11/01/2016: World Vegan Day; Thoughts on Being Vegan


Caryn celebrates World Vegan Day on It’s All About Food, and talks about the choices made when vegan, and on being a vegan advocate. She shares food stories from her recent trip to South Florida.



Here we are, you and me and it is World Vegan Day.  Wooooooo!! Woooooo!! Drop the confetti, pop champagne [cork popping sound].  Isn’t that good?  I love making these champagne cork popping sound.  I’m going to do it again [cork popping sound].  Woooooooo! Pop the champagne and let’s celebrate World Vegan Day!  I remember as a child when it was Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, I used to ask, “Why isn’t there a Children’s Day?” and the response I always got back was, “Every day is children’s day and here at Responsible Eating and Living, in our house every day it’s Vegan Day.  Every day is World Vegan Day and I, I just want to reflect on this a little bit because, well number one, I think about food every day not just because I get hungry, but because I have such a passion for it and I believe It’s All About Food and I just wonder is there a right way, is there a wrong way to go about it, is there a better way?  For me, I became vegan number one reason for the animals.  I was young, I realized that we were killing animals for food, that didn’t make sense to me, flesh was off the plate and it’s been a journey I’ve learned so much over, oh, how many years has been the last 40 plus years since being vegetarian and then becoming vegan and so much has changed for the better making it a lot easier. For those of you who are vegan, thank you. For those of you who are interested in becoming vegan, thank you. For those of you who are curious about eating more plants, wanting to get healthier, thank you and thank you for listening.  I have conflicts sometimes about what it is I want to promote as a vegan.  So, when I stick to being vegan for animals, for example, I’ll create all kinds of recipes to please the palate; to let people know that there’s no deprivation; that you can have lemon meringue pie; that you can have all kinds of wonderful treats and desserts and satisfying sauces.  There’s no deprivation, there’s only satisfaction and the benefits that you get from it. From the standpoint of animals the obvious benefit is not exploiting and killing nonhuman animals.  Now, there’s that. But my conflict comes in as an advanced ovarian cancer survivor. So, 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer and I thought, “How could I, healthy vegan, get cancer?”  Well, I did and I’ve come to know and meet others who are on what they believe are healthy diets who get one kind of illness or another.  Healthy diets do not necessarily prevent disease.  They lower risks, but no one gets out of this world alive, and all kinds of things play into getting sick.  So with that in mind, I like to promote recipes that boost the immune system, create good health, create energy for the human body, feel good, make us stay young looking, make our joints feel or not feel, so we don’t feel them, so we don’t have arthritis.  Things feel good, move well and the foods and the recipes that are health promoting may not be the tastiest for people who are used to a high sugar, high salt, high fat diet and I have this conflict.  Do I make recipes that people on the standard American diet would really like just so they will try it and get off the animal? or do I promote the most healthiest food possible so that I can be a part of helping people get well, lower their risk of disease live a long, happy healthy life?  I go back and forth all the time.  So far, as I like to quote Sondheim, “I decided not to decide.” [laughter].  Those are the lyrics from a song Cinderella sings from Into the Woods by the way, but you knew that.  Anyway, and by not necessarily deciding one way or the other at Responsible Eating and Living we offer everything.  All recipes are vegan.  Some of our recipes are tagged as anti-cancer, health promoting and others are just treats and I like to say that a treat is something that shouldn’t be eaten every day.  It’s for special occasions and that’s what makes it a treat, but you can have it.  Now, when I’m coaching people who are in a health crisis, I do not recommend consuming treats.  Now at some point, when health is restored and the disease is gone, it’s a choice if you want to incorporate back some foods that are not the most self-promoting and that means an occasional treat now and then.  That’s personal choice.  But I do like to make treats that are animal free and sometimes for people for example who can’t consume gluten with celiac disease or extremely intolerances, I don’t want them to feel that they have to incorporate eggs in order to get the baked goods that they’re familiar with the breads and the muffins and the pancakes and I just want to take a moment to talk about pancakes [laughter] because we were in Florida this past week and we were invited over to a friend’s for brunch and it was quickly decided that Gary and I would be making a brunch.  Our friends aren’t vegan.  They were very gracious and open to trying new foods, but they insisted that we make breakfast.  So, I picked.  Rather than picking one of my own pancake recipes that you can find at ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com.  All of them are gluten free.  We decided to choose a recipe from the Aquafaba cookbook.  We happen to have had a little extra bean water from some of the beans that we had eaten during the week and I was curious to try this because I got this like crazy curiosity about Aquafaba right now and this recipe had a lot more salt and sugar in it than I’m used to using, but I thought it would appeal to the standard American diet palate and they were amazing pancakes.  They were light and fluffy and flavorful and tasted like the old fashioned kind of pancakes I used to eat and sometimes there’s a time for that when I want to open people’s minds so that they know that vegan food can be tasty and as I mentioned before that vegan food can be satisfying and it’s not about deprivation.  Happy World Vegan Day.  Happy World Vegan Day!  Let’s open another bottle of champagne [cork popping sound].  That’s vegan champagne by the way [laughter] and if you want to know if your champagne or any alcoholic beverage is vegan, where do you go?  Barnivore.com.  B as in boy, Barnivore.com.  That’s where I always go.  All right, so, I want to move on back, move on and back and on and back and forth to my week in Florida.  We were actually there for a vacation.  A vacation is something that doesn’t happen very often in our world so it was an interesting time.  Now that didn’t mean that I didn’t work every day because I pretty much did work every day doing our daily blog and some other things, but there was plenty of time to relax, walk on the beach.  It was very nice and one of the exciting things for a vegan going to a new place is to discover the food and I wanted to mention some of the food that we discovered while in Florida.  The first part is the negative side, right?  Most of the areas that we drove through, Ft. Lauderdale and we drove all the way up to Jacksonville, there’s so much homogenization of the landscape.  Now homogenization is actually a food term.  It’s a process.  The definition of it is making a mixture of two mutually non soluble liquids the same throughout. It’s like blending and an example is the homogenization of milk where milk fat globules are reduced in size and disbursed uniformly through the rest of the milk.  That’s homogenization.  Well, we use the term homogenization in an urban sense when everything around us looks the same.  When everything resembled each other.  The stores are all the same, the restaurants are all the same.  Now, sometimes homogenization will result in high rates and gentrification, and that’s difficult for those who are struggling to afford anything at all because the prices go up.  But in general, mostly all over America there are chains that are everywhere. You know which ones they are – we’ve got McDonald’s on one end and now we have some newer restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen and the Cheesecake Factory, Chipotle and California Pizza Kitchen and Cheesecake Factory, we actually frequent them because they realize that people want a variety of things that are meat eaters, there are vegans, there are people that are gluten intolerant or have Celiac and have certain allergies and they can accommodate all of those diets, so that’s a really good thing.  On the other hand, those restaurants provide a lot of food products that are highly processed.  Some may say that they’re non GMO.  Most often they are high GMO-related food products and you’re always going to get consistency.  You’re going to get homogenization.  You’re going to get food that tastes the same no matter where you go and some people like that.  I’m not a particular fan of it and whenever possible, we’ve loved discovering little mom and pop outfits that are creating flavorful, “homemade” foods.  Foods that they make from scratch and we actually did find a little mom and pop that really, really surprised me.  It was on the beach and there are a number of seafood restaurants, none of them looked very appealing and this particular place didn’t look that appealing either, it was really a hole in the wall.  It was called quiches Delacaseas in Lauderdale by the Sea and they made some vegan items.  They’re noted on the menu.  You could tell that they kind of did it quickly to accommodate I guess the increasing demand for these things, but they made the most amazing hummus.  It was light and fluffy and so, so flavorful and while I’m on the subject of hummus and I’ll get back to Florida but I have to bring this up. You’ve heard me rant about hummus before, now hummus is a traditional food it’s made from chick peas, olive oil, lemon juice, sesame tahini butter and salt.  This is hummus.  It’s blended up and you can flavor it many, many ways.  You can add cumin, you can add red pepper, you can add more lemon juice, some people make it without olive oil to keep the oil level down.  Hummus means chick peas.  That’s the word in Hebrew and Arabic for chick pea.  Okay, the most popular hummus today on the market is Sabra.  In fact, they were just voted the most favorite hummus by VegNews awards and I’ve been ranting about Sabra for a while because I don’t like the ingredients that are in their product which consist of, well, I have the ingredients here and I wanted to read them.  Okay, well, the two ingredients that are in Sabra hummus that I don’t like are the genetically modified soybean oil and citric acid.  They use a soybean oil.  They don’t even use olive oil, but there’s actually some good news because apparently enough people had been ranting [laughter] and they have announced that as of April of this year, they began to remove the GMO ingredients from many of their hummus flavors.  So, I think ultimately they will all be non-GMO.  This is good news.  They’ll probably still be using soybean oil instead of olive oil.  Okay, but at least when we go to a party or an event and people realize there are going to be vegans and they don’t know what to do and they grab Sabra hummus in the store because they know it’s a vegan product, we don’t have to worry about it as much.  So, that’s good news and all the more reason to keep, keep your voices loud, keep your voices high, whining and complaining and ranting in a loving, nonjudgmental, compassionate way, please.  We have to keep on these companies to let them know what it is we want.  All right, so some of the good news over in Florida.  We discovered some wonderful places like the Gourmet Garden.  They’re not entirely vegan, but they had many vegan options they had green juice and what I loved about it was the food was spectacularly clean.  I had a plate of Portobello mushroom slices, sweet potato and a kale cabbage apple almond slaw which was spectacular and it was just simple, clean food.  It was excellent.  We had just come off the plane, we were starving and I was so happy to be able to be nourished this way and then we discovered this great juice bar called Dr. JuiceDr. Juice.  It’s also in Lauderdale by the Sea.  If you ever get there, please tell them I said, “hi”.  It was a wonderful juice bar and we went there every day for daily green juice.  One of the absolute places not to miss when you’re in South Florida, I mentioned it earlier in the program, is Josh’s Organic Farmers Market.  We did a video on Josh’s Farmers Market years ago.  It’s on the ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com website.  You can check it out.  Josh Steinhauser is the owner and he is so crazy passionate about bringing healthy plant food to the world.  He’s a wonderful person and he gives away a lot of free produce to people in need and to children and he’s got this great farmer’s market on Sundays in North Hollywood.  We went.  We got the “Thank God” green juice.  That’s the name for the green juice.  It was fabulous and in addition to getting lots of wonderful produce like kale and peppers, walnuts and so many great things, green onions, hmmmm.  It was all so good.  The best thing we got, are you ready for this?, purple potatoes.  Have you ever had purple potatoes? I’ve had potatoes that were purple on the outside with an orangey, yellow flesh inside and they were good.  These are bright purple inside.  They taste like doughnuts.  We were on this road trip.  We were riding from Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville.  We had prepared a bunch of food for our trip.  We had actually microwaved these potatoes.  Now, I rarely use a microwave, but we were in this little kitchen.  We didn’t have a lot of options and then we ate them lukewarm in the car on the way up and they tasted like doughnuts.  Purple potatoes!  I have to find them again.  If you know where to get them, let me know.  E-mail me at info@realmeals.org.  I’ve got to get my purple potatoes [crying sound].  They are so awesome!  That was one of the best things we discovered and of course we visited the wonderful Sublime restaurant which is an upscale vegan restaurant in South Florida.  We went there twice.  During the middle of the week, it wasn’t as good as on the weekends and I’m kind of concerned about it because I don’t know that the community there is really supporting or ready to support an all vegan restaurant like we have a gazillion of them here in New York.  I’m not sure that South Florida is ready for that, but it’s a beautiful restaurant and the food is very nice, very nice indeed.  We just have a few minutes left and I have a couple of things to talk about, have you heard in the news about this crazy food product Soylent.  We talked about it before.  Soylent is this, it started as a vege meal replacement product and a lot of people, some people like it because they don’t want to think about food, they don’t want to think about nutrition, it’s something easy.  They’re in powder mixes and bars.  Frankly, for somebody like myself, who loves food, and I think, frankly, most of us really love food, don’t we?, love the taste of food.  I don’t understand a product like this, um, but they, they advertise that they’re giving you the best nutrition in this easy version and when I look at the ingredients, it doesn’t look like the best nutrition at all.  This week, of course, it’s all over the news because a couple of their products have been giving people gastrointestinal problems and I’m not sure what’s causing it.  If it’s ingredients in their product or something that got in there that shouldn’t have, but they’re getting a lot of press.  It’s not good and this, what scares me about a product like Soylent.  I was talking about homogenization of the landscape before with all of these chains that are providing food that is the same no matter where you go, well, Soylent takes it a step further.  This is food that has no taste [laughter] and it gets you no enjoyment factor in sitting down and enjoying the bounty of abundance we have on this planet in terms of the delicious and nutritious plant foods and you know, here’s one more thing, I think there’s something that energizes and nourishes ourselves.  Something down to the cellular level when we experience joy in consuming our food and when you’re eating mindlessly or eating something that has no taste, I don’t believe you can get the full nutritional value of it.  I have no data on that, I’m just saying it.  You heard it here, first.  Last thing, just wanted to talk about what’s going on in my kitchen for the last few days because I’m so excited about this.  We just got home a few days ago and I made sauerkraut before it left and I’m really into making sauerkraut and never made it before until like last month and it’s like my new favorite food.  It’s the easiest thing.  If you haven’t made it, you just grate raw cabbage, toss a little salt, stuff it in a drawer and leave it alone.  It’s almost that simple.  I made two jars before we went to Florida.  I put them in the refrigerator and the result is just spectacular!  Better than any sauerkraut I’ve ever bought and it’s inexpensive and it’s loaded with probiotics and it’s tasty and it’s crunchy and for me, someone who doesn’t like salt very much, you can adjust the amount of salt that you put in it.  That’s a good thing.  The other thing I just made, I haven’t eaten them yet, is Buckwheaties.  Have you ever made them?  I used to make them all the time in my 100% all raw day, but I’ve kind forgotten about them and I just remembered them and I’m so excited.  If you take raw buckwheat, buckwheat that hasn’t been toasted, and soak it overnight and then rinse it and then you can either toast it at a low oven temperature or dehydrate it.  I happen to have a dehydrator option on my oven.  When they’re dry, they’re like grape nuts, they’re like cereal and then you pour your nut milk over it.  I like to make fresh almond milk and it’s one of the best cereal and milk things that you can have that’s so wonderful.  So, I want to leave you with that lovely, delicious note.  I’ll be sharing that in my What Vegan’s Eat post in the next couple of days.  You can check that out and in the meanwhile, you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food.  Thank you so much for joining me.  Visit me at ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com.  Send me a message at info@realmeals.org, and the most important thing, have a delicious week!  [Music].


Transcribed by Nanette Gagyi, 12/15/2016

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