Part II: Victoria Moran
Victoria Moran writes life-enhancing books. “Self-help” is the genre and one of her passions to make self-help literature, too. In addition, she does keynote speaking and is a certified life coach, with in-person clients in New York City and telephone clients from all over. She hosts an Internet radio show, “Your Charmed Life,” on www.HealthyLife.net, and she does a daily blog on Beliefnet.com. She’s also been a guest on Oprah! twice — with her books Shelter for the Spirit and Lit from Within. Her best-selling book to date is Creating a Charmed Life—it’s in 29 languages and quoted on boxes of Celestial Seasonings teas—and it has a brand new sequel, Living a Charmed Life: Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day. For the first thirty years of her life, she struggled with overeating and dieting; she overcame that (from the inside out) and shares what she knows in her books Fit from Within and, newly revised and updated: The Love-Powered Diet: Eating for Freedom, Health, and Joy. You can keep in touch by subscribing to her newsletter, The Charmed Monday Minute at www.victoriamoran.com; follow her on Twitter or join her Facebook Fan Page .
Hello I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. This is the second portion of our June 13th, 2012 show. I just wanted to remind you of course that I’m the founder of the nonprofit Responsible Eating and Living and please visit when you have a chance, responsibleeatingandliving.com because if you can’t find enough inspiration for healthy food I know that you will find a lot of good things there. My next guest Victoria Moran is the author of eleven books and is also an inspirational speaker, monologist, and certified holistic health counselor. She is the founder of Main Street Vegan Academy, training vegan lifestyle coaches. Her latest book Main Street Vegan Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World written with the able assistance of her daughter Adair Moran, an actor, playwright, stunt performer and life long vegan. Among Victoria’s other titles are the best-selling Creating a Charmed Life now in thirty languages, and the plant-based weight-loss classic, The Love-Powered Diet: Eating for Freedom, Health, & Joy. Welcome to It’s All About Food.
VICTORIA MORAN: Thank you so much.
CARYN HARTGLASS: OK, Main Street Vegan, it’s about time. We’re Main Street. We’re no longer the brown rice/hippie/what-the-hell-is-it kind of person.
VICTORIA MORAN: Yes, it’s very exciting. We are on Main Street. There’s a little bit of danger I think in overshooting Main Street and thinking that we’ve gone from brown rice/hippie to super mogul/movie star/celebrity. We need to kind of bring it together and see that this is for anybody and everybody who wants to do it.
CARYN HARTGLASS: It’s always very exciting. I know all the vegans get all crazy when we hear about another celebrity that’s gone vegan. Then some might say “sure, they have a personal chef and it’s easy for them to do it” but the point is vegan is for everyone.
VICTORIA MORAN: It’s simple and it’s easy. There’s a myth that’s grown up I think because of both the celebrities and because we have all of these vegan junk foods, a lot of processed foods that’s kind of expensive. I’m being asked as a tour with Main Street Vegan, interviewers will say “isn’t that expensive” and I always do a double-take because always it used to be, “well I wouldn’t want to do it but I guess you save money”. You do save money: Beans and rice feed the world.
CARYN HARTGLASS: I was just thinking at the beginning of the show: Number one, that we don’t put enough value on food. People want food to be cheap, to the point where they’ll go to restaurants and fast food establishments to get a deal and a lot of times the food is very low quality and poorly grown and poorly made with lots of ingredients that aren’t healthful. How did we get to this place where we just want to feel full for the littlest price imaginable without even thinking about what’s good for us?
VICTORIA MORAN: It’s a very complicated issue because obviously there are some people who are on very, very limited budgets. They have lots of children. They need to get enough calories into their kids to go from one day to the next and the way society is now, people have forgotten about beans and rice and apples in the bag that you have to cut the bruises off of and simple, simple food that is just as cheap as going for the dollar meal at McDonald’s. It just doesn’t look like it at first glance.
CARYN HARTGLASS: And we know all over the world the poorest people have survived and thrived on beans and rice. Or let’s just say the gazillion types of beans and whole grains because it’s not just rice, it depends on where you are. It could be millet, it could be quinoa, …. there’s just so many of them.
VICTORIA MORAN: Sure. I think that the myth that has to be overcome is the idea that some how, some way, we need the meat, we need the animal products. I was watching a documentary this morning on the treadmill. I just feel that the iPad is the greatest invention. It is giving me so much information as I watch documentaries and making me fitter but this one was called “Frankensteer”. It’s a Canadian documentary about feedlot cattle. It did not come from a vegetarian or vegan perspective but was really showing all the problems, both for consumers and certainly for the cows. I kept thinking as I watched it: Why don’t we just say “gosh this is bad, let’s stop”. But instead the responses were–well there’s the grass-fed organic kind of beef and then there’s all this legislation and regulation and all these things we need to do to make things better. I understand that not everybody’s going to go veg tomorrow but for those of us who can just get it, you know what, a really great way to deal with these problems is just don’t consume the stuff. Be free.
CARYN HARTGLASS: I hear you. I know that’s the simplest way to do it and it really isn’t hard. One of the things I like about your book…fortunately there are more and more books on the market today about how to go vegan, why you should go vegan, all the different reasons, the different points of view. There’s lots of different people in the world. We’re all coming from different places and there’s more and more books that are suitable for more and more people. What’s great about this is it’s very friendly and gentle and easy, it’s not in your face. You come out and tell some of the hard stuff but at the same time it’s all very gentle.
VICTORIA MORAN: I think that’s because that’s how I am. People say to me “you write the way you talk”. I don’t know how to write any other way—eleven books and I still write the way I talk. I think that it is necessary to be gentle because we all have a different trajectory and we all make change in different ways. It was very, very hard for me. I went vegetarian at nineteen and I was 32 before I fully committed to being vegan. That was because I was a food addict, a practicing food addict. I was a binge eater and it was impossible at that time to be a binge eating vegan. You could do it now but it would still be inconvenient because you’d have to go to the health food store to get your stuff to binge on….
CARYN HARTGLASS: …and expensive…
VICTORIA MORAN: …and expensive…but at that time you know I just needed to stop in at the gas station and get my fix and it was not possible for me to be vegan. I needed to take care of those issues first and then I was able to do this thing that I’d wanted to do for a long time which was get rid of all the animal products and I didn’t know at that time that there are two halves to this deal, from the dietary point of view. One, is you stop eating animal products, the other is you pile on the vegetables, you pile on the color. Today I tell people your plate ought to look like a Christmas tree—mostly green with splashes of other bright colors because that’s how we get the phytochemicals and the antioxidants and all this great vitality-boosting stuff. People will say to me sometimes “But what exactly is it?” I know that there are all sorts of medical/nutritional elements. We have wonderful medical doctors and dieticians in our movement who can give you the whole chemical whooze it, whatz it but for me as a consumer and a mom and a human being out there in the world, it is life force energy. It is feeling like a million bucks every day which today I do and forty years ago I didn’t. That is counterintuitive, it’s not supposed to get better but it can.
CARYN HARTGLASS: There’s a lot of talk shows, a lot of information where people bring up different things about diet and on news programs we might hear a five second sound bite, maybe a little more, about the latest and greatest of something or some vitamin we need and it gets really confusing and it gets really overwhelming. All that information might be interesting, it might be useful to some extent but for most of us we don’t need to be dieticians, we don’t need to be nutritionists and we don’t need to know where we get our protein or carbohydrate or fat or phytochemicals or Vitamin D or Omega-3 fatty acids. All we need to do is eat whole fresh plant foods. It’s so simple.
VICTORIA MORAN: That takes care of the vast majority of things that are going on. I do have one chapter in Main Street Vegan about supplements and it’s just called supplement Vitamin B-12 because that is one nutrient not reliably found in the plant kingdom.
CARYN HARTGLASS: And we all need it, not just vegans and vegetarians.
VICTORIA MORAN: That’s true. The National Institute of Health is now saying that anyone over 50 needs to supplement B-12 because it’s so hard to get from the animal foods. I think anyone who lives in a northern climate and avoids the sun for reasons of cancer prevention and/or vanity or anyone with dark skin who doesn’t have the ability to make as much Vitamin D from sun exposure probably needs to get their Vitamin D levels checked and may need to supplement that and I also supplement the Omega-3 with an algae-based EPA/DHA supplement and that is it. I do not want to spend my life standing at the kitchen counter taking pills.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Right, counting ‘em out, putting them in little boxes, traveling with them which is really challenging when you travel it’s hard enough to bring the basics that you need these days on an airplane.
VICTORIA MORAN: That’s for sure. Yesterday I went to Chicago on a 7 a.m. flight to do a TV show at 12:45 and came back that afternoon. They wanted me to do two recipes–one required a food processor. Have you ever tried to pack a food processor? Plus a lot of groceries. it was the most awful packing job and then I got there but here’s the cool part: I show up, there’s this lovely interviewer, his name was Steve, and he just came up to do the interview and said “Oh I’ve been eating this way for eight months because I watch “Forks over Knives” now I eat this way too.” He got so involved in talking to me we ended up not even doing the recipe with the food processor.
CARYN HARTGLASS: That’s funny.
VICTORIA MORAN: Yeah, it is. You just meet vegans all over everywhere these days.
CARYN HARTGLASS: I just wanted to say, I have traveled—this is kind of a strange little thing—when I was going through my cancer treatment I did chemotherapy outside of Chicago and I would fly there either for the day or overnight, and I traveled with a juicer because I was really committed to my juicing.
VICTORIA MORAN: Absolutely.
CARYN HARTGLASS: It’s crazy but sometimes we have to do these things.
VICTORIA MORAN: And juicing is phenomenal. I love juicing. My juicing chapter in the book is—I talk about all these chapters, they are short chapters, I’m kind of known for little essays…
CARYN HARTGLASS: You cover everything.
VICTORIA MORAN: Thank you.
CARYN HARTGLASS: It’s all there.
VICTORIA MORAN: Yeah. The juicing chapter is called Joyfully Juice because that’s the point. It’s not like “oh my God I’ve got to make this juice, hold my nose and gag it down.” No, no no. You want to make beautiful, yummy, delicious, delightful juice because it’s really like an infusion of youthfulness and energy.
CARYN HARTGLASS: And we deserve it. We deserve to buy the vegetables, we deserve to juice the vegetables, we deserve to drink them and we deserve to clean it up with joy.
VICTORIA MORAN: Amen.
CARYN HARTGLASS: We deserve it. It’s all just like a shift in the way we think.
VICTORIA MORAN: Yeah. It’s very exciting to see how it’s happening. When I flew to LA on the beginning of my book tour I was wearing my button that said “I’m a Main Street Vegan”. I was on the aisle street and there was this woman by the window and she leans over the poor man in the middle and says “Tell me about your button” and I told her and she says “I’ve been vegan for forty years”. And I thought, “That’s not possible” because you look 41. She said “Now I’m back from my 41st college reunion, I now eat 90% raw food, I work out 2 hours a day. I’m gluten free” and she looked sensational. Now I do think the guy in the middle thought “if these two women don’t shut up talking about kale I’m going to ask to be moved” but it’s just thrilling that you run into people everywhere. This is starting to take hold.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Absolutely and that’s a good thing. You’ve got eleven books now so you’ve seen the change because you’ve been writing about this and related subjects for…when did you first book come out?
VICTORIA MORAN: My first book was also about veganism and I actually believe, as far as I can tell and I’ve done quite a bit of research on this, that my book which actually was a college thesis—I had a fellowship to do foreign study and opted to study vegans in England, or England, Scotland and Ireland because it’s a smaller land mass and they were easier to find than in this country they were spread apart what few vegans there were—so that book was published by a British publisher called Thorsons in 1985. I believe it is the first book about vegan philosophy and practice ever to come from a regular publisher. There were books about natural hygiene and raw foods and things like that but the whole ethical part of veganism and the health as well, so yeah that book I think sold as many copies in its entire life before it went out of print as Main Street Vegan sold in its first week.
VICTORIA MORAN: There’s a lot more interest these days.
CARYN HARTGLASS: That’s good and that’s good for you. So tell me about Main Street Academy.
VICTORIA MORAN: Thank you for asking. I am so excited. We’re about to start our first course. Main Street Vegan Academy trains and certifies vegan lifestyle coaches. I’m so thrilled that we fill to capacity and then let a couple of other people in because they wanted to come so much and we’re now signing people up for November. A vegan lifestyle coach is someone who helps other people along this path whether it’s an ongoing coaching kind of situation, whether it’s a one time “ok I’m going vegan and these are the questions that I need answered”, whether it’s going on shows like this or putting up a podcast or blogging or speaking to a group, we train people in the basics of what they need to know and how they can express it. So that people are not offended, so that people are well-educated, accepted where they are and able to go forward. I think it’s so exciting.
CARYN HARTGLASS: It is. And how do they get certified?
VICTORIA MORAN: They come to a five day intensive program in New York City. And people said to me when I was first developing this “oh you ought to put it online and it ought to be this and that” and I said “No, if you want to go to Harvard you will go to Cambridge. If you want to be a vegan lifestyle coach you will figure out a way to come to New York for five days.” People are doing it. People are coming from Texas, Missouri, Oregon, for this and some are staying in hotels and some are staying with relatives and one person found a monastery retreat house in Chelsea and they are just making it work. And we’re doing fabulous field trips because New York City is vegan heaven.
CARYN HARTGLASS: It is.
VICTORIA MORAN: So we’re going to the Vaute Couture Boutique, beautiful vegan outerwear, Moo Shoes, vegan shoe store. We’re going to a cleansing center in the East Village and learning about raw foods and colonics and that sort of thing and of course lots of restaurants. So it’s going to be fun as well as instructive.
CARYN HARTGLASS: It’s going to be very fun. How many people are in the group?
VICTORIA MORAN: Fourteen this time and we hope to grow and grow and grow.
CARYN HARTGLASS: You know I agree with you I think it’s important to do it in person for lots of reasons. People will commit more but you know, you do know this, part of this eating this way, connecting with others, it’s about community, it’s about caring about everyone else. Sure, there’s a lot we can learn online. I learn every day online but we can’t stop being with each other.
VICTORIA MORAN: Right. And it’s tactile as well. We’ll have Fran Costigan coming in to do some cooking classes. She’s a wonderful vegan baker and chef. We’ll have other people coming with their Power Point presentations that they want to talk about and expound on. It’s going to be great. I just really encourage anyone who’s interested to go to mainstreetvegan.net and click on Academy and see if it looks like it’s for you.
CARYN HARTGLASS: I like it and I like that there are so many people that are interested.
VICTORIA MORAN: It’s fascinating and different people. I think that part of it is that a lot of people want so much to help. I mean the reason I wrote this book is I went to a PETA fundraiser one night and all I wanted to do is write them a great big check—so big that it would bounce and I couldn’t do that. So I was like “what can I do, what can I do?” And it really came to me Main Street Vegan. I need to write a book that’s for those people out there in America and around the world who were like you were thirty years ago. You wanted to do this but it just seemed so hard, it seemed so weird, it seemed so different. So that’s what I’m doing writing the book and that’s what the vegan coaches will be able to do once they’ve had the training.
CARYN HARTGLASS: The good thing is it’s like a snowball. We started out as a flake and now we’re rolling. We’re really rolling.
VICTORIA MORAN: That’s beautiful, may I quote you?
CARYN HARTGLASS: It just came to me and we don’t want to melt. Maybe we can melt when the job’s done.
VICTORIA MORAN: I think it’s very important that we stay kind to one another, that we stay connected, and that we not let anything interfere with what we’ve built up already. I understand that there are some different opinions about different things. There are opinions about oils, and opinions about how much cooked food and how much raw food and opinions—now there’s this federal egg legislation that people have very strong feelings on on both sides. I think it’s just so important that within the vegan world that we all stay friends because we’re not big enough to have little offshoot groups and be enemies.
CARYN HARTGLASS: Unfortunately in every group, and I’ve seen it in this group, there’s competition, there’s jealousy, there’s a lot of stuff that’s very human and we don’t need that. We need to focus on getting rid of factory farming because it’s like probably the worst thing that humanity has ever come up with ever. If you want to eat oil or you don’t, ok, that’s such a small speck. Let’s get rid of the exploitation and then when everyone’s eating a healthier diet then we can focus on fine tuning.
VICTORIA MORAN: Exactly and by then we’ll know more and maybe there won’t even be any conflicts.
CARYN HARTGLASS: We have a few minutes left. Let’s jump into the book a little bit. There’s just so many different things here. We talked about nutrition and you have great recipes all through the book going with the theme of the chapter.
VICTORIA MORAN: I was inspired by the culinary novel. Have you read those? It’s a novel, it’s a story, but at strategic places throughout the book they just happen to throw in a recipe, so in Main Street Vegan there’s a recipe after each chapter that has something to do with the chapter. A few of them Adair, my daughter, and I came up with, a lot of them have been donated by these fabulous chefs and cookbook authors so, for example, a fashion designer gave us a recipe that follows the fashion chapter and the cosmetic chapter is followed by a Chef John Spa Smoothie. It’s really fun and of course the money saving chapter gets Cheapest Chili. My husband’s favorite cheap chili.
CARYN HARTGLASS: My favorite part about this whole thing, the whole vegan thing, is the food because the food is fabulous. The food is delicious. There’s an infinite variety of everything we can eat and we can eat without guilt. That is if we’re staying away from all the modern day vegan junk food that’s out there. This healthy, Christmas tree diet of mostly green foods smattering with colors…
VICTORIA MORAN: …maybe you just named my next book…
CARYN HARTGLASS: The Christmas Tree Diet….yeah. I like that and you can include the snowball in there.
VICTORIA MORAN: That’s right. Today I sliced a cantaloupe in half and just the smell and the flavor of the first bite–it’s absolutely exquisite. And I think what happens and certainly I know that this is what happened to me when I was a practicing binge eater, the taste buds get jaded and the idea of a piece of fruit is just like “what is this thing?, this is not a sweet, this is not a treat”. But after awhile when you start eating more natural foods they just get to be so magnificent. And then you discover the weird ones, like durian.
CARYN HARTGLASS: That’s not for me. I don’t know if you like it.
VICTORIA MORAN: My daughter hates it. I think it’s fabulous. I think it tastes like cheesecake…
CARYN HARTGLASS: I was on an all raw diet for two years and I couldn’t go there. And it seemed like I was going to be kicked out of the club because I wasn’t a lover of durian.
VICTORIA MORAN: That’s the thing, we can’t afford to have any clubs. There’s a great big club and that’s of people who care, who care enough about ourselves to want to be alive and vital and vibrant and who care enough about these creatures, oh my gosh these animals. I heard you talking with Will Tuttle, to look in the eyes of these beings…there’s just nothing like it.
CARYN HARTGLASS: There’s just too many stories and you mention one about the one…with your husband.
VICTORIA MORAN: Oh yes. We went to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary a few years ago and we’d had a tragedy in our family. We’d lost a very, very young son–my husband’s son. We just thought maybe going to the country would make everyone feel better. It didn’t. We got there, William was so depressed I thought I’d just walk around and we’d go back to Manhattan. He ultimately got out of the car, just kind of leaning on a fence and this steer, a huge steer, who hadn’t had any interest in being with people before, walked up to William and put his head on William’s shoulder and just leaned it there for the longest time, as if to say, “I know you’re suffering, I have too and I’m going to stand here until you feel better”. It was the most remarkable experience and nobody who saw it, and certainly not William who experienced it, would say that it was anything other than empathy, empathy and caring.
CARYN HARTGLASS: I’m getting all teary just hearing it again after I read it and there’s so many of those stories and so many of them we’re missing out on because we have this disconnect with everyone we share this planet with, not just the humans. … We have one minute, what are we going to do in this one minute, this one delicious moment? I did want to mention that the linden tree by my terrace just bloomed today. Are you familiar with that intoxicating fragrance? It is the most incredible smell and the thing is it only lasts for a week, if you’re lucky. It just started out a wonderful morning. I recently learned that the linden tree flowers you can actually make tea out of and has all kinds of benefits. So there’s all kinds of wonderful things out there. Get Main Street Vegan and thank you Victoria.
VICTORIA MORAN: Thank you Caryn
CARYN HARTGLASS: I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Suzanne Kelly, 2/15/2013