Part I – Rob Poe, The Broccoli Rob Show
Robert Poe a.k.a. Broccoli Rob is an accomplished singer and songwriter from New York, voted ABC Radio Network’s Best New Unsigned Artist. He has been on radio, television and performed throughout the U.S.A as well as Europe.
Throughout most of his life Robert had struggled with symptoms from an autoimmune disease. While trying to combat the disease he visited numerous doctors and could not find a cure. While researching nutritional approaches for healing he found that by changing what we eat we can cure many diseases that are common to us. So, by eating a diet consisting of more high nutrient foods and eliminating junk food he was able to rid himself of the disease without medication.
This top-notch performer and Super Veggie Hero is an avid health and fitness enthusiast with a passion for healthy eating and an unwavering dedication to promoting the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables for good health.
He hits the stage like a force of nature, educating, motivating and inspiring with his high energy style, original lyrics and feats of strength.
Through music, education and play he demonstrates the mental, physical and emotional benefits of eating healthy in a way that children can easily embrace, adopt and get excited about.
The show is designed for grades K-5 and is usually 40 minutes long but can be altered to suit your needs. Robert is available for school assemblies, libraries, outdoor festivals, camps and other personal appearances.
Part II – Rory Freedman, Beg
Rory Freedman is the co-author of the Number 1 New York Times best-selling Skinny Bitch, a tough-love manifesto that has inspired countless women to start making smart and compassionate food choices. Rory has co-authored other books in the series, Skinny Bitch, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven, Skinny Bastard and Skinny Bitchin. An outspoken advocate for animal rights, she lives in Los Angeles with her dogs; and will go anywhere and everywhere to spread the word about her new book, Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals.
TRANSCRIPTION Part I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s August 6, 2013, a lovely summer day. <singing> The summer winds came blowing in from across the sea. <end singing> I’m forgetting the words already. Have you heard that song recently? I’ll tell you where you’ve heard it. If you’ve been paying attention to what I’ve been telling you, and that is the new Swingin’ Gourmets, the Making of the Swingin’ Gourmets, our documentary food show, the real American barbeque, we sing that at the end, and I don’t mess up the words like I just did just now. Anyway, I’m hoping that if you haven’t seen it you check it out. It’s 28 minutes, go to SwinginGourmets.com.
Right? Okay, this is going to be fun. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, and I’m surprised that I haven’t had this guest on the show earlier than today, but I’ve got Rob Poe here in the studio with me. And he’s known as Broccoli Rob. He’s an accomplished singer and songwriter from New York. Voted ABC Radio Network’s Best New Unsigned Artist. He’s been on radio, television and performed throughout the USA as well as Europe. And we’re going to learn a lot more about Rob (and Broccoli Rob) right now. So, welcome!
Rob Poe: Thank you, thank you Caryn. It’s great to be here. I’ve got to get closer to the mic over here.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, okay, so welcome to It’s All About Food.
Rob Poe: Thank you, thank you. Great to be here.
Caryn Hartglass: Great, okay.
Rob Poe: I brought my guitar, just in case you want to hear a little music later.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, we do, we’re going to check into that in a little bit, but first we need to know about you. So let’s just jump into the serious stuff and then we’ll lighten it up a little bit. My understanding is you had a health crisis of your own and somehow food came to your rescue, can you tell us a little bit about that.
Rob Poe: That’s right. I was… Actually, my dad was sick. My dad had lung cancer and I was trying to find help for my dad. And I called a mutual acquaintance.
Caryn Hartglass: <laughter>
Rob Poe: His name is Barry Hartglass.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s my brother. You know, I don’t know if you noticed the musical intro when we came into the show but that was composed and played by my wonderful talented musician brother.
Rob Poe: Yes, very talented. Very talented musician. And I gave him a call and he said “Talk to Caryn. Give Caryn a call. She has so much information about health/getting well.” And you recommended a book, and I read the book, it was called Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I read the book. I followed his diet. Well, actually, I’m getting ahead of myself. It was actually my dad had passed away probably two days before I read the book.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh. Yeah.
Rob Poe: And so, but the book made so much sense to me, and I started reading the book and following the diet religiously, and I started feeling fantastic. I felt really, really good. And I wasn’t even aware that I had an autoimmune disease. And so I went to the doctor for a physical and he said, “Your blood tests resemble rheumatoid arthritis, lupus.”
Caryn Hartglass: Wow
Rob Poe: So he sent me to a whole bunch of doctors and they all wanted me on prednisone steroids.
Caryn Hartglass: You didn’t have any symptoms?
Rob Poe: I did.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay.
Rob Poe: But I thought that’s how people felt.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s just “getting old stuff”.
Rob Poe: That’s just getting older.
Caryn Hartglass: So what did you have? You have some..
Rob Poe: Aching joints, feeling tired all the time, rashes on my body, a number of things.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s amazing what we accept as normal.
Rob Poe: Yes
Caryn Hartglass: I love to say this but most of us don’t know how good we can feel.
Rob Poe: Exactly.
Caryn Hartglass: We just don’t know.
Rob Poe: That’s right. I didn’t know until I started eating fruits and vegetables, high micronutrient foods, following the diet in that book, and I felt better than I ever did in my life.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, everybody knows I’m a big fan of Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He’s been on this program before and he’s a dear friend, and I think he’s a great, great man. And he’s brilliant. Other than that… <laughs>.
Rob Poe: And mind you, I…
Caryn Hartglass: But I want to say that many people read his book, and it’s been on the New York Times bestseller list now for, I don’t know, 100 weeks plus or something, which is great, and long in coming. But there have been a number of naysayers and people that have said it’s too rigid, it’s too hard.
Rob Poe: Well, being sick is too hard.
Caryn Hartglass: <laughs>
Rob Poe: Being sick is too hard, and I didn’t find it difficult. Actually, I mean, the first week I did, to be honest. I said “there’s no way I can do this.” But I was going through the whole withdrawal thing. And it’s like going off caffeine or cigarettes or drugs. You know, you feel horrible in the beginning, but after a while you start feeling really good. And that’s what happened to me.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, we were talking about vitality, I think it was last week. And when people continue to eat foods that are difficult on the body, at some point the body just gives up and says, “I can’t work on purging this stuff, it’s.. there’s only a limit to what I can do.” And so it just lets it accumulate. And one way or another, we fall apart. But then, when you stop taking in the toxins, and you are feeding your body with cleansing foods, and nutritious foods, the body is allowed to start cleaning out. And it can be really uncomfortable during that initial cleaning phase.
Rob Poe: Oh, yeah, you want to sleep a lot. You want to stay in bed. You’re tired.
Caryn Hartglass: Hydrate. Hydrate.
Rob Poe: Hydrate. But it’s definitely worth it. It’s… I feel fantastic.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, can I ask you how old you are?
Rob Poe: Nope.
Caryn Hartglass: No? <laughs> Cause you look…
Rob Poe: <laughs> I keep that a secret.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well you look pretty good.
Rob Poe: Thank you!
Caryn Hartglass: I’m assuming. I mean, I know that you’ve got to be older than a certain age and most people I know that are older than that certain age don’t look as good as you.
Rob Poe: Is it because of the music I like? Is that it? <laughs>
Caryn Hartglass: I think it’s the vegetables! <sings> My favorite vegetables… <end singing>
Rob Poe: Well, you know, all my life I thought I was eating healthy. For some reason, I got into reading books when I was sixteen years old about diet, nutrition, vitamins. And I thought I had a healthy diet. I thought what the government guidelines tell you to eat was healthy.
Caryn Hartglass: <laughs> Yes, scary.
Rob Poe: It’s pretty scary.
Caryn Hartglass: So what kind of diet were you on?
Rob Poe: I was eating low fat, chicken, low fat cheeses, and whole grain breads. That kind of thing. But, I found out that I don’t do well with grains, so I try to avoid grains.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s hard for people to realize that that is very inflammatory and oftentimes leads to different forms of arthritis and lupus, like you said. And all the illnesses that are lumped into autoimmune diseases – there are so many of them, and I think that’s one reason why people don’t realize that food is really the cause of all of them. Because when we see things that manifest themselves so differently, we think that they are different, but they’re really the same thing. It’s just… Now there are theories about how autoimmune diseases are caused and my understanding in very simple layman terms is you get these proteins that are really hard to digest in your gut. And your gut wall somehow gets compromised and these undigested proteins get into your blood stream and then your body creates these anti-proteins to deal with them and then they kind of mutate and become these things that will in one way or another will wreak havoc either in a joint or with multiple sclerosis. It will cause scarring on the myelin, the coating on the nerves. And it’s just fascinating. You can get asthma and all kinds of different rashes on your skin.
Rob Poe: Well that was one of my symptoms. Asthma.
Caryn Hartglass: Fatigue, of course. That mysterious symptom Fatigue. Everybody’s tired. How do you pinpoint what it is?
Rob Poe: It’s amazing. You can turn all of that around just by changing your diet. It’s unbelievable.
Caryn Hartglass: And how long did it take for you?
Rob Poe: I went back to my original doctor about two months after following a high micronutrient diet, and about two months later he said, “I can’t believe this. I’ve never seen anything like this.” He says, “Your blood work is perfect.”
Caryn Hartglass: Wow.
Rob Poe: My cholesterol went down, my ANA numbers – the antibody numbers, all those rheumatoid markers, everything went down. It was amazing. Amazing! And that’s why I created the Broccoli Rob show. To tell people.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, now, let’s get into that. So what is the Broccoli Rob show?
Rob Poe: Well, I’ve been a musician all my life, as you probably know. I toured Europe with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. I was the lead vocalist for them. I did some television shows – Star Search, things like that. I had songs on the radio. And I always wanted to… Well, people ask me, “Why don’t you do a kid show or something?” And I never had anything, I felt, to offer. I didn’t want to go out and sing nursery rhymes and that kind of thing. But, it just hit me one morning. I was lying in bed and I said, “You know what? I should spread the word about healthy eating to children!” They don’t know. Maybe their parents told them, but if they could identify with like a modern day Popeye. Maybe they would eat more fruits and vegetables. I don’t even know if Popeye’s on television anymore.
Caryn Hartglass: I don’t know, but he certainly had it right.
Rob Poe: He had it right with the spinach.
Caryn Hartglass: <singing> I’m strong to the finish, cause I eat my spinach. <end singing>
Rob Poe: It was just canned – he needed to eat some fresh…
Caryn Hartglass: Fresh, okay, but…
Rob Poe: But it worked for Popeye.
Caryn Hartglass: Right.
Rob Poe: But anyway, no I… So, I’ve been writing songs that children could understand about healthy eating.
Caryn Hartglass: I love the name Broccoli Rob. So when we eat broccoli rabe, the food, R-A-B-E, I think it is, right?
Rob Poe: Yes, R-A-B-E.
Caryn Hartglass: R-A-B-E, right. It’s a delicious vegetable. It’s a very bitter green. Probably not as popular with kids, cause it’s so bitter, unless they have a developed palate. But it’s a great food and I love that you’re Broccoli Rob. <laughs> Okay, so you’ve been around a variety of schools, this is great for the young, kindergarten through what age?
Rob Poe: It’s generally kindergarten through 5th grade.
Caryn Hartglass: And what do you do during the show?
Rob Poe: Oh, man, I have costume changes, I have different characters… I actually studied martial arts for about twelve, thirteen years, and I have a character in the show where I do a little karate demonstration and the character’s name is Bruce Leek.
Caryn Hartglass: <laughs> Bruce Leek!
Rob Poe: The kids don’t know Bruce Lee, but when the teachers are attending the show, they get a kick out of it as well. They get the humor.
Caryn Hartglass: So they get to see that vegetables are fun, vegetables are strong. And the message that vegetables are good for you doesn’t really play well, cause one of the things that children are learning as they are becoming adults, is how to formulate their own opinions and they kind of want to push the boundaries and be contrary. So there’s a way – you have to trick them into making the right choices.
Rob Poe: Right, they’re thinking, “Well, if this made Broccoli Rob healthy and strong, it may help me too.” In fact, I get letters from parents and the kids! The teachers will have the kids sit down and they write a whole bunch of letters and draw pictures and send them to me, and it’s amazing. One of them actually brought tears to my eyes. A parent sent me an email after her child saw the show and she told me her child had autism. And she said she’s been trying to get her child to eat more salads, and her child wouldn’t touch the salads. She said after she saw that show, she went home and had five bowls of salad. And when I heard that… first I get the email and I’m thinking, “Oh, no, what did I do? Did I say something wrong? Did I upset a parent? Tell them…” But in the show I don’t tell people, “Don’t eat meat, Don’t do this, Don’t do that.” I just say, “Eat more fruits and vegetables.” I don’t want to upset anybody or anything like that, but on a show like this I’ll tell you what I really feel about meat.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, we’ll get to that in just a moment. When we talk about autism specifically, one of the symptoms is that the children typically don’t want to eat, or they don’t want to eat the right things, and really picky eaters. And a certain number of them have been healed or cured or improved by eliminating wheat and dairy. There’s this diet that’s specifically geared towards eliminating wheat and dairy and a lot of autistic children have found relief from it. It doesn’t work with all of them, and I’m not sure exactly why that is, but it has helped. And it’s really hard when a parent wants to do that because the child is such a picky eater and you take away some of their favorite foods. So, to find a way, and maybe you’ve got it where you’ve got this fun way to get even the pickiest of eaters wanting to eat salad. <laughter> That’s genius!
Rob Poe: I hope so. I hope it works with more. More children. But really, it has to come from the parents too. I mean, the parents are laying out the food for the children, so they need to be aware of this.
Caryn Hartglass: How many times have you heard parents say, “I don’t know why my kids eat all the junk food that they do.” And then you look in their cabinets. Well, where’s the junk food coming from? You’re buying it and you’re eating it.
Rob Poe: Right. It’s like the parents smoking cigarettes saying, “Don’t smoke.”
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. “Do as I say, not as I do” does not go very far. All right, let’s talk about your anger now.
Rob Poe: Oh, my anger.
Caryn Hartglass: So you were telling me that you were sharing your revelations with food with some friends and you don’t always get the response that you would like.
Rob Poe: Well, you really can’t change people’s… maybe you can, but you can’t change everybody’s mind. And I was having a discussion with somebody about eating healthy and their feeling was no matter what you eat, no matter what you do, your genes are dictating how your health is going to be. Has nothing to do with what you put in your body.
Caryn Hartglass: Of course, those are the G-E-N-E-S genes, not the Levi blue jeans. <laughter>
Rob Poe: That’s right.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, we hear that all the time and you have to ask yourself why do people believe that and they believe it because that’s what they’ve been told to believe. The last fifty years or so, as we’ve been discovering DNA and chromosomes and genes and we’re trying to figure out what they’re good for and what they do. We’ve been sort of learning about genes. But I think what we’re learning now is the genes are there, but they don’t express themselves unless given the right opportunity. And if you keep yourself on a diet like Dr. Fuhrman recommends, loaded with nutrient-dense plant foods and minimal or little junk, your genes just don’t express themselves. But your friends don’t believe that when you tell them.
Rob Poe: There’s new studies coming out about that. No, they don’t believe it, and I understand. We live in a society where we’re not taught too much about eating healthy. And what they tell you is healthy may not really be healthy.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, when you get these gigs in the school, who gets you to come? Who initiates that?
Rob Poe: The PTA. The PTA. They hear about it through other schools, or through my website, they’ll do a search. I’m also registered with BOCES, the Arts in Education catalog in different counties.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, is that just a New York program, or is that outside New York?
Rob Poe: It’s county to county. It’s Westchester, Putnam, Suffolk, Nassau… so, I’m registered in that catalog. The parents or the teachers or a principal will go into this catalog and say, “I want to find a health based program” and my show pops up.
Caryn Hartglass: And you have a website?
Rob Poe: I have a website: TheBroccoliRobShow.com
Caryn Hartglass: TheBroccoliRobShow. But that’s Broccoli with an R-O-B “Rob”, right? Not “rabe” R-A-B-E like the luscious, bitter broccoli vegetable with a little garlic and lemon juice that’s so good and I could really enjoy some right now.
Rob Poe: Right, right. Sounds great.
Caryn Hartglass: No, you’re The Broccoli R-O-B Show.
Rob Poe: Or BroccoliRobShow.com. Either one will work.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh! Very clever you have both!
Rob Poe: I have both. I keep myself covered.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right. Well, it makes me think of myself because I was talking about the Swingin’ Gourmets earlier. And the Swingin’ ends in an I-N-Apostrophe. We dropped the G. And we got the SwinginGourmets.com.
Rob Poe: It’s country. It’s very country.
Caryn Hartglass: It is, it’s whatever you want it to be. But, the Swingin’ Gourmets, it just has one G in the middle: SwinginGourmets.com. And then when we were noted in the San Francisco Chronicle as one of their Best Picks when we were doing a show out in April in the San Francisco area, they spelled it wrong and did SwingingGourmets – two G’s in the middle – and immediately I bought that domain and had it forwarded to our website. You have to have yourselves covered.
Rob Poe: Right, that’s smart. Right.
Caryn Hartglass: So, TheBroccoliRobShow and BroccoliRobShow, either way gets you there.
Rob Poe: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: Because I imagine parents out there, any of you that are out there, that want something fun… And you’re probably frustrated because your kids aren’t learning much about healthy diets and fruits and vegetables… Or maybe you’re getting your kids interested but they’re so pressured by all their friends who are eating all the junk, here’s a great thing! Get this Broccoli Rob Show into your school, and get your kids wanting to eat five bowls of salad when they come home! <laughter> Right?
Rob Poe: It seems like it’s working.
Caryn Hartglass: Good. Now, can we get a taste? Can we get a little sample? Do you think you could do a song for us?
Rob Poe: Well, you know what’s funny? On my regular music CD I still perform my original music for adults. I had a song on my last CD and it was a song about eating healthy, taking care of yourself. But it’s really a love song in disguise.
Caryn Hartglass: Mmmm. Well isn’t that what it’s all about? Taking care of yourself is really a love song, or a love action you can do for yourself and for those who care about you.
Rob Poe: Yes, right. And you can get that CD on CD Baby or my website RobertPoeMusic.com.
Caryn Hartglass: Robert Poe. “Poe” as in Edgar Allen. Robert P-O-E dot com.
Rob Poe: RobertPoeMusic.com
Caryn Hartglass: RobertPoeMusic.com.
Caryn Hartglass: Right, but RobertPoeMusic.com. So let’s hear it!
Rob Poe: <singing>
I’m eating my greens
No more candy in between
Cause you’re sweet enough, it’s true.
I’m getting strong.
I want to live for real long,
I want to be around for you.
Well you’re my reason for this good eatin’
And working out every day.
Make juice concoctions will rid my toxins
Baby, I’ve changed my ways.
I’m eating my greens
And getting hard and lean.
It’s something everybody should do.
I want to be strong,
Yes, I want to live real long
I want to be around for you.
I want to be around for you.
Yes, I want to be around for you.
Caryn Hartglass: Woohoo! I love it!
Rob Poe: But that’s not in the kids’ show. That’s just on my regular CD.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, I love it. That’s really nice.
Rob Poe: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: You have a fine voice there, yes.
Rob Poe: Yeah, on the kids’ show, I’m doing tunes like:
Choo Choo! Choo Choo!
Riding on the Veggie Train.
Caryn Hartglass: <laughter> That’s awesome! Who loved that? I loved that and I want to know if you loved it. You can send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think of Rob Poe and then I’ll tell him. Or you can just go right to his website and tell him yourself. But that was really something. More people need to be singing about greens!
Rob Poe: About greens.
Caryn Hartglass: All of us need to do our part. Because personally, okay you’re a musician, you’re an artist, and you’re using what you do to tell the world what you’re passionate about. We all should be doing that. And I really believe in the arts. I think that’s one of the best ways to get any kind of message out. The arts have been used forever. People that have had political issues over time, they put messages in their paintings, they put messages in their music, in order to get people to think about it.
Rob Poe: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: And we kind of need a new movement. During the Civil Rights era we had that whole folk music thing that started and everybody was singing about war and peace. Now it’s time for everybody to be singing about foods, green food, broccoli rabe, kale…
Rob Poe: Well, The Swingin’ Gourmets should meet Broccoli Rob and do a live show soon.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, we absolutely will. That’s really good. Okay so, we just have five, six minutes left. And, anything else you’re angry about, you want to talk about?
Rob Poe: Well…
Caryn Hartglass: You’re not really an angry guy.
Rob Poe: No, I’m not angry. I’m not angry. I just… when you’re trying to do something good for yourself and good for other people, and then you have people telling you, “No, that healthy eating – that’s nonsense. I’m just going to eat whatever I want to eat, and I’ll be fine. It’s in my genes. Whatever.” That makes me a little angry, but…
Caryn Hartglass: Well, fortunately, we have the internet now, and people who are interested in this information for one reason or another. Either they’re really ill and their doctors have not provided any help, and they’re looking for help, or they just want to feel healthier and they’re starting to learn. And there’s a lot of different websites, there are doctors and nutritionists and health coaches and all kinds of opportunities for people to learn and discover what can get them feeling better and feeling healthy, and all that’s great. But I think we need as many avenues as we possibly can. I love all the different religious versions, like there’s the Christian Veg, the Jewish Veg, and I believe there’s Muslim groups that are promoting vegetarian, cruelty-free healthy diets. So, there’s the religious contingent, there’s all different contingents that appeal to different demographics. And I think you and me, we’re moving the art world and the music world and what better way to do it, with some fun songs. To make it fun! Okay, we know the food’s great. We know that now. There are just a gazillion cookbooks, and there are more and more restaurants…
Rob Poe: And it tastes great.
Caryn Hartglass: It tastes great.
Rob Poe: It tastes better than… If I see a slice of pizza sitting there, I know how horrible I’m going to feel if I eat that pizza. And I’ve taken bites of that pizza since I’ve been eating healthy, and I feel horrible. I don’t sleep well, my hands get inflamed, my joints ache. Symptoms start coming back. It’s not worth it.
Caryn Hartglass: Right.
Rob Poe: It’s not worth it. It’s just… And you know what? Really? All right, I’m angry. Here we go. You know what really bothers me? When you tell people, and they’re aware of it and they know, that eating healthy is good. But they don’t do anything about it. They don’t realize how many people their ill health will affect. They don’t realize that if I have a heart attack, who’s going to be coming to the hospital? People have to come to the hospital. I may wind up in a wheel chair. Someone’s going to be inconvenienced by wheeling me around and everything. If you already… All right, it’s one thing if you don’t know that you can heart attack-proof yourself. But if you know that, and you’re not doing anything about it, I think it’s selfish. It’s really selfish. Because you’re going to affect and hurt a lot of people. So that’s what I’m angry about.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well you’ve heard it here. Rob Poe is angry and he’s doing something about it. He’s got this really fun Broccoli Rob show, which is a happy, a happy show. Right? And on your website, can we see little glimpses of what the show is about?
Rob Poe: Yes, there’s a little news piece that Verizon FiOS did on the show. There’s a little video of the very first show I ever did. It was videotaped and I put it up on there. I don’t like the costume I’m in, but things evolve.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, well, you probably need a new video to put up there.
Rob Poe: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, we’ll have to work on that one. Okay, and favorite foods before we leave. I like to leave with a good taste in people’s mouths. Broccoli rabe?
Rob Poe: <laughs> I love making a huge salad. Broccoli rabe. I love making a huge salad with nuts and seeds and tomatoes and cucumbers and celery. And then making a nut based dressing.
Caryn Hartglass: Mmm-hmm. Nut butter?
Rob Poe: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. That’s the best.
Rob Poe: Cashew nuts, some orange, and sesame. It’s delicious.
Caryn Hartglass: Mmm-hmmm. You know? I’m sorry, but all those pizza fans out there… when you learn to love this food, the salad, I mean, pizza doesn’t hold a candle.
Rob Poe: That’s right.
Caryn Hartglass: It doesn’t fill you up. It’s just salty, oily and believe it or not, it’s not good. When you clean up and your taste buds all of a sudden start working, you don’t know what you can taste!
Rob Poe: Oh, yeah! If I have something like we mentioned pizza, a bite of pizza. It’s so salty! Because my taste buds have changed since I’ve been eating healthy and it just doesn’t taste good.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, I love talking to individuals about what food has done for them. And it certainly has… I don’t remember you before, what you looked like, but you’re looking really good now.
Rob Poe: Thanks. I think I dropped about forty pounds.
Caryn Hartglass: Not bad. Right? Isn’t it amazing? And probably just without even thinking about it. Just eating different foods.
Rob Poe: I always tell people, don’t think about losing weight. Just think about getting healthy, and losing weight will be a byproduct of eating healthy.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s a bonus! Yeah, I love that. Okay, well, thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food. Okay, he’s showing me his muscles here in the studio and he’s looking damn good. It’s all in the greens. You too can benefit inside and out and start looking better, and looking younger and feeling great. I like to say we’re not getting older, we’re getting better and only kale can do that… and maybe broccoli rabe. <laughs> Okay, we’re going to take a quick break and then we’re going to be back with Rory Freedman the co-author of Skinny Bitch, who’s got a new book out called Beg. We’ll be right back.
Transcribed by Andrea Jensen, 2/11/2014
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody, we’re back! I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food here on August 6th, 2013. Once again, I want to remind you about the The Swingin’ Gourmets. One more time, let me remind you. So…The Swingin’ Gourmets is a new vegan musical cabaret. We did a show in April in San Fransisco, we got the best pick in The Chronicle, and a nice review in the San Jose Mercury News. Now we’re out and about, we’re going to do a number of performances later in December, in Manhattan. It’s all about musical theatre never looking so healthy. We have a food show I would love you to watch at swinginggourmets.com. swinginggourmets.com, check it out, let me know what you think at email@example.com. That’s the way you can message me and find me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Okay, moving on… We’ve been talking a lot about animals the last few weeks and we’re going to continue today. My next guest is Rory Freedman, she is the co-author of the Number 1 New York Times best-selling Skinny Bitch, a tough-love manifesto that has inspired countless women to start making smart and compassionate food choices. Rory has co-authored other books in the series, Skinny Bitch, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven, Skinny Bastard and Skinny Bitchin. Now a spoken advocate for animal rights, she lives in Los Angeles with her dogs. She will go anywhere and everywhere to spread the word about her new book Beg: A radical new way regarding animals. Welcome to It’s All About Food Rory!
Rory Freedman: Hi, Thanks for having me.
Caryn Hartglass: You’re very welcome. You have a very lovely, beautiful book here. It’s got one of my favorite colors on the cover, green.
Rory Freedman: Thank You.
Caryn Hartglass: You’re welcome. Well, the saddest thing I find about all of the horrible things we do to animals, and humans do some pretty awful things to each other and to animals, is that animals don’t have a voice.
Rory Freedman: They don’t have a voice, and it’s up to us to speak out for them on their behalf. And to not only do that, but to really just change our own behavior so that our actions are aligned with what is in our hearts and that’s that animals are treated the right way.
Caryn Hartglass: You know, I like what you just said. I really want to believe that we have good in our hearts, and we just need to reach down in there and find it, and not be overwhelmed by all of this clutter that’s all around us.
Rory Freedman: There is so much clutter, and it’s coming at us from every direction. I mean, here I am on hold, waiting for you to come on the line and start the interview, and regular radio stations are just blasting at you all these ads for different shows. I don’t say this to complain, I just say this as a statement of a fact; it’s sort of an intrusion on the mental space. Most of us just get numbed out and get used to living with this much noise all around us all the time. I don’t just mean actual noise, I mean the noise that fills our brains and that fills our lives. That keeps us from being who it is that we’re meant to be, or from doing what it is we’re meant to do. One of the ways that I was just sort of living in clutter and noise was just not realizing, I just didn’t know, what was happening to animals in many ways. Once I got that information, I had to make a lot of changes in my life.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s an amazing thing when the veil is lifted. I’ve been a vegan for a really long time, over twenty-five years. I started as a teenager being a vegetarian, I didn’t want to kill animals, and it’s been a long process and a journey for me. I became vegan when I was thirty. Thinking back on it now, I think it was really easy for me. I was young when I started thinking like this. For people that are older, that are just seeing the light, that are just understanding, that are just realizing their actions it takes a lot of courage to make a change.
Rory Freedman: It does. I think in any capacity, whatever it is that we’re talking about, in order to make positive change in our life we have to dig really deep and then really hang on by our bootstraps because it’s hard. Change is difficult. It can be scary. It can be challenging. It can be exhausting. There’s that little nagging voice, that ego voice in the back of the mind, that says, “It’s not going to make a difference anyway, you’re just one person,” or “This is too hard, what’s the big deal, I been doing it this way my whole life.” Whatever it is, whether it’s cigarette smoking, drinking, or gossiping, or negative thoughts it’s really hard to create change and to make new changes. I wrote Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals, my new book, to just give people that encouragement. First of all to give them the information and the awareness to make changes regarding how they are living in the world with animals around them, and also to give them the inspiration and the motivation to dig deep and find that extra Oomph to help them go that extra mile.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, you definitely have a very interesting voice in this book because you’re telling it like it is, and the information is not easy to hear. But it’s also very positive and uplifting and, in some ways, non-judgmental, kind of making it easier. I don’t know how easy it is because I’ve been doing it for a long time, but it’s welcoming.
Rory Freedman: Well, thank you. I mean, certainly I’ve been on my own journey also, and for many years I did not have a gentle voice when I would be talking about animals. I would have this voice of insanity because I was literally just driven mad by what was happening to animals and that people did not know. I believed that if everyone wasn’t doing exactly what it was that I thought they should do about animals, that they were selfish and terrible. I now know that that’s not the case. I just took on my job as writer of this book Beg to just tell people, “Hey, this is what happens when you buy leather, or when you take your children to the circus; or this is what zoos consist of, or this is what running with the bulls really looks like.” It’s just information now for people to do what they will with it. Really and truly, I’m trying to live in a place without judgment now, because I have my own things that I have to work on in myself that are important to me. The most important thing is to be that light of love for everything, and it’s so challenging. I don’t just mean when I’m talking about animals; I just mean for everything. If I’m really awakened to the voices in my head all the time, I constantly see myself judging people or observe myself being critical of others or being closed in my heart when I could be more open and patient and tolerant about a million different things. That’s my work now, and I hope that some of that seeped into the writing of Beg.
Caryn Hartglass: Amen to that. That’s the real work; once we get all our basic needs taken care of, that’s the real work we have to do. It’s probably the hardest thing to do.
Rory Freedman: It’s our lifelong mission to ascend these petty voices of ego that are in our brains and to instead open up to the voice in our heart.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, they’re in our brains. Like you mentioned before, we’re continually bombarded. This is the message that we’re getting more and more from commercials, from television, from radio, and from movies. Maybe back in the fifties things were a little superficial, but I think they were more polite.
Rory Freedman: Absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: Now it’s just… The kids are more obnoxious, and there’s no respect. We really need to tune that out and learn how to open our hearts and learn that love is the only answer, however cliché that sounds.
Rory Freedman: No it really is. You know, I have to take responsibility; I didn’t always know this of course. My book Skinny Bitch has not only a profane title, but it has tons of profanity throughout. I just didn’t know any better. In my mind I thought I had sort of a vague spirituality back then, and I thought, “Oh, God has a sense of humor. God doesn’t care about words!” I feel very differently now, and it’s why my new book, Beg, has a more earnest tone and less profanity, or no profanity. I just thought, you can’t serve too many masters, you can only serve one; and I’m going to serve God, even if it means my books are not going to have as much appeal to a young audience who likes that sort of profanity and who lives in the culture of this day and age with this sort of entertainment. But it is really important to me to remember who I’m serving, and it’s not myself, it’s not my bank account, it’s not even my readers, it’s God.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s really a beautiful insight into you and where you are, but I want to say that your first books really did a service. I was talking before about how, in my work, I encourage any book or any person with the message about not exploiting people, animals in anyway. If you’re going to do it through your religion, if you’re going to do it through your demographic, or whatever it is that allows you to be open to the message, I’m all for it. I know that you changed the lives of so many young women and men with that book, with that first book and the subsequent books. There may be some things that are offensive in the book, especially to other people who are at a different place on that path. But you turned the light on for so many people and that’s good!
Rory Freedman: I don’t regret it; I just know that it’s all part of this path that I’m on.
Caryn Hartglass: You’re growing up, it’s okay!
Rory Freedman: Yeah, I’m growing up. That book was I think ten years ago, and I’m just a different person today. I can’t regret it because it’s who I was then and I trust that I’m getting everything I need to get on this journey back home. I’m happy to have gotten what I’ve gotten now, more recently. The reason I titled the book “Beg”… I had a sexier more profane title that was in mind with the Skinny Bitch brand, but I had two different meditations. One was, “Oh my gosh, I can no longer use profanity in my life or in my writing.” So there went that title. In another meditation I know so much about what happens to animals, and I get emails every day about it, there’s postings on Facebook and Twitter everyday about it, I’ve seen countless hours of video footage, I’ve done countless hours of research. I know what’s out there, and I know how bad it is. There are times that it just guts me, but then in this meditation I really didn’t realize, just to the core of my being, how much pain and sadness and grief I had in my physical body for what these animals have endured and continue to endure. From that place, I just felt that I’m begging for mercy and just begging these people for their mercy for these animals because what they’re going through is beyond anything that anyone of us could begin to imagine. That’s where the title “Beg” came from.
Caryn Hartglass: The worst that we do is, at least in numbers, is what we do for the animals that we call food. I talk about that all the time, especially on this program, which is It’s All About Food. But when we allow ourselves to do these things to animals and when we eat animals all of the time, I think it allows us to do all the other things that we do to them, and you touch on many of those. It’s just so unbelievable. So, something like a puppy, something so sweet and lovely and you have so many different images—a romance, one lover gives a puppy to another; Christmas morning and the children get a little puppy with a big red ribbon around them; you know so many wonderful little things around a puppy, yet we don’t see what’s really behind the ones that are bred in mills and you let us know that in this book.
Rory Freedman: Yeah, it’s surprising, but unfortunately people still just aren’t completely aware of what goes on as far as dog breeding goes. That when you buy a dog from a pet store, that dog has been supplied by a puppy mill and that these animals are just being mass produced and pumped out like they are parts from a factory as opposed to living beings. They’re not getting veterinary treatment, or adequate treatment, or adequate food, or water, or any exercise. Their grooming needs are not being met. Lots of them are sick and lots of people will buy these dogs, fall madly in love, and then take them home and the animal will get sick. They’ll have spent thousands of dollars on a vet bill, having already paid a thousand dollars or more for the animal in the pet store, and then the animal will die and then the pet store will say, “We’ll give you another one for free.” It’s like it’s a shirt that got a rip in it as opposed to a living being. The reason that these animals are so sick and dying is because they are inbred in these puppy mill scenarios. Some of the basic, simple things that we can do to be kinder and more merciful to animals is instead of purchasing animals from pet stores, or even buying them from breeders, we can adopt animals from shelters. They are going to be killed if they are not adopted because our shelter system is overcrowded and packed.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, just one thought behind the breeding concept, if we’re not connecting the dots, but it’s rape. The whole concept behind a breed, I hope we wouldn’t tolerate in this day and age with humans… You know, breeding the ultimate human; Although, those stories continue to plague us in sci-fi movies and whatever. It’s really a very ugly thing. People just see they want a certain look, or a cuteness behind it. It’s pretty incredible. It’s one thing that we do what we do to the incredibly adorable animals that are out there. That is just unbelievable because sometimes I want to believe that we treat the ones that are cuddly and cute better; but certainly when it comes to puppy mills and breeding, we’re not treating the animals that are bred to make these adorable little muffins. There are many species that are not cute and cuddly. A fish for example; I keep learning more and more about fish, and I learned a bit in your book.
Rory Freedman: Yeah, one of the things that I was surprised to learn is that fish feel pain. I think it’s easy to discount fish because they’re not furry, they’re not cute, it’s not somebody that you would want to pick up and hug and kiss. Their expressions to us don’t really look like there’s much intelligence there. But it’s like saying… I can’t even think of a good analogy. Beyond what we think just by looking at them, just because we don’t relate to them in the same way that we might relate to a kitten, puppy, chimp, or even a dolphin who looks like he/she is smiling, these fish do have pain. Their facial expressions or other movements of their body do indicate that they’re suffering pain. It’s been convenient for sports fisherman for all these years to say that they don’t. When in fact, catching a fish by it’s mouth, putting a hook through it’s mouth and ripping the hook out of it’s mouth and then throwing the fish back in the water, the fish does experience pain, it also experiences stress. This has been proven time and time again by science. So sport fishing for fun… Certainly we can enjoy the water, or nature, or ourselves in so many other ways that aren’t torturing, harming, and hurting animals.
Caryn Hartglass: I’ve done a bit of snorkeling and some scuba diving, and I have just this personal motto: Look but don’t touch. I don’t want to touch anything; I don’t even want to touch the coral it’s so precious.
Rory Freedman: A friend of mine was diving once, and before that she had eaten fish her whole life and then she said she had this moment where this little squid was in front of her and they were just regarding each other and she just spent maybe a minute or so with this squid. Something in her heart opened and she said, “Oh my goodness, what have I been doing,” and “never again,” and she just stopped eating fish after that.
Caryn Hartglass: I think my first epiphany with fish came from an odd place. There’s that Chicken Soup For The Soul series–not that I recommend chicken soup for anyone, there’s lots of wonderful vegan versions of that delicious, brothy soup; that nourishing, healing recipe, we don’t need chicken soup—but there was one about sea animals. There were so many incredible stories about the intelligence of fish, one after another. I was just blown away because you just don’t have the opportunity to think about “there’s a whole world under the water, and we don’t even know of the intelligence that’s going on there.”
Rory Freedman: No, we really and truly have been given dominion over animals, and we have not been very good stewards at all. Obviously we are ruining the planet in so many ways and harming animals in so many ways. I know that people will often say that they need meat to live, and I’ll say, “Fine, if that’s the case, then let’s allow for that.” But the other millions of things or ways that we’re harming animals that we don’t need to do, that we don’t even need to address. Do we actually need for our children to spend two hours in the circus, knowing that contributes to a lifetime of imprisonment and abuse for the elephants, or the lions, or the tigers? These are so many things that we can live without, and that are for “entertainment”, that we don’t need for our survival or wellness.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to believe that when we stop consuming the species that have experienced exploitation and violence, that we will stop creating more violence. As we eat it we continue create it.
Rory Freedman: Yeah, I do think ingesting animals who have been factory farmed and slaughtered and butchered in such haphazard and cruel conditions, and been abused up until their death is certainly something that you would not want to put in your body.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, I just have one question in the book that I hope you don’t mind me asking. You look fabulous in the photo, and I’ve seen you a few times in person. Most recently I was at the leadership weekend in Washington with PCRM in December, and you spoke one of the evenings.
Rory Freedman: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: You mention your unfortunate hair all of the time in this book, what’s that about?
Rory Freedman: Oh, that was the story I was telling during my college days when I had unfortunate hair in college. Thank you very much, that’s very funny. Obviously the picture in the book has been styled professionally, professionally lit, hair and makeup retouching, lighting.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, but you have to have something good to work with.
Rory Freedman: Oh, thank you very much.
Caryn Hartglass: Do you really think you have unfortunate hair?
Rory Freedman: It’s so silly to even consider that I have hair problems. There is so much terrible stuff going on in the world, I’m going to stop complaining about hair.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, good. I’ve had big hair all my life; big, red, curly, frizzy hair. I’ve learned how to use blow dryers and all kinds of products. Coconut oil is my favorite. Still, on a hot, humid day it’s out of control. But as somebody who’s gone through Chemotherapy and lost her hair, as a friend of mine who wrote a book said, “Any day with hair is a good day.” You’ve got to love your hair!
Rory Freedman: I’m learning to put a lot less stock in my appearance and care less. One of the things I’ve been feeling lately is just sort of this shrinking away from the public spotlight in a sense. Just not wanting to have to do the same work in the same vein. To a degree, when you go on a book tour, or you’re going on TV shows, or you’re giving speeches, you have to pay attention to your appearance because it’s just expected that you’re going to be well put together. I’m just not so interested in that right now. I’m not interested in clothes or hair or makeup. I would just prefer to feel that connection in my heart, to the divine. My appearance just feels even beyond secondary. Much, much lower on the list of things that I need to think about.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, you do sound like you’re growing up quite a bit. More than most people will ever do in their lifetime. So you have a lot of followers, what do they think about this book Beg and the new you?
Rory Freedman: Interestingly, when I was on the book tour and talking about my own personal shifts around language and not swearing, the response was the same response that you had. You know, “Hey, let’s not beat down Skinny Bitch because that book was really helpful.” But also that “Hey, yeah I’m finding the same thing. I’m changing my language also, and I’m finding that I want to be kinder and gentler to people who don’t share the same view that I have. The work needs to be done within more than without. Even more important what we’re putting out in the world, and trying to encourage others to do is that we need to do this work in ourselves.” It was really a beautiful experience to work with people on that same level. To see that like “Yeah, it’s happening. It’s not just happening in me, it’s happening in people all over the place.”
Caryn Hartglass: That’s really important. I know that with many of us who are in this movement, if we call it a movement, are trying to make this world a better place for all life on earth, it can be very challenging, it can be very disorienting, it can be frustrating, depressing, competitive. The best solution to all of those feelings…When you have all of this wonderful information and you want to help someone and they’re not open to it and they don’t want it and you know you can make them feel better. It’s just not about that. You cannot control. You need to know that you can only be you and yourself. Going within and clearing all of the clutter is probably the best thing we can do.
Rory Freedman: I’m really just clear today that I have no idea what anyone else’s journey should look like. It’s arrogant for me to think that I know what somebody else needs. It’s truly between them and God, their path is between them and God. I think also that’s part of the reason that I’m shrinking away from the spotlight and that I’m clear now that I just don’t know anymore. I don’t know anything about anything anymore. I know that it’s important for me to cultivate my relationship with God, and to be pleasing to God. The rest of what everybody else does or doesn’t do is between them and God. I’ve got plenty of work to do on myself.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, I’m glad that I managed to catch you before you totally turn away from talking to all of us out there, and I’m glad you wrote this book. It’s definitely a good read, and the animals really need this and so much more. I don’t even want to put words in their mouths because I’m sure that what they have to say is so much more profound than what we say. Just to open people’s eyes, know that we need to be paying attention and being a lot kinder. Well thank you.
Rory Freedman: Yeah, that’s a good summary. Thank you for having me.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food. All of the best to you on your journey.
Rory Freedman: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, be well. I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food. That was Rory Freedman, the author of the new book Beg. It’s a radical new way of regarding animals and something we all should know about. Thank you again for joining me, and visit responsiblelivingandeating.com. That’s where I live. Email me at realmeals.org. Remember, have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Alex Belser, 11/11/2013