Gary De Mattei is the co-founder and Creative Director of Responsible Eating and Living. Gary is an actor, director, producer, filmmaker, writer, teacher and trained chef. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the nonprofit theatre company, The Artist’s Theatre Repertory Ensemble (TheATRE). Gary was last seen on the New York stage in the award-winning new play, No One Asked Me by Kate Ballen. Before moving to New York in 2008 Gary worked extensively in Bay Area theatre as an actor, director, writer, producer, teacher, and arts administrator. He was the co-founder and producing artistic director of Theatre On San Pedro Square (TOSPS) in San Jose from January of 2000 to April of 2008. During that time Gary produced plays and musicals that showcased local, national and international theatre artists. Gary was the Theatre Department Chair at Presentation High School in San Jose. During his tenure at Presentation Gary directed plays and musicals and taught acting. His theatre department was awarded the prestigious Best High School Musical Award from the American Musical Theatre. Gary is a Bay Area Theatre Critics Award nominee for his portrayal of Fiorello H. LaGuardia in Foothill Music Theatre’s production of Fiorello. A proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, Gary trains at HB Studios in New York under the guidance of his acting teacher Austin Pendleton. For more about Gary go to his website, GaryDeMattei.com.
Caryn Hartglass: Hello, everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food, and we’re back for the second part of today’s show. And I’ve got Gary De Mattei with me, the co-founder of Responsible Eating and Living. Gary, how are you today?
Gary De Mattei: Wow. I’m really a lot better now since listening to your show. That was great, Dr. Fuhrman and you. Excellent show. Loved it.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. You know, I’ve known Dr. Fuhrman for twenty years. The first time I heard him speak it was at an EarthSave Long Island lecture twenty years ago. Maybe it was eighteen or nineteen. It was sometime around there. He was talking about an earlier book Fasting and Eating for Health, and I was riveted.
I got the book; it was amazing. I learned so much. I ended up doing a three week water-only fast at one of Dr. Fuhrman’s fasting house —he doesn’t have one anymore. I knew right away, after listening to many, many speakers in health and nutrition, that this guy really knew what he was talking about.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah, it was really a lot of fun to meet him. We met him a couple times. I met him a couple times with you. I know you know him well. And to perform for his Weekend-
Caryn Hartglass: Health Immersion.
Gary De Mattei: -Health Immersion. The Swingin’ Gourmets performed and that was awesome. The audience was— it was the end of this really long weekend. We got to wrap things up for them, and I’d like to do it again for him. Only this time I would like to be opening act because-
Caryn Hartglass: [chuckles] They were tired.
Gary De Mattei: After going through that much cleansing, they were- [chuckles] They were a great audience, but they were just a little tired. He really puts you through the paces, and you’re all the better for it. Well done.
Caryn Hartglass: I remember you coming out of the men’s bathroom.
Gary De Mattei: Oh yeah. That’s a great story.
Caryn Hartglass: Heard some conversations by some men who were experiencing some new bowel activity after eating a nutritarian diet for a weekend. [chuckles]
Gary De Mattei: After eating a lot of beans for the weekend, it really showed in the men’s room. I want to tell you.
Caryn Hartglass: [chuckles]
Gary De Mattei: It was like that scene around the campfire in Blazing Saddles. I won’t go any further because this is a family show. But that’s good for you, right? So let’s talk a little bit about flatulence. That’s not a bad thing as a-
Caryn Hartglass: Actually, no. We passed gas all day long, and it’s part of the process. The question is when it becomes uncomfortable and when it fills up spaces and puts pressure on things. Maybe it’s not as fragrant as you’d like it to be.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah. [chuckles]
Caryn Hartglass: But there are ways to work around that. Don’t stop eating beans if you’re concerned about gas.
Gary De Mattei: Now, you and I were doing something you talked about the other day, which I think is an interesting aside. Couples who talk about what we were just talking about actually have good relationships, right?
Caryn Hartglass: Oh yeah! I think it was a Huffington Post article. That couples who talk about poop [chuckles] have a healthier relationship.
Gary De Mattei: In more ways than one! But seriously, folks…
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I forgot about that. I’ve got to look that one up.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah. I’m here to talk to you about food. What else?
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I just wanted to say one more thing about Joel Fuhrman.
Gary De Mattei: Oh yeah, I’d say a lot more.
Caryn Hartglass: I’ve said many times that he’s my favorite doctor, and there’s many reasons why I have a great deal of respect for his knowledge and his integrity. From a personal level, he has been very special to me when I was going through my cancer experience. He’d eat a lot of things and he was available on a consultation call with another expert. He reviewed all my supplements that the Block Center where I was having chemotherapy, what they recommended.
It’s scary when you’re going through a health crisis. Very scary. You don’t know whom to trust, and you want to trust your doctor. There were many doctors that I knew that were experts or excellent or not so. But I didn’t know that I could trust any of them. To know Dr. Fuhrman and to know that I could trust him was like a lifeline.
Gary De Mattei: Oh, I know. And the other thing is that I know you and I were talking about this before going on the air: what Dr. Joel Fuhrman does, and I know another one of your favorite doctors is Dr. Greger— what they’re trying to do, I think, and you may have already touched on this— is they’re trying to get you— they’re doctors for a friend to tell you don’t need doctors.
I mean, sure, you need them if you need something removed or you break something that needs to be set. You need them for the emergencies that life gives us. But right now we seem to have a system, which I know absolutely nothing about; this is just my subjective opinion and I’m trying to think about it objectively like a good artist.
Caryn Hartglass: [giggles]
Gary De Mattei: To look at things through my subjective lens and then to think about them objectively is what an artist strives for and— So I’m trying to do that now with what it is that is going on in my life as a vegan. I will be— this is my… let’s see, it’s 2016. It was early 2007. So what is that? Nine years now as a vegan.
When the doors keep opening up to bigger, bigger rooms that you have to navigate when it comes to how wonderful this lifestyle is, how it makes sense, and how a plant-based diet or a nutritarian diet— I know that Joel’s is called a nutritarian diet. But whatever you call it, when you dominate your diet with plants, you don’t need doctors. And what doctors are trying to tell you that aren’t promoting this lifestyle is that you need them because without them, without their prescriptions, you are not going to have a healthy life. And that’s just false.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s just such a good point. You know, we need doctors for physical things. If we break a leg, something physical needs to be patched together. But there are all of these chronic diseases that, if we were eating a healthy diet, we wouldn’t need them or we would need them a lot less often.
Gary De Mattei: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: And I just wanted to ask you a question, Gary: were you listening when Dr. Fuhrman talked about antibiotics and viral flus?
Gary De Mattei: Ha ha ha. Of course, Caryn! Of course! I was listening and I appreciated it because I was really getting nervous when you were sick for a while, recently. And I kept saying, “You know, there are antibiotics in America.” [chuckles]
Caryn Hartglass: [chuckles]
Gary De Mattei: It has saved a lot of people. But you didn’t need them. And you were right and I was wrong. And so I’m sorry.
Caryn Hartglass: It has been a slow recovery from that flu. It was a pretty nasty flu.
Gary De Mattei: Well, I have talked to a lot of people about— I haven’t talked to them, but I’ve seen that a lot of people have this really bad flu this season all over the country.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Gary De Mattei: Of course, it’s true because I saw it on Facebook.
Caryn Hartglass: [chuckles]
Gary De Mattei: But a lot of my Facebook friends have the flu, and they have a tough time getting rid of it. So it’s a bad flu season.
Caryn Hartglass: Something that I forgot to mention, and I was going to bring it up at the top of the program and I always forget: for all of you listeners out there, you can always call in and ask questions during the program. And I always get so excited when my guests are coming on that I forget to mention it. And I was going to mention it when Dr. Fuhrman came on and I didn’t. I apologize.
But if you have any questions you might want to post to Gary and myself, the number is 1-(888)-874-4888. Okay, now I’m getting confused. I wrote it down here. Let me get it right.
Gary De Mattei: You’re doing great, Caryn. [chuckles]
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, 1-(888)-874-4888. Yeah, if you know PRN, that’s the number, right? Anyway, and you can always email me at email@example.com. Okay.
Gary De Mattei: Or you can send us a Tweet! You can send us a Tweet at Real Meals-
Caryn Hartglass: A Tweet at Real World Wide Twitter.
Gary De Mattei: Real Worldwide, yeah. Real Worldwide: say that three times fast. Real Worldwide
Caryn Hartglass: [chuckles]
Gary De Mattei: Okay, so we sent out a newsletter. On the newsletter was the— In the newsletter was the advertisement space for your show with Dr. Joel Fuhrman: End of Heart Disease. If you haven’t received our newsletter, you can also go to responsibleeatingandliving.com and sign up to receive our newsletter.
Caryn Hartglass: We don’t send them out very often. Maybe once a month.
Gary De Mattei: We don’t have those pesky pop-ups at our website because we are non-profit, and we don’t make any money. So nobody wants to advertise with us, pop-ups. Which is fine. We were just talking about this last night at a meeting where we’re really glad that we have the small yet mighty audience that we have, our loyal followers, because who wants to deal with all of those pop-ups when you go on a website?
Caryn Hartglass: Hmm. I don’t.
Gary De Mattei: Some of the websites even have this screen that come up and say, “Sign up for our newsletter”, and stay up there until you do sign up for the newsletter. Otherwise you can’t enter the site.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Or you find the small print that says, “No, I’m not interested”, or whatever.
Gary De Mattei: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: This newsletter that we’ve put out includes some of our latest recipes, and I wanted to talk about some of them. The first one is a Gary De Mattei creation, and it just blew me away.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: You made a creamy kale pesto. Can you tell us about your genius, superfood, delicious, nutritious, super creamy kale pesto? Did I say super? It’s super.
Gary De Mattei: Absolutely. Thank you for saying that. First of all, it’s basically because of your divine inspiration and all of the things that I keep picking up. The little doors that I was mentioning earlier; they keep opening. Hearing you discuss how oil— refined oils are really pretty bad for you. So how do you make pesto without olive oil?
Caryn Hartglass: How do the Italians make pesto without olive oil?
Gary De Mattei: So I was thinking back to my days as an actual chef. I remember this was back in the 80s when the big— Wolfgang Puck, Alice Waters, that big Californian cuisine movement was going on, and I was living in Northern California. There was this dish at one of the wonderful little restaurants; it could have been Japanese at the time. This was before I was vegan, of course. But it was a walnut pesto, which obviously everybody knows about walnut pesto.
I think it was Alice made it with —not with basil, but with— spinach! She made a spinach walnut pesto, and we all know that you don’t really need basil. But obviously she used olive oil, and a lot of olive oil. We all use olive oil on our pesto —or most of us do.
So we made these little seed Caesar dressings by using our Vitamix. I know many of you have a Vitamix, and if you don’t have a Vitamix, you should really invest in a Vitamix. They’re amazing. But if you don’t have the money for a Vitamix or if you don’t want another appliance and you have a blender sitting around, that’s all you need for this recipe. The old-fashioned way to do pesto is with a mortar and pestle. If you have the elbow grease and want to do it, you can certainly try to make it with a mortar and pestle. But I don’t recommend it.
Caryn Hartglass: [chuckles] I don’t either.
Gary De Mattei: I recommend using a blender because what you’re doing is you’re blending the nuts with the water and/or, in this case for the creamy kale pesto case, you’re blending the nuts with the non-dairy milk.
It’s essentially a no oil pesto. You’re blending the walnut so that’s creating the oil. And then you’re adding the nutritional yeast and the unsweetened —I use Sara Milk but you can certainly use an unsweetened dairy milk of your choice. Garlic cloves, black pepper, and then you’re waiting to put the miso in.
You can leave the miso out. All it does is add a little cheesier flavor but really the nutritional yeast handles that. I don’t recommend putting the miso in if you’re storing this in a jar in the refrigerator. I recommend leaving the miso out because miso has a tendency to stay active, and if you’re giving it something to stay active in, it won’t last more than a day in the refrigerator if the miso’s in there. It’ll last three or four days if the miso isn’t in there.
Caryn Hartglass: I also wanted to add that we like South River Miso. It’s organic and they have many different flavors. Some of them are gluten-free like their Chickpea Miso. Their misos aren’t as salty as some of the traditional Japanese brands out there, but they’re very flavorful.
Gary De Mattei: South River’s really, really great. So anyway, the instructions are on the recipe, but it’s basically throw everything in the blender. Blend it up until it’s smooth and, as you mentioned, heat it up in the pan, and add your pasta to it or whatever it is that you want to sauté with it. And it’s incredible. It’s unbelievable. You’ll never miss the oil because-
Caryn Hartglass: I just can’t believe how good it was. For people who don’t like kale, it doesn’t have a kale flavor. It has that garlic rich flavor.
Gary De Mattei: Right. There are variations in that you can use kale leaves, you can use collard leaves, you can use spinach. You can use any dark leafy green that you want to use, and you can put it right on the hot pasta. You don’t even need to put it in the pan. You can put it right on the hot pasta and stir it up. It’ll work; it’ll work great. But you’re all chefs out there. You know what I’m talking about.
Caryn Hartglass: [chuckles] Yeah.
Gary De Mattei: Well, what this is, is just reminders that you don’t need to stay with one ingredient. You don’t need to stay with fresh basil if you’ve got kale out there. It’s still winter here in New York. I mean, I know they say it’s spring, but there’s a lot of fresh snow out there.
Caryn Hartglass: [chuckles] It’s freezing today.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah. We were at the Veggie Pride Parade, which we also wanted to talk about, and it was cold. It was really cold.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. This was the ninth annual Veggie Pride Parade in Manhattan. We’ve been to the last eight.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: And it seems like it’s getting colder and colder.
Gary De Mattei: I always learn so much when I go. I’m there with you, and you were a guest speaker. You did an incredible job, and the crowd was very attentive and lovely. They had lots of great guest speakers. I always learn something from the guest speakers. I always think I’ve heard it all, you know, not going to learn anything.
And this year —I can’t remember who she was; she spoke before you. You’ll know who she was. But she talked a lot about fish, and she said one thing— and I was walking around filming the crowd ‘cause we’re working on another-
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, guess what, Gary? We’ve got a caller.
Gary De Mattei: Oh, excellent!
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s get back to that. Let’s take our caller: Mike from Hawaii. Aloha!
Gary De Mattei: Hi, Mike!
Mike: Hello, hello. How you doing’? Hi!
Gary De Mattei: Hi!
Caryn Hartglass: Hello!
Mike: Hello. Hi, hi. So, I’m sorry I’m a little off topic. I’m just a first time caller, but, God, it sounds like an incredible amount of great information you guys are spreading out here.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you.
Gary De Mattei: Thanks, thanks.
Mike: You talked about oil. Have you done any research about MTT oils? Any of that or-
Caryn Hartglass: What kind of oil?
Mike: MCT oil: Multi Chain Triglyceride oil? It’s, I guess, one of the best parts of the coconut oil?
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, coconut oil. Yeah. Well, you have to understand that we’re fans of Dr. Joel Fuhrman who was my guest earlier on in the program. He talks about how no oil is really a healthy food because it’s processed, it has no fiber, and there haven’t really been convincing studies to show otherwise.
The best place to get fat is from whole foods, or minimally processed foods, walnuts, and seeds, the actual coconut, and avocado. Things like that. I like to use coconut oil on my skin. I’ll use it occasionally in food. But we’re not big oil users.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah, but you what? I was just talking about blending nuts, which have a lot of oil. Let’s say you have a dressing that you just can’t live without. What I have found is that if you take a quarter to a half of cup of your favorite raw nut— what we do is that we do these dressings we call seed Caesar dressings. It’s because instead of oil, we make the Caesar dressing with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, and we blend them. You’re getting the oil from the nuts, but you’re also getting the fiber from the nuts. You don’t even miss the oil.
Caryn Hartglass: I know there’s a lot of websites, a lot of articles that really promote coconut oil and different kinds of oils saying that they’re healthy, but I really haven’t seen the science behind it.
Gary De Mattei: I also have a lot of family members because I come from Italian descent, who use olive oil. They can’t live without olive oil, just like how I know a lot of people can’t live without coconut oil and feel like they really can’t do without it.
But, as far as those who can’t live without olive oil or coconut oil for that matter, I would then take some olives (pitted, of course) and then add it to the nuts that I’m blending to give you an olive oil taste. Because raw sunflower seeds, for example, are kind of tasteless when you blend them with garlic and olives and things like that. The taste kind of goes away, but you still get that heft, that fat that you really need.
Caryn Hartglass: Thanks very much for that question, by the way.
Gary De Mattei: Thanks for the question.
Gary De Mattei: Thank you for the call.
Mike: Can I ask you a couple more questions? I’ll make them quick.
Caryn Hartglass: Sure.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah.
Mike: Your fasting— I’m a big person on low end and bio fasting here. I used to. I’ve had a few bizarre diets. But one time, you know, like the 22-hour fast, throttle, pull-ups, eating. That was really great for a while. About four or five hours after you wake up in the morning, you do kind of the hunger thing, the emptying of everything. But then you just feel fantastic for the rest of the day. Can you tell me about the… three weeks? I think the most I’ve ever did was seven days. Three weeks? Holy cow.
Caryn Hartglass: [chuckles] Well, Dr. Fuhrman’s book Fasting and Eating for Health is an excellent book on this subject. If you’re going to do any kind of fast —but most importantly, a water fast that’s extended, you must rest. You must give your body the opportunity to go to work and heal the areas that need work.
What I did was the first week and a half, I stayed at home. Then the second portion of the fast I was really slowing down. And that’s when I stayed at the fasting house and rested a lot. Went for very slow walks and just sipped on water. You can’t go to work; you can’t really do anything. It’s all about rest and healing.
I loved the experience. I mean, some people would think I’m crazy. But there are all different kinds of fasting. One day fast, two day fast, a week or more.
Gary De Mattei: So what you’re saying, Caryn, is that a fast is really slow.
Caryn Hartglass: [chuckles] Exactly.
Mike: How did you feel in that three-week divot? How did you feel like in your first few days in? Did you feel really good and energized? Or did you feel kind of slow all throughout?
Caryn Hartglass: The first few days were the hardest because I was hungry. Then like two days into it, that’s when the body realizes it’s not being fed and it feeds on non-essential stores. I just wasn’t hungry anymore. So that was amazing.
Mike: Yeah, I experienced it myself, the third one.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. So we just have three minutes left. Do you have anymore questions, Mike?
Mike: I do, but they’re not coming into my head right at the moment. I’m a first-time listener and I’m going to try to call in next week.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s awesome!
Mike: I’m definitely going to jump on the Joel Fuhrman bandwagon. Yeah, sounds fantastic.
Caryn Hartglass: Good. If you read the Fasting and Eating for Health book, he talks about how he did a fast. First he was a competitive figure skater when he was young, and he had a bad accident where he couldn’t walk. He ended up using water fasting to heal. It’s an incredible story. Okay! We have just a couple minutes left.
Gary De Mattei: Thanks, Mike! Thanks a lot, Mike.
Caryn Hartglass: Gary, I wanted to mention you were talking about Mary Finelli of Fish Feel who was at the Veggie Pride Parade.
Gary De Mattei: Right. So anyway, she talked about some great things and I’ll just leave you with this: she said fish are one of the animals that children are encouraged to kill. That’s just been resonating with me because she was talking about how fishing —this is the season; it’s coming up now. People are taking their kids fishing and grandpas taking their little grandson fishing or what have you.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m thinking of Hallmark card pictures where you see the little boy and the grandfather’s backs to the water with their fishing rods.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah. On the one hand, it’s really idyllic and lovely. But then, when you think about it, fish are one of the animals that children are encouraged to kill. You think about the fact that fish can feel and have all its little nerves in their mouth. The concept of catching a fish and throwing it back in: it’s chilling. These little doors keep opening up and walking into these rooms— well, it’s very symbolic. So I leave you with that downer note.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Gary De Mattei: No, seriously though. Thanks for everything, Caryn, and I will see you back at Responsible Eating And Living.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Thanks, Gary De Mattei for joining me on It’s All About Food and thank all of you for joining me. I hope you all can think about calling in because I’m going to really encourage the calls. So join me next week and remember: go to visit responsibleeatingandliving.com. That’s where we live. We give you lots of recipes so that you can have a delicious week! Bye-bye.
Transcribed by HT 6/25/2016