Renowned physician and heart disease survivor, Dr. Akil Taher, recently joined VLynn Hawkins and Kathleen Gage on the Veganpreneur REVOLUTION Podcast. His insights into lifestyle medicine and heart health resonate deeply within the Veganpreneur community, where health and entrepreneurship intersect.


Open Heart: The Book

Dr. Akil is the author of the inspiring book, “Open Heart: The Transformational Journey of a Doctor Who, After Bypass Surgery at 61, Ran Marathons and Climbed Mountains.” Chronicling his personal odyssey towards optimal health, Dr. Taher has the unique position of having been on both sides of the heart health experience.

Through “Open Heart,” he shares his vulnerabilities, triumphs, and practical wisdom, empowering readers to confront their health challenges with courage and determination. Above all, the book stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, demonstrating that with dedication and perseverance, transformative change is not only possible but within reach for all.

Transforming Lives Through Lifestyle Medicine

Dr. Taher’s personal journey from heart disease patient to advocate for holistic well-being serves as an inspiration. He emphasizes that age is no barrier to lifestyle change, urging individuals to take control of their health through sustainable practices.

The Six Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine

Central to Dr. Taher’s message are the six pillars of lifestyle medicine: nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, social support, and avoiding substance abuse. He provides practical tips for integrating these pillars into daily routines, with a focus on the transformative potential of a plant-based diet.

Unlocking the Power of Exercise

Dr. Taher demystifies exercise, encouraging listeners to view it as a prescription for vitality. From endurance training to muscle strengthening, he highlights the diverse benefits of physical activity tailored to individual needs. His own experience of running marathons, being a triathlete and climbing some of the highest mountains in the world once he went plant-based, is a testament to the power of lifestyle choices.

Nurturing Heart Health and Endothelial Function

Drawing from his expertise in cardiology, Dr. Taher discusses the profound impact of lifestyle choices on cardiovascular health. He underscores the importance of a plant-based diet in promoting endothelial regeneration and reducing the risk of hypertension.

Empowering the Veganpreneur Community

Dr. Taher extends his message of empowerment to Veganpreneurs, urging them to prioritize self-care and holistic wellness. By embracing lifestyle medicine principles, entrepreneurs can thrive personally and professionally.

Dr. Akil Taher: Advocating for Plant-Based Nutrition

Dr. Akil Taher highlights the benefits of plant-based nutrition for heart health. From the role of nitric oxide to the economic viability of whole foods, he advocates for a paradigm shift towards compassionate, sustainable living.

A Call to Action

Dr. Taher urges collective action in advocating for plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine. By challenging societal norms and fostering awareness, individuals can drive transformative change for a healthier, more vibrant future.

Episode Highlights

[00:00] Introduction

[01:15] A heart attack sets the stage for Dr. Akil’s life work.

[05:00] Doctors make the worst patients. 

[09:30] Contrary to what many believe, heart disease starts at a young age. 

[15:00] Six pillars of lifestyle medicine 

[19:35] The only use for a bed is…

[23:00] Night owls vs morning larks… which are you? 

[28:00] The importance of exercise

[37:00] Why meat and fish are so unhealthy. 

[43:00] Changes in your health can happen often with two weeks.

[45:10] The obesity epidemic. 

[49:30] Is water fasting the way to go?

[54:00] How plant based docs can gain visibility. 

[59:40] Getting off the hamster wheel of traditional healthcare.

[105:00] Living in a non plant-based environment. 

[113:00] Closing thoughts. 

About Dr. Akil Taher

Dr. Akil Taher’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of resilience and determination. As a physician, he understood the implications of an unhealthy lifestyle, yet he found himself caught in its grip, ignoring the warnings of his own heart disease and chronic ailments. Even surviving a near-death experience during angioplasty at age 56 did not immediately spur change. It took a bypass surgery at age 61 to jolt him into action, igniting a fervent desire to heal both his body and spirit.

His transformation began modestly, with the goal of completing his first half-marathon. From there, Dr. Taher embarked on a series of awe-inspiring challenges, including running in renowned marathons like Chicago, Boston, and Mumbai, trekking to Mount Kailash, and conquering Mount Kilimanjaro. Triathlons, charity bike rides, mud runs, skydiving, and white-water rafting became part of his new adventurous lifestyle.

From a sedentary middle-aged individual with poor dietary habits, Dr. Taher emerged as a vibrant, energetic athlete, constantly seeking new horizons. His renewed sense of purpose led him to reclaim his identity as a physician, blending his medical expertise with his newfound passion for an active, plant-based lifestyle. Through his book, “Open Heart: Transformational Journey of a Doctor Who, After Bypass Surgery at 61, Ran Marathons and Climbed Mountains,” Dr. Taher shares not only the remarkable details of his personal odyssey but also the scientific evidence supporting the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet.

Dr. Taher often reflects on how this journey introduced him to a new version of himself, one aligned with the wisdom implied by his name, Akil. As he continues to inspire others through his story and advocacy, his impact transcends age and background, resonating with individuals seeking transformation and holistic well-being.

Dr. Taher often says that on this journey he met the new Akil; the man who is in alignment with the meaning of his name Akil… ‘The Wise’.

 His book, Open Heart; Transformational Journey of a Doctor Who, After Bypass Surgery at 61, Ran Marathons and Climbed Mountains, continues to impact people of all ages.

Learn more about Dr. Akil Taher

 About Kathleen Gage 

Kathleen Gage is a multifaceted professional, renowned as the founder of Vegan Visibility and co-founder of Vegan Visibility Productions. With certifications in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell University, she’s a seasoned business consultant, keynote speaker, and marketing strategist.

Kathleen’s impact extends to hosting the Vegan Visibility Virtual Summit, a niche event supporting vegan and plant-based entrepreneurs with top-tier training from industry experts. Since establishing her business in 1994, she’s navigated economic challenges across various sectors, including high-tech, healthcare, and publishing.

Her influential voice resonates through popular podcasts like “Vegan Visibility” and “Plant Based Eating for Health,” where she advocates for a sustainable, compassionate world and provides guidance to thousands globally. Moreover, as an award-winning speaker and past president of Utah’s National Speakers Association chapter, Kathleen excels in crafting effective marketing strategies.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Kathleen resides in Central Oregon, where she champions animal rescue and enjoys outdoor activities. Her commitment to creating a more compassionate and sustainable world shines through in both her personal and professional pursuits.

About Vlynn Hawkins 

VLynn Hawkins is a formidable figure at the intersection of vegan entrepreneurship, extreme athleticism, and business leadership. As the Co-Founder of Vegan Visibility Productions and the Chief Executive/Engagement Officer at P3Academy, she channels her expertise to elevate health and wellness businesses. With over three decades in commercial real estate lending, VLynn boasts a track record of leading high-performing teams to exceptional success, consistently generating substantial revenue for multi-billion dollar enterprises.

Transitioning from her corporate career, VLynn’s journey towards holistic wellness began after a knee injury redirected her focus. Exploring healing modalities like tapping, NLP, and hypnotherapy, she discovered a passion for holistic health practices. Today, armed with certifications in business development, hypnotherapy, joint venture brokering, and digital marketing, VLynn empowers Healthpreneurs to thrive in their endeavors.

As a Certified Plant-Based Ambassador, VLynn passionately advocates for the transformative power of a Whole Food, Plant-Based Vegan lifestyle. She hosts the insightful “Health Wisdom & Wealth Show,” sharing invaluable insights into holistic living. Additionally, VLynn serves as the CEO of, assisting small businesses and nonprofits in fundraising for impactful projects.

Based in Atlanta, GA, VLynn enjoys an active lifestyle, often engaging in workouts and leisurely walks with her Cairn Terrier, Hiro. Her multifaceted skill set and unwavering dedication make her an influential advocate for veganism, health entrepreneurship, and impactful business strategies.

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