New Normal Project

New Normal Project


A health and wellbeing podcast focused on inspiring healthy choices for our bodies, minds and souls.


Episode 10: Paul Spano - A real life story about the power of plants  

Can turmeric work to replace your pain killers?

How quickly can swapping animal foods for plant foods impact your health?

Are plant-based foods anti-inflammatory?

Our guest this week stopped eating all animal products 8 weeks ago and amazing things started to happen. His chronic pain resolved in days. He stopped taking his powerful anti-inflammatories and pain medications. He started feeling better both within himself and within the world around him. He became happier.

Paul is a 52 year old doctor, husband and father to 2 year old Stella. His Western medical training and previous mindset told him that he was destined for a life of pain and dependence on medication but one day he had a thought. “What if I don’t accept this and just try something different?” A light bulb went off. He grabbed some turmeric from the pantry and stopped eating meat, eggs and dairy that day.

Claire and Andrew have a very honest and frank discussion with Paul about how this transition occurred and its rapid impact on his health and life in general. Paul has a vitality and vibrancy that is evident from the very beginning of this conversation. He is passionate about sharing his story and inspiring others to just consider trying another way. For him this was eating a plant based diet and he could not have predicted just how great the impact would be.

Episode 27: Colin Hudon - Anything coffee can do for you tea can do better  

Colin Hudon is a doctor of Chinese medicine and Tea Master. His introduction to Chinese medicine began when traditional Western methods failed to heal a debilitating rash that covered his body. A mere 24 hours after receiving acupuncture and beginning a treatment of herbs the rash had all but disappeared prompting more questions than answers as Colin decided to become a student of the ancient traditions of Chinese medicine.

A long time friend of Rich Roll (episode 2) and Julie Piatt (episodes 2 & 23), Colin has accompanied them on all 3 of their Our Plantpower World retreats offering a morning tea ceremony featuring the teas from old growth tea forests and trees up to 500 years old. These teas are a far cry from the tea most of us are accustomed to that are from tea plantations that are perpetually harvested using chemicals and modern farming techniques.

Colin's describes his tea as "living tea" and this inspired his company of the same name selling such teas from China and Taiwan plus hand made tea pots and bowls, known as tea ware. The practice of drinking high quality tea is highly ceremonial and designed as an opportunity to connect more deeply with one's self, with others and with nature.

This conversation showcases the deep wisdom that belies Colin's biological age. Together with hosts Andrew and Claire Davies (a doctor and nurse) he discusses the differences between the Eastern approach to maintaining good health and the Western medical treatments focused on ill health or disease, and contemplates the benefits of incorporating both.

Colin is writing a book about his own philosophy on achieving good health and he describes "5 healths" which include sleeping and eating seasonally, mindful eating based on a whole foods, plant based diet, individual based movement practices, meditation and drinking tea.


Resources mentioned in this episode:

Living Tea:

Global Tea Hut:

Book “The Way of Tea” by Aaron Fisher (aka Wude)

Book “The Sleep Revolution” by Ariana Huffington

Vipassana meditation retreats at

Sun Simiao (Ancient Chinese physician):

Episode 26: How and why to start a meditation practice - today!  

Following on from last week's episode featuring Melbourne doctor and expert in the science of mindfulness, Dr Craig Hassed, this week Andrew and Claire Davies delve deeper into the practice of meditation.

They briefly discuss the profound and lasting impact that meditation has had on them, as well as those around them and introduce 3 examples of guided meditations.

The first example is Dr Craig Hassed from his CD “Mindfulness for Life- Techniques and Application”. It is available for $24.99, along with other resources written by Dr Hassed at


Next is a resource used by podcast co-host Claire, the free app “Insight Timer” that features thousands of meditations from many different teachers from all over the world. She plays an excerpt called “Morning Meditation with Music” by Jonathan Lehmann. For more information download the app on your mobile device or visit


The last meditation is from Andrew’s favourite app “Headspace”. Hundreds of meditations are available on this app, all featuring the voice of Headspace co-founder, Andy Puddicombe. The Headspace website also has a wealth of information that is clearly presented using fun graphics and design. There is content covering the science of meditation as well as meditations for situations such as anxiety, sleep, performance and even SOS mediations ‘in case of sudden meltdowns’. Headspace is available to try for free for 10 days by either downloading the app or going to Headspace is USD $96/year or USD $12.99/month.


Meditation is a core foundation to the New Normal life described by Andrew and Claire and they are passionate in their commitment to inspire others to live with better health, connection and sense of purpose. Why noy try any of these meditations as a 30 day challenge for 10 minutes a day?


Photo credit Leia Marasovich @leia_vita

Episode 25: Craig Hassed - The science behind and reasons why a mindul life will lead to a better life  

Medical Doctor Craig Hassed does not own a mobile phone. Never has. Craig is an Associate Professor in General Practice and is Australia’s leading expert in the science and practice of mindfulness. He has written 13 books related to mindfulness (see below), featured in the documentary ‘The Connection’ and regularly presents locally and internationally. Craig also introduced meditation into the medical curriculum at Monash University as an examinable subject. He changed the lives of the New Normal Project's Claire and Andrew Davies after he first appeared on their radar nearly 5 years ago.

Craig was a teenager, dealing with the impending stress of a swimming race a few weeks away, when he was struck by a thought. ‘What if I just stopping thinking about this event in the future that’s causing me so much angst, and just be here. In this moment?’ This moment of profound insight provided Craig with his first experience of how being in the present, rather than the past or future, can immensely improve the experience of living. Of being human. And it kicked off a career in demonstrating to others just how mindfulness can improve the quality of their lives; something that will no doubt be a lasting legacy to thousands of people, including us here at the new Normal Project.

In this interview we hear more about Craig’s own path to discovering mindfulness plus stories of others who have benefited from starting a regular meditation practice.

Whilst most of us think of meditation as being a single practice once or twice a day, Craig describes how the informal practice of being in the moment enhances the overall quality of our lives rather than constantly worrying about the sabre tooth tiger in our minds. He gives advice about technology and how to ensure that we remain its master rather than the other way around.

There are many ways to connect with Dr Craig Hassed. His books are listed below and we recommend “Mindfulness for Life” and “The Essence of Health” as our favourites. He also runs a free on-line course via a collaboration between Monash University and Future Learn called “Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance” (see below)

Other resources mentioned in this episode:

Craig Hassed’s website

Books Craig Hassed has authored or co-authored:

   - “New Frontiers in Medicine” (Volumes 1 and 2)

   - “Know Thyself” on mindfulness-based stress management

   - “The Essence of Health” on the lifestyle approach to health and chronic illness

   - A textbook co-authored with Kerryn Phelps, “General Practice: the integrative approach”

   - A book written with Stephen McKenzie, “Mindfulness for Life”

   - A book written with Richard Chambers, “Mindful Learning” on the role of mindfulness in education

   - "Playing the genetic hand life dealt you" on epigenetics

   - "The Mindful Home", written with Deirdre Hassed

   - A book written with Patricia Dobkin, “Mindful Medical Practitioners” on the role of mindfulness in medical education

   - “Illuminating Wisdom”, a book of calligraphic art written with Deirdre Hassed

   - “The Freedom Trap” exploring different perspectives on freedom


Monash University Mindfulness

Smiling Mind (meditation app)

Headspace (meditation app)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Future Learn Mindfulness Course

The Connection (documentary)

The Whole Health Life (book authored by Shannon Harvey)

There are also many YouTube videos featuring Craig Hassed on for more free, stimulating content.

Episode 24: Tom Hubbard - An evidence-based doctor with a moral responsibility to help his patients through plant-based nutrition  

Dr Tom Hubbard is a plant-based GP on a mission, not to change the world, but to do what is right. It is impossible for him to ignore the evidence and unread what he has read, when it comes to the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet.

Claire and Andrew Davies met Tom on the Plantpower Ireland retreat, held by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt in July 2017. Like them, he'd signed up to attend the 7 day retreat and it quickly became evident that he would be a fascinating podcast guest. Tom is humble, engaging and thoroughly committed to presenting his patients with all of the options for treatment, including the benefits of eating a plant-based diet. In fact, he quotes a study that says even adding just one extra serve of fruit or vegetables per day can reduce cancer risk. His approach is one that’s about planting seeds for change rather than preaching or telling his patients what he thinks they should do.

One of the best things about being able to interview people for this podcast, is hearing about the trigger that precipitated change in their lives. For Tom it was health, not his own but that of his mother, that lead him to become aware of the benefits of eating more plants. Also included in this conversation are stories of real patients and the transformations that Tom has witnessed and which have provided him with immense satisfaction and joy.

The simple fact is that most members of the medical community are unaware of the profound benefits that eating a plant-based diet can have in preventing and reversing diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Dr Tom Hubbard gives us hope that things are changing and that as consumers of the health care system, we will soon be given all the facts and options, not just the ones that may be denying us the best health we can achieve.


Resources mentioned in this podcast episode:

Find Dr Tom Hubbard on Facebook

Rich Roll:

Julie Piatt:

The Happy Pear:

The China Study - T.Colin Campbell

Forks over Knives

Michael Greger:

EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition):

Episode 23: Julie Piatt - This Cheese Is Nuts!  

Julie Piatt is a rule breaker. And in her latest book “This Cheese Is Nuts!” she clearly demonstrates that dairy is absolutely not required to make creamy, tangy, delicious versions of all the cheese classics familiar to us all. Especially for those of us who simply love cheese and feel like we will miss out if we choose a path to a healthier life without animal products, as well as for those of us who might have allergies to or intolerance of dairy.

In this conversation, Claire and Andrew talk to Julie, also known as SriMati, about why she wrote this book and how she approached the creative process of developing these recipes. Julie has an artistic spirit and ability that she applies to all she does, including her previous book which she wrote with husband Rich Roll, “The Plantpower Way”, her two original music albums which she created with her sons Tyler and Trapper Piatt, her podcast “Divine Throughline” and her previous life as a fashion and interior designer.

In addition to the profound health benefits of eating a plant-based diet, Julie feels strongly that dairy is not the way we should produce cheese - for both the cows and the environment. For this reason she thinks "Cheese 2.0" is the way of the future, and simply created in our kitchens with simple techniques using different varieties of mostly nuts and some other plant-based foods. And as you'll hear in this episode, her new book is full of recipes for tasty and wholesome cheeses.

Claire and Andrew interviewed Julie at the Our Plantpower World retreat held in Ireland where both Julie and Rich ran a week-long event focused on plant-based eating, yoga, meditation, spirituality and exercise. If you are interested in attending their 2018 retreat in Italy go to If you are interested in Julie, her books, or her podcast, go to Finally, if you live in Australia you can purchase a copy of "This Cheese Is Nuts" at

Episode 22: The Happy Pear - Inspiring a health food revolution in Ireland and beyond  

If you don't know David & Stephen Flynn of The Happy Pear then get to it. These 37 year old Irish twins (actual Irish twins*) started a health revolution that began when they opened a fruit and vege shop in their hometown of Greystones that has lead to an empire including 3 cafes, 2 best selling cookbooks and 20 food items that sell in supermarkets throughout Ireland and the UK. They also have had huge success with their YouTube channel showing hundreds of 5 minute recipes that centre around the simple message to 'eat more vege'.

But they are so much more than that. They have a generosity of spirit that has them sharing porridge and tea with all who jump with them in the Irish Sea daily at dawn and in fact have free porridge on the menu at all of their cafes.

Their energy and enthusiasm for life is off the charts and in this interview Andrew and Claire hear how it all began and the core message that they want to share with the world.

We were lucky enough to spend a day with Dave and Steve, that began of course with a dip in the Irish Sea, followed by breakfast and then a tour of Pearville, the factory and studio near their home base in Greystones, 45 minutes south of Dublin.

The lads, are true leaders in the movement of plant based living and present a welcome mat of inclusivity for anyone no matter where they might be on the journey.

Find them here
Facebook at The Happy Pear
Instagram at @thehappypear
Twitter at @thehappypear
Snapchat at thehappypear


- The Happy Pear. Healthy, easy, delicious food to change your life. By David and Stephen Flynn

- The World of the Happy Pear. Simple, exciting, delicious food for a happier, healthier you. By Stephen and David Flynn


(*Irish twins- slang for siblings born within the same calendar year or within 12 months of one another)

Episode 21: Fit with Georgie - How Yoga and Instagram set her on the path to becoming an inspiration to thousands  

Remember when you were 18? Life was carefree and for many of us, revolved around exploring the freedom of becoming an 'adult'. Pubs, night clubs, partying without a care in the world except for where the next good time was. But we do care about our peer group and what they think of us. And usually that magnetic pull to belong is too strong to resist.

This was Georgie's life too except that for her, it just didn't feel right. For a while she ignored it but one day an image popped up on her Instagram feed of a guy doing yoga and that changed everything. She had found her people.

Georgie is a 24 year old with much to give to the world. She is a nurse whose life has been transformed through commitment to yoga, plant-based eating, meditation, exercise and social media. It's via Instagram that she has connected with many and it's her warmth, honesty and humility which has seen her following grow to nearly 50,000.

We talk to Georgie about how her new normal came to be, her devotion to the craft of nursing and how to work in a system that doesn't advocate plant-based eating. She shares how to build a social media presence that remains authentic to its message.

Episode 20: Kate Davies - Life, death and plant-based eating  

Kate Davies has a lot to live for. She was sadly widowed suddenly, 7 years ago, when her daughter Ruby was just a baby. At that stage, Kate had been living in Hong Kong for 13 years and many told her it was time to return home to Melbourne. But back she went and has stayed there for another 7 years, surrounded by the community she has built around her and who gave her and still give her so much support.

The themes of this week's podcast centre around connection, authenticity and being 'real' when it matters. Are these skills innate or can they be learned and fine tuned? Kate is the sister of NNPs Andrew Davies and is responsible for coming up with the name New Normal when we launched 6 months ago. We thought she was the perfect guest to celebrate our 20th podcast episode.

In support of the NNPs "Living the Plantpower Way" events with Rich Roll and Julie Piatt back in March, Kate not only booked a plane ticket from Hong Kong to attend, she took on the challenge of going plant-based for 3 weeks leading up to it. We hear about that experience and the surprising effects it's had on her life and her comment that "No-one is going to stop me from being healthy".

It's a powerful, entertaining and moving conversation between brother and sister (plus side commentary from Claire Davies) about life, death and eating plants.

Episode 19: Healthcare professional panel at Perth screening of What The Health movie  

In this week's episode we play you audio of the healthcare professional panel discussion including audience questions which was held after a screening of the documentary movie What The Health in Perth, Australia, at the Perth Town Hall on June 16th 2017.

Whilst co-hosts Andrew & Claire Davies did not participate in the movie screening, the feedback from the 2 panel discussions previously aired in episode 4 (Melbourne screening) and episode 15 (Canberra screening) of the New Normal Project podcast suggested this would be another popular, inspiring and valuable episode.

The panel members at the Perth screening were Dr Alyce Churchill (a trainee General Practitioner), Dr Vinayak Hutchinson (a Psychiatry registrar), Elizabeth Boucher (a Pre-admission and Day Surgery Unit nurse) and Louise Roberts (a Coronary and Intensive Care nurse). Tony Boucher, a metallurgist and businessman, was the panel moderator.

The event was organised and hosted by Lucy Stegley from Raw Events Australia, with co-hosts Animal Justice Party, Animal Liberation WA and Plant Based Easy. Raw Events Australia has been taking this movie, What The Health, to venues in many cities across Australia and New Zealand, thanks to the directors Keegan Kuhn and Kip Anderson. This extremely provacative and groundbreaking documentary movie is the follow-up film from the creators of the award-winning documentary Cowspiracy. The film exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars, and keeping us sick. It uncovers the secret to preventing and even reversing chronic diseases, which is essentially a whole foods plant-based diet, and seems to be something the world's leading health organizations don't want people to know about.

The topics of discussion included the definition of whole foods plant-based nutrition, the panellists impression of the documentary and which issue stood out the most, what attracted the panellists to eating a plant-based diet, how the panellists incorporate plant-based nutrition into their practice, how nutrition is poorly covered in most medical training institutions, how healthcare professionals can influence their colleagues about nutrition, how a whole foods plant-based diet might help in a person with chronic pain syndrome, how healthcare professionals might be affected if the health of the community becomes significantly improved because of plant-based nutrition and what tips the daughter of a man recently diagnosed with lung cancer might need to help him. During the discussion several inspiring stories of people with dramatic health benefits due to plant-based nutrition were told.

Andrew & Claire also discuss on the podcast the successful New Normal Sunday event they held, and which included a variety of activities including a run or walk, a yoga session, a meditation and a green smoothie.

Episode 18: A green smoothie a day keeps the doctor away  

Green smoothies have played a big part in the health transformation of podcast hosts, Andrew and Claire Davies. This week we pay homage to the green smoothie, discussing when we started consuming this vibrant beverage, what effects it has had on our health, on our guts, and its role in recovery post running, and our own New Normal favourite blends. Plus the benefits of having a high-powered blender to make smoothies of the best consistency. We also discuss some of the science behind the effects of green smoothies and for those looking for more information on this topic, we recommend searching "green smoothies" at the website We both bemoan the lack of healthy real food in our hospitals and wonder how much patients would benefit from having a green smoothie every day whilst in hospital.

A green smoothie features in the upcoming event, New Normal Sunday, on Sunday July 16th 2017 in St Kilda, Melbourne. Also included are other components Andrew and Claire consider vital to their New Normal, namely exercise in the form of a run or walk, yoga and meditation sessions and social connection over smoothie of course! Tickets and more information are available via our website or via Eventbrite.

Episode 17: David Orr - From New York workaholic to Italian ultramarathoner (with a walk to the Taj Mahal along the way)  

What would happen if you challenged yourself to a physical feat to learn more about what lies within?

Our guest this week, David Orr, tells a fascinating tale that began in New York, working for Lehman Brothers, in the heady days before their declaration of bankruptcy in 2008 that precipitated the global financial crisis.

David is a Canadian who we first met one year ago at the Plantpower Italia retreat hosted by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt. A few weeks ago Andrew had the opportunity to meet with David close to his home in Tuscany to learn more about how he has ended up living in Italy for the past 7 years. During the retreat we had heard snippets about how he'd walked alone from Delhi to the Taj Mahal but we had no idea of the story that was to come. What follows is an interview that themes around being on the journey of life, taking opportunities, self discovery, ultra endurance running, love and plant based eating.

It finishes with David talking about how the retreat motivated him to run two ultramarathons of 100km and 125km, the second of which he completed just days before the interview. You'll hear his raw reflections on just how he felt and dealt with the pain and soreness, what he ate to fuel him, about running through the night, and above all how experiencing the whole journey is much more fulfilling than simply crossing the finishing line.

David has a talent for story telling plus a great story to tell.

Episode 16: Sophie Le Fevre - Gaining focus and relaxation from yoga  

Do you practice yoga? What do you understand yoga to be?

This week we talk to Sophie Le Fevre, who was introduced to yoga as a child and is now a highly qualified teacher of more than 15 years with her own studio in Melbourne.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, we don't discuss the specific poses that can help us to become stronger and more flexible but Sophie paints a picture of yoga providing an opportunity to develop focus whilst being relaxed. This, she says is the practice of yoga. The time spent in the yoga studio or on the mat is therefore training to be able to avoid distraction whilst maintaining a sense of calmness outside of the studio as well. So yoga can be the many things we do in everyday life. And the asanas or physical poses that we do in a class are just a means to help us achieve relaxed focus.

We talk about Sophie's childhood and she recalls an instance of being in a flow state as a 7 year old, when completing an otherwise dull task. We also discuss how yoga has benefited her own children and others she has taught during her career. Other topics covered include the health benefits of yoga, building community around a studio, the challenges of starting her own studio, how yoga is spiritual but not religious and how often we should practice yoga.

We hope you enjoy this conversation. If you've never tried yoga before, have an infrequent practice or perhaps you are a yoga afficianado, we would love to see you at our next event - New Normal Sunday - on July 16th. It's a run or walk, yoga, meditation and a green smoothie in the suburb of St Kilda in Melbourne. Go to

Episode 15: Healthcare professional panel at Canberra screening of What The Health movie  

In this week's episode we play you audio of the healthcare professional panel discussion including audience questions which was held after a screening of the documentary movie What The Health in Canberra at the National Film and Sound Archive on June 13th 2017.

New Normal Project podcast co-host, Andrew Davies, was a member of the panel which included Robyn Chuter, a naturopath and nutritionist from Sydney, Clare Mann, a psychologist and author from Sydney, and Stephanie Dakin, a General Practitioner trainee doctor from Canberra. Caitriona Reed, a mentor and trainer of conscious entrepreneurs was the panel moderator.

The event was organised and hosted by Lucy Stegley from Raw Events Australia, with co-hosts Vegan ACT, Animal Liberation ACT and Vegan Healthy Living Canberra. Raw Events Australia has been taking this movie, What The Health, to venues in many cities across Australia and New Zealand, thanks to the directors Keegan Kuhn and Kip Anderson. This extremely provacative and groundbreaking documentary movie is the follow-up film from the creators of the award-winning documentary Cowspiracy. The film exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars, and keeping us sick. It uncovers the secret to preventing and even reversing chronic diseases, which is essentially a whole foods plant-based diet, and seems to be something the world's leading health organizations don't want people to know about. In great news this week we learned that the What The Health movie is now available on Netflix for all of us to share with our families and friends.

Back in episode 4, we broadcast a similar panel from a screening in Melbourne, but as this was also an interesting and informative discussion we thought we’d bring this to you on the podcast. The audience was different and the panel members were different, so as you can expect the questions were quite different too. We covered the topics of whether the movie might be biased, how the economy might cope if a much larger number of people were plant-based eaters, how effective whole-foods plant-based nutrition is for inflammatory bowel disease, what effects sugars have on the microbiome and liver, whether the harmful effects of saturated fat have been exaggerated, whether there are whole-foods plant-based dietitians and nutritionists in Canberra, whether medical practitioner groups are trying to defuse the lobbies of big agriculture and big pharma, whether soy consumption can be a problem in thyroid disease, whether clean meat might be better than dirty plant foods and how someone starts a whole foods plant-based diet when they have just been convinced to do so by watching the movie.

We also announce on the podcast an event called the New Normal Sunday which will be held in Melbourne in July 2017. This will include a run or walk, a yoga session, a short meditation and a green smoothie.

Episode 14: John Tickell - Laughter, Sex, Fish and Vegetables  

Are you going to live to 100? Do you care about your ACE - Activity, Coping and Eating?

Listen to Dr John Tickell, a medical doctor in Melbourne Australia, who in this episode starts by describing how he visited and studied the Okinawans, a cultural group with the largest proportion of people who live past 100 years of age. He discovered that the Okinawans never talk about calorie or carbohydrates, aren’t fanatical about anything and stay active all of their lives.

He identifies some of the things in our Western society that don’t serve us well: like retiring from work and losing purpose, getting annoyed if we can’t get a car park right outside the supermarket, consuming food from packets or cans rather than in its whole form, reading newspapers filled with doom and gloom, living in congested apartments rather than old-style communities like villages, buying food that has traveled hundreds of miles to get to us, defining success by things we can count like money, and living a life lacking in family, fun, friendship and faith.

Dr Tickell talks about getting back to basics. Eating the food the earth provides us – without human interference (HI). He gives other well considered general preventative health advice that's easy to understand and built around the tenets of a very basic lifestyle – Activity, Coping and Eating.

John talks about how he became interested in preventive health during his medical training, and how when his general practice receptionists found that the most prescribed drugs were valium and antidepressants, that this was proof that we all need better coping skills than simply popping pills.

John uses a bunch of great acronyms to help people understand the key principles and he tells a great story or two. Hear about his interaction with Kerry Packer, a story that might not flatter the late media mogul but explains how the choices we make damage the brilliant machine of a human body we are born with.

This is not an episode about pure plant-based eating but John gives some great advice about how we need to eat 80% basic foods (plant foods) and 20% bonus foods. Basically everything in moderation except laughter, sex, vegetables and fish.

Episode 13: What are the best plant-based eating resources?  

What’s in our toolbox? What resources do we use to support us in living a plant based lifestyle?

This week Claire and Andrew Davies list all the key influencers that first made them try plant-based eating and that now continue to inspire and inform them. Not surprisingly considering their background in healthcare, the ‘Big Four’, Drs T. Colin Campbell (The China Study), Caldwell Esselstyn (Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease), Michael Greger (How Not to Die, and Dean Ornish (Program For Reversing Heart Disease) focus heavily in this discussion.

Another influencer is of course plant based ultra endurance athlete, Rich Roll, who via The Rich Roll Podcast has interviewed several plant-based gurus including Colin Campbell and Michael Greger, in addition to other doctors such as Neal Barnard, Garth Davis, Robynne Chutkan and Robert Ostfeld. The evidence based information they discuss is very helpful in understanding the health benefits of plant-based eating. Rich’s interviews with individuals such as Josh LaJaunie, Fully Raw Kristina and Khalil Rafati provide inspiration and motivation with their personal stories of the power of plants in their own lives.

Rich Roll and his wife, Julie Piatt, have also written The Plantpower Way, a cookbook that was a key resource to Claire and Andrew. Other cookbooks they refer to include Vegan Goodness by Jessica Prescott, A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones, River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, all the books by Yotam Ottolenghi, Community by Hetty McKinnon, The Wholefood Pantry by Belle Gibson and Sweet Greek by Kathy Tsaples.

Watching films and documentaries are a great way to receive a lot of information packaged up in a format that is easy to follow and can be shared together. Claire and Andrew describe how ‘Forks over Knives’ was the main reason they finally committed to stop eating meat and animal products. Other films of influence include What the Health, Cowspiracy, The Connection, Supersize Me and That Sugar Film.

Connection with others on the same journey in community groups as well as attending retreats and immersions such as those conducted by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt can be incredibly helpful in moving forward and making a bigger commitment to eating more plants. Attending events such as the recent What the Health screenings, that are still happening around Australia, are a great way to boost motivation levels and meet others who are seeking a ‘new normal’.

Episode 12: Ash Nayate - Helping us change to healthier habits  

Are you unsure how to change to a plant-based diet?

Do you find healthy habits can be difficult to maintain?

There are lots of reasons why people choose to go plant-based. At the New Normal Project the profound health benefits, both from the scientific literature and from hearing powerful stories of transformation, convinced us it was the best course for a long life of great health. Our guest this week, Dr Ash Nayate, is a vegan first and foremost for ethical reasons. However her work as a clinical neuropsychologist, mostly with children and their families, allows her to observe the profound impact that food has on our children's behavior. As well as working with children and their families in hospitals she also has a private practice helping adults who are looking to incorporate change into their lives. Join us as we hear Ash's story of how she became vegan, her theories on changing behaviour, breaking bad habits and how best to approach and maintain habit change. Ash also tells us of her healthy vegan pregnancy and of her interest in the mental health of those in minority groups such as veganism. You can connect with Ash at

Episode 11: Coming out - Eating plant-based on special occasions and at restaurants  

Now that you are plant-based, what happens the first time you go out to dinner with friends or have a family Christmas dinner?

This week married couple, Andrew and Claire Davies, reveal their experiences and strategies for when your lifestyle and health choices are exposed to the world. They describe their path over the past 5 years using Christmas as an example and how strategies such as bringing your own delicious & enticing food, detaching from the choices that others make as well as being kind to yourself, can be incredibly useful. And what's more, the non-plant-based eaters are sometime pleasantly surprised.

They also talk about how some subgroups of the whole foods plant based movement advocate for an entirely oil free version and reveal their philosophy about this.

Episode 9: Get a great night's sleep  

Do you get enough sleep? Are you waking in the middle of the night? Are you a shift-worker doing night duty? Could you be chronically sleep-deprived? Do you try to sleep like parents who care for their babies sleep?

In this episode, Claire and Andrew talk about sleep including some of the problems we face in modern society, like a culture of staying up late, thinking sleep is not important and the use of screens in the evening. Claire describes how working night duty as a shift-working nurse affected her and Andrew tells how he became chronically sleep-deprived from overwork particularly in the evenings. They also discuss some of the health issues that arise from inadequate sleep as well as the problems that sleeping tablets can cause.

To help you, they discuss some basic tips for improving your sleep including optimising bedroom conditions, following your breath whilst counting back from 100 to help getting to sleep, reducing idevice use as much as possible in the evening, trying to follow the sleep habits we use for babies and young children, and taking a 30 day challenge of going to bed earlier and at the same time every night.

None of this is rocket science but with some basic mindful attention to your sleep habits, hopefully you will get a better night's sleep.

Episode 8: Andrew Taylor - Tackling food addiction with potatoes  

Andrew Taylor ate nothing but potatoes for 2016. One simple but dramatic gesture he hoped would cure his self identified addiction to food. And it did. He also lost 53kgs, cured his clinical depression, his YouTube videos went viral and the whole world was talking about him. This week Claire and Andrew Davies talk to Andrew Taylor about so much more than how he ate spuds for a year. He describes the very moment when he came to the realisation that if he didn't change, his then 2 year old son Teddy was on the same path to obesity and depression. Andrew shares his views on moderation and how especially when it come to food, moderation can only bring moderate health benefits. And if you're a food addict, moderation is the most disastrous model of a dietary plan.

We also talk about Andrew's dedication to process rather than results because he chose to tick off the daily task of eating potatoes rather than make a specific outcome his goal. And his transformation has been phenomenal. This means that if weight loss is important to you, perhaps you should throw out the scales and focus on doing the work every day because in Andrew's experience that is the truest path to sustainable change. The benefits you might imagine and then some.

Andrew is a lovely person, an everyday guy, a teacher, husband and father who has much to give the world based on his own unique experience of eating potatoes for a year.

Episode 7: Our journey into mindfulness  

In this episode we discuss mindfulness. What does mindfulness mean to us? And how has meditation, and learning about it, helped us in our lives? Claire and Andrew Davies discuss how a healthy lifestyle is strengthened by adding mindfulness. Each of us describes how mindfulness and meditation recently came into our lives, how this has helped us with managing the simple fears and stresses of a regular life, the realisation that all cultures, religions and spiritual practices in history have had some technique for bringing people into the present, some of the other benefits we have noticed, including when mindfulness teaching has been offered at our workplaces, and some of the courses, people and other resources that have helped us become regular meditators to help us in our lives. We also discuss the difficulties we all face with being disciplined to meditate every day and how being kind to ourselves about this is helpful, especially as the benefits gradually accumulate to allow us to face this busy life with a greater feeling of being in the now.

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