Caryn: Hello everybody, everybody, everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass, Caryn Hartglass, Caryn Hartglass and welcome to It’s All About Food, It’s All About Food, It’s All About Food. I was just listening to one of those promos, promos, promos, with the echo in the background and now I can’t help myself, help myself, help myself. Help me! Yes. So we’re going to have a very fun and love-filled show. You know that I love to tune in love on this show. We’re going to tune in love squared today because my special guest today is my real Valentine’s Day Valentine and the love of my life Gary De Mattei. Gary, are you there?
Gary: Hello Caryn, Hello Caryn, Hello Caryn.
Caryn: You got it too, too, too.
Gary: I thought you were doing some sort of Philip Glass meets… I thought you were going minimalism on me. I thought we were going to start hearing some repeated phrases over and over and over and over again.
Caryn: Well if we do that then the show will be over really quickly, quickly, quickly.
Gary: No one will listen in, listen in, listen in, listen in. How are you Caryn?
Caryn: I’m good, I’m good, I’m good. I’m thinking about… a lot of people repeat themselves. They’re just not obvious about it.
Gary: Yeah, I do that all the time. You know what I’m saying?
Caryn: I wasn’t going to mention any names, exactly.
Gary: So you are really having full disclosure about your valentine we can talk about his insecurity and always having to repeat himself. You know what I’m saying? You know what I’m saying? You know what I’m saying?
Caryn: I hear ya. That’s really good.
Gary: So we’re going to talk about food on It’s All About Food. I’m back to talk about a holiday with you. Last time I was on was in December. We talked about the Feast of the Seven Dishes which featured a lot of great recipes that we’ve concocted here at Responsible Eating and Living, the nonprofit that you and I run from our one bedroom apartment in New York City.
Caryn: It’s amazing what we can do and what we do, do.
Gary: Yeah, do-do, we also do that and you know, on the subject of do-do, if you go vegan you will have no problem do-doing because…
Caryn: I’m glad you mentioned that, there was an article on constipation in the New York Times I think this weekend (both laugh). It’s a fascinating subject where they were acknowledging that people don’t like to talk about it and yet most people do have a problem with it, some more frequently than others. We don’t have that problem here at Responsible Eating and Living headquarters because everything we eat is packed with fiber and that keeps our intestines nice and clean and lubricated and everything just moves right along.
Gary: I have a slogan: Everything we do is packed with fiber, which makes it easier for you to unpack your fiber.
Caryn: Oh good. That’s a good one.
Gary: I think it needs work but who doesn’t?
Caryn: Exactly, we all need work. Now Valentine’s Day is coming up. It’s on Sunday. I guess it’s always on Sunday, isn’t it, or no, it isn’t, it’s not always on Sunday, silly me, February 14th. I have to say some people have called me Ebenezer Scrooge. I’m not the kind of person that really goes with the Hallmark-slated holidays that were invented by corporations to make us buy cards and go to restaurants or whatever but I’m getting a little sentimental here. Valentine’s Day is coming up. I like celebrating, I’ve said this before, I like celebrating all of the food-related things that are behind any holiday and this is just another opportunity to celebrate what I love most—which is food, vegan food and veganizing absolutely everything we can get our hands on.
Gary: It’s also important to state that you are a lifetime activist. I’m new at this activism thing…
Caryn: You were an activist you just didn’t know it.
Gary: No, I know. The greatest way to start activism, and everyone has their own definition of what that is, but I think the greatest way to start realizing that you can make a difference… this is not to say that hitting the streets and holding a sign and protesting is not a beautiful and wonderful form of activism as long as there’s no violence, of course… but another way I think is to start on a personal level. I think the greatest way to do that is by switching to a vegan life style. I posted a little thing on Facebook today. I follow Pen America and one of their posts today was a quote by Alice Walker who was born on this day, Happy Birthday Alice Walker, in 1944. The little quote said, “Activism is the rent I pay for living on the planet.” I think it’s a great way to start. At Responsible Eating and Living we’re a non-profit. Basically what that means is we’re here to educate the public. Educate people who want to transition or are curious about transitioning to what you and I call a vegan lifestyle, or to what a lot of people who are trying to soften that, call a plant-based lifestyle. As far as education goes we at Responsible Eating and Living try to think of creative ways to educate you on how easy it is to transition to a plant-based lifestyle. That said, it’s also, as far as I’m concerned, me personally, I don’t know if anyone else will join me in this, but I think it’s a great way to start realizing that you can make a difference simply by what you eat. Hence, here we are on It’s All About Food. Go ahead, take it away, Caryn.
Caryn: You came up with a great idea that we used in our newsletter that went out today about Valentine’s Day. That is, the most romantic thing you can do is to fall in love with yourself and go vegan.
Caryn: As you put it, it’s a relationship that will not only last forever, it gets better and better with age, it’s not only good for you but it’s good for the entire world. Here is an opportunity for you to show your love for the entire world, the entire planet for future generations by living lightly and loving yourself. It’s just the gift that goes on giving. I love it.
Gary: Yeah. You know there’s all of these clichés. You mentioned Hallmark cards, which are filled with clichés. The clichés that a lot of these cards and things that people will be giving one another—one of the clichés is “was it good for you? It was good for me.” Here’s something that you can do for yourself that is. When you wake up in the morning and look at yourself in the mirror you’ll say, “this was good for me” and “this was good for the whole world”. The smart phone has replaced the cigarette so then you can check your phone, you know? Light up your phone.
Caryn: So I think Valentine’s Day is really for everyone. You can celebrate it with yourself. You can celebrate it with a loved one. You can celebrate it with friends and family. It’s a good opportunity to think about love and how you can express your love best. I think by reducing exploitation in the world is a really beautiful way to do that.
Gary: Yeah. There is also vegan clichés. So many people who try and force veganism on their friends, they have a lot of clichés that they use as well. Like, well you wouldn’t eat your dog, would you? There’s a list and it’s endless. The truth is if you turn that on yourself and say, “What’s the best thing that I can do for myself?” If you start by being the most narcissistic, selfish person on the planet, you will see how much sense this makes for you as an individual but then it’s going to affect everybody in a positive way. So it actually supports you being narcissistic and it supports you being benevolent, at the same time. It’s the biggest win-win situation. Once again, I’m a newbie at this. I haven’t been around it that long—going on ten years next year, 2017, it will be ten years for me.
Caryn: I think it was the end of 2006.
Gary: Well, there you go.
Caryn: I think you’re going to have your ten-year anniversary this year.
Gary: Right. There it is. Let’s say it’s the end of this year just because I want to get cards and letters and presents.
Caryn: Yes and I want to drink a toast to that event with some lovely—what would it be? Maybe a Maker’s Mark Manhattan or…
Gary: Oh sure. Or your favorite wine…
Caryn: My favorite wine. So let’s jump right into that. For Valentine’s Day or Vegantine’s Day…
Gary: So you want to talk about the menu?
Caryn: Yeah, let’s talk about food, this is a food show.
Gary: Great. So the menu we put together, once again I’ll start by saying I show up here on Caryn’s show around the holidays. So we put together the Feast of the Seven Dishes. That can be used on any holiday. If you really want to jump into the kitchen and just like work, work, work and make a bunch of food for Valentine’s Day that’s a great way to look at some main, seven course meals that you could pull some dishes from or whatever. There’s always that in your vegan food preparation toolbox but what I thought we’d come up with was something really easy and yet still kind of decadent in a way. We came up with this very simple menu. What we start with is a nice wine. Caryn and I happen to really love Querciabella Vegan Biodynamic Winery in Tuscany. They produce some great wine, phenomenal wine.
Caryn: Can I just jump in here a minute about Querciabella?
Caryn: I interviewed the founder on this program, Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni, several years back and you can check that out on responsibleeatingandliving.com’s website and learn more about Querciabella. Not only are they vegan and biodynamic…biodynamic is not necessarily vegan because people that follow the biodynamic process will use animal bones and other animal-related products in the soil to nurture the plants. Vegan biodynamic, or veganic, is not. That’s the process they use at Querciabella. We happened to be at an amazing Vegan Delights Querciabella-sponsored event last week with hors d’oeuvres and all these small bites tasting menu with tons of Querciabella wine and I drank a lot, way more than I ever do. We woke in the morning with no headache. I’m absolutely convinced that’s because this wine was clean.
Gary: Right. I agree. What was your favorite wine that you were drinking? Tell us all about that because I’ve never seen you enjoy a glass of wine more than this. You’re not a big drinker.
Caryn: I’m not a big drinker.
Gary: You’re not a little drinker. You’re not even a drinker. You’re a big green juice drinker. You’re a green juice addict. I would say that if there were a place to go for an addiction to green juice you would have to go there.
Gary: It’s a good thing.
Caryn: When I was younger I drank a lot more. When I lived in France I certainly drank a lot more wine until I decided I didn’t want to do that any more. All the French people were looking at me with raised eyebrows.
Gary: As if they weren’t looking at you with raised eyebrows enough for being a vegan in France.
Caryn: All of a sudden it was “you’re not having wine with dinner tonight?” “No, I don’t want to”. The best thing to do in a situation like that is have them fill your glass and just leave it so that nobody questions you.
Gary: Unless you’re sitting next to me and then it will be gone.
Gary: Just kidding.
Caryn: Yes, ok. Querciabella has a number of different wines and I talked about this in my What Vegans Eat blog post day 352. I hope you visit it because you can see all the amazing things we’ve had at this tasting event. But the Batàr…there was nothing bitter or sharp about it. You barely even knew it was wine. It wasn’t sweet but it was fragrant and fruity. The name is Batàr and I like saying it was like butter because of how smooth. It was creamy. It’s made with Chardonnay and…
Gary: Here I’ll read to you what it’s made with. If you received our newsletter you’ll have a link to…
Caryn: Oh, here it is. Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc grapes.
Caryn: Yeah, really lovely and then my second favorite was the Querciabella Camartina, which was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese varieties. So that’s the wine.
Gary: I’m a big fan of the Chianti. Right there you’ve got three phenomenal wines to choose from and they’re all, as Caryn mentioned, organic. More than that they’re biodynamic and more than that they’re vegan biodynamic. In other words there’s no poison in this wine. So start with a bottle of your favorite wine. If we were opening a bottle of Batàr we’d want to let it breathe. So open that first. Get some organic garlic. I know there are a lot of people out there that maybe are thinking “Valentine’s Day? Garlic?” but here’s what you do to the garlic to rid it from any of the unpleasant aromas that you might experience with garlic—you roast it. It’s so easy to do this. You put your oven on 400. You can even do this in a toaster oven. You don’t even need to have a big oven. Turn it on 400 and you can find a link on our site on how to roast garlic. Basically you cut a little bit off the top so that you’re exposing…you leave it in its skin. Put a little teaspoon of olive oil on it. You can do three or four full cloves. Don’t break them up. Put them in a baking dish. Cover the baking dish. We use parchment paper. If we need to make a tight seal we’ll put the parchment paper and then put a sheet pan over that. The last thing you want to try and do is use foil but if you only have foil then cover it with foil. Bake that for about 45 minutes. It comes out as you say …
Caryn: like butter. Can I just jump in here again and say that garlic even though people know what kind of breath it can give you that may not be really appealing the roasted garlic doesn’t really affect your breath in the same way but garlic is high in something called allicin and this is a compound that increases blood flow.
Gary: Now we’re getting to the good part.
Caryn: I don’t want to jump in and talk about sexual stamina right now but we’ll get to that. Garlic is a known aphrodisiac and it can help with energy and stamina in all areas of the body.
Gary: Exactly. That’s why we’ve made garlic the focus of this meal. The other thing that has to go with this is a nice loaf of freshly baked bread. Many of you out there like to make your own bread. I know you do. I’ve talked to a lot of people and they like to bake bread. We’ve got some great bread recipes. I’m sure you have one of your very own favorites. What’s fun to do with two people, or three people, or four people, is bake a nice batch of fresh bread. So make sure you’ve got some of that ready. Because when that garlic comes out you squeeze it—this is also something that’s a very sensual experience to squeeze these little garlic cloves onto your bread. Spread it on your bread and sip it with a glass of wine. If you want to throw a salad in we have this great—you have your own favorite salad recipes, whatever—we have a great salad for two. It could also be a salad for three on our website. It’s very simple to make and you can look that up. Here we go. We have a big loaf of bread, a nice bottle of wine and we have some roasted garlic. If it’s a decadent evening and you want to drizzle a little olive oil on that…it’s Valentine’s Day and it will be a nice complement.
Caryn: Very nice.
Gary: So then, that’s about it; you can then get ready for dessert. We suggest our chocolate fondue. Put your favorite dipping things on the side. You can dip yourself in the chocolate fondue or you can dip fruit. We make graham crackers. You can get some dandy marshmallows.
Caryn: Can I just say one thing about this chocolate fondue?
Gary: And again it’s very easy to make.
Caryn: It’s like four ingredients: cocoa powder—we do add sugar to this, we use evaporated cane juice—and coconut oil and water. That’s it. It is the easiest thing to make. If you have these things on hand all the time like we do then any time we need a treat it’s easy to make a chocolate sauce and dip anything in it.
Gary: Yes and it’s a lot of fun to make this very simple menu that we have come up with, nothing elaborate with your partner or your partners or your whole family. If you do it naked it’s even more fun.
Gary: So there you have it. The most important thing to also think about while you’re doing this is: If you don’t want to go through the effort then there are things that are available to you that you can buy at the store and bring them home and unwrap. There are a lot of things in the news about new vegan products—big news making headlines which is another thing we talk about in our newsletter that we just sent out. One of the things we have to talk about—and I know Caryn can back me up on this that’s making the headlines—is how many new vegan companies are popping up everywhere backed by major investors like Bill Gates. Is everyone with us on that? Caryn?
Caryn: I’m with you. We’ve talked about Hampton Creek Foods many times and Beyond Meat and Bill Gates are behind both of those. Hampton Creek Foods is just getting more and more press these days and it’s hysterical. I may have mentioned this before…no, I think it just came out…Unilever is now creating…yeah, I mentioned it last week…Unilever is the owner of many, many food companies and Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and Best Food Mayonnaise belong to the Unilever group. After they had this big tantrum last year about Hampton Creek Foods making vegan mayonnaise, they came out with their own vegan mayonnaise. Now we’re hearing everywhere about Ben & Jerry’s having a line of vegan ice cream. Please note that Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever. They’re not a small little mom and pop Ben & Jerry anymore. They’re part of the big Unilever conglomerate.
Gary: Yeah, so in other words, entrepreneurs are starting to take this whole vegan lifestyle thing seriously as an investment that usually means that as far as our work is concerned, Responsible Eating and Living, we’re going to get busier because, like Caryn just pointed out, a lot of these companies that appear to be these small little mom and pops who care are in reality these huge companies that are trying to make a buck and exploit this new fad, vegan lifestyle, which is not a fad but a lot of them are trying to capitalize on it which I guess in a capitalist society that’s a good thing. I’m not sure about that. It’s people like us, here at Responsible Eating and Living who want to educate you on the truth and warn you or let you know when something is legit as opposed to when something is hiding behind this new vegan shield now that allows for people to… you’re putting your trust into these products. You know that these… like Querciabella wine. You can trust it. You know that what they’re doing is making wine that’s pure. That’s free from pesticides and herbicides. That uses rotation crops to attract pests, which aren’t pests at all to them. It’s part…
Caryn: We call them beneficial insects, a PC word.
Gary: Right, beneficial insects. But some of these companies are now finding out that a lot of people if they see vegan on the label are going to just go out and buy it.
Caryn: You know I’m glad you brought up label. Just because something says it’s vegan doesn’t mean you want to buy it.
Caryn: It could be filled with junk. So please always remember to read the label. If there’s something on that label you don’t understand you probably don’t want to put that in your shopping cart.
Gary: Right. And many of our colleagues feel the way we do about this very subject and they, like us, want you to get back into the kitchen and start cooking your own food. On Valentine’s Day evening you want to get busy doing other things, right? Let’s face it, you don’t want to spend 20 hours in the kitchen and then have no energy left for everything else.
Caryn: Yeah, put if you’re vegan and drinking green juice you’re an Eveready battery. You have energy all day and all night.
Gary: All the more reason not to spend it in the kitchen unless, of course, you’re naked. Then the other thing that you can talk about…this menu is easy to do. The roasted garlic, opening a bottle of wine, if you need to throw in a salad, having a loaf of bread and then some chocolate fondue, you write the rest of this story and let us know what happens.
Caryn: We didn’t include this in our newsletter but little things that you can do for Valentine’s Day just to make it fun and festive is on a salad, for example, I like to add pomegranate seeds and/or strawberries and/or red beets. These three foods are just so blood red and beautiful and perfect for Valentine’s Day and they’re also good for you.
Gary: Right. Some of you are probably going to go out to restaurants which is great and another thing that we put in this newsletter is that along the same lines as how the vegan movement… it’s affecting everything from fast food restaurants, like Wendy’s and Taco Bell who are adding vegan-friendly products to their menus. Whoever thought that that would be… I think Taco Bell probably already has been doing that awhile maybe. Caryn would have to confirm that.
Caryn: Well I think that they are focusing a little bit more on healthier options. I read that they are doing more to make more vegan-friendly options but Wendy’s, you should Google the Wendy’s black bean burger commercial. It’s really funny…
Gary: That’s what they’ve added, the black bean burger?
Caryn: Yes. So you can get it with cheese or you can get it without cheese but if you get it without cheese it’s all vegan, the bun, everything, the sauce. They did their homework.
Gary: The other thing is a lot of you will be going out to very nice restaurants. If you’re vegan you’re going to find that more restaurants have vegan options on the menu. Here in New York where it started about all the new vegan restaurants opening up especially… Caryn can talk to you more about Chef Matthew Kenney who I think you may have interviewed before?
Caryn: I haven’t interviewed him. We’ve had dialog back and forth for a long time but he’s like one of the busiest guys I know. We have never made it happen but maybe soon. He has a brand new pizza restaurant opening on Thursday, just in two days, in Manhattan.
Gary: He features wood-fired pizzas, right? I can’t wait to try this.
Caryn: I know.
Gary: Wood fired pizzas, which are my favorite way to cook pizza, in a big wood-fired oven. It gets up to about a thousand degrees in that oven. When the pie goes in it just cooks in like two to three seconds, it feels like and then it comes right out and it’s great. I can’t imagine the experience of eating a wood-fired vegan pizza with a nut-based cheese. I think this is what he’s doing, right? He has some vegan ice creams and some organic wines.
Gary: Do we know the name of this place?
Caryn: It’s called 0 0 Co. Not sure what that means but it’s 0 0 Co.
Gary: Right. So it’s really very exciting. You probably have a bunch of vegan restaurants in your neighborhood and you don’t even know it. And if you don’t, my experience has always been that if you ask your waiter or you call ahead, if you say we love the ambience in your restaurant, we want to come their for dinner, we’re vegans, can you guys fix us up? They’re usually pretty accommodating in most restaurants. They want your business. They now are a little more comfortable with vegans. Where were we the other night where…we were at Candle Café and that’s vegan. I was going to say they were really accommodating. That’s our favorite place to go. If you don’t have a Candle Café …. I know in California when I visit my family who are out in California in the Bay Area… Everybody probably has the Bay Area on their mind because the Super Bowl was just played a few miles away from where I grew up. I grew up in San Jose. In downtown San Jose there are some of the greatest vegan restaurants I have ever been to and I live in New York City where there are the greatest vegan restaurants. Some of the restaurants are in downtown San Jose, on Santa Clara Street. One is called Vegetarian House and the other is Tofoo Com Chay so you should definitely check those out.
Caryn: I want to thank you… I’m not exactly sure what you were talking about but somehow I got dropped and you’ve been riffing really nicely and I’m back now.
Gary: Sounds like … I was just talking about Tofoo Com Chay and Vegetarian House in San Jose and how many communities have so many great little vegan restaurants. I lived in San Jose my whole life and never even knew about these places. Then when I became a vegan, you walk in, and it’s like wow there are all these other vegans here. A hundred vegans sitting down having dinner or people that want to eat more plant-based meals. It’s really terrific. So, San Jose, check out Vegetarian House and check out Tofoo Com Chay which is a very small little three or four table take out restaurant. You can’t eat it there but they specialize in vegan pho, which if you’re not familiar with what pho is, it’s soup, basically. It’s a noodle soup. They put lots of little bits of really wonderful veggies and noodles and meat analogs and things of that nature.
Caryn: On the subject of Valentine’s Day and cooking and really lovely things you can do I think there’s nothing lovelier than making dinner for someone you care about or for your family that you care about or your friends, etc. It’s just lovely to come to a place or to your home or somewhere you’re invited and someone has prepared a lovely meal for you.
Gary: Yes. I agree.
Caryn: I think it’s happening less and less these days because people will opt to eat out and that’s fine I know we’re all busy but there’s nothing like a dinner at home. It doesn’t have to be extravagant which is why we came up with these really simple suggestions of bread and chocolate fondue and wine. Especially in areas where it’s cold, it’s nice to come in to a warm house that’s cozy. I was just smelling the air right now and there’s some wonderful smells going on. I want to ask Gary what is it that you’ve made that’s smelling so good because this is another thing that’s very exciting and enticing when you walk into a space and everything just smells so good.
Gary: Oh the cooking smells. Again the Responsible Eating and Living Test Kitchens are constantly working on recipes because, as I mentioned before, I’m going to go on ad nauseum here about getting back into your kitchen and our organization is about helping people do that and we try to think of creative ways to help you do that and to start you out on things that you don’t have to be afraid of. One of them is if you start to … again there’s an argument about organic versus conventionally grown produce and the big argument is I can’t afford that stuff; I can’t afford to buy organic. I know that that has to be a factor especially if you’re on a budget, especially if you have a family. I know there’s a lot of farmer’s markets popping up everywhere that are offering organic vegetables at a reasonable price. We all know that it’s very difficult for me, for everyone, it’s difficult to go into a market like Whole Foods and go through that vegetable section and not drop your entire paycheck. There are so many amazing things at Whole Foods but the thing that I’m suggesting is try and shop in your little local markets because they are now starting to have little sections of their produce departments where they are featuring locally grown organic vegetables. I’m not sure if they’ve come to your neighborhood yet but I’m seeing more organic vegetables here in Queens in our little markets and believe me this is mom and pop central still. And that’s one of the things we love about Queens is that most of the businesses here, again we’re getting a lot of the corporations moving in to the neighborhood but most of the businesses here are local mom and pop shops that are trying to survive. And they’re trying to give the public what they need. So buy some organic vegetables and to answer your question in a roundabout way Caryn, what I’m baking in the oven right now simply are vegetables. I’ve got a big heavy duty cast iron, it’s actually a Le Creuset cookware with a heavy lid and I’ve just put a bunch of carrots, a couple of potatoes, an onion, some of that garlic I was talking about, I left the skin on, a little red wine. We’re baking it in the oven at 350° and that’s it. You just put it in. When it comes out I call it in a joking sort of way I-didn’t-have-a-backyard-to-dig-a-firepit-and-bury-my-vegetables-so-I-put-them-in-the-oven-instead. I watch all of these programs because I want to get up to date and I think the first sign of old age isn’t necessarily a decaying of the body. I think what Chris Rock puts it best. He said, “The only way you can keep young is if you keep up on the references that are out there, the things that the young kids are talking about.” The same goes for cooking. The only way you can really stay on top of it is if you keep up with the references that are going around. There are all of these programs now on these streaming stations, do you call them stations? What do you call Netflix? I know there’s a name for it.
Caryn: We call it Netflix, let’s move on.
Gary: OK, so Netflix has all of these programs where they’re showing you these chefs that are doing these brand new dishes and things and one of them… it’s getting way out of hand. One guy digs a fire pit in his backyard and he buries his vegetables and he has his friends over. They dig up the vegetables and it’s supposed to be a lot of fun and it just looks ridiculous and everybody’s like “ooh, aah”. I just went “I can’t even believe this is happening” but all cynicism aside, the vegetables come out amazing when you bake them in the oven, covered like this. They get sweet on their own and they’re terrific. So that’s what you’re smelling.
Caryn: Organic carrots, organic potatoes, organic onions are probably the lowest priced organic vegetables that you can get and practically the same price as industrial grown varieties.
Gary: Right. So we added some celery too. For Valentine’s Day we need to talk about some of these foods again that you had touched on earlier that enhance the blood flow.
Gary: Right? Celery is definitely one of them. What else would you suggest people eat for Valentine’s Day? We’ve got garlic already discussed.
Caryn: It’s a combination of what you eat and what you don’t eat. The foods that cause a problem with blood flow, the foods that coat your arteries, the foods that clog your arteries and make it more difficult for the blood to move to the heart and other organs, are the animal foods—saturated fat, high unsaturated fat, animal foods, cholesterol animal protein. Those are the things that make us unhealthy and affect our entire bodies.
Caryn: I wanted to mention the Super Bowl and some Super Bowl commercials. We did not watch the Super Bowl.
Gary: No we didn’t.
Caryn: I’m not a fan of football but we do try as Gary said to stay on top of the trends, what people are talking about. I want to talk about the commercials which you can probably see all of the commercials online. There was a PETA commercial that was proposed that was rejected. They have many commercials that they make that are rejected by mainstream media for lots of different reasons. I’m not a fan of PETA. I do agree with promoting a vegan diet. I’m all over that one. I don’t appreciate their sensational approach and I think some of it is offensive to women and lots of other things. They have this new commercial and I really don’t recommend watching it because it’s kind of like uncomfortable watching it but it shows side by side two couples. The men are on the bed lying on their backs, the women are on top of them…
Caryn: …they are bouncing around. Yeah, they’re doing it, they’re doing it. They’re sighing and groaning.
Gary: They’re doing it?
Caryn: I really didn’t need to see that. I really don’t care for gratuitous sex but the guy on the left just couldn’t last and he leaves and the woman is annoyed and he walks out of the building and meanwhile the vegan couple is just going at it, going at it, going at it, going at it and then at the end the meat eater is walking out of the building and a refrigerator falls on him. I don’t know what the meaning of that was. That’s the end of the commercial. The point is obvious. The point is that when you’re healthy, when you’re eating a diet that’s rich in plants, high fiber diet; you’re reducing risk of heart disease. Your arteries are clean. Your blood can flow to all your organs and as a result you can have a lot of sexual stamina and energy and excellent performance. That’s an important message for guys watching football.
Gary: Right. Eating chicken wings and rib tips.
Caryn: And then another commercial which I saw online afterwards was the Hyundai Super Bowl commercial which follows a couple, a man and a woman, and they’re running away from some bears. They think the bears of course want to eat them or something. Because the car has this remote start feature, the guy was saying “open the door” or whatever he was saying. The door automatically unlocks and they jump in the car and drove away. Then the bears start talking and they couldn’t believe that they were able to get into the car without a key. Then one of the bears you find out is what they call a part-time vegan. That just hit so many buttons. Number one they’re talking about vegans either in a positive light or a negative light. We are on the radar.
Gary: Right. Going back to what you were talking about with respect to the PETA commercial about stamina, etc, you were on Geraldo in 2007. We’ve also included this in the…tell us about that experience on Geraldo. Even back in 2007 things were starting to change. They were doing this story about… I’ll let you explain because you were the subject of the story.
Caryn: Yeah, thank you Gary. Number one I’ve had a number of guests on this program from Australia. Here we are in New York and I love the opportunity to speak to people around the world. We’ve talked to people in Europe and Asia and down under in Australia. There seems to be a really big and growing vegan movement there in Australia. In 2007 there was a blog post or an article or something came out about a vegan who said she wouldn’t date a meat eater because meat eaters taste bad, they smell bad, they taste bad. It was getting a little buzz.
Gary: Hold on a second. You cut out just then. This woman said she wouldn’t date a meat eater?
Caryn: Right because she believed they tasted bad and they smelled bad.
Caryn: Then FOX News on Geraldo At Large wanted to interview a vegan. I was working at EarthSave International at the time and they called and said could I recommend anyone and I thought, I’m going to recommend myself because I know I can manage this one. What was interesting was it was actually just a couple weeks after my last cancer surgery in 2007. I had been through major surgery, two weeks later I was on this show. We talked about this concept of whether or not vegans should date meat eaters because they taste bad or smell bad. I did a little research at the time and there are chemicals in foods that give us more body odor and they tend to be more prevalent in animal foods than in vegetable foods. It is true that if you’re not eating animal foods you can be more sensitive to the human smell, human odor, of someone who does eat animal foods. So we talked about that on the show. They cut a lot. Unfortunately I wasn’t editing this piece. They did leave in one of my lines and I’m glad they did because the interviewer was asking me if I thought meat eating was extreme. Oh I gave away the punch line here. She asked me if I thought the vegan diet was extreme and I thought about it for a moment and came back and thought that meat eating was extreme. And I really believe that.
Gary: I remember that. That was a genius line that you just added there in that. If you see the video… If you’re not on our mailing list, we’ll send you a newsletter you should get on it. You can do that by going to responsibleeatingandliving.com. Those of you who do have our newsletter you can watch the video…
Caryn: I want to add if you go to responsibleeatingandliving.com and go to the right-most tab that says “subscribe”. You can subscribe but you don’t have to but you can see all of our newsletters and you can click on the most recent one and that will lead you to Vegans Who Won’t Date Meat Eaters video.
Gary: Right. Your hair is very short because as you mentioned you were going through cancer treatment and surgeries and chemotherapy but you look phenomenal on this little video.
Caryn: Thank you. I thought so too, it was really a fun event. We’re bringing it up because on Valentine’s Day we talk about dating and people will bring up how difficult it is if you’re vegan or vegetarian and you’re dating a meat eater, vice versa. This odor concept is really fascinating. I remember—who’s the radio host who’s very vulgar?
Gary: Howard Stern?
Caryn: Howard Stern, yeah. I don’t watch his program and I’m sure he’s done this more than once. He had a raw vegan woman on his program once and I want to say that he confirmed that she tasted better than meat eating women. And I’m not going to go any further than that.
Gary: I get it, took me a minute. It’s one of those things that you’ll get after the show’s over. You’re going to tune us out and go, “Oh, that’s what Caryn meant.”
Gary: Did we talk about the chocolate story video that we produced?
Caryn: We haven’t, not on this show and that’s important to bring up. Thank you.
Gary: First of all let me tell you that there’s a lot of great vegan chocolate out there. We do a report in the Chocolate Story. Take it away Caryn.
Caryn: We did a few reports last year and we’re going to continue to do some more reports this year. Fortunately all the information in our news reports is still true. We did a report on chocolate. What I like to do is tie all the issues together in one place so you may have heard about the concern people have about cocoa beans being harvested in the Ivory Coast unfortunately by child slaves. There’s an organization the Food Empowerment Project started by Lauren Ornelas and they have a list on it, I highly recommend going to it, of all the organizations that make chocolate that do not get it from this area where child slaves are being used. We really don’t want to support slavery in our chocolate. You can probably guess the companies that still get their beans from the Ivory Coast. So at least they won’t be transparent about it. Hershey’s and all the big chocolate companies are like that. So that’s one issue to be concerned about. Here it is on Valentine’s Day, you want to be romantic and full of love You want to share your love. Do you really want to share a box of chocolate where the cocoa has been harvested by children that have been exploited and treated really horribly? I don’t. So there’s that list. There are other concerns about chocolate that I find fascinating. This is all in our chocolate report, which you can watch or you can read the transcript because it’s all there. I think it’s really important information. There are chocolates that have been tested by a number of different sources and they’ve been found to have high levels of cadmium and lead in them. I believe it’s primarily due to the soil where the cocoa beans have been grown which are likely next to areas that are polluted and have these toxins in the water because of factories that are dumping cadmium and lead, unfortunately.
Gary: I know what lead is, what is cadmium?
Caryn: Cadmium is just another chemical that we don’t want to have in high concentrations in our food.
Caryn: It’s another element.
Gary: It’s a great report produced here.
Caryn: Wait, wait, wait, there’s more. There’s more.
Caryn: We see more and more on chocolates if you’re reading the fine print and labels like we do. There are these lines that say, “Made on equipment that processes wheat and dairy and soy. They list all the foods that are causing so many allergies today and more people are being affected by dairy and wheat, fish, peanuts, nuts, to the point where the digestive system really reacts very badly so these companies have to put these phrases on their product for people that are really sensitive. What I learned when I interviewed the maker of Pascha Chocolate whose daughters were highly allergic so he created a chocolate that they could eat, is that the equipment is really impossible to clean equipment that processes chocolate sufficiently to remove allergens. There are vegan chocolate companies for example that will make vegan chocolate without any animal ingredients but because they’re a small company they have to rent equipment from a larger company or other groups that are sharing the same equipment that may be processing it with milk, for example. No matter how hard they try to clean it you cannot get the residual dairy out of it. There’s been a lot of dairy found in chocolate that’s considered non-dairy.
Gary: Right. That’s very scary. I remember when we were doing the report you dug pretty deep to find all of this information. So it’s a great report. Check it out. It’s only 12 minutes long. It’s at responsibleeatingandliving.com. We do a lot of in-depth reports of this nature. As Caryn mentioned, we’re doing more. We’re getting ready to do the next one on water. That’s going to be very, very educational for a lot of you. That’s what we’re all about, education. We’ve got a few minutes left. Anything else Caryn, that we need to cover?
Caryn: Yeah, of course. So we have the What Vegans Eat blog. I can’t believe how wonderful an experience it’s been so far but we’re going to be one year old in just a couple of days. What Vegans Eat is going to turn one year old with 365 blog posts of what Gary and I have been eating from morning until night, all year long. It’s all real. It’s all true. Many of the dishes are linked to recipes. It’s exciting because last I checked we have like over 4,000 people check out the posts in the last month.
Gary: Yeah, it’s becoming incredibly popular and we’re very excited about it. Caryn you’ve done a magnificent job with it. We were talking about it ironically because the biggest question we always get when we tell people that we are vegan is: “Well what do you guys eat?”
Caryn: What do you eat?
Gary: What do you eat?
Caryn: Speaking of what I eat…
Gary: This is literally what we eat.
Caryn: It literally is.
Gary: It is genius. If I only have an apple, that’s in the blog. We’re still alive. Look it’s been a year and we’re not dead yet.
Caryn: That’s a good point. Some days we eat very rich food and some days we eat very, very simply but it’s all there. I haven’t posted yesterday’s post so I wanted to just briefly talk about it because I was wiped out, exhausted. We’ve been doing a lot of grant writing, formulating what’s on the agenda for the year for Responsible Eating and Living. I was super, super tired. Then Gary was coming back… you were out.
Gary: I was at acting class. I am an actor in real life. I just play the creative director of Responsible Eating and Living on TV.
Caryn: On REAL TV.
Gary: On REAL TV. So I was in acting class and I came home.
Caryn: I wanted to make dinner. I wanted to do something nice. I knew you’d been out and about and it was cold day and yet I was tired and confused. I wasn’t feeling creative. So normally when I do that, what I do is I just start chopping onions, carrots and celery. I just know that’s going to be my foundation and once I start doing that the creative juices will start flowing and I’ll figure out what else I’m going to add to it. If you’re confused about what to make for dinner just start chopping onions, carrots and celery and start sautéing them. That’s just the beginning.
Gary: Those are your aromatics and then you can add water to them and make a soup. That’s your base for a soup. You don’t need any bones or dead flesh or anything. I see that we’ve got like a minute left we should wrap it up.
Caryn: All right, thank you; let’s wrap it up then.
Gary: Happy Valentine’s Day Caryn. I love you.
Caryn: Aw, Happy Valentine’s Day Gary. I love you and look forward to what we have on Valentine’s Day on the What Vegans Eat blog because I’m going to continue. Just because we’re turning one year doesn’t mean we’re going to stop at any of this.
Gary: Right and check it out in your neighborhood. My advice to you is check it out because you’re going to find that if you have to go out to dinner or if you want to go out to dinner and you’re a vegan and you don’t have a vegan restaurant in your neighborhood, just be pushy and ask them to make you something vegan. They have vegetables in the kitchen. They can do it and they want your business.
Caryn: They can do it. Thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food. Thanks for helping me tune in love today.
Gary: Happy PRN, happy Valentine’s Day to PRN.
Caryn: That’s right. Bye, bye.
Transcribed by Suzanne Kelly, 2/28/2016