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Gary De Mattei is back again this week with Caryn to continue their conversation. In this show they cover many topics including dealing with confrontational people while being vegan and the upcoming Passover Holiday.
Gary De Mattei is the co-founder and Creative Director of Responsible Eating and Living. Gary is an actor, director, producer, filmmaker, writer, teacher and trained chef. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the nonprofit theatre company, The Artist’s Theatre Repertory Ensemble (TheATRE). Gary was last seen on the New York stage in the award-winning new play, No One Asked Me by Kate Ballen. Before moving to New York in 2008 Gary worked extensively in Bay Area theatre as an actor, director, writer, producer, teacher, and arts administrator. He was the co-founder and producing artistic director of Theatre On San Pedro Square (TOSPS) in San Jose from January of 2000 to April of 2008. During that time Gary produced plays and musicals that showcased local, national and international theatre artists. Gary was the Theatre Department Chair at Presentation High School in San Jose. During his tenure at Presentation Gary directed plays and musicals and taught acting. His theatre department was awarded the prestigious Best High School Musical Award from the American Musical Theatre. Gary is a Bay Area Theatre Critics Award nominee for his portrayal of Fiorello H. LaGuardia in Foothill Music Theatre’s production of Fiorello. A proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, Gary trains at HB Studios in New York under the guidance of his acting teacher Austin Pendleton. For more about Gary go to his website, GaryDeMattei.com.
Caryn Hartglass: Hi everybody I’m Caryn Hartglass and welcome to It’s All About Food. How are you today? I just wanted to tell you that the show is pre-recorded so even though we are focusing on starting on a new live call in ,which has been great the last few weeks, don’t call in because I cannot hear you. Now if you want you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and then I can see everything and I can address it on the next program and I actually may address some questions people have had this past week on today’s show. Now before we get into the program and bring on my guest and I’m really excited to have this guest on, you will find out who it is in a moment, I wanted to mention the Food Revolution Summit. I mentioned it last week and if you have not registered yet I recommend you do so. It is free and it is amazing, you can find out more if you go to responsiblelivingandeating.com that is where I live, on the right hand side you can see the information for the Food Revolution Summit. It starts at the end of the month, it is a nine day intense online program where you will hear from many wonderful food experts interviewed by the one and only John Robbins. I am excited to be part of this program. I am offering up some wonderful recipes, all new recipes that I’m creating right now actually and it’ll be offered and presented during the summit. Please check that out at responsiblelivingandeating.com Register it’s free, it’s good, it’s fun it’s informative. Be there. I’ll see you there.
Now let us move on I want to introduce my guest. He has been on the last two shows and we didn’t quite finish everything we wanted to talk about. So here he is Gary De Mattei, the co-founder of responsible living and eating.
Caryn Hartglass: Gary how are you?
Gary De Mattei: I’m back. I think I was on the last show, but on two shows in a row, have I?
Caryn Hartglass: Yes.
Gary De Mattei: No, no I haven’t. I was on last week. I am on this week.
Caryn Hartglass: You did part 2 of the Fuhrman show and then we did a whole show.
Gary De Mattei: You’re right.
Caryn Hartglass: But you know it was so much fun that it went by so quickly.
Gary De Mattei: It did and I’m back again and why is it that he’s back you might be asking yourself. Well I’m here to talk about food with Caryn because I love food and I’m here to talk about all kinds of other things and one thing I would like to bring up is the Summit. Let’s talk about that a minute. Does everybody know who John Robbins is? Do they know who you’re talking about?
Caryn Hartglass: You know that’s a really, really good point.
Gary De Mattei: John and Ocean Robbins. I think we need to tell a little story about John and then talk about Ocean and Deo.
Caryn Hartglass: They have a fascinating story and somebody has to do a biopic on them one day.
Gary De Mattei: I hope it’s in the works if not hey John I’m here.
Caryn Hartglass: Well John Robbins is the son of or Irv Robbins, who is the co-founder of Baskin and Robbins ice cream. Irv Robbins and John’s uncle, Baskin put Baskin and Robbins together and John grew up eating ice cream every day. He had an ice cream cone swimming pool. He wasn’t a very healthy child.
Gary De Mattei: an ice cream cone swimming pool? You mean it was shaped like an ice cream cone?
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah yeah.
Gary De Mattei: The swimming pool was shaped like an ice cream cone?
Caryn Hartglass: Yes.
Gary De Mattei: That’s amazing!
Caryn Hartglass: And he had ice cream everyday whenever he wanted.
Gary De Mattei: Nephew Noah would like that.
Caryn Hartglass: Who wouldn’t? And when he was a rebellious teenager and college student…
Gary De Mattei: …in the sixties going to Berkeley.
Caryn Hartglass: Exactly he gave up the ice cream empire. He was being groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps, he had two sisters but his father had his eye on John to take over, and it wasn’t John’s calling. Not at all.
Gary De Mattei: What was John’s calling?
Caryn Hartglass: John got together with Deo, who was his wonderful loving wife and they live…
Gary De Mattei: She’s amazing! Shout out to Deo! Deo we love you.
Caryn Hartglass: She is sunshine and energy and all smiles.
Gary De Mattei: She is like a spring day in New York. She’s like what we are experiencing right now. Go out and vote by the way if you live in New York it’s time to vote.
Caryn Hartglass: They lived on $600 a year and although that was back in the eighties the early eighties that still not a lot of money.
Gary De Mattei: No no.
Caryn Hartglass: They lived in a little Log Cabin and grew their own food and it’s fascinating. I interviewed John a few years ago you can find it on responsible eating and living because everything, all the shows are archived there and transcribed there, all seven years’ worth.
Gary De Mattei: Yes they are archived.
Caryn Hartglass: I digress.
Gary De Mattei: And transcribed.
Caryn Hartglass: You can find it in the archives here at responsible eating.
Gary De Mattei: Now John and Deo came out of living in the wilderness and moved back to civilization, and he wrote his ground breaking best seller, A Diet for a New America. It was published in 1987 and he was one of the first who connected the impact of our food choices on our own personal note, health of the planet, and the treatment of the animals
Gary De Mattei: And A Diet for New America was followed up by what book?
Caryn Hartglass: He’s written many books since then, A Diet for a New America was kind of updated and called the Food Revolution.
Gary De Mattei: Hey that’s what I was getting at, The Food Revolution Summit. That was the tie in that I was trying to make, that John Robbins and this Food Revolution Summit that you are doing, and then John and Deo’s son, Ocean.
Caryn Hartglass: And they’re really taking advantage of what’s available to us, the 21st century, the internet and making all this wonderful information available for everyone online.
Gary De Mattei: Yes and if you haven’t read diet A Diet for a New America and you are interested in transitioning into a plant-based diet and you are listening to the show. I recommend you start with that book. It’s a classic but it’s where I started.
Caryn Hartglass: You know what else is good? There are more and more documentaries now about our food system and that’s a great thing, but one of the first, it may have been the first that I can remember, and it blew everyone away was the PBS documentary on John Robbin’s story A Diet for a New America. You can find it on YouTube and watch it for free.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah check it out because no one likes to read anymore. And check it out on YouTube speaking of YouTube. Are we finished with John? Or do we need to say more?
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah I just wanted to say one thing that my favorite thing in that documentary A Diet for a New America, Dr. Michael Klaper is in that film and he talks about when he was a physician in an emergency room and all of the heart attack patients, that would be rolled in and he showed a vial of blood taken from a patient who just had a heart attack. Anyway I’m getting things mixed up, he took a vile from a patient who just had a meal at McDonald’s, a hamburger and a milkshake and you can see the fat in the vial. It was incredible and the other thing was that they show some open heart surgery and you can see the fat surrounding all of the vital organs.
Gary De Mattei: I remember that scene very well and like I said that’s where I started, thanks to Caryn Hartglass, who said, “You know I have a couple of books to read if you’re really serious Gary about transitioning to this plant based diet.” Only she didn’t say transitioning to a plant-based diet instead, she said again, “Go vegan and it’ll fix what ails you.” So I started with A Diet for a New America and another book and this is a really woo woo wah wah book but some people out there regret it, the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Those are the two books I started with.
Caryn Hartglass: By Dan Millman, who is a friend of John Robbins.
Gary De Mattei: Exactly and that was another point. And when we say Ocean we are not talking about the great body of water that’s out there surrounding all of us, we’re all talking about John’s son Ocean. I know sometimes we talk so fast when we’re together but when we say Ocean we mean John’s son Ocean.
Caryn Hartglass: John’s brilliant son Ocean, who’s also part of the Food Revolution yeah he’s actually the force behind the food Revolution. He’s doing an excellent, excellent job
Gary De Mattei: He would be the Michael Corleone of the Corleone family, if the Corleone family was nice.
Caryn Hartglass: I have to also humbly say that the food Revolution Summit would be offering of Food Revolution Family Cookbook and I’m the editor of that cookbook. Gary and I have contributed a bunch of recipes in it.
Right so it’s a really nice collection, but can I talk about recipes right now?
Gary De Mattei: You may you may talk about recipes right now.
Caryn Hartglass: So in the news today…
Gary De Mattei: Other than having to vote if you’re living in the New York area,
Caryn Hartglass: …get out and vote in the primaries.
Gary De Mattei: Vote vote vote vote vote and look, that horn out there, we are in New York City. Can you tell there are taxi cabs all around us?
Caryn Hartglass: We’re not playing samples of New York City sounds. These are real New York City sounds.
Gary De Mattei: The disclaimer in here is that if you hear somebody yelling profanities, it’s not us. It’s people outside of our studio, which is not soundproof obviously.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay so I think it was yesterday; the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has an award ceremony called Books for a Better Life, and a number of books were awarded a Books for a Better Life award, and I’ve never heard of this before and there are a lot of wonderful books on… include drum roll please.
Gary De Mattei: Here let me do a drum roll.
Caryn Hartglass: Gary’s good at that because he’s a real drummer.
Gary De Mattei: I was.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay so Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, you may have heard that by Gene Baur and Gene Stone, and there a hundred recipes in there. Three of them, the best ones in the book, the totally best ones are from Caryn Hartglass and Gary De Mattei, and I want to say they are more from Gary than me in these particular recipes.
Gary De Mattei: But this book is beautiful and I have a copy of it. From the first few pictures the animal sanctuary, it’s just curious and Gene’s story is remarkable and you pick it up and the recipes are great, but it’s really all about the happier, healthier, and more compassionate life that we talked about in the book.
Caryn Hartglass: So what I thought was interesting about this National 20th anniversary for Books for Better Life program is that a number of the books, that they chose, advance a vegan plant-based diet, not just from the Farm Sanctuary but Gena Hamshaw’s cookbook, Food52: Vegan by Ten Speed Press, won an award. She has wonderful recipes, I have had her on this program.
Gary De Mattei: Yes she’s been on the program.
Caryn Hartglass: One of my favorite programs. We’ve actually made, I have not made too many recipes by other people, but the one that I like is her raw pecan pie. It’s delicious, it’s the greatest thing, one of the greatest things ever. You can find it online it’s free.
Gary De Mattei: Tell them how simple it is.
Caryn Hartglass: You know I used to eat raw all the time, and I got the best of it into my current vegan life, with cooked and raw food. But the vegan raw desserts are the best desserts possible, and the easiest. You just put everything in a food processor pretty much.
Gary De Mattei: And they are so sweet and good and, I hate this word, well, I’m going to use it, satisfying. Oh I was so satisfied after trying that. I was very satisfied.
Caryn Hartglass: And it’s all good food, you can eat this food for breakfast. It was delicious and it is delicious.
Gary De Mattei: And hopefully it will make an appearance sometime soon at our house.
Caryn Hartglass: So the other winner, one more winner I wanted to mention is Do unto Animals by Tracy Stewart. You may know her as the wife of John Stewart, and they have a sanctuary now. So there a number of vegan books and what is fascinating to me about that, and I hope the National Multiple Sclerosis Society know that multiple sclerosis can be prevented and, in some cases halted and, even some cases reversed by a nutrient dense, plant-based diet, and it would be amazing if they got that message.
Gary De Mattei: Maybe they are because obviously there are a lot of green books out there. without knowing too much more than just who these winners are, anybody out there from that organization want to let us know, send us an email and let us know what you’re doing in the way of promoting the vegan message with respect to the disease that you’re all doing the best job possible to fight for.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah we don’t mention multiple sclerosis very often, but I have worked with a number of people who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It’s a scary diagnosis. It doesn’t get as much press as heart disease and cancer, but surprisingly the solution or the way to healing and recovering are the same.
Gary De Mattei: Right, there are so many things. I complained to Caryn yesterday. we did a lot of manual labor work and I said yeah I might have arthritis in my wrist, and she said wait you don’t get arthritis you’re a vegan, and I said well maybe it’s residual arthritis .
Caryn Hartglass: Well you can be a vegan and have arthritis’s, if you’re eating a lot of processed refined foods, a lot of white bread, white pasta, bagels, cheese.
Gary De Mattei: That’s what you said!
Caryn Hartglass: I’m broken record, repetitive.
Gary De Mattei: I’m glad you’re interjected that, so say that again because it’s really important because it was very important to me. I don’t eat and I proceeded to ask you, well did you think my vegan plan, I refuse to say diet, but the food that I eat, that is vegan, do you think it is processed, highly processed or do you think that it actually goes along those lines? And you said, what I eat is fine. So highly processed, explain that. Because that’s really important. So explain what highly processed means, a lot of people may not know that.
Caryn Hartglass: It ties in a number of thing and I’ll mention one of the questions we got last week, where a woman asked about people’s not wanting to use the word vegan and using the word plant-based instead, and also want to tie in our blog, now on day 430, now on 433, because we haven’t posted yet, where we actually post what we eat every day and it’s real and it’s not fancy, it’s rustic. So if you wanted to see what we are eating, you can judge if what we eating is healthy or not by seeing what we eat every day and let us know what you think and if you think we can be doing better and I’m really open to hear about that, and we know everyone can be doing better. We’re not perfect. No, not at all that’s not what it’s about, being perfect.
Gary De Mattei: You know what I just gave up? I gave up caffeine and it’s been 4 days now. I drink a lot of tea and I used to drink a lot of coffee and before that I drank a lot of of Diet Coke. Now you have to understand when I say a lot I know a lot of you out there think you also drink a lot of diet soda, but I drank several liters a day, plus coffee, plus anything else that has caffeine in it. So the last few days I decided that I wasn’t feeling right, drinking my morning 6 or 7 cups of tea. So I stopped now I’m drinking Teeccino and I’m telling you I feel so much better my, Caryn wanted to talk about breathing today, but I will just say that my breathing has improved.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay now I have 3 things that I wanted to talk about since you started talking.
Gary De Mattei: I know you wanted to talk about 3 things, I just wanted to Segway into breathing.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to talk about anything, I want to talk about diet soda and I wanted to get back to what we were talking about, which was vegan and getting arthritis.
Gary De Mattei: And processed food. So what is?
Caryn Hartglass: so what we mentioned last week when a caller wanted to know the difference between vegan and plant based diet and then why people don’t want to call themselves vegan. As I mentioned last week, it’s this issue where you can be vegan but not be eating healthy food and you can be eating white flour, bread, pasta, white flour pasta, and all kinds of cookies and cakes and bagels and cheese and highly refined foods. anything that comes in the box with extra salt, extra sugar, extra oil, all of these almost prepared food like rice-a-ruin or pre-made hamburgers and all these foods.
Gary De Mattei: We’re talking about the vegan versions of them.
Caryn Hartglass: They’re vegan versions of them, and if you don’t make it yourself you don’t know how much sugar, salt, or oil or artificial ingredients, preservatives, all kinds of things in there, that wreak havoc in your body. So you could be eating no animal products at all, but still be doing devastating things to your body.
Gary De Mattei: Right, so you can still get arthritis then if you are a dirty vegan. Not to be confused with dirty martini.
Caryn Hartglass: That sounds good right now.
Gary De Mattei: Sounds good at 10:41 in the morning when we are recording the show. If you are just tuning in don’t forget, we mentioned in the beginning of the show, we’re really promoting calling in, to the show, but not with this particular show, we are prerecording because it’s Election Day, as we mentioned, hear in New York City and we’re going to get out and vote and do a lot of other things. So we recorded the show because you’re worth it to us to do that.
Caryn Hartglass: And we have a lot of things to say, where we couldn’t say live at 4 o’clock.
Gary De Mattei: And I’m Gary De Mattei.
Caryn Hartglass: and I’m Caryn Hartglass. Now I was to start talking about diet soda really because you beautifully started talking about caffeine in coffee and tea.
Gary De Mattei: And breathing.
Caryn Hartglass: One of the things that studies don’t do, that test for safety of a certain product, you know sometimes often they test on animals, non-human animals and that doesn’t tell us anything about how it affects humans. But also if they test food products on humans, they usually test a small amount so they might say okay one glass of Diet Coke for a day and they follow let’s see how it impacts them. But a lot of people, like Gary said are drinking 2 liters a day.
Gary De Mattei: I drank 7 liters a day 7 to 8 liters a day. I had a liter mug. I owned a theater, basically a theater with a bar. When you work in the theater you worked 20 to 21 hours a day, and I would walk around, go behind the bar and fill up my liter mug with Diet Coke and it would sustain me all day but it wouldn’t sustain me.
Caryn Hartglass: Obviously. The interesting thing about artificial sweeteners is they make you hungry, they increase your appetite.
Gary De Mattei: And a great segue here is, I mentioned many times that but as soon as I went on a plant-based vegan diet, which I don’t like the word “diet” but I’ll use it, I started shedding weight, losing pounds, because I was a hundred pounds heavier than I was now, when I was drinking 7 – 8 liters a day of Diet Coke. That’s my story and I was always hungry and later, fast forward Caryn gave me some information about how Diet Coke stimulates your appetite, makes you hungry and I just find that remarkably ironic.
Caryn Hartglass: Now let’s talk about breathing, because I really wanted to open the program talking about breathing, which I do from time to time, because I know we all forget about breathing.
Gary De Mattei: As I like to say I love breathing. It’s what I do for a living. Think about it. You’re going to laugh sitting at your desk later today wherever you are.
Caryn Hartglass: So what we all do for a living and I think it’s really good to think about breathing from time to time, so when I have to think about it, that’s when I come along on this program and remind you cause I find it really helpful. Now what’s lovely about breathing right now, is that we’re doing it for a living they keep us alive, because as I like to say we can do without food for a few days or months, actually we can do without water for a little while, but we cannot do without breathing for some more, than maybe 4 minutes. If you’re really good you should be.
Gary De Mattei: If you’re Houdini.
Caryn Hartglass: You’re really good at holding your breath.
Gary De Mattei: but we don’t know anything about that we just made some funny comment, so don’t write in and say I have held my breath for 7 hours and you guys are all idiots.
Caryn Hartglass: So what’s particularly lovely, everything, right here, right now, is spring, it is finally here. It’s late but it’s here and the air smells phenomenal. There are little buds on the trees, little baby birds twittering out there, and the air is just very lovely. So just whatever you’re going through right now and so many of us have stress in our lives for so many reasons. Either you’re just at work and you don’t like your job or you want a job and you don’t have one and you stressing, stressing or you have health issues. Many of us have a wide range of issues, some of them are chronic, some of them are serious, and some of them are just annoying. We all have family and dear friends who are going through issues, there’s all kinds of reasons to be stressed. For those of you who care about this election you may be stressed out about of all the anxiety of who might be president. So many people are stressing right now. Take a moment and breathe. Breathe in all the sunshine, life, and magical energized, beautiful, full life goodness and release the tension. breathe out all the crap, all the gunk, all the toxicity, let it out and then breathe in all the beautiful lights, the full spectrum of color, the different colors that can address all kinds of issues in your body. Breathe it in. All the energy and then release and let it out.
Gary De Mattei: Don’t lift your shoulders.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right. that’s a good point. You know when I studied voice, a lot of people, especially with stress, when you say take in a deep breath in, they raise their shoulders right away and they fill up their chest and they’re not filling up the area that really needs to be filled, which is the bottom of our lungs, starting low and deep in the bellies.
Gary De Mattei: It’s kind of almost like you’re sucking air through a straw. That’s what I used to tell my students when we did breathing exercises in acting class. Almost like you keep your shoulders down and relaxed, almost like you’re breathing in through a straw.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay now I want to move on to Passover.
Gary De Mattei: Okay, Passover. You don’t want to pass over Passover. Because Passover is…Friday right?
Caryn Hartglass: No, no. I always have to make a disclaimer: I am not a religious person. I love traditions and traditional food, and getting together with family and friends, and singing songs and telling stories. And Passover is a great time for singing songs and telling stories.
Gary De Mattei: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: And there are all kinds of fun traditional foods. It’s especially challenging for a vegan because during Passover—for a long time—we’re not supposed to be eating wheat, fermented wheat, or leavened wheat. Somebody came up with a long list of other foods that shouldn’t be eaten as well. Beans and rice were on that list, and that made it especially challenging. Now recently I read, at a website called Forward.com, there’s been a movement that has overturned the 800-year old Passover ban on rice and legumes. So now let ‘em all eat beans and rice.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah let ‘em eat beans! The land of beans!
Caryn Hartglass: We can now eat beans and rice. It’s interesting because there are different kinds of Jews from where they’re from: there’s the Ashkenazi, which is the European Jew, and then there’s the Sephardic, which come from the Middle Eastern areas and the Mediterranean areas. The Sephardic have been allowed to eat beans and rice because that’s all they eat, that’s what they’ve lived on! But the Ashkenazi, for some reason banned beans and rice. Maybe somebody didn’t like beans and rice back then and said hey we’re not eating it on this holiday.
Gary De Mattei: Or maybe it was difficult to grow beans and rice.
Caryn Hartglass: I don’t know what the history is.
Gary De Mattei: We don’t know much but we’re just letting you know that…
Caryn Hartglass: For those who care, we can now eat beans and rice on Passover.
Gary De Mattei: And again Caryn is open with the disclaimer that she is not religious but she was raised Jewish. I am not religious but I was raised Catholic. So we have this funny video that we like to watch by an Italian comedian—I think if you just Google “Italian comedian’s first Passover.” My friend Nick Rafello, who has a fabulous solo performance piece called Yeah That Happened which has won all kinds of awards at the solo competition here in New York, and is now coming back—so go see him, his name is Nick Rafello—turned me onto this guy by posting it on his Facebook page. His name is…
Caryn Hartglass: Sebastian Maniscalco.
Gary De Mattei: Sebastian Maniscalco, and he’s hysterical. He does this great YouTube bit on his first Passover—an Italian going to his first Passover. It’s basically so true because I am of Italian ancestry and when I went to my first Passover it was exactly like that.
Caryn Hartglass: The other thing I wanted to mention about Passover was a fascinating article about the Passover matzo in the New York Times magazine this past weekend. You can see it online, it’s called The Man Who Could Make Everyone’s Bread Taste Better. If you’ve ever tried matzo, typically the store-bought brand, it’s just wheat and water and salt. It’s kind of a bland cracker.
Gary De Mattei: Mmmmm. I love matzo.
Caryn Hartglass: And then there are more artisan types of matzo. This particular author had tasted a particularly tasty artisanal version of matzo and he wanted to find out what the difference was. In this article they talked about the farmer who created the wheat for this particular matzo, and all the rules and regulations that the rabbis have to approve—it was really mind-boggling. What was mind-boggling to me is the rabbis didn’t care if the wheat that this guy was growing was a higher quality, or better tasting, or more nutritious. They just wanted it to meet the rules that had been made 5000 some odd years ago for this particular holiday. It’s fascinating where people put their priorities.
Gary De Mattei: Right, talk about not evolving. But I guess that illusion isn’t something you want to talk about when you’re talking about religion. Brrrap-boom. Thank you, I’ll be here for the next 30 or so minutes.
Caryn Hartglass: Now another thing I talk about on Passover—and I wrote an article which you can find at ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com called My Passover Tears—is we retell the story, the Passover story, how Moses—
Gary De Mattei: Mooooses.
Caryn Hartglass: Mooooses.
Gary De Mattei: Mooooses.
Caryn Hartglass: We love The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston.
Gary De Mattei: Mooooses. Ah. Moses. Ah. Where’d my people go? Moses. Ah. Edward G. Robinson was in that film right?
Caryn Hartglass: Yes.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah. Boo Edward G. Robinson.
Caryn Hartglass: Anyway. That’s always a fun film to watch, to kind of get a whitewashed version of a history that maybe didn’t even happen.
Gary De Mattei: No pun intended, “whitewash.”
Caryn Hartglass: Exactly.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah. Okay anyway, we won’t go any further there.
Caryn Hartglass: Right, so Moses is trying to talk the Egyptians into letting the Jews who are slaves leave Egypt and walk to freedom. Finally after a lot of to-do, as we would call it here in New York, God comes along and visits ten plagues on the Egyptians. Really nasty stuff. Moses is allowed to leave with the Jews and they walk 40 days and 40 nights—no, 40 years, sorry—in the desert until they found the promised land Israel, and that’s a whole other story that started a whole lot of other problems that we’re still going through today. But there are a lot of parallels in that story, symbolism about what’s going on in the world today. It frustrates me that some people, not all, are very close-minded and don’t acknowledge the slavery of human beings today. Because there’s slavery everywhere, even if it’s not called slavery. There are indentured servants or people that are living on such low wages and…
Gary De Mattei: And a lot of it has to do with who picks our produce.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, most of the migrant workers, they live on like, next to nothing.
Gary De Mattei: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: And then of course there are the non-human animals in the factory farms that are enslaved.
Gary De Mattei: Who need a voice. That’s why we do what we do here at Responsible Eating and Living. We try to be the voice of the voiceless, and package it in a way that is hopefully creative and easily accessible—
Caryn Hartglass: And delicious!
Gary De Mattei: And delicious.
Caryn Hartglass: Because what’s frustrating during the Passover: we read this story about the slaves, we sing the songs, we eat the symbolic foods, we taste the bitter tears, the salty water that we dip our parsley into to taste the tears, and then they serve the brisket.
Gary De Mattei: And then we eat the slaughtered, tortured animal. Which is a segue right now that I’m going to go with here—I think Caryn is going to pick up on it too—is how aggressive some people can be when they know that they’re going to be hosting an event like a Passover Seder, or just have a person who’s vegan come and visit them in their home and spend some time with them. Some people are very gracious and lovely and wonderful.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely.
Gary De Mattei: …and bend over backwards to make you feel comfortable. Then there are those who are really—you can’t say they’re passive-aggressive, because they aren’t passive about it—they’re just plain old aggressive about their opinions and want to make them known immediately. And they do it through physical actions, not necessarily through words.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to give a few examples.
Gary De Mattei: Yes, and I was going to say Caryn, you’ve got some examples.
Caryn Hartglass: I do, and I want to bring this up because it’s really important to talk about this.
Gary De Mattei: Especially for you if you are going vegan, and you’re going to your first gathering of friends or family, and they are not vegan. Here are some interesting things to note from our end. Caryn is a plus-30-year vegan now and I’m going on ten years next year. You’re going to encounter all sorts of things and Caryn’s got some great tips for you.
Caryn Hartglass: What to do and what not to do.
Gary De Mattei: Some words of wisdom, so another drumroll—Caryn (drumming sounds) what to do and what not to do when somebody slams you in the face with a steak.
Caryn Hartglass: In the last few months, when I’ve done a little traveling or visited someone’s home, a number of times I was really surprised because I came into the house and it reeked of bacon smells, and egg smells, and meat-cooking smells. In one instance my friend said, “oh I really wanted to prepare all of this stuff yesterday but I didn’t get to it, so I had to do it right now, when you’re coming.” So here was someone who knew it would offend me. Maybe she really ran out of time and this was the only time that she had, but I was floored, and I was uncomfortable, because those kind of smells make me really ill. But I was a guest in her home, and I was grateful to be a guest in her home, so what do you do? That happened again in another home recently, again preparing all this meat in a home where other vegans live. I don’t know how they manage to do that together when a meat-eater lives with a vegan.
Gary De Mattei: A meat-eater, yes.
Caryn Hartglass: Many people do that harmoniously and I give them a lot of credit. And then on Facebook, where people get really aggressive…
Gary De Mattei: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: A friend of mine was traveling and posted that she was eating in a restaurant that served horsemeat. There was a picture of the horse’s hooves kind of on a stake, and then the rest of the leg was draped out so that they could cut the meat away. She was talking about how wonderful this restaurant was, and she tagged me saying “sorry Caryn Hartglass, vegan, for this.” I was wondering: why was that necessary, to put my name there? Because I didn’t want to see that, and I didn’t need to see that, and why did she feel that she needed—
Gary De Mattei: Well, I have a theory. I think it’s because you’re getting to them and they’re feeling the guilt. When you feel the guilt about something, what do you usually do? You usually say, “I shouldn’t be doing this but I’m going to do it anyway.”
Caryn Hartglass: Here’s another example. My parents were at a New Year’s Eve dinner with their friends. They’ve all known me for decades, most of my life. They all know what a big deal vegan I am. And they were all eating their steak and lobster and kind of laughing and saying “good thing Caryn isn’t here.”
Gary De Mattei: Right, and then they have to tell you that they said that.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Gary De Mattei: I think it’s because your compassionate way, and your nonjudgmental way—your vegan way—is getting to people. Especially—it’s usually the people that know you really well, and know you as a vegan, and just either embrace that when you come into their home and say “Look I made this whole thing for you.” I know that my family members that know I’m vegan—obviously they all know I’m vegan, so—they go out of their way to make sure that—I mean they even sit there and say to me “Don’t eat that, that has cheese in it.” They’ll look out for me, they’ll get my back. They’ll still indulge in whatever they want to eat but they have always made sure that I have felt very at home and at peace.
Caryn Hartglass: So the point is this kind of thing happens all the time, and it can be really difficult when you’re new at being a vegan or testing the waters. Because it can be intimidating, it can be embarrassing. But what I recommend is: take the high road. Don’t react. You don’t have to be confrontational. You don’t have to prove anything. You just have to sit in the knowing that you’re at peace for doing what you’re doing.
Gary De Mattei: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: And that’s very powerful.
Gary De Mattei: Continue doing what you’re doing. Then as things progress, and you feel more comfortable with how it is that you do things, then you can take on—it’s all about evolving. You can take on, I was going to say your vegan persona, but it’s really releasing who you are. I have this theory that we all, underneath, are vegan, and we’re conditioned to think otherwise. We talked about this last week. We said my horrible experience with watching a calf being slaughtered at a very young age stuck with me, yet I covered it with layers and layers and layers of rhetoric about how meat is good for you and how you have to eat meat and “it’s all about the protein” and blah blah blah that many of you out there are also experiencing. When I did release myself from that rhetoric, everything started to evolve for me, and change in such a magnificent way. Caterpillar-butterfly analogy or whatever it is you want to use. Lifting the veil. Speaking of John Robins, he mentioned lifting the veil several times in a speech that I listened to him do, and it is. It’s like lifting the veil and seeing the world. It’s not always the pretty world that you think you’re seeing. Actually, you see the world for what it is and it’s an unhappy place. So remember if you’re transitioning, there are going to be a lot of passive-aggressive-aggressive people out there that are going to try and—I get this all the time—maybe the best way I can explain it to you is by giving you some dialogue.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, dialogue helps.
Gary De Mattei: When we’re sitting around the table at dinner with friends who aren’t vegan, who know that I’m a new vegan, the question they’ll ask me, either in front of Caryn or when Caryn goes off to the restroom, is “Don’t you miss having a steak? C’mon don’t you just want to have a big bite of this steak? Come on Gar; tell us what you really feel. C’mon, Caryn’s in the bathroom. Don’t you really want to have a steak? Just—don’t you miss it? Don’t you miss it Gar? Don’t you miss it pal?” And I’m like, no, actually I don’t.
Caryn Hartglass: ‘Leave me alone, get out of here.’
Gary De Mattei: And then I’m like ‘Ah Caryn take me away.’ But you just have to be really cool and grown up and say “No, no but please: am I making you feel uncomfortable by not eating steak in front of you? Because I’m sorry, I’ll go to another table.”
Caryn Hartglass: Another funny thing—funny, sad, I don’t know what—but many people, when they know you’re vegan, and they know you’re into healthy eating, they say “well what do you eat? I wouldn’t know what to eat.” Yet you go to a restaurant with them, and the first thing they do is look at the menu and say “Oh you can have this.” They know exactly what to eat.
Gary De Mattei: I love that. I love that.
Caryn Hartglass: “Oh here’s something for you. This looks nice.”
Gary De Mattei: Yeah get ready for that, transitioning vegans.
Caryn Hartglass: Where they pick things out for you on the menu.
Gary De Mattei: People are going to start ordering for you, it’s really fun.
Caryn Hartglass: So, the point is—there are many points here—but people are aware they are uncomfortable with meat eating.
Gary De Mattei: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: Subconsciously, consciously, they’re uncomfortable with it.
Gary De Mattei: Absolutely. Very uncomfortable. They want to be vegans too but they just haven’t had the right kind of nudge. So Died for a New America is a great book to start with. Way of the Peaceful Warrior, excellent book. Woo woo wah wah, feel good philosophy about how to take control back in your own life. And what do you eat? You come to Responsible Eating and Living, go to What Vegans Eat, and check it out. The most recent post is—
Caryn Hartglass: You’re going to be licking your screen!
Gary De Mattei: Yeah it’s my favorite. We went out to dinner to start the launch of Caryn’s birthday week. You know on Earth Day, April 22nd, Caryn Hartglass was born. She will be 29 years old on Friday.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Gary De Mattei: We normally have a huge celebration every year. Last few years we’ve had the Happy Birthday Review, which was our big fundraiser. Last year we did it here in Queens, in Forest Hills. Then it was the number one tourist destination. Now it seems to be the number one real estate destination for people wanting to live in New York City because Brooklyn is priced out.
Caryn Hartglass: Come to Queens while you can afford it.
Gary De Mattei: And Manhattan is priced out, so Queens will be next and then probably the Bronx, and then last will be Staten Island.
Caryn Hartglass: Staten Island never.
Gary De Mattei: No I think Staten Island will have its day too. But anyway Queens now is the place to be. It’s not only the place to be for real estate and living, but it’s also a really cool place to be for food. It always has been. We have so many different languages spoken here, so many cultures. It was rated the number one tourist destination last year by Lonely Planet. So we had our Happy Birthday Review here last year in Forest Hills, at a great place called Jade. They have vegan options and they did a whole vegan menu for us. It was beautiful. Well, we couldn’t do that because this year we have family on Friday.
Caryn Hartglass: Passover.
Gary De Mattei: Caryn’s family will celebrate, they do celebrate Passover. So we started our birthday celebration on Sunday night at one of our favorite restaurants in Manhattan: Candle Cafe West. So go to What Vegans Eat to see this phenomenal food that is prepared in restaurants. You will never want to go to another restaurant again.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. They were always good but somehow they’re getting better.
Gary De Mattei: Oh they were always good for me.
Caryn Hartglass: This was my best meal ever: I had a corn-crusted tempeh. And as you may know, Gary doesn’t like to have mushrooms, and I love mushrooms, so when I eat out I frequently overdo the mushrooms. This had a porcini mushroom sauce and then it was sautéed with wild mushrooms. Oh on mashed potatoes. Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes?
Gary De Mattei: You can sell anything with mashed potatoes. You could sell an old boot if you serve it with mashed potatoes. That’s a rule that Jimmy Connors taught me, a chef that worked with me at a restaurant I opened in California. Chef Jimmy Connors. If you’re out there listening he’s one of the greatest chefs. Go vegan Jimmy! You would be a phenomenal vegan chef. But he said “Gary I can sell anything with mashed potatoes. I can sell a shoe on a plate with mashed potatoes.” You know mashed potatoes are vegan, and you can now put vegan butter on them. We talked about Miyoko’s vegan butter last week on this show. The thing we like to do at Responsible Eating and Living is braised garlic. I got this from Chef Eric Tucker, formerly of the Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco. He now has his own restaurant in…what is it? Redwood City?
Caryn Hartglass: No, it’s something with an R. Riverdale or something. I don’t know what it’s called.
Gary De Mattei: I thought it was Redwood City.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s in the Oakland area.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah I thought it was around Redwood City. Anyway, Google Chef Eric Tucker if you’re in the Bay Area and go to his restaurant. Instead of butter, Eric adds a little braised garlic to his mashed potatoes. Or you could add roasted garlic to your mashed potatoes. It’s very buttery.
Caryn Hartglass: We have that recipe at Responsible Eating and Living.
Gary De Mattei: We do.
Caryn Hartglass: Gary De Mattei’s version.
Gary De Mattei: We do. So go to What Vegans Eat. We’ve been talking a lot about when you’re out at a restaurant or when you’re at someone’s home: how do you transition to a plant-based diet? How do you stay on your path, your vegan path? One of the ways is if somebody suggests you all go to dinner, some of these restaurants now are becoming very popular and very trendy with vegans and non-vegans alike. Why don’t you suggest taking them out to a vegan restaurant in your area? And if you live in the New York area, start with Candle. They either have Candle Cafe West or Candle Cafe, which was the first vegan restaurant Caryn took me to and I was hooked at that point. I was just like, wow. If you can eat like this everyday, who wants to eat anything that’s been tortured?
Caryn Hartglass: Yep.
Gary De Mattei: And then they have Candle 79.
Gary De Mattei: So What Vegans Eat. Now another thing we talk about when we do our Happy Birthday Review is all the other programs here at Responsible Eating and Living. You’re listening to one of them: the real radio and podcasts, the All About Food Show, which we now have transcriptions for most of the shows.
Caryn Hartglass: While we’re talking about transcriptions: whoever is going to transcribe this show, thank you so much for transcribing this show! I am so grateful to all of our transcribers. And you know, you don’t really know about what goes on behind the scenes. A lot of things go on behind the scenes just to do a program like this. I’ve found that it’s so valuable to have the transcriptions. We couldn’t possibly do that, it’s time-consuming.
Gary De Mattei: Although you tried.
Caryn Hartglass: I did, I did try. And now we have wonderful volunteers.
Gary De Mattei: You actually succeeded but you never had a minute to yourself. Now we have so many wonderful transcribers out there, so what we usually do at our Happy Birthday Review, besides eat vegan cake and do a show by the Swingin’ Gourmets, is we thank all of the people that have helped us. Thanking you is another big part of what we do. Thank you for listening, and thank you for caring.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you for caring. Thank you for caring.
Gary De Mattei: Thank you for caring enough, and paying attention. We are celebrating our fifth year.
Caryn Hartglass: In July.
Gary De Mattei: We started this in July of 2011, so we are very happy to still be here. Like we always love to say, we do it all out of a one-bedroom apartment in Queens.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right.
Gary De Mattei: The other thing we talk about is our original recipes, which you hear a lot about. Several of them are now in cookbooks, and about-to-be-published cookbooks. We’re happy that our recipes people find lovely enough to publish.
Caryn Hartglass: Can I talk about our recipes for a minute?
Gary De Mattei: Absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: Something I discovered, or rediscovered, or was reminded of recently when I was traveling and I made our creamy kale pesto—your recipe.
Gary De Mattei: Mm.
Caryn Hartglass: Creamy kale pesto, which is a really great recipe I made in someone’s home. When you don’t use the same ingredients—well I mean black pepper is an ingredient, but if it’s not the same brand, if it’s not the same quality, it will affect the flavor of your food. I made this pesto and it was not quite the same. We use three garlic cloves, and our garlic cloves weren’t big, buffalo-y sized. This person had really big garlic cloves, so I cut down on the number of garlic cloves. Then I thought ‘man it wasn’t garlic-y enough.’ Depending on the non-dairy milks you might use—we normally use unsweetened soymilk, which is just soybeans and water, nothing else. I grabbed the unsweetened almond milk in this house—and I love almond milk. It gave it a nice nutty flavor, but it was different.
Gary De Mattei: It was nutty. Right.
Caryn Hartglass: If you’re making a recipe from our site or from any book, and for some reason you don’t like it or it doesn’t come out exactly right, it just could have something to do with your ingredients and the ingredients that were used in the original recipe and may require a little—.
Gary De Mattei: Zhoozhing
Caryn Hartglass: A little zhoozhing.
Gary De Mattei: Yes. And if you have any questions info@RealMeals.com will get you answers. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you’re having a problem with our recipes. We take our recipes very seriously. It’s what we do here at Responsible Eating and Living, and we’re always looking for people out there who make them to let us know that they’ve made them and how you adjust them. There are a lot of chefs out there who take the basic plan and then make it their own. Please let us know what you did because that’s really fun for us to see. We love having someone make our recipes. We have over 400 plant-based recipes.
Caryn Hartglass: And more coming every day!
Gary De Mattei: Original plant-based recipes. But I guess nothing is really original is it, I mean it all comes from—
Caryn Hartglass: It’s all—I like to call it theme and variations.
Gary De Mattei: Theme and variation. There is a method to our madness. There’s a method to our recipes. What they are designed to do, again, is—this site was started, this organization was started, because we want to give people the tools they need to feel confident enough to transition without fearing that, well—because we all want to go back when we don’t think something is working. I know so many people who’ve said “Oh I was vegan for a week and I just had to go back and have a big cheeseburger.” So obviously I’m thinking to myself, ‘well you didn’t go to a place that sells plant-based cheeseburgers,’ or ‘you didn’t go and find a way to make your own gooey, sloppy, schmeary, heavy, fifteen-pound sandwich.’ Because that’s what you’re going to need to feel like you can do when you say “I’m cutting myself free from this meat-centric society that I live in.” Everything is about meat. It’s about meat and pharmaceuticals. When you sit and watch the tube, not the YouTube but the actual TV that many people still watch, it’s all drug commercials, and it’s all fast food and meat commercials, and processed food commercials. You will rarely see a commercial that doesn’t. If it involves food, you will rarely see a commercial that doesn’t also involve tortured and cooked animals.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so if you’re struggling, and if you find you’re still hungry eating just plants—number one is you’re not eating enough. And that’s the beauty of this diet. If you’re eating the right things, like Dr. Fuhrman recommends: greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds, you can eat as many greens and beans as you want. Have a giant burrito filled with some vegetables and beans, a little avocado.
Gary De Mattei: Yeah and believe it or not you can have a giant burrito, as long as the tortilla that you’re wrapping it in isn’t made with lard. You just have to ask. Occasionally I go into Chipotle, and there is a burrito there—meaning there is a tortilla—that isn’t made with lard. So you just have to ask them, which one do you not…
Caryn Hartglass: They put whey sometimes, and milk products in them too. You can never be too careful.
Gary De Mattei: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: But you know what Gary?
Gary De Mattei: What’s that Caryn?
Caryn Hartglass: We have managed to babble away 55 minutes!
Gary De Mattei: Really?
Caryn Hartglass: Isn’t that incredible?
Gary De Mattei: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: So I just wanted to say happy birthday to me.
Gary De Mattei: Happy birthday Caryn!
Caryn Hartglass: Happy Earth Day and happy birthday to me. If you want, you’re welcome to wish me a happy birthday. I’ve taken all the love I can get and I think you should too. Because the only way we’re going to survive in this world is by sharing the love.
Gary De Mattei: Right, it’s only about love.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s all about love and it’s all about food.
Gary De Mattei: So love your food because you love yourself. Love yourself enough to ingest only love and not anything that’s been tortured. That’s the most religious thing I think you could ever do. And people who don’t and say that they are religious people are hypocrites. I’m sorry, I’m just going to go out and say it. You’re all a bunch of hypocrites.
Caryn Hartglass: Humans do have a problem with hypocrisy.
Caryn & Gary De Mattei: Yeah.
Gary De Mattei: I was a hypocrite for many years.
Caryn: I think in some ways it’s a survival technique, but that could be a theme for another show.
Gary De Mattei: Well, whatever. Thanks for listening and go to ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com. If you like what we do, make a donation, because we are a not-for-profit organization.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes and thank you for those who have already supported us, we really appreciate it. Hugs to you. Okay thank you for joining us on It’s All About Food. I’m Caryn Hartglass and I’m here with Gary De Mattei. Remember—have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Samantha Rakela, 8/14/2016 and Swetha Ramesh 10/16/2016