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NBSV 132


Transcript of the No-Bullsh!t Vegan podcast, episode

Change your lifestyle; change your health: a talk with vegan physician Dr. Amanda Adkins

Karina Inkster: You're listening to the No Bullshit Vegan Podcast, episode 132. Dr. Amanda Adkins joins me to discuss plant-based nutrition to prevent and reverse hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, speaking with patients in her medical practice about veganism, and her nutrition and lifestyle coaching program.

Hey, welcome to the show. I'm Karina your go-to, no BS vegan fitness and nutrition coach. Thanks so much for tuning in today. So one of my friends recently messaged me saying, “my 15-year-old son has been vegetarian for a few years for ethical reasons. He's getting into bodybuilding for the first time, wants to be buff. He's getting told from other teen guys that he's not getting enough protein to build. I know for sure that's not true. He eats loads of black beans every day, tofu, dark green, leafy vegetables, et cetera. Do you have advice for where I can send him for veg man body info?” So obviously I'm a huge fan of the term veg man body info, and we happen to have just the thing: head to for nine of our best free resources to help you kick butt with your fitness and nutrition.

Whether you're a new vegan, an old pro looking to fuel strength training, or you just need to prove to your friends that you are in fact getting enough protein, thank you very much, check out our strength training guide, vegan specific protein calculator, and more at

Today I'm excited to have Dr. Amanda Adkins on the show. She's a board-certified internal medicine physician and a health coach and owner of Enlightenment Health and Wealth. She has a deep passion for ensuring that everyone has a chance at a healthy and happy life. Her most recent focus has been to help women who are overweight prevent, and possibly reverse, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, both through her medical and personal experience. She knows how our lifestyle can lead to remarkable changes in our health. Her favourite vegan meals are red split lentils with brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes and veggie lovers pizza. Enjoy our discussion. Hi, Dr. Amanda, Nice to meet you. Thanks for coming on the show today.

Amanda Adkins: Yes, thank you for having me. I'm excited to talk with you today.

Karina Inkster: Me too. I'm excited to learn more about what you do. So why don't we just jump right in? You're a board-certified internal medicine physician, and you also have a health practice. So I'm intrigued as to how both of those things work and what you do with patients and clients.

Amanda Adkins: Yes, yes. So I get that a lot. They're like, oh, so you also do health coaching on the side? I’m like, yes. And I tell people that actually stems from patients themselves actually talking about how they know what to do, but feel like they're rushed in an office visit and don't get everything that they need. So I was like, oh, that sounds like a bit more because I love talking about lifestyle nutrition. And sometimes I just start rambling in the exam room and they're like, I know their head is kind of spinning.

They're like, what in the world is she talking about? So I decided to branch off and do a little bit more of the lifestyle coaching to help people, you know, in their lifelong journey. Cuz like I said, you can't do that in a 15-minute office visit. Most of the time we're discussing a whole lot of other things, but then usually at the end the doctor's like, don't forget to eat right and exercise. And then you're like, okay, what does that mean?

Karina Inkster: Yeah. Good point.

Amanda Adkins: So that's how the bulk of them came about.

Karina Inkster: Interesting. So do you have your own practice? Are you seeing patients one on one and then, you know, it's kind of the usual deal where there's a time limit and you only get a certain number of minutes per patient kind of thing?

Amanda Adkins: That is right. So I still work full-time in an outpatient practice. It's not my own practice. I work with a local hospital group. So yeah, I do that four days a week, one on one in the office, 20 minutes, maybe if it's a newer patient it’s a 40-minute visit. But it still seems like the time goes by so quickly with everything that we need to discuss and what the patient also wants to discuss. So it's still very time restrictive to what we can all get in.

Karina Inkster: Mm, that makes sense. Well, how cool is that? I don't think there's a lot of physicians who have their own practices or even physicians who are working in hospital situations who also have the lifestyle piece attached to it. Because we all know we need more of that in the medical field. And so that's pretty cool that you're doing both.

Amanda Adkins: Yes, yes. So I guess because I'm immersed in it, it seems like of course there's a lot of physicians doing it. But when you actually look at the number compared to the number of physicians, we’re very limited. That's right.

Karina Inkster: For sure. Which is why we need more work like what you're doing. So that's awesome. So you focus on the plant-based diet and presumably you're plant-based yourself. So how did you come to being vegan and was there like a catalyst? Is this a long-term thing? Like what's the story there?

Amanda Adkins: Yes, yes. So it is a long story. I'll say it starts back to when I was a teenager. I was 14 years old and in health class, I would say health class, it was gym class. It's a thing. And we had to do a presidential fitness physical fitness test. And you had to actually first weigh yourself. And I had never weighed myself prior to that cuz otherwise I would weigh myself just when I went to the doctor's office. But you know, when you're older, you don't do that as much as a teenager.

Karina Inkster: Mm-hmm.

Amanda Adkins: And I weighed 199 pounds and I was like, oh my gosh! 14 years old 199 pounds. There's no way I wanna let the two be the first number in my weight. And so my journey started from there. Initially, I started exercising, trying to lose weight, and then at the age of 16, I became a vegetarian. And people were like, well, how did that happen? You know, your dad is a meat delivery truck driver and you guys usually have, you know, hot dogs and sausage and bacon, you know, eating that all the time.

And I was like, I don't know how it came about. It was a challenge to myself. I had one cousin that was a vegetarian, but obviously, she was the unicorn of the family. I’ll just say it wasn't very popular. This was in the nineties, so it's not as big as it is now. So I was just like, I'm just gonna start out doing this. And I just say that it's, you know, just how life things happen and you end up in certain areas of your life down the road and you're like, oh, that was a pivotal point that brought me to here to help people in their health journey long term. So yeah. Started back almost 30 years ago now -

Karina Inkster: Wow.

Amanda Adkins: of changing. Yeah. And it has just kind of progressed along the way from vegetarian to vegan to plant-based, and that just came about by learning more about the health benefits of actually eating whole food plant-based. So initially, like I said, it was just a challenge, but I did not want to be a person that had heart disease and cancer, and diabetes because all that was in my family. So that triggered me to go a little bit further into my journey and to help others do the same.

Karina Inkster: That's amazing. I went vegetarian in the nineties as well, and I remember well, the lack of options at the time.

Amanda Adkins: Yes, yes! Yeah. I said my first vegetarian meal trying to eat out was a Big Mac with no meat.

Karina Inkster: Haha! So the bread basically.

Amanda Adkins: Yeah. The bread and the sauce and then the lettuce. So that was it. I mean, it was like, I don't know what else to do. You didn’t know other options, like you said, right? But yeah, that was unusual. And people were always like, you want what?

Karina Inkster: You're going to eat what now? Yeah. It was the same kind of deal. Nowadays, I mean, the situation is completely different. So you differentiated between vegan and plant-based, and I think that's where some of these more processed food options might come in. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with them, but what do you mean when you say vegan? And what do you mean when you say plant-based?

Amanda Adkins: So plant-based, I think more of the whole food. And I emphasize that more because of the chronic illnesses that are related around nutrition. And you get more of the health benefit if you eat the whole food in comparison to eating like plant-based substitutes. But it was always a joke in our clinic was that oh, well Skittles are vegan.

Karina Inkster: Oh yeah. So are Oreos.

Amanda Adkins: Yeah. Right. So I mean, that may not be the healthiest thing that you would say. So that's why I always say, you know, plant-based, cuz we're actually thinking more of the whole food than just something that doesn't necessarily have just meat or dairy or eggs in there.

Karina Inkster: That makes sense. You know, plant-based, I feel is kind of a marketing term these days, which is a negative for the vegan movement, unfortunately. You know, it's like how gluten-free is now a marketing term apparently.

Amanda Adkins: Yes. Yes.

Karina Inkster: But I see your point. So plant-based meaning like whole plants as the focus.

Amanda Adkins: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

Karina Inkster: That makes sense. So then how do you use that plant-based context when you're talking about things like reversing chronic diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, et cetera?

Amanda Adkins: Yes. So in practice, I often ask people, you know, what exactly do you eat? Especially if they have one of those diseases and they're like, Doc, I don't wanna go on another medication. Like, that's usually how the conversation evolves. It's like, I don't want another medicine, or I don't wanna start medicine. What else can I do? And so we talk about what foods they can actually eat are add into their diet. And it's usually plants, fruits, vegetables, whole grains. Because most of the time, especially, you know, in the US, we are not eating fruits and vegetables at almost any meal. It's all either processed foods or fast food, hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs, potato chips. You know, that's mostly what the diet consists of. So if we can just start to add in whole fruits and vegetables we'll be a lot healthier in that transition to trying to cut out more of those animal-based foods.

Karina Inkster: I like this approach. This is mine too, with our clients when they're going vegan. It’s not a matter of oh, I can't eat that anymore. Oh, I have to avoid that. It's a matter of how many new things can I add to my plate. How many amazing plant-based foods can I pile on there? Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, all those awesome things. So it really becomes more about abundance than it does about avoidance, which is huge mindset-wise.

Amanda Adkins: Exactly. Exactly. Cause most people are like, that's the first thing they say -so I can't eat meat? haha. Like, you have all these other options. Just put the meat on the side. Use that as the side dish instead of the main dish. So let's look at it that way initially.

Karina Inkster: Well, so I'm curious about your, we'll talk about the program that you have in your wellness practice in a little more detail, but in your patients when you're doing like your regular practice - what do you call that? General practice doctor? I have no idea what the name is for that. The non-health coaching piece that you’re teaching.

Amanda Adkins: Yeah. I would say practice because otherwise I'd say program, so in my practice.

Karina Inkster: Got it.

Amanda Adkins: I do this in my program. Yeah.

Karina Inkster: Perfect. Okay. So in your practice then, when folks are coming in potentially with chronic diseases, either long term or maybe they're new, how often does the vegan piece come up? Because even having a doctor who's plant-based slash vegan is still uncommon compared to how many doctors there are who aren't vegan, right? So like, does that freak people out when you bring it up? Does it come up a lot when you're talking about things like diabetes?

Amanda Adkins: I always try to push it in there, haha.

Karina Inkster: Ok, perfect.

Amanda Adkins: I wouldn't say it necessarily freaks people out because I don't just come out and say oh, you need to become vegan, or you need to become plant-based.

Karina Inkster: Okay.

Amanda Adkins: I would again ask them, what do you eat? So breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tell me what you had yesterday. So that's how the conversation goes when they have that when we're looking at their blood test results. And so then they'll tell me, and I'm like oh, you know, maybe this is a place that you can add in your fruits, vegetables here. So you're not eating too much of them, but you tell me you don't wanna be on any more medication. So let's see what we can add in here to kind of help you a bit more. And so usually I never say vegan or plant-based. The patient usually says that.

Karina Inkster: Oh, interesting.

Amanda Adkins: So you want me to become vegan? Like, that's what they'll say.

Karina Inkster: So what do say you when they say that?

Amanda Adkins: I was like, yeah, exactly. That's what we wanna definitely push you towards. And so I, like I said, I don't use the word, but if they bring it up, I'm like, yes, because I live in California. So it's not like it's unusual for them to hear or see a lot of plant-based things, especially here. So the term is not foreign to them.

So when they hear that, they're just like, okay. Some people are like, okay, I definitely can see where you're going with this Doc. I'm gonna try that. Some are like, I don't know if I can give up my meat. I don't know. So I was like, I understand. I understand. But let's just take a look. You told me that you don't want any more medicines, that you don't feel good or you're not gonna take the medicine because you read all the side effects. But did you ever consider what side effect that bacon is causing for you?

Karina Inkster: Oh damn. Good one.

Amanda Adkins: You know, these are the type of things.

Karina Inkster: Yeah.

Amanda Adkins: I say to people, I was like you don't get that list from the bacon producer. You get that from like Atrotal or something like that because the pharmaceutical companies have to reveal that information. But you have to look at it the same way. You're either helping your body or you're harming your body.

Karina Inkster: Mm. I like that. So it's kind of like motivational interviewing style where the patient brings it up themselves and it's like almost their idea. Smart.

Amanda Adkins: Yes. Yes.

Karina Inkster: Haha, that's an awesome approach. Love that. So in how many cases is someone like super open and in how many cases is someone like, dear lord, I could never do this.

Amanda Adkins: More people are, I’d say now open to it than not. And I can kind of get a sense of now since I've been doing it a while, if they're open to it or not, just by the way that they bring things up. Like if they don't mention that they're tired of medications or anything like that, I'll still ask them about what they're eating and then just kind of hint at adding in more fruits and vegetables. And if they don't really respond, I don't push it that visit.

But still, every single visit that they're there for their chronic illnesses, we talk about nutrition and lifestyle. So I can say the more I'm actually becoming known for this. People like, oh, I like that you emphasize, you know, lifestyle. Cause that's like on my bio, on the website for the practice.

Or they're here from one of their friends or family members? Like, oh, you know, I heard that you don't really try to push medications on people, so I decided to come to see you. And I'm like excellent. I'm glad you do that. So that means it's more work on your end. It's not like you just come in here and I'm saying, you don't need medications, we're not gonna do anything. No. That means you're really gonna be the one that's working hard here. So definitely note that when you come in and they're like, okay, okay.

Karina Inkster: That actually makes sense. So there might be some level of self-selection when people see like oh, this medical professional is not gonna push a whole bunch of pharmaceuticals on me, but will instead talk more about lifestyle. So maybe it's people who are already more interested in that.

Amanda Adkins: Right. Yeah. I find that more in the past year or so, that I'm getting more patients like that than when I initially started practicing like 12 years ago because I wasn't even pushing it for myself as hard.

Karina Inkster: So Interesting. Interesting. So then in your program, I wanna talk about the five-day program that you have, but just in general, when you work with folks not in your practice, what does that look like? So this is where you can go one-on-one, right? So folks are getting more coaching, not just a 20-minute visit.

Amanda Adkins: Mm-hmm.

Karina Inkster: How does that work? Are you looking at their food? Are you like providing menu ideas? Like how does that logistically work?

Amanda Adkins: So yes, they do have menu ideas. They have meal planning. We look at what they're eating already more in detail. And it's actually whole food, plant-based options. Like that's what the program is. It's not like you can have a little bit of meat here and there. No, no. It's totally cutting that out. Whereas like I said, in the practice, you can keep your meat as a side dish, but in the program, I really want people to dive deep in so they can actually see the difference. So if you only, you know, do it a little bit, you may not see the dramatic effects that the plant-based diet can actually implement into your lifestyle and change the chronic illnesses that you have. Let's face it, we live in a world where people want the microwave and you want it done yesterday, right?

Karina Inkster: Yep.

Amanda Adkins: So I tell people if you want those quick results, you gotta make those significant changes to actually see it. And even if you decide to go back to eating a little bit of meat later on, that's gonna be your choice. But I always emphasize to people like, how do you feel after you cut those things out? Because that's usually the motivating factor to keep going. I know it was for me. So when I felt better, I had more energy, I slept better, you know weight loss, you know, all that. And then as you kind of slide back, you're starting to feel worse again. And that's your own body telling you don't go back there. I don't wanna do that. So that's what I do in the program. So you have meal-based options that's usually all whole-food plant-based.

We then, for the one-on-ones, we go deeper into other lifestyle things. So we look at your stress level, we look at your sleep, we look at your exercise, social connectedness, all the things that are based now on what we have as a lifestyle medicine. So that's actually now a different certification that you can get along with being a physician, or they have an actual option for a lot of healthcare providers. But we emphasize those six pillars of lifestyle medicine in the one-on-one program. Because we know that to be healthy overall is not just nutrition.

Karina Inkster: Absolutely. Yep. Mm-hmm. Although the nutrition piece very often does get skipped.

Amanda Adkins: Oh, it gets skipped. That's right. That's right.

Karina Inkster: Hey I just thought of a question that relates back to what you said a little while ago. So forgive me for jumping around, but I wanna go back to your program and the five-day one as well. But you mentioned the presidential fitness test thing when you were 14. I’m just thinking like, okay, so there's still that kind of stuff going on in gym classes, in elementary schools, and in high schools. For you, it was a catalyst. Like things happened, you went vegetarian. Presumably, that was like a starting point to something positive for you. But the wake-up call, the, like weighing yourself, do you think that's a negative thing? Like should kids be doing that?

Amanda Adkins: I guess it's just in the context that it's done in. So if you are, I guess when the teacher actually presents it, they should, you know, use this as a teaching point for people not to make them feel bad. And like, I wish I was able to record myself when I was at that age to know exactly how I felt. Because, you know, after years, sometimes those feelings, you suppress 'em and they go away. But I'm sure it was some type of shame and negativity and that's probably what pushed me to turn it around because I didn't want that associated with myself. But we definitely have to be careful with that for children, especially now with social media bullying and that, you would have to be very aware. But it definitely can just be a point to say, okay, this is where you are.

Not to say it's good or bad, but maybe there's some ways that we can make improvements from here. So even in my practice, people always come in and say, oh, what was my weight today? And I was like, you know what? I don't even pay attention to your weight. I don't know what it was last time. I don't know what it was this time. I'm here to see what you're doing in your lifestyle to see if you feel better overall.

Karina Inkster: Nice. Love that.

Amanda Adkins: You know, the weight loss is a great thing. But I have a lot of people like, they're like, oh my gosh, she's gonna yell at me cuz I gained five pounds. I was like, unless you brought it up, I wouldn't have known.

Karina Inkster: Shame and guilt, not healthy things to associate with health and fitness.

Amanda Adkins: Right, right. Yeah. I tell them that all the time. I was like, you do not want to avoid coming to the doctor. I have to go in my soapbox real quick because you are afraid that they're going to think negative of you. Which unfortunately we have to get over that in the medical community too, or that they're gonna lecture you or something like that. I was like, I'm here to be your cheerleader, to push you to better things. I'm not here to make you feel bad about what you didn't do. Even if you've done nothing that we talked about the last time. Just the fact that you come back to hear it again is great because I have so many people that felt like, oh well I didn't do anything right, so I'm not gonna come back, you know?

Or you know, like two years. I'm like, where you been for the past two years? You know, we would definitely need to see you to continue to encourage you. Cuz the more you hear something sometimes, you need it in bits and pieces or in different times in your life. Because it may be something that happened or you know, your friend ends up with, you know, a cancer, unfortunately, or your mom just told you she has diabetes. Something like that, if you just keep coming in, you may be like, okay, now I'm ready to make these changes because I know how it can affect people that I love.

Karina Inkster: Hey, that's a great point. Yep. So many awesome points. Let's go back to your five-day program. I know that you have four intakes a year, so I'll just go on my soapbox for one minute if you don't mind. So it's called the Five Day Detox. I do wanna talk about the term detox though. And I know how you're using it. I get it. I get it. You're a medical professional. However, it's kind of a buzzword on this show and not in a great way, cause how it's usually used in the wellness industry is like there's something that we can do to rid our bodies of toxins and usually, the toxin is not very well defined, right? Which is physiologically, of course, not what happens. And I do realize, and I'm assuming that's the case here with your program, that very often it's used in a way that means kickstart or reset, right?

Amanda Adkins: That's right.

Karina Inkster: Where we're not actually talking about like, you know, toxins excreting out of our bodies, right?

Amanda Adkins: Yes.

Karina Inkster: Just making sure cuz it is kind of a buzzword on this show. So I'm interested in what your program entails and why it's called “Detox.”

Amanda Adkins: Yes. Yes. So actually it's called “Detox” cause I was working with another health coach and that's just what we decided to call it because that's, I guess more of a marketing term. It's kind of bad. So I usually tell people, I was like, I've been thinking more about changing it because a lot of of us have talked about maybe using the word reset because that's a better term.

Karina Inkster: I'm all for that.

Amanda Adkins: Yeah. Well, when I was first doing it, I'm just like, okay, yeah, we're just gonna, you know, put it out there. But then I always tell people, I mean, you're gonna eat food. It's not like you're gonna be water and a smoothie and that's all you can have or anything like that. But our body does naturally know how to get rid of toxins. We just have to feed it what it needs to actually work correctly, right? With our lungs and liver and kidneys and everything like that. So it's to like excrete out what's what our body doesn't need. And so if you feed it what it actually needs, then it actually can work very well.

Karina Inkster: Sure.

Amanda Adkins: So that's more what it is, you know? The more I talk to people, probably come 2023, it's not gonna be called “Detox” anymore, haha. But that's just what we had for the time.

Karina Inkster: I knew where you were coming from. Just checking, haha.

Amanda Adkins: Yeah. I didn’t have anybody mention that until I think it was when I started advertising it, especially with social media there someone was like, you know, that they've been tagging those because they don't want people to think that they're getting certain type of things. And I was like, Oh, you know, I I never looked at it like that.

Karina Inkster: There's like a connotation around it, right? Like what you just said, like the juicing, not eating any solid foods, like blah blah blah. Obviously, that's not what it is.

Amanda Adkins: No, no.

Karina Inkster: So what is it? What do people do when they join this?

Amanda Adkins: So this is where we actually get to introduce people to whole food, plant-based eating, because that's what it is. They get five days of, like I said, strictly plant-based nutrition just to see how they feel. And it's amazing what people feel like after just five days. And I think another reason I called it “Detox,” because actually I did that with a different program, a different dietician when I started to transition to plant-based to actually see how my body felt. So again, it, like you said, it's more of a reset. You get rid of those excess foods that may not be doing good to your body and then adding in the foods that actually can feed your body very well. So you get the same type of thing that we introduce in the one-on-one program.

You just get the nutrition piece of it though in the five days. And like I said, people get excellent results just from the five days. They’re like, oh my gosh, I'm sleeping better. I'm not as achy or cranky, even losing, you know, a few pounds. It just shows you how powerful a plant-based diet is if you go all in and actually make the changes to kind of just tell people like, you know, you can do this. It's not impossible. You don't have to have meats to actually be able to live healthy and reach your health and wellness goals. So that's what it is, more as an introduction to it where people don't feel like they're overwhelmed and say, oh, I'm not gonna give up all my meat and dairy for like, you know, what, 60 days or something like that, six weeks or something. Just to get their feet wet a little bit.

Karina Inkster: That's awesome. And hopefully, it does kickstart some more long-term changes in folks. But yeah, I think having that initial guidance, we've had, I mean, we work with clients in all levels of the vegan spectrum. So some people have been vegan for like 40 years. We have a new client who just started, who literally went vegan last week.

Amanda Adkins: Oh wow.

Karina Inkster: So you know, especially with the newer ones when they haven't had one-on-one support, there's challenges or there can be, I mean, sometimes people go vegan literally overnight and they're just like, yep, it's all great, end of story. But what are some challenges that you see when folks make that transition? And let's say they don't have one-on-one support or even if they do have one-on-one support, what are some of the things that can be difficult at first that people can expect to just kind of like, overcome?

Amanda Adkins: So first is, I would say, what can they eat? Because a lot of people think that they have to make these extravagant recipes, you know, all this type of thing. They're like, I'm so used to having my, you know, whatever they have, chicken and broccoli, whatever it is. Like they're used to being in their actual one space. And I was like, well, I mean you didn't come to that point initially. So I tell people try different things. So look up, I mean, like I said, now you can google vegan whatever you want. Vegan chilli.

Karina Inkster: Vegan everything.

Amanda Adkins: Yeah. And just try out different recipes. There's gonna be some that you like, some that you don’t. I’d try that. I've bought a few vegan cookbooks. I'm like, yeah, that's not my taste. And it is just gonna be trial and error. And just to know that don't give up. Like you have to keep trying different things until you find what your taste buds like. Because I can tell you what I like, but then you may taste it and have something totally different. And it wasn't until I start doing these programs that I realized that people had such different texture issues. I hear that a lot. Cause I'm like, what do you mean it felt different in your mouth? I'm like, just eat it. It’s food.

Karina Inkster: Well see, we don't remember what it was like. I honestly don't remember what the texture of meat is. I couldn't tell you.

Amanda Adkins: Right! Yes, yes. So that's so funny to me. I have my family do some of these programs with me because none of them are vegan or plant-based. Like my sisters and things like that. And to realize the things I was like, girl, I've known you my whole life. I've never known that you had trouble eating beans because you didn't like the way that they went in your mouth. Never knew. And I have to tell people I'm like in my forties. So like, this is how like you can, I've never not known you to have that. So I just think that it's okay to do trial and error. You don't have to be so strict or serious about it. It's gonna be a journey. So just give yourself grace and just keep going. Like don't take it that seriously.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. I think that's a really good point because any lifestyle change, whether it's vegan or not, is gonna have challenges. And I think, like I don't wanna harp on, Oh, it's gonna be so difficult. You're gonna have such a hard time. There's gonna be so many challenges. But I do think realistically letting people know that there might be things they're gonna have to experiment with and there might be things that aren't gonna work for them specifically. I think that's just a better approach to become a long-term plant-based person.

Amanda Adkins: Right.

Karina Inkster: Versus just like trying it for a day and being like, oh my god, it's so hard. I'm never doing this again.

Amanda Adkins: Exactly. Exactly. There may be some days that you burn up everything or everything tastes horrible and you have to just go back to what you were before. Like, I've had some of those days just like in the trash you go. But hey, at least I know now that that didn't work.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. Well one thing that we find often, especially in active people, so folks who are already exercising regularly, is if they're coming from a background of like basically the opposite of plant-based - so lots of animal products and lots of processed products - again, not that there's anything inherently wrong with processed products, but if they're like 80% of your diet, probably not too awesome at that point. Anyways, we often find when they go plant-based, especially if it's a quick transition, they're hungry all the time. So we have a new client, this one that I just mentioned, I'm not gonna name names obviously, but his food log for yesterday says 950 calories. And this is a dude who needs 2200 calories a day, right? So…

Amanda Adkins: Yes, yes!

Karina Inkster: That's a challenge. It's a legitimate challenge, especially when someone is active and they need more fuel. Now they're eating so little, they're like, why am I hungry all the time? It's like, well you haven't yet replaced some of those higher calorie-dense food options.

Amanda Adkins: Yes. Yes. I'm glad you mentioned that because a lot of times when people think of vegan or plant-based, they think like a rabbit eater and stuff like that. And I'm like, no! We eat a whole lot. Like if you have a salad, it's not one of these little side salads. And so most people, if they're in that restrictive state where they think that they have to, you know, monitor so many things that they can't eat and they're like, oh, if I look at my plate, that's too much. Like, they may think that but if you're actually eating whole food plant-based, like your portion sizes are gonna be so much bigger, but your calorie intake is probably, like you said, is gonna be a lot lower and you're thinking, oh, I'm eating too much. But if you start to actually track it and look, you're like, oh! Like he saw - oh well no wonder I don't have any calories. I'm barely breathing here with 900 calories.

Karina Inkster: Well yeah! I mean that's kind of the point, right? Which is great for people who actively want to adjust body composition and lose fat, for example, right? Like some people go plant-based initially because they wanna lose fat, which is honestly, that's a whole other conversation around maybe we shouldn't bill veganism as a “fat loss diet” in quotes. But anyway, you know, they'll do it and, and it’ll happen.

Amanda Adkins: As a side effect.

Karina Inkster: Because it's a side effect. Yeah, exactly. Because now they're eating giant salads where they feel full, but it was only like 200 calories or whatever. So yeah. This is reminding me of my days when I worked with clients in a gym, cuz it's completely online now. But you know, when I was walking around demonstrating exercises, I wasn't working out all day by any means, but still a little more active than just sitting in my office chair all day. I was doing like 33 to 3,600 calories a day and on whole foods mostly. That is a lot of food, like volume-wise. That is eating every hour for 10 hours, like it's a lot.

Amanda Adkins: It's a lot of food. A lot of food. Yes. And even when we go to like conferences now, like I go to different plant-based conferences and I think the chefs that make the food, at least initially, they were thinking oh, these people, they’re not gonna eat much. I mean the plates are so huge of food and they're like, oh, well wait a minute, we gotta make some more because we didn't expect, you know, a plant-based conference to be eating this much. Like no, it's a lot of food. And I think that's when people definitely will keep up with it longer term. Cause they're like, okay I do get to eat. I do get to eat. Cause they're thinking like I said, rabbit food, carrots and just lettuce and that's all we have. But it's so much more. So much more.

Karina Inkster: Absolutely. Absolutely. So what's your go-to dish right now?

Amanda Adkins: So my thing I like lentils and brussel sprouts. Like I'm thinking I'm going to the grocery store for this. So that's usually what I like that I can do quickly and have so that's what I love. Baked sweet potatoes. I never realized how sweet a sweet potato was because you know, growing up we always added more sugar. But now that I just have it just by itself and maybe add a little bit of cinnamon, I'm like, these things are sweet by themselves. Why was we adding sugar this whole time? So that's another thing too when they do the five-day program is that their taste buds change because they're not getting all that processed food where it's so much extra sugar, salt, and fat. So they actually can taste that the foods are naturally sweet or savoury or something, you know, already. And they don't have to add in a whole lot of other things. Cause a lot of people think healthy food tastes bland, but that's because they've been so programmed to getting these extra things in the processed food. So when you actually change that, your taste buds change for the better.

Karina Inkster: Hey, that's a great point. It's also been conditioned by being vegetarian in the nineties and being offered iceberg lettuce and like one tomato slice being like, here you go, here's your dinner.

Amanda Adkins: So if you go out to some places, that's still the case for the salad. That's why I'm like, no no, that's not a salad. That's not a salad. I'm not eating here. No. Like I refuse to go there with you anymore.

Karina Inkster: Hey California though. I mean, you got options at least.

Amanda Adkins: Yes. That's why I said, I mean, it is just the way that the universe worked. Cause I was like, never would I have thought that growing up in Indiana, that I would be living in California, but I had to end up here to be able to be vegan and plant-based because I'm like, this is where it's at. If I still lived in Tennessee, actually when I go back to visit my sister, which I do often, it’s still always a struggle trying to find food to eat. So most of the time I make her make me food.

Karina Inkster: You make her make you food. I like how that works. That's a good approach. Love that. Well, we are gonna have show notes where we'll have a link to your website and also your program. Is there anything else last minute that we missed or that you wanted to leave our listeners with?

Amanda Adkins: I always just like to leave everyone with just be curious and make sure you're adding more fruits and vegetables to every meal. If we do that, we're gonna be in a lot better place.

Karina Inkster: Brilliant. Amazing. Well, Dr. Amanda, great to speak with you. Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Amanda Adkins: Thank you so much. I enjoyed talking with you also.

Karina Inkster: Dr. Amanda, thank you again for speaking with me today and sharing with our listeners your expertise. You can access our show notes at to connect with Dr. Amanda. Thanks so much for tuning in.

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