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Many of us in our journeys toward better and healthier living have, at some point, been in a very challenging position that made us realize how much we need to change our lives. Be that a health scare or even addiction. This episode’s guest has been through these experiences, emerging from them with a clarity to live and eat healthily not just for herself but also for others. Corinna Bellizzi is with Chef Babette Davis, a globally recognized plant-based chef, fitness enthusiast, and motivational speaker. Chef Babette shares her transformative journey from addiction and poor health to becoming a fit-for-life vegan. She talks about the process of getting into veganism, how it changed her life, and how we can also implement it in our lives. From vegan recipes and ingredients to animal welfare, Chef Babette breaks them all down. Join today’s discussion about being a fit-for-life vegan and discover the keys to a life that is healthier and where you feel younger than you are.
Key takeaways from this episode:
- The benefits of veganism
- The Cash in on Cashews
- Mucus is not just the stuff in your nose; it’s a system
- The best and worst food pairings
- The connection of veganism to animals and their welfare
Guest Social Links:
From Addiction And Poor Health To A Fit-For-Life Vegan: The Transformative Journey Of Chef Babette Davis
Many of us have been on long-term health journeys and none of our journeys look the same. In this episode, I’m thrilled to be joined by none other than Chef Babette, whose transformation story is the stuff of legends. While she’s in her 70s, her youth, vigor, and commitment to live a little healthier each day are truly awe-inspiring.
She has culminated a massive social media following and owns and runs the very first vegan restaurant in Englewood, California called Stuff I Eat. She has been featured in notable media of all kinds. She’s a fearless powerhouse who even went up against Starbucks for up charging for vegan items like nut milk and told her story on Rich Roll’s Podcast. Chef Babette, thank you. Welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me. You’re so sweet.
On another podcast, somebody referred to Englewood as East LA. I’m like, “I guess that is.” I never think about directions like East, West, North, or South. I’m on the West Coast, but that’s about as far as I go. I get lost if people start talking to me in different directions. I wanted to start by having you share your story of a somewhat non-traditional path toward veganism and fitness. Also, why shifting your diet has been so very critical for you?
Thanks so much because on this human journey, we all have a story. When I take a look from the point I came, I’m grateful all the time. I’m so amazed that I was able to make this transition. I met my husband in 1990. My mother was born in 1916 so she’s proper. This was an awesome woman but when it came to preparing food for us, especially once she left the Carolinas and came to Los Angeles, she felt like the food that she shared didn’t taste as good as the food that came fresh out of the garden like corn and peas so sweet. She got into the habit of using refined sugar and monosodium glutamate.
I heard you tell the story of your pasta sauce being sweet that it could be dessert. I thought instantly of my older sister who lives in Colorado. She’s very healthy and very health-oriented. We grew up in the same household and I’ve never added sugar to my marinara. I pick ripe tomatoes. I skin them first so it doesn’t get too bitter and you take the seeds out. It’s a process. If you do those things, it’s beautifully sweet and nutritious without the sugar. She added sugar and a chocolate bar to her marinara. I’m like, “Wait a minute. What? Did I see chocolate?” Her response was like, “The boys love it.”
That’s a good one. I asked her, “Why do you put sugar on everything?” She was like, “I wanted you guys to have the same experience that I had as a child growing up. This food was so delicious coming out of the garden.” When she made her transition, I looked in one of her drawers. She left at ’93 but she had a big bag of this sparkly monosodium glutamate. She had me so hooked on it that I would go to restaurants and if I knew they didn’t accent in their food, I’d take a baggie and sprinkle the stuff on my food. That’s how addicted I was to refined sugar and monosodium glutamate.
Needless to say, I suffered from the effects of asthma and eczema everywhere. I was a hot mess. My skin was bad. I have earaches all the time. I missed a lot of school. She was one of those L&M cigarette smokers who blew the smoke in your face if you were sitting at the table in front of her. She used to think it was the carpet on my bedroom floor that was making me have the issues. She had a third-grade education. She never took us to the doctor. They work on you themselves.
I suffered a lot as a kid. She had to work a lot. She was bound and determined that she was never going to be on welfare. We had to stay with other folks. It wasn’t always pleasant but you know how that can be. Sometimes part of the journey is not always pleasant even when you’re a child. We have some children on the planet right now who are going through holy hell. As I say, I don’t say wrapped up in it. I understand that it is part of the human experience. That is the way that I deal with it now to stay past it. I was very miserable as a kid. When I got into my adult life, my self-esteem wasn’t all that great. I had eczema everywhere and then asthma.
The reality you explain is one that will resonate with a lot of people of your generation. Child-rearing was different. My parents are of that generation too. The community raised your child often, but sometimes, you weren’t in a great community. Now, we get through the ‘80s and suddenly, it’s like, “Children have to be watched with a microscope all the time.” You can have a video camera of your childcare providers and all that jazz. It wasn’t always that way. There weren’t as many protections in place but we also had a greater sense of community to fall back than I think we do now. We’ve lost something along the way.
You’re absolutely right. I can remember when my mother would say, “Do not climb the fence.” We lived right across the street from the 20th Street Elementary School. She would be at work and she would say, “Do not climb the fence. If the gate is not open, you can’t go skate on the schoolyard.” We’d go around the block and climb the fence. Her lookout, our neighbors, would call her and say, “I see your daughters on the school grounds and the gates are not open.”
She knew that we had climbed the fences. She had spies but as you said, it takes a village to raise a child. She had the good folks but sometimes, she left me in the hands of the strange ones. Now they’re spiritual guides. When I run into people like that, I already know, “Get back. Get away.” Also, getting together. With my first husband, I was 21 years old. I had my daughter at 21. He was a heroin addict and alcoholic. That was a rough journey.
After I left him, I hooked up with a drug dealer who was dealing cocaine. Thanks to my sister who was a drug addict, she taught me that you could now smoke cocaine and I thought that was pretty sharp. I remember people snorting it and then I thought, “A new way to take it? You can smoke it?” I didn’t know I was about to addict myself to crack cocaine with that but thank God, that only lasted for a total of seven months. I was able to get out of that situation. In terms of knowing how to eat, I did not know how to eat. I always had indigestion. I was always belching. I had so much acid reflux and was miserable all the time.
I understand the hardships that you’ve been through throughout the years. It didn’t set you up, first of all, not with a great example of what great nutrition is, but then you met your partner in life. I’d love for you to start there and tell us a bit about how this transition occurred and the things that you learned along the way.
I met Randall in 1990 and when we went on our very first date, he took me to Griffith Park. I love this story so much because I was not active. I met him in the spring. I was going to turn 40 in December and he was going to turn 42 in September. He took me to Griffith Park. It was a beautiful park here in Los Angeles. They have all these wonderful hills incline. I’d never done anything like that. We’re at the bottom and we’re going to just walk up these hills. He didn’t walk. He ran the whole thing backwards.
I’m thinking to myself, “This is one incline after the other. Are you kidding me? You’re running the whole thing backwards.” I’m so impressed by him. After that, I thought to myself, “One of these days, I am going to be able to run this hill. Perhaps at a walker’s pace, but I’m going to be able to stay in running mode.” Not only did he take me up there. He took me to his home and he prepared my very first vegan meal.
It was the first time I had ever eaten Basmati brown rice. I was still eating Uncle Ben’s white. He had tofu that I kept calling chicken, green beans, an awesome salad, and some incredible cracked wheat bread. I didn’t have indigestion. It made me feel so good that I thought to myself, “I’m going to try this.” Plus, he gifted me two books, Fit for Life, volumes 1 and 2, and also the Mucusless Diet Healing System.
I was like, “I’m just meeting this guy so I’m going to go read them.” Fit for Life number one changed my whole attitude about eating. I used to be so miserable after I ate and that’s when it occurred to me that knowledge is so important even as it pertains to what you ingest. It’s so important to know how to feed yourself. I’ve not looked back he and I. One thing led to another. We wound up at a restaurant sharing the food that we ate with everybody else. We opened the restaurant in 2008. We made it through COVID in Inglewood. It is it is incredible. What a gift.
I think something you learned along the way, first of all, was the things that you were eating before were probably both inflammatory causing you all these problems in the first place. Also, it’s more filler food than actual food. I think we have grown accustomed to reading labels on products over the course of the last several years. We’re looking at the nutrition facts, fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
A lot of people try to limit carbohydrates but they don’t even understand carbohydrates because they’re only looking at a number on a chart and not understanding where it comes from. I would love for you to share something that was surprising to me when I heard you on another podcast that Randall was not in fact a vegan when he fed you that vegan meal. I assumed he was but he brought you to this path. How did you guys get to this veganism and how have you felt with the overall process? What does it change for you?
Everything. As soon as he gave me the books and I read them, we were in contact. I said, “I’m not eating meat again. I’m going to do that.” He goes, “I didn’t know you were getting ready to do that, but I guess I’m not either.” We dated for two years and then we got married. That’s when our life together began. He taught me a lot though. Once I started eating that way and following the advice from both Fit for Life and the Mucusless Diet, eating became enjoyable because I was miserable before.
When I hear people talk about, “I need some Tums. My doctor gave me medicine for indigestion,” I think, “I was there.” All you have to do is have a little bit of knowledge of what foods to eat together that will eliminate so much of that. I had the worst indigestion ever. I never suffer from that anymore. Also, I made such horrible combinations. I was stinky at night. I would have some serious gas. I can remember Randall was like, “Is something wrong with you? You smell.”
All you have to do is have a little bit of knowledge of what foods to eat together that will eliminate so much of your indigestion.
I don’t go through that anymore. That’s incredible to me. Also, movement. Incorporated movement in my lifestyle and that’s because of Randall. My whole world changed. All of the eczema, I got off refined sugar and NC. When I look at a package, normally, we don’t eat out of packages. Most of our food especially at the restaurant is live food that we prep ourselves. If I’m eating anything out of the package, I’m going to flip that package over and I’m going past the nutritional facts, number one. I’m going to the ingredients. What’s in it?
If I’m having difficulty pronouncing a paragraph full of words, then I’m like, “That’s okay. I’d rather get something because I know an apple is an apple. Corn is corn. I don’t have to go through all of that.” We usually stick with organic. We decided to do that. If you look at my skin now, it’s incredible. I get up between 1:30 and 2:00 usually like a clockwork bathroom run. I’m up. I get ready. I go to the gym. I’m at the gym for two hours.
If I’ve got to work, I leave the gym. I’m going through the stuff I eat. I’m prepping all the food. We have no other chef in there. We do have a griller person but other than that, I’m it. Every box that comes through there, I am the person prepping that food. The only thing that I can say is the lifestyle has been good for us. In 2023, he’s 75 and I’ll be 73.
You’ve been together for over 30 years at this point. It’s a wonderful lifetime of experience together and living this lifestyle. I listened to a podcast where you were working on 100 push-ups for your 72nd birthday. That’s incredible. You can go to her Instagram channel at @ChefBabette. You can find all these incredible videos and photos of her in various beautiful little workout gear, bikinis, and everything.
You’re in incredible fitness. Your muscle tone is exceptional. I want to bring this up because so many of us here time and again are like, “What about the protein? How are you getting enough protein, especially as you age? You want to be sure you’re getting enough protein to maintain your muscle mass. What is going to happen with that if you aren’t getting 30 to 50 grams in a single meal twice a day,” or something to that effect? It’s something that vegans often run up against. I wanted to hear how you feel about that overall and frankly, how much you think you’re getting in a day given the food that you do eat.
I’m not a real bulk eater. I juice a lot. Both of us are big on juicing. Also, he’s not a heavy eater. We don’t eat a lot of bulk. My preference is the live food overcooked. I can make a handful of nuts a meal. I don’t get real beat up over protein. I know that I’m getting good stuff in the juice. I drink a lot of chlorophyll juices. I take my omega-3 or low. I take that. I don’t do a lot of other supplements.
I like these three live because of the chlorophyll. Also, spirulina. Anything green, I’m on that. Also, lentils. It may sound nuts but we’re not big eaters. I enjoy food, but primarily, we’re looking for nutrients. With what we’re doing, I don’t have a primary care physician. He’s not ever sick. I’m not ever sick. It almost sounds too good to be true, but I’m grateful. I don’t know what else to tell you about this.
This reminds me of an episode. I interviewed Dr. Joel Fuhrman on this show and he very much focuses on plant-based nutrition. He says people are into the salad drawer more than anything else. He teaches people to make their own salad dressings without ever using things like olive oil even. He is saying that you can make great-tasting dressings with fruit juices like orange or whatever and nuts that are blended up.
You’re eating this all raw food approach and able to get people off of multiple different medications that they might be on. Now, this episode does not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any of that. This is for informational and education purposes only but generally speaking, when people get their diet and their nutrition right, you suddenly want to get up and move. You feel more vivacious. You have more energy. You’ll be able to get up early. Maybe it’s not 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning.
I can fall asleep in 6:00.
I believe it. If you’re up at time, I would be too.
I get up early and I get my day started. When you talk about those salad dressings, we do this one salad dressing at Stuff I Eat. It’s called the Carrot-Mango Dressing. That’s nothing but a little apple cider vinegar, carrot juice, mangoes, and a little Braggs. I will take sea moss if I just want to spruce it up a little bit. I’ll throw some of the gel sea moss in there and I’ve already made my salad dressing on point without oil or anything else. I am blending that up and it is so awesome on a salad. I forgot to include the sea moss. I do enjoy sea moss.
You made an entire recipe book about cashews, the Cash In On Cashews. In this book, you’re essentially celebrating my husband’s favorite nut that I taught myself not to love because you have the power of mind to teach yourself not to love things. I taught myself not to love bacon and also cashews because otherwise, it would be all I’d eat.
I do love cashew so much. Because my mom gifted me with a sweet tooth, that’s my first book. It’s a dessert book, but that cashew nut, you have to admit, is incredible.
It’s divine. You can add it to anything.
I’m with your husband on that. It could be savory or sweet. It doesn’t matter. The cashews got your back.
I feel that way also about pine nuts. I love adding pine nuts to everything.
How can anybody not like pine nuts?
My favorite thing is to toast them before putting them on a salad. I know that’s not the raw way, but I love what it does to the flavor profile. It’s nutty but not overdone. What I like to impart to people through this show is a bit of inspiration. This is something that you champion too. If you’ve done it, so can they. The path that you’ve walked from being unhealthy, having all these inflammatory concerns, being stricken with asthma, and also having eczema that you can’t bear.
We interviewed another individual Kristel De Groot on this show who had the kind of eczema where it hurt to take a shower because your skin would get so raw and sensitive. She has also been able to walk this path through diet and nutrition to where she no longer has inflamed skin. Often, we are told by our doctors, “This is just something that you have now, and we’re going to make you feel better by giving you this cream or this drug, which is going to address the complaint,” but which never gets to the root cause.
I love that you’ve been able to find the root cause on your own but so many don’t necessarily have those tools initially. You went to these books Fit for Life but also this book about mucus. I wanted to pivot this conversation for a moment to talk about mucus because I think so few people understand what’s happening here. They think of snot but they don’t necessarily understand that your entire system can get overburdened with mucus.
I have a story for you because this is something I encountered when I was in my late 20s to early 30s. I was having some health challenges. I was diagnosed as hypothyroid. I had to take some thyroid medicine. I was trying to walk the path without medication and having a lot of challenges. I end up seeing this doctor in Texas. I flew out to see him. He saw me privately. He started asking me questions only about my diet. What are the things I like to eat and with what frequency?
While I am not celiac and I don’t have an issue with gluten, something that did happen when I consumed gluten is that it would give me more mucus in my system. It’s the same thing with dairy and sugar. How he diagnosed this was he grabbed me at the ankle and he pressed really hard on my ankle. He lifted his finger and it left a depression of his thumb that stayed for a little bit. He goes, “Do you see that?” I said, “Yeah. What’s that?” He is like, “You think that’s fat but it’s not.”
Essentially, he’s saying that’s my system because fat bounds back right away, but when you get an overburden system with too much mucus, the mucus can actually go into your tissues. It can coat your gut so you get leaky gut syndrome and other things that you aren’t absorbing the nutrition from the food that you are eating because you’ve become inflamed. It ends up resident in all of your tissues throughout your body, not just in your ear, nose, and throat.
This was a real learning point for me and it was a pivot point for me. He put me on a simple diet where he said, “I don’t want you to eat any fruit that is less dark than a raspberry.” It has to be dark. It means nutrient-dense. Peaches are out, but I could eat dark berries. You could eat a mango occasionally, but only then on its own. I think this is something you’ve also talked about. He asked me to eliminate wheat. Even though I’m not gluten-sensitive, it’s not about the gluten. There’s something else that’s funking up my system. You get the funk out, you get the snot out.
What kind of doctor was he?
He is a naturopath but an MD. He was an MD who had decided to go towards nutrition. It changed my view on the whole dietary spectrum. It helped me to understand that even though I’m not celiac, I have an issue with grains. What I will say to everyone reading is that I would sense because I love bread but when I ate more of it, I would feel disconnected from my gut.
When I eat less of it, even if my measurements are the same, I feel tighter around my mid-section. I feel more connected to my gut. I feel more energetic. It feels easier to move around and I don’t have as much inflammation. I would get eczema on my fingers when I’m stressed out. That doesn’t happen when I’m stressed out as long as I keep my diet clean. This is a personal story, but it’s showing you a use case because when you talk about mucus, it’s not just the stuff in your nose. It’s systemic.
I’m so glad you shared that. People needed to hear that because that’s what people think about when you say mucus. They think about all of that. Professor Arnold Ehret said, “I don’t care what name you give the disease. You are mucus overload. You are inflamed.” Cut some of that stuff out and you cleaned it up.
Also, stopped drinking milk even. I thought my guts was okay. I’m good with milk. I like milk. I eliminated milk and I don’t have the same kind of mucus stuck in my throat all the time. This is something that’s another piece that can be eliminated. When you get these things out that are gunking up your system, making you feel funky, and that are causing this inborn inflammation to take residence in your entire system including right down to your ankles is where he pointed it for me. Suddenly, you have a new lease on life.
It will give you better quality of life and that’s what we’re all striving for. Longevity has its place but quality is everything.
In Fit for Life, which I think changed your viewpoint entirely on health and nutrition, there’s quite a bit about things like food pairings and that those things that you should eat together or not eat. I wonder if you could talk a bit about that and how that has helped you to succeed on your journey.
Number one, I learned that it was just incredible. I never knew that a poor a combination would be a carbohydrate and a protein because you have different digestive enzymes to break down both, one of the other. Also, fruit should be eaten on an empty stomach. You had your melons and then you had acid fruits, sub-acid fruit, and sweet fruit. I didn’t understand that eating a sub-acid with the sweet was fine, but never eat a sweet with an acid. For example, apple and banana are good to go but banana and orange, not so much.
Melons should be eaten also alone not with other fruit. Every time, I went to a barbecue, I always fixed the big fruit bowl with all kind of fruit in the same exact bowl and we ate all this stuff together. I suffered because of those combinations. Maybe some people do not, but I did. By me learning what to combine together, all of that suffering stopped. It was a massive blessing. That’s why food combining is awesome. As far as I’m concerned, it saved my life. It gave me better quality. I was miserable with the indigestion and the belching. I couldn’t use the bathroom. I couldn’t go to the bathroom, especially number two. I could not do it.
I had doctors to tell me that you can go a couple of times a week. Why would you tell somebody that? If you eat every day, you should eliminate every day. The Mucusless Diet was incredible. It made me understand a lot about who I was and how I was damaging me. How I was doing all of this stuff to myself. Once I learned that and learned to avoid certain things, I became super healthy. I proudly say that. I think sometimes to myself, “Twenty-some odd years, I’ll be 100 years old. Am I going to keep feeling like this?” Who knows?
I’d say you’ve extended your health span for sure and ultimately, with the right type of diet and activity that your health span can live until you’re very late in life. I interviewed Dr. Joseph Maroon, who is an octogenarian. He’s in his 80s and he’s still doing IRONMAN Triathlons. He’s going to Kona and doing the full marathon with open swim, cycle ride, and all that jazz and finishing. He jokes that, “I finished. I’m first in my class. I might be the only one.” He’s definitely out there and doing that.
He is in the team neurologist for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s somebody who is top of his field and still able to perform at this physical level. Perhaps, the two are connected because he started this journey with his distance athletics in his 40s. He still kicking and going strong in his 80s. Part of it is lifestyle. Part of it is commitment.
Part of it is also understanding the things that feel right in your body. When you do something to it and it doesn’t feel right, then making the choice to say, “No. I’m not going to eat that anymore. That didn’t sit well with me.” For me, it’s something that might be very healthy to somebody else. I’m allergic to broccoli. I can’t have that.
What happened? Are you kidding?
My mother is too. It’s a weird thing. It’s related I think to hormones, but I can’t digest it. It’s incredibly painful. I have to avoid all broccoli cultivar whether it be broccoli rabe or a standard cultivar. I can’t have it. I can eat all the other crucifers. No problem including cauliflower. I maybe a little gassy but it’s nothing like that. I eat a lot of Brussels sprouts. I love my Brussels sprouts.
That being said, we all have to address what journey we’re on and we all integrate nutrition a little bit differently. We have different genetics. We have different digestive systems. We’ve been exposed to different microbes. There is this element that I like to bring in which is this concept of testing and not guessing. However, when we’re looking at something like veganism, we’ve fallen under fire a little bit for having diets that aren’t as rich in particular nutrients like vitamin B12, which typically comes from animal sources or iron or protein.
In the case of Orlo and what we’re addressing here, Omega-3s because you’re not eating fish and you’re not getting enough of the bioavailable Omega-3s. Are there other things that you look to beyond the standard of, “I get my protein from the food I eat? I’m able to integrate it from my quinoa, lentils, my beans, and everything else I take in.” Vegetables produce a lot of protein too. We need to remember that. Also, thinking about things like vitamin B12. Are there other things that you’re looking at?
The vitamin B12 is something that keeps coming up. I have not done anything about vitamin B12 as of yet. As I said, I don’t even go to a doctor but it is something that I am getting ready. Krista, my manager, and I discuss the whole B12 thing. It’s something that we’re looking into together to try to figure out what we’re going to do about that. I think I need to jump on that. I do the vitamin C all the time. I’m big on the vitamin C. I’ll let you know what happens with the vitamin B12 because I do think it’s important. I’ve been convinced.
There’s something that I learned in a recent interview when I had Kristel De Groot on the show. She said that she and her husband are on the same diet. She cooks for him. They eat all the same food. They are plant-based 100%. She is fine on her B12 and her husband is not. Apparently, she makes it from the food that they get. They’re eating the same thing. The same basic size meals and everything else.
Again, people are different. Each of us has our own innate abilities that are stronger or weaker. As for myself, I can’t have that broccoli so I have to stay away from it. I go to my other crucifers to get all of those incredible nutrients. Whether it be the cauliflower, cabbage, or going to Brussels sprouts, as my examples. I eat a lot of all those things but in her case, she apparently makes it more proficiently from vegetarian sources and her husband straight does not.
I have one representation of the APOE4 allele, which is a genetic type. My genetic type is less likely to be able to make EPA and DHA and integrate them from vegetarian sources. I need to be able to get my omegas in the most bioavailable form. This is why I was so happy I found Orlo because it’s polar lipid. It’s three times more absorbable and bioavailable. Therefore, I am less likely to develop something like Alzheimer’s or have other issues that are often associated with this APOE4 for genome type.
The thing that we learn as we go further into this nutrition rabbit hole is that every individual has their own matrix. It’s because your gut. Your microbiota is unique to you. It comes from your exposure. It comes even from when you were breastfeeding as a baby and your journey through the birth canal. All of those things impact your microbiome. How often you’ve been on antibiotics and the types of foods you ate your whole life, whether or not you were exposed to glyphosate, which we’ve all been exposed to glyphosate.
These sorts of things come into play and then you can see it by taking a simple health screening. I get my B vitamin panel or my vitamin D panel when I do my annual. I haven’t been great about it either because I don’t go to the doctor like you but once every couple of years, I remember to go and I have them do a full workout. What I’ve generally seen on myself is that I tend to be low in vitamin D3 even though I spend time in the sun.
Why is that? I’m fair skinned. I spend time in the sun. I don’t tend to make vitamin D very well from the sun. It’s probably genetic. I have Mediterranean descent. You have naturally darker skin. You probably don’t have as much vitamin D in your system either. Simple health screenings for some of these basics can help because then you can identify, “Here’s this gap. Here’s what I need to touch on.”
One of the things I wanted to share with the audience is that Orlo is covering the costs of testing your omega-3 levels in your blood just by doing a simple blood prick. When you send that in, there is a third party. You can choose if you want to also be screened for vitamin D and I think CoQ10 is the other one. Those tests we aren’t covering but you could add it on for a little bit extra and we’re covering the $50 that would cost to cover your omega 3.
Everybody could do that.
It makes it easy. You’re going to do one finger prick. You put three spots on the little card. You send it in. You might pay a little extra if you want to see your vitamin D index at the same time and also your CoQ10 but that can help you identify if this is something you need to supplement them with or not. The general consensus in the medical community is under 30 nanograms per milliliter where you want to be. Eighty is ideal for anti-aging. If you’re somewhere in that range, great, but some people want to push it all the way up to 80. That’s specifically for vitamin D.
With Omega-3s, you want to be moving your index up towards 8%. On two soft gels a day, I was able to get from about 4.5% to 6.5% on my Omega-3 index. I’m not eating fish. I was getting my omegas from Orlo. I learned that I probably need to take 1 or 2 soft gels more a day and this enables me to personalize my nutrition and by personalizing my nutrition, I can attain my best health. I would love that for people and I hope that our audience can learn through our experiences together.
I’m so happy you shared this. I wanted to ask you a quick question. My daughter has suffered with the effects of diabetes. She’s challenged in terms of eating. She made the decision that she was going to attempt a fruitarian lifestyle. What do you think about that?
There are so many fad diets out there and I see this as one of them. There are people who argue that if we eat vegetables, we’re eating plants that don’t want us to eat them. They essentially put out into the world all of these chemicals that will harm the bugs or whatever else eats them because they don’t want us to eat their leaves, their stalks, and their things like that.
However, the fruit itself is the thing that the plant wants you to eat because you’re going to help disperse the seeds and therefore, this is a way to consume food that is going to be less inflammatory. There is some truth to this but again, the breadcrumbs that one particular person is laying for you without giving you all the information. We know that consuming things like green leafy vegetables is incredibly healthy for your gut and metabolism.
Consuming a wide variety of foods seems to be the most health-promoting. Ensuring that you don’t just eat these five things all the time and that you get some variety means that you get nutrition variety too. Somebody who exclusively consumes fruits, even if they’re consuming all different types of fruits, they’re going to be getting plenty of vitamin C. They’ll get plenty of micro nutrients like antioxidants and polyphenols which are incredibly health-promoting which might help them on the short term. However, I look at it more like I would look at a juice cleanse than a diet pathway.
One diet that’s really interesting which I was mind-blown by is the carnivore diet. I was listening to all of Paul Saladino’s podcast episodes because I was intensely curious about somebody taking this carnivore pathway where they want to eat raw organ meat. This is gross to a vegan generally speaking, but they want to eat grass-fed organically-raised meats and a lot of them. Organ meats and fruits possibly honey and dairy and that’s it for your diet.
There is no pepper or salt. There is added stuff to make the food taste better. There are no herbs because those are from plants. You’re not getting the turmeric and the basil leaves because all those things are not good for your system. That’s the lifestyle that the Paul Saladino’s of the world put forward. He’s been able to help people that have type 2 diabetes a lot. He’s been able to help people who have some of these health concerns.
They will argue that this diet helped them to achieve their best health. I personally don’t think that this is going to be the best solution for the long-term for anybody. I frankly think that when we consume that much meat that we’re also sitting ourselves up for things that we don’t want to see like kidney stones as one example. Also, cholesterol levels that are really through the roof. Now, is the cholesterol issue something that is connected to heart health or is it something else?
Dr. Paul Saladino will argue that cholesterol isn’t something that you should worry about that. Cholesterol that’s negative is from over consumption of carbohydrates from plant sources like breads and things like that. Whether that proves out over the long-term, it is completely open to interpretation. What I think we’ve consistently learned about human health and also about planetary health is that balances what nature seeks. When we get things in balance, we are at our healthiest.
Balance is what nature seeks. When we get ourselves in balance, we are at our healthiest.
When you bring down inflammation, it’s not because you want to complete anti-inflammatory state. It is because you want things in balance because when you stub your toe or when you injure yourself, your body needs to know to send the white blood cells and the army of cells to fight that infection and everything else so that you can heal. However, if you let that run out of control and ramp it, then you end up with knot in your ankles.
You end up with out of control inflammation that systemically affects you and that can be addressed by diet, exercise, nutrition, and a few key supplements to support your journey too. I’m glad you asked that question. I think so many people are confused. They hear the latest craze and it sounds good. It’s like, “I need to go full keto all the time.” I think some of these diets are very helpful for short periods of time but I don’t believe that they’re sustainable.
You have shared extensively about your journey to veganism for health, but you also spoke at a Mercy for Animals event, which was also what clued Rich Roll and some others into your fabulous story. I wondered what your journey has been like specifically as it relates to your concern for animals and their welfare.
When I initially got on this path, I was not thinking about animals at all. I was only thinking about my eczema and my asthma. Everything that was going on with me, can I feel better? As time went on and I began to understand my connection with what I like to refer as the home, I am not separated from any of this life. I’m one with it. I have respect now for all life. Every sentient being shares this planet with me. I also understand that at 73 years old, I don’t have to harm anyone to nourish myself.
I don’t care for the way that humans have decided to handle animals as it pertains to it being food for us. I don’t care for the abuse. I don’t care for the abuse to our planet. I don’t like the fact that we’re cutting down precious forests to grow food that cows don’t generally eat or pigs, chickens, or fish. There’s a lot going on in the planet. As humans, were created to be the stewards of this planet home. I think we’ve made some very horrible and very selfish errors. Now I am a strong advocate for the health and welfare of my planet home and all life on this planet. I’m one with it. If I screw over that, I screw over me. That’s the way that I look at it. I can’t hurt back unless I hurt myself. I’m an advocate of life if that makes sense to you.
It does. I think this stuff gets easier to look at when you stop making the choice to put the pork, chicken, or the beef on your plate because now you can look at it without guilt and without wanting to shove it to the side. I would be an agreement with you. I have a hard time when I see how our CAFOs operate, the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
You have to understand that every time you go to eat out at a restaurant that serves meats, you’re likely getting the product of these types of operations, whether or not you want to be part of that. You’re part of the supply chain. That’s a sad truth. I think I know what you’ll say but I wanted to position the close of our conversation with something hopeful and hear from you. If you had a magic wand to wave, what would you change about our nutrition and health culture?
If I had the magic wand to wave, I think I would change our minds about eating and loving. They go hand in hand. We would eat and know that we are nourishing ourselves and not killing anything. We wouldn’t even want to eat unless we knew that it was completely and totally for nourishment. We would always take into consideration the health of others. That makes me want to cry because we’re a bit selfish. We only think about ourselves and there’s so much more. As I said, it’s a home and we’re part of it. I’m hurting me too. Embracing love and doing a better job of caring for the home. I don’t know if that makes sense but that’s all I got to say about it.
The mantra of Bronner’s Soap is, “All of us. All one.”
Until it created me created all of this. I’m a mere expression of it and embracing all life. I think we get off on some weird things when we don’t understand the gift of this human journey.
My wish for you about that is that we see a world in which you reach that 100 easily with grace and where you are not medicated. You are fueled by your diet and your exercise inspiring us all to maintain course and stay with you on that journey. I want to thank you so much for the work that you’re putting into the world, your restaurant, and your Instagram platform at @ChefBabette. I think you are an inspiration for all of us to learn from. It’s my personal belief that we can all achieve our best health and mental state when we work to focus on it and be true to ourselves. I see that in you.
Shout out to you. You’re the best. I enjoyed this. It was a conversation. I loved it. Thank you.
Are there any other spots that you might want to send them?
Especially Stuff I Eat, that’s good.
When I come down to Southern California in some trip soon, I hope that I can come in and enjoy one of your beautiful tacos or something more even. Whatever you’re serving that day, I’m sure it will be fantastic.
I’ll make sure not to give you any broccoli.
I need to wear a badge like that, “Please no broccoli.” I once made the mistake of trying a veggie burger at a trade show without reading the label and it had broccoli in there. It made for a very uncomfortable night but that’s not anaphylactic.
Since you told me that, I never throw away the broccoli stems. I always shred them. I love putting broccoli shreds on burritos. I’m so glad you told me that. I’m not doing that anymore.
That’s how I got it once in a Boca Burger style thing because you shred it. You don’t want to waste it. I don’t waste food either. Another time was at a fine restaurant in Monterey where they had shredded some of the broccoli stalk on top of this beautiful filet of fish. Not very many people are allergic but myself, my mother, and one other woman that I’ve met in my lifetime are allergic to broccoli.
Why do you think I took for granted that I could put it on everything? I’m not thinking anybody has an allergy to broccoli.
Maybe it’s just us three that I described so you’re fine.
It doesn’t matter. I got a definitely be careful. If you don’t want broccoli, let me know.
Thank you so much.
This was fun. Thank you.
What a treasure trove. I was so happy to be able to share Chef Babette and her story with all of you. You can go to her Instagram at @ChefBabette. Also, check her book Cash In on Cashews so you can learn from these beautiful recipes and also her restaurant in Inglewood, California. If you enjoyed this episode, I hope that you’ll subscribe and while you’re at it, go ahead and leave us a review on whatever platform that you are getting your shows like Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Those are the two primary these days. If you leave a comment, each of these actions can help this show to reach more people. As we close this show, I hope that you’ll do me a favor and raise a cup of your favorite beverage with me as I say my closing words. Here is to your health.
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About Chef Babette Davis
Babette Davis is a globally recognized plant-based chef, fitness enthusiast and motivational speaker who calls Inglewood, Ca home. She pioneered the first plant-based restaurant, “Stuff I Eat” in her community in the early 2000’s where she still receives visitors from around the world. Once a hairstylist, Babette became a self-taught chemist in the kitchen, perfecting eating healthy while keeping the flavor of her dishes the focal point. Her combination of thoughtful food preparation with an intense fitness regimen has made her one of the most sought-after experts in her field.
On the cusp of her 73rd birthday, Babette was recently featured on the Tamron Hall show doing an Eight Minute plank and talking about her health journey. Her goal is to share knowledge with others and be a catalyst to get people moving. On her most recent podcast with Rich Roll, he crowned her the new “Inspirational Role Model” and that’s exactly what we need more of in the world today.
Babette’s cookbook, Cash In on Cashews is packed full of healthful dessert recipes and she was featured on Home and Family, The Steve Harvey Show and Access Hollywood when the book launched. She has been featured in many docuseries such as Heart and Soul of a Champion, and made her television debut on Issa Rae’s hit show, Insecure.
This 72 year powerhouse gives daily motivation to her massive social media following and is often honored by Mercy for Animals for her advocacy work within the community. She is a globally sought after speaker and a headliner for many VegFest’s around the US.