods versus animal foods and how to make it work for one's body. Cause I think this is the second piece of your question. It's all about this in the same way that I'm asking you, what's one small step that you can take this week that, you know, you can do successfully attempting to shift your lifestyle and your diet is all about small steps, small steps, equal big actions, right.

Chef D (34:38): And so everything will add up. And so, you know, you can take any food that you have trouble consuming. So for you, let's talk about milk or cheese because that's lactose and you can find you know, the plant alternative. And so in this case it would be nut milk or seed milk. And sometimes if I just know a little bit more information about the food itself, for me as a chef, that has always been very helpful. If I understand the food source. If I understand the relationship with the animal, if I understand maybe even a bit about the farmer or the farm, then all of a sudden it becomes part of me. I see it. I know it. Right. And so if we take nut milk versus dairy milk, and we just learn a little bit more about it, maybe by me sharing a bit about really what dairy milk is, it will help her to want to take an action step. So, yeah. So yeah. Let me, let me just explain that cows milk and dairy are not essential for health. In fact, they do more harm than good. They contain saturated fat animal protein and a cocktail over 35 different natural hormones and growth factors. 35 35, that is nuts. Cows milk increases levels of IGF one in the body. This is a growth factor linked to cancer.

AS (35:57): So say, I don't know what that is, but it doesn't sound good.

Chef D (36:00): Isn't good. It is a growth factor and it's linked to cancer directly. Dairy products are linked to inflammatory responses and disease in the body, including, but not limited to acne allergies, arthritis, cancer, colic, constipation, coronary, heart disease, Crohn's disease, diabetes, dementia, ear infection, food poisoning, gallstones, kidney disease, migraine auto immune conditions, including multiple sclerosis, obesity and even osteoporosis. So I mean, and I can go on and on on that, but from an evolutionary point of view, milk is a strange food for humans until 10,000 years ago, we didn't even domesticate animals and weren't able to drink milk. And if you don't believe that consider this, the made the majority of humans naturally stopped producing significant amounts of lactase. That's the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose the sugar and milk. Sometimes this occurs between the ages of two and five. And in fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzyme needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned.

Chef D (37:07): Okay. So we're all way beyond the weaning age here, we're not made to digest milk. Instead, most scientific research agrees and confirms that it's better for us to get calcium potassium protein. Now that's a buzz word and fats from other food sources, mostly from whole plant foods. Those are vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed. So in a nutshell, no mammal is meant to drink milk past weaning. We are the only one to do it humans, and it is wholly unnatural. Humans are biologically and physiologically adapted by absorbing calcium from plants. We've been doing it for far longer than our species has been stealing milk from other mammals.

AS (37:54): Hmm. I never thought about it like that before. Yeah.

Chef D (37:58): I really hear it. It's like, Whoa. Right. It's like, wow.

AS (38:03): Yeah. And I, I think about this all the time, the fact that you grow up, I, I, I feel, I don't know how any scientific information like data information, if this is actually real, but so this is complete conjecture, but I feel that how it's nature versus nurture to some degree with diet, because you grow up, you're fed things from a young age and you start, so you start to crave those things and it starts to, to adapt your body in a certain way. Like, so that being said about the species and being in natural and all that, I feel that people who grew up in different cultures, like people in Italy or France, where cream and all of the stuff that makes food taste really good and butter and milk and all of the pastries, ah, like I could go on and on that they are fine. So it just shows just goes to sh and when I've been there, I've had that food and I don't feel as bad as I have dairy products when I'm here in the U S so there's so many nuances to it

Chef D (39:16): Are, and you're picking up on the nuances and that's so important. It's actually almost everything, a part of this conversation. The nuances matter here, the details matter here, because what you're describing is number one, it's a cultural condition to eat the way that we do. And number two, that actually eats the way that we feel about things outside of ourselves is the way that we feel about them inside of ourselves. So if we treat a cow better, let's say in France, and I don't know if this actually happens. I, I, maybe, maybe they are treated their lives are a little bit better than

AS (39:48): Right. I feel like they have, like, they, I feel like they have like tablecloths for it out for them and like meals and stuff.

Chef D (39:55): And obviously we're, w we're talking in jest here, we're joking. But the thing is, if we're treating the animal better, they're going to produce a better product, okay. That doesn't make that product any healthier for us, but a, it makes it culturally acceptable. And B it may be, will metabolize a little easier. So you may be you're lactose intolerant here in the United States. But if you go to Europe, you find that maybe your belly doesn't get as inflamed as much when you eat those things that actually has to do with the fact that you know, that the product itself is just, it's just plain different. Now your body truly might not still want those foods. And it's the third point that I want to make is you can still have pastries. You can still have you know, milk, you can still have cheese. You can still have all of the delicious foods, but why not find an alternative that again, is going to reverse all chronic disease.

Chef D (40:45): It's going to help conserve water. It's going to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It's going to data, data, data that at all, all of these things. So how can we approach this food as making a healthy choice, not just for ourself and our flavor profile and our palette, but our communities and our families and the world at large, there's only really one way to do that sustainably and holistically. And that's actually start to culturally look at food different it's to actually take food that we know and find that the plant alternative, because that plant alternative is life-giving. And I know that might sound simple or too simplified for some, but it's just really requires just a little bit of, to kind of get to that place in the heart and really to start up open yourself for that.

AS (41:38): Well, I think, I also think that, you know, you could argue that this whole conversation is like, kind of like woo and spiritual and intuition and mindfulness, and now we're gonna do yoga and we're gonna meditate and dah, dah, dah, but all you're really talking about here is quality of life. That's right. And you're talking about who doesn't want to have a life that's full and vital and have that for as long as they possibly can. That's it. So that's just wanted to hit that home because it's not, I think people put plant-based, plant-based living in veganism into a very, they there's labels on that as being Lulu and being, you know, somebody who's going to like throw something on for coats and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, and do all of this stuff. But all you're really talking about is just what works for you, what doesn't work for you. And in my mind, it's pretty cool when you contextualize it in that larger sense, because you start to see, Oh, the things I do every day matter, like the choices I make matter, how and how empowering is that

Chef D (42:57): That's right. And, and it's, it empowers me as an individual and in doing so, it empowers my outside world. And that's the key, that's the key about this type of lifestyle. It's not just about our health as individuals. It's about our health as the collective. And the only way that we can be healthy as an individual is if we are healthy as a collective and vice versa, the only way we are collectively healthy is if I take the time to be individually healthy. And so, you know, for you or for anybody listening, if you start to enjoy plant foods and you're thinking, Oh, well, I feel like I'm not getting enough protein, try another plant food. You know, you can get so many, there's so many different, more options in using plant food as your primary source of food. So many more options like hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, more options of different plant proteins than there are animal proteins.

Chef D (43:51): Cause there's only one kind of type of chicken and there's only one kind of type of egg. And there's only one kind of type of cow that we eat that we call beef. Right. You know, when people actually stop and think about that, but think about how many thousands of different types of plant foods. There are vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, seeds, nuts, tubers, and on and on and on. And by the way, all of those foods contain protein, potassium, calcium, fiber fat, right? It's everything you need. It's like as though something greater was being set up for us to enjoy these plant foods. And now we are becoming more aware that they are for the taking, they are regenerative, they are sustainable, they are life-giving and they will produce a very good quality of life for every single person that gives it a chance.

AS (44:41): Well, speaking of every single person giving it a chance, I would love to, I think I've gotten a lot from this exercise. Mostly just the fact that it's not about the answer, it's about the inquiry and checking in and knowing that as long as you're making a conscious choice and being intentional, there is going to be good. That comes from it. Whether it's, you know, if you, if you stop eating beef, obviously we know that is huge for sustainable impact, but everything makes a difference. So I want to leave people with some actions that they can take to start implementing this in their own life. So what tools or practices or inquiries could listeners take with them so they can start owning their health and wellbeing.

Chef D (45:31): Yeah, this is so good. I love that you use the word actions and I love that. You're really kind of like getting into allowing people to take the steps for transformation. So I want to leave you with four different options. These are kind of coming back to the circle of life. These are different ways that you may feel successful in letting your intentions lead the way, letting your intuition lead the way. So in this next week, after you listen to this episode, please let this sit with you, let it marinate in your spirit, let it, what will marinate it. And it will be like super flavorful if you allow it to. Here's what I want you to think about. I want you to think about creating more mindful relationships in your life. What does that look like for you? I want you to think about cultivating joy by pursuing creativity.

Chef D (46:17): However, that looks for you. I want you to think about making a commitment to move your body, however that feels for you. And lastly, I want you to think about eating plant-based for 30 days and what that could mean for you, your family and your community at large. And then in thinking about that, I want you to just remember that sometimes when we set goals for ourselves, we tend to get harsh when we don't meet those goals. And we don't give ourselves room to shift our goals and ideas, and to remember why we set those goals in the first place. So as you do these things and you sit with these three calls to action, I want you to really come back to why are you setting these goals in the first place and let that be your personal intention to lead the way

AS (47:03): That's amazing. You know, one thing if I may, that I started doing for myself that I'd love to share as well in that I'll continue doing. After hearing those actions is to write down, I'm such a words person. I hate saying this, even like the data or like the statistics of whatever goal you have. So if it's like, Oh, my goal is to, you know, go to sleep five nights out of the week by nine o'clock like, write down when you start it, how many nights a week you're actually doing that so that you can actually see once you get to the 30 days or whatever period that the goal ends. Yeah. You can actually see it cause we're really harsh critics. And we'll try and argue with ourselves about how good or not good we're doing or how, how much better we could have been. So I think that it, I think that's important to allow ourselves to do.

Chef D (48:06): Yeah, that's, that's great. And, and writing it or, you know, whatever, maybe it's sharing it with somebody instead of writing it and maybe it's, you know praying about it and being consistent about being mindful about it or meditating over it, whatever it is for you, but making sure that you're taking consistent action and you're tracking it with yourself, however, that looks,

AS (48:27): Hmm. And what do you want to leave listeners with?

Chef D (48:30): Yeah. I want to leave listeners with this. This is, this is just like my ethos around food. That food is key to our health as humans. And when we are healthy, we are wealthy in every possible way. When we're healthy, we will feel better. We're going to act better. We're going to look better. We're going to perform better. We're going to live longer. And we're going to end animal and environmental abuse when choosing the right foods, not to mention a whole spectrum of other significant ripple effects, like the proven scientific fact that eating a whole food plant based diet can arrest and reverse all chronic illness. The number one killers of humans on earth today. So in the words of one of my favorites, Dr. Michael Greger, who wrote the amazing book, how not to die, if that's all a whole food plant-based diet could do is reverse our number one killer and arresting other leading killers seems to make the case for plant-based eating simply overwhelming.

Chef D (49:31): So showing you how to make this fun and easy. It's really my life's work. And my passion, I love talking about thriving and transforming and finding balance through food. And I hope that you got a little bit of that in this, the taste of this conversation today. And if you are interested in, in learning more, I'm curious about the power of plant-based diet and how you can best support your health. Please join me every weekday for my live cooking show called plant-based made easy every weekday on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter at Chef D Malfi. And for more inspiration and recipes and healthy resources consider connecting with me for health coaching. That's always an option and I want to help you just feel confident and competent in the kitchen and become a firm believer in the power of your plate because it is what is going to help transform not just yourself, but the entire world. So thank you so much.

AS (50:23): Thank you. And I will see you on your show. Can't wait from the bottom of my ego heart. Thank you so much for being with me today. I can't wait to see what we create together. If you loved what you heard and are hungry for more, don't forget to click subscribe in this app. Also, I want to hear from you, tell me your burning sustainability questions, or even what's inspiring you by following me on Instagram at get real with a S or liking the get real Facebook page. Talk to you soon.

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