Episode 88 Plant-Based Author, Podcast Host & Coach Howard Jacobson

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Holy Smokes!

Episode 88 is here and I have to say, talking to Howard Jacobson was very much a career highlight however, I felt repeatedly out of my depth as I am so deeply in awe of his achievements as a researcher, writer/author, podcast host and coach, worse still, he’s also a really genuine, lovely, generous human! As you can imagine, he’s almost unbearable to be around! ;-)

Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson

If you don’t know Howard, you should, so here’s his bio:

Hi, I'm Howard Jacobson, host of the Plant Yourself Podcast.

In my day job, I empower people to take control over their own health destinies. As a trainer, educator, and coach, I help our clients implement lifestyle changes that support vibrant health and fitness.

But 15 years ago I was overweight, unhealthy, stressed out, and constantly taking my sick kids to the doctor and giving them antibiotics.

I couldn’t find time to exercise, and wasn’t motivated anyway: I was usually suffering from back pain and just really tired most of the time. It killed me when my kids wanted to wrestle, or jump on me, or have me carry them, and I was too exhausted or in too much agony to play with them.

At the age of 35, I felt like an old man.

Even though I knew better, I still fed my kids lots of junk: McDonalds chicken nuggets, pizza, chocolate-flavored yogurt, pancakes, sugary cereals, candy, you name it. And I was the human garbage can, eating all their leftovers in addition to cleaning my own plate.

I can’t even count how many courses of antibiotics I gave my kids for their recurrent ear infections. We even got a prescription from a specialist to put tubes in my son’s ears to help them drain.

And boy was I stressed out. My blood pressure was through the roof. Which is ironic, because I got my PhD studying stress management.

Knowing Isn't Enough

My problem was not lack of knowledge. I knew very well how to eat, how to feed my family, how to be physically fit, and how to de-stress and relax. What I lacked was behavioral know-how: how to change my behavior and make it stick. And how to bring my family along so we could all be healthy and fit together.

Things changed when I read T. Colin Campbell’s book The China Study in 2004. When I really understood that our food choices would determine whether or not my kids, wife, and I developed heart disease, cancer, MS, diabetes, and dozens of other life-threatening conditions, as well as the chronic infections of childhood, I got motivated to clean up the way we ate.

I hired a wellness coach, read everything I could on behavior change, and started changing my habits. I removed most animal products and processed food from my diet. I started running 3-5 miles six mornings a week. I found moments throughout my day to breathe deep and relax.

Over time (a couple of years, actually), I discovered how to lead my family to fitness and health. I had to become a role model and cheerleader rather than judge and jury, and I had to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Valuable lessons!

Three Necessary Tools

Why did I succeed this time, when I had failed to maintain my healthy behaviors in the past? Because I used three tools together:

  1. Knowledge (what to do)

  2. Know-how (how to get myself to do it)

  3. Marketing (how to broadcast empowering messages to myself that drowned out the negative messages in my environment)

The three tools correspond to the three facets of my professional career: researcher, coach, and marketer.

Researcher (not doing this at the moment)

As the contributing author to three hard-hitting investigative books on health, I've spent thousands of hours poring over research studies. It turns out that modern medicine, far from being the miracle that most of us think, is still largely mired in treatments and diagnostic tests that are totally unsupported by evidence.

Almost no doctors prescribe the most powerful medicine of all: diet and lifestyle improvements.

And the big money that indoctrinates practitioners to prescribe and perform these mostly useless and often harmful treatments isn't going away any time soon.

So I help my clients go through the published research and weigh their options. Then they go back to their health care practitioner and inform them how to proceed.

That way, my clients don't have to find themselves in the position where they look back and say, “If only I had known then what I know now.”

Coach

As a coach, I help people identify their goals and take steps to achieve them. We overcome obstacles and resistance, and apply principles of human psychology to stay focused even when motivation wanes.

I'm a certified Tiny Habits coach (kick-ass behavior change methodology developed by Stanford University's BJ Fogg), and I'm on the board of advisors of the International Coach Certification Academy. My clients have included Equifax, VNR (one of Europe's largest direct-to-consumer publishing houses), and the Center for Creative Leadership, among many others.

Marketer

But it was only when I started applying my marketing skills that I rapidly got the results I wanted.

I've been a marketing consultant from 2001 to the present. I've written three editions of Google AdWords For Dummies, spoken at many international conferences, and in 2014 was named one of the 50 most influential online marketers by Entrepreneur magazine. So I know something about the topic.

Why is marketing so important when it comes to adopting healthy habits?

In 2004, junk food manufacturers spent more than $20 billion to promote disease-causing crap to Americans, while allocating less than $10 million to the “5 a Day” campaign to get us to eat more fruits and vegetables. That’s a 2000 to 1 difference!

It just wasn't a fair fight. And that's when I decided to level the playing field by becoming my own marketing agency.

I had to advertise healthy living to myself, because almost everything in my environment – billboards, commercials, restaurant options, what others around me were eating, what doctors were telling me – was undermining my motivation.

I had to become a ninja at what my friend Peter Bregman describes as “sneaking fruit into the movies.”

Over the past 10 years, I’ve helped thousands of people improve their diets, fitness, and mental states: kids and adults; entrepreneurs and busy parents; family members and strangers I may never meet in person.

Full Circle: Writing WHOLE and PROTEINAHOLIC

I've been a marketing consultant from 2001 to the present. I've written three editions of Google AdWords For Dummies, spoken at many international conferences, and in 2014 was named one of the 50 most influential online marketers by Entrepreneur magazine. So I know something about the topic.

Why is marketing so important when it comes to adopting healthy habits?

In 2004, junk food manufacturers spent more than $20 billion to promote disease-causing crap to Americans, while allocating less than $10 million to the “5 a Day” campaign to get us to eat more fruits and vegetables. That’s a 2000 to 1 difference!

It just wasn't a fair fight. And that's when I decided to level the playing field by becoming my own marketing agency.

I had to advertise healthy living to myself, because almost everything in my environment – billboards, commercials, restaurant options, what others around me were eating, what doctors were telling me – was undermining my motivation.

I had to become a ninja at what my friend Peter Bregman describes as “sneaking fruit into the movies.”

Over the past 10 years, I’ve helped thousands of people improve their diets, fitness, and mental states: kids and adults; entrepreneurs and busy parents; family members and strangers I may never meet in person.

Full Circle: Writing WHOLE and PROTEINAHOLIC

After that, I helped Garth Davis, MD write Proteinaholic, another epic look at the evidence linking diet with disease and health. With 699 references to published research, it's the most comprehensive resource ever to be published.

In both cases, the evidence is overwhelming:

Using the triple tools of knowledge, know-how, and marketing, we can make changes that last, so we can stop struggling with our health and habits, and finally enjoy life to the fullest.’

As you can see - Howard’s career is pretty darn impressive and every single one of the books he has helped co-author (Whole, Proteinaholic, Sick To Fit, The Low Carb Fraud, etc…) have been absolute game changers in my own life and the lives of so many people wanting to learn more about diet and disease. Alongside this, there is his incredible coaching support through his organisation Wellstart Health and his invaluable Plant Yourself podcast, which has become such an integral part of the whole food, plant-based movement, helping people across the world to adopt a plant-based diet and improve their health and lives from the inside out.

I had such a great time chatting with Howard and going off on tangents picking his highly intelligent brain and I am so very grateful to him for all the incredible work that he has done as an educator, researcher, author and podcast host to spread the word about low fat, whole food, plant-based living - I simply cannot thank him enough but THANK YOU HOWARD, from the bottom of my heart.

I so hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed recording it, please take the time to share it with your family and friends to help Howard and I to spread the word about the many benefits of plant-based living.

Last but not least, here are Howard’s 3 Top Tips for those of you needing a little extra encouragement to transition to a plant-based diet:

  1. Do Something

  2. Embrace Constraints

  3. Live Without Your Smart Phone

See you all next week, until then - eat more broccoli!

Love always,

Corinne x