Plant Based Nutritionist Interview

PLANT BASED NUTRITIONIST: As you know, Never Binge Again is diet agnostic. We’ll work with you on ANY Food Plan you want to follow as long as it’s nutritionally complete and has sufficient calories to avoid putting you into famine mode. On the other hand, I often get requests from people who pick up on the notion that I myself am plant based… they want to learn more about plant based nutrition. So I spent some time looking around, getting referrals, and I identified Anthony Dissen, who I can now wholeheartedly endorse. We do NOT have a financial relationship – I’m just trying to respond to my client’s needs. Anthony’s contact information is at the end of the interview and in the transcript if you’d like to get in touch with him. He’s very personable and responsive. See for yourself – have a good listen or a good read! (Transcript)

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Full Interview Transcript

 

Dr. Glenn:

Hey!  It’s the very good Dr. Glenn Livingston with Never Binge Again and I am here with Anthony Dissen.  Am I pronouncing your name correctly, Anthony?

Anthony:

That’s correct.  That’s perfect. 

Dr. Glenn:

That having been said, most people know that I’m very staunchly plant-based, and so if people ask and they want help determining what they should eat or how they should eat then it probably is not a surprise that I will refer to a plant-based nutritionist.  Anthony is that nutritionist and he comes highly recommended by Howard Jacobson.  I’ve spent some time talking to him and vetting him beforehand and I think you’re going to like some of the things he has to say, so Anthony, how are you today?

Anthony:

I’m doing wonderful.  I’m really enjoying the day so far.  How about yourself?

Dr. Glenn:

I’m enjoying the day so far too.  I’m always happy to be on a podcast with an interesting expert that’s got cool information to share.

Anthony:

Well, it’s always a joy to be here.  It’s always exciting to be able to talk to people who have similar interests, so that’s very exciting. 

Dr. Glenn:

Similarly, you can’t make rules that inhibits your body’s authentic ability to get its biological needs met and there’s a lot of controversy — I don’t know if it’s so much controversy if you really understand science.  Most people don’t understand science, but there’s a lot of debate and disagreement about the right way to eat in the world, so I’m kind of wondering, how did you personally evolve to a plant-based approach yourself and how was it that you came to be an adviser in that arena?

Anthony:

And then completely by accident — or maybe not by accident — I discovered a cooking show that just happen to be on the TV one day when I came home from school and it was this wonderful, plant-based chef in Philadelphia, Christina Pirello.  Some people might have heard of her.  She was just talking about food in a way I’ve never heard somebody talk about food before, about not just being a source of calorie or a source of energy or just a flavor, but she was really talking about how these foods impacted our health, our organs.  It’s such a silly thing to say, but I had never really thought about the deeper ways in which our food and nutrition impacted us.  I was always very interested in help and I certainly didn’t seek out what at least at the time I would’ve considered unhelpful foods.  I just didn’t think about it all that much. 

 

So hearing this person talk about food in this way just really enchanted me.  This summer, I decided I’m going to go vegan.  I’m going to go plant-based because she was talking about how these high saturated fat-rich foods like dairy and the way that these foods impacted our hormones and all these sorts of terminology that to me at the time was completely brand new, I thought this sounds really interesting, not even thinking about it that it had anything to do with my skin.  It was something that sounded helpful.  In two months, every single cyst was gone. 

Dr. Glenn:

Wow!

Anthony:

It did something that had not ever been done before and it left such a deep emotional mark on me because what teenager wouldn’t love in eight weeks to have all their horrible acne clear up?  So it completely oriented my whole trajectory not only just in terms of my personal health, but what I thought of as a career, what I thought of as a thing to study because up until that point, my plan was to go to college and study microbiology and become a virologist because I was very interested in viruses and books like Outbreak and things like that, so I thought, well, that’s what I was going to go do. 

 

I actually went to the orientation at the university I went to that summer and I went to the biology presentation and it was so boring.  I thought, well, that didn’t impress me at all.  It was awful.  And then I was looking through and I had to pick a second one and I said nutrition.  I didn’t even think you could study nutrition.  It just again never dawned on me.  I went to the nutrition presentation and they really struck me, so I went home and said I guess I’m going to go to school and study nutrition.  It just fell into it from there, but these two very serendipitous but unexpected interactions with people that both impacted me in a very positive way about, not only could nutrition be something you could really dive into and study and actually work as a profession, but because I had previously already discovered vegan plant-based approach that I went right into undergrad knowing that that was the way of understanding and studying and practicing nutrition that made the most sense to me.

Dr. Glenn:

Were the programs that you took in undergraduate plant-based programs? There are a lot of programs that are facilitating a Ketogenic or Paleolithic way of looking at the world, right?

Anthony:

No.  To date even, there are really no undergraduate nutrition programs or dietetics programs out there that are specifically plant-based in terms of dietetic preparations.  It was a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics.  There wasn’t a single class that had anything to do with plant-based nutrition anytime plant-based nutrition was mentioned in courses like Advanced Nutrition or Nutrition and Disease or Nutrition Counseling and some of these courses that I took.  It was always mentioned as, well, some people choose to be vegetarian.  You’ve got to really work with them hard because they’re all iron-deficient and calcium-deficient and Vitamin D-deficient and zinc-deficient.  It was always phrased in that way.  It was always directed as —

Dr. Glenn:

Those crazy people. 

Anthony:

Exactly.  Hey, if someone wants to be vegetarian, I guess they can be, but you’re going to have to really show them how to do it right.  I was just so thankful that I had already come across plant-based nutrition previously and saw what it had done for my health that I was able to hear these messages and just immediately know that they were incorrect, that they were based on either outdated information or just blatantly incorrect information.  So I was able to have a filter already put into place to say if there’s something I just know is factually untrue, I can hear it and I can try to understand why it is that they have this incorrect information without letting it impact my own understanding of human body health and human nutrition and that’s the way that I try to go about it today even. 

Dr. Glenn:

If it was scientifically inaccurate or outdated, how was it that they kept teaching it in the programs? Was any of it correct?

Anthony:

Ironically enough these days, I now teach nutrition as well to undergraduates and the way that I try to phrase it to them is if you understand how the human body works, you’ll be better at studying and teaching and practicing nutrition and dietetics than most dieticians or other healthcare providers.  That was sort of the approach at my undergraduate experience as well, was everything I was learning in terms of anatomy, physiology, human metabolism and all these things was completely correct. 

 

The issue was then when that got translated into dietary practice, it was clearly something was being missed.  What was true there, which is true at most universities that have any kind of nutrition or dietetics programs, is they receive a lot of funding, so if your university is receiving a lot of money to do dairy research, they’re certainly not going to be.

Dr. Glenn:

Oh God.  When you and I are running the world, let’s make it a different place, okay?

Anthony:

That’s the goal.  That really impacted me early on and that has been an ongoing thing in my ongoing graduate education and practice, is to be on the lookout for these conflicts of interest because whether you’re looking at nutrition, whether you’re looking at medicine, pharmaceuticals, anything, when there’s a clear conflict of interest, it makes you raise an eyebrow.  At least for nutrition, I saw that very clear that very brilliant researchers and very brilliant people were just sharing information that was incorrect whether purposefully or not.  I think a large part of that was because most of these institutions are under tremendous pressure to not be disparaging potential sources of income that they might receive now or in the future.  In nutrition, most of the income comes in the form of processed foods and animal agriculture. 

Dr. Glenn:

You know, money before human life is just — it still disgusts me, but it’s what it is.  It’s one of the reasons that we don’t take any corporate sponsorship or we don’t sell any supplement or food or anything like that.  We’re trying to avoid putting ourselves in that kind of position. 

 

I just want you to say a few more things about your pedigree because you have a really, really strong pedigree in terms of the training and places that you’ve been, and then I want to ask you some more practical questions about plant-based nutrition, if you don’t mind. 

Anthony:

Sure.  As a quick summary about what everything that went forward from there, once I graduated with my undergraduate degree, for people who may not be aware, to be a registered dietician, you complete a very specific, accredited undergraduate education and then you complete a year-long dietetic internship, which is spending a year in different clinical sites and learning some deeper — what’s called medical nutrition therapy.

 

I went into that program, which I loved because what I loved about the program I was in was that it was a double emphasis in clinical nutrition and community nutrition.  And I always knew that the type of dietetics work I wanted to do was more community-focused, but I wanted a really strong clinical background because people come with very complex questions and they expect a good answer, and so I wanted strong clinical chops as well even though I knew my goal wasn’t to necessarily work in an in-patient hospital, so I completed that. 

 

I was very fortunate that after I graduated, I was able to start work as an outpatient and community education dietician and that was a wonderful experience.  I learned so much so quickly in that time.  Then when I left that position at that hospital, I was fortunate enough to start to work with a program that was unfortunately short-lived, but wonderful program that Whole Foods had put together along with Matt Lederman, Alona Pulde, and Jeff Novick to create this thing called the Wellness Club, which was a completely plant-based wellness center that was located in five different whole foods markets throughout the country.  I worked at the one in New Jersey and that also was absolutely incredible.  I continued to learn so much more about what it is to counsel someone, to teach someone, to better translate clinical information into something someone can understand. 

 

Unfortunately, when that program closed across the country, which is a real shame, I was able to start to work at another hospital in New Jersey where I still work on a per diem basis now, but what I love about my position there is I specifically am there to teach plant-based nutrition.  I do a ten-week program there every summer.  We’re both employees of the hospital as well as members of the community, and they get this ten-week boot camp in plant-based nutrition, which is really such a fun time.  We’ve been doing this for almost every summer that I’ve been there now and that has been such an exciting thing. 

 

 

 

The other bit of work that I do now that I love is I work as a Health Sciences instructor at Stockton University, which is a university here in New Jersey where I have the opportunity to work with students that are interested in going into the healthcare field, whether that’s nursing, physician assistance, medicine, occupational therapy, physical therapy, et cetera, and I get to work with them while they’re still in that early stage to teach them about what a good healthy healthcare team looks like, what an inner professional team looks like. 

 

 

 

Then I get to teach this amazing course I wrote called Basic in Therapeutic Nutrition, which is basically a breakdown of human nutrition, human metabolism, and then how that works in healthcare.  I always again tell them right from the beginning, I’m not here to teach you a philosophy or approach to nutrition.  I want you to understand the human body and how we break down and use food.  You come to your own conclusions after that although I will say, it just so happens most of them by the end of the semester come up and tell me, “You know what? I think I’ve decided to go plant-based now.”  That’s without me ever once saying a plant-based diet is better or a vegan diet is better.  It is just presenting to say, “This is how the body works.  What do you think?” and this just happens to be the conclusion they come to, which is very rewarding, I have to say. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

Could you be more specific about that? What is it about how the body works that leads people to a plant-based conclusion?

 

 

Anthony:

Absolutely.  It’s a great distinction because so often our healthcare providers, other dieticians included unfortunately, don’t think about it that way.  The way that I try to explain this to them is if you can understand how our body first and foremost digests food and absorbs food, that gives you half the piece right there because so often with plant-based foods, whole plant-based foods, when we look at the mechanics of digestion and absorption, we see how much more protective they are for health because they have a more synergistic relationship with the nutrients within them that helps prevent toxicity or deficiency one way or the other because the fiber itself helps with different types of absorption of nutrients. 

 

 

 

I talk about the fact that when we get into the gut — because things like gut microbiome and gut health is so popular right now and a lot of students come with questions about that.  Well, we’ll discuss how does this bacteria in our gut operate, how does it ferment our food, and we’ll talk about how fiber and complex carbohydrates and starches get turned into these things called short-chain fatty acids that help protect our colon and protect against colon cancer, whereas low fiber, high protein, high fat foods, which is just their way of saying meat and animal products putrefy and turn into all these harmful material when our bacteria breaks them down, so they start to see at least just in that one thing with digestion how these plant foods are nourishing to the body and nourishing and protective to the digestive tract where the fat, the protein, even the form of iron that is in a lot of these plant-based foods, we just look at and see how that obviously leads to detriment and health.  That really opens their eyes because it’s not about high fat, low fat, high carb, low carb, Paleo, vegan, et cetera.  It’s just saying this is human anatomy and physiology.  What do you think a healthy type of food would be?

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

I just want to repeat some of what you said in my lay understanding in maybe simpler English, not that you used much jargon at all there, but my understanding is that there’s a set of microflora in our gut, in our whole small intestine, large intestine, and that there are essentially good bacteria and bad bacteria.  The good bacteria might be the kind of things that we try to supplement with acidophilus or other types of bacteriological supplements whereas the bad bacteria are — I don’t know why they’re harmful to us, but I know that they are. 

 

 

 

What you’re saying is that the fiber and nutrients within the plant food tend to feed the good bacteria and starve the bad bacteria, or maybe that’s too simple, whereas it’s the other way around for the bacteria that feed on the putrefying animal product sources.  I know that I’ve worked with a natural hygienist who says that a lot of the probiotic supplementation is really unnecessary if you don’t have animal foods because the whole reason that we’re low on probiotics in the first place is because the animal foods support the wrong type of bacteria.  Am I understanding that correctly or is there —

 

 

Anthony:

No, that’s completely correct.  Our gut bacteria is such a fascinating thing and I myself am still constantly trying to understand it better.  These are living organisms and they adapt in terms of their ratios within the body.  Even the species, the strains if you will of bacteria that we have, they adapt based on our diet, so if all of a sudden tomorrow I start to eat a lot of apples, I will start to even then make a small change in the types of bacteria in my gut that really love to eat pectin or that really love to break down some of these compounds whereas if all of a sudden tomorrow I start to eat a lot of steaks, my gut bacteria is going to stop producing more of the fiber, starch, fructose, plant-loving bacteria and they have to make more of the animal fiber, fat breaking down bacteria because it adjusts with our lifestyle.  We know now through a lot of this research with people who own dogs and live with dogs.  That changes the type of bacteria they have in their body.  So this gut bacteria and this gut biome we have is a reflection of our environment, both our living environment as well as our dietary environment. 

 

 

 

So if we are trying to get the healthiest production, if you will, of these bacteria, we just got to feed the ones that we want, and they just so happen to eat these plant foods.  So people, when they switch to a plant-based diet, really often in some situations they may, but rarely do they benefit from additional probiotic supplementation because we’re just churning out all the healthy bugs on our own.  We don’t really need to take any more because we’ve already got them. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

It’s so interesting.  The other thing that I understand about how the human body works — and please correct me if I’m wrong — is that because food could be in our system for up to four days, I think plant-based material goes through it quicker, if you were to turn the thermostat in your apartment or house up to 98 degrees and you put out a piece of fish on the kitchen counter and then at the opposite side of the sink, you put out a stalk of celery and then watch what happens to that fish over the course of four days in a 98-degree kitchen versus that stalk of celery, I think it becomes evident that you don’t necessarily want that piece of fish in your body.  Does that make sense or is there a better way to describe that?

 

 

Anthony:

I think it’s a wonderful image because again it shows the idea that these animal-based foods, they literally rot and they putrefy.  There’s actually in medical journals and things like this, the byproducts that happen when these things digest in our body, they’re called putrefying byproducts.  There’s no uncertainty out there about what happens.

 

 

 

So again, just like with my experience when I think back to my undergraduate education, there’s this disconnect of — the evidence is there.  I love all the research that’s being done on plant-based nutrition right now, but from just a purely physiologic point of view, we know it.  It’s out there.  We already have labels and terms for these things.  We know that fish, eggs, cheese, beef and things like that literally putrefy in our gut.  That’s why we have chemicals named after that process where that doesn’t happen when we eat a stalk of celery or a banana or a potato because we have a completely different, in this case, bacterial mechanism at play that they ferment and they create these amazing chemicals that actually protect the gut as opposed to breaking it down. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

Fermentation and putrefaction are two different words. 

 

 

Anthony:

Absolutely, yeah.  They are two different processes because fermentation is the work of these microbes on some sort of plant material, usually the carbohydrate or the fiber within a plant material where putrefaction is the breaking down of this muscle tissue or this animal protein tissue.  Sometimes people say, “Oh, we shouldn’t eat these animal foods.  They’ll ferment.”   Actually, what we want is we want them to ferment, but animal foods can’t ferment.  They can only rot and they can only putrefy, and so it’s a completely different process that’s going on in the gut at that time. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

Wow!  You learned me something there.  I didn’t know that.  Why is the animal-based diet so appealing to people?

 

 

Anthony:

That’s a great question that to this day I’m always trying to understand better.  The way that I try to think about that is why was it appealing to me before I went plant-based?  I try to be very thoughtful with that because like most of us, for those of us that weren’t lucky enough to be raised this way from day one, we were all of us cheese, egg, meat, fish eaters at one point.  What is so enticing about it?

 

 

 

I think the thing that comes to it is this cultural message out there that is very much again not to sound too conspiratorial, but it’s very much driven by industry that we are always one day away from deficiency and that these animal-based foods — and they are.  They are richer sources of calorie.  They are richer sources of protein bite for bite.  They are richer sources of fat.  And in a time in our country’s history where people were literally dying of starvation or tuberculosis or people were mostly in labor-intensive jobs burning 10,000 calories a day, there was probably a public health benefit of a higher fat, higher calorie, higher saturated fat diet because we were dying of these infectious diseases.  We were burning all these calories. 

 

 

 

You fast-forward not even a hundred years and now we’re not dying of malaria or tuberculosis anymore.  We’re dying of diseases of excess, but I think this message is still very much present in our collective consciousness of I am always one day away from deficiency and there’s just something about the way animal foods are then presented in commercials, in recipes, in cooking competitions that make them seem rich, hearty, build muscle and all this stuff we hear our whole lives.  We don’t need that anymore.  These foods went from helping us not starve to now they’re killing us from nutritional excess, but there’s still I think this cultural message out there. 

 

 

 

When people do the plant nutrition program that I offer through my hospital, one of the things that they so often say is they don’t miss — or if they’re not completely vegan or completely plant-based, if at least reduce it a lot, that they just love the flavor.  They love the texture.  They love this variety in their new foods that they’re eating.  And then when they look at a plate of, I don’t know, chicken wings or something, it’s unappetizing.

 

 

 

So it doesn’t take much, I think, to really shift that and realize we don’t need to be gorging ourselves on these foods that are by design to make us fat or to eat too much cholesterol and mess us up because we’re not frail.  We’re not in a position where we are in an environment of poverty, of nutritional poverty.  I just think it takes a shift of perspective to realize that we are surrounded by abundance and these plant foods are so much better designed to help us in an environment of dietary abundance and that we don’t necessarily want to keep thinking of these animal-based foods as necessary.  I think it’s that little pivot, I find, that makes us realize the emperor doesn’t have any clothes on kind of a thing. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

It’s so often that people will ask me where I get my protein and I usually turn around and ask them if they know anybody that’s been diagnosed with a protein deficiency.  To date, I haven’t had anybody say “yes” unless they’re working in a third world country and people are just not getting enough calories.  I haven’t found anybody that actually knows someone with a protein deficiency.  Is it possible to create a protein deficiency in a plant-based diet?

 

 

Anthony:

In a word, no.  The only way somebody could truly be protein deficient in a plant-based diet is that they were at the same time not getting enough calories.  I share this with my students constantly, is that protein intake is just an overall indicator of calorie intake.  If my body needs a certain number of calories based on my body mass and my activity levels and all these other things then as long as I’m eating enough calories to meet that, I’ll be fine.  It’s almost impossible — and not to be too glib about it, but when I think about young people or anybody who might suffer from very compulsive eating or eating restriction, even they don’t suffer from protein deficiency.  It’s just caloric starvation, it’s calorie deficiency, so you can’t separate one nutrient out, just protein and say that a person could somehow be fully nourished in every other aspect of themselves but protein.  It just can’t happen. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

Here’s my understanding.  I’m very much a lay nutritionist.  I wouldn’t call myself a dietician.  I’ve read a lot about it, but I bow to your knowledge, so please correct me.  My understanding of why protein has become such a popular concern, in addition to the industrial profiteers and the influence of animal agriculture, I think that we emerged from a phase in our history where there was a tremendous emphasis on refined carbohydrates.  I remember when I thought that eating a box of SnackWell’s was no big deal.  People were having all these low-fat cookies, pastries, danishes, pasta, and thinking that they were taking care of themselves because they were staying away from the fat, but they were destroying their sugar metabolism when they were eating like that. 

 

 

 

I go to CrossFit regularly and virtually everybody there eats Paleolithic or low carb and they’re energetic.  A lot of them are thinner or more muscular than I am and I can’t deny that it does seem to work in the context of a standard American diet for people to switch to Paleolithic or Ketogenic.  They do seem to lose weight.  They do seem to switch their energy burning systems and I think that in some ways, they might be doing less harm for themselves than what the standard American diet was doing to them with the plethora of high glycemic foods.

 

 

 

But I also say to myself, my belief is they might be optimizing for short-term thinness and energy, but they’re making themselves sick underneath that it’s not sustainable in the long run.  That’s my perspective on it.  When I look at the clients that I work with, I do believe that anything is better than binging, so I’m very willing to work with people to support them on a Paleolithic diet if that’s what they want to do, but I find that they eventually get these tremendous carbohydrate cravings.  I personally believe it’s because I think we evolved on fruit and leafy greens and I think that if you deprive the body for too long from that — and there’s research about additional cancers that occur with greater frequency if you don’t have enough fruit — I think that there’s an authentic biological need that’s being missed when there’s no fruit in the diet.  I think that it got demonized along with the high glycemic carbohydrates that have had the fiber enzymes and other materials that are necessary to digest the sugar and metabolize the sugar in the fruit.  I think that the whole fruit got demonized with that. 

 

 

 

What I’m asking is am I right that it’s an authentic improvement to move from a standard American diet to a Ketogenic or Paleolithic diet?  And then where is the fallacy in thinking that that’s the last step?  Where is the fallacy in thinking that they shouldn’t be plant-based after that?

 

 

Anthony:

Oh, I love that.  I would 100 percent agree that even moving to what is commonly practiced as a Paleo diet would still be an improvement because you and I and many other people in this community probably would agree with a lot of what the dietary advice is for people that are following these Paleo programs of abstaining from refined oils, abstaining from refined sugars, abstaining from refined grains.  Eating lots of vegetables, lots of greens, things of that nature, avoiding processed and heavily packaged food, avoiding these heavily processed forms of salt, those are all excellent.  Most Paleo people, at least for the majority out there, also advocate from avoiding dairy and those sorts of foods, and so that can’t help but make a person feel better.  A person can’t help but probably be eating fewer calories than they were before, so of course they’re going to be losing weight.

 

 

 

To your example with CrossFit, I’ve been at two different CrossFit studios in my life and I noticed the exact same thing there that they are very much emphasizing this Paleo.  The most recent CrossFit studio that I had been a part of, their big thing was Whole30, which is just another variation of that, but now they’re coupling it with lots of physical activity and exercise and people can certainly get in the base about whether they like CrossFit exercise or not.  So they’re eating less processed food, they’re potentially abstaining from all these refined foods, high oil, high salt, high processed sugar, and they’re exercising.  I bet someone’s going to feel better, lose some weight, might even momentarily lower their cholesterol and blood pressure and those sorts of things.  It’s still a movement towards a less processed, more whole food approach to eating and that is wonderful. 

 

 

 

What I will say then the fallacy or the problem there is that our bodies are absolutely carbohydrate burners.  An example that I’ll often say to my students is you could eat nothing but a steak today — steak, meat, all that.  You could eat nothing but bloody meat all day.  Why does a person’s blood sugar then not fall to zero?  You’d think they’re not eating any carbohydrates.  Shouldn’t they die?  Because our bodies need carbohydrates, need glucose so badly, it’ll go through this process called gluconeogenesis, which means creating new glucose.  It’ll actually take the amino acids from that steak and turn them into sugar.  It will convert them into blood sugar. 

 

 

 

We are sugar burners.  We are absolutely meant to be eating carbohydrates.  So as these people are adopting less processed, more whole food, hopefully eating lots of veggies, at least greens, things like that, there’s going to be a time their bodies are definitely going to be able to adapt to that.  Their microbiome will probably actually going to get a bit healthier because at least those heavily processed foods are gone.  They may even be eating more fiber than they were before, et cetera, but those foods still at the same time are going to be putrefying within their gut.

 

 

 

These foods at the still time especially red meat and things like that, but honestly all animal foods are going to be full of Heme iron, which is only found in animals foods which is associated with high risk of type two diabetes in men especially associated with higher risk of heart disease.  And then we have all the cholesterol and saturated fat, so I think you get this peak and valley moment where they’ve made a radical improvement in their diet, they’ve made a probably radical increase in their exercise that is definitely going to work with them for some time, but then they’re eventually going to get tired because they don’t have enough carbohydrate coming in.  Their body is dealing with this excess of fat, cholesterol, saturated fat, iron, and other things in these animal products that can be a real problem. 

 

 

 

I think the obsession with coconut in the Paleo community and even the Ketogenic community is a problem because now they’re probably really skyrocketing their intake of saturated fat in particular and I think that’s where you see then people start to falter. 

 

 

 

I had a student once who told me that he was taking some sports supplement because it made him feel like he had more energy because he said, “It helps me feel like I’m eating 50 grams of carbohydrates a day instead of only 25 grams of carbohydrates a day.”  I asked him, “Why aren’t you eating just more carbohydrates?  If you feel better because this supplement is supposed to be helping you get more out of the carbohydrates you’re eating or whatever the mechanism was, just eat more carbohydrates.”

 

 

 

It’s definitely moving people, I think, in the good direction, but there’s definitely that brick wall you hit and you have to let then those animal foods go and continue along this idea of lots of vegetables, but then getting those calories in from fruits and other types of whole plant foods. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

How do you work with people to transition? A lot of people are frightened that they say they have less energy when they don’t have meat.  They really need meat.  A lot of people just don’t know what to eat because they’re so used to getting so many of the calories from the animal products or low carbohydrate sources.  This can be very overwhelming and frightening to people.  How do you transition with them slowly?

 

 

Anthony:

The way that I try to go about it, I am staunchly against meal plans, and what I mean by that is here’s a blank calorie meal planner or here’s a vegan meal plan with a bunch of recipes because I have absolutely no idea if those are foods that that person likes, if they even know how to cook those foods.  Is this too much variety?  Is it not enough variety?  I have no idea. 

 

 

 

So what I do when I sit down with people is I’ll give them a piece of paper or whatever, or if it’s on the phone, I’ll ask them to open up a Word doc or something and just say start to write down every fruit you know you like.  Now, write down every vegetable you know you like.  Do you like oats?  Do you like pecans?  Let’s start to make a list of every single plant food.  We can even put them in categories if that helps that you know you can find at the grocery store, you know what they look like, you know what they taste like, and you know that you enjoy them.  With that exercise there, what I find usually would help is they now have this list of an abundant amount of food.  There might be 40 to 50 different types of food on that list. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

Friction free?

 

 

Anthony:

Yes, absolutely.  I love that, exactly.  You already know how to get to it.  And then what I’ll say is, “What do you like to cook?  Are you more of a soup person?  Are you more of a baked in the oven person?  How would you just normally prepare food if you weren’t thinking about the ingredients necessarily and just you’re putting a meal together?”  Then they’ll say, “Oh, I like A, B, C” and they’ll make a little list from that.  I say, “Now, how do we just take these ingredients that you know you like and apply these ways of preparing food that you’re telling me you already know how to cook and make, that you enjoy, what would that look like?”

 

 

 

The goal I’m trying to get here is to help them realize they already know how to do it, that this is something that they already have the skill set needed to be successful and I want them to feel empowered by that as opposed to, “Well, this is completely new.  You’ve never eaten a piece of fruit before.  What do you already know how to do?  Let’s run with that right now.”

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

I love that.  I want to make that list now.  That’s very inspiring.  What do people put off calling you and what do you wish they knew before they put it off?

 

 

Anthony:

Oh my, that’s a great question.  I think people put off some sort of lifestyle or in this case dietary change I think due to a deep fear that they will not succeed.  I would say that at least in my experience, I have noticed that if someone that I’ve worked with and I stopped hearing from or I hear from them very sporadically or someone is afraid to get started in the first place, very often it is a sense that I’m going to mess this up and I don’t want to once again fail at this goal that I’m setting for myself. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

Which is why good nutrition plus Never Binge Again is a winning combo.  I just have to put that in there. 

 

 

Anthony:

No, I would 100 percent agree.  You need some approach that is not only giving you good information, but it is something that says that this is built around working with the way your mind works, the way that all of our minds work on how to be consistently successful with something.  What I try to remind them is most plans out there including some plant-based plans out there, they are inherently going to fail because they do not work with how people live day to day, that they are just inherently flawed. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

The best information in the world is no good if you can’t implement it.  We don’t live in the jungle.  We live in a society.  We have realistic constraints on our days and taking care of our children, going to work, pleasing our bosses, pleasing our spouses, pleasing our parents and our kids, our dogs, our cats and all that kind of thing, and so you need someone that can work with you on a very practical basis to make adjustments and compromises where it’s necessary. 

 

 

 

Anthony, what about people that say they can’t afford it?  Can you help with that?

 

 

Anthony:

Absolutely.  I am a very self-professed Costco addict, I will tell you.  For the longest time, I would’ve never even considered many of these types of stories because I just thought, well, there’s not going to be any of — whatever this means — my food in there.  Then when I recently moved a couple of years ago to this part of New Jersey I’m in now, I literally live across the street from a Costco, so I had to pop in one day and it was the most clichéd thing you could think of.  I walked out of there with a membership card and a cart full of groceries.  I couldn’t believe it. 

 

 

 

These foods are not only abundant.  I can’t walk into a gas station without at least being able to find bananas to buy.  It’s just so out there, but when we’re looking at foods that are just that food, just bananas, just spinach, just potatoes, whatever it might be, they are infinitely inexpensive.  The amount of food I’m able to walk out of there with for the amount of money I’ve paid for it, it’s incredible because I talk to people about Costco — and not to do a plug for Costco.  I swear I have a point of saying this — they’ll say, “Oh yeah, I can’t walk out of there for less than $300.”  I walk out of there for barely $100 because my cart is full of bags of frozen fruit, bags of greens, bags of whatever.

 

 

 

These foods, if they’re just that food, are always cheaper.  I think the concern with expense comes up where if I think the only way I can eat healthfully and eat a healthful plant-based diet is I have to eat these expensive such and such berries that have been flown in from the Amazon or I have to buy the organic taste, looks, and feels like meat veggie burger and I have to buy these super 22-ingredient juice concoction that’s out there.  Those things add up. 

 

 

 

If I’m living on that then absolutely I’m going to be paying a lot of money for food, but if I’m just buying a bag of legumes or a bag of baby bell peppers or something like that, they are very inexpensive.  If you’re focusing especially on whether it’s fruits that are a little more starchy and complex or whether it’s vegetables that are more starchy and complex, they are so naturally filling, it’s not like you’re eating your body weight in food each day.  These are things that are filling.  They’re cheap as anything. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

And you’ll learn how to buy in bulk and negotiate with the produce managers and go to Costco and all those kinds of things. 

 

 

Anthony:

I feel bad.  I love the little natural food store that’s in my town.  I rarely go there just because (a) it’s more expensive and (b) there’s almost nothing they have I can’t find at Target these days.  These foods are very around us.  It’s the easiest that’s ever been in at least my life of living this way and eating this way, but you just want to keep it simple. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

I would venture to say that if someone were willing to call you and didn’t put it off and worked with you about their food budget and their nutrition that they would more than make up for your fee probably within the first month by the adjustments you could help them make in their shopping habits, by the increased productivity that they felt, by the confidence that they felt that they could actually be losing weight, and by the amount of money they saved on buying animal products and junk food.  I really believe that working with you is a financially positive event, not eventually a negative one. 

 

 

Anthony:

I hope so.  I should hope so. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

I know that’s not your selling point because I’m making it into a selling point for you, but the same thing happens with Never Binge Again.  We’ve got a $500 program and sometimes I’ll sit back and ask them, “Well, what have you spent on binge food last month?”  We charge them more for the course of five months, so I said, “Could you find $100 a month to save on binge food if you let me teach you how to not binge?” and they go, “Yeah, I guess I could.”  It’s a false economy. 

 

 

Anthony:

Very much so.  I have had many conversations with many friends and people over the years where they will say, “Oh, I don’t have enough money for healthy food or this food,” but then their fridge is full of soda or their cabinets are full of alcohol.  That stuff costs money and it has zero necessity.  Could you at least shift some of your budget of that towards something that is a little more necessary?  I think it very much is perspective on that, absolutely. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

Anthony, we have just a few minutes and I’d like to know a little bit more about how you work with people and how they’d get a hold of you if they wanted to. 

 

 

Anthony:

Absolutely.  In a nutshell, what I try to do is to say I will be as much or as little as what somebody needs at any given time.  The majority of people who communicate with me communicate with me through email, which might just be to ask me a question or two and I am always happy to answer a quick question or two.  If somebody has something that’s more complex, something that they have a more potentially complex medical history or they really want more of a conversation than just a quick couple of points in an email then I will set up either a phone call or a Skype call with them.  Usually I like to spend about 45 minutes with people on that time so that we can get to know each other a little bit better, better understand exactly what it is they are looking to receive, and then that gives me the time then to provide them with whatever either information or resources or materials that they might be looking for. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

Okay.  They can contact you, give you a call, talk over what they’re looking to accomplish, and you’ll come up with a program that makes sense for them and whatever level of contact they want after that point or whatever level of contact is necessary.  You’ll work that out with them. 

 

 

Anthony:

Absolutely.  I always leave it up to the person to tell me how much or how little they want to be in contact, absolutely. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

It’s not like you have to sign up with Anthony for a weekly consultation until you say “no”.  Let’s talk it over and see what’s necessary. 

 

 

Anthony:

Absolutely.  I’ve spoken to people maybe once or twice a month or maybe once a week for a little bit of time.  There are some people I talk to once and I never hear from them again, so I completely leave it into their hands. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

Okay.  Well, very good.  Where is the best place to get a hold of you?

 

 

Anthony:

The best place to get a hold of me is actually just to reach out to me through my website, which is anthonydissen.com.

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

You better spell that. 

 

 

Anthony:

Sure.  I know I don’t have the easiest name, so Anthony Dissen, D-I-S-S-E-N.  If you reach out to me through there, you’ll be able to send me either an email to my email address or you can fill out a Contact Me form and that’ll get emailed to me as well.  People can just let me know what they’re looking for and we’ll figure it out from there. 

 

 

Dr. Glenn:

Perfect!  Thanks for your time and attention.  If you need personal coaching to fix your food problem fast, please visit FixYourFoodProblem.com.  FixYourFoodProblem.com.  If you’d like to become a certified professional Never Binge Again independent coach and turn your passion for Never Binge Again into a lucrative, rewarding and fun career, please visit BecomeAWeightLossCoach.com.  That’s BecomeAWeightLossCoach.com where you can attract high-paying clients by leveraging my credibility and the Never Binge Again brand and help them stop overeating and obsessing about food so they can achieve their health and fitness goals at BecomeAWeightLossCoach.com.  That’s BecomeAWeightLossCoach.com.  Thanks.