Part I: Beverly Bennett, Pure Power of MACA
Maca—grown in the high plateaus of the Andes mountains in central Peru and Bolivia—has been cultivated for over three thousand years. Widely praised as a superfood and credited with boosting stamina, energy, libido, and fertility, maca also functions as an adaptogen, a natural substance that stimulates the body to heal whatever is out of balance. Maca has been recommended for decades by both conventional and alternative health care practitioners worldwide.
Beverly Lynn Bennett reviews maca’s nutritional and healing properties and all its available forms. She thoroughly covers how to incorporate powdered maca into daily meals and provides 32 scrumptious recipes, including beverages, morning meals, snacks, sides, main dishes, and treats. Incan Maca Hot Chocolate, Garden Guaca-Maca-Mole, and Maca-Miso Dressing are just a few of her delicious offerings.
Part II: Caryn covers Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday, inspiring stories to manage stress during the holidays and she briefly comments on climate change.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to “It’s All About Food.” How are you doing today? And how was your Thanksgiving, if you celebrated Thanksgiving, I just know that we were on our feet for two, no, about, three, three days non-stop, buying food and then preparing it. And I got to be honest; I’m wiped out now. And now it’s recovery time, but it was worth it we prepared a lot of food and fortunately it was the tip of the iceberg¸ the amount of food that we made versus what we served. And we were enjoying the leftovers all week and now the freezer is loaded up with all kinds of wonderful goodies. I like to think of it as the gift we give ourselves we work really hard and we make all this wonderful stuff and then it’s there for us in the freezer to enjoy. And if you’re curious about any of the things that we made, it’s all in my blog “What Vegans Eat” so I hope you check that out from time to time at responsibleeatingandliving.com. Alright I want to bring on my guest, Beverly Bennett, and she’s the author of, “The Pure Power of Maca.” And we’re going to be covering maca up and down. Beverly thanks for joining me on “It’s All About Food”, how are you today?
Beverly Bennett: Thanks for having me Caryn, it’s great to be on your show.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, how was your Thanksgiving?
Beverly Bennett: It’s funny but I am battling a cold, so you might hear me cough once or twice.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, you know I am not surprised, but I feel like something is trying to crawl into my cells today and I’m fighting it trying to stay cozy warm and had a little miso soup and some tea, and just trying to take it easy. So, there were bugs everywhere.
Beverly Bennett: Oregon weather changed dramatically in a week I think that’s what got me; we dropped like 20 degrees in a week.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I’ve got friends in California, and they’re talking about how cold it is, so I imagine Oregon is colder and wetter.
Beverly Bennett: Yes, not too wet yet, but the rain just starting tomorrow.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, starting tomorrow, look out. Well, how can maca help us with all this crazy, cold weather?
Beverly Bennett: Well, it can definitely boost your system a little bit. Gives you a lot more energy and things like that. It’s an adaptogen, so it kind of helps your body adapt to different stressors. Whether it be hot, cold, physical, mental, those kinds of things. I personally add it to my smoothie everyday. It definitely gives me more energy, it can improve your skin, your hair quality, all sorts of things, balancing your hormones if you’re a female, getting up there like me in your 40s.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to dig into some of this, but before we dig into all those details let’s literally dig into the soil and talk about where maca comes from, and what it is, and how it’s grown and how we got started with it. Is that a mouth full?
Beverly Bennett: Well, maca actually is a starchy root tuber. It’s in the brassica family with all those leafy greens that all us vegans like to eat a lot like you know kale, and collards, and broccoli, cauliflower, but instead of eating the flowers and greens, maca is the root that is ingested. And so that’s actually grown in Indies, in like Peru and Bolivia regions and that’s kind of why it’s just catching on throughout the world because such a remote place and all the indigenous people have been eating it for like 3,000 years, but you know slowly all the health benefits the word’s gotten out, and so its kind of becoming more and more popular in definitely the last two decades.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I remember I got interested in maca maybe a little over 10 years ago when I was doing an all-raw diet and a lot of the folks in the all-raw movement were into raw maca, maca powder, and then I remember the athlete, the super athlete, Canadian tri-athlete ultra marathon, vegan, I can’t say enough superlatives about Brendan Brazier, but in a lot of his books he talks about the power of maca, too, so those are some of the places where I first discovered it.
Beverly Bennett: That’s exactly how I started learning about it. I eat a lot of raw food, so the more I researched about raw food, the more raw food cookbooks I saw. It’s all started popping up, I’m lucky my husband works for a company called Non-Reserves here in Eugene, Oregon. And so I was able to get samples of it and try it out early on and I just fell in love with the flavor of it and how it made me feel so I just started adding it to different things following the examples I saw in other people’s cookbooks, and then I just kind of went on my own. But yeah, yeah more and more people are starting to discover it and you’re seeing it pop up in all sorts of foods in the stores you know pre-packaged snack bars, smoothies people buy, I don’t make them myself.
Caryn Hartglass: There haven’t, are you aware, I’m not, of any clinical studies that have tested maca to actually prove the claims that are made about all the amazing things it can do?
Beverly Bennett: When researching this book, they said that there have been very few randomized studies done with it. Most of the people, the nutritional benefits that are attributed to it are mostly anecdotal. Just alternative health practitioners, nutritionists, and raw foodists and athletes, just you know, sharing their experiences with others and others just trying it themselves and having similar experiences so I am definitely think it’s going to be like turmeric that you’re going to see more and more people studying it as more and more people are searching for ways to heal themselves instead of grabbing a pharmeuctical so you know to ease things or improve things for themselves.
Caryn Hartglass: Kind of like a trend I like that more and more people are turning to food as medicine instead of a pill.[call dropped]
Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass. And I’m sorry about that, I’m not exactly sure what happened looks like I dropped out, but fortunately I have multiple tools to connect and I’m on another one right now, Beverly, how are you?
Beverly Bennett: I’m still here, still here.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so can you tell me when you stopped hearing me, so I can continue with my babbling, I was talking about patents.
Beverly Bennett: Oh, I did not hear any of that, the last was talking about using food as medicine rather than…
Caryn Hartglass: Wow, ok, now, its probably because I was talking about things some people don’t want me to talk about [laughter]. Anyway, I was talking about 15 years ago in the United States a group tried to patent a maca-related product and said, of course when you patent something it is supposed to be new and novel, but really it was based on some old potion drink that was quite popular, and I believe that that patent is still in existence and people are fighting it, but a lot of times these things happen with foods that come from countries outside the Western world and then we find value in it and try and find ways to profit from it.
Beverly Bennett: Oh, that’s very interesting. I hadn’t heard that before that’s interesting.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I just want to say that we tend to do that in this country try to take something that somebody else from some other country has been using for years and years and years, and we try to figure out a way to profit off of it, or so, so.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m excited about maca, and I’ve just recently incorporated it into my diet, you know I was, you don’t know I had advanced ovarian cancer back in 2006, and as a result, had a total hysterectomy. And as a result of that, that just totally screwed up my hormonal balance when your ovaries are removed, but the body’s amazing and somehow it manages to do what needs to be done. But I still have hot flashes, and I’ve come to learn what makes them hotter and what makes them less frequent. And I think maca is helping, and I’m more and more interested in it. So, I know that it probably has some benefits for many different people for many different things, but we also have to be concerned about it and I want to talk about both sides, the pluses and the minuses. So, some of the minuses probably maca is so nutritious because its grown in Peru high in the Indies, some say it’s in soil that nothing else can grow in, but right, yeah …
Caryn Hartglass: Only potatoes and maca in some regions, some areas they are the only two crops that can be grown.
Caryn Hartglass: Right, so some people say that the soil that isn’t very good there, but I’m thinking because they don’t grow very much stuff there maybe there’s stuff there that the maca knows how to pull out that’s beneficial for us.
Beverly Bennett: Yeah, I would think that it would actually be, I would think it would be more nutrient densing because it’s volcanic soil and like here in Oregon we’re sitting on a lot of volcano thing, and a lot of we’re known for all the great crop we grow here. It probably has a lot to do with the altitude and just the numbers of people that are capable of living at such altitudes as well. You know, so…
Caryn Hartglass: Has anyone tried to grow maca in your environment?
Beverly Bennett: You tend to have fewer, fewer people, but they do figure out to grow tends to be something that’s super nutritious.
Caryn Hartglass: Has anybody tried to grow maca in Oregon?
Beverly Bennett: No. It’s part of an interesting kind of a process. Many people here in Oregon have no Idea that you can even grow bananas in Oregon, in the southern part of Oregon.
Caryn Hartglass: They do?
Beverly Bennett: It blew my mind when I first moved here from Ohio, but then I got into the how much great, fertile soil we have here. It’s just amazing, the crops they grow here. I live in the what’s called the Woodland Valley which is like the heartland of the farming area of Oregon. And so, we’re known for our wine as most people know, but not seeds, greens, beans, lots of leafy greens, root vegetables, pretty much everything grows here.
Caryn Hartglass: If somebody wants a good business…
Beverly Bennett: You wouldn’t think it being so diverse, but it is truly amazing.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, well that’s good to hear. Oregon, especially Portland is a big foodie world.
Beverly Bennett: Yeah, yeah, Eugene is the smaller cousin, I prefer it because it’s like more of a smaller town feel, so a lot of people don’t know about our little gems, but we do have quite a few vegan and vegetarian food companies based here that are like nationally known and internationally known. Like you know So Delicious, Coconut Bliss Ice Creams. And we’re known for the cheeses, and the cheeses are really popping up here in Eugene actually.[Caryn Hartglass: The vegan cheeses.
Beverly Bennett: Vegan cheese companies. We have at least four or five that are based around this area and the same thing with you know with non-dairy milk and non-dairy ice cream products and yogurts, and I feel very lucky to live here.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, let’s talk about the different types of maca that are available and what they can do?
Beverly Bennett: Okay, basically maca comes in four different colors: yellow, light pink, deep purple and then like a gray black. So, even though it is a root, it’s like highly perishable, so if you find a maca root in the United States the freshness won’t be that hard, but it’s much easier to get the powders, the capsules, the tinctures, things like that. And you can find the powder in pretty much through any kind of health, natural food store, or online sources, and so the most least expensive, and the most popular is the cream one and that’s made from the yellow maca root. And then you get one more rare is the red maca powder made from the light and dark purple, and then the rarest of them all are the black, maca roots, and that’s used to make black maca powder, and then there’s a third, I mean a fourth type of maca powder that might not sound like’s it’s vegan, but it is and it’s the gelatinized maca powder. And that one is, the first three are raw, to be considered raw because they’re made from sundried roots, but gelatinized maca is made from boiled and pressurized roots to remove the starch content, so it’s a little easier for people with sensitive systems to digest. There’s no gelatin involved in that process even though it’s called gelatinized.
Caryn Hartglass: Glad to know.
Beverly Bennett: Because I, being a vegan I won’t even go near gelatin. Ironically they’re all the powders are all the same color even though they’re made from different roots. I was always used to using the cream one, which is the one that is most readily available here. There are all like a light tan color,
Caryn Hartglass: Probably the skin has the different colors maybe. I read on some blogs and I know you have to be weary whenever you read anything on the internet, but people say that it is not good to consume raw maca and that the people for the last 3,000 years that grew up with maca in South America would cook it in certain things, and now we’re eating it raw and that has, well, some people say it has problems. What do you think?
Beverly Bennett: Well, when people talk about raw versus cooked anything, I would think it is kind of counterintuitive to say that you would always have to eat it cooked. Because we’re the only species that cooks our food. If it’s meant to be eaten, it’s meant to be eaten raw. But, then they have the people that say you know cooking brings out some vitamins, but then the raw foodists say, but cooking destroys some vital nutrients. And things like that. So, I personally go for raw over cooked anything, but so, yeah that’s kind of a tricky question. Because I kind of hear more people actually say they prefer the raw over the gelatinized, but then the people that have the sensitive systems so, it kind of feels like a gassy, bloated feeling if they consume too much of it. One thing important with maca because it is an adaptogen you don’t want to continue taking it continuously. Otherwise it stops providing, preventing, providing, with so many benefits. [Caryn Hartglass: Oh] You better do what they call cycling through. So you take it for a couple of days, then you take a couple days off, or consume it for a couple of weeks, then take a week off every month, that way you can continue experiencing the great benefits instead of your body starting to adapt and even itself out.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow, that’s interesting. I wonder what other foods are like that. That maybe I’m eating everyday, kale not’s like that, at least I haven’t heard it’s like that.
Beverly Bennett: I haven’t heard that either about kale, I need to write a book on kale.
Caryn Hartglass: Because I eat kale everyday.
Beverly Bennett: I do too.
Caryn Hartglass: There’s nothing kale can’t do. Yeah, ok, let’s talk about how you use maca, you have some recipes in your book, and there’s also, you can do just about anything with it, well it’s not like a base, but it can be added into things.
Beverly Bennett: Yeah, I think of it as like a flavor enhancer. Because some people think it tastes slightly sweet, some think it taste slightly tastes kind of malty like the malt powder that made malts way back in the day at the soda shop. And I think it I really think it tastes like caramel and butterscotch, so I kind of like it to pair it with things that have a either chocolate, or carob, or vanilla, or things that have a lot of fragrant spices like cinnamon and ginger, and cardamom and things like that. It’s really a good fall enhancer, to fall foods that you tend to eat a lot at this time of year. Fall flavors. You know like the, I added some to my pumpkin pie last week, I put it in my green smoothie everyday, I like to put it in my blondies, definitely lots of drinks definitely besides smoothies, you can make a really good hot chocolate with it, like a chi would be really good with some maca added to it, things like that. But, then it also goes good with things that have a lot of nuts and seeds kind of that rich flavor, so cookies, breads, crackers, my uncheese sauce, things like that, rice cakes.
Caryn Hartglass: How much should a person have on a daily basis, even though we’re not having it everyday because it is an adaptogen, but when we have it?
Beverly Bennett: They say you can have up to like 500 mg, one to three times a day, but I would see in the book, just in case you’re one of few people it gives digestive problems to I suggest trying one teaspoon per serving and then working up to one tablespoon per serving in a recipe. See how your body and how you like the taste of it. You know everyone’s taste buds are different, everyone’s body reacts different to different things. Increase as you go, and then there’s a cycle as you go, and give yourself a break as you go.
Caryn Hartglass: For you personally, you said you got a boost in energy anything else that you would notice?
Beverly Bennett: I definitely think it helps with the female issue. Menopause will be coming soon; I’m 48 so I know it will be coming soon. It definitely helped improve cramps that kind of thing. It definitely helps, I have extremely long hair, it definitely makes my hair softer. I noticed when I am taking a break for a minute, my skin tends to seem a little bit drier, but then when I put it back into my smoothie my skin seems to be softer on my face. I have less breakouts, things like that. It definitely helps with my hair, skin, and nails. I use to have very long nails as well, but being a chef, most chefs don’t have that. People always ask me and I would say I put coconut on myself and I try to eat a really good vegan diet.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I am a really big fan of coconut oil on my skin, big fan of that. I like to say for my personal care products I want to be able to know that I can eat them. Our skin is our largest organ and we have to be really careful about what we put on it.
Beverly Bennett: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, what do you want to see with maca?
Beverly Bennett: I am hoping that more and more people give it a try especially for the enhancements that it has for people’s fertility, they’re balancing their hormones, definitely a natural energy booster, I’m also a big fan of chia which is also a great natural energy booster instead of people grabbing those Red Bull kind of drinks and things like that that can make your heart palpitate a little too fast. I’m more into you know if you need a little extra energy, look into these natural energizing foods that you can try instead, but that will keep spurring it, everybody wants more energy, everybody wants to feel the best that they can, and I’m all into getting that from food and natural sources versus artificial sources.
Caryn Hartglass: You know I was serious when I was asking if you knew if anyone was growing maca in Oregon because really need to have more sources of this food. Because right now it’s growing in limited areas. In Peru, they can’t export it raw, they can only export it once it’s been processed. It’s one of the ways they protect this special product of theirs. But you know the Chinese have discovered maca and they’re a lot of people…
Beverly Bennett: Yeah, I knew you were going to talk about that one, it’s kind of disturbing go on share that with your audience.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it is disturbing. When they discover things that are allegedly helpful that provide all kind of energy and libido related benefits many of them because there are so many people in that country will jump on those products, and some of them will unfortunately are related to beravile and sharks and they are killing non-human animals in horrific ways for benefits that haven’t even been proven. But, I really believe maca is special and so there are stories of them coming with big suitcases and offering small farmers big amounts of money so they can go home with roots which is illegal.[Crosstalk]
Beverly Bennett: Right, and then if they can’t get what they want doing horrific things to get what they want.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, so I’d like to say that every food has a story, and maca has its story and its story is ongoing, and I’m not sure if nutritional benefits are based on where it’s growing right now, because if that’s the case then there’s only going to be a limited amount and the price is just going to get ridiculous, it already is expensive, so if you can figure out how to grow it Oregon, it’ll be really helpful.
Beverly Bennett: It seems like it should grow well here because roots grow really well here, greens grow really well here, my kale still growing in my backyard right now. Even though we’ve had frosty temperatures for the last week, down in the 20s it’s flat in the morning and then it rises back up as the sun hits it in the afternoon. It would be awesome if someone started growing maca ok, anybody out there in Oregon?
Caryn Hartglass: I understand they are trying to grow it in China, but one of the problems well it’s a bunch of problems I don’t know if it’s nutritionally the same, and a lot of the Chinese want the authentic maca and they think that the kind growing in their own country is not as good.
Beverly Bennett: Right, right. It’s crazy some things what we’ll do for food.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, but I think maca is a fascinating product. I don’t believe that there’s one cure, or one food that can solve all problems, but I do believe that there’s something interesting about maca. One last thing I wanted to say, I don’t know if you’ve read this, is that because it pulls up so many nutrients from the soil those that grow in a traditional way will live that area fallow for like nine years before they grow maca there again.
Beverly Bennett: Oh, wow.
Caryn Hartglass: I had read somewhere that it was every two years, then I just read its nine years so that can make it even harder to grow if you cannot grow it in the same place every year or every other year. Yeah, boy I’m going to have to stay tuned. We need to learn from clinical studies about what it really does for us, and we need to learn how to grow it in more places so everyone can enjoy it.
Beverly Bennett: Yeah, yeah, I agree.
Caryn Hartglass: Anyway, I am curious to see what it continues to do for me, so thanks for writing this book and including these recipes.
Beverly Bennett: I hope you try out some of the recipes because that is where my expertise lies. I’ve been cooking, just doing vegan cooking for 25, 30 years something like that.
Caryn Hartglass: And just getting better at it.
Beverly Bennett: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food.
Beverly Bennett: Thanks for having me, I really enjoyed talking with you.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Stay warm and dry.
Beverly Bennett: Okay, you too, all right.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Thank you
Beverly Bennett: Bye-bye.
Caryn Hartglass: Bye-bye. That was Beverly Bennett, and she has a book out called “The Pure Power of Maca” and part of a little list Healthy Now series from the book pub company. You have a lot of authors from this company, it’s actually ‘Healthy Living Publications”, ok let’s take a brief little break and we’ll be back in a minute, or I’ll be back in a minute and I hope you join me.
Transcribed by Alexa Ellis, 1/17/2017
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: Okay everybody I am Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. I have a list of things I want to share with you on this beautiful December 1st day. It’s “Giving Tuesday!” You’re probably getting a lot of emails in your box about this. It is actually something that was started by the 92nd Y, which is in Manhattan. They do a lot of wonderful programs there. They came up with the concept of “Giving Tuesday.” So we have Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving where everyone is supposed to rush into the stores and buy stuff for cheap. Then we have Cyber Monday where everyone rushes in online to buy all kinds of goodies. Then when you are saturated with consumption and feeling maybe a little guilty, on Tuesday is when you give back to charitable organizations. Organizations that are doing good work on many levels. I want to let you know that my non-profit, Responsible Eating and Living is one of those charitable organizations. We certainly appreciate donations on Giving Tuesday and any day of the year. What we do at Responsible Eating and Living is give all year long. Everything on our site is free, that includes hundreds of recipes, food shows, news reports and articles. It is for anyone who wants it. I know we have a lot more traffic from Thanksgiving since more and more people are looking for delicious plant-based items either for themselves or for guests they are having. It was really fun to see how many people were looking at some of our recipes. I think they’re great because we made a lot of them for our Thanksgiving and got to enjoy them on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Actually on Sunday we decided we had enough of this great, rich food and put it in the freezer. After going for a really long walk Sunday night, we came home and thought, maybe just one more day we really want to enjoy these leftovers. Fortunately things had not gotten too hard and we were able to heat some things up and have a nice dinner. I am affected by those holiday meals. I enjoy them and I want to think the food that we make is healthier than traditional fare you can get, since we don’t use any animal food and all the food we buy is organic. We do tend to salt, oil and sweeten some of the holiday food. When you’re not used to eating salt, sugar and oil, a little bit can go a long way. It can make you feel out of balance and I’m feeling it! I confess, I’m feeling it! I’ve enjoyed all those foods but I’m really very happy to get back to oatmeal and kale salads and soups. Those are the foods that make me feel good. Don’t we want to just feel good? I want you to feel good! That’s why I’m opening up my coaching program towards the holidays and a little after, freeing up some time in my schedule to do some private one-on-one coaching. If you go to responsibleeatingandliving.com and click on the coaching page, you can see that I have some holiday specials that you can take advantage of, like a free consultation! You can find out more about that at responsibleeatingandliving.com and go to the coaching page.
I try to share as much as I can about living this plant-based lifestyle at my website and my blog, What Vegans Eat. I share everything out there for people who are interested. But, some people need a little extra attention, individualized attention, and I am offering that between now and the end of January with special holiday rates.
If you have any questions you can email me at email@example.com. I wanted to talk a little about the holidays coming up and giving because this is Giving Tuesday. Whether you decide to support charitable organizations or not, that is up to you. You certainly get a tax deduction when you do that. It is the holiday time and I know a lot of people are thinking about gifts and what to buy. I want you to keep in mind; I know it’s tempting to go for the sales. A lot of us don’t have unlimited income so that we can buy absolutely everything, we want to get good value. But it’s important to connect the dots and know where things came from. For example, chocolate is a very popular item to buy for gifts. There are all different types of luxury chocolates packaged in all types of ways. I want you to think about where that chocolate comes from. We did a chocolate story; you can find it at Responsible Eating and Living, where we talked about a number of issues related to chocolate. There are some brands that may contain a high level of cadmium and lead. Then there are companies that buy cocoa beans from areas on the Ivory Coast that use child slaves to harvest the cocoa beans. So, when you are thinking about celebrating and doing lovely things and buying wonderful products that you want to give to those you care about and love, think about where these things come from. I think that is a responsible thing to do. You can find out more by watching our chocolate story report. The Food Empowerment Organization has a wonderful list about which chocolate companies have been transparent about where they get their chocolate. All the ones who have been transparent of course are not getting their cocoa from groups that are using child slaves. You can pretty much assume the ones who are NOT transparent are unfortunately still supporting that kind of horrible activity. You don’t want to do that, do you? So that’s chocolate.
There are other kinds of items, luxury items, things that we like to buy especially during the holidays. Clothing for example. I have been a vegan for 27 years now. Part of being a vegan in addition to not eating food is not wearing clothes that comes from animals or animal byproducts. Another piece of it is not using non-human animals for other things: personal care products, lotion, makeup, and articles of clothing. That’s a big one. Leather and fur and wool. I mentioned last week we were at the Anti Fur Society Conference and Cruelty Free Fashion Show. We recommend checking that little video out because you can discover many of the new cruelty free companies that are popping up that are making beautiful, beautiful clothes from natural and synthetic fabrics that do not come from animals.
A lot of people think for example, that wool from sheep is a natural and beautiful thing. But just like anything, even like the maca that we were just talking about, if people can make money from it, there will be exploitation. With the maca right now we are seeing the exploitation of people coming in with big suitcases from Peru and taking raw maca root products out of the country illegally. With sheep, if you read about the process for the majority of wool today, it’s horrendous. The sheep are treated very poorly, they are sheared very quickly, they have a lot of bruises, their tails are frequently snipped and our course there are no anesthetics. They grow these thick coats that are supposed to protect them during the winter. Often what happens is they get sheared before the winter and then they’re given these little coats to wear. It’s not a pretty picture. So, wool, although it may seem like a lovely thing and people may like to knit their own wool sweaters, or get very lovely warm sweaters for the holidays, wool is not a happy fabric unfortunately. There may be some small farmers out there who are treating their animals a lot nicer. I personally don’t want to take from any non-human animal. I just don’t think it’s right and we have some many wonderful materials available for us today that are really warm. For those of you who are into really high-tech winter sports, wool is an outdated material. There are more high-tech fabrics available today that function a lot better. They keep us warm in wet weather, and keep up dry and from getting sweaty. Lots of things to think about. There are more and more companies today that are creating pocketbooks, bags for men and women. Shoes that are not made from leather. Again, you can find out more about the vendors if you watch our little video from the Anti Fur Society Conference and Cruelty Free Fashion Show.
Another thing that goes on during the holidays is stress. It’s supposed to be a time of joy and giving and good will to all. I am all for good will. I really believe in good will but a lot of people get stressed out during these times. Buying and shopping and trying to get the right gifts. There is a lot of grumbling going on. A healthy diet, number one, can help you deal with stress. When you’re eating healthfully, you don’t have as much information and you are able to manage things that can hit you during the day that may not be as calm and even as you’d like. But, there are other ways to manage stress. Although I like to say it’s all about food- there is food for the mind, food for the soul, not necessarily the food that we put in our mouths. From time to time on this program, we’ve talked about meditation, we’ve talked about emotional issues. During this time, all of those sensitive, emotional thoughts that we have can be triggered.
For example, I like to talk about tuning in love on this program. I didn’t mention it just until now and I’m glad I remembered to say it because I want to say it everyday. This is something I recommend we all do. Tune in love. During the stressful periods is a really good time to tune in love. Here are some suggestions, for example, lot of long lines are going to be out there, right? When you’re buying gifts or whatever. Standing on a line can be really, really frustrating when you have a lot to do. Places to go people to see and the stress piles on. When I am in a long line, I like to do a yoga pose, it’s called mountain pose. It’s a standing meditation. Here is a time when you can choose to be grumpy which in turn will make other people grumpy. Or give yourself a little gift. When you’re standing in line, there’s really nothing you can do. You can just stand there and breathe deeply. Stand on your feet, flat feet almost shoulder width apart and you start from the bottom up. Stretching your body upward to the sky. That means lifting your knee caps, engaging your lower thigh muscles, lifting them up. Squeezing up your butt muscles, from there you engage your abdominal muscles, and then think about your vertebrae stretching upward, keeping your shoulders down, breathing evenly, keeping your chin down and then just continually repeating this cycle. If you’re standing there, you’re breathing and you’re feeling good! You feel good, you feel strong, you feel centered. Then, the next thing you know, it’s your turn and you haven’t gotten all stressed out.
I also wanted to share a story. I was on the subway. I live in New York City, I don’t have a car. I did this intentionally. I moved to a place that was near a subway stop and I don’t need to have a car. I think it’s very, very liberating. But there are times when the subway can be very crowded. It can also be a scary place depending on what is going on in the political world or who may step into any of the subway cars at any particular time. But, I still love it. I think it’s a great way to get around. I was in a subway car the other day and these two people came on. One was a woman, a large woman. She was very, very angry. Then this man came on, he was also on the larger side. They didn’t know each other, but she was yelling at him. I don’t know what he did but he really bothered her. The place was crowded and she was yelling at this guy, and you could tell everyone around was very uncomfortable. But, nobody wanted to do anything. Because even though we are all so close together, we want to stay as separate as we possible can. I thought for a moment, what can I do? I thought tune in love. This woman was experiencing so much anger. I don’t know if this guy did anything right or wrong, I had a feeling he did. I started creating a back-story that this woman has been abused and has struggled most of her life, so she is very sensitive. We were just seeing the result. A lot of exploitation and misfortune. I could have been totally off base, but it made me feel better thinking that her anger was from something unrelated to all of us. That if we could all just spread a little sunshine and spread a little love, it might be more helpful to strangers that we don’t even know. This man that she was targeting caught my gaze for a moment. I just looked at him and I said, I mouthed, “send out love, think about love.” That’s what I imagined, I imagined enveloping all of us in love. What else can you do, really? So in this very stressful time, you can get wrapped up in the grumpiness of it, you can feed yourself with all of the stress, anxiety and tension, or you can tune in love. And you can share it with everyone else. I’ll tell to what, it may sound all gushy, but you know what? In the end it feels good. While I’m on this planet, I want to feel as good as I can, everyday. It’s important. I talk about exploitation and we have a habit of exploiting whoever we can, whenever we can to profit. That’s the global view. Not only am I against exploitation and taking advantage of humans and non-human animals, exploiting ourselves, treating ourselves badly and knocking ourselves. We need to take better care of ourselves because when we do, we can do a lot more for everyone else. Now this time period, this holiday season that’s coming up is really supposed to be about service, giving to others. This is Giving Tuesday and I’m just using the opportunity to talk more about giving, not just today but everyday. These holidays are coming up and it’s all about good will and doing good and the world needs a lot more of that. So, my question to you is, what are you doing? What are you doing to be of service to others? I’d really love to hear it because when I hear about wonderful things other people are doing it makes me feel good. We too often hear about all the crummy things going on. Well, we need to hear about all the good things that are going on. So I encourage that, and I would like you to share your stories with me. I know today is Giving Tuesday, but my Giving Tuesday is going to be tomorrow, Wednesday. I was recently asked by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Hospital, one of the biggest cancer hospitals in the country and it’s here in Manhattan. I was unfortunately with a family member who is going through ovarian cancer. As I mentioned before, I have been there with ovarian cancer. They had these activities for the patients, which is really lovely. So we went and heard a comedian and the comedian was finished a little early in the hour, and everyone was still sitting there waiting to be entertained. My cousin volunteered me and said I’m a professional singer and I can sing. Now I can’t say I was too happy about that. I wasn’t prepared and I don’t have any music with me. But, I looked all around and saw all of these people and I thought it’s the least I can do. If I can get up and sing a song and it can make their time in the hospital better or lighter, I would be happy to do that. Well, I did and I was invited to come back for a concert. Tomorrow I am giving a concert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Hospital. That’s what I’m doing for my Giving Tuesday, on Wednesday. Got it? Good. Let’s see, we have about two or three minutes left. Did I cover everything that I wanted to? The last seed I wanted to plant here is we’ve got these climate talks going on in Paris. I don’t know what’s going to come out of them but I cannot reiterate enough how important a plant-based diet is for our climate. Many people talk about the difference between raising animals on factory farms vs. raising animals by grazing and more humane. What we have come to learn, unfortunately, is that when we confine and intensify animals in factories it creates less greenhouse gas, which is more cost effective. It’s horrifically cruel but more efficient. Never do we compare those options with growing more plant foods. That’s the cleanest way we can do it and that’s the best way, in my opinion, to solve the crisis we have with our climate right now. We all need to be getting back to eating organic plant foods. I put that out there and I encourage you to do the same.
You can find me at responsibleeatingandliving.com. I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me and please don’t forget to send me a message when you get a chance at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tune in love! That’s your assignment and have a delicious week!
Transcribed by Adella Finnan, 1/10/2017