Gary De Mattei, Happy Halloween
Gary De Mattei is the co-founder and Creative Director of Responsible Eating and Living. Gary is an actor, director, producer, filmmaker, writer, teacher and trained chef. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the nonprofit theatre company, The Artist’s Theatre Repertory Ensemble (TheATRE). Before moving to New York in 2008 Gary worked extensively in Bay Area theatre as an actor, director, writer, producer, teacher, and arts administrator. He was the co-founder and producing artistic director of Theatre On San Pedro Square (TOSPS) in San Jose from January of 2000 to April of 2008. During that time Gary produced plays and musicals that showcased local, national and international theatre artists. Gary was the Theatre Department Chair at Presentation High School in San Jose. During his tenure at Presentation Gary directed plays and musicals and taught acting. His theatre department was awarded the prestigious Best High School Musical Award from the American Musical Theatre. Gary is a Bay Area Theatre Critics Award nominee for his portrayal of Fiorello H. LaGuardia in Foothill Music Theatre’s production of Fiorello. A proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, Gary trains at HB Studio in New York under the guidance of his acting teacher Austin Pendleton. For more about Gary go to his website, GaryDeMattei.com.
Caryn: Hello everybody. How are you today? I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. I am broadcasting from sunny California today, the Bay Area in Walnut Creek. The skies are blue, the air is clear, thank goodness. I’m so appreciative of clear air after experiencing some very, very smoky air just a few weeks ago. I want to bring on my guest. He’s my favorite person, my favorite guest. He is my partner, my life partner and my partner at responsibleeatingandliving.com, the co-founder of our non-profit Responsible Eating and Living. He’s the creative director. He’s also an actor, director, producer, filmmaker, writer, teacher and trained chef. And a genius. Welcome to It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me again Gary.
Gary: Hello Caryn, muhuahaha.
Caryn: Hahaha. Oh, you’re getting spooky.
Gary: I’m broadcasting as well from Northern California, only we’re in different parts of Northern California. I’m down in San Jose, California. You’re up in Walnut Creek. The air was quite terrifying and so I’m happy that all of the folks are getting back into some assemblance of their lives.
Caryn: Some assemblance of normal, right?
Gary: Yes. Some assemblance of normal. I know many of them have lost their homes and I’m going to dedicate this show today to all of them and to all those who are settling in and trying to restore their lives. I’ll keep it lighthearted today and we’ll talk about Halloween. Muhahaha. Can you hear me OK, is everything coming in loud and clear?
Caryn: I hear you. Do you hear me?
Gary: Great. I hear you. So if I break up a little bit it’s only because it’s very scary here during Halloween muhahaha. And it’s all about food!
Caryn: You said you wanted to keep it light and humorous and I’m glad, but we’ll still get a little creepy.
Gary: Oh yes.
Caryn: When we talk about things, especially about Halloween.
Gary: Yes, it’s funny that one day a year we think about things that are creepy but for example, every day is creepy in some people’s lives. I mean, we celebrate lots of creepy things that we’re unaware of. So, at Responsible Eating and Living we’re here to give awareness to some of these things that we think are, as you put it earlier, normal. Like celebrating flesh on our plates and really basing our lives around what type of flesh we’re going to prepare for one of our three meals a day. But, then again I was a meat eater for many, many years. Or I should say a flesh eater for many, many years. The one regret I have that I like to say while I’m on the show my one regret about going vegan is I didn’t do it sooner. So, this is all about food and we’re going to talk about food today.
Caryn: When I think about Halloween when I was young, I remember a friend of mine in Junior High School, maybe it was High School, she was all excited about some local haunted house. We all got very hyped up and we went to this haunted house and it was SCARY. It was scary because in one location it was, we had to crawl through a tunnel and it was very claustrophobic. But I’m thinking about every day haunted houses that are real and accepted. You mentioned the flesh on our plate. Factory farms are haunted houses.
Gary: Haunted houses? Yes, they’re scary places. The whole idea behind Halloween is kind of, I don’t really know why we celebrate Halloween. I never figured that out. I know that people say it’s based on the Day of the Dead which many cultures celebrate. But, here in the United States, it seems like again, it might have been a great idea but somehow it’s been turned into a commercial- a way for company’s to make money, a way for company’s to sell candy and costumes and things of that nature. Which is great and fine and fun! Everybody enjoys that. But when you really look behind what that is, it kind of takes the fun out of it. So what we’re trying to do at Responsible Eating and Living is put the fun back into it and let you know that there are ways to celebrate vegetarianism or veganism and still have a good time. So today we’re going to talk about different foods that you can make for your family and friends if you’re having a Halloween party, that don’t involve any death. They don’t involve any pain or suffering, which is ironic because there’s lot of ghoulish screams and scary laughs and things of that nature. I think it would be a great day to kind of see how close you can get to not having anything on the table that has any pain and suffering involved. To not have anything that you represent as far as your costume that has any pain and suffering involved. For example, costumes, let’s get right to that. There are many famous vegetarians throughout history that you can dress up as and it can be a really fun game that you can play with your friends to see if they can guess who you are. Then let them know, like for example, dress up like Pythagoras. He was the Greek scholar known for his math theorem. He lived 2,500 years ago and ate a flesh-less diet called the Pythagorean diet. So the word “vegetarian” became popular in the late 1800’s. He said…
Caryn: Gary, what would Pythagoras wear? What would his costume look like?
Gary: Exactly! I really have no idea. But you would have fun researching that and it would be a fun party to go to because if everybody was there and they were in something that you had to ask well, “Who are you?” You know that game we play on New Year’s Eve at Tamara and Keith’s where everybody wears that sign on their back and then you have to ask who they are and nobody knows who they’re walking around as. If you guess who you are…then you guess who you are.
Caryn: You know what I would do?
Caryn: I would carry an old-fashioned looking pad or tablet and put the Pythagorean theorem on it and walk about with that.
Gary: Yes! That would be great. Well he said, “As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” So you know, you can wear that around your neck and people can try to guess. Quotes are big now. Or you could dress as Buddha! Buddha was a vegetarian around the same time as Pythagoras. Siddhārtha Gautama began a 25-year journey as a pauper culminating in his enlightenment or Buddha or in Sanskrit. He embraced strict vegetarianism. He wrote that, “It is more important to prevent animal suffering rather than sit to contemplate the evils of the universe, praying in the company of priests.” That’s cool.
Caryn: I’m thinking that…
Gary: I’ll give you one more then I’ll give you more later on in the show.
Caryn: But I’m thinking about costumes, if you wanted to be the Buddha for some people it would be really easy. Just bald, a big belly with some underwear, right?
Gary: Hahahahah. Exactly. That would be a cool costume.
Caryn: And a big smiley face because with Buddha we always see the Buddha as smiling.
Gary: Right. But, I thought that quote was really cool. “It is more important to prevent animal suffering rather than sit to contemplate the evils of the universe, praying in the company of priests.” That’s really good.
Caryn: We need to re-post that one all over the place because everybody is complaining a lot right now about what’s going on in the world. There’s a lot of harm. We keep reminding people start with your plate. Remove the violence on your plate.
Gary: Right. They’re saying now that the United States is focusing more as far as the politics of the United States is focusing more on bringing out the worst in people as opposed to bringing out the best in people. I think we can all counter than by bringing out the best in ourselves and start reflecting that in everything we do. I think it will ripple. It will have a ripple effect, I really do. Starting by as you say what is on your plate, is a perfect…what you buy at the grocery store! How you view that flesh that’s displayed in those pretty little refrigerated cases that are wrapped in cellophane and have those lovely price tags on them and made to look like anything but what they really are. That is where the real horror story lies. Again, I’m not standing in judgement at anyone because as I keep saying I was a flesh eater myself. But, enlightenment takes time and not everyone can be Caryn Hartglass who figured it out at 14 years old. OK, my third costume and then we can go on to some other things about Halloween, is Leonardo da Vinci. Born in 1452, this Renaissance Man was famous for his study in mathematics. Again, mathematics. Anatomy, engineering, art, sculpture, and aerospace. His vegetarianism has been credited to reading about the life of Pythagoras. He said, “My body will not be a tomb for other creatures.” OK so those are three pretty cool costumes there for your vegan Halloween party.
Caryn: Gary, you missed the best one.
Gary: Oh, I’ve got more I’ve got lots more.
Caryn: What about Frankenstein? That’s such a popular Halloween costume. How many people knew Frankenstein was vegetarian?!
Gary: Yes I was going to end with Frankenstein but I’m glad you brought it up because…
Caryn: Oh, I’m sorry.
Gary: No! Frankenstein was a vegetarian and Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein was a vegetarian. She’s famous for that work. She was a practicing vegetarian. She made the famous monster of her classic tone a plant-eater and wrote for him that, “My food is not that of man, I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut my appetite. Acorns and berries afford my sufficient nourishment.” In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the monster’s name is not Frankenstein, it is the Monster. Frankenstein was the doctor so that’s a common thing. But, we all call the monster Frankenstein. Anyway, that’s cool. Yes, Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley the author was vegetarian who was…he wrote a book called A Vindication of Natural Diet. Where he challenged meat eaters to “tear a living lamb with his teeth and plunging his head into it’s vitals, slake his thirst with the steaming blood.” So he told everyone, “Hey, if you really want to eat meat go ahead and grab a lamb and bite into it and stick your face in the guts and tell me how you feel about it.”
Caryn: Yes, because we really can’t do that. Halloween is a fantastic metaphor for real life.
Caryn: Because, one example…we think about zombies and The Walking Dead. Most people today are the walking dead. They’re in a trance. They’re socialized and hypnotized to believe in a myth, to believe in a false dream. They’re zombies!
Gary: Exactly. No, and more so now than ever. I mean, you and I live in New York City and we often walk down…well we walk because we don’t have a car, and most of the time now we spend in addition to dodging cars trying to run us down in the intersection, people staring at their phones walking on the sidewalk. They literally bump into you and don’t say excuse me. As a matter of fact, I’ve had several people get upset with me for not moving out of their way when they were staring at their phone. To me that’s very zombie-like. It’s very spooky. You don’t really need costumes, you just need to go out on the street and watch what people are doing and many of them are in this as you said, in this catatonic state. They’re just somewhere else, they’re not in the moment.
Caryn: I also want to talk about monsters because the monster in the story Frankenstein really was not an evil being. We perceive many people are monsters who may have physical issues that are not normal and they may not look pleasant to us and we think of them as monsters and it’s really a terrible thing on our parts to judge people that way. Then there are some very attractive looking people, or not so attractive but people that look normal to us that are terrific monsters and do really terrible things. That’s part of this crazy trance that we’re in. We’re perceiving everything backwards, or flipped.
Gary: Exactly. And that’s an interesting word, normal. Because what we perceive as normal is, well it’s flesh on our plates is normal. Really, when you step back and take a look at it it’s not normal. It’s like saying I’m only going to love my dog or my cat but I’m going to eat a cow and a lamb and a chicken and a duck and a fish. Interesting.
Caryn: Yes. I’m going to digress a little but it’s kind of related. That is I’ve been recommending this film for people to watch called Prosperity. There’s a link to it on our website, responsibleeatingandliving.com. It’s a wonderful film and I interviewed the filmmaker Pedram Shojai. He’s also authoring this course that goes with the film, which is A Road Map To Prosperity. He interviews a lot of wonderful people and I think that it was all offered for free and I think the program’s done now. A lot of people do this now where they offer a number of things, interviews and things for no cost that you can watch. Like most of us, we don’t have the time to watch it when it’s being offered so you can purchase the package. I was only able to watch one video, but it blew me away. I just wanted to share some of the thoughts. It was an interview with Lynne Twist who wrote a book called, The Soul of Money. In Halloween we talk about souls too, ghouls and souls and muhahaha.
Caryn: The concept she had that I really loved and I can connect it to Halloween, I can connect it to everything. She mentioned a number of things. Number one, we’re all socialized to be consumers today, not citizens. Consumers only think about buying more and having more and citizens think about nurturing our entire community.
Gary: Oh, beautiful.
Caryn: When it comes to Halloween, we’re major consumers. Not just for all the cheap candy that people will buy. And I want to talk about cheap candy soon too and vegan candy and all kinds of candy but we’ll get to that, I hope. But, they’re also buying a lot of cheap costumes, poorly made for that moment of consuming rather than taking the time to really do something fun and maybe be creative and make your own costume. But, we’re consumers, we’re not citizens. She also talked about the concept of money. Now I’ve said many times on this show that I think capitalism is awful and it’s dumb and we need to come up with something better. But she talked about how money originally was designed to help everyone. To equalize all of the goods that we might have because when you’re bartering and you only have one thing to sell, it’s harder to get all the other things you need. So money was like a leveling field so everybody could purchase what they needed. But, it’s gotten so out of hand with banks and stocks and all kinds of things that now it’s flipped where money actually makes the disparity even greater. She talks about that.
Gary: What the name of this film?
Caryn: The film is by Pedram Shojai, Prosperity.
Gary: What’s the name of this…oh Prosperity.
Caryn: The film doesn’t talk about this woman, but The Road Map To Prosperity which is a course that Pedram Shojai offers, he interviews this woman. Her name is Lynne Twist and she has a book and a website called The Soul of Money.
Gary: That’s amazing. That’s a really cool twist.
Caryn: Yes, and she talked about how she got into the work that she’s in because she wanted to help the hungry. Through her work she learned that OK we’ve got a billion people on this planet who are starving and most of them are children. How does that happen? Nobody wants that to happen. At the same time, we have a very small number of people that have most of the wealth in this world and a lot of them aren’t even happy. She talked about a different kind of hunger- a hunger of the soul. Where people are not happy because what brings happiness, what brings good feelings? It’s not a momentary pleasure like a chocolate bar. It’s doing good things. It’s being generous. It’s sharing. It’s being of service.
Gary: Exactly. I know that every time I feel like I don’t want to help anyone. You know how you go through times during your week or your month and there are days where you say, “Oh gee I just don’t feel like doing anything for anybody anymore.” You feel so horrible after you say that to yourself. Then I turn right around, whenever I feel that way, and try and do something and try to be of service to someone. It always lifts it and turns it around to make me feel terrific. I agree with what you’re saying. It’s really what it’s all about- to be of service.
Caryn: We all have these moments- some more than others. I have something that I think is really fun. When I find myself really negative and I’m walking to streets of New York City for example and I’m looking at everybody I’m getting really judgmental. My inner voice is saying, “Look at that person. Look at that person.” What I like to do is imagine everyone as blobs of light.
Caryn: It’s a really fun exercise because it takes away what people are wearing, what size they are, what they look like, what they’re doing. I just try to imagine everyone as blobs of light and then thinking positively about all that energy. It works for me.
Gary: That’s great.
Caryn: But lets talk about candy. I wanted to talk about…
Gary: Let’s talk about food yes…let’s talk about Halloween food. Candy is a good place to start!
Caryn: When I was young and I would go trick or treating we lived in a development where a lot of kids were there and we all walked around unescorted by our parents because back in the day that happened. Nobody was worried about kids getting abducted or whatever. We walked around, we had our bags, we knocked on everybody’s doors. When we got the Hershey bar, that was a score. Everything else was just not as good. You would judge the homes by the candy that they gave.
Gary: Yes, that was happening coast to coast because we were doing the same thing out here in California. And you grew up on Long Island.
Caryn: What a terrible thing to judge people based on the candy they give.
Gary: Yes. We used to have people give us walnuts. Like walnuts in the shell because we lived near a walnut orchard. And I thought that was like the low end of what we’re talking about. That was like don’t go to the and I’ll just make up a name- don’t go to, and I’ll just make up a name, don’t go to the Johnson’s house they’re giving walnuts. But, go to The Smith’s house they’re giving Hershey bars!!
Caryn: Yes. And we have since learned that Hershey bars are not really the high end of chocolate. Hershey has a really bad reputation of using cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast where child slaves are used to harvest the beans. Now there’s a creepy Halloween story for you, child slaves helping to make chocolate.
Gary: Child slaves in your Hershey Bar. Well we did a lovely piece at responsibleeatingandliving.com that’s still up on our site about chocolate. I recommend to our listeners- check that out because you’ll learn everything you need to know about chocolate today and so much more from that piece.
Caryn: So now lets talk about candy. We’re talking about candy.
Gary: I’m looking at a list by our friends at Veg News who we love and they have a great list that they published in January of 2017- the Veg News Guide to Vegan Halloween Candy. I’m surprised how many of these candy’s are vegan because I didn’t start eating candy again…I haven’t eaten it in a while. This is really exciting. Did you know that, this was one of my all time favorite candy’s as a kid, chick-o-stick. I don’t know if anyone’s had it, it’s like a toffee and it’s wrapped in or it’s rolled in some kind of crunchy sugary peanut buttery…
Gary: Crunchy peanut butter bars and gemstones and mint twist- I mean there’s this whole list there. Check it out. It’s vegan candy. Because a week from today you’re going to be having trick or treaters at your door and what are you going to give them? Are you going to give them something that’s cruelty free? And be ironic. Or are you going to go ahead and give them something that’s not. Oh, cliff bars! Now that would be a great…cliff bars would be a cool…
Caryn: Clif bars are good.
Gary: You’d probably get labeled as the health…the apartment that gives healthy food, don’t go there. Go to the apartment next door, they’re giving you Hershey bars. That’s kind of a cool idea. I never thought of that. What do we give a lot? Oh yes, we give really cool dark chocolate bars from different companies that make dark chocolate.
Caryn: Yes. You know what I would give today? You know what I would give out today Gary?
Gary: What would you give? Walnuts. No I’m kidding.
Caryn: Ginger chews.
Gary: Oh, ginger chews!!
Caryn: They’re my favorite candy.
Gary: What’s the other name? That’s our favorite candy.
Gary: Oh, I just saw the ginger people make ginger chews for Trader Joe’s. But they also make Arjuna ginger bars, crystallized ginger, Gin-Gins double strength hard ginger candy, Gin-Gin hot chocolate chewy ginger candy, Gin-Gin’s original chewy ginger candy, Gin-Gin’s peanut PEANUT chewy ginger candy.
Caryn: Oh my god.
Gary: Gin-Gin spicy apple chewy ginger candy. I mean the list goes on. Yes, we love ginger chews. Let’s give those out. But we’re not going to be invited to anyone’s Halloween party. We’re here in California and nobody will invite us because they don’t want the vegans. I’m kidding. We have to make our own Halloween party.
Caryn: I think having a Halloween party especially for children is probably the better way to go than the old fashioned way of trick or treating.
Gary: Right. Right. Oh you know what? I’m interrupting you but there’s also this chocolate one called Melk- M-E-L-K, Melk chocolate bars. Have you heard of them? They’re vegan but they’re made with plant milk. So, for those of you who want plant…for those of your who want milk chocolate, there is a M-E-L-K chocolate bars. Check those out.
Caryn: Well we like to buy, we like to buy Sjaak chocolate which is made in Petaluma, California. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing it right but it’s S-J-A-A-K and they also call some of their chocolate “melk” chocolate M-E-L-K.
Gary: Right. And that’s what I used to call milk until you made me aware of how it said milk and now I’m self-conscious about that and I try to say “miiiiiilk.” Hey, but speaking of Halloween parties, speaking of Halloween parties- we have a GREAT Halloween party at the responsibleeatingandliving.com website. The Swinging Gourmets and Happy Halloweening. Hahahaha. When I looked at it I can’t help but laugh.
Caryn: Yes, come over to our website at our house and join our Halloween party cause it’s really fun and we have some great recipes for Halloween if you’re going to have a Halloween party.
Gary: Yes, so our Halloween party is a cheese fondue made with cashew cheese which is EXCELLENT. This cheese fondue recipe that we have is excellent. We serve it with all kinds of little dipping things like we do some fingerling potatoes, and we…
Caryn: FINGERLING, FINGERING potatoes….
Gary: Yes. Exactly.
Caryn: It’s supposed to be creepy, right? Underline finger-ling.
Gary: Yes. Fingerling potatoes. But the cheese itself. You know, the common thing that we always hear and we talk about it all the time when I’m on your show and I’m sure you have other guests who talk about it- is that when we talk to people about going plant based or going vegan- the one thing that they say is, “I can’t give up cheese.” “I could never give up cheese.” Well I want to tell you. This is a great way to start. You can give up cheese. I was a big cheese hound as well. Now the plant based cheeses are getting so amazing and wonderful out there that you can buy. You can start by making it at home. Now, we have so many great recipes and it’s really easy- all you need is a very powerful blender to make this cheese fondue that we have. It’s cashew cheese fondue. And a stove and a pot to boil it in until it thickens. And we don’t use any oil. Because a lot of the cheeses out there on the market- the vegan cheeses and the plant-based cheeses they use a ton of oil to simulate animal fat. Because that’s what cheese is, it’s congealed fat with some rotting flavor. Remember that first time you ever ate blue cheese or Limburger cheese and you smelled Limburger cheese and it smelled like. And then you sort of forced yourself to like it because everybody else way? And what you’re smelling is rotting, rotten milk. M-I-L-K.
Caryn: You know the oil also helps cheese melt.
Gary: Right. And so when you think about it…but the flavors that we do like about cheese is cashew cheese fondue which we use a little miso in, a little nutritional yeast, we use mostly cashews and a little millet flour for a little thickening. It’s not even starch, it’s flour. And it’s millet so it’s gluten free. It’s just a great recipe and…
Caryn: And there’s a special secret ingredient in it isn’t there Gary?
Gary: The secret ingredient is love.
Caryn: No! It has beer in it doesn’t it?
Gary: Oh yes. Yes you could add beer to it. Or if you don’t like the flavor of beer maybe you want, maybe you want it to be more like an actual fondue then you can add some wine to it and I think the wine that people us in fondue varies so get your favorite fondue recipe out and look at what wine they use in that. Then just add a little bit to this cashew cheese fondue and then don’t add any turmeric to make it yellow- just keep it a white cheese and you got yourself an actual Swiss fondue.
Caryn: Mm, yummy.
Gary: Leave out the pepper and turmeric and just add a bit of your favorite wine and you’ve got yourself a fondue. The key ingredient is love because there’s nothing harmful about this. No one’s being harmed and it’s a good fat, not a bad fat. The things that you dip in it, like I said we use fingerling potatoes, we use our tofu Marsala recipe, we also bake some tortillas. You can pour this right over a big stack of tortilla chips and you’ve got yourself some instant nachos. Throw some peppers on top and you’ve favorite plant based meat and have a party.
Caryn: Now we also added another fondue in our Halloween fondue party. Chocolate fondue and it’s the easiest thing!
Gary: That’s a great recipe. Really great recipe.
Caryn: It’s the easiest thing.
Gary: There’s an instructional video on how you make it. Caryn is there on screen teaching you how. It’s not one of these really fast, quick cut, trendy food videos out there where you know, you see it and the effects. This is like old school cooking show where Caryn gives you step by step instruction. It’s so refreshing to see that now. I re-watched a lot of our food shows. The trend now is to do this 60 seconds and you see everything happen in front of you. But if you really just want to relax and listen to Caryn talk and I mean, it’s almost like watching Sesame Street when I watch Caryn, I just get so relaxed and just kind of I chill out and all of this tension and anxiety leaves and I’m like this is nice. What a nice cooking show this is. The chocolate fondue, you call it a ganache. It’s true. When you put it into the refrigerator you can make truffles out of this stuff. It’s so good. I love it. If I was eating chocolate I would want to make them right now but I’m not. The things that we dip in the chocolate fondue are things that you would dip like cookies. We make these great human biscotti- human fingers biscotti shaped like human fingers which I think is ironic and fun. We put marshmallows. You know there’s lot of vegan marshmallows out on the market now. There’s Dandies, that’s a classic. What are some of the other ones?
Caryn: I think Trader Joe’s even has a vegan marshmallow.
Gary: Trader Joe’s has a vegan marshmallow. Hard to find vegan, here’s something interesting- it’s hard to find vegan graham crackers. But that would be- we have a recipe for them on our site. That would be a search. If you find them out there, let us know where you get them because they’re fun to dip in this chocolate fondue. And the biscotti recipe that Caryn has is gluten free and you don’t have to shape them into fingers but it’s fun to do for Halloween. These are the traditional biscotti that Caryn makes and sends to her sister Lori because October is Lori’s birthday. That’s how we started making these. Remember, before Responsible Eating and Living…
Caryn: Yes. I want to say also that these biscotti are addicting. You can’t eat just one.
Gary: Yes. And there’s a little drink that we make too. Prosecco and we use a little green juice and we pour a little green juice at the bottom of a champagne flute then we add some Prosecco and it’s really kind of fun. It’s a green bubbly drink. You can obviously do that with sparking water if you don’t want to drink any Prosecco. I wouldn’t suggest giving the kids Prosecco because it’s got alcohol in it. But there are other things out there that are non-alcoholic that you can add green juice to. I have a question for you Caryn.
Caryn: Yes sir.
Gary: What’s…a lot of misconceptions about sugar. For example, what are your thoughts on sugar and diabetes?
Caryn: Yes that’s a really good question. So, I don’t want to put the kibosh on Halloween and candy, but sugar is a processed food and it really has no nutritional benefit. For many people, it’s addicting. It can be more addictive than cocaine. So sugar has a lot of issues. And, sugar is a processed food like I said, but there are other sweeteners too that are almost as evil as white sugar. Evaporated cane juice, which is what we always use- is a vegan version of sugar, because charred animal bones aren’t used in the process to filter the sugar and make it white. But, honey and maple syrup and brown rice syrup and coconut sugar- these are all sweeteners and if you have a tendency towards being an addict, you will really have adverse effects by consuming any of these sweeteners. OK. It’s interesting about sugar and diabetes because the latest research, if you read Dr. Fuhrman’s book, The End of Diabetes, or you listen to some of the Forks Over Knives information with T. Colin Campbell and his son Dr. Tom Campbell- they talk about how diabetes is really caused by eating animal flesh and animal fat. And the fat kind of coats our cells and makes it harder for the sugar in our blood to get into the cell to nourish the cell. Because ultimately, we nourish ourselves on things like glucose. But they can’t get into the cell and so they stay in the blood and the reek all kinds of havoc and they did some crazy study decades ago. Curing people, I think it was diabetes, I forget now- by feeding them rice and sugar. Some crazy unhealthy diet. But, when you eliminate the real problem sources which is lots of saturated animal fat and animal protein, you can solve a lot of ills. Not all, because sugar is not a healthy food. So, you might solve some problems in the short term but you don’t want to eat a lot of sugar.
Gary: I thought that was very interesting how the animal fat and the saturated fat coat the cells and don’t allow the sugar to do what it’s supposed to do and that’s really what reeks most of the havoc. Yes, sugar is not a good food, but it’s not food really. It’s like you said, a drug. But, I thought that a lot of problems can be solved by eliminating animal fat from your diet. Animals from your diet. So thank you for that.
Caryn: Yes, it’s just back to the irony of Halloween where everyone’s collecting all this candy and eating all this candy, Halloween we think about all these spooky figures- The Walking Dead, the dead, there’s a focus on death. Then we’re collecting all these candy’s that will speed up our own demise.
Gary: Yes. That’s like you said, it’s a metaphor for what goes on. For the bill of goods that we’re constantly sold as humans here by a small group of people that control all of the money. Again, it’s all connected. To live responsibly, which is why we call our organization Responsible Eating and Living, the responsible part of that is to just be aware of how we’re being swindled. It’s not something new now with this present administration like everybody is all of the sudden up in arms about it. “Oh this guy wants to swindle us.” Well yes he’s a crook, but so are all of them. There’s nothing good about someone who stands in front of us and says we’re going to solve all your problems because no one can do that for you. You’ve got to do it for yourself. I found out a long time after, I found out as an adult and again, my one regret is not finding out sooner. But once you’re enlightened, I’m not attempting to sound smug or even better than thou or holier than thou, because that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about if I could see the light and make this switch and feel tremendous after doing it, I want everyone else to as well because feeling that kind of power that you have over life and over the constant barrage of hucksters out there trying to sell you things only because they want your money and nothing else. That’s really a great feeling of empowerment. That’s why Responsible Eating and Living is a non-profit. We’re here to give you the truth. Get as close as we can to the truth and we want you to know that you have a place to go. We’re going to advertise all the fun stuff too- the treats, Halloween shows, etc. But just know that it should be viewed as a treat and not a daily activity. When I see a sugar shop opening now like these candy stores that are all over the place. And see these little kids in there and parents are standing there going, “Oh yes, buy a pound of that and buy a pound of this…” Because we want you to have a happy childhood. It’s also like saying to them we want to speed up your demise. So, I don’t know if it’s moderation that I’m after here because I don’t think moderation is necessarily a word that I would use anymore either. But once in a while a treat is great. Like once in a while I have a treat and the next day now I feel it. If I eat candy the night before, if I eat candy and then I wake up it feels like I have a hangover because I haven’t eaten candy. If I have salt now. I mean, if I go to a restaurant and they salt their foods, I wake up and I feel like I’ve been partying all night. It’s the strangest thing, it just knocks your body out. You’re swollen and your eyes are…you have bags under your eyes. It’s just the thing that foods do to you that we. Before I became aware of all this, I would just eat every single day, 365 days a year. I’d go through bottles and bottles and bottles of olive oil thinking that olive oil is good for me. Olive oil is not good for you. If you want the taste of olive oil, just eat an olive. Have a blender handy. The same thing with salad dressings made with oil. It’s not good for you, it’s just not I don’t care what kind of oil it is, I don’t care if you buy the oil from Spain or wherever it is and it’s got this fancy label on it. It’s still just oil. If you want a rich, oily dressing take that powerful dressing again, take some sunflower seeds, put some vinegar in there, throw in a little miso, add a garlic clove, a little ground pepper, you don’t need any salt because the miso is salty enough, and throw in your favorite herbs and spices and water and blend that stuff up to a creamy dressing and throw it on your salad. You have that richness of the oil but you also have the fiber which is incredible important for you because we all want to do that one thing every morning, that I won’t get graphic about but that’s that bowel movement. We all want to have that bowel movement.
Caryn: Mooooovement. I always like to talk about that.
Gary: And they get easier with the more fiber you eat they get much easier. So try to put as much fiber in your diet as possible. And good fiber, not bad fiber. What is a bad fiber anyway? Cardboard? Yes, don’t eat any cardboard.
Caryn: Good fiber or a bad fiber? I’m not a fiber at all!
Gary: Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
Caryn: Gary I wanted to talk about costumes a little bit before we go, we have about ten minutes left. I was thinking about…
Gary: Oh good, I still have some great costumes.
Caryn: Because more and more the clothing and the looks people have today look like they’re dressed up for Halloween.
Gary: Yes, that’s interesting.
Caryn: What makes Halloween any different from any other day of the week?
Gary: Well, yes I mean the guy that’s now going around calling himself The President of the United States- he kind of looks like a clown with a big red tie. Have you seen The New Yorker cover? Oh, I saw a picture of it. We’re not home to get our New Yorker magazine but everybody needs to go online and look at this week’s New Yorker cover. It’s hysterical. It’s hysterical. And scary and spooky. And I’m only going to say that I’m not going to tell you what it is. But, it’s pretty cool. And I saw it online. Have you seen it?
Caryn: I haven’t.
Gary: Oh it’s pretty cool. It’s very cool.
Caryn: I can’t wait.
Gary: Anyway…but yes…
Caryn: I’m thinking in terms of costumes.
Gary: Well his costume is pretty freaky.
Gary: That big red tie.
Caryn: Yes. I’m just thinking about how people color their hair today in cartoon primary colors and secondary colors, not natural human hair colors but primary and secondary colors. Some various shades that aren’t the natural human hair colors. And the clothes that we tend to wear and the jewelry and the makeup. Some of it is really costume-like today.
Gary: Yes, tattoos!
Caryn: And then there are tattoos.
Gary: Tattoos are really big now. I remember going out on Halloween and putting on a fake tattoo was like a sign that you were a motorcycle rider and that was a really cool costume. You were branded with some kind of, some kind of rebel if you wore a tattoo. And today it’s perfectly normal.
Gary: I don’t know how I feel about that. I don’t think I have a problem with it and I think it’s OK I just wonder where we’re going with that. I guess body art and decorating yourself. So again, I say be ironic and if you really want to scare people, go as a human!
Gary: Go as someone who’s just walking around staring at their phone. That’s terrifying. A lot of the things that are going on now that I find myself doing that I know a lot of us are doing, is very reminds me of Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros where everyone is turning into rhinoceros’s. There’s this one guy who says, “I refuse I will not participate, I will not be a rhinoceros.” And that’s the end of the play. It’s brilliant and it’s so current today. And I know he wrote it about Fascism. He was anti-fascist as I am. We’re in that world again. Or have we ever left? Maybe that’s it. Maybe we’re now being made aware that it’s never gone away. Like racism, it’s never gone away.
Caryn: I think that’s it Gary. It’s just never gone away and now we’re all aware of it because of the internet and social networking. We really can see ourselves as we really are. I want to know Gary what are you going to be for Halloween?
Gary: What’s that?
Caryn: What are you going to be for Halloween?
Gary: I want to go back to my childhood and be a Beatnik. Maynard G. Krebs was really cool when I was growing up. Remember 51:06 ?
Caryn: Oh yes.
Gary: I’m writing a play called Bad Hemingway by the Bay, which you are also involved with and I’m really into the spoken word again and the spoken word underscored by jazz and bongos and things like that. It’s a really cool play that I want everyone out there listening to come and see it. But anyway, I think I’m going to re-visit my inner Maynard G. Krebs thanks to Scott Knaster for posting a picture on my Facebook feed of you and I as beatniks. So, I think I’d like to go as a beatnik. Or I’ll go as, here’s another costume that I think would be really cool, Gandhi. Gandhi was trained as a lawyer. He terms the civil disobedience to lead a forceful for Indian independence. One of his most powerful mentors was the Jain philosopher Rajchandra who stressed Ahimsa or extreme acts to avoid violence to living things. Gandhi wrote that, “To my mind, the life if a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.” Cool. And George Bernard Shaw is another vegetarian that would be a fun costume and his influence again was Shelley. Through the economics of saving money on food during his lean years he is most famous for saying, “Animals are my friends and I don’t eat my friends.” And finally, who we just lost Dick Gregory who is known for his humor and political activism. Even entering the 1968 Presidential race. He was a student of Gandhi and wrote Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet For Folks Who Eat in 1974. He wrote that, “Martin Luther King taught us all non-violence. I was told to extend non-violence to the mother and her calves.” What a great way to end my costume rant.
Caryn: Yes. Beautiful.
Gary: So there’s a lot of really cool things that we can do out there as activists and as vegans or if you call yourself a plant-based dieter or if you call yourself a vegetarian or if you call yourself a compassionate human who thinks that all living things on this Earth deserve to do just that and live. There’s a lot we can do on Halloween that will continue our activism work. And don’t forget that at Responsible Eating and Living we have lots of great recipes. I remember you just read something to me about one of your, I don’t know if she was a listener but she wrote on one of your blogs which her daily blog is really awesome. I really want to encourage everyone out there to read it. It’s really cool. You get comments all the time and this one comment was, “Where do I start with tofu? How do I make tofu?” Go to Responsible Eating and Living and make our Baked Tofu recipe, that’s a perfectly wonderful place to start and it’s so easy. You just need tofu, and a couple ingredients and an oven and I think you’ll be sold.
Caryn: Yes and we eat it all the time and it pairs very nicely with baked potato fries where you can use yellow or sweet potato or any potato you like. Everybody likes fries. Fries that are baked and not fried are even better I think than French fries.
Gary: And now let me ask you the same question Caryn. What are you going to go as this year for Halloween?
Caryn: Well if you’re going to be a beatnik I’ll probably be one but I’m thinking maybe I could go as a compassionate vegan.
Gary: Hey! That’s even better. A compassionate vegan beatnik.
Caryn: Hahahahaha. Yes, something like that.
Gary: I think we’re on to something here.
Caryn: Yes and have my trick or treat bag filled with walnuts.
Gary: Ahhhahaha. Hey and don’t forget, Albert Einstein was supposedly a vegetarian even though a lot of people argue about that.
Caryn: No no no no, that’s a myth
Caryn: Yes that’s a myth. He did say some wonderful things about, there are some great quotes attributed to him about not eating animals but his second wife prepared all kinds of meals for him and they had plenty of flesh in them.
Gary: NO! Boooo
Gary: What about Jonathan Safran Foer. He’s that author of that great book Eating Animals, which we’ve read. Is he still vegan or?
Caryn: I don’t think so. I don’t want to pass judgement but he wrote a very brilliant book. It was very honest and intimate. He talked about how he struggled with making the choice. The argument seemed very powerful to be vegan but it’s hard for people. It’s hard for people in social situations, raising children. We’ve gotten this obsession with eating animal products.
Gary: With eating flesh.
Caryn: Yes. Gary we’ve got just like a few seconds left so we need to rap up this spooky program.
Gary: Okay, well I think that eating flesh is, eating flesh is scary, so every day is Halloween in my world now.
Gary: There’s a lot of flesh eating going on out there. I know that it’s difficult to change but it can happen.
Caryn: So here’s the message we want not only to tune in love during this hour, but think about Halloween as a way to change. A way to change and put love into Halloween rather than making it another day to do more trance like zombie like things that aren’t good for you and aren’t good for the planet and aren’t good for your family. Eat some of these wonderful things that we’ve put together at responsibleeatingandliving.com. And wear some costumes that kind of reflect something really positive.
Gary: Yes and brush your teeth because that stuff reeks havoc on your teeth.
Caryn: Don’t forget to brush your teeth! All right thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food, Gary!
Transcribed by Adella Finnan 11/8/2017