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PART I: Dan Ladermann and Cherie Soria, Living Light Culinary Institute
Raw food revolutionary, Cherie Soria, is the founder and director of Living Light Culinary Institute, and has been teaching the art of gourmet raw foods to individuals, chefs, and instructors for more than 20 years and vegetarian culinary arts for 40 years. Cherie has personally trained many of the world’s top raw food chefs and instructors and is often referred to as the Mother of Gourmet Raw Vegan Cuisine. She is the author of four books, including Raw Food Revolution Diet and Raw Food for Dummies. Cherie has been a popular speaker at many international health events for the past 20 years and at over 66 years young, she is a vibrant, energetic and inspiring example of the raw food lifestyle.
Dan Ladermann was a pioneer in the internet revolution in the late 70’s and has been pioneering the raw food revolution and its impact on health for the past 18 years. He is coauthor Raw Food for Dummies and co-director of Living Light International along with his wife Cherie Soria. Dan is also president of the Institute for Vibrant Living, a non-profit organization dedicated to global education about raw organic plant-strong foods and their role in health and vitality and a certified Hippocrates Health Educator.
Together, Dan and Cherie have built a family of award winning businesses united in their commitment to sharing the benefits of an organic, sustainable, raw food lifestyle with people around the world. This includes the prestigious Living Light Culinary Institute, the Living Light Café, Living Light Marketplace and the Eco-friendly Living Light Inn. Contact www.RawFoodChef.com.
PART II: Catherine Cuello, Green Hopping
Catherine Cuello is originally from the Dominican Republic and moved to New York in 2010. She is passionate about food advocacy, labeling GMOs, and more organic produce availability. Her professional background is rooted in political and corporate communications, having worked on the Obama reelection campaign and for fortune 500 companies such as General Motors. She holds a BA in politics, history and journalism from Coventry University, England.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I
Together, Dan and Cherie have built a family of award winning businesses united in their commitment to sharing the benefits of an organic, sustainable, raw food lifestyle with people around the world. This includes the prestigious Living Light Culinary Institute, the Living Light Café, Living Light Marketplace and the Eco-friendly Living Light Inn.
nutrition starts being killed off from our food. So, we use tools like dehydrators to create crispy, crunchy snacks that aren’t our mainstay, our mainstay is, as you talked about initially, greens. Greens are really a wonderful thing but the key thing is colors of the rainbow, all the different colors of our vegetables. There’s such a wide variety of delicious fruits and vegetables out there. There’s such a wide variety of colors because every color contains different phytonutrients. And so by getting a spectrum of colors, you’re going to get a spectrum of health and then the body knows how to take from those building blocks what it really needs at any given moment to create optimal health in our bodies.
Cherie Soria: And Caryn, we’re as Dan said, we’re flexible, meaning that we know that it’s not just what you eat but it’s also what you don’t eat. And we also know that as long as you’re eating a high raw diet and the cooked foods you’re eating are good choices, and the raw foods you’re eating are good choices as well because there are raw foods that aren’t as health-promoting as some cooked foods, for example you wouldn’t want to eat cashew cheesecake every day even if it is raw, when steamed kale is actually better for you to eat on a daily basis. So, of course, we know how to prepare kale in such a way that it tastes cooked and looks cooked and you can use it in so many recipes so that you don’t even know there’s kale. Nevertheless, choosing the right foods to cook and certain foods you don’t want to cook because you don’t want to kill say the vitamin C or certain phytonutrients that have a low heat threshold, and then cooking at the proper temperature, not cooking fats and especially using oils, even grilling, baking and roasting is cooking at high temperatures so you can be creating dangerous chemicals, when you’re cooking especially starches at high temperatures. So, we’re not, even though at Living Light Culinary Institute we only teach how to make raw food because so many people know how to cook, they don’t know how to make delicious raw food. We don’t advocate that people have to be on an all 100 percent raw food diet in order to experience the benefits. But we do advocate they make good healthy choices whether they’re raw or cooked.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m thinking it’s like a metaphor, but I got a tour of a raw food restaurant that I don’t think exists anymore but it was up in Larkspur, California, Roxanne’s. Maybe you remember it.
Cherie Soria: Oh, she was a graduate of our school!
Caryn Hartglass: There you go! Well I got a tour of that restaurant on the inside and one of the things that amazed me, because I’ve seen a lot of different restaurants, is this place was spotless. Raw food cuisine is not only clean for us inside but it’s clean outside. You’re not frying, frying is filthy; it just destroys your kitchen – the walls, everywhere just gets this, it vaporizes and it coats everything and the dishes are harder to clean when you cook. Raw is just so obviously clean to that degree.
Cherie Soria: Yeah, it’s true. One of the favorite things when I stopped cooking, for me, was no more scrubbing dirty, greasy pots and pans and my walls weren’t greasy anymore and I love that.
Dan Ladermann: And you’ve got a nice clean kitchen, you end up with no cross-contamination with anything. Our kitchen at our school is cool; it’s not hot, it’s not noisy with big hoods and exhaust fans, and all that stuff that makes it good for the people to work in and because it’s plant based it’s also good for the animals.
Cherie Soria: In fact the food handling inspectors for our county here don’t even bother coming up to our commercial kitchens because –
Caryn Hartglass: I was going to ask you about what’s going on or what went on when you got your commercial kitchen certified because the regulations are mostly geared towards all kinds of nightmares that can happen with animal products and cooked food.
Dan Ladermann: We worked very closely with our environmental agency as we were building our school and we billed it out and we passed our first inspection, we worked with them to – the nice thing with no cooked oil is we didn’t need a grease trap, we didn’t have any broilers so we didn’t need any hoods, we did need good sanitation systems so we ended up with high temperature dishwashers so that we didn’t have to use dangerous chemicals and we got approval to use hydrogen peroxide as our sanitizing agent, so no bleach in our facilities.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s good.
Dan Ladermann: We’re all eco-friendly. We have won multiple awards at Living Light for being an eco-conscious business both from our county and Best of Raw, we won Eco-Raw Business of the Year last year, in 2014 we won our eco-friendly initiatives that we did company-wide to encourage all of our staff both at work and in their personal lives to continue to do things for the environment.
Caryn Hartglass: I don’t know if you’ve heard this and I doubt there are any studies on it but I’ve heard from people that have been involved in plumbing, that the raw foodists seem to have the best plumbing, not in their own bodies, I’m talking about physical piping and what’s going out into the waste.
Cherie Soria: Well that makes sense and I do agree that its both your physical plumbing in your building as well as your plumbing in your body – it works both ways!
Caryn Hartglass: (Laughs) That’s right!
Dan Ladermann: That stuff that clogs your pipes clogs both internal and external.
Caryn Hartglass: Right, ok, so what goes on at Living Light Culinary Institute?
Cherie Soria: Well, we have people who come from 60 different countries, we’re the only licensed culinary school as far as we know in the world but certainly in California and the rest of the states, we’re the only licensed culinary school that is strictly raw vegan. We had to jump through a lot of hoops but, we started the school 16 years ago and we believe in constant and never-ending improvements. So we have managed to pass all of the requirements for the state of California and we do attract people as I said, from 60 different countries. We have 40 employees – we have, besides the culinary school, which by the way offers classes not only for professional chefs but also for home chefs, anybody who wants to learn how to make healthier meals for themselves and their families – we have many programs for them. You can come for as little as a weekend or for as long as 3 months, depending on what your interests are. We have, besides our culinary program, we have a nutritional science program that’s taught by Drs. Rick and Karen Dina who are our foremost authorities on nutrition, in particular the raw food diet and they are both chiropractors with this as their specialty. We have an inn, an eco-friendly inn where we house our students. It’s a short walk to the school so our students don’t need to have a car when they come. It’s a beautiful area that we have here on the Mendocino Coast. We also have in our complex a café, and we also have a culinary store for anything you need for a raw food kitchen. So we really house four businesses within the Living Light Institute umbrella – the school being the primary business; all the other businesses are there to support our students.
Caryn Hartglass: So we’ve got a long way to go before we’re mainstream but the terms “vegan” and “raw” are definitely out there. More people know about them, they’re talking about them, there are all kinds of references to them in books and articles and TV shows and movies, which is a great thing. More people are going for green smoothies, blended salads, what foods today are the people most surprised with that they learn about when they come to your school?
Cherie Soria: Well, when they come to the school they usually know about juicing and blending; they don’t know necessarily, that you can have amazing raw cheese, that you can have incredible desserts far and beyond what cooked food desserts are really. Some of the favorite comfort foods that people are used to like burgers and enchiladas and tacos and tamales and pretty much everything besides fried chicken and prime rib, we can replicate because there are so many new products that are out, new techniques. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’m constantly, constantly learning how to create different textures and new flavors and utilizing different kinds of spices and combinations of flavors and so forth, and technique, really good solid culinary technique. The cuisine, as you say, has just changed so much. It’s so far beyond roots and shoots and salads and smoothies. People, even who are interested in raw food already and many of them have already been exploring this as a diet, who come to our school, are really amazed at how delicious this cuisine is and how much contrast and satisfaction it offers.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, now I know that there are all kinds of vegan diets. There are really healthy ones and then there are the cook and French fried ones, which are not so healthy. Are there raw diets that may not be so healthy?
Dan Ladermann: Well clearly as Cheri talked about, are things like dessert, cheesecake, things that are really heavy in nuts and seeds can be overdone. We think of desserts as recreational and not part of a food group. So if you’re having, once again back to the variety, if you’re having a variety in your diet, if you’re having a strong foundation of greens in many different ways, whether they’re in smoothies, juicing, and still getting all the colors of the rainbow, you’re going to have a healthier diet. It’s much more challenging to be a junk food raw foodist than it is to be a junk food vegan. We’ve traveled all over the world this last year promoting our book Raw Food for Dummies which I like to call “Food for Smart, Busy People” and we went to some of the big vegan conferences in Chicago and Toronto and most of the food they served we couldn’t eat because we wouldn’t consider it food because it was a lot of deep-fried and –
Caryn Hartglass: Vegan donuts, look out!
Dan Ladermann: And that stuff is not healthy and that’s why when Cheri talked, we talk about it doesn’t have to be all raw but the choices you make in your cooked food have to be good choices. Gluten-free is an important thing. One of the nice things on a raw diet is pretty much automatically you’re already on gluten-free, with a few exceptions. It’s very easy to be gluten-free and a lot of people have gluten challenges. When you look at the standard vegan diet, gluten is the core of a lot of the fillers, with wheat and processed look-alike meats and things that just aren’t that healthy. And yet, a vegan diet is healthy, but what raw food really does is take it to an extreme level of health that’s just amazing what happens when people eat a variety of healthy raw foods.
Cherie Soria: And the thing about gluten is it’s not really just people who know they’re gluten intolerant, or we think of gluten intolerance. But really it’s not good for any of us. It’s an inflammatory. Even animals – our dog not long ago was having health problems and we went along with what the vet told us to do. We gave him medication and it just didn’t seem to be helping. I finally thought, I’m just going to take him off of his vegan kibble. He was on a vegan kibble. Even though I was also giving him a lot of raw vegetables, and super foods and everything, and as soon as I took him off the kibble, within two days his symptoms disappeared.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow!
Cherie Soria: We see that so much with people. So, with as Dan said, with the raw food diet it’s pretty much gluten free anyway unless you have something like a sprouted kamut scone or something of that nature. At Living Light we just don’t prepare anything that has gluten in it – we’re completely gluten free. That way people – they may be symptomatic and they may not know what’s causing their problems. When they go gluten free, all of a sudden their joints aren’t stiff anymore, their skin improves, there’s just so many things that they had no idea, they thought maybe they were getting older, or that this is normal.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, a lot of people think that. They think its normal and there’s nothing they can do, which is really a sad thing.
Dan Ladermann: Another key for us is organic.
Cherie Soria: Yeah.
Dan Ladermann: And that’s true for a lot of raw foodists. They’re very high on the concept of organic which means GMO free because just like gluten, the side effects you get from eating GMOd food are numerous and we don’t even know what it’s going to do in the long run. So, organic is just best for us and best for the farmers and the environment.
Caryn Hartglass: You mention organic, I’m reading about how scary the organic certification label with the USDA may become, that they may be allowing some things that we don’t want to touch our organic food.
Dan Ladermann: I am always, I’m on a number of email lists and am always writing to/being active with congressmen and the USDA and it’s important for all of us to be aware that there’s a lot of pressures from big agriculture and the farming community, and the pharmaceuticals, to limit how strong the organic certifications are and to limit our right to know for genetically modified foods. So I encourage everyone to follow that and be proactive – if you get a request to sign a petition to stop GMOd salmon, to stop GMOd beef, what they’re trying to do is make it so the state doesn’t have the right to require GMO labeling. There’s just a lot of pressure to water that all down so be proactive.
Cherie Soria: And a lot of people seem to think that if they go on a healthier diet, especially a raw food, raw vegan diet that they also have to go organic. For some reason they’re thinking if they don’t eat raw food, and they cook their food, that they can still buy food that is not organic, that is conventionally grown because it’ll go away when it’s cooked, and that is so not true at all. You want to be organic no matter what you’re eating. And as Dan said, get involved; let your voice be heard. If you join some of these different organizations they make it easy for you, they write the letter for you and all you have to do is click on it and the letters go out to your congressmen. All you have to do is put in your information once and it just goes through so you can really let your voice be heard. We need to stand up to this.
Caryn Hartglass: There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what’s going on with our food and I’m so glad you brought that up because no, you can’t remove a lot of toxic residues by heating, in fact heating often makes things more concentrated, it makes it worse. People feel the same way about water – I’m really big about distilling water from the tap. I think it’s great that we have tap water and that we should always have access to water, but once it’s at your delivery point you need to do some extra cleaning, and boiling water doesn’t take care of a lot of the problems that are in our tap water. We have to remove it with good filtration.
Cherie Soria: That’s right. When people say that we have safe water in our community, they’re saying ‘safe’ as in it doesn’t have any harmful bacteria but one of the problems is that it’s killing off the bad bacteria, and it’s killing off the good bacteria at the same time. Irrespective of all of the chemical residues that you’re also taking into your body, you’re killing your natural friendly flora that keeps your digestive tract healthy. That’s one of the things about the raw food diet also, is we really encourage a high probiotic food like sauerkraut or the amazing, delicious cheeses that I invented 20 years ago and are so popular today that have actually been fermented cheeses made from nuts and seeds so that we are replenishing that friendly flora all the time. We need to always do that all the time whether we are drinking tap water or not, but tap water is just not something we want to take in because it does a lot of harm to the body in many ways.
Caryn Hartglass: And when you’re eating a lot of raw food, mostly raw food, your body doesn’t seem to need to drink as much water because the food is hydrated.
Dan Ladermann: That’s right, you’re getting high water content food when you’re eating raw food. The good news about that also is that means that you get a lot of nutrition from the liquids that are in our food. And its not as calorie dense, which means you can eat a lot of raw food, fill yourself up, be satisfied, versus eating a processed food diet where all of the water is taken out, all the nutrition is taken out, it’s very compact. You eat a little bit, it doesn’t fill you up and it doesn’t provide any nutrition so it’s very easy to overeat. On a raw food diet, people’s weight, people’s health just naturally normalizes to a healthy level without ever having to count calories or get out a scale. It just works great.
Cherie Soria: My sister was very overweight her whole life and she drug her feet not wanting to make changes in her diet because when you do, then a lot of other changes have to occur – changes in the places you go, the friends you hang out with and all of that. Finally, and she’s eight years younger than I am, finally she decided that maybe I was onto something because I’m older than her but people were thinking she was my mother.
Caryn Hartglass: And you look so hot, Cherie!
Cherie Soria: (Laughs) Thank you! People thought she was my mother, she couldn’t keep up with us, just running/ walking on the beach she really couldn’t do any of that. And so she went on a raw food diet and it’s two years later and she’s lost 100 pounds. Never dieted, never gave up any foods that she wanted to eat, she just ate her fill and she is a completely different person, psychologically, spiritually, physically, she has experienced a rebirth.
Caryn Hartglass: I love those stories. Now we just have a few minutes and I wanted to talk a moment about Costa Rica. Are you still doing events in Costa Rica?
Cherie Soria: We are not doing events currently; we do have a little place there. We were spending all of our time in Costa Rica, we were spending working so we decided we were going to take a few years off from that and just go to Costa Rica for our own benefit – relax and enjoy it. So, we have a little place there but we plan to do it again soon. Living Light Culinary Institute just really takes up so much of our time, which we love. They say if you love the work you do you never really work a day in your life. We have a passion for this work and we feel so fulfilled buy it and knowing that we are a part of the journey for so many people around the world and helping to spread this lifestyle to so many different countries is really such a blessing for us. This is where we do our work and Costa Rica is where we go to relax.
Caryn Hartglass: That sounds pretty good. Well Dan and Cherie, I love what you’re doing. I learned a lot when I first met you and that was in Costa Rica at one of your Raw World events, and it changed my life and I’m grateful for that.
Cherie Soria: Can we give you our website for your listeners?
Caryn Hartglass: Yes please!
Cherie Soria: It’s www.rawfoodchef.com and we are located in Northern California on the beautiful Mendocino Coast.
Caryn Hartglass: I have never been to Mendocino and I keep saying, talk to me of Mendocino, I’ve got to get there and when I do, I know where to go.
Cherie Soria: You do! And the New York Times just this year put the North coast of California as the number one place in the entire United States to visit and the number three in the entire world, so you do want to come here.
Caryn Hartglass: Well I hope too many people aren’t going to go there because then it won’t be as lovely and special as it is.
Cherie Soria: Well it takes a little effort to get here but it’s well worth it.
Caryn Hartglass: Well thank you so much It’s All About Food and you’re making a wonderful difference on this planet.
Cherie Soria: Thank you, Caryn.
Caryn Hartglass: Be well. I just wanted to mention before we take a quick break, I think I told you last week I’m going to be speaking at an event in Nevada. It’s for a livestock company and they’re having their annual bull sale and there’s going to be a panel on climate change and I’ve been asked to talk about animal agriculture’s contribution to the climate change. I will be the lone vegan talking to about 200 cattle producers and it’s kind of crazy. I’ve got a Kickstarter that we launched last week and we’ve already reached our $2,000 goal, which is exciting. I would ask you to go to my website www.responsibleeatingandliving.com and check out the Kickstarter project that goes until March 1st. We certainly can use all the support we can get until it’s over. The videos we’ve done for this lone vegan project are fun so check them out. Also, we’re talking about raw food and vegan food and how healthy it is for us but the more I research about climate change the scarier it gets about our future and we cannot stop talking about how important eating plant foods and reducing and eliminating animal products from our diet is. It is so important on so many levels, especially about climate change and the environment, helping the environment. Whew! Okay, lets take a little break and then we’re going to do some green hopping, okay? We’ll be right back.
Transcribed by Allyssa Moody, 7/16/2014; edited 7/17/2014 Claire Newman
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody! I’m Caryn Hartglass and it’s time for part two of this show here on February 18th, 2014! We are hopping here in the studio- Green Hopping! I’m talking with Catherine Cuello who is originally from the Dominican Republic and moved to New York in 2010. She is passionate about food advocacy, labeling GMOs, and more organic produce availability. Her professional background is rooted in political and corporate communications, having worked on the Obama reelection campaign and for Fortune 500 companies such as General Motors. She holds a B.A. in politics, history, and journalism from Coventry, England. And she’s here in the studio! We’re going to be talking a little bit about her new app. Hi Catherine!
Catherine Cuello: Hi Caryn, thank you so much for having me.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah! You know, you could bring that a little closer to you…it can be in front of the box. There we go! We should all be comfortable here. Okay, so let’s talk first about this app that you’ve got. What is it, and why is it, and how is it, and what are we going to do about it?
Catherine Cuello: Green Hopping is an app that is available at the app store and we are currently developing the platform to also be on Androids. It’s available in New York City, but we are also working on launching additional U.S. cities, a ton of them. And essentially the app is your helper in your phone to find organic green juice bars, to find your nearest smoothie, to find restaurants that cater to your vegan diet, or that serve raw foods or raw desserts, or gluten free options. We are trying to be the go-to source when it comes to healthy eating, but for me healthy means natural or non-altered organic.
Caryn Hartglass: Minimally processed.
Catherine Cuello: Exactly.
Caryn Hartglass: Here in New York City it’s the greatest city in the world… if you could make it here you could make it anywhere, but you don’t want to be anywhere else but here. It’s kind of a love-hate thing we’ve got going on here in New York City. But this is the empire of green juice. There are more green juice bars here than anywhere, aren’t there?
Catherine Cuello: Yeah. When I first started my journey two years ago after a health scare that I suffered, I basically changed my diet overnight because I did not want to go with all the heavy pills and medications. I was 23, I lost my left ovary, and the treatment that they wanted me to do could also possibly affect my right ovary. So I started reading and researching, and I found Kris Carr, who obviously a lot of people know.
Caryn Hartglass: Right, Crazy Sexy Cancer.
Catherine Cuello: Crazy Sexy Cancer. She’s incredible. And her book, that was it. I mean, it was super easy to read. I read it in like a day, and I said, “No. Whatever the doctors want me to do is not for me.” So I started juicing literally overnight and went raw literally overnight. Then I moved toward the Obama campaign, I moved to Miami because that’s where they wanted me, and so I started the journey in Miami. It was a little easier because it’s warm and you have fruit.
Caryn Hartglass: Have you been to Josh’s in North Hollywood?
Catherine Cuello: No…
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, have you heard of it?
Catherine Cuello: Yeah, but I haven’t been.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s the most amazing farmers’ market anywhere! And juice bar!
Catherine Cuello: Well I have had their products, but they come bring it down from the farm, and they’ll sell it at Saturday farmers’ markets. But no, I was in Miami.
Caryn Hartglass: I know Josh.
Catherine Cuello: Maybe I’m thinking of Glaser Farms.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s right on the beach in North Hollywood.
Catherine Cuello: Yeah, I’m thinking of Glaser Farms.
Caryn Hartglass: This Josh Steinhauser, he is a very hardworking, passionate individual and he has worked with many farmers, and he’s got this great farmers’ market…
Catherine Cuello: Oh, then I have to check it out.
Caryn Hartglass: …and a great juice bar too.
Catherine Cuello: I know I’m thinking of Glaser Farms when they bring their stuff.
Caryn Hartglass: This guy is so energized from all the greens that he’s eating. He’s just bouncing, hopping!
Catherine Cuello: Yeah. Hopping, there you go. That’s the inspiration for the name. In Miami I would juice and I had to Google to find these bars. And then I moved to New York, and it’s like, whoa. You have all these places and people are really into it, either for the nutritional side of it or just because it’s trendy. Who knows? But they’re there, they’re thriving, and I love it. So that’s how the app…I said, “If it’s hard for me and this is my lifestyle, I’m assuming that it’s harder for other people.” And just to make it easier and to inspire more change, and so that it’s more mainstream- which is my frustration because I’m 25 and it’s hard to go out, it’s an issue all the time. So that’s really how Green Hopping came to life.
Caryn Hartglass: I love it. My listeners know I juice every day. In fact I was talking earlier in the show, I’m going off to a place where you can’t find much green food and I just picked up some of (5:20) to bring with me. Because if I can’t get the fresh raw greens, which is the best, I’ve got to have at least some kind of good powder. I had advanced ovarian cancer back in 2006 and I know that I am here today partly because I committed to green juicing. There’s nothing kale can’t do! In fact, I may bring this guy on the show sometime later, someone that I met and we became friends and I got him excited about kale. Now he’s off studying nutrition, getting a master’s. He’s doing some great scientific work with using kale juice and (6:01), and finding that the cancer cells are just knocked out.
Catherine Cuello: Do you have oven baked kale or just kale in juice?
Caryn Hartglass: I have a food show called It’s All About Greens on my responsibleeatingandliving.com website, it’s a four part show. I juice greens, I blend greens, I steam greens, and I cook them, I have them in all shapes and sizes. Because raw food is great, but when it comes to greens, the cooked greens, there’s some absorbability that goes on, and you can get…
Catherine Cuello: Like broccoli.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I can’t eat broccoli raw.
Catherine Cuello: It’s heavy, yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: It doesn’t work for me.
Catherine Cuello: Yeah, I’m the same. But at the beginning of my journey I felt a little guilty having cooked, or steamed, veggies. I won’t have it at restaurants but I’ll make it myself. Like, I’ll literally sauté it for two seconds in water.
Caryn Hartglass: Why do you feel guilty?
Catherine Cuello: I don’t know, it’s psychological, I know.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, and you know you bring up a good point. I like to say this from time to time and I don’t think I’ve said it in a while, but I’ve said it a lot today, not on the show. So I guess it’s time to recycle this information. When we’re eating, whatever we’re eating, if it’s healthy food or if it’s not healthy food, when you’re eating it you’ve got to enjoy it and tell your body, “Take the good stuff and leave the rest behind.” You don’t want to eat ever with guilt, saying, “I shouldn’t be eating this.” Because your 50 or hundred trillion cells get that message and they respond to the environment they perceive. They respond to the voices in your head, and they hear loud and clear. So be careful what you’re telling yourself! Send yourself some love and leave the guilt for later, not when you’re eating.
Catherine Cuello: Thank you, I will definitely apply that. I need to.
Caryn Hartglass: And that’s not just for you, Catherine. That’s for everybody. Okay, so did you make this app yourself?
Catherine Cuello: I designed it and I created the idea and the layout is all my doing. But I have a coder who’s also Dominican and is based in the Dominican Republic. He brought it to life. I couldn’t do it without him.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I’m working on a little app for Responsible Eating and Living and I haven’t put much time into it but it’s hard to do everything.
Catherine Cuello: Oh, definitely.
Caryn Hartglass: I try.
Catherine Cuello: Yes. So it’s me and my coder, I have two designers, and then I have my high school best friend. She’s like my sister and she helps me with all the marketing and social stuff. It takes a lot of your time, so it’s really important for me to have that support.
Caryn Hartglass: Well California gives the impression to a lot of people as being really healthy. I go to northern California reasonably frequently, and I always look for green juice. It’s getting a little easier, but it is not easy to find green juice unless you find somebody with a juicer and you can make it yourself. It’s hard! Some of the Whole Foods are starting to add green juice to their menus that they offer in the stores, but it’s nothing like here in New York City, and it’s sometimes hard to find a juice bar.
Catherine Cuello: That was my experience with Miami, but through Instagram, which I consider my feel-good community, I love Instagram, and for anyone who’s listening we’re Greenhoppingapp on Instagram…but through there, there’s a lot of…the problem is that it’s not all dense like in Manhattan or even Brooklyn. So they’re there, but you really need to know where you’re going. You can’t just walk around and find a green juice store. Same as in Miami. But they’re popping up, and the database that we’re working on is gathering all of this information and putting it on the app so that hopefully by the spring or summer we have L.A. on the map, and Venice Beach, and Miami, Boston, Dallas is also coming up on the map, Austin, and Chicago.
Caryn Hartglass: Right, all those blue places.
Catherine Cuello: Right, exactly.
Caryn Hartglass: What was it like working on the Obama campaign?
Catherine Cuello: Oh, I loved it. It was a great experience, it was a great team. I also met my partner, my soul mate, on the campaign. And then we moved back to New York together.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Now let’s talk a little bit about the Dominican Republic. What’s it like there?
Catherine Cuello: It’s paradise, it’s gorgeous. If you live on the beach, you don’t have to deal with all the social-economical-political problems. It’s the best, it’s paradise. It’s perfect.
Caryn Hartglass: Do people know it’s paradise that live there?
Catherine Cuello: I think so, honestly, because Dominicans, they don’t want to leave. I mean, my boyfriend for example, he’s always like, “Oh, people in Latin America, they don’t want a better life.” And it’s like, well you know what, honestly, to live on a beach in the Caribbean, why would they want to go anyway? They may not have luxurious cars but they have the sunshine, they have food, they have everything. They have big families, they have gatherings, that’s it.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s what life is about, and we forget. Are there any green juice bars in the Dominican Republic?
Catherine Cuello: There’s like two.
Caryn Hartglass: And what about green food? I know when I go to Costa Rica it’s kind of hard to find green. They do grow some spinach and it’s really nasty there.
Catherine Cuello: Well in the Dominican Republic our crops are good, so we grow all kinds of peppers, we grow broccoli, and spinach, and arugula, all these things that I never knew. Now I’ve discovered my country through different lenses, because now I’m looking for all of this. We do have a problem with organic, they do use a lot of pesticides to the extent that the E.U. won’t take our produce in, but the same is in Costa Rica. People don’t really eat greens, they don’t have their fruit. So another mission that I’m kind of working towards is importing those fruit bulbs, like the guayaba or the guanabana which is an anti-cancer agent as well, but very hard to find here. The sapote…
Caryn Hartglass: I love that.
Catherine Cuello: Yeah, it’s super good. So I’d love to start importing these because they go bad in our countries because nobody wants to eat them.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay that’s the saddest thing. Now I have not been to the Dominican Republic but I’ve been to Costa Rica many times and the first time I was there I was so excited because all of these beautiful foods were literally dropping from the trees.
Catherine Cuello: It’s crazy.
Caryn Hartglass: It was heavenly. And then I realized, people aren’t even eating these foods! So when mangos are in season and they’re all over the place.
Catherine Cuello: And then you pay five dollars here if you get it at Whole Foods!
Caryn Hartglass: I mean, please! I would just want to bathe in them, there are so many of them! And oh, the avocados and the mamachinos. I don’t know what you call them, the rasputins. do you know them? They look like lychee nuts only they’ve got like, little tentacles coming out of there.
Catherine Cuello: Really? No, we don’t have those.
Caryn Hartglass: You have to peel them and there’s a white fruit inside.
Catherine Cuello: Oh, yeah, limoncillo, we call it, I think.
Caryn Hartglass: I don’t know, but there’s just so many and they’re so good and when people don’t even realize. Do you realize all the good things you have in your life?
Catherine Cuello: I know, I know. Well I do now, but back in the day before my health scare, I had an awful diet. I think that out of seven days I would have greens maybe one.
Caryn Hartglass: Now you went through this health scare. How is it that you got so smart? What about your family when you decided to make the choices that you did?
Catherine Cuello: Well, to be honest, from the beginning, when I saw what the situation was like, their options for me just didn’t feel right because the side-effects and the long-term issues were just too many. Technically, my ovary had never been contaminated. It was all in the cyst. The cyst was benign on the outside but it was malignant on the inside. So I removed 27 lymph nodes as well and all of them came back clean. For me it just didn’t make sense. My mom never pushed me to do this and she was also a little hesitant. So that gave me a little leeway to be like, “Let me start reading and Googling and see what I find.” And that was hard. At the beginning it was hard. I only found Kris Carr and this website called chrisbeatcancer. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, he’s in Minnesota or something.
Caryn Hartglass: It is hard and that’s one of the reasons I founded my nonprofit, Responsible Eating And Living, and I wish there was a way to get the information out to people who are looking for it. I do the best I can but it’s not easy.
Catherine Cuello: Yeah. So my family, at the beginning, my dad’s side of the family was a little more reluctant because they live in the Caribbean so it’s a different mentality. But once they started reading…I mean, it’s my choice, it’s my body…but at the end of the day, my grandfather, who’s like 76, out of moral support he became a raw vegan as well.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow!
Catherine Cuello: He is better than ever. He’s been fighting Diabetes 2 for all his life and had a heart attack 15 years ago, and now all of his issues that he had controlled with medication, they’ve now disappeared.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow. He eats only raw food?
Catherine Cuello: Only raw food. He does eat brown bread and brown rice.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so primarily raw foods but some simple foods as well.
Catherine Cuello: Yeah. He’ll eat no meat and no sugars whatsoever, no dairy either.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, bad.
Catherine Cuello: They do eat a lot of tubérculos, which are like plantains or cassava.
Caryn Hartglass: Root vegetables.
Catherine Cuello: Yeah, root vegetables. And some bodies, like I can do plantains without an issue. But I have it maybe three times a year.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, that’s good. And don’t feel guilty when you’re eating them. They love you! Okay, so you’re going to hit all the big cities and get it in your app. What happens when I’m going to some tiny little town, some clueless place?
Catherine Cuello: Well hopefully online we can have like, an ask-a-question and somebody magically will respond with an answer. But, oh I forgot to say, our next step of the app is also to allow customers to just buy their juice or their food on the app and then you can either go pick it up or you can have it delivered.
Caryn Hartglass: Too convenient! This is an app, it’s on the iPhone, you said you’re working on getting it on the Android…what about all the people, and there still are people, in this world who don’t have smartphones? Is there something that they can do? Is the information on a website?
Catherine Cuello: Yeah, we’re working on having all of the information that we have on the app, on the website so you can browse what’s in this particular city. Hopefully that’s coming up.
Caryn Hartglass: Do you plan on going global?
Catherine Cuello: We’ve started with Brazil because it was a coincidence, but we might be launching, maybe at the end of the year, Sao Paulo or Rio Dijaneiro. And then at some point, because it’s starting in the UK, in London you do have some juice bars. The Scandinavian countries are all for it, and that I found out through Instagram as well.
Caryn Hartglass: I was in Argentina a few years ago and I found a juice bar.
Catherine Cuello: Yeah, that’s great. Well in Miami there’s a raw place that’s owned by Argentinians so they seem to be following.
Caryn Hartglass: This person that you met through the Obama campaign, do you share the same diet?
Catherine Cuello: No, well, he’s Cuban originally, so imagine what…
Caryn Hartglass: Beans and rice.
Catherine Cuello: Well yeah…dealing with his family in the beginning was very hard. His grandmother could not understand why I didn’t want pork. He eats a lot of vegetables and he works out a lot but he does have meat and dairy.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well I’m hoping the best for you two and hoping he learns a lot more from you because he’s only going to benefit from it, right?
Catherine Cuello: Yeah, exactly.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, hey, thank you for coming into the studio and joining me.
Catherine Cuello: Thank you for having me.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m going to get that app on my phone very quickly because I always have to know where to get green juice when I’m not at home. But I do believe in juicing at home, and loving cleaning it. That’s my gift to me. When I make juice, it’s not like, “Oh, I’ve got to clean this machine.” You’ve got to love it because it’s good for you.
Catherine Cuello: That’s why I was always a little hesitant about the Vitamix but I got one and it’s the best thing ever. You can juice, but you can do a lot of other things.
Caryn Hartglass: Right, you can get a lot of greens.
Catherine Cuello: And it’s easy. Well, thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: And you look great, I’m glad you’re well.
Catherine Cuello: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank green leafy vegetables! Woo hoo! Okay, I’m Caryn Hartglass and we’ve come to the end of the program It’s All About Food! Visit responsibleeatingandliving.com and please check out my Kickstarter, The Lone Vegan. And have a delicious week!
Transcribed by Emily Roberts, 3/30/2014