REAL Co-Founders, Caryn Hartglass and Gary De Mattei are back in NY after 3 months in the Bay Area. They share their thoughts on returning home and getting back to making their favorite recipes. With Purim, Passover and Easter approaching they share holiday stories and recipes.
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; dietitians; 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.
Caryn: Hello my audience at It’s All About Food. Welcome today. Thank you for joining me now or whenever you’re tuning in. I am here to have a conversation with you. I want to hear you. Are you there? Woohoo. Well I know somebody who is here and that is my guest who is not only the guest today but the co-founder of Responsible Eating and Living a non-profit that I spend most of my time dealing with. Also, my best friend and life partner and here’s here to save the day. Hi Gary. How are you?
Gary: I’m good Caryn, how are you?
Caryn: Well, that’s a trick question. I’m not feeling right today. I’m not feeling good today and I’m trying to get over myself and I had some options thinking you know maybe I wouldn’t do the show today because I just didn’t feel right. But then you kind of talked me into it thank you very much.
Gary: I knew you wanted to do it.
Caryn: I did.
Gary: Traveling back and forth and back and forth and back and forth the way you’ve been doing in the last 6 months or so. Between here and Long Island, you know, the death of your dad. That’s now finally I think starting to settle into your bones. We had to leave a week after that happened and go do a show. Now you’re home and you know, you’ve been going back and forth to your mom and you’re going back and forth to California. Dealing with a lot of other things that are going on in your life. Work and very little play. Except for the play that you just spent many weeks putting up in California.
Caryn: It takes a lot of work to put up a play.
Gary: It takes a lot of work to play. Especially when all the other things are going on in your life.
Caryn: Yeah, I’ve had a lot of distractions and now I’m kind of finally settling in and it’s all hitting me. I was telling you, it’s chemical.
Gary: And then I said everything’s chemical, right? I mean…all things are chemical. But I think it’s a lot of different things. We returned back to New York, when? A week ago?
Caryn: A week ago.
Gary: A week ago.
Caryn: We flew on a red eye Tuesday night and here it is Tuesday so we got home Wednesday morning.
Gary: It’s been one week and I think it’s finally starting to settle into your bones.
Gary: I mean, when we returned to New York you hit the ground running with going to your moms which I know you’ve been feeling lots of guilt about being away from home for so long. How does that tie in with today’s show? Well, so today we’re going to talk about parties.
Caryn: Woo wait wait…first there are some essential things that are important to keep your health going and your mood good. That’s sleep and nutritious food and breathing and getting outside and getting some sun. All of these things are really important. But still, there are times when you’re just not going to feel good. It happens. I’m like owning it. I know it’ll pass. It’s going to pass as soon as this show is over because doing this show makes me feel better.
Gary: Yes. I can see why it makes you feel better, it’s a great show. Over the years it’s featured some of the top talented people in this business in this field of plant-based and vegan lifestyle and cooking and it’s just the archives are incredible at responsibleeatingandliving.com. All of the people you’ve talked to over the years. You’re going into, what year is this now?
Caryn: In a few weeks I will be celebrating my 9th anniversary starting my 10th year.
Gary: Starting your 10th year. That’s interesting now because in April I will have been here in New York with you for 10 years officially.
Gary: That’s great. We’ve got a couple of happy anniversaries.
Caryn: A lot of things. And of course, that I’ve been mentioning all year is that I’m going to figure out the exact date sometime soon, but I’m celebrating my 30th year of being a vegan this year.
Gary: Yes. Congratulations on that!
Caryn: 30 years! You can do it.
Gary: Yes, you can. I mean we were talking earlier today about how you were reading some of the stats on childhood obesity and how it’s not getting better it’s getting worse and I was thinking to myself, well, I don’t know if I was actually obese as a child but I was overweight most of my childhood. I was kind of curious to hear what the stats are on obesity. What qualifies? That’s a horrible word, obesity. It just sounds…sounds like such a…very strong word. Maybe that’s because it affects me so deeply when I used to hear people talk about me being obese. I really don’t know what do you need to be to be obese.
Caryn: Well I have an answer for you. It all comes to numbers. I didn’t know you were going to ask this but okay.
Gary: No, we’re just…we have some things planned but we also have some spontaneity going on today so let’s talk about that.
Caryn: There’s something called the Body Mass Index. It’s a screening tool for being…determining whether you’re overweight or obese. Obese is being grossly overweight. The Body Mass Index is the person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters and I guess you can do that in inches and pounds as well. So, the range is if your Body Mass Index is 30 or higher, you’re obese. 25 – under 30 is overweight. 18.5 – 25 is normal and less than 18.5 is considered underweight. Are those ideal numbers? Not really. But it gives you an idea.
Gary: Right. I see. In looking back at my childhood, which I spent a lot of time overweight and on diets. I was on every diet conceivable at that point. And some that I don’t think were written down but just made up on the spot, kind of like I’m doing now with this program. But, I don’t think I was obese yet I was diagnosed…it was an armchair diagnoses by people who when they looked at me said I was obese. It’s interesting. There’s actually a way you can tell if someone is obese.
Caryn: I’m actually looking at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC website, and they have calculators. They have a BMI percentile calculator for a child and teens. Then they have the adult BMI version where you put in your birth date and your gender, which is open to interpretation these days, and they haven’t updated their website to reflect that, and there’s height and weight.
Gary: They haven’t updated their website to reflect gender, which is interesting because that’s something that they should do. A lot of people are very…
Caryn: There isn’t just…there aren’t just two genders anymore. There’s all kinds of things in between and I’m fine with that. Anyway, so we were talking about that and unfortunately where we thought the trend with obesity was going down and with children it’s not. There’s some reports about that. But, okay.
Gary: Well my point in bringing this up is that I’m celebrating an anniversary soon as well and that is similar to yours only it’s not 30 years vegan, it is almost 11 years vegan.
Caryn: You’re not a newbie anymore Gary.
Gary: I’m not a newbie anymore! But I can say that the weight has stayed off for 11 years and keeps coming off. All I did was change from eating…I eliminated the animal from my diet and wasn’t really on a diet I was just saying I’m eliminating the animal or I’m going planet based and it worked! It works really well.
Caryn: You know, there’s a meme going around and can I just read it? It’s kind of along these lines. Somebody recently posted this, I’ve seen it a number of times but it says the following: “Today marks 4 weeks without sugar, running 5 miles a day, no meat, dairy, or flour, no caffeine. The change has been fantastic. I feel great. Zero alcohol. Healthy diet. Healthy vegan diet. Gluten-free. Caffeine-free. Sugar-free. And 2-hour workout every day. I don’t know whose status this is but I was really proud of them so I decided to copy and paste.”
Caryn: Now when I read this on someone’s page I really was like I don’t believe this was them. And I’m like so excited and so thrilled because you don’t have to do all of these things. I mean the 2-hour workout, I dream of a 2-hour workout a day but it’s just how do you schedule that?
Caryn: But all of these things make a fantastic difference to feeling good.
Gary: Right, it’s so true.
Caryn: Why would somebody want to post this and not do it? Or not even try?
Gary: You know, I don’t think I’ve done all of those but I have done quite a few of those and they just…things keep affecting the way I feel so I willingly eliminate them from my life. For example, I recently gave up caffeine and it was a thing that was keeping me up at night. It seems so simple when you say something like that. But it’s so true. It was the thing that was keeping me up at night and I wasn’t able to sleep and it makes you irritable when you don’t sleep. I said, fine I’m going to do it once and for all I’m going to give up caffeine. Then from there I gave up anything that had caffeine in it or that I knew had caffeine in it. Chocolate. I gave up chocolate. And willingly gave it up because it’s got something, you know you start to trade…you’re trading off feeling good for something that gives you a temporary fix I guess it is. Those things are the only thing that I still kind of have a weakness for now is maple syrup.
Caryn: Wait a minute, hold on a minute Gary. What you’re saying is really important but what I want to say is not all foods affect all people in the same way. Each of us as individuals have to figure out what works for us and what doesn’t. There’s plenty of science about coffee and caffeine and some of it says it’s helpful to some people, it’s not helpful to everyone. We’re all our own guinea pigs.
Gary: Right. It wasn’t helpful to me at all. I’d been doing it for many many years. I owned a theater which had a bar and there was a soda gun behind the bar, you know those things you see that distribute soda- Coke, Diet Coke…And I may have consumed 14 liters of Diet Coke a day. That’s just on average. There were days when I would consume a whole lot more. I was still way overweight and I was thinking, well I’m drinking Diet Coke. Come to find out later on in life that Diet Coke is actually stimulates your appetite. That was really a fun discovery. In addition, Diet Coke takes paint off of cars and things. It’s really just a wicked world because you’re being told on the one hand that this is going to help you and on the other hand, it really isn’t. So, a lot of people are up in arms about being lied to by the present administration. But I always say we’ve been lied to from long before that. So, it’s fun to discover once you do realize, or once the veil is lifted anybody out there thinking about it, it’s fun to discover how we’ve all been deceived and the deception continues. No one seems to be talking about that except for you and a few others.
Caryn: Well, what I like to do is talk about it and then connect it to food and how we celebrate one way or another through food. So that’s why we wanted to talk about the holiday’s coming up and I’m going to segue here I don’t know how graceful this segue is going to be. Talking about our culture and talking about what we’re made to believe in makes me think of the Jewish holiday that is coming up tonight and throughout the week and upcoming. I always have to make a disclaimer, I am not a religious person I am a spiritual person. I don’t condemn anyone who wants to follow a particular religion. Believe in whatever you want just as long as you don’t harm anyone in the process. Okay, now that I’ve made that disclaimer, I do love holiday foods and veganizing them and then kind of making them as healthy as they possible can. There’s the Fast of Esther coming up followed by Purim and then followed by Passover. Then we have Easter in there too because Easter and Passover are kind of like the same story, reinterpreted or experienced differently. Not the same story but it ends during the same time. Anyway, I digress. I want to get to Purim because I was just re-reading the story and that’s part of the holiday, re-reading the biblical story. There are 4 key characters. I just wanted to talk about it really fast and relate it to what’s going on today because it’s pretty powerful. We have this guy Mordecai, who’s Jewish. He’s got a cousin Esther. There’s the King Ahasuerus and there’s the Prime Minister Hamen. And it’s a time in the bible before Christ and it takes place in Persia which was Iran of the day and they ruled over many lands. The King, the story opens up where the King is having some 180-day party and it’s towards the end and he’s full of wine and he wants to show off his beautiful wife. She’s like having her own little gathering with some women and she’s like leave me alone, you’re not showing me off. He decides to kill her. We’re talking today in 2018 about sexual harassment, women being intimidated by people in power, and being harassed and this is kind of what was happening in the day unfortunately. This particular Queen, she felt harassed by her husband and didn’t oblige and he killed her. I would like to…we’ve kind of come a little bit along but we still have a long way to go in that department.
Gary: And we celebrate this. Or certain people do celebrate this.
Caryn: And then what happens is they decide to have some sort of pageant of all the young, beautiful women in other countries and find a new wife for this king and this one guy, this Jewish guy Mordecai decides he’s going to send his cousin Esther off and she’s not very happy about all this. She doesn’t do anything to really promote herself. But the King likes her and decides to take her for his wife. She doesn’t tell him she’s Jewish. Then this one guy Hamen becomes Prime Minister and he’s very anti-Semitic and he wants to get rid of all the Jews. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, he learns of some conspiracy theory to knock off the King. He tells the King that these two traitors we’re going to do this. So now the King wants to do something nice to Mordecai who saved his life. He goes to the Prime Minister Hamen who wants to kill Mordecai because Mordecai isn’t bowing down to him. One thing leads to another and fortunately because Mordecai did this good thing, he gets elevated to Prime Minister and Hamen gets punished and…in the end you eat cookies.
Gary: In the end you eat cookies.
Caryn: Very simplified story but what I wanted to say is that the conflict in the Middle East is…well the rest of the world, is still going on. Based on some seemingly trivial relationships ends up hurting many, many people. And I don’t know why these conflicts are still happening but they still are. Yet, we have these holidays where we celebrate something good that happened even though we’re still having problems. So this is the holiday that’s coming up and we have what’s called “Hamentashen” which is the 3-cornered hats that the evil Hamen wore. It’s traditional to eat this cookie and we have a great vegan, gluten-free Hamentashen recipe on our website. The cookie is typically filled with a prune butter or an apricot butter or poppy seed filling. I want to talk about that because in making this cookie, you and I discovered something that has continued in our life until this day. We made this cookie I don’t know about 5 years ago.
Gary: Right. How do you spell Hamentashen?
Caryn: Oh, that’s a good question. It’s H-A-M-E-N-T-A-S-H-E-N
Gary: So, if you put that into the search bar at responsibleeatingandliving.com you come up with the vegan, gluten-free Hamentashen recipe.
Caryn: Yes. But what we discovered was whenever I would make this recipe over the course of my life, usually at the last minute I’d go running out looking for prune butter.
Caryn: And it was hard finding prune butter and then finding prune butter that’s organic, prune butter that’s sugar-free. I don’t think that exists. It’s always expensive. We discovered how to make it.
Gary: This is brilliant…yes this is brilliant.
Caryn: You take a pound of prunes. Organic, sulfur free prunes. And if you plan it right you can get a really good price for them. Sometime during the year and have them on hand when you need them. But you take a pound, put them in a pot with 3 cups of water. You want them to be pitted. Then you cook them, maybe for like 15 – 20 minutes until they’re soft. Blend up the water and the prunes together. And put them in jars and you have the best prune butter you possibly can have and then you can put them in your cookies.
Gary: Yeah, you do that with apricots too. We have apricot butter we use all the time.
Caryn: And we eat this all the time.
Gary: And this is for people who want to start getting away from using sugar in things. We use prune butter and apricot butter, mostly apricot butter to sweeten things. And, it works. It works great. I put it in salad dressings, I put it in everything.
Caryn: And it’s got fiber in it.
Gary: Right. You just need a very powerful blender. We have a Vitamix. I don’t think when we made the prune butter we had a Vitamix when we discovered prune butter. We just had a regular old blender. It worked just as well. The Vitamix is for making large batches and for not having to scrape down the sides as much as we used to have to do with the old blender. But, there’s not need to go invest in anything too fancy. But give it a try. Caryn is absolutely right. You just take a few cups of water and it’s about a pound of dried fruit and it’s a staple in our house now and it’s great on…I put it on my cereal. We put it in our tea sometimes if we’re feeling Russian. We want to pretend we have a samovar and we’re doing Chekhov in the house we’ll put a little bit in our tea. It’s terrific. It’s TEAriffic!
Caryn: It’s TEAriffic.
Gary: Hey, you know another holiday…you were raised Jewish and I was raised Catholic. Both of us no longer identify with those religious but we are spiritual people. So, I was raised…so the other holiday that’s coming up is Easter. And Easter has its own share of interesting secrets and celebrating people being nailed onto the cross and coming back to life and all that stuff. Very interesting what you’re fed when you’re young. But, what you’re literally fed when I was young was we feasted at Easter time. There’s this thing called Lent where for 40 days and 40 nights you give something up that you really like a lot. Then on Easter Sunday you break that fast and you have food all day and all night. It’s a big deal. Anybody out there that celebrates Easter, we have a lot of recipes on our website and one of them I’d like to alert you to is something that we put together called “The Feast of the 7 Dishes.” And I talked about this before around the Christmas and Christmas Eve holiday, but there are also a lot of dishes that you can make if you are starting to think about a vegan Easter, I want you to check that out at responsibleeatingandliving.com. Just go into the search bar and Google…or not Google, but search for “The Feast of the 7 Dishes” and you’ll come up with a bunch of really amazing recipes. It’s based on an ancient Italian feast…not so ancient I mean, an Italian feast called The Feast of the 7 Fishes, or The Feast of the 12 Fishes and it was done on Christmas Eve and instead of that we came up with…cause if you’re vegan or if you are plant-based, you don’t eat fish. Fish as you say often is not a vegetable.
Caryn: It’s a scaly vegetable.
Gary: To some people, yes. But anyway, Feast of the 7 Dishes. Before you do any of that though, you’re going to have to have an Oscar party because the Academy Awards are on Sunday. We have a lot of recipes on our website for really, really wonderful appetizers and nibbles and things like that, that you can make and have and share at your upcoming Oscar party. Check out our website, it’s really got a lot of great things. Speaking of parties, you had a recent…you had a recent post in your blog which is now how many days? The What Vegans Eat blog which is amazing resource. Let’s see I’m right here now.
Caryn: It’s at over 1,100 posts.
Gary: 1,108! Over 1,108. I know you’re a little behind on it and but you had a great…let’s talk a little bit about when we were in California and obviously we didn’t have our own kitchen. We were using different kitchens and different…we normally don’t microwave at home but we used the microwave a lot when we were gone. But you made a salad and brought it to a party and you posted the recipe and I was like oh no you don’t have to bring anything. And you were like oh no I want to bring something. I said really what do you want to bring? And we went back and forth about it. But it was a sweet potato bean salad that was really incredible. It was fantastic.
Caryn: Yeah, I think I talked about it last week on the show but I posted the recipe so if anybody’s interested in it I put the recipe up. Another recipe I’m going to be putting up in a day or two when I get to it…I’m having a thing with sweet potatoes. Not only are they really good for you. They’re a great source of potassium and vitamin A and all kinds of things. They’re better for you than white potato in terms of digestion, glycemic index, and all kinds of things. I’m discovering how good they are and you had made a soup Gary when we were traveling and it was made of stuff from…simple prepared foods that we could buy that kind of met our requirements that we could put together including: low sodium vegetable broth, cooked beans, sweet potatoes, onions…and you made a soup. I had liked that soup and I thought now I’m going to make it at home and I did that the other day and you liked it, it was pretty good wasn’t it?
Gary: It was great. Yeah.
Caryn: But it had sweet potatoes in it. And tofu, black beans, onions, and…
Caryn: I can’t wait to post that. Yeah.
Gary: That’s a great soup. And it’s an easy soup to do. It’s still cold here in New York and I understand that it’s cold in California as well. I mean, I think I was reading they were getting snow in not to…I mean it was coming down pretty low. And hail in some of the valley areas. It’s still cold and soup weather. We have tremendous amounts of soups on our website that are all delicious and really easy to put together. Like Caryn just mentioned, you can go to the supermarket and find broth already made and we buy the low sodium organic vegetable broth. It’s right there with all of the other broths. That’s your base. Then you just add whatever sounds good. There’s beans that are already cooked, organic beans. I’m not sure where you’re listening to this program but I’m sure you have supermarkets that sell organic beans in the boxes as opposed to the can. Because when you’re on the road sometimes you don’t have a can opener.
Caryn: Hahaha you don’t have a can opener.
Gary: And sure, they’re easy to buy but sometimes it’s just easier to open a box of beans and drain them and put them into a pot of boiling broth and add some grain to that. We’ve added obviously the brown rices and millets and things like that to the simmering broth and if you chop up a sweet potato and put that in there it really makes…it’s not difficult to do this. It’s very easy. It’s all there for you it’s just a matter of putting it together. If you don’t have a stove, you have a microwave wherever you’re residing on the road. You can heat it up in a cup. Pour a little broth and put some goodies in it and you’re on your way. The blog is an incredible tool for those of you who are traveling because we have Caryn has put together these travel blogs and you can tell them…you can just sift through the blogs and when you come to the one that has travel edition and it has some really interesting and if I may say so myself, ingenious ways to stay plant-based while you’re on the road or stay vegan while you’re on the road.
Caryn: And clean.
Gary: And clean. Now that’s the thing that I was just about to say. You read my mind. It’s all about food but it’s all about clean food, and that’s what we try to do. We try to eat as clean as possible. Sometimes we fail. Not often.
Caryn: Well, I think the way we indulge ourselves, many people would still consider clean for their standards.
Gary: Right. That’s the thing…once you get on this path, once you get on this path it’s…you start to self-govern. You start to discipline yourself. It’s not having to go to someone else and you know, there’s a lot of great programs out there. But, most of those programs are someone telling you what to do. If you take that leap and you say I’m just going to give up animal products. If you say I’m just going to give up anything made with an animal, anything that has a face or a mother is what I was told a long time ago. If I’m just going to give up any of that and the products that come from animals: milk, anything that’s dairy related. And just start with that. It’s not that difficult to do this. You may think, at first thought that this is impossible. I was reading somewhere, speaking of the Oscar’s, Woody Harrelson is one of the vegan actors that is nominated for an Oscar this year for his performance in Three Billboards. A lot of people thought that William Defoe who’s also nominated was a vegetarian at one time but his comment was, “No, I’m married to an Italian it’s too difficult to be a vegetarian when you’re married to an Italian.” I have to say that that’s a poor reason for not staying with your vegetarian lifestyle because there are so many Italian dishes, and I’m of Italian descent, that are vegetarian that are vegan that are so delicious. William, if you’re listening, I’m sure he is…you’re wrong William. You can be married to an Italian and still be a vegan and/or vegetarian.
Caryn: You know and it’s not even about cheese anymore but even if it was about cheese, there are many ricotta, almond ricotta, macadamia ricotta, cashew or tofu even, and there are plant mozzarella cheeses. Some of them we’ve had are amazing. They melt, they taste like mozzarella.
Gary: They’re amazing and there’s so many incredible strides being made in that department too with a lot of the plants meats that are coming out. I was reading about Beyond Meat has now an Italian sausage that is amazing. It’s Beyond Sausage it’s called. There’s a lot of…it’s making the meat industry nervous.
Caryn: Well the ones that are getting smart are purchasing plant-based businesses. I just want to say, for somebody who wants to do something Italian, an amazing and time consuming, but incredible, we have the Osso Vita recipe that Gary published over 3 years ago. It was also published in the Farm Sanctuary…Living and Farm Sanctuary Life Cookbook. It’s based on the Osso Buco which means “bone hole.” But it’s genius. And it’s delicious.
Gary: Yeah it was published in The Farm Sanctuary Cookbook which is a great cookbook and the proceeds go to Farm Sanctuary which is an outstanding organization. We were happy to contribute three recipes that got picked up. That’s one of them. Osso Vita. It’s based on as Caryn just said Osso Buco which used to be one of my favorite dishes and so I said hey I don’t have to give this up. I can make it and I can make it plant-based. It’s just…better. It’s better than…because you’re not eating a poor little cow. You’re not eating a calf. You’re not eating…you’re not eating veal. That’s one of the main reasons why…everybody does this for their own reasons. It all comes back to again, once the veil is lifted you realize the horrific way we treat our animals that we then eat. We treat them horrifically and then we eat them. I mean, come on. When you think about that it’s…
Caryn: Yeah so that leads me to want to talk about this event that we’re going to in March. March 8th at the James Beard Foundation. They’re having a special event…Women Chefs Rule: The Vegan Edition. Presented by women chefs and restaurateurs. This is very exciting. We’re going on Thursday March 8th. But you made me think about the James Beard Foundation. They have a mission and I want to read it. The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. That word sustainable, I’m highlighting because I’m very appreciative that The James Beard Foundation is featuring women chefs. Last year they had a special vegan chefs program but I don’t think they’re going far enough. I don’t think they’re realizing or being true to the meaning of sustainable because if they were truly concerned about making food that’s delicious, diverse and sustainable everything they promoted would be vegan because raising animals for food no matter how you do it is not sustainable.
Gary: Right. It’s in sustainable.
Caryn: It’s not sustainable. But, talking about the event that’s coming up Women Chefs Rule, I wanted to highlight to women that are going to be featured in this program. Maybe you’ve heard of some of them. I’m thinking when they come to town I’m going to try and get some of them on this show because that’ll be fun. But they’re featuring Nina Curtis who’s from Beverly Hills, Peggy Chan of Grassroots Pantry in Hong Kong, Sophia Hoffman from Berlin, and Berlin is supposed to be this vegan hot spot today. Many of you may have heard of Makini Howell from Plum Bistro in Seattle, Cara Mangini from Little Eater Restaurant and Grocery store in Columbus, Ohio, and Carrie Summer from Chef Shack in Bay City, Wisconsin. These are the women that are going to be featured and you’ll hear more about it after the event because we’re going to go and eat and comment.
Gary: Looking forward to that. We haven’t been out since we got home.
Caryn: No. We haven’t been doing anything really. We’ve just been working and…
Gary: So again, I think the other things that happened while we were on the road was we were…it’s so strange. Hey everybody out there! So, what we do…what we were doing in California was directing a musical. We were directing The Music Man for a company called Playful People Productions, a lovely company in Northern California founded by mother/daughter team Barb Galiotto and Katie D’Arcey. Great, great folks. They do lovely work with their community. We did The Music Man. All two and a half hours of it. We didn’t have any…we took off a little bit but it was just some of the incidental dance movements, music and things like that. Anyway, it was the full length show and they normally, they don’t dabble in full-length productions. They like to do the junior productions and they like to do, you know, shorter productions where the commitment doesn’t weigh too heavily on its participants. So, but they want to up their season a bit and they want to offer some full-length musicals and so they said to us at one point if you are ever interested in coming out here, would you like to direct for us? And we said sure. And so, this is our second show with them and we’re going back to do Into the Woods. What’s interesting about that is we were…if you know the story Into the Woods you know it’s about magic beans. Part of it is about magic beans. Jack sells this cow magic beans and they really are magic and the bean stalk grows and the giant comes down and it’s really funny. Well on this trip where we were directing The Music Man and discussing our next venture which is Into the Woods this summer, we were given beans.
Caryn: Beans! Beans! Nothing but beans!
Gary: We were given beans. Rancho Gordo beans. My sister Deb gave them to us and it’s in Caryn’s blog. Day 1107. But I thought, this is interesting because we’re talking about doing Into the Woods and people are handing us beans and we’re discovering this brand of bean called Rancho Gordo and so we’re excited to try them. Some of the beans that we were given were these giant beans. They looked magical. I can’t remember the name but I’m staring at them right now. They’re in a jar and they’re these…they’re the biggest beans I’ve ever seen and I can’t remember the name of these beans.
Caryn: Yes, I took them all out of the package. There’s a large white lima bean that we have.
Gary: Right. That must be it. Because it’s the biggest bean and it’s glowing right now. It’s looking at me and it’s glowing. I know you’ve talked about beans on your show before but, talk about them again because you can’t really say enough about beans, can you? They’re just an incredible food.
Caryn: I’m glad you brought that up because in the world of nutrition and health today, there’s more and more conversation about the microbiome in our gut, having a healthy gut, feeding out gut, and then there are people that have these detoxing programs. Then there’s this best-selling book by Dr. Steven Gundry, The Plant Paradox is it? Anyway, where he talks about eating beans are poisonous for us and there’s a lot of misinformation about beans. But, the thing is, many people with guts are in such a bad state of affair that eating the food that we most need including high fiber foods, are very difficult for them to digest. There’s this spin where people are saying that the foods that are healthy for us where we say the foods are healthy for us, people are telling us we can’t eat because they’re making us sick. It’s this cycle. What people who have digestion problems need to do, and that includes leaky gut and people with autoimmune diseases, first need to find a way to heal and then get back and incorporate the healthiest foods which are the high fiber foods and beans. There are a number of different ways to do that, I’m not going to get into that too much on this program right now. But, you have to know that beans are healthy. They contain probiotics and they contain prebiotics which food our probiotics which are the bacteria that roam around out guts and keep them healthy. They’re the beneficial bacteria. And beans also contain resistance starch which is something that was really only discovered a few years ago and it’s something that’s digested down further down lower intestine and colon and keep our insides scrubbed and clean. And beans, there’s so many of them. They can be flavored in so many different ways. They’re so satisfying and they’re inexpensive and if you have bloating and gas there are ways to take care of that and it’s all part of getting the right bugs in your belly so that you can digest the right foods.
Gary: Right. And you know, again, with this discussion of the holidays coming up and the Oscar parties that you’re going to be planning that are now going to have some vegan dishes for your plant-based friends that are going to come over and hand you their Oscar predictions. Remember, a garbanzo bean is a bean and you can make hummus from…and I know I’m pronouncing it wrong, I always pronounce hummus wrong…but you can make hummus so easily with garbanzo beans and tahini and if you don’t have garbanzo beans you can make hummus with other beans! Remember, beans come in a box. We don’t need a can opener. You just need to drain them and throw them in a blender, add a couple of tablespoons of tahini and who doesn’t know what tahini is? I didn’t know what tahini was when I became a vegan almost 11 years ago. It’s a startling discovery. I can’t…one of my you know I always say this, one of my only regrets about going vegan was I didn’t do it sooner. Another regret is I didn’t discover tahini sooner because it’s just this…it’s this amazing nut butter made with sesame seeds. So, I’m not sure about but allergies. I know there’s a lot of people out there that have nut allergies and I’m not sure if sesame seeds qualify as part of the but allergy spectrum.
Caryn: It really depends on the individual. So, some people have tree nut allergies and sesame seeds are not tree nuts. Fewer people have issues with seeds than with nuts. So, sesame seeds for most people are pretty safe. But you’re making me think of something Gary. What’s that movie, is it the Elf…where he always says does this have sugar in it?
Caryn: Yes. I’m thinking instead of does it have sugar in it? The question is, does it have fiber in it? And that’s the question we want to ask. If it has fiber in it…then yes!
Gary: So, you read my mind again because I was leading to that, these nut butters that…when I was again, going back to when I was a kid I was told I couldn’t…there were things that I couldn’t eat. And when you tell someone they can’t eat something they want to eat it all the more. So, one of the things I was told I couldn’t eat was peanut butter. And of course, that was heart-breaking for me as a child. Not being able to eat what all my friends are eating. They were eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and there I was going to school with a half a chicken in my lunch bag. That was roasted. It was humiliating non the less. But it was also…so later in life I discovered, especially when I went plant-based, that nut butters are not…unless of course you’re allergic to them…not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, they’re a great thing.
Caryn: And a great replacement for oil in salad dressing.
Gary: And they have fiber!
Caryn: And they have fiber in them.
Gary: And so, tahini is a great replacement for oil in things like…in a recipe that calls for a quarter cup of oil if you’re making something that you’re baking in the oven for example. And you’re adding fiber to it so I’ve had a blast for the last 11 years discovering how many things a nut butter can replace. It replaces butter in a lot of ways for me. I put it on a potato.
Caryn: Can I take a moment and call out a caveat about sesame tahini? I just want to say it’s pronounced ca-vee-aht and not ca-veet. I recently heard someone say it’s ca-veet. It’s a fun word, which means warning or a stipulation, a condition. You know how you’ve heard…or you may not have heard this…but a few years ago we heard that some olive oils are not 100% olive oil and there are some companies and some of them are a luxury quality companies and some of them aren’t that are diluting or watering down or actually oiling down their olive oil with other oils. There are different ways to know if your olive oil is really olive oil and one if to put it in the refrigerator and see if it gets solid. You’re pretty certain that it’s going to be all of olive oil. Anyway, with sesame tahini there are many different brands and some of them are very thin and pourable. I am suspect that even though it doesn’t say it on the label that those pourable tahinis are deplorable! Because they have added oil in them now. Is it added sesame oil? It may be an added vegetable oil. I really can’t say. What I do know is we love the organic sesame brand of Artisana because it’s excellent and you know that it’s just ground sesames. You can just see it’s thick and it’s stiff and I highly recommend it. So, we got to watch out for the pourable tahinis because they have more oil in them.
Gary: Caveat noted. And another really cool thing that some of you out there might be chefs or people that love to cook and have all of the tools in their kitchen…another thing I like to do is I like to take sesame seeds; raw sesame seeds and I like to grind them up and make my own tahini. I even grind up sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds and make a pumpkin seed for a sunflower seed base dressing. It’s again, it’s the Vitamix that has made this a lot easier for me but there’s a recipe on our website for…and our website is all free by the way. I’m not trying to get you to go to the website because you’re going to have to fill out a form or see a bunch of pop-ups.
Caryn: We have no pop-ups.
Gary: We have no pop-ups and you don’t have to fill out any forms. We’re a non-profit. Responsible Eating and Living is a non-profit so this information we’re giving you is true and it’s free so use us and abuse us for what we put up there because as I mentioned at the top of the show, the library of interviews that Caryn has done over the years, this one excluded, are really unbelievable. You have the top names in the business are talking to you about all of the things that are going on in the plant-based world…and then some. But there’s two dressings that I want to alert you to. One is called Seed Caesar and the other one is called Little Seed Caesar and these again, like our apricot butter, are staples in our house. You make a jar of that or a container of that and it lasts you a few days and it’s got all the fiber you will never find in other dressings. But all of the flavor you will find in, well more flavor as far as I’m concerned than a lot of the bottled dressing that have lots of oil and lots of preservatives and sugars and things like that. Again, it’s so easy to make when you have a blender.
Caryn: I want to add about the nutrition of these things. I don’t encourage people counting calories or thinking am I getting enough of this vitamin and that vitamin? I encourage eating a variety of whole plant foods. Minimally processed. Organic if possible. Wide variety of colors. And this pretty much ensures that you’re getting everything you need to a certain extent of course. Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc. You don’t have to think about these things, you can just enjoy these foods and I know that someone people take a vitamin E supplement. Doctors like Dr. Joel Fuhrman have reported how it’s actually not a good idea to supplement vitamin E. That it’s better to get it from your food. The vitamin E tends to come in an oil in one of these gel caps. Those oils can be rancid, they can go rancid. You don’t want to do this. You want to eat your sunflower seeds and the best way to do it is in one of our dressings like Little Seed Caesar.
Gary: Yeah. It’s really…I’m not steering you wrong here. This is a great dressing to have in your refrigerator because you can put it on your salads but you can also put it on your baked potato or your vegetables.
Caryn: And you don’t have to put in all the ingredients that are in the recipe. If you don’t have yogurt…because we don’t always put the plant-base yogurt in our dressing.
Gary: No. Actually, we have a couple of versions online and one of them is one that doesn’t use the yogurt if I’m not mistaken. If not, I’ll put one up. But yeah just eliminate the plant-based yogurt and it still comes out terrific. What I’ve substituted a lot of the time at home, instead of plant-based yogurts I just put a dash of plant milk. Just to give it a creaminess and take the edge off. You can always substitute the same amount of plant milk. And if you like it thicker you add more seeds or less liquid. If you like it thinner you add more liquid. It’s up to you. But the basic foundation recipe is there and it’s so much fun to use. What we do is we keep things in jars in the refrigerator so you get a container that you can seal. Make sure it’s clean. make sure it’s been put through the…you can use boiling water if you don’t have a dishwasher that gets up to…or water that gets up to…make sure your jars are sterilized. Keep it in the refrigerator. It keeps for a few days. We’ve kept it up to 4 or 5 days. But keep it in an air-tight jar. It never really lasts long enough. It goes quickly.
Caryn: I’m getting so hungry right now Gary.
Gary: Yes, so am I
Caryn: I’m ready for some food, how about you?
Gary: I’m ready for some food, yeah. Let’s eat. Because it’s all about food.
Caryn: It is all about food and it’s fun and nutritious and something to look forward to.
Gary: This was a very informative show for me and I’m sure our listeners thought it was informative and I’m glad we did it.
Caryn: Me too, I’m glad. Thank you for being here with me during this hour and sharing what we love…healthy delicious food and some stories. And remember you can find us at responsibleeatingandliving.com. And my email is email@example.com. You can send your comments, your questions, your complaints whatever it is. Thanks for joining us today. I’m Caryn Hartglass. This has been It’s All About Food. Have a delicious week!
Transcribed by Adella Finnan 3/29/2018