Meet Debra! Mayo Clinic Dietitian/Nutritionist/Vegan


Meet Debra! Our newest guest blogger. Debra is a Clinical Registered Licensed Dietitian/ Nutritionist at the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville Fl. She is also a vegan. Debi and I struck a friendship at our local Pure Barre studio about a year ago. I love chatting with her about food and diet, and thought her expertise would be a valuable addition to the site. As I have stated before, I am not an expert in this field, I’m simply just passionate about a vegan diet and cooking. So, I thought it was important, and probably helpful, to have some real professional input regarding diet and nutrition available on the site. Thanks again Debra for sharing you knowledge with 86 Eats!!!


I am so excited that my good friend Kat invited me to be a guest blogger!  I hope to become a regular at 86eats. Just like Kat, I have warmly embraced the vegan lifestyle both personally and professionally.  By day, I practice as a Clinical Registered Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville Florida.  My areas of focus are solid organ transplantation and integrative and functional medicine.  Nights and weekends, I am studying for my Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition and sometimes seeing private clients.

Over the past few years, my patients have become very interested in the power of anti-inflammatory plant-based nutrition.  This makes me very happy because I can really help these folks improve both their physical and mental health.  Anyone with a chronic illness or auto-immune disease should be eating whole-plant foods.   Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by Dr. Kim Williams Sr.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and served as its president from 2015 to 2016.  Dr. Williams has been a vegan since 2003.  He has written widely on the cardiovascular benefits of veganism.  His lecture focused on evidence-based practice for veganism.  Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists practice evidence-based medical nutrition therapy.  Evidence-based means there is valid research for prescribing vegetarian/vegan diets.  Shocker alert!  The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a vegetarian/vegan diet along with the DASH and Mediterranean Diets.  Interestingly, the committee members that draft these guidelines tend to be very conservative as well and have been accused of bowing to the influence of the food industry in the past.

The #1 question my patients ask is how to transition from animal-based to plant-powered.  Since I can’t be with be with you all when you are doing your meal planning and shopping in the supermarket, I recommend the best book out there, “The Plant-Powered Diet” by Sharon Palmer RDN.  Sharon Palmer shares her passion for whole-plant foods and provides compelling evidence for eating in a more health-promoting way.  She makes the transition to a plant-powered lifestyle simple.  Her book provides you with support tools such as pantry lists, tips for dining out, and great recipes (I’ve tried many!). This book educates and motivates.  It’s the best $9.98 investment ( you will ever make!

Next time I’m going to address the f(ph)ony fish oil scam.