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Jan 18, 2023

With childhood obesity reaching epidemic proportions, our guest today, Dr. Leigh Ettinger, aka Dr. Herbivore, is a pediatric nephrologist who has seen firsthand the benefits of a plant-based diet for children. Dr. Ettinger is board certified in General Pediatrics and received his medical degree from Tufts University. He also received his certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell in 2016, and in 2019 he became a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. He has a telemedicine practice in New York and New Jersey, where he encourages a plant-centric diet and empowers families to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

With so much to unpack regarding weight management and nutrition optimization in children, it’s an honor to have him here with us today so that we can pick his brain! 

“By having the people fill up on whole plants, then they’re not hungry. They don’t hopefully feel the need to eat in secret, or they’re not reaching with a craving for something if they’re filling up on starches. I’m a big fan of Dr. McDougall’s The Starch Solution, so, potatoes and bananas especially. I had one dad call me up once, he wasn’t in the visit, and he called me up a week after I’d seen his teenage boy, and he asked ‘what are you doing? Why is my son eating all these bananas? He’s eating seven bananas a day.’ I replied ‘oh, oh really, that’s great. What’s your concern?’ He said ‘it just seems like a lot of bananas. What’s he doing with all those bananas?’ I replied ‘well, how’s he doing?’ He confessed, ‘well, he lost ten pounds.’” - Dr. Leigh Ettinger


What we discuss in this episode:

  • The reason he chose to become a pediatric nephrologist
  • Why he prefers the term “herbivore” over “vegan”
  • How he treats obesity in children
  • The root cause of childhood obesity and why he recommends a plant-based diet
  • The differences between being overweight and obese
  • The risk factors that accompany obesity in children and teenagers
  • How he guides and educates families regarding diet
  • The benefits of telemedicine appointments


The Plant-based Playbook IS HERE!

Let the Plant-based Games Begin, the first-ever guidebook dedicated to optimizing athletic performance with plant-based fuel. We developed the Playbook in consultation with the IOC’s Office of Sustainability to help coaches, dietitians, and athletes understand how to embrace plant-based nutrition.

Researched and written by a diverse group of highly credentialed researchers, clinicians, and athletes, the Playbook leverages peer-reviewed science and real-world experience to illuminate the physiological benefits of a plant-based diet. The Playbook also includes robust, field-tested tools and resources for meal planning and other practical implementation techniques. 

You can download the Playbook here: