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Since 2009, It’s All About Food, has been bringing you the best in up-to-date news regarding food and our food system. Hosted by Caryn Hartglass, a vegan since 1988, the program includes in-depth interviews with medical doctors; nutritionists; dieticians; cook book authors; athletes; environmental, animals and health activists; farmers; food manufacturers; lawyers; food scientists and more. Learn about how we can solve many of the world’s problems today and do it deliciously, here on It’s All About Food.
Victoria Moran is a vegan of three decades. Listed by VegNews magazine among the Top 10 Living Vegetarian Authors and featured twice on Oprah, Victoria has written twelve books, including Main Street Vegan and The Good Karma Diet. She hosts of the weekly Main Street Vegan podcast and is director of Main Street Vegan Academy, a 6-day, in-person program in NYC to train vegan and certify Vegan Lifestyle Coaches and Educators. Alongside male winner Dr. Joel Kahn, Victoria was recently voted “Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50.”
Dr. Joel Kahn is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Director of Cardiac Wellness, Michigan Healthcare Professionals PC. He is a graduate Summa Cum Laude of the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He lectures widely on the cardiac benefits of vegan nutrition, mind body practices and heart attack prevention. He writes blogs for MindBodyGreen, OneGreenPlanet, Aloha.com, and Forksoverknives.com. He also writes for Readers Digest Magazine as the Holistic Heart Doc and his first book, The Whole Heart Solution.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, everybody, we’re back! Welcome to part two of my program. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food on the Progressive Radio Network, and I want to bring on a couple of pretty sexy guests. I have Victoria Moran who’s a vegan of three decades, listed by VegNews Magazine among the top ten living vegetarian authors and featured twice on Oprah. Victoria has written twelve books, including Main Street Vegan and The Good Karma Diet. She is the host of the weekly Main Street Vegan podcast and director of Main Street Vegan Academy, a six-day, in-person program in NYC to train vegan and certified vegan lifestyle coaches and educator. Alongside male winner Dr. Joel Kahn, Victoria was recently voted PETA’s Sexiest Vegan over 50. We also have Dr. Joel Kahn, who’s a clinical professor of medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine and director of Cardiac Wellness Michigan Healthcare Professionals PC. He’s a graduate summa cum laude of the University of Michigan School of Medicine and lectures widely on the cardiac benefits of vegan nutrition, mind-body practices, and heart attack prevention. He writes blogs for mindbodygreen, One Green Planet, ALOHA.com, and ForksOverKnives.com. He also writes for Reader’s Digest Magazine as the holistic heart doc and his first book The Whole Heart Solution. Welcome, you sexy people! How are you today?
Dr. Joel Kahn: Woo-hoo! Dr. Kahn here. I’m feeling very sexy and very vegan.
Caryn Hartglass: Tell me about yourself, Dr. Kahn.
Dr. Joel Kahn: You did a wonderful job. The only thing I’d add, because it’s pretty unusual, is I’m a practicing cardiologist for over 25 years, vegan for 40.
Caryn Hartglass: Vegan for 40?
Dr. Joel Kahn: 40. First day, undergraduate, University of Michigan – I hated everything but the salad bar. Then I started learning the rest of the story. Thank you to John Robbins and Dean Ornish. I’ve stuck with it ever since, teaching heart patients in Detroit that there’s a way. I own the trademark for “Prevent, Not Stent”, and the hospital hates me for that, but I use it all the time.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m going to talk more about “Prevent, Not Stent” in a moment. Victoria, how are you today?
Victoria Moran: Hey! Nice to hear you, Caryn.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, nice to hear you. I gave a little brief introduction about you and your wonderfulness.
Victoria Moran: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: And I wanted to understand what sexy means to you two in terms of the Sexiest Vegan Over 50,which you have just both been awarded the title.
Dr. Joel Kahn: Let’s let Queen Victoria take that one first.
Victoria Moran: I would say that it is different after 50, and especially when you’re quite a bit after 50, which I am – I’m 66 – and I think it becomes more like a lifetime achievement award. When I think of the Sexiest Woman Over 50 – now she was vegetarian, not vegan, but for her day, she was really far ahead. She was somewhere in her eighties, had beautiful white hair. Her name was Iris, and I knew her when I was 19, 20, and when I would be all upset about something going wrong, she would always say, “Oh, tell me life on Earth, darling”, and that’s really what I see. We’re going to accept what we can’t change, but boy, get out there and change the things we can, like the way people eat.
Caryn Hartglass: I love it. And, Dr. Kahn, how do you feel about what sexy means to you?
Dr. Joel Kahn: Well, I think sexy is being sensitive. Sexy is being open. Sexy is being a male that can talk about loving animals and not wanting them harmed, slaughtered, or used in experiments. Sexy can be denying wearing leather items and not feeling the need to eat meat to have some sort of testosterone surge, and I think that’s all good. And the last part is, as a medical doctor who specializes in healthy arteries, sexy is better sex because we have better arteries and they’re cleaner on average. Our cholesterol is lower than average, our blood pressure, our blood sugar. We have less erectile dysfunction. We have a better odor and, some say, body taste, so let’s just take all the physiology we get as the benefits and celebrate the sexiness.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right. Sexy is better sex and a whole lot more. We need more commercials like that, Dr. Kahn, instead of those creepy ones that we see with the couples going to the bathtub in the field, their twin bathtubs, and taking Cialis and Viagra and all those crazy things.
Dr. Joel Kahn: I agree. I talk about have a hard attack, not a heart attack. But in case any children are listening, I don’t want to go further with that.
Victoria Moran: It’s going to be fun being the co-sexiest vegan for the next year with this man.
Caryn Hartglass: What do the two of you plan on doing together?
Victoria Moran: The first thing we know is that we’re going to LA in November to be photographed at the PETA office, and PETA may have some publicity and things lined up for us, and then we’re actually going to be working with our own publicists to really try to get this out into the world because there are so many people who are afraid of growing older, afraid of getting sick, people who are already in this age group. I’ve talked to 30-year-olds who are like, “Oh, my gosh! I don’t want to get old!” And to really get out there and say, “Hey, there’s a way that you can save your own life and some animal lives and maybe even the planet, live better, look better” – it’s all good.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s all good. I have to say that I just had dinner with you, Victoria, and you are looking very hot.
Victoria Moran: Bless you.
Dr. Joel Kahn: And I want to thank her. I want to thank Victoria because I’ve been a cowboy-boot-wearing cardiologist since I’ve trained in Dallas, Texas, many decades ago, and she introduced me to the amazing line of vegan cowboy boots that are out there. So the two of us are like Boot Scootin’ Boogies, and it’s just funny that now we’re together and get to do one line dancing together for the next twelve months. It’s all preordained, all destiny.
Victoria Moran: And we need to plug the boots. Those are Kat Mendenhall boots. She’s an amazing woman. She’s a graduate of a program that I run called Main Street Vegan Academy that trains vegan lifestyle coaches and educators, but many people don’t want to coach. They don’t want to work one-on-one or speak to audiences. They want to start businesses, and she’s one of those, and she was just madly sketching on the fourth or fifth day of our program, and we all said she was just taking extreme notes, but she’d come up with the idea of this company of custom Texas cowboy boots made in Texas. All the materials are sourced in America, 100% cruelty-free, so you want to do some of that two-stepping with us, look up Kat Mendenhall’s boots.
Caryn Hartglass: I was very happy to learn about her, but she didn’t start her business soon enough because, when I was talking to 250 cattle ranchers about animal agriculture’s impact on global warming, I wanted to look like them. I found some vegan cowboy boots and a vegan cowboy hat, but it was hard, and I would’ve preferred finding them from her, but she wasn’t ready to go when I was looking for my outfit.
Dr. Joel Kahn: Everybody needs more than one pair.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely. You know what, it’s important to fit in, in many ways, for people to hear your message, so it’s appropriate in places where people are wearing cowboy boots to be able to wear cowboy boots. And in other cultures and society, you want to wear what’s appropriate in that place because people will hear your message more when they feel like you’re one of them.
Victoria Moran: It’s so true. That’s the same thing with the mock meats and the faux cheeses and things like that. People want some of what they’re used to, and so often people will say, “Oh, that’s processed!” I get it. I know that the vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans – that’s the best food we can be eating. But to make this transition and be able to have something that looks and tastes like a burger that you can pick up and eat with your friends, it’s important.
Dr. Joel Kahn: I agree. Today, there’s been a little celebration on the Internet about Tyson investing in Beyond Meat, a company that’s appropriately gotten so much heat for horrible animal practices, and there’s a debate going on to why this is good or bad, is this selling out. They actually fired ten employees for animal abuse at the same time they announced the deal, said they’re clamping down. I’m not for anything they do, but all of a sudden, they’re expressing a conscious, and when a company like that gets behind Beyond Meat, Beyond Meat is going to be in many more grocery stores, better shelf space, and it’s what happened with Silk and their soy milk when Dean Foods bought them. All of a sudden, they were much more visible, and they were everywhere because they had such a big company behind them. Again, it’s kind of a tough message if you’re happy about that or not, but it’s bringing it the public, and sexy Victoria and I just have to add the persona. It’s fun, I’m on no medicines at 57, I have virtually no aches or pains, and I seem to be living more energetic than my colleagues after 30 years of doing hardcore cardiology, and I don’t credit anything other than the diet for all that.
Caryn Hartglass: In addition to being sexy, I think we have to continue to be vigilant because what happened to Tyson is a good thing. Unfortunately, I think if businesses have the opportunity to exploit, they will. Anything to make a better margin and to make a better profit, but if the buying market is saying, “We don’t want to cruelty. We want to know that our products are healthy and good for us”, and the companies listen, then they will do that. We can’t ever get lazy. We need transparency, and we need to stay on top of it.
Dr. Joel Kahn: Absolutely, and I think the people buying the Walmarts and the big stores, the Costcos, are demanding chemicals out, better products, and it was reported in the news some of this was the understanding that they’re going to specify cruelty-based food production is not going to be something they’re going to source. It’s the beginning of a larger change in America that might reach even small-town America, which would be wonderful.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m sure you have tons of stories, Dr. Kahn, about people who have literally turned their lives around, changed their lives with diet. I was just talking to my sister this morning. My brother-in-law has been doing the low-carb, high-animal-protein diet for a while. She got his blood test results, and he wanted to know what they were, and she said, “Bacon and eggs. That was the result.” Because the blood results weren’t very good.
Dr. Joel Kahn: It mystifies me because we are fighting in the medical blogger and certainly paleo world. The Fat Summit just announced the Fat Summit 2. Other than John Robbins and Kris Carr, I wish we could somehow get rid of the 28 other speakers, which includes a very prominent physician, because they have gone so far to distort medical science and encourage the public to add butter and full-fat cheese, and what we learned decades ago directly causes the disease I fight is coming back in style, and it drives me nuts. And I’ve seen, you’re right, I’ve seen for decades now diabetes go away, weight go away, people stop having heart/chest pain, people avoid bypass, people not need the second stent because they’ve really got their lifestyle wrapped around, sexual function returning, asthma improving, psoriasis disappearing, and it responds as much as you give to it and all, but it’s a serious medical therapy. We have a medical group in Detroit that we created, a planted-based nutrition support group, that we thought would have 20 people dedicated to just supporting each other on this journey. Now 2,500 members. It’s exploded. We get together once a month. We need Victoria to come in. In 2017, Rich Roll’s coming and Chef AJ. We’ve had them all. It’s wonderful. We need a spot for Victoria. I just want to add to my bio, I own the largest plant-based organic restaurant between LA and New York, which added a little panache to my biography and a whole lot of strain to my finances, but my family decided we’re going to put our money where other people’s mouths were and provide an elegant, upscale, full liquor vegan restaurant in Detroit, so we’re having a ton of fun going out of the cardiology world into the real prevention world. Crazy stuff.
Caryn Hartglass: And how long has that restaurant been open?
Dr. Joel Kahn: We’re going to have our one-year anniversary December 1st, so we’re going to be in that 10 percent of restaurants that make it a year, and we plan to be here 30 years from now, too, when grandchildren are the sexiest vegans.
Caryn Hartglass: People need this information all over the country, but I imagine Detroit especially needing this information. There are a lot of depressed areas in Detroit, and when people don’t have access to healthy food, they tend to choose what they can get, and it’s not usually what’s good for them.
Dr. Joel Kahn: It’s true. I mean, surprisingly, just to give Detroit its rebirth a little plus it, in the last six months, made a list of the top ten vegan cities in the United States and some of them made a list of the top ten vegan cities in the world, which is deserving because we’re a part of that. We created a restaurant, GreenSpace Café, that is the leading light in the city, and we have the largest oldest farmers market in America, so there are improvements going on, but sure. Is the average child in the inner city having easy access to fresh produce? Not as much as anybody would like to see. School meals, hospital meals, vending machines – it’s not ideal.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, Victoria, you’ve been training a lot of soldiers to go out there and train people to make more people plant-based-friendly, so we need to thank you for that and the Main Street Vegan Academy. Are you with us?
Victoria Moran: I am. I’m listening. I’m taking all your compliments.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, here, I’m throwing them at you: virtual hugs, virtual love. So tell me about some of the people that you’ve touched and trained, not just with your books, but with the one-on-one training.
Victoria Moran: The Academy is amazing. When Main Street Vegan came out, a lot of things started popping. The Main Street Vegan podcast came out of that and this idea for an academy to train coaches. We did it the first time and everybody loved it, and I thought, “Well, will anybody come the second time?” We actually got some help for the next five classes from the American Vegan Society, and by then, the Academy was up and running on its own, and people knew about it, so four times a year, people come from all over the world. We’ve had graduates from Australia, South Africa. My favorite, Saudi Arabia: an 18-year-old NYU student who wants to go back and start PETA Saudi. My husband, who’s actually lived in that part of the world, said, “Isn’t she afraid for her life?”, and I spoke with her mother, and the mother said, “You know, I think as long as she kind of tones down it down for the one holiday where they’re supposed to eat meat, I think we’ll be all right.” And so, what happens here is that they get this complete immersion in every aspect of the vegan lifestyle – health, nutrition, fashion, environment, animal rights – and then they learn how to communicate all of this and then how to make it a business, and what’s interesting is as much as we love our nonprofits, and we love supporting all the animal sanctuaries and these groups that are putting the undercover footage out and all these great things, so much is happening in the vegan world, in the world of business, whether it’s food or restaurants. One of our graduates has Riverdel Cheese, a sweet little vegan cheese and gourmet shop in Brooklyn. Another one of our graduates is starting a yogurt company, Bryt Life Foods. We’ve got an ice cream company in Toronto, Pleasantville Creamery. It’s just amazing how entrepreneurial we tend to be as a group.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s because the need is growing and people who want a business see that there’s a market because it wasn’t that way 10 or 20 years ago. There were lots of ideas. People wanted to start businesses, but they didn’t know how they would grow. And fortunately, now they’re enhancing each other.
Victoria Moran: And now, people want the products, and so all need are clever people to come up with interesting ones.
Caryn Hartglass: And that’s all we need. Okay, back to you, Dr. Kahn: What are some of the things that the people you coach and the people you’ve treated, the biggest challenges they have to switching to plants?
Dr. Joel Kahn: Probably the cooking skills, the kitchen skills. They’re interested, they want to do it, but what’s step one? And Victoria probably has her approach. Honestly, I bring them to my restaurant. That’s a nice approach. In the last twelve months, usually I see somebody at 2:00, and I see them eating a giant lentil burger, a kale salad, wrap, or something at 6pm. But what I’ve actually relied a lot, of course, always on 21-day kickstarts that Neal Barnard has, and I love Rip Esselstyn’s 28-day program, and I taught it as immersion in Cleveland. It’s wonderful. I heard your intro. Wonderful and well-attended immersion. These are all great things, but I’ve been using some of these online national food delivery companies: 22 Days Nutrition, Forks Over Knives, PlantPure Nation, Bistro, and the rest because for people who can do that, they can get that first week done. They can eat good food. They don’t have to stress out while they’re reading through the books and finding some easy recipes and going through Victoria’s books and picking out ones, if I were to eat that, this looks pretty simple. I could just substitute applesauce and flax for the eggs or whatever it is, and I just found that to make life easier. Their eyes bright up when they realize they’re not trapped with nothing in the refrigerator.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, yeah. I can see that people can actually learn when they’re transitioning with these deliveries, what food is out there that they can actually eat and how tasty it is.
Dr. Joel Kahn: Right, and it’s more expensive than beans and rice, but it’s a lot less than going to a premier restaurant around the country, for sure, so it can work out quite well for a family.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so you don’t have a tour schedule or anything lined up yet? Or will there be one where people can find the Sexy Vegans Over 50? Over the year?
Dr. Joel Kahn: I’ve suggested to Victoria that I think it’s an international title, too. Victoria, how about Bali? I haven’t been. Fiji?
Victoria Moran: I still would like to go to Israel and take this show on the road over there because they’ve got more vegan stuff going on than probably anywhere. And we also hear that Germany and Italy are just going crazy, and I’ve already written to the good people at VegfestUK to see how they would feel about having a couple of sexy vegans next fall just before we turn the title over to somebody else, so we will be out on the road. I mean, we’ve both got websites, and I’m sure we’ll have all of our speaking engagements up there.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, that sounds good.
Dr. Joel Kahn: The growth of veganism in Israel in the last ten years is largely due to a Detroit man Gary Yourofsky and his animal rights activism. It fits in so well with PETA’s stance, and he’s in my restaurant all the time, so let’s make that happen because the restaurant growth there – Places I ate at two years ago, they were general restaurants, they’re now 100% vegan restaurants throughout Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Really amazing.
Caryn Hartglass: I would love to get there again. I went vegan in 1988, and I was in Israel when it happened, and I was planning on it, but I thought I was spending three months there on business, and it seemed like an easy place to go vegan. There were plenty of vegan foods back in 1988, so now it’s probably just incredible. Victoria Moran and Dr. Joel Kahn, thank you so much for joining me on It’s All About Food and congratulations on being PETA’s 2016 Sexiest Vegans Over 50. You both deserve it and go forth and spread this important message. Thank you very much.
Dr. Joel Kahn: Thank you.
Victoria Moran: Thanks, bye.
Caryn Hartglass: Bye, bye! That was Victoria Moran and Joel Kahn, and you can find Victoria at MainStreetVegan.net, and you can find Dr. Joel Kahn at his website DrJoelKahn.com. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and this has been It’s All About Food. You can find me at ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com and please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meanwhile, have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Jessica Roman 10/17/2016