03/29/2016: Health and Climate Change Reports, Chocolate Report Update


caryn-at-le-pain-quotidienCaryn talks about the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change and how other media outlets are reporting on it, with their own spins. Just a few days after Easter, she discussed Easter Chocolate and the Easter Lamb. She covered updates on Chocolate regarding cadmium, lead, allergens and child slaves, referring to the Chocolate Report, new information from As You Sow and ConsumerLabs.com.


Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody! I’m Caryn Hartglass, the host on: It’s All About Food. Thanks for joining me today. As I mentioned last week, I’m celebrating my 7th year of: It’s All About Food. If you’re new to this program, thank you. If you’re old to this program, thank you.  If you’re checking in every now and then, thank you. Thank you for caring.

There’s more information out there about how health and climate change are connected, and a lot of it comes down to food. Last week, I couldn’t remember what PNAS stood for–I prepared today. It’s kind of embarrassing sometimes that there are so many acronyms out there, that every field has their own vocabulary and their own acronyms. It’s just impossible to keep up! Anyway, www.pnas.org has a great article that came out a few weeks ago, and PNAS, are you ready, stands for: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, this is not a slacker place. This is a prestigious source of information, and they published an article called, Analysis and Evaluation of the Health and Climate Change Co-Benefits of Dietary Change. You’ve probably seen many different articles coming out: U.S world report, TIME magazine–everybody’s got their own spin and say on this very impressive article. Which was put together by a number of impressive researchers from: The Department of the Future of Food, the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, and the British Hart Foundation Center on Population, Approaches for Non-communicable Disease Prevention. These are the author affiliations for this report, and there’s a lot of great information. What I wanted to talk about is how a lot of the mainstream media like Time Magazine, for example, not my favorite source for information. Although I rejoice, I rejoice when I see articles that promote the power of a plant based vegan diet. So, they reported on this PNAS article, and they entitled it, How a Vegan Diet Could Help Save The Planet. Lovely. You have to understand that they’re just looking for people to buy the magazine and to come to their site. So, anything that has a sensational title, they’re going to support. What frustrates me is that nothing is objective, and not even objective, we all have our own bent, we all have our own priorities. But, I really would like to see magazines and newspapers really dig deep into the research–and they don’t. They just kind of spin things with a sensational title, and then they move on and contradict everything they said the following week with another sensational title. It’s confusing. It’s frustrating. Now maybe part of the problem is: they just don’t have the funding anymore to do any really in depth journalism. That’s really a sad thing, and part of it has to do with this wonderful internet that we all love and take advantage of, but, makes everyone a journalist and kind of lowers the price that organizations are going to pay for journalists. And a lot of us do this sort of thing for free. So, it’s really hard to know what’s real and what’s true. For example, we just saw this wonderful thing come out at www.pnas.org and everybody’s spinning on it–How eating a plant based diet can also reduce climate change. We’ve been talking about this for decades, and it’s always wonderful when more reputable organizations talk about: the power of plant foods, how it’s not only excellent for health, but it’s what’s going to save the planet. At least, save the planet as we know it. Maybe human life and a lot of the other species–the planet will always be here. Or, at least it will be here for a very long time. But Time Magazine, just a few weeks ago put out an article called, Sorry Vegans, Here’s How Meat Eating Made Us Human. They were reporting on an article that was published in nature, and it was the most ridiculous article in my mind. It was about some researchers at Harvard University, that’s impressive right? The article in Nature had all kinds of impressive charts, graphs, and lines going up and down with data. And what did they do? They had a group of people chew meat and root vegetables. They counted how many chews were required, and they determined through a variety of these studies and tests–that the meat took less chews. They just theorized, none of this is true or confirmed, it’s just kind of a fantasy idea that: since it took less chews to eat the meat than the vegetables, that maybe, hundred of thousands of years ago; that’s how we evolved and became humans. And everybody rejoices and says, “Yes! We needed meat to make us human!” And now we need to eat more meat. This is just a ridiculous concept, and this was done at Harvard! And you know what I say? I don’t care what happened 500 thousand years ago or a million years ago; I know what’s going on today. We’ve got 7 billion people on this planet and we’re cramming all of these innocent, sentient beings into filthy spaces, so that we can grow them fast and kill them fast and eat them fast. It’s a disaster, and it’s affecting our health in a negative way. It’s effecting the planet in a negative way. That’s just the simple truth, and it’s just really frustrating when you see these ridiculous headlines.

The good thing is, the word vegan is becoming more and more popular in mainstream media, they’re including it in all kind of scripts in movies, televisions, and commercials. People know about it, so we have it endure this time until we get to the next level: where they feel like they don’t have to make fun of us anymore and realize that eating plants is the best thing for all of us. Not only is it the best for our health, planet, and animals; but, it’s delicious! Every time I read a news article, they always talk about how eating plant food is boring, and I want to say: Hello it’s 2016; it is not boring. There’s many many different ways to prepare plant food, and there’s far more exciting because there are so many more kinds of plant foods and all kinds of colors. They’re really delicious and even sometimes, I just love eating vegetables and brown rice. There’s nothing wrong with is, but there’s all types of herbs, spices, walnuts, seeds, and great things to make plant foods taste great. So, I really get tired when I see those kinds of ignorant reactions that keep these myths go. But, I highly recommend checking out the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science’s www.pnas.org article: Analysis and Evaluation of the Health and Climate Change Co-Benefits of Dietary Change. Don’t read the summaries in these more mainstream publications–go to the source. That’s where you’re going to get the best information, and you can make the most informed choices from the best, the original information.

Okay moving on, I want to tell you that I’m really excited about this. I mentioned this maybe last week. I’m not sure. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, my favorite doctor, he has a new book coming out this Tuesday, April 5th. It’s called, The End of Heart Disease. If you’re on his newsletter list, he recently wrote, that he thinks this book is his best, most important book ever. It’s his largest book with over 430 pages. He’s been working on it for over two years, and it’s coming out on Tuesday. Guess what? I get to talk to him on Tuesday on It’s All About Food. So I hope you join me next Tuesday for this really important program. You know, so many people have heart disease today, and it’s really frustrating when I hear friends, family, and strangers even–When their doctors, their cardiologists tell them: “You have heart disease, there’s nothing you can do about it but to take these medications.” That’s just not true, and we all need to be spreading this message on the power of plants to save our loved ones, and even our not so loved ones. Nobody should be dying of heart disease today, right? I just keep hearing more and more stories about it, and it’s very very frustrating. I look forward to the day when medical doctors understand that nutrition is a part of good health. Some of them are getting it, but then there’s this balance. They feel like we don’t want this information. We want to keep things easy and simple, so we want the pill and surgery. It’s too hard to eat healthy, and I guess that’s everyone’s choice. It’s not my choice. I pick delicious plant foods everyday.

So, last Sunday was Easter. If you’ve known me, by now you know that I am not a religious person. But, I am a foodie. I love celebrating food related to holidays. So, when people think of Easter, or when I think of Easter; I think of two quotes. One is chocolate, and I’ll tell you what the other one is in a minute. Let’s talk about chocolate for a minute. Last year, here at Responsible Eating and Living (my nonprofit), we did a video report called, The Chocolate Story. What I tried to do in that report is bring together all the different issues involving chocolate, and do you know what some of those issues are? There’s the issue of the Ivory Coast, where children are being used through child labor to harvest cocoa. The Food Empowerment Project has been outstanding in updating and producing this chocolate list, and letting us all know the vegan chocolates that are out there that do not use child slaves in harvesting their chocolate. So that’s one thing: slavery. Then, there’s lead and cadmium. There has been more reports testing different chocolates, and finding high levels of these elements in chocolate. There are a number of organizations that have been doing this. There’s an organization called, As you Sow and there’s a group called, www.consumerlabs.com. As You Sow has been publishing the tests that they are doing–I imagine they are expensive and it’s hard to test all the chocolates out there, so we can’t get all the information. Of course, individual manufacturers are supposed to be checking their own chocolate, and you know, they either are or they aren’t. If they are, they’ve discovered that their cadmium and lead levels are above what is approved by the FDA–are they going to come out and let us know? You know, when it affects the bottom line, we can’t be sure. So, there are a lot of different chocolates that have lead and cadmium, but it has nothing to do with being organic, expensive, or quality. As we hear more stories about lead in the water, for example, in Flynt, New Jersey, and who knows where else; I think you can understand how there are toxins in our chocolate and other food products. These are plant products (cocoa for example), it grows in the ground, it’s watered. The water may have contamination, the soil may be contaminated from nearby industrial plants–who knows what. Unfortunately, a lot of chocolate has lead and cadmium.

So, you have As You Sow and www.consumerlabs.com . Now, the thing about www.consumerlabs.com , is you can only get their reports if you subscribe to their website. There’s been a number of other organizations who have gotten their reports and have summarized some of the results, but they continued to update the results. I don’t subscribe to www.consumerlabs.com, maybe I should. But I don’t have the most updated results. But, if you really want to know, that might be a valuable report. So, they’re letting us know, which chocolates have high amounts of lead of cadmium, and which ones don’t.

For people who are concerned about allergens, the FDA did a study a while ago and discovered many many non-dairy chocolates had a lot of dairy in them. That has to do with the fact that it’s really hard to clean those chocolate machines, and there are companies that don’t own their own machines. So, they share it with other companies. Even though they may not use certain ingredients in their products, if somebody else uses those ingredients in their products, when they use the same machine it’s mixed together. Even if the don’t use those ingredients in their ingredients, there’s always that line in fine print that says, May contain… in this product. They have to say that because it can really have a deleterious effect if somebody has an allergic reaction to peanuts, dairy, or tree nuts. So, there are allergens, slavery, and lead and cadmium in chocolate. This is really sad, isn’t it? Because chocolate is such a beautiful food! So what we did in the chocolate report is that we tried to find the chocolates that don’t have slavery in it, lead or cadmium, or allergens. It’s really hard to know, or get a complete picture, because not all of the chocolates have been tested. I remember when we did the report, it came out to endangered species, was not ideal for allergens, but they were good for letting lead and slavery. Unfortunately, As You Sow has just reported that there are some endangered species chocolate that indeed contain: lead and cadmium. Equal Exchange, organic and fair trade Dark chocolate (very dark) 71% cocoa, has been shown to have lead and cadmium. Endangered Species chocolate has 88% lead and cadmium. Nice, isn’t it? Ghirardelli, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods, Cadbury, and Hershey’s– They’re all in there!  They all have some lead and cadmium, but not all of their products–some of them.  So, you may want to check out some of these websites that are doing the reports, and you could listen to our chocolate story that you can find at: Responsible Eating and Living. What do you do? I don’t know. All I know is that for Easter, I found the SJAAK chocolate, they’re out of Petaluma, California, and they’re organic. They are listed on Food and Empowerment Chocolate List that doesn’t use children to harvest the cocoa beans, and that’s good. They had some very cute little Easter chocolate that I managed to buy and get for Gary. It was really a fun little moment having Easter eggs, the Easter bunny, and they had little vegan jellybeans.  And there it is! There’s the Mr. Softee food truck, just in time because they have to play while I’m doing this program.

Now the other popular Easter food is: the Easter lamb. This is a hard one, how is it we can have all these sweet, peaceful, lovely images of this sweet, precious animal. This cuddly soft lamb. And then talk about slaughtering it, eating it, and serving it up on a platter. I don’t get it, and if you could explain it to me… I’d like to hear the explanation. There are so many beautiful poems about the lamb–the peaceful lamb, the lovely lamb. And then after all the services, people go and eat lamb. Do we really think about what we’re saying and doing all the time? I don’t believe in eating lamb. Is it obvious? That is that.

Now the last thing I wanted to talk about in the first half of the program is, something I learned in 2007 when going through my cancer treatment. I was at a point where I knew I really had to dig deep and do whatever I could to save my life. Of course, that meant food. But I knew that there were some other things, and I went to visit a friend of mine in Canada who did some special techniques, some of them were neurolinguistic, some he did some Reiki, and some other things I think he created himself. But, one of the things we did that was really powerful, was talking to my body. Back then, the way we did it was: he said he was going to ask me some questions, but he wasn’t asking me. He was asking the parts of my body that had cancer. We set up a way for me to answer, or my body to answer: Yes or no. You know, this may sound crazy, but it was so powerful. So I sat and relaxed, and he said, “Okay, let me know how you’re going to respond with yes.”  And I think one of my fingers twitched. So, we decided that for the yes answer: my finger would twitch. And for the No answer, my eye would blink. Something like that, and then he proceeded to ask a number of questions. I did my best to be in a relaxed state and not anticipate an answer. I didn’t want my conscience, or I didn’t know how to explain it. But, I didn’t want my mind to answer, but I wanted my body to answer. It worked, and the answer were profound–I learned a lot. I don’t use this technique very often, but I found it can be very useful, very powerful, and it can be very scary. However, I believe that our body knows everything about us. I believe our bodies have all the answers to why we feel the way we do, the physical things that are bothering us. We have all the answers inside of us. The question is, do we really want all those answers? Because some of them can be scary.

So, as you may know, I had the flu 3 weeks ago–can’t believe it. But I did. It lasted a week with fever, and then I had this cough that lasted over two weeks, and I’m really kind of at the end of it. It was a couple of days ago, I don’t know, 4 or 5 days ago. I just had a feeling of being crappy. I was in my meditation, and when I was done with my meditation, feeling all relaxed and comfortable, I said okay I’m going to do this asking my body, “What it means right now, to heal, and get back to my strong, vital, energy state.” And right away, I got this answer: papaya, pineapple, basil, and kiwi. And I thought to my myself, okay… this is either crazy…. Or it’s not… But I’m not going to judge; I like these foods. Gary and I went out and we got: pineapple, papaya, basil, kiwi. You can look at my What Vegans Eat post, we made this beautiful salad of papaya, pineapple, and kiwi. And then I made an eggplant dish with fresh basil in it–everything was delicious. I ate it. I felt better! Now, I know that the placebo effect is really powerful. And who knows, maybe there was a placebo effect in there. But, I really recommend this technique of listening to your body, getting in a relaxed state, listen to your breath, listen to your body, and ask a specific question. You may be surprised what the answer is! You can ask your whole body or specific body parts. It can be really really profound, and let me know how it goes. If you discover something, I would love to hear all about it. You can email me at: info@realmeals.org. Got it? Very good.

The last thing that I wanted to talk about in this part, before we get to the second part with my guest I can’t wait to speak with is Socca Wraps.  Have you made socca? Socca is a crepe made from garbanzo bean flour and water. It’s like the easiest thing. If you feel like you’re not very good at making pancakes, flipping, and whatever; if you have a decent pan and spatula, there are tricks in the trade. It’s a very easy kind of crepe to make. The chickpea flour, the garbanzo bean flour is a very sturdy flour. I like to spice it up, and I made a bunch (maybe like 10-12)– they make phenomenal wraps. So, you can go to Responsible Eating and Living and check out my What Vegans Eat Post: Day 410, and see what we did with the wraps–really good.

Transcribed by Victoria Nguyen, 7/3/2016

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