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044: Eat Your Vitamins with Mascha Davis

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You’ve probably gotten advice to take your vitamins, but what about eating them? That’s exactly what our guest today is here to tell you about.

Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN, is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian nutritionist, humanitarian. She’s also the founder of Nomadista Nutrition, a private nutrition practice that uses an evidence-based approach and Nutrigenomics. Mascha recently released her first book, Eat Your Vitamins. She’s been featured in media outlets including Time, CNN, Newsweek, The Washington Post, ABC News, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and many more.

Today on Awesome Health Podcast we begin with Mascha’s back story. She and her family moved from the Ukraine to the US as political refugees. As she grew up she felt incredibly grateful for the opportunities available, and also felt a responsibility to pursue those opportunities. After going to college and spending a summer in India, she saw the impact healthy food and water could have on people’s lives. So she became a registered dietitian and earned her Master’s in Public Health from UCLA. A few years later, she went abroad to Geneva and then to Africa for humanitarian aid work. Five years later she returned to the States and opened her private practice. She also launched Mini Fish which is a sustainable, clean, delicious, ready to eat seafood product.

Even though the marketplace is changing, there are still too many unsustainable factory farms selling unhealthy seafood products to the public.  We talk about some of the consequences of those products, including Tony Robbins’ mercury problems, and why Mascha’s offering is so different.

She explains the engineering that goes into Mini Fish: 12 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber and an astounding 56 micrograms of Vitamin D. It is steelhead trout in a citrus marinade with a delicious superfood blend of phenol red pepper, pumpkin seeds and tumeric. She was very intentional with the ingredients and third party testing to ensure the highest quality nutrition possible! To boot, the packaging is BPA-free and the shelf life is up to 12 months.

Mascha gives more details on the show today, and she also tells us about Nutrigenomics and her book, Eat Your Vitamins. Tune in to hear the details and much more on episode 44 of Awesome Health Podcast!

Episode Resources:

Read The Episode Transcript :

Wade Lightheart: Good morning, good evening and good afternoon. Welcome to the Awesome Health Podcast. It's Wade T Lightheart live and loud here from Los Angeles, California, and I am so pumped and excited today because I have a very special guest. Her name is Mascha Davis and she is a registered dietary nutritionist and it's interesting, she's been nationally nationally recognized. She's also a human and humanitarian and the founder of Nomadista nutrition. And interesting enough, turns out we actually met on a plane trip to Mexico. I got put in the seat and this wonderful bouncy person jumped into the seat and was like doing all these different things and I'm like, wow, she has a lot of energy. She seems really fit. Hey, I said, what's going on with you?
Wade Lightheart: The next thing you know, we found out we had a lot in common. We love to travel the world but like to make a difference and turns out she has a crazy, really awesome private nutrition practice right here in Los Angeles and at the time I wasn't in Los Angeles, I was moving there. I said, oh, I'd love to connect up when I get here. Well here I am and here she is. Now what nutrigenomics and she offers this inner testing and I think this is where cutting edge is today in nutrition. And basically this is a way to find out how to optimize your health, manage chronic conditions, health, weight. It's using the latest science. She's been featured on Times, CNN, News week, The Washington Post, ABC News, Men's health, Women's health, look at all these things, Reader's digest and many more.
Wade Lightheart: Then she also gave a TEDx talk about her international humanitarian work in Africa and if that's not all, she's also launched a food startup called Mini Fish and that's not all, that's not all folks. She's also launching a brand new book called Eat your vitamins. Marsha, welcome to the show. Well, you are just a bundle of energy. And for those of us who are watching YouTube, you just kind of like jump out of the screen. So you are certainly a product of what you teach. I'd like to dive before we get into kind of what you're doing now is how did you find yourself, how did you get into the nutrition industry? And then you are also an entrepreneur and you're off as an educator and you've got all this background like, and, and you're, you're not just talking about these things. You're obviously living these things, and you're humanitarian. How does it possible that one person could combine all of these things? And how did you get so passionate on this journey? I'm curious about the story.
Mascha Davis: Um, well I would say it all kind of started with my family coming to the States as political refugees
Mascha Davis: when I was seven. And you know, at the time I had no idea that I wanted to do anything related to nutrition or health. But it really affected me. That experience really affected me. And as I grew older, I began to realize just how incredibly fortunate I had been to end up in the US to have this opportunity to have a great education and access to really healthy, good food and all the other opportunities that I was able to have. And it really made me feel a huge sense of gratitude, responsibility. And as I got older, went to college, was figuring out what I was, what I wanted to do, nutrition and health really spoke to me and I also began to do some traveling. I'm on my own. I spent a summer in India, which was really impactful.
Mascha Davis: I saw how so many people live and the fact that so many people don't have access to good nutrition and healthy, nourishing foods and clean water and what a huge impact that has on their quality of life and their ability to thrive and you know, be their best and highest self. And I decided that was where I really wanted to put my energy and make an impact. So I studied nutrition, became a registered dietician, nutritionist. And then what brought me out to LA was actually grad school. I did my MPH, my master's in public health at UCLA. Spent a couple of years working in LA after that, but I always felt this calling to go abroad and work internationally. So I went, I did a fellowship in Geneva through Duke university that was called the program in global policy and governance. And then after that I went to Africa and I spent five years in Africa doing humanitarian aid work. So it was almost entirely focused on treatment and prevention of severe acute malnutrition in children and women. So very focused on nutrition still, but very different from what I'm doing now. Came back to LA after that five years in Africa and that's when I started my private practice. I wrote my book last year and also saw this really huge gap in the market for an incredible sustainable, clean, delicious, ready to eat seafood product. And that's when I launched Mini Fish.
Wade Lightheart: That might be the greatest summary of an incredible life I've ever heard. So I think this is fascinating because you know I've, I also share the, I would call 'the digital nomad virus'. I spent about 12 years traveling the world and living abroad in different countries so I can relate and I think a lot of people, it's fascinating how you got to other cultures and you can start to appreciate the benefits that we have and then there's almost this kind of weird thing is like even though we have all these opportunities and benefits, how many people are kind of squandering them and complaining about what is, when we have virtually every opportunity there could possibly be in the world. With your nutrition practice that you're, that you're dealing with today in LA, tell me about what is, if you can explain for our listeners what is nutrigenomics, why do you focus on that particular and what are the type of people who come to see you to find out about this? Because I think this is as they would call that it's not just the cutting edge. This is the bleeding edge of where we are in good condition and why there's so much variance in kind of dietary philosophies and why people choose this and all this kind of confusion. How do you sort through all that?
Mascha Davis: Yeah, and I, I love what you said that it's the cutting edge or bleeding edge. I completely agree. You're totally right. And that it is definitely the future of nutrition and of health. It's this shift towards personalization and individualization and really figuring out what works for every single person individually because we're all different. We don't have the same DNA. Our bodies don't respond the exact same way to the foods that we eat. So why would we be prescribing the same kind of diet to all these different people when they're are going to be reacting in different ways? So this nutrigenomics really helps us to drill down, to figure out what's going to work for every individual person and what their unique needs are, what deficiencies they may have, how they're metabolizing different macronutrients and micronutrients. And ultimately this is a way to optimize our health.
Mascha Davis: And you know, there's still so much research being done, there are new variants being identified daily. So there's a lot of this moving really fast. There's a lot of evolution happening in this field. But the interesting thing is that we already know a huge amount. There's already been a lot of research that establishes macronutrient metabolism, micro potential micronutrient deficiencies. So it's really interesting and the test is already available to the public. I offer it to my clients. I work with a lot of people, almost all my clients get the get the tests.
Wade Lightheart: Can you talk about the test for a little bit? What is a nutrigenomix test? How do you take it with you when you draw blood, you got to read, fill out a survey?
Mascha Davis: How does that work? Good questions. It's super easy. It's a cheek swab. So you swab each cheek. There's no blood. It's very simple. You can do it at home, you can do it at my office. And then the swab gets mailed into the lab where it's analyzed and there are about 75 different genetic variants related to health and nutrition that the test analyzes and evaluates. So it's everything from how you metabolize the different macronutrients. Proteins, carbs and fats too, which micronutrients you might be predisposed to be deficient in. And it also looks at some health indicators. So things like predisposition to having elevated cholesterol or predisposition to having elevated blood sugar levels, which is really, really helpful for people to know because then they know, okay, if I have this predisposition, it doesn't necessarily mean that that's your destiny. That's a really important distinction to make.
Mascha Davis: And that's something that I really discuss with all of my clients. It's not something to be afraid of. Just because you predisposition or a tendency to have high blood sugar doesn't mean that that's going to happen. What it does mean is that if you are eating in an unhealthy way, if you're not working out, if you're not taking care of yourself, if you're not eating your vitamins, which is what my book is all about, then you will be more likely than someone without that predisposition to develop that condition. So this information is really empowering and it's a way to, you know, it's a way to take control of your health and your lifestyle and make sure that you're looking out for certain potential red flags.
Wade Lightheart: I think that's such a great thing because you know, one of the things that used to drive me crazy before the development of nutrigenomics is that people would advocate a diet philosophy or a particular nutrient profile or whatever, whatever it happened to be. And then you know, the kind of semi-educated person would say, yeah, well what about old Charlie Smith that's been up the Hill drinking a gallon of vodka a day and smoking two packs of cigarettes and lived to 98? Well, you know, perhaps his genetics was allowed him to get away with that. And someone else's, you know, it wouldn't, and this is where I think this field is so powerful because it now gives definitive explanations of why one person can eat sugar and be okay and another person can eat sugar and it's an absolute disaster or some people can be on a high fat diet and it's wonderful for them and for another person it's absolute suicide. And without that information really people are just kind of blindly walking around and take random dietary components and maybe missing some key elements. Is that what you're finding?
Mascha Davis: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That's, I totally agree. And you know people before nutrigenomix they sometimes try all these different diets and ways of eating and eventually they may land on the one that works really well for them. But this a way to kind of hone in on that a lot faster. So some people do really well on a lower carb diet and other people don't. Other people just need more carbs. So it's not like, you know, low carb or keto is going to be great for everyone. It's really dependent on your genes and how your body metabolizes and responds to different nutrients.
Wade Lightheart: Yeah, I know, I've seen that in my own life as I was doing some recent testing not that long ago. And I was going to get a t-shirt that actually said Carbovoir, cause I do eat a lot of carbohydrates or a little bit, have a highly active lifestyle. But my blood sugar level when we did my testing was where a lot of people are trying to get in a ketogenic diet. Now my business partner, who is a ketogenic guy, if he eats carbs like he gets even smells a carb, his blood sugar spikes really, really high. And so he's found for him that that's a better diet that suits his lifestyle and goals. And then we drill down and let's talk about this. For example, you and I could eat the same amount of, say, zinc in our diet, but how we would absorb that zinc could be various different.
Wade Lightheart: So, you know, let's say we're getting 50 grams of zinc in a diet that we were both getting. Maybe I'm only getting 10% of that. And you're getting 90% of that. How do you use this technology to kind of determine where your client is or where they could get the most benefits, are selecting those diets and, and after a person does, it will maybe be one of these tests. What's the process? How does that, what happens after that? Cause I think people are curious about what, you know, what happens here, what happens when I get inside the 'funhouse'.
Mascha Davis: Yeah. So, so in terms of how we use the results, first of all, you know, we do the tests. It takes a few weeks to get the results back and it's about
Mascha Davis: 50 pages. It's a pretty lengthy report. So first of all, we sit down and we go through everything, focus on the outliers or the, you know, potential flags. So, you know, there's a list of vitamins and nutrients that someone could be predisposed to have a deficiency in. So, not only are those nutrients going to be ones that we focus on getting through the diet, but it also helps to guide some of the tests. Some of the other testing that I recommend. So just because someone has a predisposition to be low in B12 doesn't necessarily mean that they will be, but it gives us a really good guide we should be looking at with other clinical testing. So getting that checked and then optimizing foods that are high in B12 or if someone doesn't eat a lot of foods that are high in B12, if they're vegan, if they're not eating animal products and figuring out the right supplements that'll get them.
Wade Lightheart: That was the vitamins. Yeah, that's a great point. Now,
Wade Lightheart: typically, what these type of tests costs for people, how much would it take to take a nutrigenomic test and how would they get access to that?
Mascha Davis: A lot of different tests on the market. I don't know the price of all of them, but the one that I offer is $300.
Wade Lightheart: Super reasonable. But can you fake it? Or you could spend years and years trying to figure things out or following other people's dietary recommendations that have no basis in yourself. So, let's get into a little bit more of this because I think typically someone comes to you, they're struggling with whatever they do, one of these tests. And then what happens after you've kind of determine - here's your report. Do you build out a menu program in regards to that?
Mascha Davis: Yeah, that's part of it. So, you know, all the nutrigenomics tests is one tool out of many tools. So I see it as like another really awesome tool in the toolkit. So in addition to that I still do my full in depth assessment, which takes over an hour where we go through the full history of my clients. So we talk about everything that they're eating and drinking their medical history, their other lab results. So you know, their blood work. We talk about family history, we talk about stress and sleep and all these other things that impact their health and wellness. And the type of nutrition that they're going to need to support their lifestyle and their health goals. And then we incorporate the Nutrigenomics test into the individualized plan that I create for them. So I really believe in personalization and individualization. And every plan is going to be different.
Mascha Davis: It's going to depend on the client's motivation, how much time they have, because I want to set people up to be successful. So if I give someone, you know, a really complicated, time-consuming plan, but they don't have the time or the willpower or the motivation to follow through with all of that, then I'm going to set them up for failure, which I don't want to do. So my philosophy is really all about meeting people where they're at and figuring out how can we take really small, manageable baby steps to get you closer to your goals. And then we build on that and some people can get there within a few months. And then I have clients that I've been working with for two years and they've made amazing, massive progress. But it's taken them a bit of time to really integrate everything into their lifestyle to build habits because it's not an easy thing to do.
Wade Lightheart: It certainly is. You must have seen some trends that you're finding in your practice, particularly in North American diets and things. So what are some key elements, for example, that you find? I'm going to kind of cue you up because I know you addressed some of this in your book, but what are some things that you are finding that people are struggling as a common element in North American society?
Mascha Davis: Well, first of all, almost everyone struggles to eat enough fruits and vegetables. I mean, that's just like across the board. I would say like 90% of people, 90% of my clients need to be eating more fruits and vegetables. And as they start to make, it sounds really simple, but for a lot of people it's a struggle.
Wade Lightheart: Well, you know, where do you get decent fruits? And vegetables in your average group, you know, your average story of traveling around or going to your cafeteria or at work in your office or where you might go for a restaurant or all these sorts of things have a lot of the impact stuff. You don't have it. So it does have to be a conscious practice.
Mascha Davis: It really does. It really has to be this like very conscious, you know, mindful decision that you have to sort of plan for in advance. So getting more fruits and vegetables, planning out your meals. I mean that's, that's a big hurdle for a lot of people as if they can just think ahead even a little bit and do a little bit of planning that can make a world of difference.
Wade Lightheart: It takes a lot of pressure off by planning as I've noticed once you let people go "Oh no, I've got a meal plan." It seems so rigid. But then once you're into it, he's like, I don't have to think about this anymore. I just know I prepare this and that's it. And it's done. It's actually easy.
Mascha Davis: It actually makes your life way easier. Yeah, yeah, totally true. And so that's another thing that I do as part of the plan that I create for my clients - we do a custom meal plan for all of them and you know, saw my clients eat out almost every single meal. So we'll incorporate that. I'll say, well, where are you eating? And then let's pick the healthiest options and here's how you can combine these different options on this menu to create the decently healthy meal depending on where you're eating. So it's really doable. But other trends that I'm seeing, there are certain nutrients that a lot of people are deficient in kind of across the board. So vitamin D is a really, really big one. You know, choline is really important. A lot of people don't even know about choline.
Wade Lightheart: Where would we need to find these? Where would be some places they could get these kinds of foods? Where they can get them from, without tipping all the information in your book? Just a couple little tidbits.
Mascha Davis: Well, vitamin D is found in very few foods. Fatty fish is probably the best source. And then there are foods that are fortified with vitamin D, but this was actually one of the food, one of the vitamins that I recommend supplementing with. Most people do require a vitamin D supplement because we just don't spend enough time, you know, our body makes vitamin D from sunlight and because we're spending a lot of time in the sun and when we do, we're covered up and wearing sunscreen, which is good and important. But because we're not running around naked, not getting sunshine.
Wade Lightheart: And why are we doing that, what's happened to us? We've gotten so civilized.
Mascha Davis: I know! But a lot of people do need to be taking a vitamin D supplement. And as more research comes out on vitamin D, we're seeing how incredibly important it is. I mean, it's linked to weight management. So it's implicated in obesity and overweight. It's implicated in our immune system and autoimmune conditions. So there's so many, so many functions that it has that are now starting to come to light.
Wade Lightheart: I know there's a lot of nutrition experts that are almost considering it a hormone. It's, you know, vitamin D and it's activation of things. And of course, think about it,
Mascha Davis: it's called vitamin D, but that's actually a misnomer. Vitamin D is actually a hormone. It's not a vitamin.
Wade Lightheart: All right, let's jump into choline.
Mascha Davis: Yeah. So choline, choline is fascinating. Choline is the newest nutrient to be considered essential. Choline was discovered in the 18 hundreds, but it wasn't until, I think it was like the nineties. It was like 1998 that the Institute of medicine actually deemed it an essential nutrient. Isn't that cool? So, you know, essential nutrients are the reason that the vitamins are called vitamins. The word vitamin is it the origin of it? It's vital meaning. And that means that it's vital to life. So without the proper amount of any single one of the vitamins, we will get sick and eventually died, right? So that's why vitamins are called vitamins because they're essential to life.
Wade Lightheart: Which I find so ironic that you see over and over medical PR people talking about, wow, there's no evidence that vitamins make you healthy. And I just want to lose my brain on this. When I hear people talking about this, it's because I've seen so many people that's added different things to their diet or these key elements and their lives transformed.
Mascha Davis: Yeah, for sure. I mean this is like the cornerstone of health and cornerstone of disease prevention.
Wade Lightheart: So choline - where do we get it?
Mascha Davis: Choline is now considered an essential nutrient. Meaning if we don't have enough of it, we will get sick and eventually die. And it's super important because it's linked to immunity. There's a lot of research coming out showing the links between choline and brain health. So it's really important for a healthy brain, not only brain development in babies, which is why it's also really important for women to eat enough choline, especially if they're going to be getting pregnant or if they want to get pregnant. But also for adults, it's really important for brain health optimization and it's also really important for liver health. It can help to prevent fatty liver disease, which we're seeing a lot of.
Wade Lightheart: I know choline is a big one for me. I do really well on choline. I love that. I love that product.
Mascha Davis: Yeah, choline is really important. The source where we get it - most people get the majority of their choline from eggs. So eggs have a good amount. Beef liver actually has, probably the highest amount of any food. Fish has choline, beans contain some. Chicken has choline. Mushrooms, specifically shitaki mushrooms have a decent amount of choline n in them as well. Red potatoes with the skin on.
Wade Lightheart: Love it. Love it.
Mascha Davis: Yeah. So in my book "Eat your vitamins" at the end of every single nutrient and mineral section, there's a recipe that talks about that shows people how to optimize that specific nutrient in their diet. So at the end of the choline chapter, I have this delicious recipe that's high in choline. So it's a way for people to really like implement that knowledge right away.
Wade Lightheart: Perfect, let's jump into that right now. Let's talk about your book. So when we were on the plane to Mexico, I remember you were getting ready this to be completed and was working on getting all to your agent and media. You'll probably have launched it. How did this come about? I want to know the backstory of the book and I thought it was fascinating how you had described specifically how you had actually put this in a very unique way to do it as well. 'Eat your vitamins', And then you're actually giving people what they need to eat it, recipes and stuff. Like first off, that's super genius. But second off, how did you come to this book? If you can give a 30,000 foot overview and a little bit of backstory on that.
Mascha Davis: Well, I can't take all the credit because my publisher came to me. Simon and Schuster actually reached out to me exactly a year ago. It was last January, I was in New York and well, okay, the story is actually kind of crazy because every summer, I do something and you know, I'm super science-based. That's like the foundation of everything I do, you know, where's the research? I want to see the science, I want to see the proof. But I also really believe in manifestation and you know, there's not like a lot of scientific evidence for it.
Wade Lightheart: It's starting to come though, it is starting to, it's now starting to develop through quantum mechanics and collapse of the wave function on the Dirac equation. I'm a bit of a physics junkie on the side. So, for example, they've been able to have people meditating in a city and drop the crime rate by 25-30% by everybody holding things in mind. And this is explained through, you know, high level theoretical quantum physics and now we actually have the scientific and computer models to actually start proving that. So there is validity to this, but continue on. Let's keep rolling with this, manifestation of one year ago.
Mascha Davis: Well, and to your point, I also think that there's a lot that we just don't have the actual, like the science, you know, to support.
Wade Lightheart: Just because we don't have the science right now doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. And I think that's one of the major challenges that people have who are married to the scientific method - you have to be able to measure. And just because you don't have the measuring device doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. I mean we didn't have telescopes for most of humanity. And then, you know, one guy, gets subjected to being like locked up in the house, arrested or anything because he says "Hey, we're not the center of the universe anymore. It was always that way."
Mascha Davis: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So everything I do this every month, but especially every year, you know, I write out my goals and my intentions and what I want to manifest. And I was on this flight to New York, on this trip that I had manifested. I specifically had said - I want to go to New York. And it all happened very, very quickly. I'm on the plane. And I have my journal. And I was like, okay, I feel like I'm ready to, you know, really focus on what I want to create this year. I wrote out a list, there may be 10 things on that list. And at the very top, at the very top, I wrote, "get a book deal." And a week later, I'm in my hotel room in New York and I opened up my email. There was an email from Simon and Schuster and it said "Hey, we want to talk to you about this book idea."
Wade Lightheart: Wow. That's so, that's so unusual. Cause usually people are pitching these places to get a book and they're reaching out to you to do a book.
Mascha Davis: Yeah.
Wade Lightheart: It's amazing.
Mascha Davis: And it was really the perfect fit. So they already had the concept in mind and then we brainstormed and flushed it out together, the whole structure, the outline, what the book was going to look like. I had the idea of including recipes at the end of every single section. So it was a really awesome collaborative process and that's how it all came about.
Wade Lightheart: And then talk about how the book is laid out and how and why it's so important and relevant for people to kind of check in right now in today's world where there's so much confusion about health and nutrition and these types of things.
Mascha Davis: Yeah. So there is not a single health and nutrition book that goes through every single nutrient. So every single vitamin, mineral and even antioxidants, phytonutrients, pre and probiotics, there is no book that covers everything this comprehensively, that includes every single one of these nutritional compounds. So that was the first main thing that we wanted it to be - this really comprehensive guide that was very easy to read and understand. So it's very conversational. It doesn't read like the textbook. It's more like reading a magazine where you get facts, interesting information, the benefits, the function of that nutrient, how much of it you need, what foods it's found in and then the recipe that can help you to optimize that nutrient. So every single vitamin mineral has its own mini chapter. And then at the end we have the recipe and really interesting information about all of them. And of course it's all based on the latest research, which, you know, as we were saying, just because we don't have the evidence for something. Even a few years ago, nutrition, the field of nutrition moves so quickly. There's so much research happening. There's constantly new information coming out. Lines are constantly being updated. So that was the other really cool thing about writing this was that I really, you know, I dug into the latest research and the latest studies and the newest information and included that in this book.
Wade Lightheart: Super cool. I'm excited to get a copy of this book. I know you're going to be doing a book launch here in LA really soon. I'm going to be there cause I want to get my hands on this. I don't always have the time to go and find out what is the latest stuff, what is the newest and latest and greatest and all that sort of stuff. So I think it's a great service there. If that wasn't enough,
Wade Lightheart: you've got the book, you've got your personal practice, but you've also got another project on the go. You're just showing me recently - talk to me about your company called Mini Fish. I think this is one of the big issues. And it was interesting. I was just at a Tony Robbins event recently. I wish I actually had two this year. One a business Mastery in Las Vegas and then recently his Date with destiny down in Florida. And what was the interesting component? Now Tony is a massive health advocate and has been for years. And what a lot of people don't realize is he actually, I think got the, the highest recorded mercury levels of any human in history and he's severely damaged his health. And he's in the process of getting the mercury out of his body, but he's not even supposed to be alive at the levels he has.
Wade Lightheart: And the reason that was is because he got to a diet where he ate mostly salads and fish and the fish coming in the deep sea was filled with all this mercury. And then all of that mercury filled up Tony. And he said, one day he's giving an event and he has an extraordinary memory and extraordinary function, how he's doing his event. And he got to a point in there and he couldn't remember what he was going to say or what was going on. And he's like, "something's really wrong." And he started to notice he had a little tremor and his stuff, one of these high performers, maybe one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time I've ever met. He's like, how could this be going wrong? And so then someone gave him a test and heavy metals test - you need to come to the hospital immediately.
Wade Lightheart: We don't know if you're going to make it. And he suffered some severe consequences to it. And fishes, we know as a great source of food. There's a lot of things that go, but there's a lot of contaminated fish in the world. It's a huge, huge problem. So there's so many people that benefit from fish. And even most, what I would say, vegetarians, people who are on a plant based diet oftentimes have to include some fish into their diet unless they're super meticulous and just have the right genetics in order to not do that. Talk to me about this product that you're putting out into the market today cause I think it is awesome. I think it's fantastic. I think people who are eating fish need to know about it. Tell me about Mini Fish.
Mascha Davis: Yeah. I'm so happy that you shared all of that and that story, I didn't know that story about Tony Robbins. That's really crazy. And it's interesting because a lot of people don't even know that there's mercury testing available. So I think the levels of mercury poisoning are actually much higher than than we think.
Wade Lightheart: Well, I know it's really common in the bodybuilding community because there's so many people who would eat, you know, a couple of cans of tuna a day and it was one of the very high sources of mercury. And so if you are eating a lot of fish in your diet, chances are it's probably a good idea to go out and get a mercury test immediately.
Mascha Davis: I agree. And I tell the same thing to my clients and a shocking number of them who get the test actually come back with their mercury level elevated.
Wade Lightheart: And what's some consequences of, say, mercury poisoning or other metals that you find in fish that people are eating?
Mascha Davis: And I think that's another good point that there's a lot of other environmental toxins. It's not just mercury, there's all kinds of other environmental toxins.
Wade Lightheart: Can you name some, some that are happening in fish today?
Mascha Davis: I mean there's things like arsenic, like anything, any kind of environmental, there's a lot of microplastics. And you know, all these different things that are contaminating our oceans. It's like everything you can imagine it's like, you know, dumped into the water and the runoff from different plants, you know, environmental plants. So it's a huge, huge issue. It's a huge concern, not just for our health but the health of our planet, the health of our oceans.
Wade Lightheart: And then we go to kind of factory farming fish and it has a whole other problem with a lot of factory farming fresh, right?
Mascha Davis: Yes. Well, and this is, so this is the really interesting thing that people have this very negative view of farmed fish. Many of the fish farms that are out there are not good. But that's changing. That's actually changing. So just like how, you know, agricultural farming, there are farms that are not good, that use a lot of chemicals, unhealthy practices. And then there's farms that are good stewards of the environment and they use healthy practices. And it's the same with the same thing as happening with fishing. It's just that it is newer and so it's changing very rapidly as well. So a lot of people don't realize that there's actually really, really good farmed fish out there, that aquaculture is this rapidly evolving area. And yeah, some of the farmed fish is actually better than the wild fish because when you get the really good quality aquaculture farmed fish that's using, you know, pristine spring water that's not contaminated with any of these, you know, environmental toxins and the mercury in the microplastics, you're getting a much better product, a much safer, cleaner product.
Wade Lightheart: A small story - kind of reminds me when I was a kid, I lived in a very rural area and it was five miles to my nearest neighbor, for those who know my story. And I was low on a dirt road. Telephone poles ended in my drawer and we were the caretakers, alpha private resort. And at that private resort we had this big lake and we had a fish farm. In other words, because people would come fishing. So the water would come in and we had these fish feeders and we would go out and feed the fish so that they would get really big and really robust and that they'd have all these healthy things. And then people used to come down there and fish them and be very excited. Number one, they'd get these really nice steelhead fish that they loved. An it was a fantastic experience and I never thought about that. But here was this big lake which had no fish. And then we had all this fish and it became part of trading a robust echo system. And then people would go down and fish them and eat them. Which is kind of interesting because you're doing something really special in regards to this. Here it is 30 years later and I'm in the conversation about fish again.
Mascha Davis: Wow. It's so interesting how things come full circle in that way too.
Wade Lightheart: Yeah. So talk to me more about Mini Fish. What is it about, why did you create this product and why? First off, it's super cool. So let's just give me the whole pitch. I want to hear everything about this because it's fantastic.
Mascha Davis: Awesome. So I saw a huge gap in the market. I saw this need and desire that consumers have for a really clean, healthy source of protein that's also ready to eat because a lot of people don't want to cook fish or they don't know how to cook fish. They find it confusing. They don't know what to do. They didn't grow up eating a lot of fish or they're busy and they don't have time to prepare it. And they're also, they see these canned options. The canned tuna and a lot of people are just turned off by it because they think canned fish is gross cause it kind of is. Cause there hasn't been a lot of innovation in that space since the invention of canning 180 years ago. It's been very little innovation in terms of the flavor and the quality and the sustainability.
Mascha Davis: Almost all the canned packaged fish that's out there, they're pulling fish out of the oceans, which is depleting ocean stocks and wreaking havoc on our environment. If we continue at this rate, we're going to completely fish out our oceans. We're already headed there, which is not only devastating for the environment but also hurts a lot of livelihoods. A lot of people are dependent on fishing around the world. And then of course it's a huge important source of protein. It's probably the best animal based protein, the healthiest animal based protein that there is, other than the whole issue with mercury and environmental contaminants, which I also want to talk about. But the reason I created Mini Fish was to combat.
Wade Lightheart: Can you hold that up square for years so they can see that really good. So this is spring water, steelhead trout in a citrus marinade with a delicious superfood blend of red pepper, pumpkin seeds containing 12 grams of protein, BPA free. This is a lot. This is a really cool package. This sounds great. So why did you pick steelhead trout?
Mascha Davis: I looked at fish by the way. I was a dietician, I had all these requirements. It had to be, you know, the fatty acid profile had to be really good because I wanted those amazing Omega 3s. The DHA, the EPA, I wanted all those incredible minerals, the selenium and the calcium and all those incredible things that a lot of the small fatty fish have. But then I also wanted to make sure that it was super clean and, and then most importantly, no one's going to eat it if it tastes like crap. So it has to be as it taste - amazing.
Wade Lightheart: 100%. You've combined it with these other elements.
Mascha Davis: Of course. And then I was like, well I want people to shift to a more plant based diet. We have to be going more plant based for our health and for the plant itself. So I actually had this idea to make this not just fish but also, fish with other superfood ingredients. So it has the seeds, it has the vegetables, it has superfood spices that are anti-inflammatory. So honestly this is the ultimate superfood. It doesn't get better than this from a nutritional perspective.
Wade Lightheart: This is almost like an engineered superfood meal.
Mascha Davis: Yeah, exactly.
Wade Lightheart: So you've now moved into a nutritional engineering. That's another thing that we can put on your moniker. You're a nutritional engineer.
Mascha Davis: Well, I brought on one of the top food science development companies in the US to help me formulate this because of all the complexity of working with something like seafood, the safety aspect, all of that was really important to me. And we are sourcing, we looked at so many different fish and I brought on an advisor who's one of the top thought leaders in aquaculture and sustainability in the US - Jennifer Bushman. She's incredible. And she helped me to identify this fish that comes from a pristine aquaculture operation in Idaho. It's some of the cleanest, most beautiful. So the happiest fish I've ever seen. I actually went and visited the farm last summer and so we're sourcing our steelhead trout from there. The levels of mercury and environmental contaminants are nearly undetectable. It's incredible. So it's delicious. It's beautiful. And we're getting ready to launch. The website is up,, or Instagram page is up. We're taking pre-orders right now. We have a discount for pre-orders on the website and we're getting ready to do the next big run very soon.
Wade Lightheart: Well we'll we'll, we're going to put this in the show notes. Can you say that one more time?
Mascha Davis: Yeah.
Wade Lightheart: And you have a pre-order discount,can we share that?
Mascha Davis: If people go to the website and put in the pre-order, they will get a 20% discount on a three pack of Minifish.
Wade Lightheart: That's really generous. Now tell me about this packaging cause this packaging is really unique. It's not a can. What is this packaging? It looks like it's something that was went up on the space shuttle.
Mascha Davis: You know, I also wanted this, it's like a premium version of what we currently have in the packaged fish section. So it's like a premium, elevated version of canned fish. It smells better, tastes better, looks better. I wanted it to have this like sexy modern feel, which I think it does. I mean it looks so different from what we currently have on the shelf and it's a super high quality BPA free pouch that you just tear open and it's ready to eat. And we're using this really innovative way of processing it that's completely different from what is currently used because I wanted to preserve the integrity of the fish and the product and the nutritional components.
Wade Lightheart: Can you give us a little bit of the specs on the nutrients that's involved in this? Maybe the back page. Cause you know, all of us folks, there we go look at that. So there's our nutritional facts panel. If you can read that out for us.
Mascha Davis: So 12 grams of protein, and this is a single serving. This is 3.5 ounces, so it's like a ready to eat quick snack, but a very filling snack because I wanted it to have a high amount of protein. So 12 grams it has nine grams of fat. So a lot of those amazing healthy Omega 3s. The pumpkin seeds also give it awesome, you know, healthy fats as well. It has two grams of fiber. That's from the pumpkin seeds and the veggies. Most people don't get enough fiber, so that's really awesome. Only five grams of carbs. So the carb count is super, super low. This has a huge amount of vitamin D, which is very rare for a food. There are very few food sources of vitamin D, but one pouch of has 56 micrograms, which is really, really high. And I had everything third party tested. I wanted to know exactly what was in, you know, this specific formulation. So I sent everything out for like extensive analysis.
Wade Lightheart: Does this require refrigeration?
Mascha Davis: It's shelf stable. That's the incredible thing about it.
Wade Lightheart: And how long would this be shelf stable for? Like how long is it?
Mascha Davis: 9 to 12 months is telling people initially as like a conservative estimate. We think it's actually going to be longer, but we're going to say 9 to 12 months for now.
Wade Lightheart: Wow. And so that's like vacuum sealed in that pack and that's how it stays in the preservation. And what a convenient way to store fish without refrigeration. It's obviously easy to carry and travel with.
Mascha Davis: Exactly. It's in a citrus base so it has a low enough pH. This is where the food science come in has a low enough pH that it prevents the growth of any organisms so when you have the pH level dialed in correctly, that's what can help it to last longer on the shelf. And of course, you know having the sealed package where the oxygen can't get in.
Wade Lightheart: Super great idea. I think that's going to be a smash hit company. And is there any set time of when this is going to start coming out, people are taking preorders and stuff.
Mascha Davis: We are planning to do the next run in the next few months. So by the end of the first quarter of this year or the beginning of next quarter we're already starting to work on the next run.
Wade Lightheart: That's great. What a great invention. And I got a feeling that's going to be a knock out of the park hit for sure. So tell us about the book launch. When it is happening? Where does it go? How do people find out about this new book that's coming out?
Mascha Davis: Yeah, so "Eat your vitamins". Publishers are Simon and Schuster. It's already available for preorder everywhere where that you can buy books. So it's on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, targeted websites. It'll be in stores next week, so it launches January 21st. People can get it, they can preorder it right now and get it next week. And I'm also sharing lots and lots of updates and information straight from the book on my Instagram, which is @nomadista_nutrition. And then there's information on my website as well, which is
Wade Lightheart: So you're a very busy woman. You've got a lot going on. I have one last question. How does, I would say a switched on woman like yourself - manage writing books, seeing clients, developing products, and staying up to date with the latest nutrigenomics. How is it that you're able to do all these things and obviously you certainly look the vibrant part. How's that all possible in today?
Mascha Davis: I think it's all about self care balance. I really try to get a lot of sleep. I work out when I can, not as much as I want to, but you know, I still try to get my workouts in. I started meditating last year. I've been trying to get into a meditation routine for a while, but I finally got it last year, which I think has been really helpful just for like mental health and stress and all of that. And then having a network. And a support system has been critical. You know, there's that saying your network is your net worth. And I think it's so true. Like just having people that you can lean on and rely on that support you and boost you and help when you're stuck with a problem, stuck in a difficult moment - they can help to lift you up or talk through it and, and get you to that next level. I think that's critical.
Wade Lightheart: That's beautiful. Well, now that I'm in LA, I'll have to take you up to my meditation center. It's a great place. We'll go a gold zone out and chill out from all the hustle and bustle of LA. So, I'm looking forward. I'm looking forward to attending the book launch. Can't wait for to get out. For everyone that's listening, that's Mascha Davis and check out her book "Eat your vitamins" by Simon and Schuster. It's available everywhere. Amazon, you know, you name it, targeted and check out her website. And if you're out there, particularly now you do clients around the world or just as a guest virtually as well. Beautiful. So find out, look, nutrigenomics testing did so much for my life and I really appreciate it. And it was kind of like the missing element between the variances between different diets and different people and how they do on it.
Wade Lightheart: And so go in, find out what she's doing, hire her, check out her book and get on the order for this Minifish. I think that's going to be a world beater. I think that's a great timing as well. I can't believe no one else has thought of it. Thank god there's geniuses like you in the world making a difference. So thank you so much for joining us today on the Awesome Health show. We've got all the show notes in here. Maybe we'll get you back on the show again, but definitely we'll get a chance to go hit the meditation thing and read that book and I'll do a review of that when I get the opportunity.
Mascha Davis: Amazing. Thank you so much, Wade. You are awesome.
Wade Lightheart: Thank you. 
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