PYP 131: Anthony Dissen, RD, on Empowering vs Preaching

Anthony-DissenDietitian Anthony Dissen has the plant-based science down cold, like many of us. What sets him apart is his research in and experience with group programs to change behaviors in an engaging, positive, and sustainable fashion.

We met through an email correspondence over Proteinaholic, and quickly discovered several common elements in our histories and interests. When he told me his story about running plant-based wellness programs for employees of a hospital, and showed me the results of the pilot run, I knew he'd be a great guest.

If you ever put together behavior change programs, or even want to help family and friends adopt healthier habits, you'll get a ton out of our conversation. Anthony shares incredibly valuable nuggets related to mindset, strategy, and organization that will make any change effort more fun, more sustainable, and more effective.

In our conversation, we cover:

  • the myth of expertise: who we listen to and who we don’t
  • communication lessons from the paleo movement
  • missing elements in plant-based change programs
  • Anthony’s mantra of empowerment
  • the importance of sharing stories in classes
  • why evidence-based scare tactics don’t motivate behavior change
  • who was most successful in the Whole Foods Market wellness club
  • the power of community
  • marketing plant-based nutrition not just as a solution to health problems
  • the Get Plant Powered program in action for hospital employees
  • carbophobic pushback from the diabetes wing of the hospital
  • why they never used the words “vegan” or “vegetarian”
  • key elements of the cooking classes: quick, simple, easy
  • how they chose the things to measure to evaluate program effectiveness
  • the biometric results
  • the surprising “spouse factor”
  • the importance of fostering self-efficacy
  • future plans to turn the pilot group into ambassadors for future programs
  • looking at financial implications of successful programs
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Anthony's website

My latest article: Is your doctor's medical degree better than your Google search?


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,

2 Responses to “PYP 131: Anthony Dissen, RD, on Empowering vs Preaching”

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  1. David says:

    Great/Great Podcast as always, Howard.

    Some wonderful great points and reminders.

    Accountability and community/the keys to so many things!!!!

    Communication skills; knowledge is only a part of the equation.

    As I like to say: Motivation requires continual reinforcement; and Consistent activity yields consistent results; and, “We are each an experiment of one.”

    As we all know so well, WIIFM is the channel we are all tuned in to; and encouraging/fomenting wellness/we must remember that always.

    One of my favorite sayings is/The Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they wish to be done unto.

    It takes much more effort to take all of that in to account/but the results are the essence and are much more effective.

    Thanks again for all of your efforts Howard/and best wishes on your new TV venture; that is awesome!!! And best of luck with your counseling practice too.


  2. Thank You says:

    Thank You for another wonderful episode.

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