Del Sroufe & Laura Simonson



Part I: Del Sroufe, China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook
del-sroufeDel Sroufe has worked in vegan and vegetarian kitchens for more than twenty-three years, most recently as chef and co-owner of Wellness Forum Foods, a plant-based meal delivery and catering service that emphasizes healthy, minimally processed foods. He teaches cooking classes and is the author of Better Than Vegan and Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook. He has also contributed recipes to Food Over Medicine by Dr. Pam Popper and Glen Merzer.



Part II: Laura Simonson, Plant Powered Dogs
Laura 2Laura Simonson is a woman on a Mission From Dog. Cherishing all-things dogs so much, she was given the handle, ‘The Doggess’.

Professionally, Laura has been described as the “intersection where business meets soul”. For over 27 years, her diverse experience includes successful careers in natural health and plant-based diet coaching, fitness training specialist, keynote speaking, personal development course development, event planning, marketing, sales (real estate and corporate), design and brand consulting, network marketing, real estate management, and small business networking.

Today, Laura is a social entrepreneur and founder of Indogo Plant-Powered Dogs, Modern Vegan Family, Don’t Forget Fido (Blog and Online Community) and most recently a Co-organizer of the new VEGAN Vancouver. She also champions and supports vegan businesses and organizations whose bottom lines are steeped in social or spiritual evolution, and is on a peace-filled mission to disrupt the ordinary, average, status quo through plant-powered living and inspiration for all.

Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food. Oh my. When you’re really busy, sometimes you think you can never get any busier, and then all of a sudden you find out that you’re just busier than ever. And that’s how I’m feeling right in this moment. So I’m looking forward to this next hour because I actually just kind of chill, talk about my favorite things, food, and take a break from everything else that I’m doing that has to do with food because, in my life, it is indeed “all about food.” Now, before we get started with the meat of the program today, I wanted to mention a few lovely things. So, my good friend Victorian Moran has a good book out called The Good Karma Diet, and I’m going to be interviewing her in mid-June sometime. But her new book is coming out today, it’s launched today I believe, and she has a book-signing in Manhattan tomorrow. And I thought I pasted the information here on my page, and I didn’t, but it’s at Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. If you want to find out more about it you can google that or ask me a question at But she is amazing, just a real positive force in the movement, and I don’t know how she keeps spitting out these wonderful books, but she does. The force is with her.

And, movies. Have you seen any good movies lately, or documentaries, things like that? I just watched a couple. There’re so many coming out these days. I remember like twenty, thirty years ago there were really just one or two, if we even had that many, and now we’re overwhelmed because the truth is coming out, and the more the merrier, I like to say. Well, Frontline, which is not the most progressive, like we are here at Progressive Radio Network, but they had a program called “The Truth about Chicken” last week. And when I watched it, all I kept saying to myself was, “Who can eat chicken after watching this?” Now, I haven’t eaten any meat in…how long? A long time, forty years, something like that. And it just blows me away when I see things like this. So if you haven’t watched it, I would definitely check out ““The Truth about Chicken” by Frontline. They talk about salmonella poisoning and how Foster Farms and other companies have gotten away with poisoning people, really, for a long time, and we don’t really have the regulations in place to prevent those sorts of things. And I always like to quote my dad: “If you can’t solve the problem, eliminate the problem.” The problem is eating chicken. Stop eating chicken, and the problem should resolve itself shortly. The other one I just screened was a movie called Revolution and you can find it at Or you can go to our
“Responsible Eating And Living” Facebook page; I just posted a link there. And it’s about the conditions of our oceans, and then how it links to climate change and the use of fossil fuel. There’s some stunning photography in it, and I love looking at all of the gorgeous, colorful wildlife under the ocean. Just amazing things going on down there. And of course, as humans, we’re in the process of destroying all of it. So check out and see for yourself. I liked it.

Now, let’s get to why we’re here today. We’re here to talk to Del Sroufe, who has another wonderful cookbook. And I just want to tell you a little bit about Del. He has worked in vegan and vegetarian kitchens for more than 23 years, most recently as chef and co-owner of Wellness Forum Foods, a plant-based meal delivery and catering service that emphasizes healthy, minimally processed foods. He teaches cooking classes, and is the author of Better than Vegan and Forks Over Knives The Cookbook. He also has contributed recipes to Food Over Medicine by Dr. Pam Popper and Glen Merzer. Del, how are you?

Del Sroufe: Hello!

Caryn Hartglass: Hey!

Del Sroufe: I’m great, Caryn, how are you? Good to hear your voice.

Caryn Hartglass: Good. Yes, thank you. Good to hear your voice. So you’ve got another one of these out. Now, this time you’ve teamed up with the China Study team. The Forks Over Knives group is connected to the China Study team because it’s all…

Del Sroufe: Yeah, right. It’s all based on the China Study research.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. It’s all the T. Colin Campbell family.

Del Sroufe: Yes. They’re a very nice family, by the way, if you haven’t met any of them.

Caryn Hartglass: I know them all. Well, I don’t know them all, but I certainly know Collin, and I’ve interviewed his son, Dr. Tom, and I’ve got LeAnne’s cookbook. And yeah, they’re just an amazing family. And I love, in our movement (which is a movement, the vegan food movement), we have our own royalty.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, we do.

Caryn Hartglass: We do. And they’re continuing in succession, which I love. So we have the T. Colin Campbell family.

Del Sroufe: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: And his kids are all grown up and doing wonderful things. And we have the Esselstyn family, same thing.

Del Sroufe: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: I had Ann, Dr. Esselstyn’s wife Ann, and his daughter Jane, and I had Rip on the show, and they’re all doing great things. I’m currently working with John and Ocean Robbins.

Del Sroufe: Awesome.

Caryn Hartglass: And I’ll try to remember to talk a little bit about that later, but there’s another line, there. Who else is there that I may be leaving out?

Del Sroufe: I’m trying to….Is John McDougall’s children doing anything? I know they eat plant-based.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, no I think she is doing something. But off the top of my head I don’t know what.

Del Sroufe: Yeah. There’s a lot out there. But you hit the nails on the head. These are some of the leaders of this movement, for sure.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, it’s just lovely when children decide to go on the same path that their parents have. You’ve got to know that there’s something good about it when children want to do what their parents are doing. That’s just so unusual.

Del Sroufe: Yes, a testament to what the parents are doing, and to how they raise the kids, for sure.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. Okay, so, what’s new in the China Study Quick and Easy Cookbook?

Del Sroufe: Well, I think the theme kind of speaks for itself in one way. And the goal is that a lot of people are coming to this table, to the plant-based table, and looking to eat healthier meals. And that’s great; that’s what we want to do. But I think we know that we, for a lot of people, need to make this as easy as possible. If you think about how more than half of the American food dollar is spent outside the home, and there’s not much out there that you can buy that’s healthy in the way that we’re talking about, then we need to show people ways to get them back into the home, back into the kitchen, and eating foods that are whole foods. The whole food, low-fat, plant-based kitchen. And to do it with ease. And that’s kind of what this cookbook sets out to do, and hopefully does very well.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I love what you wrote in the beginning about your mom…

Del Sroufe: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: …and how she was a working mother. And somehow even though she worked really long hours, she managed to get home-cooked food on the table.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, we didn’t have the money to eat out, and we didn’t eat out. But I know that she came home and there were nights when she didn’t stay all night in the kitchen getting dinner ready. It was amazing how early in the evening after working all day, she got dinner on the table. And I remember just sitting and watching her do it. And eventually, by the time I was about thirteen years old, I was doing some of it myself, actually. But she’s amazing.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, so I want to dig into that a little further. Now I’m sure your mom was amazing back then. No question about that. But we like to help everyone be amazing in the kitchen. And you don’t even have to be that amazing. But there are some key things to make things flow, make things easier. People are so concerned about saving time in the kitchen.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: What do you tell them?

Del Sroufe: I have a couple of basic rules. One of them is: you do have to be organized. I think it starts with the menu plan, followed by a grocery list, and a pantry list. Now, we give you a really good pantry list in this book, for all the recipes that we have in here. And for the shopping, the menu plans that we have, we also give you a grocery list. So you’re saving time there already. No one does well in the grocery store without a grocery list, and they spend more time and money than they intend to. And then the other key is, one of the ways that these menu plans are laid out and the recipes are laid out. One: you don’t see any recipe that takes more than thirty minutes to put together. A lot of them take less than fifteen minutes, and there’s a few recipes in there that take less than ten. So they’re simple, there’s not a long list of ingredients, there’s not a long list of instructions, and all of the ingredients can be found in your mainstream grocery store. So you’re not going anywhere exotic to find ingredients.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, when you say fifteen minutes, is that — that doesn’t include the cooking time?

Del Sroufe: Sometimes it does. I have a couple of soups that are that quick.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow.

Del Sroufe: So if you can make it that quick and easy. But you’re looking at — salads are quicker and easier. So there’re some salads in there; the tostadas that I have in there, you could probably have on the table in about fifteen minutes.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmm.

Del Sroufe: Now it does depend on — we’re not going to make our own refried beans every time we cook. So we’re going to go out and find some organic or some refried beans that are fat-free, we’re going to use those; the corn tortillas are already made for us. So all we’re going to make is the salsa. And that comes together pretty quickly. So I’d say, yeah, fifteen minutes. Doable.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s great. Now, for some people it takes a little practice. I know because something that takes me fifteen minutes might take someone who is a little lost in the kitchen a lot longer.

Del Sroufe: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: But it’s like crawling, and walking, and running. You have to practice.

Del Sroufe: Right. Right. It’s true: you have to practice. I think you also have to avoid distractions. So the cook that complains to me that the recipes took longer than I said they were going to take, often is a distracted cook. So you’ve got to get in there and stay focused on what you’re doing. And you keep at it, really. But even if you are a distracted cook, think about it this way. By the time you get in the car and drive to, let’s say, the drive-through — whatever fast-food it is you like to eat — wait in line for the drive-through, and then buy your food, and bring it back home and eat it; you can have most of the recipes in this cookbook prepared and on the table.

Caryn Hartglass: And it’s so much cheaper.

Del Sroufe: Cheaper by far.

Caryn Hartglass: And it’s so much better for you.

Del Sroufe: Yeah. So much better for you.

Caryn Hartglass: So much better for you. Wow. I live in New York City, the greatest city in the world. We have so many incredible vegan restaurants here. I’m at a point where I haven’t even tried them all because there are new ones popping up all the time. Which is…I know I’ve said this before: I used to think I knew all the vegans, and all the vegan restaurants, and I can’t say any of that anymore, which is great.

Del Sroufe: [Laughs]

Caryn Hartglass: But I’m kind of a snob, because…Okay, I’m a snob. [Laughs]

Del Sroufe: [Laughs]

Caryn Hartglass: When I think about eating out, it’s a relaxing, lovely thing to do, but a lot of times I think: I like our food at home better. We make it exactly the way we want; it’s hard to find food that isn’t overloaded with salt, even in some of the best restaurants. I love to stay at home.

Del Sroufe: Yeah. It’s true for a lot of people, it’s true for me: it’s rare that I go out and get a restaurant meal that’s better than something I’ve prepared at home. And even some friends that cook for me, that cook this way, I enjoy eating their food more than most restaurant food. It’s easy to be disappointed eating out, and I think part of it is that restauranteurs aren’t as devoted to this kind of cooking and eating in the same way that we are.

Caryn Hartglass: Mm-hmm.

Del Sroufe: A few of the best vegan restaurants that I’ve been to — a couple of them in New York are the exceptions — but on average, even some vegan restaurants, I’m kind of like, “Wow, really? Really.” Think about the target population that you’re reaching for, these people that…vegans are a lot more likely to cook than others because they’ve had to for so long, and you can’t put your best effort into this and make this something that’s going to be exceptional every time, I’m…let’s eat at home.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, now, you have a story. And as I remember, you used to be a lot larger.

Del Sroufe: I was the 500-pound vegan. [Laughs]

Caryn Hartglass: And how is that, how is that coming along?

Del Sroufe: Well, it’s going well. I’ve had more than my share of setbacks, but I’m doing well. I’m working out with a trainer five days a week now, and I’m really happy about the progress that we’re making. And subtract out this winter, which was hard on everybody, and we’re staying on the path. That’s the important thing.

Caryn Hartglass: Good.

Del Sroufe: I say this to people often. I say, the most important thing is, even when you face setbacks — and I’m very vocal about setbacks, and sometimes falling off the low-fat wagon especially — that the key is to get back on it, and don’t forget that you’re doing this for the rest of your life. If it took me another five years — which it’s not going to — to lose all the weight and get on the path, I’m going to do it. So that’s the exciting thing for me, and that’s what I try to teach others, is back on that horse, back on that path; let’s keep at this.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. People can fall off the horse, as they say. Or occasionally you might be traveling, or on vacation, or something happens and you don’t eat all the foods that are the healthiest for you. The first thing I like to say, whenever you’re eating, whatever you’re eating: don’t criticize or judge yourself while you’re eating. That’s, like, the worst thing to do. Enjoy whatever it is you choose to eat, and just let your body make its own choice, and tell it to take the good from whatever it is you’re eating, and let the rest pass, and then tomorrow’s another day. You can start fresh, all over again, clean.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, definitely, I agree. One of the things that I’m learning to do is to stop beating myself up for every little sidestep that I make. And I tell you what, it’s leading to making less sidesteps. Because when you’re just not so hard on yourself, you’re not punishing yourself, you’re not rebound eating, and you stop doing a lot of things. And you find it easier to maintain a balance. And that’s where I’m coming to. Mentally, my perception of food and eating is healthier than it’s ever, ever been. And that, to me, is far better than anything that the scales have to say to me, or anything else. And it means that eventually the scales will catch up to where my head is. And that’s the excitement, and that’s what I talk to other people about, is: it gets your head in the right place, and the rest comes into line with it.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m just going to send you a quick virtual hug, Del. You shouldn’t beat up on yourself. You’ve done such great things for so many people, making things delicious and nutritious, now with — this is your third book?

Del Sroufe: This is my third book.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so, hey — you’re amazing!

Del Sroufe: Thank you very much.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, let’s talk about the next amazing piece, which, for people that really don’t want to cook, you’ve got Wellness Forum Foods.

Del Sroufe: Wellness Forum Foods is, we do a couple of different things. We have our own meal delivery service, we have a deli case of healthy foods that we ship all over the country. It can be a little bit expensive, but do have clients that we ship to everywhere. And then we have some in-the-bag mixes for the cook that doesn’t want to barely boil water. We have some boiling-water-type things that are very, very healthy, whole foods, oil-free, not so high in sodium, and tasty too. So, we try to help people find ways to healthy food, no matter whether they’re cooking it, boiling it in water, or even just putting together the simplest of foods. People like to eat differently, and for some — like, there are days when I eat a plain baked potato with a little bit of salsa on it, and I’m good to go. I don’t need to have a gourmet meal every day. And we try to teach people those kinds of things, that just make things as easy as possible for you.

Caryn Hartglass: Great. What are some of the favorites that people get from Wellness Forum Foods?

Del Sroufe: Well, one of the favorites is not the healthiest.

Caryn Hartglass: [Laughs]

Del Sroufe: I don’t let myself have it but maybe twice a year. But it’s the spicy peanut noodles. Now, they’re oil-free, they’re not high in sodium like a lot of restaurants do. But they’re kick-y, in terms of the spice. There’s lots of ginger, and some cayenne and garlic, and some noodles. And some people love that. I sell more of those than I do anything else. But then we have some, on the healthier side, like my Moroccan Chickpeas. Chickpeas, and greens, and then a tomato, and spice, with cumin and garlic, and then spinach. Curried chickpeas; we make a mock tofu eggless salad that people love. We’re currently on this thing where we can’t stop making — Chef AJ, as you probably know, makes a black bean brownie, that she’ll talk about. And we’ve been making black bean brownies, and then blondies, with white beans.

Caryn Hartglass: Nice.

Del Sroufe: So they’re oil-free dessert treats. And people are just amazed at how good they are without the oil, and without a high degree of sugar in them. So those are some of the fun things that we do. But we do salads, we do lots of soups. Red lentil dal you’ll always find on our menu, and it’s one of the easiest soups to make, and people love it. Wraps, we have black bean hummus wraps and things like that. So we try to keep the variety in there, and make it fun for people.

Caryn Hartglass: I think beans are the magical food of the future.

Del Sroufe: Oh, me too.

Caryn Hartglass: They’re inexpensive, we keep discovering phenomenal things about them. I love this resistance-starch in beans: they don’t get digested until they’re in the colon. They make you feel really satisfied; they keep you clean and scrubbed. And you can make brownies with them!

Del Sroufe: [Laughs] You can make brownies with them, that’s right. You can eat beans for dessert!

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Del Sroufe: I think they’re very magical. I’ve used them — in Better than Vegan I have a recipe for a smoky black bean bisque. It’s this pureed black bean soup that I use as a sauce. I serve that over baked potatoes. It’s got tons of flavor; it’s filling, like you say, and easy. So I’m right there with you on beans. I think they are the magic food that we’ve all got to learn how to love.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, I’m looking through your book now, saving the best for last — if everybody isn’t hungry yet, you will be now.

Del Sroufe: [Laughs]

Caryn Hartglass: I’m looking at the Cauliflower Parmesan.

Del Sroufe: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: And I think I’m remembering in one or two of your other books, you did fun things with cauliflower, like disguising it in one thing or another.

Del Sroufe: I did. I do cauliflower purees in probably all of my books now. I use cauliflower, cook it and puree it, and use that in place of cream or in place of silken tofu. Anywhere that you want a creamy texture. I use it to make mayonnaise.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmmm.

Del Sroufe: Because I can’t really eat soy — I’m kind of sensitive to it. I make mayonnaise with it, I make sauces with it, and absolutely adore it. It’s easy to work with, and an easy flavor, too. It doesn’t take a lot of effort.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, and it’s so good for you.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, I think it’s the new kale.

Caryn Hartglass: The new kale? Oh, nothing’s going to replace kale for me, but I do love cauliflower. And it’s got some of that cruciferous magic without the green. I don’t know how it does it.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, I know. I’m right there with you. Well, I’ll put your kale and cauliflower together; you’ll get a new fun dish there, too.

Caryn Hartglass: [Laughs] Okay. And then, another one, this one I’m sure people would go nuts over. It’s scalloped potatoes with saffron cream.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, the saffron cream is another one that uses that cauliflower puree. The flavor is just intense. It’s got that intense kind of, almost — like that paella dish that you see in Spanish cooking. That saffron flavor just really livens everything up. And of course anything with potatoes is good. I tell you what, I take that saffron cream — talking about how to cross-utilize ingredients or recipes — make an extra batch of that, because you’re going to want to toss that on some pasta, too.

Caryn Hartglass: You’re going to want to bathe in it, it’s so good! [Laughs]

Del Sroufe: [Laughs]

Caryn Hartglass: Who knows? I’ll bet it’s really good for the skin.

Del Sroufe: Well, it couldn’t hurt, could it? It couldn’t be as bad as some of the chemicals that we put on there already.

Caryn Hartglass: Exactly! I am — I’ve really simplified my life inside and out of my body. Whereas all I put on the outside, pretty much, is coconut oil. And who knows? Maybe a little cauliflower cream would be good for it too. [Laughs]

Del Sroufe: Cauliflower cream. Well, let me know how that goes, because maybe we’ll get some new products here.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, do you have any recommended secret places for saffron? Because that can be pretty pricey, and not all saffron is really saffron.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, that’s true too. I actually order it online from a company called Atlantic Spice. It’s up there in your neck of the woods on, I think it’s maybe Martha’s Vineyards. But it’s an online spice company, their saffron’s really, really good and not very expensive.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Saffron is just a beautiful flavor.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, and it’s a treat. It’s not like I’m going to eat saffron every day, but every now and then I want that, and I’ll pay for it, gladly.

Caryn Hartglass: I tell you, though, whenever you eat saffron — you should do this with everything you eat, and I don’t do it all the time — but think about where that food came from, and who did what to get it to your plate. Because saffron’s one of those foods that you have to be really delicate, and hand-pick, and it takes a lot of effort to get it.

Del Sroufe: It takes a million, they’re called stamens — a million stamens to make a pound of saffron. And until recently, those were all done by hand.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Del Sroufe: So I’m becoming more and more aware, like a lot of us are, about what goes into the people behind my food. Because I shop at my farmer’s market, and I know how hard some of these people work. But there are people who get paid not much money to make our food come to the table. And I think that’s something we’ve got to change.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, you use miso in a bunch of recipes. I love miso because it has a really rich, complex flavor. Now, you said you have problems with soy, but do you use soy miso?

Del Sroufe: Yeah, I don’t have a problem with the miso. Tofu, tempeh, soy milk, are more my issues. I can have soy sauce, and I have no problem with miso whatsoever. Maybe it’s because the fermentation tends to offset whatever’s going on in the others.

Caryn Hartglass: Sure. Did you know there are some misos that are soy-free?

Del Sroufe: I recently heard about that, and I haven’t tried them yet. I’ve been looking in my stores and I haven’t seen any yet.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. South River is my favorite company.

Del Sroufe: Oh yeah?

Caryn Hartglass: I don’t know if anybody else is doing it. But South River, they’re in Massachusetts. It’s on the pricey side. But they come in these lovely glass jars, and — I’m so anti-plastic that I love buying glass. And I love these particular jars; I save them, and use them to store everything. Because they’re wide-mouthed, they’re beautiful. But they have a gluten-free, soy-free chickpea miso. It’s very similar to the mellow miso, and it’s our favorite.

Del Sroufe: Oh, nice. What’s the name of the company?

Caryn Hartglass: South River.

Del Sroufe: I’m writing it down.

Caryn Hartglass: South River. And they should — I don’t get anything, no kickbacks or anything, but I recommend them all the time. [Laughs]

Del Sroufe: [Laughs]

Caryn Hartglass: [Laughs] It’s very true.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, I’ll look for that, for sure.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, I’m always looking for a good falafel recipe. Because falafel is typically a fried thing; we don’t like that.

Del Sroufe: Yeah. We don’t fry them.

Caryn Hartglass: So, I’m looking at yours here, which looks like it has all the right ingredients, and I’m going to have to try it.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, the ingredients are pretty much the same. I’ve had a few people say they cook it longer than others because they want a little bit more of that crispy flavor. It’s a hard balance to do. I’ve gotten used to not looking for the fried-ness in food. So I bake them until they hold together well, the flavor’s all there, and then I use them in some fun ways. So I make a, you can put them in your pita. I make a Mediterranean pizza that’s got crumbled falafel on top of it with some kalamata olives, and things like that. Then there’s a wonderful sauce that goes with that recipe in the cookbook that makes me very, very happy. It’s called a green sauce, with cilantro, and I use cauliflower, but you can use the silken tofu and garlic, et cetera et cetra, and a little bit of lemon juice.

Caryn Hartglass: Is that instead of the tahini?

Del Sroufe: Yeah, it’s kind of the same as the tahini sauce. I’m trying to think if this recipe has a little bit of tahini or not. It might have a little bit of the tahini in there, but it has more of the cilantro to get that flavor into it. And it’s delicious.

Caryn Hartglass: Mm-hmm. Okay, I’m getting a little feeling in my belly, here. [Laughs]

Del Sroufe: [Laughs] That time of day, talking about dinner.

Caryn Hartglass: And I’ve got all these quick and easy things going on, here. Now, the last — we started on planning, and we just have, like, a minute left, so just to tie up the planning concept: people need to be well-stocked, don’t they, if things are going to be quick.

Del Sroufe: Yeah. Get your pantry stocked. There’s three menu plans in there; if you don’t want to do any thinking, start with those, and then you can always sort of alter and change them to suit your own tastes, if you will, or to suit recipes that you like. But you sort of get a grasp of how to do it once you try to follow along. And those menu plans are there, and you get to practice them. A lot of people don’t use a menu plan; they don’t cook that way, and they just sort of go with whatever, and I think that’s part of what adds time to the cooking.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, well, it really depends on the individual.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: But for people that are lost, or people that are just getting started in the kitchen, a menu plan is a really great idea, and it’s a strategy. You need a strategy, and that’s part of the strategy.

Del Sroufe: Yeah, definitely.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Very good! Del, are you going to be in New York any time soon?

Del Sroufe: I’m always looking to get to my favorite city. So I’ll let you know if I am. I would love to grab you and Victoria for lunch one day. So, I’ll let you know.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, that sounds good. Okay, well thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food, and keep doing what you’re doing. And here’s another hug for you. Big hug.

Del Sroufe: Same to you. Thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, take care.

Del Sroufe: Bye-bye.

Caryn Hartglass: Bye-bye. That was Del Sroufe, the author of some lovely cookbooks, and we were just talking about The China Study Quick and Easy Cookbook. And The China Study actually was an amazing, mammoth study done by T. Colin Campbell, and so many things have spun off from that work, including Forks Over Knives, the movie, and the cookbook, and the book. And if you haven’t seen The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell and his son Dr. Thomas Campbell, I recommend it reading it. It’s a fascinating read, all about the health of people in China that ate — the interesting thing about the book was that they had a lot of people in China that were somewhat similar, but in different neighborhoods they ate differently. So they could see the difference in their health based on their foods. And the bottom line was, more animal foods are bad for your health. And it was just a great piece, a groundbreaking work for its time. So, thank you for listening to the first half of this show, and we’re going to take a little break, and then we’re going to be talking about plant-powered dogs.

Transcribed by Chelsea Davis 7/10/2015


Caryn Hartglass: Hello Everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass and we’re back with the second part of today’s It’s All About Food ..just for you. Thanks for listening, thanks for joining me, thanks for caring. Please, thank you so much. It just inspires me so much that there are other people out on this planet, even though we may be small in number, that care about the planet, people, other living beings that we share this earth with. Thank you, for that.

I just wanted to quickly tell you that if you are in the New York area, I found that address where Victoria Moran will be speaking tomorrow night, about her new book The Good Karma Diet.  It will be at 2289 Broadway at 82nd street in Manhattan and that’s at 7 pm tomorrow. I think it’s at a Barnes and Noble.  See you there!

The other thing I wanted to mention, is tonight at 8:30pm EST, we are hosting a Plant-Powered and Thriving 6-week online course. By we, I mean myself and John and Ocean Robbins. This is the second time we’re giving a 6 week online course, the first time was earlier, towards the end of last year. I just enjoyed this event so much I know that I was part of the teaching portion of it, but I got so much out of it and I learned so much from it. We all learned from each other. There’s a great back and forth between all of the participants. It’s a lovely, lovely experience. So it starts this evening if you’re interested in checking it out go to If you can’t make it tonight but you’re still interested I would still check it out because all of the courses will be archived so you can listen to them at your convenience and there’s so much more in terms of resources that you get when you join. I can’t wait. So that’s tonight.

Let’s talk about nutrition for some of our favorite friends. I’ve got Laura Simonson, and she’s a woman on a mission from dog. Cherishing all things ‘dog’ so much. She was given the handle @thedoggest.  Professionally, Laura has been described as ‘the intersection where business meets soul’. For over 27 years, her diverse experience including successful careers in natural health and plant-based diet coaching, fitness training specialist, key note speaking personal development course development, event planning, marketing, sales (in real estate and corporate), all kinds of things. Today, she’s a social entrepreneur and founder of “Indogo: Plant Powered Dogs,” “Modern vegan family,” “Don’t forget fido” (blog and online community). Most recently, co-organizer of the new “Vegan Vancouver.” She also champions and supports vegan businesses and organizations whose bottom lines are steeped in social or spiritual evolution and is on a peace filled mission to disrupt the ordinary average status-quo through plant powered living and inspiration for all. Wow that’s one big lovely mouthful. Laura, welcome to it’s all about food!

Laura Simonson: Caryn, that’s fun, thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: It sounds like you’re having fun and I really appreciate that because you have to have a sense of humor if you’re going to survive in this world.

Laura Simonson: You really do, you really do. And it’s not hard with having dogs as part of it, right?

Caryn Hartglass: Well, that is an interesting point. I am not a person who lives with companion animals. Number one, I’m in a building that doesn’t allow it, even though there are some people that have them here and they’re not supposed to. But people are like that, they don’t like following the rules. I do respect all living beings, and dogs are wonderful and there are many wonderful stories about them and we can learn so much from dogs. We can learn so much from so many other non-human animal species.

Laura Simonson: Yes, absolutely and dogs have been actually my best teachers. Any animal in my entire life, that’s always been, I’ve learned so many valuable lessons from living and watching with them. And experiencing life through their eyes as much as I possibly can, which really brought me to this. As you’re talking about John and Ocean Robbins, John Robbins’ book was the reason I did the major change in the late 80’s to a plant based diet and he’s also one of the reasons why I chose to start looking at a plant based diet for my dog when I got her. It really is about plant based, plant powered food for dogs. It’s a huge, huge problem in our world where we’re feeding these animals other animals. Just like us humans, they don’t need other animals to survive.

Caryn Hartglass: I know a lot of people get upset by this. People get upset by a lot of things that they don’t understand. There’s still a large amount of people that still believe that humans need to eat other animals. Then there are people that believe that dogs need to eat some sort of animal protein and get certain other nutrients from animals. But what I like to say is that we do not live in a natural world. Things are very different then they used to be. And dogs were not made to be living in our homes.

Laura Simonson: Right, and they certainly have walked with us. If we look at the evolution of man, dog has evolved with us. They have been our closest companion. There’s theories and even a study that was done a couple of years ago that dogs have evolved in there digestion somewhat and their ability to digest and use starch. Should they be in our homes? That’s a big philosophical question isn’t it?  If they have been living with us for all of these centuries, will people stop now? Not likely. What can we do, as we cohabitate together and make a difference together, what can we do? How can we live a peace-filled life together? That’s definitely our mission. That’s something that I hold near and dear as being the reason why when I use the word ‘disrupt’ and I mean it, the only way we can make changes to disrupt what has been accepted as ordinary. It’s no longer acceptable to say a little bijon can take down a cow, they don’t. They’re not interested in that. Dogs are absolutely omnivores. They are considered non-obligate omnivores. As we know, plant foods contain all of the nutrients and the proteins that we require for nutrition, and that is the same for dogs. That’s why we’re setting up to prove it though. Caryn, we talk about with regards to dogs, we don’t have the studies. We have all of the great plant based studies for humans but we don’t have them for dogs yet. That’s our mission. Is to prove it scientifically. So that way people can make these beautiful choices for their animals as they do for themselves.

Caryn Hartglass: I want to talk more about that but I’m just thinking about how classic of a scenario this is. My understanding is that we have done all kinds of tests on animals when it comes to drugs and how their physical body moves, and it’s supposedly helped treat humans. I understand veterinarians understand how to treat animals because so many tests have been done on them. But we haven’t done any tests on nutrition. And why should we?

Laura Simonson: Yeah, the good news is veterinarians, their schooling and education is more steeped in nutrition than our doctors’ education. So this is the interesting part. As we started this, Caryn, we didn’t know the response that we’d have from veterinarians that were pro-vegan and we’re just getting daily responses now. I’ve been researching this for years and they weren’t necessarily online. So now, the movement that started because of the plant based world growing at such a great rate, that the pro vegan and vegan veterinarians, there’s many of them that we didn’t know about. Now they’re contacting us and they’re saying ‘I want to be involved. What can I do? How can I be a part of this movement?’ We’ve never seen this research before.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow, that’s great. So tell me, what are you doing? What is this plant powered dogs Indogo project?

Laura Simonson: Thank you and I wanted to say that the term we’re looking at how do we get the ‘Indigogo’ concept. The name is called Indogo so there’s a ‘dog’ in it, it’s a neat name and yet sometimes we do have that mispronunciation of it. But Indogo.. is..we started this, Caryn, like I said I started researching in the late 80’s. About 4 or 5 years ago I was in Whole Foods here in Vancouver, and I was walking down the pet food aisle and I had it’s almost like a lightning bolt through me of energy and said ‘Oh my goodness!’. Because I had been feeding my dog Shanti most since of course when I picked her, she was a vegan pup and I knew that for the 13 years that I had her that we would continue that. And this was about when she was about 6 years old or so, and I’m standing in the Whole Foods aisle going ‘My goodness, it’s missing. There’s something missing here.’ That’s when it really did start. We began to have conversations with vegan vet professionals and other people that felt that there was a void in the market. For plant based and also science based foods, because then again nothing had been proven. What we made a choice to do- rather than just say we’re going to come out with a product and we’re going to say ‘Hey we’ve got this great product, can everybody please come and join?’ –which many would, what we felt was most important to do is similar to what I would say Tesla is doing and other companies where we started as a social initiative. Which gives everybody the access to what the feeding trails will produce, the formulations, the supplements that are going to be used in the trial, and let everybody use them. So we will offer them to everybody. The veterinarians are going to be giving all of their recommendations even up and above the original protocols that were developed about 3 years ago with Cal Poly in California. They developed a small trial where they proved Whole Foods-it was a meat-based trial- made a tremendous difference with at-home feeding trials. So we decided that we’re going to take those protocols, to another level. And prove that dogs do thrive on plant based foods. So that’s the nutshell, the summary in-short of how we got here.

Caryn Hartglass: Great wow, so if people want to know more about it they can go to I’m just going to jump to the finish. We know we’re going to find out dogs that are going to be healthier, eating a well-balanced, plant diet.

Laura Simonson: I fully believe that Caryn, I’m with you.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s also better for the environment.

Laura Simonson: Absolutely, without question.

Caryn Hartglass: And it’ll give people one less excuse to support their animal habit of eating animals.

Laura Simonson: Absolutely. That’s what we felt, for us, it’s not around necessarily just the dog’s health. It’s also around that say that Melanie Joy, and her regards to carnism, when we actually prove scientifically- a few times, this is only going to be the first trial- that a carnivore, or considered to be a carnivore, doesn’t require animal products, I really believe we ask ourselves then, that deep philosophical question. Do I need animals? So we feel this is really going to the heart of it. All of us can feel that ‘Wow, if I can feed my dog this, and my dog is thriving, why wouldn’t I?”. This is much more than just a dog food idea. This really is a whole movement towards, how can we look at carnism straight in the eye and say, “we can overcome that.”

Caryn Hartglass: I think it’s important, as we mentioned before, the dog has evolved with the human and has become domesticated. We’re not talking about animals in the wild. We’re talking about dogs we are taking care of, we are protecting to some degree, we are encouraging them to reproduce. There’s nothing really ‘natural’ going on here. They wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for humans. Not in this form. So there’s nothing wrong with wanting them to eat foods that we have discovered are the healthiest for them and also the best for the planet, that happen to be different than what they were eating sometime before.

Laura Simonson: Yes, and they have evolved.  If you’re going to think about it Caryn, decades ago we didn’t hear of our relatives-like I had farming relatives- they didn’t feed their dogs meat. Wealthy people, maybe. But for most people, in the civilized worlds, where we have our animal companions, or ‘pets’, then, they didn’t get fed the best meat in the house. They didn’t get fed a raw meat diet. They would’ve gotten the leftovers. They would’ve gotten the soup bone after it was used in the soup. So when we really think about it the dog food industry is what has perpetuated our belief that a dog food was needed.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh of course!

Laura Simonson: ..(the idea that) it is need based. It was Doctor Ballard’s (dog food), really. It would have been years ago in those days, when the industry went ‘Whoa, we’ve got some leftover body parts here that we can put in dog foods’

Caryn Hartglass: This is just one small piece of this crazy economic platform that we are in today, which is capitalism, and everybody believes that we have to continue to grow in order to keep the economy alive..and we have to figure out ways to profit from things. That means recreating something from something else. It’s totally contaminated our food system for humans and for animals.

Laura Simonson: Absolutely. It’s similar to the Story of Stuff, if we were to think through that, right? So if we were to go through the Story of Stuff with regards to dog food, really, it started for an economic reason. It didn’t start for the need.  We could’ve continued to feed our dogs the beautiful scraps, if you will, the great food that was from the table. And for the most part that was potatoes and carrots, things that were the cheaper root vegetables. Things like that. That’s what they’ve shown, they are showing that they can digest starch more that what we ever thought.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m smiling to myself right now, like I said before you have to have a sense of humor if you’re going to survive in this crazy world. So you were mentioning that somebody decided to take the garbage that humans weren’t eating and feed those unwanted parts to dogs. They don’t only do that to non-human animals. They do that to humans too. I’m thinking of whey protein for example. We pull the whey out of milk for certain kinds of products and they’re left with all of these whey solids. So they came up with all of these high protein powders.

Laura Simonson: The other thing that has been a real impact when I really started to research and realized, is that we’re busy rescuing animals. We’re rescuing dogs for instance. What we do is we then have that beautiful animal. We bring them to our home. Then we feed them dog food that perhaps- because this is truth in the regular dog food industry- the rendering plants are filled with dead rescued animals or dead shelter animals or any other roadkill-has been rendered and turned into dog food. It’s a profound thought when we think ‘My goodness. I’m feeding my rescued dog, a dead dog.. that’s been euthanized.” And when we really go deep into the story of this, there’s a lot behind it. If we really think about, ‘What are we rescuing? Why are we rescuing this way?’ If we really stop to think, we could rescue ourselves and our world, by simply stopping the crazies of eating animal based foods.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m thinking about when people will tease each other, kids for example, in saying ‘Here’s some dog food, here will you eat this?’ And the reaction is “Ew it’s dog food!” And we should say

‘Ew it’s dog food’ because of all of the crap that’s in it. But if your research discovers that dogs do well on plants then we can pretty much eat the same food, right?

Laura Simonson: Absolutely. We’re looking forward to doing school tours in our production facility. We can have children and dogs as part of the process. That’s never been done before.

Caryn Hartglass: Do your dogs..I don’t know how many you have, do you have one or more?

Laura Simonson: You know Caryn, we unfortunately lost ours last year. So we don’t have one right now.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, okay. Well the dogs that you have had, have they had some favorite plant based recipes?

Laura Simonson: Oh my goodness. The easiest one, the one ingredient my dog was a freak about was broccoli stalks. She could not eat enough broccoli stalks.  And we certainly didn’t OD her on broccoli stalks, but that was her favorite and it’s such a great food for dogs.

Caryn Hartglass: Did she like it raw or cooked?

Laura Simonson: Oh, raw, they love it raw. It’s like a bone. They call it broccoli bone.

Caryn Hartglass. That is genius. So often most of us don’t want to do anything with the broccoli stalk so you throw it to your dog, I love that.

Laura Simonson: We’ve been researching Caryn, and the broccoli stalk actually has more vitamin C than the florets do.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow

Laura Simonson: And here we are, giving away the stalk. They love that. They certainly are great. Most vegetables are really great for dogs. Greens and… The only thing they are to avoid certainly are things like onions and garlic in large, large amounts. There’s a lot of misinformation with some of the foods for dogs. Chocolate they can’t have, grapes they can’t have.  There’s certain foods that obviously dogs can’t have. But they thrive beautifully and they love plant foods. Certainly when you put them together with beautiful beans or lentils and hemp foods, and zucchinis, and spinach and carrots, and you put it together for dogs they absolutely love it.

Caryn Hartglass: So do you think people should be making their own food for dogs or after all this research comes out… do you think there will be bagged plant based dog foods that you’ll recommend?

Laura Simonson: Absolutely, the thing is right now we’re not able to. Consistently people ask me “what do you recommend, what do you recommend?” Until we prove it, it’s out of integrity to recommend anything aside from cooking foods from home. And using the best balanced supplement that you can find for that food. There certainly are some good vegan books that are sharing good ideas and supplementations. So I would recommend if anybody has a question, please send it out to me, and I will send it out to our panel and ask them for different ideas. Until we do prove it out… at that point we will definitely be recommending- cook this at home! Get the stuff and cook it at home. Then from there, our intention is to have dehydrated foods so that people anywhere can get these foods and just add water to them and have their dogs enjoy beautiful food.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow, thank you. I love hearing about this. And please, keep in touch. Let’s find out what you learn.

Laura Simonson: Thank you. I look forward to sharing the good news with you for sure. Good luck with your new program with Ocean and John Robbins. That’s very exciting.

Caryn Hartglass: Thank you, thank you very much! Ok Laura thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food,  Plant-Powered Dogs and Indogo!

Here we are. It’s the end of another hour and now I have to go back to work. Thanks for listening, thanks for caring, like I said before it really means so much to me. Send me an email at  if you have something to share or say, I would love to hear from you and remember, have a delicious week.

Transcription by AG, 8/4/2015

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