Australia's own plant-based Guru, Simon Hill, is recognised around the world for his way of life. Hills' journey into a vegan diet as well as studies in Physiotherapy and Human Nutrition, inspired him to share the knowledge and all the positive benefits that came with it to the rest of the world. This lead him into developing the Plant Proof Podcast, speaking to some of the worlds best health professionals and recently launching his own plant based venue in Sydney. We were very excited to chat with Simon and hear how he likes to #JustNibblit
Why did you decide to become vegan and what got you into starting Plant Proof and the work you do today?
I studied Physiotherapy at university and did a research-based honours. This was my introduction to interpreting scientific literature and being able to separate fact from fiction. As I went through my 20’s, I developed an increasing level of passion for nutrition and undertook a master’s in Nutrition to further my knowledge. At the same time, I began trolling through mountains of published studies on human health and diet.
Despite the general public being increasingly confused about what to eat, the independent science is very clear - people who eat predominantly or exclusively plant-based diets do better overall when it comes to disease profile risk and premature death. Of course, we all know the grandma who lived to 100 that smoked and ate a crappy diet. There will always be outliers and she perhaps would have done even better with a healthy diet. However, science works on averages, and for most of us, it is our lifestyle that impacts our overall health far more than our genetics.
To be honest, I felt a little cheated when I learned this. It was a far cry from the “bro-science” diet I was consuming - “How could I have gone so many years without understanding what to eat? Why wasn’t I taught this at school?”
What I realised was that before I made these dietary changes, my beliefs about diet were instilled in me from a very young age. I actually didn’t know why I ate what I did, other than I fell for marketing and my parents told me it was healthy. I find that’s the case for most people.
A few years on from this, I successfully adopted a completely plant-based diet. I was also in a position where money was no longer a driving factor for how I wanted to spend my time. I understand that’s a privileged statement, however, I worked extremely hard in my early-mid 20s, and through various business ventures, I was able to remove commercial elements and focus on what I was passionate about for the love of the process rather than any tangible outcome. So with that in mind, I set up Plant Proof in January 2018 (not very long ago) and started sharing agenda-free information to the public. I was showing people how easy it is for science to be manipulated and where the true science sits. I had no idea people would engage with it the way they have but, I think that deep down, people do want to know the facts and feel more empowered with their health rather than operating mindlessly to prop up the balance sheets of certain industries.
What inspired you to start doing podcasts?
Again, it was just another channel to disseminate information. My podcast allows me to sit back in a conversational manner and talk to experts. I choose doctors and nutrition experts who do not receive any funding from industry bodies. I also never charge guests or pay them to come on the show. The entire conversation is raw and the only edits I make are to add an intro and outro.
You obviously have a big passion for sharing knowledge and being the healthiest and best version of yourself. Where do you think this passion and drive stemmed from?
People deserve to be empowered and to know the truth. Eating healthy is simple, but it’s been made very complicated by the enormous amounts of mixed messaging. I’ve seen first hand with my father, who had a heart attack when I was a kid, how damaging a poor lifestyle, including diet, can be. Our society thinks cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, obesity and type 2 diabetes are normal, yet the rates in which we experience them are monumentally higher than other populations around the world who eat differently and adopt other healthy lifestyle habits.
If someone really wants an unbiased overview of how to eat for human and planetary health, then I suggest reading the EAT-Lancet Planetary Diet published in 2018 by 37 world-leading independent scientists.
What are the best transformations that have happened to your mind/body since becoming plant-based?
When I transitioned to a plant-based diet about four years ago, I did so for health reasons. Whilst I feel younger & fitter now than I did previously, I must admit the greatest change has been in my mindset. Living a lifestyle that places less strain on the environment and causes less harm gives me a greater sense of alignment. I now feel that my daily actions mirror my undeniable compassion and care for things other than just myself. When you get to that spot, there’s a sense of peace that I never knew existed.
So you’re Sydney based, yet Melbourne bred. What would be your top 3 cafes in either city?
Smith & Deli
And your top 3 favourite restaurants? (Melb & Syd)
Chin Chins (Melbourne & Sydney), Veggie Bar (Melbourne) and Eden Bondi - our brand new restaurant in Bondi. I may be slightly biased, haha, but the menu is based on our travels around the world and it’s delicious.
Do you have any tips to maintain healthy eating when dining out?
While I would love to give specific tips around what to eat, I think the most important thing is context. What I mean by that is taking into consideration things like how you are feeling, what you’ve eaten so far that day or have planned to eat later and what, if any, training goals you have. Personally speaking, these are the types of thoughts that run through my mind when I prepare food or sit down to order while dining out. So, for example, if I am out for lunch and know I have a big dinner celebration planned, I may go a little lighter with what I eat for lunch. If I’ve had the same breakfast a few days in a row, I may decide to opt for something different. Perhaps I haven’t had enough dark leafy greens the past few days, so I’ll find a meal on the menu that contains those foods or order them as a side. Having diversity in our diet is key to ensure overall nutritional adequacy and optimise gut health.
If you had to go exploring to one city somewhere across the globe, to find a restaurant to eat at through nibblit, where would you go?
New York. I find the entire city so incredible and walking to the restaurants, exploring along the way and getting lost is half the fun. Jean-Georges’ AbcV is one of my favourite places to eat in the world.
Last, but definitely not least. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you're going to live your life.
For more from Simon Hill, check out
and the Plant Proof podcast.