Part 1: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
The award-winning author of five books, including the bestselling The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, Vegan’s Daily Companion, and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has guided people to becoming and staying vegan for over 12 years through sold-out cooking classes, bestselling books, inspiring lectures, engaging videos, and her immensely popular audio podcast, “Vegetarian Food for Thought.” Using her unique blend of passion, humor, and common sense, she empowers and inspires people to live according to their own values of compassion and wellness. She also contributes to National Public Radio and The Christian Science Monitor, and has appeared on The Food Network and PBS. Visit colleenpatrickgoudreau.com for more.
PROGRAM TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food. I hope you’re having a very happy fourth of December 2012. It’s like a spring day here in New York City. Whoa! It’s December and it’s spring? What’s going on? I am not going to say global warming but the weather has been interesting and I love it like that so I’m not going to complain. I’m just going to stay outside and enjoy it while I can.
The holiday of Hanukkah is coming up very soon, in a few days. I’ve been celebrating Hanukkah for a long time. I always like to say that I’m not a religious person, I’m one of these agnostic-leaning atheists, something along those lines. I’m open to everybody practicing and believing whatever they want to as long as it’s kind and compassionate. But I do love holiday food. The big recipe that’s made on Hanukkah is potato pancakes. Typically they are fried in lots of lots of oil. Over the years I’ve been cleaning up my diet I have not been looking forward to making or eating those things, but we do it every year. It’s tradition! I finally came up with a recipe that I’m so excited about. It’s baked potato pancakes. We just did a food show on it to show you how easy it is. You can find it all at ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com.
I just want to mention one more thing about Hanukkah. It to the something that happened in history over 2000 years ago when the Syrians were fighting the Jews and the Egyptians. Sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it, unfortunately? But one thing happened where there was this purified olive oil and it was used in a candlelabrum, called a menorah. It was supposed to last one day and it lasted for eight days and as a result we celebrate by eating lots of food cooked in oil. And I think we got the message wrong. I don’t think the message is to use lots and lots of oil or eat lots and lots of oil. I think the message is to conserve oil – make oil last for eight days that used to last one day. Wouldn’t we be in a much better place if we have learned that message 2000 years ago? Okay so just remember, ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com.
My first guest today is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the award-winning author of five books, including the bestselling The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, Vegan’s Daily Companion, and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. She has guided people to becoming and staying vegan for over 12 years through sold-out cooking classes, bestselling books, inspiring lectures, engaging videos, and her immensely popular audio podcast, “Vegetarian Food for Thought.” Using her unique blend of passion, humor, and common sense, she empowers and inspires people to live according to their own values of compassion and wellness. She also contributes to National Public Radio and The Christian Science Monitor, and has appeared on The Food Network and PBS.
Welcome again, to It’s All About Food. Colleen, how are you?
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Hi, I’m great Caryn, thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: What’s going on, on the west coast, with you?
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Oh goodness! Well, we are also enjoying beautiful weather but that is kind of is par for the course. We are in our rainy season which is always lovely because it just makes you get inside more, cook and bake…
Caryn Hartglass: That’s not what I hear. It’s great that you have a positive attitude about it but I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about that rain out there.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: I know, I love it. You know, I love the sun, I’m actually a sun worshiper and when it’s rainy season I love the rain, because it’s time for it. We need it. We live in a drought state. Frankly, I love. We have rain catchment tanks, so I get really excited when it rains because it means that our tanks are getting filled. That means we have irrigation for the summer, so I get really excited about rain.
Caryn Hartglass: Water is so important.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: It is.
Caryn Hartglass: And there are lots of reasons why we have imbalances with our water supply all over and some of it is related to… food. You are on a mission to make more vegans.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: I would actually say that I’m on a mission to point people towards their compassion. What seems to be the best way to do that is to manifest that compassion by not consuming animals. I really make that my mission. My message is really compassion and veganism is a means to that compassion, it’s not the end. It think that’s the big mistake, I think, that’s been made over the years, in advocating veganism, is that the message then becomes that veganism is the end. I think that’s where people get hung up on the perfection and purity aspect of it. So just a slight correction, my mission is to get people to be more compassionate.
Caryn Hartglass: The semantics are really interesting. I know you studied English right, so you are into semantics. People interpret what veganism means, people have their own feeling about compassion means. You know, what I think is compassion, some other people that think they’re being compassionate – I don’t quite think they know what it means.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: That’s why I think telling our stories is really important, because I think we all have a universal story of either being compassionate children, not wanting to hurt anybody. I think that’s what it all comes down to, not wanting to hurt anyone. It’s a very basic response I think we have, we may have talked about this before, you know, where we use this as a barometer for mental health. If someone is kind to an animal we see it as a good sign and if they are not kind to an animal we see it as a danger signal. I think we all kind of know that instinctively and so we get supported when we’re doing kind things. We get supported when we are doing compassionate things and we chided, and I’m talking about when we are children, when we do things that aren’t kind. The message is be kind. You know – the Golden Rule, right? Don’t do onto others… I think most of us have that as our instinct, but what happens is, we aren’t directly involved with hurting animals that we consume, so we kind of put it in a box over here, and don’t really see it. We don’t really think that we’re doing anything wrong. If you were to ask anybody who consumed animals, myself included when I ate animals, if you asked me if I was a compassionate person, I would have said, absolutely I’m a compassionate person. Of course I’m a compassionate person. I don’t hurt anybody, I don’t do anything harmful and yet indirectly with our dollars we are causing harm. That’s what’s so beautiful about this path to full compassion, returning back to that for compassion is actually manifesting that compassion by not participating in these violent industries. That, to me is kind of coming back into our true compassion. Because I don’t believe that I was not a compassionate person. And I don’t believe people who are consuming animals are evil people. I do believe that we are not in our full compassion. And that’s, I think, where I think we really, really, really want to be.
Caryn Hartglass: You know you talked about telling stories and one just popped into mind. I’m not sure exactly where I am going to go with this. You are talking about when we were young and things that had happened I want to think that I was a compassionate kid. I remember playing with a girlfriend of mine and we used to like to grab beetles and dissect them. We would get the alcohol out and we would pretend to be scientists. And I was curious, I loved; I was fascinated by watching bugs. I just want to put out there I’m very sorry that I did that to those bugs. I didn’t what I was doing.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: I know, it’s true and I think a lot of people have stories like that. I think there’s also this element of – if they don’t look like us they don’t feel the way we do. I think a lot of children who do things especially to insects and amphibians, we can see facial expressions that resemble ours, so I think we don’t know that they are suffering. People talk about the cruelty of cats and that they play with their prey. I don’t think they think they know their prey is suffering. If they knew their prey was suffering and they did it anyway that’s a different story, but I don’t think they know and that they’re deriving from sadistic pleasure from it. So I don’t know that you as a child realized, I don’t know, and maybe I am just making an excuse for you, I don’t know that you realized it. The real test is when we know it and we do it anyway. I think that’s not as common as you know as those who just don’t do it at all.
Caryn Hartglass: I didn’t. I was maybe 7 or 8 and then when I was maybe 11 or 12, I remember at six grade science fair there was one guy there who had put a frog under ether or something like that and he had attached a string to the frog’s heart and tied the string up over something so you could see this thing moving, it was really from the heart pumping. And I was horrified by that. I related more to the frog than the beetle. We look more like frogs – in some ways.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Well that’s interesting, I mean, that’s a good question about empathy and who we identify with.
Caryn Hartglass: Maybe he was a prince, that little frog. Anyway… okay, so 30 days, why 30 days? The 30 Day Vegan Challenge – tell me about it.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Well the principle behind it is that most people say they don’t eat a lot of meat, dairy and eggs. I don’t meet anybody who says otherwise. There’s nobody I meet who, when I say, I’m vegan, doesn’t say, oh, I don’t eat a lot of meat or I don’t eat a lot of dairy. The truth is you really don’t know how much you are eating until you stop. That’s really the theory behind the 30 day vegan challenge, stop long enough to recognize your patterns and recognize your habits and replace them with new ones, and let me help you on the way. The 30 days is a nice, round, time period. They say that we change a habit in three weeks. I like 30 days, I think it gives you enough time to really replace behavioral patterns and your palate starts to clean out and your body starts to clean out and you can see differences in blood work as well. That’s the principle behind 30 days.
Caryn Hartglass: I definitely believe in the all or nothing routine. I am, very digital person: on/off; yes/no; white/black; one/zero, however you look at it. And I think that when we get kind of analog and we get hazy about things it’s harder to make change, it’s definitely harder.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: You don’t recognize the patterns as much you don’t see the patterns as much. Because even if you say, “oh I’ve cut down” or “I’m in moderation”, moderate compared to what? You know, you don’t really see what you’re grabbing for until you decide you’re not going to grab for it. Then you see you behavior. You go to grab for it and you think, “Whoa! Oh wait, hold on, I’m not doing that rigI think that really works. Frankly that’s what the studies show, that’s what the research shows, that people who do something full on are much more successful than if they do it just a little bit.
Caryn Hartglass: A lot of people talk to me about when they are in a health crisis because I’ve been through a health crisis on and I got out of it. I like talking to people and helping them through. But very often I give them this thing where you really need to do it all the way and they backtrack and say, “well, what I just did, if I incorporated some of these foods, if I didn’t totally give up others?” How do you respond when people say that?
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: I don’t know but I think…
Caryn Hartglass: I think it was what we were just talking about, that it’s easier to break habits when you go all the way.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: I think what encourages people to keep going is when they experience the benefits themselves. That doesn’t just have to be physical, tangible benefits, and they are there, that’s why I recommend, before people do the 30 day vegan challenge, go get your blood work done, take a look at your numbers, see what your numbers say so that by the end of the 30 days when you go back and get your blood work done, you actually see the difference. That’s really empowering for people. That is one aspect of it. But you also feel benefits, things that you can’t put your finger on, things that you can’t measure. There are the spiritual benefits, the mental benefits, the emotional benefit. And even the other physical benefits that aren’t as measurable. Just the way you feel a little more regular, you feel a little more energetic. Those kind of things. I do think that my message to someone who said that would be just do it long enough to experience the benefits yourself and when you experience them, like anything, you just want more of it. That’s what’s so exciting about it.
Caryn Hartglass: You never know how good you can feel until you do it. Gosh, I wish I could share that good feeling with people so that it would be easier for them to just accept.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Yeah. Well you’re doing, I mean, I think in sharing our own good feelings and I mean, I really do believe in the power of example, I believe in the power of passion is, as we live our lives, we live our values, and manifest our values and do with purpose and clarity and passion, I think that’s really contagious and I think people get excited and want some of that too.
Caryn Hartglass: Now this 30 Day Vegan Challenge, it’s a membership that people sign up for.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: No, it’s just a one-time fee, it’s literally only $20. Once they sign up, they get a welcome e-mail and the welcome email gives them a login password and a link to a portal and then they have all the information – when they start the 30 Day Vegan Challenge, they get the information in drip format on that portal. So they get Day 1 and Day 1’s material might be a video, it might be an audio message, it might be a recipe on Day 1. On Day 2 they have access to Day 2’s material, it might be a video, it might be an audio, it might be a recipes, and so on and so on and so on. By the end of the 30 days you’ve built up this reserve of information that you have access to for the rest of your life. That’s basically how it works – giving people the information in drips until they have it all.
Caryn Hartglass: And then after 30 days can they still access the portal?
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: That’s what I mean they have it forever, they can go back to that, and that’s lovely, the benefit being an online program is that I will continue to produce more material. In fact I just launched a new video yesterday on compassionate giftgiving. Around Thanksgiving I had a video launched around Thanksgiving creating a Thanksgiving meal. The material will grow at times goes on and people can continue to have access to it.
Caryn Hartglass: And if they want to sneak ahead and get ahead of day two or three, can they do that?
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: They can’t. It really does give you the information, because I want people to digest each day’s information. There is a lot to digest and I know people may have questions that might be in the 13 cannot be there yet but if they’re committed to the 30 days, I’ll promise I’ll get to that information. What they can have access to right away is the community board. There are other people, obviously there are lots of people, taking the 30 Day Vegan Challenge, and they can communicate with them in the discussion boards as soon as Day 1. They do have access to support and answers to their questions.
Caryn Hartglass: I just know some people like to read the ending to books.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: I know. I know, I know, but I think it’s fun this way. It creates anticipation and kind of excitement about the next day’s content.
Caryn Hartglass: And when they sign up it’s a form of commitment and a kick in the butt to do something at least for 30 days.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Yeah, and you know, there’s the gift certificates as well, so I think it’s a wonderful gift to give to friends and family who have expressed curiosity or interest. You can give a gift to your friend and you can even say, a lot of people say, “How do I get my friend, how do I get my family to do this?” I’m not someone who believe in forcing the issue, I believe in advocating for it and certainly encouraging them and giving them information but it is a lovely thing to say, “Look for Christmas, for the holidays, I would love you to do the 30 Day Vegan Challenge, so that would be wonderful gift back to me, it’s a gift to you, it’s a gift to the animals, it’s one of these gifts that keeps giving. You can even give it as a gift and encourage someone to do it as a gift for you.
Caryn Hartglass: What are some of the people saying that have been through it?
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Well, I mean, that’s what’s so exciting for me, that the content is solid. It’s content that I’ve been using in one format or another for years and years. I know, I know it really gives people what they need. People are loving it. It covers everything; it covers the nutrients. Everybody asks about protein, and everybody asks about calcium and iron. And they should but my information is meant to not only empower them with the right information, but also dispel the myths that perpetuate around these single nutrients, so that people can feel confident and not feel like they’re missing out on anything, of course they are not, as we’ve talked about the plant, or where the nutrients are. The nutrients we need are plant-based. It covers all of that; it covers the social aspect which I think is a huge part of this change for people. What to do around family and how to have this conversation and what to do when people have a defensive, kind of passive aggressive response to your being vegan. What to do when you eat out, what to do when you travel, what about children’s birthday parties, what about cooking for people on the road, if you’re in construction and it’s easier for you to go to a fast food restaurant? It covers all the social aspects, the travel, the practical aspects, making the time to cook and then going to the grocery store and you know, all of the things involving the food itself and then there’s, of course, recipes. So it covers everything. ALL I know is people are responding to it really positively. I’m thrilled.
Caryn Hartglass: Now that’s great. We need more people doing this, at least moving toward healthier plant food. It will make such a positive difference individually and for the planet. As more people do it will become even easier for even more people to do it.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Indeed and you know certainly my work is meant to empower people so that it becomes a ripple effect, so that it doesn’t just end there and that’s what’s exciting. There’s even a discussion board on advocacy. There’s so much information on the 30 Day Vegan Challenge and there’s my podcast on advocating in a positive way, in an effective way for this way of life so that we can inspire more people to do it.
Caryn Hartglass: Do people get to ask questions outside of the community, can they ask you a question while there on this program, if they have questions?
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Yeah, I mean people do and I have people who help me, and answer those questions with me. And I certainly get emails from people, and I’m not able to respond to everyone individually obviously, but I do have support. Anybody who needs anything, we don’t let and e-mail go unanswered. And there’s no question, even in the 30 Day Vegan Challenge in the community boards, that goes unanswered. I check them and I see every email as they come in but I do have support in answering them.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s good because people always have questions even if you think you’ve covered it all, there is always something.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: It’s true. But I have to say, I tend to have to point out that it’s there. It’s often like “hang on, it’s going to be there, it’s in Day 13” or “hang on, I hav a podcast on that.” Certainly there is so much more to cover and I’m not going anywhere but I do think I’ve covered a lot. Because a lot of the questions are pretty much the same. We are social creatures and we all have the same kind of dilemmas. I think I have covered a lot. Often we are pointing people to the resources that already exist.
Caryn Hartglass: Now I imagine a lot of this information was what you put together in your book that came out last year and then there’s a lot more.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: It’s a lot more and it’s in different mediums. I think that’s what’s fun too. Some people really do well with books, some people do really well with reading, some people do well with the videos. And like I said, there are lots of videos and there’s audio podcasts as well. So it’s multimedia. That’s what’s exciting about it.
Caryn Hartglass: How long have you been vegan?
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Thirteen years.
Caryn Hartglass: Thirteen years. And has us your diet changed over those thirteen years?
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Sure, oh god, yeah. I’m certain I don’t eat today the way I did when I first became vegan. Absolutely. I continue to seek out foods that are just in their whole state as much as possible. It doesn’t mean I don’t indulge, absolutely I do. But I really eat very simply. I really appreciate foods in their whole state in the most simple state. People expect me to be some sort of gourmand every time I’m making dinner every night and I’m certainly not. I love a simple soup or a simple salad. That makes me really happy. That’s different than how I grew up, that’s different from how I ate when I first became vegan.
Caryn Hartglass: I feel like there’s this movement within the movement of what we should eat and what we shouldn’t eat as where, I like to think that were evolving; not just people eating plant foods, but all of us on this planet.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: I think so too. There’s always more to learn, there’s always more to gain and that’s the hope that I give to people who, who are intimidated or didn’t grow up eating whole vegetables and don’t think they’re going to like whole vegetables. I mean in terms of evolution, just individually, our palates change. When we get the fat and salt out of our palates, our palates completely change and we start craving things we never thought we’d crave before. We stop craving things we never thought we would stop craving. That is a definite 100% guaranteed bit of hope that I can give to people. Your palate will change.
Caryn Hartglass: Just to show you how nutty I am – I’ve been sprouting broccoli sprouts and I finally figured out how to do it so that their gorgeous. It hasn’t worked for a while but now I’ve got it nailed down. I just like munch on them like nothing. I just grab a bunch of broccoli sprouts and eat them, I just love them. But I want to get back to what we were talking about at the beginning – that this vegan thing, it’s not an end. It’s not an end destination. It just happens to be a name that describes some things but we’re all moving forward, we are all on a different path and we all want to get to a better place for ourselves, for the planet, and even this vegan diet keeps evolving, in many different ways. People eat differently, healthy or not so healthy, raw or macro, or starchy or green and it’s all evolving.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Yeah, for me, I think the word vegan, which was coined by Donald Watson in 1944 is a beautiful word that really encapsulates and give a name to living compassionately. That really, it’s a beautiful definition, a simple definition that Donald Watson gave which is pretty much what I said before. Which is doing everything we can to get it in in terms of what’s possible to not create harm, to not hurt anyone. I think we’re all compelled to that. This just happens to give a name to it and this happens to be the means to get there. I didn’t come to veganism through diet, I know there are different ways of eating within it. And yet veganism has never meant that to me, it’s never meant a way of eating or a diet, it’s meant the physical manifestation of this value that we have, that compels us to want to live as compassionately as possible. To me that’s just perfect and beautiful. And then within that, certainly there are different, of course there are, that’s why, that’s why, there’s not one, someone said to me once, I was doing a talk, they said something like “you look so normal, do you do that on purpose? A lot of people think vegans are this or that and you look like such a normal vegan, did you do that? And I said, “This is what vegan looks like, and that’s what vegan looks like, and you’re what vegan looks like, and you’re what vegan looks like, as many variations there are as there are people on this planet. Whatever path you take in terms of how you eat or how you live, that’s just, we’re just varied people. Vegan is many things, vegans are, we are many different kinds of people. But what we are all compelled to do is live compassionately and that’s what I love about it. There is so much variety and potential in the movement.
Caryn Hartglass: People do like to hold onto those stereotypes. I like to think that with the Internet and with more celebrities doing the vegan thing it certainly is upping the image that vegans have.
We just have a few more minutes. I want to talk more about the word vegan. I use it. I like it. But some folks say that they don’t want to call themselves vegan. They don’t want to draw attention to that word; and then there are some that had been vegan and that they started eating a little fish now. I don’t know, what are your thoughts on all of that.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Yea, I mean, look, like I said, it’s a wor, it gives voice to this desire to live compassionately and I think it’s great that we have a word for it. It doesn’t mean that we have to label ourselves, and we tend to want to though. I think we humans tend to want to label things. It’s a human trait.
Caryn Hartglass: And identify.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: And identify. And I think that’s a great thing, it’s like the people who say “well I eat chicken and fish, and I eat dairy sometimes, but I’m vegan.” And I think well that’s interesting. You recognize that that identifying as a vegan is a positive thing. And yet you’re not fully living by that definition. But yet you want to identify as a vegan. So I find that interesting. Now am I going to check them off and say, “Well you’re not really vegan and you can’t stand in that place and you can’t stand over here”. That’s not my job. But what I do think is important is that we recognize that vegan means something. That it does mean something. When someone says they’re Kosher, that means something. That has definition and people, people live according to that, and other people recognize what that means. I do think that we want to be consistent so the world understand what it means, when we say this is vegan. And like you said, it’s more than just the food because it is a way of living that doesn’t want to hurt anybody and that includes the things that we wear, it includes that the products we buy it, and it includes the people that we consider as well. It’s about doing the least amount of harm possible. So I’m less concerned with the labeling and the rigidity of that, but I am, I do think that it’s a word to be proud of. I’m very proud of my work where I have helped give voice to that and I’ve seen many people come out of the “vegan closet” who had been embarrassed before because there was shame around the word. I think we need to take the word back and be proud of it because it means something really special.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s funny you mention kosher and certainly it’s good to make parallels because that’s a diet and its has specific rules and people have a certain degree of respect over it. There are labels on our food to designate what food is kosher and there are costly certifications to get that label. But there are different shades of kosher where people loosen up on the rules, just like being vegan. Where some people will eat kosher in the home but they won’t eat, if they are eating in a restaurant they’ll kind of let things slide. Different people are more strict about their “kosher-ness”. It’s just amusing to me because people will basically do what they want to do and follow their own rules and any word really is opened the interpretation.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Well I will say that at where we diverge then. It has been consistencies and it has some differences. Because vegan does mean something specific. You know, you say “strict”, you have strict kosher versus non strict kosher, and there’s been that same language around veganism. I don’t see it as being strict I see it as being consistent. So when someone says, “are you a strict vegan? Do you cheat and eat animal products?” Am I a strict vegan? If your the question is am I a consistent vegan, there’s never a time when I want to hurt someone. There’s never a time when I want to contribute to violence. SO, no, I am pretty much consistently compassionate, then if that’s your definition of strict, then okay, I’m strict. But I just see it as consistent. I think that’s and an important distinction to make because it is about is about not wanting to contribute to violence, kind of ever. And that’s the difference, I think between vegan as a diet, you know, we’ve seen this distinction between a plant-based and begin vegan. And I think that is a difference, I think that people who called themselves plant-based are doing so strictly from a health perspective and that’s fine, but I think that’s the difference between vegan as a philosophy of living and plant-based as a diet.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely I love it. VEGAN. LIFESTYLE, CONSISTENT. Consistent vegans, there should be something around that.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Consistently compassionate.
Caryn Hartglass: There we go. We can come up with more slogans, but for now we’re going to take a break. Colleen, thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food. Where can people find you?
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: At CompassionateCook.com.
Caryn Hartglass: CompassionateCook.com. Thank you for joining me again and all the best.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Thanks Caryn.
Caryn Hartglass: Bye bye. I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food and we will be right back with Freya Dinshah.