11/9/2011 Interviews with Ken Babal and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

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11/9/2011:

Part I: Ken Babal, CN
Mushrooms for Health and Longevity

Ken Babal is a licensed clinical nutritionist with over 25 years experience. He is a consultant to the natural food and supplement industry and a former instructor for Southern California School of Culinary Arts.

Ken Babal has written over 100 articles that have appeared in many popular publications including Let’s Live, Taste for Life and Doctors’ Prescription for Healthy Living. He is co-author with Shari Lieberman, Ph.D. of Maitake Mushroom and D-Fraction (Woodland 2004) and author of Good Digestion: Your Key to Vibrant Health (Alive 2000) and Seafood Sense: The Truth about Seafood Nutrition and Safety (Basic Health Publications 2005).

Ken appears in the Discovery Health Channel documentary Alternatives Uncovered and E! TV’s The High Price of Fame: Starved!. He has also been a guest on many local and national radio programs.

As a professional musician and drummer, Ken became interested in nutrition as a means of realizing one’s optimum potential. “You can’t have a bad day when you go on stage. Nutrition is something we have control over and it plays a huge role in how we feel and perform each day.”

11/9/2011:

Part II: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
The 30 Day Vegan Challenge

The award-winning author of five books, including the bestselling The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, Vegan’s Daily Companion, and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has guided people to becoming and staying vegan for over 12 years through sold-out cooking classes, bestselling books, inspiring lectures, engaging videos, and her immensely popular audio podcast, “Vegetarian Food for Thought.” Using her unique blend of passion, humor, and common sense, she empowers and inspires people to live according to their own values of compassion and wellness. She also contributes to National Public Radio and The Christian Science Monitor, and has appeared on The Food Network and PBS. Visit colleenpatrickgoudreau.com for more.

TRANSCRIPTION PART I:

Hello, I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. Good afternoon. Happy Autumn. Happy November. It is incredible here in New York City. The weather is so fabulous it just makes me think about global warming. I’m going to enjoy it while it’s here. I want to remind you that I recently founded the nonprofit Responsible Eating and Living and the website is responsibleeatingandliving.com. It’s where I get to put all of my energy and passion. There are wonderful recipes up there. We just put up a new video based on Barry Estabrook’s book Tomatoland. We had him on the show several weeks ago. I bring that up because it’s such an important issue this thing with conventional tomatoes now that winter is coming we’re going to see more of the Florida conventional tomato here in New York and all around the country. Something you will want to know, one of these tasteless, red, round treats because they’re filled with things that I don’t think most of us want to support. Check that out at responsibleeatingandliving.com. As the season gets colder and changes we really need to keep our immune system supplied with great nutrients to keep us strong and keep us well. We talk a lot about health here on this show, one thing I haven’t talked too much about, I’m not exactly sure why, but we’re going to talk a lot about in the first part of the show—mushrooms. My guest is Ken Babal the author of Mushrooms for Health and Longevity. He’s a licensed clinical nutritionist with over 25 years experience. He is a consultant to the natural food and supplement industry and a former instructor for Southern California School of Culinary Arts. He has written over 100 articles that have appeared in many popular publications including Let’s Live, Taste for Life and Doctors’ Prescription for Healthy Living. He is co-author with Shari Lieberman of Maitake Mushroom and D-Fraction and author of Good Digestion: Your Key to Vibrant Health and Seafood Sense: The Truth about Seafood Nutrition and Safety. He appears in the Discovery Health Channel documentary Alternatives Uncovered and E! TV’s The High Price of Fame: Starved!. He has also been a guest on many local and national radio programs. And last, as a professional musician and drummer, Ken became interested in nutrition as a means of realizing one’s optimum potential. “You can’t have a bad day when you go on stage. Nutrition is something we have control over and it plays a huge role in how we feel and perform each day.” Welcome to It’s All About Food, Ken.

Ken Babal: Hello Caryn. Boy, you covered the whole bio there, thank you.

CH: I think you deserve it. And I just want to be sure I pronounce your last name. How do you say it?

KB: Babal.

CH: Babal, ok. I got it. Very good. Before we start talking about mushrooms. I really enjoyed reading the last part of your bio about being a professional musician and drummer. I personally just came from a musical rehearsal where a bunch of singers were working on a project and one of the guys was struggling because his immune system was down, and he’s like hoarse and can’t get anything out. You really can’t have a bad day when you’re a musician, when you’re a singer it’s so important to have a strong immune system.

KB: Sure. I’m sure you’re well aware of that as a vocalist.

CH: When your instrument is your voice you really can’t let it go. Blues singing has been a passion of mine for a long time, not just for that but so many things but definitely it’s more obvious when you’re performing.

KB: True. I just got a testimonial from a singer recently. He was having trouble, he was having to cancel shows because he was just constantly getting sick. He started to take a mushroom supplement as a matter of fact. He said he hasn’t been ill since he started on it. So he’s very pleased about that.

CH: Well you know most people are looking for a secret pill, one thing that they can pop that’s going to solve all their problems. I’m not going to say that there is one but mushrooms come pretty close to solving a lot of ills. It’s amazing. We’re just at the tip of discovering all the great things that they can do.

KB: I agree, there’s no magic pill but mushrooms come close because they are unique. You think about it, they’re not a vitamin, they’re not a plant, they’re in this category we sometimes we call the third kingdom, they are members of the fungal family.

CH: I was reading this in your book and I found it really interesting. I really wasn’t clear on that before so could you talk more about what funguses and mushrooms really are?

KB: It might turn a few people off when they think of a fungus they think of moldy bread, mildew in shower stalls and that type of thing. Also penicillin, for example, is in the fungal family. The mushrooms’ DNA actually puts them closer to humans than it does to plants.

CH: That’s wild…just learning about this and you write that they take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide just like people do.

KB: Yes they mimic human respiration.

CH: It’s wild, it’s kind of giving me the creeps somehow. Maybe mushrooms really are…they’re not animals, they’re not plants, they’re funguses.

KB: Right.

CH: They don’t feel pain though, they don’t have any central nervous system?

KB: No.

CH: They are really, really amazing. So there are so many different kinds and we are discovering so many phenomenal properties they have. One thing I’m amazed at. This book we’re talking about—Mushrooms for Health and Longevity—it’s really a guide. It’s short, it’s tiny but it’s packed. Every sentence that you’ve written is, I can’t skim this book. I have to slowly take in every word because there’s a lot of very interesting, packed full of great stuff kind of information.

KB: I’ve tried to make it consumer friendly. There’s plenty of books out there that are quite technical on the study of mycology but this one is an easy read and I wanted to fill it with facts and put some pictures of beautiful mushrooms in there and recipes and some of the medicinal uses of the mushroom supplements.

CH: Let’s talk about some of the, do you have a favorite mushroom?

KB: I’m just a big mushroom fan in general. If I had to choose one, I would say, maitake.

CH: Is that for eating or for its property?

KB: Both. Quite a few people are familiar with shitaki mushrooms but maitake is kind of coming to the forefront, it may pass shitake as a favorite culinary mushroom but besides that it has so many wonderful health properties. As a matter of fact, the maitake mushroom extracts, for example it’s called D-fraction, is crossing over into mainstream medicine that’s used as an adjunct in cancer patients’ programs.

CH: It’s almost like mushrooms can be chemotherapy or better than chemotherapy.

KB: What the study suggests is that they enhance the effects of the drugs and that’s significant because you know how a lot of conventional doctors are leery of supplements and herbs and so on. They think that it might interfere with the treatment. In this case we have a lot of good scientific information that actually shows that the mushrooms complement the conventional treatments and help to alleviate the side effects of some of these treatments, chemo and radiation and so on.

CH: It really is important and I hope that more doctors are staying up with the research to know this because I had my personal experience with cancer and chemotherapy about five years ago and I did talk to a number of different doctors that I was consulting with and I don’t think they were up on all the research as I was, because I was trying to save my own life. I read some of the articles that showed that supplementation might negatively affect the impact of chemotherapy and then there were articles that discussed how this wasn’t true and so there was this sort of grey area but some doctors definitely believe that you should not supplement while they are giving you the drug and it’s not true with mushrooms. It’s very clear that they only help.

KB: And so all the doctors have to do is look at the research for themselves. A lot of times the patients wind up educating the doctors.

CH: Now maitake—I don’t ordinarily see this in my supermarket. I know I can get it as a supplement but are there places where you can buy it fresh or buy it dried?

KB: Yeah, I think it’s beginning to appear more and more in major supermarkets, usually dried along with the shitake, Portobello, morel or something like that. I’ve been seeing them fresh in the produce departments lately.

CH: I’m going to look more for them. I live in New York City so I can find everything here…certainly in Chinatown, in Manhattan and in Queens there are stores that have so many different dried grey things of different shapes and sizes. I have no idea what they are but I bet maitake is in there.

KB: Particularly the Asian stores because they are quite familiar with mushrooms in China and Japan. They’ve been revered not only as food but as medicine for thousands of years.

CH: There are good mushrooms and there are bad mushrooms. How do we tell the difference.

KB: That’s another thing that turns some people off, they are kind of suspicious about mushrooms.

CH: I remember when I was a teenager, I have never done anything, I’ve never done any kind of drug, I’ve never smoked or taken anything but I knew of lot of people that were getting off on mushrooms.

KB: Yeah, the magic mushrooms, yeah.

CH: So how do we know? How can we trust the mushrooms that we get?

KB: There are thousands of mushrooms there’s only out of the thousands perhaps only fifty that are poisonous. People in the business that supply markets and so on they take pride in their work and they are very knowledgeable about that sort of thing. It’s a different story for somebody you know who wants to go out in the forest and start picking mushrooms. They have to know what they’re doing and maybe have somebody help them along but it’s really not much of a concern.

CH: I’ll never forget I had a friend who was going to graduate school for botany and he was doing some studies in upstate New York and I visited him and we went through the woods and he was identifying all these different mushrooms and one of them he said, it was just a beige simple looking mushroom and he said this will bruise blue and he rubbed it and it turned this incredible bright blue.

KB: Wow.

CH: But it was very poisonous, very beautiful but very poisonous.

KB: But you know the flip side of that is that the edible mushrooms are said to stimulate imagination and intuition and you think about it you know, they don’t provide food energy from the sun. They appear mostly at night so they’re said to be under lunar influences and that is believed to infuse them with this ability to stimulate imagination and intuition when they’re consumed.

CH: I was fascinated by a couple of things: One, that mushrooms have a lot of similar DNA as humans and also that they take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide like animals. And also they don’t get what they need from the sun, the nutrition they get from rotting things in woods and leaves and …

KB: Right, they’re performing a valuable recycling service to humans.

CH: They’re just really fascinating to me. And they make Vitamin D.

KB: They do as a matter of fact. Other than sunlight they are the only vegetarian source of Vitamin D.

CH: You said that some of them are becoming commercial now? Is there a way that we can find some of the mushrooms that have significant amounts of Vitamin D in them?

KB: All mushrooms have that Vitamin D precursor. Just like vegetables have betacarotene which the body converts into active Vitamin A. The same thing with mushrooms. They have something called Ergosterol which is a provitamin D and our bodies convert that into active Vitamin D. What some of the mushroom companies, the growers, are doing now is they are exposing them to light and that converts the provitamin into the active form of Vitamin D and that will be represented in the nutrition facts panel. You’ll see: Provides 100% of the daily value for Vitamin D.

CH: OK, I’m going to look for that. What about eating mushrooms raw? Is that ok? I’ve heard mixed things about eating mushrooms raw.

KB: Yeah, I like to have raw button mushrooms occasionally on my spinach salad but ideally in this case they are better cooked. Like any food you take the good with the bad, there’s some sort of antinutrients in there. So for the best nutrition I would suggest cooking them.

CH: Because sometimes when I get fresh shitake mushrooms and I’ll have one raw and, what I love about it is, if it’s a really good one, it has a really buttery flavor but I can’t eat more than one raw because then I don’t feel very good.

KB: Well, we need both raw and cooked foods in our diet.

CH: Now what about organic? I’ve seen some packages of dried organic mushrooms. Are there mushrooms that are not grown organically how does that work?

KB: I would suspect so. That’s interesting. I really haven’t looked into that far enough to take a survey.

CH: I just wondered if it’s worth the extra price to buy the organic.

KB: Organic is always the best choice.

CH: I agree.

KB: And the price is coming down a lot on a lot of organic items.

CH: It’s really nice to have dried mushrooms because they don’t take up a lot of space.

KB: They’re just ready to go whenever you need them.

CH: They’re just instant flavor for soup broth. That’s what I like about them.

KB: As much as I like mushrooms I don’t eat them every day. So for that reason, I like to take a mushroom supplement right along with my multiple vitamin.

CH: There are some mushrooms that really aren’t for eating that are good for supplementation.

KB: That’s the other thing. Some of the terrific mushrooms, reishi for example, it’s just too tough and woody to eat. The only way you can benefit from that is to take it as a supplement, as an extract.

CH: I definitively took some of that when I was going through my cancer treatment. I’m here to talk about it so I know that it had to have had a positive impact. Now there’s another mushroom I was reading about in here, I didn’t know about. It caught my attention—called tremella. It’s supposed to keep our skin looking young.

KB: Yeah, another common name for it is white jelly leaf. Again, tremella has had a long history in traditional Chinese medicine for nourishing the lungs and stomach and kidneys. It’s what we would call a yin jing tonic which means that it enhances life energy by helping us assimilate nutrients so it helps the body retain moisture as well. Some companies that are exploiting that now and putting it in facial creams. I’m sure a lot of folks are familiar with hyaluronic acid, sort of like an internal beauty supplement. Hyaluronic acid is very good for moisturizing the skin. Turns out the tremella, when they compared it with hyaluronic acid is actually more effective than hyaluronic acid in helping the body retain moisture. So tremella you can eat it but you can also use it in a face cream.

CH: Well, I’m sold. I can’t wait to go out and buy more mushrooms. I just read this thing and I’m like I need to get this and I need to get this and hoo! Now are there some suppliers of mushroom supplements that are better than others or some places we don’t want to be getting mushroom supplements from?

KB: I think they’re all reputable. However, one company comes to mind. It’s called Mushroom Wisdom. As a matter of fact they’re located in New Jersey. I have a lot of respect for them because they’re doing a lot of the research I’ve been talking about. They’re investing their own money to provide the science and the clinical studies that we need to benefit from these supplements. As matter of fact, they are the same folks that make tremella face cream called Aquamella.

CH: I want to get some except it says that it is also believed to remove facial freckles if used frequently. And I like my freckles so I’m not sure I want them to go away.

KB: Oh, I see.

CH: Mushrooms grown in different places pick up different flavors? I’m sure that’s true of all foods but I lived in France for four years and the simple frozen white mushroom that I would buy had incredible flavor not the same as the white mushrooms here in the United States. I really miss them.

KB: It was frozen huh?

CH: Yeah it was great. They were sliced and frozen, fabulous. I was just wondering what was in them that made them taste so good.

KB: I don’t know but I can tell you nutrition-wise they provide protein and B vitamins and of course Vitamin D.

CH: A lot of people think that mushrooms have nothing in them but they are packed with flavor and nutrients.

KB: You know of course the common property of all these mushrooms is they’re immune-enhancing ability and that is attributed to a type of carbohydrate actually. Normally we think of carbohydrates for energy. In this case carbohydrate is called beta glycan and by the way, maitake D-fraction is a concentration of beta glycans. The beta glycans activate our white blood cells, which is the most important part of our immunity. You can actually find receptors on mycophages for these beta glycans. They’re involved in cell signaling.

CH: I’m looking at a table in your book of all the different type of applications that mushrooms can have. If you want just one pill, like I said at the beginning, these mushrooms are it. They can help lower cholesterol, there are a few here that are anti-allergy, lots of evidence of reducing or shrinking cancer tumors, there are some that help with dementia, this is really spectacular.

KB: If I were to sum it up I would describe them as anti-allergenic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, as well as the ability to sensitize ourselves to insulin. To get back to maitake, there’s another maitake extract, called sx-fraction, turns out that one is helpful to diabetics in controlling their blood sugar.

CH: Well, Ken, I am thrilled with this little book. When I first got it I thought, it’s just this little thing and when I got into it there’s really a lot of great stuff in here. And then just talking about my favorite subject which is eating food, you’ve got some great recipes in the fact for different mushrooms and different soups and stir fries and spring rolls, and even desserts with mushrooms.

KB: Right.

CH: So, I’m hungry.

KB: I know. When you look at the pictures it makes you want to go into your kitchen and start cooking.

CH: Thanks Ken, thanks for this book and for your work and coming on the show.

KB: Thanks Caryn. Great to be with you.

CH: OK, take care and be well. Do you have a website before you go?

KB: I do. It’s called simply nutritionmusician.com

CH: nutritionmusician.com. Great, thank you, Ken Babal, author of Mushrooms for Health and Longevity.

Transcribed by Suzanne Kelly, 11/3/2013

TRANSCRIPTION PART II:

CARYN:
Hello, we’re back. I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All about Food. And we’re going to continue with my favorite subject: food.

And bring on the next guest, and that is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, and we’re going to be talking about her newest book: The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. She’s an award-winning author of five books, including the best-selling Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, Vegan’s Daily Companion, and now the 30-Day Vegan Challenge. She has guided people to becoming and staying vegan for over 12 years through sold-out cooking classes, best-selling books, inspiring lectures, engaging videos, and her immensely popular audio podcasts: Vegetarian Food for Thought.

Using her unique blend of passion, humor, and common sense, she empowers and inspires people to live according to their own values of compassion and wellness. She also contributes to National Public Radio and the Christian Science Monitor and has appeared on the Food Network and PBS. Visit ColleenPatrickGoudreau.com for more.

Hello, and welcome to It’s All about Food, Colleen.

COLLEEN:
Hi Caryn, thank you for having me. It’s good to talk you again.

CARYN:
Yeah, it’s good to talk to you. And thank you for the book. I got it, and I read it, and I’m ready to talk about it.

COLLEEN:
Oh, great, thank you.

CARYN:
First, I didn’t realize what it was going to be. And I thought it was just going to be a cookbook, and there are many, many wonderful recipes in here, but there is a whole lot more. And you basically talk about everything people need to know.

COLLEEN:
Yeah, it’s wonderful. It’s actually really wonderful because this is a culmination of eleven years of my work. And you know, it was just published in August, and I wrote it a year ago, and it answers everything that I know people ask, and so when people come up to me now, I just saw a woman yesterday in a store, she said, “I know, but what about eating out?” and I said–

CARYN:
Read the book.

COLLEEN:
“What about traveling?” and it’s in the book. Nothing you ask is unique. Nothing you ask hasn’t been asked before. So that’s what’s really exciting about it. It really covers every question people ask about this lifestyle.

CARYN:
That’s funny that nothing people ask is really unique We’ve heard all these questions over and over, the funny thing is I kind of got a sore neck reading this book cause I just kept nodding. Yes, yes, yes, yes, oh yeah, uh-huh, right. [laughs]

COLLEEN:
Yup.

CARYN:
But that’s great, that it’s all here. And uh, it’s um, It’s really a good guide because, okay, you touch on some of the serious stuff–the nutrition, whatever–but it’s really just common sense things that help people through this change.

COLLEEN:
Yeah, I really tried to make this as easy as possible. I mean, the reason the book exists is because I realized that making changes is actually hard for people. That’s whether you’re becoming vegan or doing anything. The change is difficult for people. And so as much as that I can guide people and help them change habit, there are some things that I, you know, people need help with. Once you get past that, then it’s just a matter of creating new habits and kind of looking in a different direction, and that’s really what I do: I say, “Look, you’re going to be changing some of the foundation that’s been familiar to you for many, many years. But the good news is we’re gonna be replacing that with a new foundation so I’m gonna give you everything you need so that when you’re done, you’re standing on firm ground. You’re not flailing about, and I think that’s been a real problem with people, I think there’s a lot of people who are compelled to make these changes and become vegan for so many reasons, but they don’t know how to do it, and that’s really how I see my work, is that it helps people, it’s a guide for people, and that’s what this book is.

CARYN:
Now, it’s a 30-day vegan challenge, and the way you set it up is there’s a different chapter for every day. And, my– I would recommend to people if they were making a transition to the vegan diet I would read this whole book first, and then go back and read it a chapter a day. While they’re doing it.

COLLEEN:
It’s true. It’s interesting, isn’t it? It’s very much more than meant to be programmatic. My intention from the very beginning was not, “Look, day one you do this, day two you do this, day three you do this, and by the end of the 30-day you’re vegan.” This was, “Do it for 30 days, just commit to doing it for 30 days, and the book will give you everything you need and I suspect that they’re gonna read ahead cause you’re gonna want to know what to do the next day. You’re gonna want all the information to then– then do it for 30 days. And the keep looking back to it as a resource guide. But I think that’s what a lot of people are doing: reading it all at once.

CARYN:
Right. No, I think that’s the best way to do it, and then know, as you’re doing it. “Oh, I remember reading that, let me go and check up on that.”

COLLEEN:
Good, yeah, exactly. And there’s so many things that people can use: to take it to the store with them because, you know, I mean there’s a whole chapter on just, as you know, stocking your pantries and produces–lists and lists and lists of items that people would want to put on their shopping list, and, you know, recipes so they can go to the grocery store with the book and have a shopping list. I mean, so there’s a lot of resources to use again and again.

CARYN:
Now you’ve been doing this for eleven, twelve years. How long have you been vegan?

COLLEEN:
For twelve years.

CARYN:
Oh. Okay.

COLLEEN:
For twelve years. I started right away. [laughs]

CARYN:
So you haven’t been into this for that long, because I mean some of us have been doing this for decades, and right now it’s really exciting, because it seems like this is our time. People know what the word is: vegan. for the most part know how to pronounce it: vegan. [laughs] And– sometimes some people say “vay-guhn” but that’s okay. But we’re on television now, and if you read the New York Times, but every Sunday it’s so exciting because now I see three vegan books on the New York’s Times’ how-to best-selling list. We have Forks Over Knives, we have Eat to Live, and I just saw Dr. Caldwell’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and this is so exciting.

COLLEEN:
This is very exciting, absolutely.

CARYN:
So people need to know how to do it, because people are talking about it.

COLLEEN:
Right. Right, exactly. And that’s, again, that’s what happens is what I talk to a lot of people who read those books, or seen films, and they all have the same reaction: they want to do it, but they still ask the same questions–they all ask the same questions. So that’s what this is, that’s the why, and this is the how.

CARYN:
You talk about a lot of interesting things in here, and I don’t remember exactly where it was, but it had to do with where we’ve come as a civilization in terms of food. And you know there’s a lot of people that say, you know, humans weren’t meant to eat this way, you know, we’re meant to– and I certainly don’t agree with that, and I think we’re really evolving. We’re eating all different kinds of ways, and cultures have eaten all different kinds of ways, and I think we’re really just learning now about what’s best for humans in terms of disease and longevity and just feeling good.

COLLEEN:
I think it’s true. I think in terms of real optimal nutrition I think we’re really learning more now than we ever did before. But I think we’ve known for a long time what food really are the most helpful for us, and it got away from us as we became more affluent as our society became more affluent. We had access to things we never had access to before, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Cause bringing all of these things into our diet has actually caused a lot of problems. So no, of course we’re learning more today, which is really good. That’s where I am. Let’s look forward, not look backward, and I think the excuses that people make, those statements about “But this is how we’ve always eaten,” “But this is how we evolved, “But this is what we did 10,000 years ago.”

I don’t care what we did 10,000 years ago. That doesn’t interest me. What interests me is how well we can do today, and how well we can do in the future. And, you know, I just find, Caryn, what I love about the response I get to that, is that it empowers people. I think we’ve kept the bar too low for too long. You hear, even, you know I’ve heard even vegan educators that are vegan activists say, “Well, people aren’t going to do it all so we might as well just expect them to do only this much.” I’m like, what are you talking about? People can do a lot more than you expect of them and I think we need to raise the bar. And when you do raise the bar people rise immediately and it’s a beautiful thing. They realize they can do things they perhaps never thought they could themselves.

CARYN:
I’m going to say amen to that, I really agree on raising the bar for so many things. So often when– the times I’m in a doctor’s office and I’m talking about nutrition, and ask them why aren’t you telling me this, and they say, “Well, you know, we do say it, but most people, you know, they don’t want to get there… and,” But if the doctor– if everyone raises the bar and says, “This is what you need to do,” people will meet that challenge.

COLLEEN:
They will meet the challenge, and I’ll tell you, they’re looking for it. They want it, they want the truth. People want to know what they can do to be the most– the healthiest they can be. They want to be the best people they can be. They want to be the most compassionate, and we’re really selling them short, and we’re not doing them any favors by just saying, “Oh, well, you’re not gonna– you’re not gonna do it so I’m just gonna give you the lowest amount of information, you know, the least amount of information, so that you can make the least number of changes so that you’re not uncomfortable”? I mean, that’s just so, that’s just underestimating them so much.

CARYN:
Well, yeah, part of it is when people are told how important good nutrition is, they don’t believe it. I know some people that just say [unclear] information, certainly for me, over and over, but they’re still kind of on the fence because they don’t see enough, they don’t hear enough, there’s so so much garbage out there.

COLLEEN:
It’s true, and if you notice– if you find the book on the– in the chapters on nutrition. You know, one of the things I really emphasize is that this is not that complicated and you don’t have to be, you know, a nutritionist, or a registered dietician or a doctor to understand this stuff. Or a chemist. It’s pretty basic stuff. And so the approach I take is don’t even listen to me. You don’t even have to believe me, but let’s look at common sense. The common sense is that calcium is a mineral found in the ground, and the reason cow’s milk has calcium in it is because the cow eats grass. You know, the omega 3 fatty acid that we find in fish is because the fish are eating the phytoplankton, they’re eating the algae, they’re eating the plant. So my whole point is that I get to be at the place of– the nutrients we need are plant-based, period.

You don’t have to believe me, but just start thinking about it. What we’re doing right now is going through the animal to get to the plants that the animals are eating themselves to get the nutrients we’re trying to get that originated in the plant. So when you touch it that way, people go, “I never thought about that before,” or “I never thought of that” and that’s the kind of thing that I hope to do, is just, you know, kind of shift paradigm for people so that they don’t have to think, like, “Yeah, but how many grams, and how many milligrams, and how many– you don’t have to measure away. You just have to understand the basic idea, that the nutrients are in the plants, and when we base our diet on plants we’re getting the most nutrients.

CARYN:
It’s not complicated. It’s easy and it’s delicious.

COLLEEN:
Yes.

CARYN:
Another thing I like in the book, I use this from time to time, or I’ll ask people, “You know, you drink cow’s milk?” How would you like a cold glass of dog’s milk?” And, uh, you have a great chapter on this, and, uh, you’ve added to it something that I didn’t think of, and that is that the animal that we’ve used for milk are the ones that don’t run away or don’t fight with us.

COLLEEN:
Yeah. And I make that point because I want people to understand how arbitrary the decision is. For us to consume– the ones who are consuming the milk of the animal– the milk that we’re consuming– the cow’s milk, you know, the goat’s milk, and in different parts of the world, they do consume buffalo’s milk, and, you know, yak’s milk and camel’s milk. And when you look at what all these animals share is that they’re herd animals and they’re easy to control and easy to keep together. So it’s the characteristic of the animal, not the characteristic of the milk, that makes– that have made us drink their milk for so long. If we could have controlled hyenas, if we could have controlled lions, we would have. It had nothing to do with the milk itself, it had everything to do with the animals that, you know, we could control.

CARYN:
Right. That’s pretty brilliant.

COLLEEN:
Thank you. [laughs] That’s– That’s– Again, the idea is that’s how arbitrary this is. And we don’t even drink our own human milk into adulthood. The animal whose milk we’re drinking, they’re not even drinking their own species’ milk in adulthood. It doesn’t make any sense. We’ve just all been, you know, we’ve all had the same marketing material from, you know, when we were so young that this was just embedded in our brains, but when you just phrase it a certain way it’s pretty amazing to watch people’s lapels go off when you say something like that and they go, “Oh my God, I’ve never thought about that before.”

CARYN:
One of the reasons why I thought it was important to read this book in its entirety before going off and doing the 30 days is what happens when you have to go out and talk to people about what you’re doing and the responses that you get, because a lot of people get intimidated, a lot of people get asked a lot of questions… you address a lot of them in this book.

COLLEEN:
So much pressure. Yeah, I mean, it’s– I talk about the social affects a lot because I think that’s very, very important, not only for us to be able to speak our truth and stand up for what we believe in and be able to feel confident and unapologetic about something that’s so powerful and so positive. But also because, you know, I do think we have a responsibility to be able to plant seeds when we’re talking to other people, and again, I think in the past, too long, vegetarians and vegans have felt intimidated doing this because they thought they were imposing their beliefs on someone when really it’s a done– in the right way it’s about sharing the truth, and that’s not something we have to apologize for and frankly it’s not something we can afford not to do. So I talk a lot about the social aspects and being able to answer those questions and feel really confident doing it.

CARYN:
Well, a lot of people having a real hard time with it. I know that there are some of us who don’t care what people think and can be really aggressive and just demand, and be upfront. But many people are not, and they need answers, they need scripted responses for the questions. And as you know, most of the questions, all of the questions we’ve heard before. So–

COLLEEN:
We’ve heard before, exactly. And I think what happens is, people who heard them, I think what happens is that we forget what we once were. I think we forget that we probably asked those questions to, and when we forget, that means when someone comes to us with these questions, “Oh my God I’ve had that same answer– same question– protein again, I’m so sick of it,” but you know, it’s the first time that person may be asking that question–

CARYN:
–thinking about it. Yeah.

COLLEEN:
Wait. And so you have to treat every person and every question as unique because it is. Because that’s the first time you’re actually having that conversation with that person. And the [unclear] is unique experience that we have to just kind of get out of our own way and really do a service to the truth by answering those questions even if we’ve been asked them a thousand times.

CARYN:
Where’s a unique place in our culture right now where we have a number of different problems in resecting our nutrition. One is, especially since World War II, when all these industrialized chemical manufacturing came into place we’re creating things and putting them in boxes and feeding them to people and calling them to food [laughs] and they’re not really food. Why are junk food, a lot of highly processed food, and we’re seeing this taking a toll on health. And the other part os that is as the population grows–we just reached seven billion recently, congratulations–if that we’re confining animals into this sopho– horrific spaces in order to grow more of them to see people there’s– two things are happening at the same time and they’re both not healthy.

COLLEEN:
Right.

CARYN:
And the– have a lot of bad impact on us, and you know, so when people– getting back to that subject where people talk about eating the way we’re supposed to eat or nature intended, I mean, we’re so far away from that.

COLLEEN:
For sure.

CARYN:
Not even talking about being vegetarian.

COLLEEN:
For sure. We are. Absolutely. And that’s what’s so lovely about being able to, you know, espouse this. We’re talking about whole food, we’re talking about, you know, whole grain, and vegetables and fruits, and nuts, and mushrooms, and beans, and herbs, and spices. These are not unfamiliar food, these are whole food. And it’s good food, it is nature’s food, and that’s, you know, we can get back to those kinds of basics, it’s really– its the best thing for everybody.

CARYN:
I know there’s a lot of people that listen to the show that are not vegan and are transitioning and having the classic struggles. So, one of the things is that people don’t even realize how many foods they eat that are vegan. It’s not the strange thing: vegan food. Oh, you’re serving vegan food. So what are some of the simple meals that people make that can easily be vegan?

COLLEEN:
Yeah, I talk about that too, I love that. Cause I, you know, if you’ve had an apple, you’ve had vegan food, we just don’t call it vegan. We don’t say, “Can I have a vegan apple?” or just have a vegan banana or– this is food, it’s just–

CARYN:
That’s actually given me a scary food that maybe genetically modified apples will soon have animal genes in them. Who knows what’s going on?

COLLEEN:

Let’s not go there. [laughs] Let’s just– by nature, apple is vegan, by nature, you know, banana is vegan. Yeah, I mean, that’s exactly what I do, Caryn, as well, is demystify it–it’s not a separate food group. You know, look in your cupboard, that’s one of the first things we do in the early part of the book. It’s just let’s look at the pantry and even before you go to the grocery store I suspect that you’re gonna have some things in your cupboard, in your refrigerator, in the freezer that are already vegan that you can prepare before you. Get to the grocery store and start buying some new things. I mean, there’ll be obvious things, like pasta, and like pasta sauce, some of which have chicken sauce, it’s true, but, you know, most are vegan.

As you’re getting to the most whole version of that tomato sauce, even if you buy it commercially, you’re getting to the most vegan as well, because it’s just, you know, tomatoes and citric acid as a preservative, and some garlic, and, you know, onion, et cetera. I mean, you’re getting pretty basic things. You’re not looking for the corn syrup and obviously the chicken stock. But you know for the most part, it’s vegan.

And then, you know, when you’re doing what I often encourage people to get greens as much as possible so I serve chard or kale, or even the pasta sauce that I’m making. Just for pasta. But it could be just basic things like, you know, some canned beans. Open them up and drain them, and then wrap them up in a tortilla, and put some guacamole on, and put some salsa on, some onion, and tomatoes, you know again, all the things that you’re already eating. It could be as simple as a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. I mean, it’s amazing that I, you know, I’m sure you hear this too: people say, “Oh, peanut butter? Is peanut butter vegan?”

CARYN:
Uh-huh.

COLLEEN:
Peanut butter is peanuts. It’s ground. I mean that’s what they’re supposed to be.

CARYN:
Okay, I have a thing about peanuts, because our standard, generic–well, not generic–but the big brand of peanut butter do not just have peanuts. Peanut butter should just be peanuts. Some people have a little salt, but it should be just peanuts. It shouldn’t be hydrogenated oil and sugar and twenty-five other things in your peanut butter.

COLLEEN:
Amen

CARYN:
I have a bug about that.

COLLEEN:
Oh, I do too. I do the same feel– I do the same thing because peanut is ground–peanut butter is ground peanuts, that’s all it is. And I remember, though, I remember transitioning. I grew up on Jiffy and Skippy and… Biffy, whatever it was

CARYN:
And Jiff. Choosy mothers choose Jiff.

COLLEEN:
Right, exactly, I mean I remember that. And I know friends, you know, who eat a pretty healthful vegan diet still– or are still used to that sugary, kind of creamy peanut butter, and I just can’t take it. But I’ll save it for– to make our point here. That’s really a good example of how your palate changes. So when you’re going from a processed food, animal-based product diet to a whole-food, plant-based diet, your palate really changes, and that’s what’s really exciting after 30 days. You’ll discover that even after 30 days. It doesn’t take very long. So the things you think you can never live without now, I promise you, you stop craving because you get all that fat and salt out of your palate, out of your diet, and you start actually craving things that you would never thought you would crave. I never thought I’d crave kale every day. I didn’t grow up eating kale. Right? I mean, that’s not what I imagined, and that’s what happened. And my diet continues to improve. It’s very exciting, it’s a journey, there’s still more to do. But you really have to give yourself time to experience the benefits of getting all the animal product of your diet.

CARYN:
Eggs. Let’s just talk about eggs for a minute. Now I like that you mention in here that eggs are in some recipes and they’re totally useless.

COLLEEN:
Yeah, yes. We mentioned World War II, and that’s a perfect example… you know, before then people were baking eggs– baking cakes without eggs. it was kind of part of the–

CARYN:
Normal.

COLLEEN:
Exactly. And especially during the war when animal products were a luxury item, and really they still are–if we didn’t subsidize them people wouldn’t be able to afford to consume as many animal products as they do–but so people were definitely baking eggs during the war and during the depression, and then after World War II when we had more money than we knew what to do with we just started putting animal product really in everything–commercial products–because we could. You know, because we could afford it, and it was a symbol of affluence. And so it kind of stuck, and so then people got into our cultural consciousness that you can’t live without eggs.

CARYN:
[laughs]

COLLEEN:
That’s again, I try to demystify it and say, “Let’s take a look at this. What do you really need to bake?” Well, you need fat, you need moisture, you need leavening. You don’t need animal products. They serve those roles but plant-based food also serves those roles. So obviously, you know, baking soda and baking powder does that of the leaveners– I mean, you get your richness, I mean, you know, you get your richness from oil–plant-based oil–but when you’re baking a cake, and if I’m baking a cake for special occasions I am gonna do a nice, you know, fluffy cake with oil and–

CARYN:
Uh-huh

COLLEEN:
It’s a rich desert–

CARYN:
It’s a treat.

COLLEEN:
It’s a treat. And then you’re getting the moisture from the oil–could be a plant-based milk, could be water–whatever you’re adding to that recipe. So you absolutely don’t need eggs, they’re totally purposeless in many cases and so even when people are experimenting, baking without eggs, just try removing them. They’re not the one providing the leavener, they’re providing fat.

CARYN:
Uh-huh. Amen. And then the other thing is of course is cheese. You have a great recipe in here for creamy macaroni-and-cheese, one of the old time favorite comfort food and kids love macaroni and cheese, and this is one that’s… well everyone would like.

COLLEEN:
It’s so good. And I have to credit Ann Gentry, it’s from her Real Food Daily Cookbook originally, I modify it a slight amount. But it’s just so delicious–it’s based on cashews, with cashews, and misos–you’ve got that really wonderful tangy flavor, and, you know, there’s a whole chapter of, you know, called “Life after–” “There Is Life after Cheese,” it’s called, and… And I talk about, you know, what it says for us physically. Cause there’s a certain mouth feel, there’s a certain tanginess, there’s a certain salt, there’s an amount of fat–that’s what cheese does for us, dairy-based cheese. It’s not the cow’s milk. That’s now what we’re so excited about, it’s the fat and the salt.

And so we can, again, achieve that, creamy mouth feel–or what you’re talking about with this comfort food, macaroni and cheese–we can achieve that with plants. But I also spend a fair amount of time, as you know, in that chapter talking about just the emotional response we have to food. Because a lot of it is attachment to memory that we had, just attached to having grown up that way, and when we left it was some of those things. I think our transition becomes a lot easier because we’re not so attached to what that thing symbolizes. We can celebrate the memory without having the dairy-based cheese. But it’s the memory that means more to us than the cheddar cheese, really.

CARYN:
Right. Well, change is… I think it’s what humanity is all about. We are continually changing, continually evolving, and I really have hope for, as a species, to really become something truly incredible. But we’re really in a big transition right now. And we. you know, we’re focusing our time and our money on so many things that are a waste in my mind. You know, I think if people were eating healthy food and eating a healthy diet we wouldn’t have the chronic diseases that we have today: heart disease, diabetes, many cancers, autoimmune diseases, etc. And all those research scholars that go, “To finding cures for these things that we know how to prevent could really be used for so much more.”

COLLEEN:
Yeah. Amen. [laughs]

CARYN:
So I know I hope for that.

COLLEEN:
I hope for that, too.

CARYN:
So. What are some of– Are there like Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s favorite recipes–?

COLLEEN:
Sure.

CARYN:
–that people tell you, “Oh my God, this is my most favorite recipe”?

COLLEEN:
Yeah, there are. Some of them are in the book there. In fact, a lot of them are in the book. So one of them is the Garlic Green Soup. So again, I was talking about kale, and I’m sure your cooking skills are sophisticated enough to try that recipe. Well, I find exciting are those people who, you know, never had kelp before. And they make that recipe and they cannot believe it. They just cannot believe how tasty it is, how comforting, how healing it is. So the Garlic Green Soup is definitely an absolute favorite of many, many people. And there’s even a video demonstration of it on my website. I’m Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, and if people can’t spell that, it’s CompassionateCook.com. Cause I know it’s an annoying–

CARYN:
Annoying.

COLLEEN:
–hyphenated name. But also No Queso Quesadillas. Those are so fabulous people love those, they serve them to their kids, they make the as a snack, make them as a party appetizer or dinner. And that’s just quesadillas, which are made of tortillas: corn, or wheat; and hummus. And you can fill them with whatever you want. When you warm these tortillas on the stove the hummus becomes totally different

CARYN:
Warm, and gooey, and yummy.

COLLEEN:
Exactly. So those are the two that stand out.

CARYN:
Yeah, that’s great. Okay, well, guess what? We’ve come to the end and I’m starving. So I’m [laughs] I’m getting some yummy vegan food. Thanks, Colleen, thanks for writing this book: The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. And again, you’re– you’ve got a lot of websites, but the easiest one to remember is…

COLLEEN:
CompassionateCook.com.

CARYN:
CompassionateCook.com. Thank you.

COLLEEN:
Thank you, Caryn. Take care.

CARYN:
You too. Bye bye.

I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’ve been listening to It’s All about Food, and please check out ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com, and if you’re on Facebook please like us: Responsible Eating and Living. Okay, thank you very much for joining me and next week we have a very fond hour with Dr. Michael Gregor. So join us. And have a delicious week.

Transcribed by Monika Ayu, May 24, 2013;

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