Caitlin Galer-Unti, Vegan Travel Guide


Part I: Caitlin Galer-Unti, Vegan Travel Guide
Caitlin-TheVeganWordCaitlin Galer-Unti is the author of The Vegan Word. She has been vegan since 2008, and loves helping others go and stay vegan, and enjoy a sometimes healthy and always delicious vegan life. She has been to 23 countries and counting since going vegan!


Caryn Hartglass: Hello, everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me. So it’s February 2nd today, and it’s Groundhog’s Day, and as the tradition goes, if the groundhog comes out and see its shadow, he runs back in and we have more winter. And I’m looking outside, blue skies, no clouds; it’s the high-40s here where I live in Forest Hills. It’s a beautiful day. We’ve had incredible weather for this winter, and I’m thinking that if the tradition is true, we’re going to be looking at some cold weather. I don’t know. I haven’t heard what the official announcement was on – I think there are two groundhogs now that we get information from. There’s Poncatelli [phonetic] Ike. Is that his name? And there’s another one, but I don’t know. Weather’s been beautiful. I love it. Thank you global warming. I want to introduce my guest. We’re going to have some fun today, talking about vegan travel. Caitlin Galer-Unti is the author of the website, The Vegan Word, which you can find at She’s been vegan since 2008 and loves helping others go and stay vegan and enjoys a sometimes healthy and always delicious vegan life. She has been to 23 countries and counting since going vegan. Hi, Caitlin, how are you today?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Great, how are you?

Caryn Hartglass: Good. So I want to know first, where were you born and where do you live now?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: So I was born in central Illinois. I live in Barcelona now, but I lived in London for the last seven years before moving here. So I’ve been all around.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, beautiful. All around, hey, great. And 23 countries in, let’s see; let me do the math here, that’s eight years or seven years.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yes, well, I did a lot of – I’m not sure if all of them were as a vegan actually. All of them were since I was vegetarian because I’ve been vegetarian my whole life. But I think probably most of them since I was vegan. I actually did a count about a week ago, and I realize I’ve now been to 30 countries. [Laughs] So I’m not sure how many of them since I was vegan but yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Let’s step back. You said you’re vegetarian since birth.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Mm hmm.

Caryn Hartglass: Was that your idea?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah, I just knew straightaway. [Laughs] My parents have been vegetarian for – my gosh, I don’t know – I’m 29 tomorrow. I think they’ve been vegetarian for 35, 36, 37 years. Something like that.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, lovely. Yeah, so you let us know, you’re going to be 29 tomorrow. I wanted to wish you a very, very, very happy birthday tomorrow.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Oh, thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: As I mentioned to you when we were emailing, it’s my dad’s 88th birthday today.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yay, happy birthday to him.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, and I’ll be wishing him a happy birthday later unless he’s listening. Happy birthday, dad. I’ll call you later. [Laughs] And sing the big song. We all, in my family, love singing the “Happy Birthday” song loud and sometimes high.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: It’s a tradition in my family too.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, to perfect strangers if we get the opportunity. And we don’t pay royalties. I understand that this song is owned by someone, and when you sing it, you’re supposed to pay royalties, but it’s kind of impossible.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: I don’t know how they keep track of everyone in the world.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, really. Okay, now I lived in the south of France for four years, 1992 to 1996. And just like when you live in the United States and it’s easier to go from state to state, it’s easy to hit a lot of countries in Europe when you live in one of them.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so that’s an easy way to add a lot to your tally.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so you like – you love traveling.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Mm hmm, yeah, I’ve always loved traveling. When I went vegan, I wasn’t sure what it would be like to travel as a vegan. I was a bit nervous. I think a lot of people are. They think, “Oh no, am I going to be able to find food?” But yeah, I’ve found it’s not that hard.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s not that hard, and it’s easier and easier. Yeah, as I’m living with a vegan in France in the early 90s, I ate out all the time.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Really? Even in the early 90s?

Caryn Hartglass: In the early 90s, yes. There was – I remember seeing a post recently. I think it was a VegNews post about what the 90s were like, and I didn’t agree with all of it. [Laughs] So when I lived in the south of France, in the early 90s, there was soymilk in the supermarkets. There was soy yogurt, and you didn’t have to go to a health food store. Carrefour had it, the major chains. Casino had it. And it was fabulous. And eating – outside of Paris, I’m not saying inside of Paris, outside of Paris, where the chefs were very used to sautéing in olive oil and always using fresh vegetables and having lovely salads. You could always get a lovely salad and a sauté of nice vegetables.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: That’s fantastic. I had no idea. I didn’t even think that there was soy yogurt in supermarkets in the U.S. in the early 90s.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I don’t remember because I wasn’t living here at the time, but there were in France. I ate them and they were good. In fact, there was on soymilk that had a very interesting flavor that I have yet to taste here in the States. I don’t know what created that flavor, but I enjoyed it very much and it’s always been a mystery. Okay, now one of the things I liked about your vegan travel guide, which we’re going to be talking about, I’ve had some other people talking about vegan travel on this program, and one nice thing is there are many more arranged trips that you can sign up for. I was speaking with Green Earth Travel recently. These are a week or two things that are planned. All your food, your lodging, entertainment, whatever is planned. And for some people, that’s lovely. It’s not the kind of traveling I like to do personally. So there’s something for everyone, and I think of all the things that you were recommending and suggesting, in your book, are more my style. Sometimes I just like to show up and see what happens without any planning at all. Yeah, but let’s talk about some of the suggestions that you make and for the kind of traveling that you’ve done.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah, I’m with you. I’m not really one for group travel. I think it’s so great that that option’s out there, that there are vegan groups that are out there. But yeah, for me personally, I prefer to sort of be a bit more spontaneous with my travel.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, well, some of the things you talk about are using – couch surfing, is that what it was called?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Mm hmm, yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I wasn’t familiar with that website, but it’s a little bit like an Airbnb site. Can you talk about that site?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: So it’s CouchSurfing. I think it’s dot org, and it’s a community project, so it’s kind of like Airbnb, but you don’t pay anything. It’s people who just want to host travelers and meet people from all over the world. So they open up their couch or if they have a spare bedroom, and you can stay there. So you’ll have to apply, and you can actually search within it for – it’s not that obvious, but I talk about it in the book. There’s a way to search by search term, and you can search for different keywords, just like you would in Google. So I’ve gone in there and searched for “vegan” before and found vegan people on there. And of course, it’s always great to stay with vegans because they give you lots of great advice about local places that you might not have heard of otherwise.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s the lovely thing about travel. I find when you do have an opportunity to meet local people because number one, you get to know them. You get to discover what their culture is like, and that’s always been my favorite part. That’s why I don’t travel very much in my current lifestyle, but I would like to get back to it at some point. But when I did do international travel, I tried to stay longer than a quick trip. And I’m not a wealthy person, so I’ve always had to find inexpensive ways to do that. Your guide is pretty good at offering inexpensive ways to travel, but there’s nothing lovelier than meeting local people, having them invite you to their home and having them make you a vegan meal, whether they’re vegan or not.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah, definitely.

Caryn Hartglass: And that can happen.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah, it’s always great…

Caryn Hartglass: You don’t have to be afraid about it. When I lived in France, the friends that I had were very accommodating. I don’t want to complain about the food that they made me. It was lovely that they made me vegan food. It tended to be a little heavy on the olive oil. [Laughs] But I did – I really appreciated the effort that they all went to, and that was a long time ago. All right, so let’s talk about some of the favorite places you’ve been to.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: So one of my favorite places to travel as a vegan is in Taiwan.

Caryn Hartglass: Great vegan food. I haven’t been there.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: It’s fantastic.

Caryn Hartglass: But they make a lot of prepared meats that they ship to the United States.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: I think a lot of the – a lot of the mock meats you see in Chinese vegetarian restaurants might be from Taiwan.

Caryn Hartglass: So what did you have? What kind of foods did you have?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: It’s so easy to find vegan food there. It’s really great. You can just walk down the street, and pretty much every block you’ll see a vegetarian restaurant. And they have really great dumplings, Chinese dumplings. That was one of my favorite things to eat there. I went to a great hot pot restaurant as well, and I also got to go to an… Well, pretty upscale Japanese-style restaurant that I think I had nine courses for $30, which it sounds so cheap to me. But there, it’s quite expensive. You might get a meal from another restaurant for just a couple of dollars, so it was really upscale. Apparently a lot of celebrities dine there.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh okay. Well, I’ll have to…

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Completely vegetarian.

Caryn Hartglass: Wonderful. Now is that because there’s this Buddhist influence there?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yes, so from what I understand quite a large population, percentage of the population practices vegetarianism, at least part of the time because of the Buddhist influence.

Caryn Hartglass: Part of the time?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Mm hmm.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s interesting. That’s like… Almost pregnant or something. Nearly vegan.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: I’m not quite sure why. I think it has to do with people practicing vegetarianism around festivals. Kind of like people giving up meat for Lent. They don’t take the full step, but they’re doing it when they have to.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Now you mentioned you had been to Korea, and that was one of my favorite places, which really surprised me. I went there a bit on business in 1999-2000, and I know that it’s completely different now, and I would really love to get back there. But there was one place. I don’t know if you went there and if it’s still there, I can’t even pronounce the name.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: I’m not sure I’d remember if you said the name.

Caryn Hartglass: It was in Seoul, and you would go and these women would serve you, and you’d get a table. There were just a few items on the menu. You could order the basic dinner, which was like $12 and you’d get 25 dishes.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: I think I was there. Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: And then you could get a little pricier ones, and I’m the kind of person where I like to eat one thing at a time and finish it and then move onto the next. And what I didn’t realize was some of the dishes were like bread to them, so if you finished it, they would give you another bowl. [Laughs] I was in trouble.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: I’m not sure if it was the same place because I don’t think my bowl got refilled, but I do remember sitting down and just having a table completely full of food in front of me. Just all these little dishes, just completely filled the entire table.

Caryn Hartglass: There was a soup. It was a spicy reddish broth with the todok root in it. That was just phenomenal. And of course, there was the spicy kimchi. There was plain kimchi. There was a fried tofu dish where the tofu was stuffed with something. And here it is, it’s 17 years later, and I’m remembering these foods like it was yesterday. I ate there as often as I could. It was amazing. Oh yes, it was like Pyung Ghi [phonetic] something, Pyung. I don’t know what it was. And I’m sorry for butchering the language. Okay, tell me about something really exotic that you’ve had that was vegan.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Hmm. Well, I have to say the place that I’m thinking of in Korea, and I’m not sure if it’s the same place that you went or not, but I went in this little place, and no one who was working there spoke English, and I don’t speak much Korean. I couldn’t really say anything. I managed to communicate that I wanted everything vegan. I think it was a completely vegetarian but not completely vegan restaurant, and then they just brought me food, and I had no idea what I was eating. And it was all amazing, but I was just eating like 25 different dishes. No clue what any of them were.

Caryn Hartglass: And it’s just leap of faith.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yep, sometimes it’s exciting when it’s just completely new food.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, you give some tips in your vegan travel guide about how to communicate when you don’t speak the language. Preparing what some of the things are that you want to say in the language of the country you’re going to. And I was surprised when you talked about “The Vegan Passport,” which is something I have. I bought it decades ago. That some people feel that it’s a little too wordy. So “The Vegan Passport” is a book. It’s the size of a passport, and it has like 36 languages I think of what vegans eat, but apparently it goes also into why we eat what we eat, and it gets a little preachy I guess.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah. I have to say I haven’t actually – I have a “Vegan Passport.” I haven’t actually ever used it because I’ve always been able to communicate what I needed in a language that I spoke or spoke enough of to get the point across. But yeah, I’ve heard from a few people who said they just felt like it went into too much detail. I think it’s quite nice to have some information in there about what a vegan is, why people are vegan, but I guess if you’ve got a waiter standing there, reading the whole thing and it takes a long time, people think it’s just a bit too wordy.

Caryn Hartglass: I used it in Korea, and I think I was in – I forget where I was. Maybe I was in an airport restaurant. I don’t really remember now, but the server, she read it. She wasn’t young, and she read it, and she was like so respectful. Reading it, she had a very serious expression, taking it all in. It was profound. It was lovely, and she was bowing and brought me a bibimbap, which without egg and meat and I think it was probably the first bibimbap I ever had, which was lovely.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: That’s great. Well, I’m glad to hear that it worked, and it didn’t take her too long to read. Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: So you’re living in Barcelona now. Tell me about vegan food in Barcelona because I had one trip there in the early 90s, and we couldn’t find anything anywhere.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: [Laughs] It’s changed a lot in the last two years. So the first time I came here I think was 2010. I came here for a week, and there were a couple of vegetarian restaurants. There really wasn’t very much. I remember eating falafel and beans, so happy just to have falafel. But yeah, it’s changed so much in the last few years, and veganism is really growing here. I think we have five or six new vegetarian and vegan restaurants have opened since I moved here in June. So it’s growing pretty quickly.

Caryn Hartglass: Do some of them stick with Spanish-type cuisine and veganize it?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Most of them are fairly international in their approach. It is a complaint that I hear from people who want to come here and experience authentic Spanish food. A lot of the vegetarian and vegan places do – they do some Spanish food, but they also do Indian curries and pasta and lasagna and everything.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, that’s what we need. We need Spanish vegan restaurants with just Spanish food.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Mm hmm.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s what we need. Okay, anybody out there, yeah, do that now. [Laughs] Yeah. Okay, have you been to Israel?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: No, I haven’t, but I’ve heard that it’s amazing for vegans right now.

Caryn Hartglass: I was there on business in 1988, and I was 30 years old. That’s when I went vegan.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Oh really?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I decided beforehand, I was living in California at the time, and I was getting ready to give up dairy and eggs, and I couldn’t imagine giving up butter. I cooked everything with butter. I loved making New York style cheesecake, but I couldn’t. I mean it was weighing heavily on my heart, and I knew it wasn’t good for me. And I thought when I’m on business for a long time in Israel, that’s what I’m going to do it because it was really easy then, and I’m imagining it’s easier now. Apparently thanks to Gary Yourofsky, he’s had a tremendous impact on Israel, and a lot of people are just getting the message about the importance of being vegan. But you can go into any Israeli restaurant or Middle Eastern restaurant, Lebanese restaurants; I used to eat in a lot of Lebanese restaurants when I was in France. That’s another great place. When you’re in France and you don’t know where to eat, go to a Lebanese restaurant. They have hummus and ful and all the great salads, baba ganoush, although sometimes that might have mayonnaise in it. It was easy. Yeah.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah, it’s always a good option if you’re stuck somewhere. Middle Eastern.

Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely. Let’s see. So where else have you been? Outside of Europe?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Outside of Europe, so I’ve been to China and Japan in Asia. I’ve also been to Costa Rica.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, let’s talk about Costa Rica. I have some property there, and I haven’t been there in two years, which breaks my heart, and I’m actually going later in February. And tell me about your vegan experience in Costa Rica.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: So I had a great time. I stayed in an eco-friendly B&B with a vegetarian couple who ran it. I don’t think it exists anymore though. I was looking for it a couple of weeks ago, and I don’t think it’s around anymore. But it was a lovely place. They were so lovely, and they were vegetarian. They made amazing vegan food for me while I was there.

Caryn Hartglass: What part of the country was it?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: It was about an hour outside of the capital but up in the mountains. I think it’s called San Ramon.

Caryn Hartglass: Mm, okay. East side, west side?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Ooh, I don’t remember my Costa Rican geography. Isn’t that good?

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well, there’s also a place I visited. It’s kind of in the middle, more north called Lands of Love, and it’s a resort and it’s vegetarian. They will make you vegan food, and it’s an odd group. I liked it very much. There were about 18 Israelis who decided they wanted to leave Israel because of all the, I guess, unrest and they all raised enough money, and they came to Costa Rica and built this resort. They all work together there with this resort. And it’s kind of tucked away. It’s not on the beach. It’s near the volcanoes. There’s an area where there’s a volcano. I forget. We’re all forgetting today. [Laughs] But that’s fun. But the greatest thing I always found is the fruit. You can just – a lot of raw food is in Costa Rica and areas around there just because of all the fruit. I could just live on papaya and avocado, maybe whatever is in season. Mamacino, the little Rasputin fruit, and then those… The starchy, like, sweet potato fruits that you don’t have to cook. You can just kind of eat them, and they’re just like readymade sweet potatoes. There’s just so many wonderful things. That’s what I love about traveling, when you can actually experience some of the foods that are native there that are unusual to what we’re used to.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah, yeah, it’s true. The fruit there is amazing. The avocadoes are just unlike any other avocado I’ve ever had.

Caryn Hartglass: Or the mangos when they’re in-season, and you’re in these sun developed areas. They’re just dripping from the trees and nobody wants them. I just want to collect them all. Wait, these are mangos. Yeah, I love food. Mm hmm. Have you been to any parts of Africa?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: No, I haven’t. I might be going to South Africa later this year, but I’m not sure. It depends. It depends on… One of my friends might be going to a conference there, and she might have some accommodations. It depends if that happens.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. I’d be curious to hear what’s going on there. I was there in 1995, I think. I was participating in an arts conference of music and dance, and there were families that hosted the competitors, and so I stayed with this South African family and it was lovely. They were very respectful, but they didn’t understand me at all. They did a pretty good job of keeping me fed, and I appreciated that. That was a long time ago.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: I think most people will – most people are respectful, and they’re try their best even if they don’t understand what we’re doing or why.

Caryn Hartglass: There was something in your guide that I really appreciated that you brought up, and that is when people say, when you’re in – when you’re visiting a country, you should follow their culture, and that means eat what they eat. You put a really nice logical, sensible spin on how to be vegan and be in another country where they’re not used to that kind of eating.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah, I mean I think like I said, most people are really respectful, and they’ll understand. But just because you’re in another country I think is what I say. Just because you’re in another country doesn’t mean that you have to go along with everything they do, and there are practices in other countries that you might not agree with, that you wouldn’t go along with just because you’re there. So there’s no reason to change your diet because you’re somewhere else. I think you actually end up experiencing – you experience a different aspect of their culture, so I mean I’ve experienced vegan food all over the world, and I’ve met vegan people and I think it’s a really amazing way to meet people and connect with local people because if you meet a vegan abroad, you have something really strong in common with them. There’s nothing – no better way to connect with someone than to know that you’re both vegan.

Caryn Hartglass: Have you attended any of the international vegetarian conferences?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Well, I’ve been to the ones in the U.K. I’m actually going to one at the end of this month in the U.K. I’ve also been to one in Paris which is great. Well, it’s always great to be in France.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I went to one in Edinburgh, one in Brazil and one in India, and that’s another great opportunity to meet fellow vegans. And you get to know them at the conference. If you’re a little jittery about meeting strangers online that you don’t know and then staying with them, it’s a good opportunity to meet people and get to know them over a long week and then hook-up with them later on. I went to India in 2006, and I went to the International Vegetarian Union Congress there, and then the week after, I toured a little bit, and we went to a remote place in Rajasthan, the Prince State, and we were told that the leader of this group was going to this community, this village, which was vegetarian. They were going to offer us some little wafer or something, and it had some kind of hallucinogenic in it. But they said it was very, very small, and we wouldn’t feel anything, and we’d have to accept it because it was part of their tradition. We should just accept it and put it in our mouth and not worry about it. And sorry, I wasn’t doing it. I just smiled. I nodded my head and we moved on, and everything was fine. [Laughs]

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Wow.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so there are all kinds of things out there.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, where do you plan on going next other than maybe South Africa?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: So well, my next trip is not that far away, but I am going to the U.K. at the end of the month. I’m going to go back to London, visit some friends there, and then I’m going to Brighton to the Veg Fest there where I’m going to be presenting.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh great. Well, Great Britain’s a pretty easy place for vegans today I think.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah, it is and Brighton is amazing. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but they have some fantastic food there, the best churros that I’ve ever had.

Caryn Hartglass: The best what?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Churros, like the…

Caryn Hartglass: Mexican churros.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Yeah, mm hmm. There’s a vegetarian restaurant that does – yeah, they do the best churros. It’s really weird, but it’s amazing.

Caryn Hartglass: Interesting, there are people that sell churros in the subway system here in New York. I’ve never gotten one or wanted one, but I thought they might be vegan. Are they normally vegan?

Caitlin Galer-Unti: I think a lot of them are accidentally vegan, yeah. They’re not intentionally vegan, but I don’t know. Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. Some of them might have lard. Some of them might not have anything. I think if they come with chocolate dipping sauce, a lot of times, that contains milk.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, you can go to Brighton and rest assured, you can get a churro that’s vegan. [Laughs]

Caitlin Galer-Unti: With their homemade sea salt caramel sauce. It’s good.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, sounds pretty good. All right, Caitlin, before we go, tell us about the Vegan Word and what we can find there.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: So on the Vegan Word, I’ve got – it’s I’ve got recipes. I’ve got travel guides to different places that I’ve been, and of course, I’ve got more information about my book which is “The Essential Vegan Travel Guide,” and you can find that all on there.

Caryn Hartglass: Sounds good. Okay, well, doesn’t everybody just want to go anywhere else? [Laughs] Caitlin, thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: Great, thanks so much.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, take care.

Caitlin Galer-Unti: You too, bye.

Caryn Hartglass: Bye. All right, that was Caitlin Galer-Unti, and she has the vegan travel guide if you’re looking for some tips on traveling, and you’re the kind of traveler that likes to just go it on your own. There’s a lot of good advice in this little guidebook. There you have it. I was thinking of – oh, so many tales, travel tales of food. You think you’re in your own country, and you probably have good tales and bad tales of showing up somewhere and either not having anything to eat or people that are trying to give you something that they think you can eat. Oh, but you can pick out those little pieces of pork or chicken, whatever. And then it gets even more challenging when you’re in a different culture with a different language, but it can be really rewarding, really lovely and I want to say for the most part, I’ve had mostly really wonderful experiences. And it all comes down to being respectful, approaching people kindly/softly/with respect/gently, explaining with as much detail as you can what you eat and for the most part, it all works out really, really well. Yeah, well, here it is. I’ve traveled quite a bit, and I’ve never gone hungry. I do remember traveling in Japan, and we were at a sushi bar right at the bar itself with the chefs making the rolls and the cones, and I believe the chef spoke English. That made it easy, and they were quite amused with me being vegan. And they had all kinds of little fermented vegetable things that they could wrap up very lovely in some sushi rice and nori, and then I told them I really liked wasabi. And they made me a wasabi roll, which was really quite exciting. Oh, every one of my capillaries came alive when I ate that roll. But that’s fascinating to me how many meals I actually remember in so many different places because they were different. Sometimes just served with love. Hey, we’re tuning in love here. I forgot to say that and I want to remind you. This was all about tuning in love here on It’s All About Food. And when you put it out, when you put out the love, you go in and get love back. So I was in this one lonely little restaurant in France once. Some of them have the most charming environments. This one was like a basement room where you took the stairs down into it, and it was all stone inside. It felt like a cave, and there were only a few tables and it was very late. And the chef came out, and I explained what I ate and what I didn’t eat. And he said, I accept the challenge. He made me this lovely celery root puree amongst other things, but I will never forget that because it was unique and it was very tasty. So it’s possible to be vegan and to travel and eat well and have fun.

Transcribed by Alison Rutledge, 5/29/2016


Caryn Hartglass: So let’s move on to some more interesting topics today that I have prepared to share with you. I’m looking forward to this. I think it’s going to be fun. We talked about birthdays before, and today is James Joyce’s birthday. He was born on February 2, 1982 and died in 1941. He was an Irish novelist and poet, and contributed to the modernist avant-garde. He’s regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the twentieth century, and you may know him for the book Ulysses. I haven’t read the book Ulysses but I’ve read different portions of it. He’s also known for Finnegan’s Wake. There’s a quote that is attributed to James Joyce, I wanted to talk briefly about it: “God made food, the devil the cooks.” And in reading a little more about it, even though James Joyce gets the credit for it, apparently John Taylor, who came from an earlier time, 1580 to 1653—he was an English writer who styled himself ‘the king’s water poet’—wrote, in all the works of John Taylor The Water Poet, he was quoted as writing: “God sends meat and the devil sends the cooks.” That’s very similar to “God made food, the devil the cooks.” You think James Joyce plagiarized? Or was inspired perhaps?

There was another one, let’s see here. A little after John Taylor but before James Joyce was Swift’s Polite Conversation, and in Swift’s Polite Conversation from 1731, the author wrote: “God made food, the devil the cooks.” That’s the same thing James Joyce wrote later on. Okay. Why am I talking about this? Well at Responsible Eating and Living, my non-profit, we talk a lot about our food system and how evil and devilish our food system may seem today, with industrial food, with industrial agriculture that is wreaking havoc on our environment, polluting the soil, polluting the air, using up too much water, polluting the oil, raising animals in confined conditions, treating them horrifically, and adding chemical toxins to the soil to kill what we consider pests but are just other species on this planet that happen to be hungry. Because we have forgotten how to grow food and use beneficial insects, native species and wildflowers to protect the crops that we want to grow. We’ve gone to a more quote “convenient and efficient” form of artificial pesticides and herbicides that are destroying animal species, plant species, and harming the food that we eat. The devil’s in that. “God made food, the devil the cooks.” Or…the devil the industrial manufacturers of food that are putting all kinds of artificial colors, artificial flavors, and chemicals synthetically made to make food last longer—the devil is in our food. So I thought it was interesting to bring that up especially on James Joyce’s birthday today. Happy birthday. “God made food, the devil the cooks” right? Now let’s continue on that theme and let’s get over to mayonnaise.

We talked about mayonnaise. Last year Hellmann’s, also known as Best Foods, was in the news. We did a special report that you can watch at Responsible Eating and Living called “Mayo Wars” where we covered what was going on. So there’s Hampton Foods. I had the opportunity to interview the founder of Hampton Foods—Hampton Creek Foods—Josh Tetrick. And what they’re doing—it’s genius. I’ve talked about it a number of times on this program. They’re using plant ingredients to make an egg product that can be used in industrial foods that create ready-made food, packaged foods, and fast foods that normally use animal eggs, but they’re creating a plant-based egg to take the place of it. It makes the same end product, or better, for less money. And what’s lovely about that obviously is it removes the cruelty. It removes the unfortunate hens that are being raised to make eggs that are treated horribly. Not only is there tremendous cruelty in the chicken industry, in the egg industry, but it’s also devastating to the environment. And eggs aren’t healthy—no matter what you hear about it, the overwhelming research tells us that eggs are not a healthy food.

Okay, so why am I bringing this up? Well Hellmann’s, which is also Best Foods—a Unilever company—they make mayonnaise. They make the number one mayonnaise, or I think the most-sold mayonnaise. And they were really up in arms because Hampton Creek Foods came out with “Just Mayo,” which is a vegan mayonnaise. They said Hampton Creek Foods can’t use the word “mayo.” We have some interesting laws. The FDA describes certain foods and what they can be called. Mayonnaise has to have eggs in it. So Just Mayo calls theirs mayo, but Unilever wasn’t happy about it and ended up suing them. Then they took down the lawsuit because it was really ridiculous. Well they’ve decided that if you can’t beat them, join ‘em. And this is where we ultimately need to go, this is a beautiful thing: corporations finally realizing that they need to make more plant foods. Hellmann’s is going vegan. They’ve come up with a product called “Carefully Crafted Dressing and Sandwich Bread.” It’s a mouthful, I know. “Carefully Crafted Dressing and Sandwich Bread.” It would be so much easier if they could just call it mayo. But it’s supposed to be coming out later this month—hitting the shelves—and it’s vegan. Ultimately what I want to see is these big food companies realizing that there’s a label-reading, discerning, food-eating audience out there, and if they want to stay profitable they’re going to have to satisfy the vegans. Josh Tetrick isn’t concerned at all; he thinks it’s a great thing. And I do too.

I do want to point out though something else; I mentioned label reading. It really is important to read labels. So what’s in this new Hellman’s “Carefully Crafted Dressing and Sandwich Bread”? Soybean oil, water, sugar, vinegar, salt, modified corn and potato starch, concentrated lemon juice, natural flavor, spice, and calcium disodium EDTA. Now I believe they said—and I want to verify this quickly—I don’t think they’re using GMO ingredients. Don’t quote me on that, but I think I read that somewhere. But there is this preservative in there, calcium disodium EDTA, and I would rather not have that in my mayonnaise. How ‘bout you? The interesting thing is if you read the ingredients on “Just Mayo”—and I love Hampton Creek Foods and everything that they’re doing—they also have calcium disodium EDTA in their Just Mayo. They use non-GMO expeller press canola oil, filtered water, lemon juice, white vinegar, organic sugar, salt, apple cider vinegar, pea protein, spices, garlic, modified food starch, beta-carotene, and calcium disodium EDTA. Right so I don’t really recommend having preservatives; the reason they are added is to preserve freshness. Mayonnaise on the shelves in the stores isn’t refrigerated—unless you get vegenaise by the Follow Your Heart Company. When we buy vegan mayonnaise here at home we like it to be organic and vegan, so we buy vegenaise from the Follow Your Heart company which contains: organic expeller press soy bean oil, filtered water, organic brown rice syrup, organic apple cider vinegar, sea salt, organic soy protein, organic mustard flour, organic lemon juice concentrate…and guess what? No calcium disodium EDTA. That’s why you find it in the refrigerated section. And I would rather refrigerate it than put in a little calcium disodium EDTA, which happens to be made from formaldehyde and sodium cyanide and a little product called ethylenediamine. I really don’t want that in my mayonnaise.

Now, I want to even give you a better idea for mayonnaise and that is: spin over to Responsible Eating and Living. We have a great recipe for mayonnaise that we make here at home. That way you can guarantee only the best ingredients are going into it, and you can make it taste your way. Some people like their mayonnaise sweeter, or tarter, or saltier, and you can make it any way you like. Our real mayonnaise, which you can find at—and we also have a ‘Transition Kitchen’ food show to show you how to make it—contains silken tofu which is non-GMO and organic of course, lemon juice, vinegar, an optional sugar, which we use evaporated cane juice; just a little bit. You might find you can add it later if you feel it needs it…a little yellow mustard powder and salt to taste, you may not even need it, and we like olive oil. Some people use canola oil because it has less of a flavor; it’s a more neutral taste. I love the taste of olive oil and I don’t mind my mayonnaise having a little olive oil flavor to it. So that’s our real mayo, and that’s the mayo story! I hope it’s an example of things to come, where more companies, like Kraft Foods for example—not just Unilever, realize that the vegan community is growing. That people are more concerned about how their foods are made from an animal point of view, where non-human animals should not be treated badly, the humans that are preparing the food should be paid a decent wage, not be treated badly, not be exploited, and foods that we want to eat should be made from whole minimally-processed foods. We don’t need any artificial colors, preservatives, nothing like that. We want real food. More people are wanting real food in the products that they buy and corporations need to realize that and make them! It’s a good thing.

Now Valentine’s Day is coming up, and we’ve got you covered here at Responsible Eating and Living. I mentioned the mayonnaise recipe; we turned that vegan mayonnaise recipe that we have into a vegan hollandaise recipe. It’s very rich, very decadent, very luxurious, very delicious, but if you want to have a special celebratory treat on Valentine’s Day, or any time really, you can make our no-eggs Benedict. We like to call it “No Eggs Benedict Arnold” because it’s kind of like a traitor to eggs. And we use our vegan hollandaise. Just go to the homepage, you can click on the ‘Transition Kitchen’ video that is being featured right now and get our “No Eggs Benedict” recipe. It is really delicious. We also make heart-shaped pancakes that are kind of fun, and you can do that with any pancake recipe. We have one up on our website. You do need to have a heart-shape mold, or I suppose you could ultimately cut the pancakes out. Or, I’ve even done this without a mold, where you pour the batter very carefully onto the griddle, into shapes, and then with a spoon make it into a heart shape. That’s probably the easiest way to go and it’s fun. Very fun. And I think food should be fun.

All right a little thing in the news that I wanted to bring up. I just found this recently. The title of the article is Soy Intake Modifies the Relation Between Urinary Biphenyl A—that’s BPA—Concentrations in Pregnancy Outcomes Among Women Undergoing Assisted Reproduction. This is in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism for February 2016. So we’ve talked about BPA. It’s the stuff that is used to line cans. It’s also in many plastic bottles, although lots of companies are now saying that their products are BPA free. But what’s interesting about this study is they studied 239 women, not a lot but it’s enough to make it curious, between 2007 and 2012 that went through in-vitro fertilization. They found that those that ate soy foods—they measured the urinary BPA concentrations for all these women and then compared it to live birth rates—the women who consumed soy foods had better outcomes in terms of live birth rates, pregnancy rates. And so they correlated that the urinary BPA was inversely related to the outcomes of these women not consuming soy foods and to the ones who were consuming soy foods. You can see that at the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. That’s another winner for soy foods.

Oh my goodness am I out of time? It sure looks like it. I wanted to bring you over just for a moment; we have a few minutes left, to again to my “What Vegans Eat” post. Number one, we’re in the countdown. Ten more days and we will have our one-year anniversary, which is exciting. Three hundred and sixty days of What Vegans Eat. So if you need examples I’ve got 356 of them right now. I wanted to invite you to visit What Vegan’s Eat Day 352, which was from just a few days ago. We were invited to an amazing event at a place called Exhibition C in the lower east village of Manhattan. Chef Daphne Cheng made the food, and you can see all of these incredible dishes and food combinations, that were all vegan, that we were served at this amazing event. Just to see the possibilities. Here at Responsible Eating and Living and on my blog we eat a lot of oatmeal, we eat a lot of kale salad. Just some simple, basic foods and I recommend them, but for those of you that are really curious and want more interesting ideas, just spin over to this page and see all the different things that we were treated to. In addition to that we were served many, many wines by the company Querciabella. They were sponsoring this event. I had the opportunity to interview the owner of Querciabella, Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni. His Querciabella wines are wonderful. I’m not a fan of white wines very much, I like red better, but I have to tell you that their Batàr was the best wine I have ever had. It was amazing. I cannot say enough about it. And what’s lovely about it is it’s vegan—it’s biodynamic, it’s veganic. I drank more wine I think than I ever have in my life and I woke up the next day without a headache. That’s the beauty of vegan biodynamic. I’m going to leave you with that.

Tuning in love thank you for joining me. Try all of these suggestions that I gave you, you will not be disappointed. Please remember, have a delicious week.

Transcribed by Samantha Rakela, 8/1/2016

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