When I polled my listeners about topics or guests they’d like to hear on upcoming episodes of Plant Yourself, I got a lot of requests for a show about plant-based pregnancy.
I thought this might be a little too niche, until I reminded myself that every one of us is the result of a pregnancy, and that for the foreseeable future, all our descendants will continue to be born in this fashion. So no problem there…
When I asked my Facebook Hive Mind who would be a great guest for this topic, Micaela Karlsen’s name came up again and again.
So here we are today 🙂
Micaela Karlsen is a PhD and an FPP (former pregnant person) who’s basically amassed the world’s largest and friendliest database on the science of plant-based nutrition. She and I first connected when we were both collaborating with T. Colin Campbell (she as co-creator of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, which produced the famously excellent e-Cornell certificate program in Plant-based Nutrition; I as contributing author to Whole).
What I love about talking with Micaela is her dedication to truth. Maybe make that Truth with a capital T. If the evidence isn't there to support a claim, she won't make it. When the data is fuzzy, or inconclusive, or suggestive but not definitive, she will be the first to point that out.
This quality is especially important given that we're talking about pregnancy – that is, a time when the results of a person's food decisions have a direct and formative impact on another human being. With so much conflicting information out there, I wanted an interlocutor who could sift through mountains of fact and conjecture and fiction to give us the actionable low-down on how to best eat during pregnancy.
We talked about supplementation – the good, the unnecessary, and the inconclusive – and about how to deal with uninformed pressure and opinions from friends, family, and medical caregivers. And of course food.
For kicks, here's an encapsulated summary of Micaela's accomplishments, lifted directly and lazily from her website:
Micaela Karlsen, PhD is a recognized expert and respected speaker at some of the premier conferences on plant-based nutrition, including the Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference in San Diego, CA, and the Plant-Based Prevention of Disease (PPOD) Conference in Raleigh, NC. She is the author of the A Plant-Based Life (published by AMACOM Books), a strategic how-to guide for successful plant-based eating.
Micaela currently serves as Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Economic Research Consortium, a joint initiative of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and the Lifestyle Medicine Institute. She is a member of the Expert & Medical Advisory Board for the International Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference and the Board of Directors for the Plant-based Prevention of Disease Conference (PPOD).
Under the supervision of T. Colin Campbell, she co-launched the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, now named the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, the world’s premier educational organization promoting plant-based nutrition. Micaela served as Executive Director through December 2012 and during her time in the position assisted in building and launching the TCC Certificate Program in Plant-Based Nutrition through eCornell Inc.
She is a contributor to the New York Times bestselling book Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, the companion book to the movie of the same name.
Micaela holds a PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She holds a Master of Science and Public Health (MSPH) from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a BA in Psychology from Cornell University.
She founded and maintains PlantBasedResearch.org, now under the umbrella of The Plantrician Project, an online database of peer-reviewed, scientific research and other resources relevant to plant-based nutrition, as well as Sustainable Diet, a distance-based, 3-month support program to individuals transition towards more plant-based eating. Her mission is to support the elegant solution that a plant-based diet offers in solving the problems of human health, environmental devastation, and animal welfare by promoting interest, investigation, and practice of plant-based nutrition to the public and academic communities.
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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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