Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, The Ultimate Guide to Eating Healthfully and Living Compassionately
A recognized expert on all aspects of living vegan, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an award-winning author of seven books, including the bestselling The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, Vegan’s Daily Companion, On Being Vegan, and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. She is an acclaimed speaker and a multimedia host, beloved for her entertaining and unparalleled cooking shows, her informative videos, and her inspiring podcast, “Food for Thought,” which was voted Favorite Podcast by VegNews magazine readers. Colleen is a regular contributor to National Public Radio and has appeared on The Food Network and PBS.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Hi everybody! How are you doing? I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food on a very happy, heart-filled, joy-filled, love-y day: February 10th 2015. And February is heart month—healthy heart month—what do they call it? Heart-healthy? Something about the heart. And we’re going to be focusing on that with all kinds of love-filled information for you, maybe from a different perspective than other people talking about heart month this month, and I think you’ll enjoy it. First I want to update you on what’s going on at Responsible Eating and Living. We just put out our second episode (woohoo!) of REAL Good News in Review featuring ‘The Soy Story.’ We have a lovely, rich, decadent recipe for you for Valentines Day, for your valentine, for yourself. It’s rich and delicious and a treat. It’s our Vegan Hollandaise with No-Eggs Benedict Arnold, and you can see a food show for that. And visit responsibleeatingandliving.com. It’s all up there in the Transition Kitchen Food Show. And that’s all for right now! I want to bring on my first guest, Colleen Patrick Goudreau, a recognized expert on all aspects of living vegan. She’s an award-winning author of seven books, including best-selling The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, Vegan’s Daily Companion, On Being Vegan, and The Thirty Day Vegan Challenge. She’s an acclaimed speaker, a multimedia host, beloved for her entertaining and unparalleled cooking shows, her informative videos, and her inspiring podcast, Food For Thought, which was voted “Favorite Podcast” by VegNews Magazine readers. She’s a regular contributor to National Public Radio and has appeared on the Food Network and PBS, and she’s also appeared here at It’s All About Food. Hi, Colleen!
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Hi Caryn! How are you? Good to talk to you again.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Good, yeah! It’s been a long time! Couple of years, actually!
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Yeah.
CARYN HARTGLASS: And there’s so much to do, and the work continues, doesn’t it?
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Exactly, yup.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Yes, and the information doesn’t change that much. But the first thing I wanted to ask you is how has the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge changed since you originated it in, what, 2011 or something? 2012?
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Right, yeah. So the original book came out in 2011, and the new edition is out. It just came out in January. And there are a lot of differences. The bulk of the content in terms of the guidance that I’m giving to people around the food and the eating and the eating out and the nutrition and the social aspects, the base of that is pretty much the same. Although there have been some new additions, new chapters, and some chapters have gone away. But the recipes are all completely different, and it’s really a new book—it’s completely new recipes, completely new design, completely new photographs—and it’s just stunning. It’s just absolutely beautiful. I love seeing people’s reactions when they see it because I want them to have this really beautiful, joyful experience, and this really is my love letter to them and to what a joyful, abundant vegan life looks like.
CARYN HARTGLASS: And this version, you did it your way. Is that correct? I remember reading something where you published this and you had control over all of the content.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Well, yeah. The first book, the first edition, was published by Random House. And for this edition I got to do everything I wanted. We had done a crowd-funding campaign because people really felt strongly about, I felt strongly about, having this book back out in the world. And the public agreed, and so everyone got together and crowd-funded this book. And so I was really everything for this book: I was the Art Director, I was the Editorial Director, I was the Writer, I was the Photography Art Director. So every little thing that you see and things that you don’t even know are there, those decisions were made and made with intention. And I think it really shows.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Well there are advantages and some disadvantages to that because I’m sure you’re tired.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: I recover quickly, so I am doing well now. But it was intense and the process itself is really enjoyable for me. I really enjoy the creative process. And I worked with some wonderful people—wonderful women who did the design, who did the photography. So that was really enjoyable. But getting it out in the world… The difference between working with a major publisher and publishing independently is their access mostly to bookstores, mostly to distributors, it’s because of the relationship they’ve have for so long. But the response from my community, the response from bookstores in general, and people’s response when they see the book has been really positive. But that’s the big difference: it takes more steps and more time for me to actually get it out to the public, and that’s where I’m really relying on people’s affection for the book and awareness of how important this book is to help me get it out in the world.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Now, you said the recipes are different. So is this just more variety? Because there are a hundred, million, trillion, billion, thousand different ways to make all of the gazillion plant foods that we have out there into tasty, delicious dishes. Or is there a different focus?
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: That’s so true, isn’t it? Well I’m still basing the recipes on food, so that is the same as everyone else’s recipes. But I’m very mindful, honestly. I’m so mindful about the recipes I choose to create for my books. I always have been. Everything I put out there has been put out with intention; what is it that I’m trying to accomplish, and what is it that I want my audience to have? And so with the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge recipes, they are very much: what recipes do I feel would serve them during this transition, during this process, that they’re going to be easy, they’re going to be familiar, they’re going to be delicious. So the breakfast recipes, the lunch recipes, the dinner recipes, they’re really mindful. Have they been done before? I suppose, somewhere. But I don’t really pay attention to that. I’m really there to say, “Okay, what is that people need and what is it that I can provide?” Since I talk so much about the base of our “cravings,” being fat and salt and familiarity and flavor and texture, that’s kind of the base of all of these recipes.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Okay, is mac-and-cheese still in the book?
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Yes! So there’s a pasta alfredo. So a variation of it, which is really fabulous. So it’s more of an alfredo versus a cheddar, I suppose, you might say. But still creamy cheese with noodles. So, yes, you still get the mac-and-cheese.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Very, very important! Before this show started, I was going back and reading some transcriptions from earlier interviews with you. And I want to shout out to my wonderful volunteers who do these fantastic transcriptions. We have over four hundred of them on the website. And it’s really a help for me when I want to review them. I notice you made a comment about your mac-and-cheese and the cheese that you use was inspired from Ann Gentry’s cheese, and I’m talking to her later. I thought that was an interesting little connection there.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: That’s right. And that’s still in the Vegan Table. So that recipe is still in there with a credit to Real Food and to Ann for that recipe. But absolutely. Some of their recipes are so good and that’s why we recreate them. Some of the recipes in Joy of Vegan Baking and The Vegan Table, etc, I went to some of my favorite chefs and said, “Hey, I love what you’re doing here.” And we do that in the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge—one of my favorite recipes is the tiramisu at Peacefood Café in New York City. It’s just such a fabulous place, and really close to my heart. The owners are podcast listeners and there’s just a love fest there. And the pastry chef is just so fantastic, Kristen. And so she knew how much I loved her tiramisu. And so I went to her and said, “I would love to feature your tiramisu, your recipe, in the Thirty Dave Vegan Challenge.” So one day I went in there and I went into the kitchen with her and she showed me how to make the tiramisu and she gave me the recipe. So I love being able to also share the love and spread the love with other advocates that I respect.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Well I like to use a term that I take from music, theme and variation, where there’s a theme and then you make variations on it. And we do that all the time with food.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: For sure.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Let’s just talk about all the great success you’ve been having, because this is a heart-filled love day in our heart month of February. You’ve been getting some really nice attention on some television stations. People are curious about the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge. What’s the reaction, and what do you think they’ve gotten out of it?
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: I’m just so thrilled. A lot of the outreach that takes place when you independently publish or publish with a large publisher is the PR, the media outreach. And so we’ve been doing a ton of media outreach. I have been featuring the Thirty Day on different morning shows, and it’s been so lovely because I went to three of them (two in Sacramento, one in the San Francisco area) and all three of them have invited me back. So the response has been fantastic. Of course the crew and the anchors love the approach of just being positive and showing them that this is not so different from what they’re already eating and familiar with. So I’m just thrilled. And one of them is actually going to be taking the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge in front of her viewers. She’s going to be doing it for thirty days; she’s going to be tweeting about it; having me back to talk about the food, the travel, the eating, all of it. And this is been what I’ve been wanting – is to be able to get out into the public as much as possible and guide them through this journey. The fact that there will be a trusted, beloved personality on television that the audience already loves and knows is just so meaningful because then together we can guide the audience. So it’s been fabulous.
CARYN HARTGLASS: If only we had more trusted sources in the media presenting valuable information that people could actually learn from and follow. We need lots more of that. Because people learn and follow stuff that isn’t always so good.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Yeah, they do. They do. One of the things I’ve been doing is, very specifically, feeding them what it is I think their viewers would appreciate. So that really helps them; it makes their job easier. So after we leave and after I leave again I’ll pitch them when I talk to them. When I was there we talked about what would be the next thing. In Olive they were like, “Great, when can you come back and what can we do?” And I thought, Well, how about we do something with Valentine’s Day; Well, how about we do something with Mardi Gras. So giving them the information to be able to give to their viewers is really helpful so advocates can take note. It’s not just enough to say, “Hey you should be putting some information out there about veganism and advocacy and animals” or whatever. Giving them specific stories that they can then glom on to… that’s what media journalists really, really value.
CARYN HARTGLASS: The proof is in the coconut milk-based pudding, where you eat this food and you feel better! It doesn’t matter what anybody else is telling you. You don’t know how good you can feel until you eat this way.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: That’s right. That’s why my advocacy has always been around food and has always started with food because if it tastes good, they will eat it. Once they see how they feel, they will continue, that’s really key. And that’s what was lovely when I was there and left all of these stations, all of the studios. The crew, on all of them, were coming out from the woodwork, quite literally. All of a sudden they would emerge and they all wanted to try the food. And I had different food for all of these places—all recipes from Thirty Day. It was just beautiful. These really macho guys went in, people who never tried “vegan” (and I say that very intentionally) food. Take coconut bacon; they’d never tried coconut bacon before. And they ate it and they’d go, “Oh! This is reminds me of [bacon]!” It’s the fat, smoke and salt. So giving them that food and sharing with the crew, I can’t wait to go back and share with the crew just to see their reactions.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Now a lot of time the media likes to present things that are trendy. The vegan diet is not trendy. I know I’ve been doing it a long time; I know you’ve been doing it a long time. But then there a lot of different diets that are trendy that people like to glom on to. The newest thing (or actually it’s not that new anymore) is this Paleo thing is out and about. And there are actually some things that we’re in line with about avoiding overly processed foods, white flour foods, and dairy. But then there’s another part of it that’s a little different than what we’re preaching. What’s your reaction and what do you tell people about the Paleo Diet?
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Honestly, I don’t really have a lot to say. I know recently a lot of vegan doctors and vegan nutritionists have come out to debunk exactly the Paleo formula. I did a podcast several years ago called the “Pasturbation Diet,” specifically about the Paleo Diet. And I call it that because we romanticize the past such that we think if there are words like “traditional” or “artisanal” or “Paleolithic,” we immediately conjure something good and something comforting. And so I talk about the fact that we “pasturbate” because we just romanticize things that may or not may have any merit but definitely have an emotional trigger for us. And so I really talked about the fact that it’s a diet like any other diet. It’s no different than Atkins; it’s no different than the South Beach Diet; it’s not different than the Blood Type Diet. They all have their audience and they eventually pass in terms of the strength of their brand. All of them are disconcerting because there is a huge promotion of animal products and that just really breaks my heart. But honestly I have no desire to spend any time talking about the fact that they are not authentic because that just gives them attention to indicate that they’re worth talking about, which would say that they’ve got some credibility. I don’t think they have any credibility as a diet. And you said it when you introduced that question – it’s sometimes a little tricky for us because I don’t believe vegan is a diet. I believe that within this intention and desire to cause as little harm as possible to ourselves and other animals, we live this way so that we can remove ourselves from that suffering and that violence. And within that umbrella called “vegan” you can eat any way you want. You can eat Paleo, you can eat fat-free, oil-free, sugar-free, raw, it doesn’t matter. Those are all diets, and those are all trends. They absolutely are trends in the sense that you can see it by how product manufacturers use these words on their products. There was a time when sugar-free was big, or fat-free was big. Now you see gluten-free; now you see soy-free. So these things are trends—I’m not saying there’s not validity in people who don’t want to eat sugar or they don’t want to eat gluten (or have trouble eating gluten); it’s the fact that it’s a recognized trend in terms of the marketing of these products. When it comes to ‘vegan,’ you can eat any way you want within that, but we do tend to say “vegan diet,” even though I think we’re all agreeing this just means in terms of our consumption, we’re not consuming the flesh or fluids of animals.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Let’s talk about commitment. People learn all this information, and they think, Oh yeah, I want to do this thirty days.’ How do you find people stick with the diet? A number of people try over and over again and have a lot of challenges. I know some of my listeners write to me all the time, “I’m trying,” and they can’t quite get there.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Yeah, it’s exactly why the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge exists. It really is meant to provide the foundation for people to have someone holding their hand and answering those questions. I cannot tell you how many times I say, “Yeah that’s in the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge;” “I’ve covered that in the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge,” because I know; I’ve been doing this long enough where I know what the challenges are. I know where it feels scary. And I think the biggest part that’s scary for people is that it’s different, that it’s a change. I’m there to guide them and to create this foundation for their confidence by the end. I will say, that I think where people struggle the most is with the social aspects. And that’s why I spend a lot of time talking about them. The recipes, the food, the transition, the resources about where to go and what to shop for, those are all available to anybody, anywhere, and any time and they continue to grow and morph and change, and that’s fantastic. Where people need serious guidance is in learning to speak up for themselves, and learning that it’s okay to say, “This is what I need and this is what I care about,” and have those conversations with people. So I do spend a lot of time talking about the social aspects, and I think what I’m most proud of and so excited about when I get emails from people are those who write to me and say, “You’ve given me my voice. You’ve given me the ability to speak up for myself.” That just means so much to me because obviously it infiltrates other aspects of their lives.
CARYN HARTGLASS: This is probably under the subject of “trend,” but I’m not quite sure… There are some people who were vegan and they’re not anymore. And then there were some doctors that insist we need to have fish in our diet. Bill Clinton made headlines as being a vegan (he was never really 100% — none of us are 100%; we live in this world where it’s impossible to avoid some kind of pain and suffering to animals), and now he’s more out about eating fish. How do we handle those issues? Here it is that the word “vegan” is more out in the public; we’re getting more press. I guess the pushback is greater than before.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Sure, well that’s going to happen. That’s a sign that we’re succeeding: when there is more backlash. The sign that we’re succeeding is that people are paying attention and there is backlash. That’s number one—not that that’s backlash (him eating fish). Honestly, the way I think is the most productive and effective way to handle that is to just be really clear, ourselves, about messaging what vegan is. We cannot control what the media is saying about it. We can offer them corrections and we can offer them guidance and we can offer them support in positioning it accurately and joyfully, but we ultimately can’t control what Bill Clinton does, what Bill Clinton says, what his doctor says, what the media say about being vegan. But I think if we’re really clear and we’re really consistent about what it means, I think that’s going to really help the public understand what it means, so that there is just a basic understanding. You even said that we’re not 100% vegan. Well we are 100% vegan if we understand that vegan is about intention, that vegan is about doing the best we can. I am 100% doing the best I can. I am succeeding every day, as a vegan, doing the best I can not to create harm. The rest is just out of our control because we’re just in an imperfect world. So I think if we can just be clear about what the message is, then I think that eventually the media will take hold of it, and other people will understand it better. And they’ll know what we mean when we say “vegan.” They’ll know we’re not saying “fish” when we say “vegan.”
CARYN HARTGLASS: Is there a book out, The Intentional Vegan? Or is that your next book title? I think that’s a good one.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: I’ll put that on the list.
CARYN HARTGLASS: We had another book title, recently, that somebody said: At Least I Thought There’d Be Hummus. Somebody was at an event recently and there was nothing to eat, and she said, “At least I thought there’d be hummus.”
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Right, that’s great. I would settle for peanut butter. If there’s peanut butter anywhere, I am happy.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Of course, that’s real peanut butter made from just peanuts.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Peanuts. I do like a little salt. But no, no oil, no hydrogenated oil, no sugar needed. But I do like a little salt is nice in my peanut butter.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Right. Now, you’re in California. Lots of things going on in California – some nice things, some not-so-nice things. I was reading about some people trying to overturn the foie gras ban. That was unpleasant news. And we’re also seeing the closing of the Millennium Restaurant.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: I like to say the “transition.” It sounds so awful to say closing…
CARYN HARTGLASS: Do you have any Millennium Restaurant incredible memories?
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Oh gosh, so many. Our wedding rehearsal dinner was there twelve years ago with our families. We just have so many wonderful memories there because so many of our life events have been shared there and enjoyed there. I know that they’re going to revive and that they’re going to be back and I know that the oyster mushrooms are going to be back—that’s the main thing. We cannot live without the cornmeal-crusted oyster mushrooms. They’re just so amazing. I’m hopeful. Honestly, even in terms of the foie gras ban, I’m hopeful. I am an optimistic person. I am hopeful that it will remain overturned and this is the worked we’re doing. This is what we have to do. And also, I’m very hopeful that Millennium will have just a new face and new… I cannot find the word I’m looking for… Caryn you know what I mean, a new—
CARYN HARTGLASS:—Yes! A new generation!
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: New generation, new millennium!
CARYN HARTGLASS: Reinvigorated, and I can’t imagine better food, but it just gets better. So it’ll just be better.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: It will be better, and it will be (most likely) in Oakland, which is my city. And so it will bring people to Oakland, which makes me happy. And then hopefully someone will fill that gap in San Francisco. Anyone out there listening who is a chef, who is in investor, who is looking to open a high-end vegan restaurant in San Francisco: it cannot be without one; every major city in the world, practically, has a high-end vegan restaurant. So that, for me, was the real loss because I know Millennium will find its new place, but I really think we need to have a really nice restaurant in San Francisco.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Right! Well what about The Joyful Vegan??
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Not going to happen. Not going to happen. I know my limitations.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Because you’re smart. Running a restaurant is hard and tiring.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: I cannot imagine.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Okay, February; heart month. We know so much about how good plant foods are for the heart. I think there’s no better way than to celebrate heart month than to celebrate with delicious plant foods.
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Indeed! In fact tomorrow, one of the topics of the show that I’m doing tomorrow—I’m doing the Morning Show again in Sacramento—and I’m going to be talking about aphrodisiac foods and foods that enhance the romance. Really, it’s so important for people to understand… Because I’m not into the specific foods, whether it’s true or not and science wasting time and money on “Are there really foods that enhance the mood?” All plants do because all plant foods contribute to blood flow—our blood flowing without hindrance and our blood flowing through our arteries with no problem. And that means if it can go to all the organs it needs to go to, that means it is reaching all the organs to be able to enhance all of it. So that, to me, is the biggest takeaway and the biggest message for all of us to be talking about when we’re talking about ‘heart month,’ Valentine’s Day: it’s all about blood flow. And that includes blood flowing to the heart and preventing heart attacks, preventing our own hearts from being closed off, symbolically and literally. So it’s a good time to talk about it.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Is there a recipe in the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge you’d recommend for Valentine’s Day?
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: I do. One of the things I talk about when it comes to those kinds of foods – aphrodisiac foods and Valentine’s Day and heart-healthy foods is really the sensual experience. So one of the things we do know is that heat, hot foods and spicy foods, raise our own blood. So it does get things moving and get things flowing. So the Spicy Red Pepper Soup in the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge. And we’re also affected by color. So red has always been a symbolic color of Valentine’s Day. And so same kind of things – you’ve got the red, you’ve got the spiciness. And then also, chocolate. I have a Mexican Chocolate Cake in the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge, and that has cayenne in the frosting and a little bit in the cake as well, and you can make it as spicy as you want. But those kinds of things are wonderful or really perfect for Valentine’s Day. And as you know, because there are no animal products, there’s not animal-based saturated fat or dietary cholesterol animal proteins. So it keeps things moving; it keeps the blood flowing.
CARYN HARTGLASS: That’s food filled with love. Thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food. Where can people find you and the Thirty Day Vegan Challenge?
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: I explain everything on my website, joyfulvegan.com. They can also just go to thirtydayveganchallenge.com and they can sign up for the online program and get the book at the same time.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Sounds very good. Well have a very lovely Valentine’s Day and every day. May it be joyful and delicious!
COLLEEN PATRICK GOUDREAU: Thank you so much. Thank you for all you do.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Thank you! Okay, bye bye! That was nice. That was Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Visit the joyfulvegan.com. And before we go, I was mentioning Bill Clinton, and I just wanted to mention my friend Victoria Moran. She was writing today about how she tried to submit an article into the Huffington Post and she never had a problem getting things published before. But this particular article, an open letter to President Clinton about his change in his dietary habits was rejected. And she’s got it on her website if you want to check it out: mainstreetvegan.net. I told her I’d give people a shout-out about that article. It’s a good one. And now we will take a little break and we will be back in a moment for more delicious talk with Anne Gentry. We’ll be right back.
transcribed by Mekala Bertocci, 2/23/2015