Interviews with Ani Phyo and Richard Schwartz



Ani Phyo
15-Day Fat Blast

Ani Phyo is a premier celebrity raw food chef who has appeared on numerous TV shows, including Travel Chanel’s Bizarre Foods. The author of six books, including Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen and Ani’s Raw Food Asia, she is also host of the online video series “Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen Show.” She lives in Los Angeles.


Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
Who Stole My Religion?

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D, is Professor Emeritus, Mathematics, College of Staten Island; President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA); and co-founder and coordinator of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV). He is best known as a vegetarian activist and advocate for animal rights in the United States and Israel. His writings inspired the 2007 documentary film, A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Heal the World, directed by Lionel Friedberg. His latest book, Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet, can be read in the eBook form FREELY at



Caryn Hartglass: Hello I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to “It’s All About Food.” Hi! How are you doing on May 9th 2012? I’ve got a real interesting show for you today and I can’t wait to get started. But, first, I want to let you know what’s going on in my real world, is my non-profit website—lots of great information there. We are going to be attending a number of events this weekend. The Brooklyn Food Conference, if you’re in the New York area, they are expecting thousands of people. There will be over 150 workshops and I’m going to be in two of them. I’ll be at the Corporate Power Diet and Animal Agriculture Workshop from 12:30 – 1:45 p.m., and the Women, Feminism and the Use of Animals for Food from 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. It’s going to be a great event and I’m just excited to know that there will be all these people that are really interested in healthy food for our own personal health, the health of our family, the health of the planet. I think there will be a lot of innovative, creative ideas there. I may not agree with all of them, but I think, for the most part, we’re all aligned on a lot of similar issues, that we want our food pure, clean, nutritious, organic, primarily locally grown, fresh…and it’s great that we can all come together and support each other. I can’t wait to feel the energy this weekend at that event. And, then, at the end of the month, the Veggie Pride Parade May 27th! And, I will be giving one of the pep talks that are going on during the day. That’s going to be a really fun event May 27th in Manhattan! Check out the website is and the Brooklyn Food Conference is

Alright, so, let’s get really started here…I’m going to bring on my first guest, Ani Phyo, who is a premier celebrity, raw food chef. She has appeared on numerous TV shows including, Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, the author of six books including Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen and Ani’s Raw Food Asia. She’s also the host of the online video series, Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen Show, she lives in Los Angeles, we’re going to be talking about her latest book, Ani’s 15-day Fat Blast. Welcome to It’s All About Food, Ani!

Ani Phyo: Thank you so much Caryn! It’s really great to be with you. Thank you for having me.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I always enjoy talking to you, you always have that vibrant, happy energy.

Ani Phyo: Happy! Happy! What better state to be in than happiness!

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right and you know…I mean we know that our food has such a great connection to how we feel.

Ani Phyo: Absolutely, absolutely, when we’re eating the right foods, we’re actually nourishing our body, supporting us with vitamins and minerals, and all these great nutrients and enzymes, and amino acids and our body is actually being fed like rocket fuel instead of some low grade unleaded or something. That means we can hum like a well oiled machine. So, all those nutrients are orchestrating all the trillions of cells in our body and our brain to make clearer decisions and then we just feel better overall, because were healthier, more vibrant, stronger!

Caryn Hartglass: Does everybody just hear that energy coming out of her voice? It’s just jumpin’! And, when you read your book, the energy is just jumpin’ off the page!

Ani Phyo: {laughs}

Caryn Hartglass: {laughing} I mean that!

Ani Phyo: {laughing} Thank You!

Caryn Hartglass: I forgot to mention, if anyone wants to call in and ask any questions. I know raw food eating is kind of curious and popular with a lot of people. You can ask any questions you want, the number here is 1-888-874-4888. You can also send me an email at, I am plugged in right now and of course you can send me an email at any time during the show or during the week. Alright, so…the energy’s jumpin’ off the page here. Ya know, life is so challenging…everybody’s got stuff. It doesn’t matter what part of the economic continuum you’re on, we’ve all have our challenges, but life is so much easier to get through when we’re nourishing our bodies.

Ani Phyo: Absolutely, absolutely, because we’re not adding …basically when we nourish our bodies with the right foods and the right nourishment, then what we’re doing is decreasing nutritional stress. And, so, I always think of four different categories of stress. You know in life, as you said, we all have stress. Most of it is emotional stress, so we have responsibilities at work, to our families, just life. That’s all just normal, emotional stress. That’s one type of stressor. Then there’s environmental stress. I live in LA so there’s pollution in the air, there’s pollution in the water. There’s environmental toxins that come from out-gasing from the paint on our walls. We can’t really control that. To some degree, we can have plants in our environment. Another place that we get stressed is physical stress, so, when we exercise, that is actually good for our health, but it does release free radicals. So, those four categories of stressors when we exceed our amount that our body can take, is when we get sick. So, if we decrease the amount of stress we put on our bodies by choosing different foods that are healthier, that don’t take as much energy to breakdown, that are more familiar to the body, that give us vibrant vitamins, minerals, all that kind of stuff, it actually also saves us energy, decreases stressors and also decreases the toxic load, but also nourishes our body and makes it stronger. Then we can, actually, take on more of those other stressors in life before we get sick.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, and they may not even seem like stresses when our bodies are nourished.

Ani Phyo: Absolutely. When I first discovered raw foods, the thing that made me just flip 100% was that I, immediately, with one meal—at dinner—I just realized, I noticed my mental clarity, my ability to focus. I got so much work done. I pulled an all-nighter for a presentation the next morning. I rocked it! The whole night thinking, “Oh, I’m going to have to go home and take a nap after.” Gave the presentation, it went off great and after I didn’t need to take a nap. I was so excited the presentation went well, the clients were happy and I felt really good! And, that’s when it really clicked, I was like “What was in that food?” That…

Caryn Hartglass: {laughing} Drugs!

Ani Phyo: …yeah, that it accomplished productivity and I don’t even need to sleep. I’m not saying that not sleeping is a good thing…

Caryn Hartglass: Exactly! We all need to sleep! That’ll get to you after a few days. Sleep is really important. You know, a lot of times when people say they’re tired, the first thing I ask them is if they’re getting enough sleep.

Ani Phyo: Exactly. And in today’s culture, coffee is so popular. Everybody grabs coffee. If we think about why we grab coffee and when we grab it, because we’re tired. So, if were like a battery, our battery is already depleted, it’s sort of hitting the red area, it’s not in the black, it’s in the red but, instead, we take in caffeine to trick ourselves into thinking we have energy that we really don’t have. And, so, we’re then further depleting that battery into like sub-red, like “Danger!” “Empty battery zone.” So, with raw foods, or, actually, even super foods, there are certain super foods…like… I like maca. So, if I do, do chocolate which has a little bit of caffeine, mostly theo-bromine, but a little bit of caffeine, I’ll couple that with maca. Maca is an adaptogen that will give us energy because it’s, actually, rebuilding our adrenal glands and making us stronger.

Caryn Hartglass: Hmm…

Ani Phyo: We, actually, feel energized because our body and our vitality is becoming stronger and that’s very different than tricking the body into thinking it has energy that it doesn’t have versus nourishing the body to be stronger, to feel more energetic because it is more energetic.

Caryn Hartglass: “Maca,” now where does it come from and where to people get it?

Ani Phyo: It comes from Peru, it’s from the Andes, and you can get it at any natural, health food store. It comes, usually, in a powder form. Sometimes in the supplement section a lot of times in the raw food section. And, it’s a tuber so it grows underground and it looks sort of like a small potato, they dry it, they grind it down. So, even though it’s processed, it’s just a whole food, that food is dried and ground into a powder, it’s then packaged. So we can put a teaspoon of it…actually some people start with a half teaspoon, you can go up to a tablespoon, but it’s an adoptogen. It strengthens our adrenal glands, it strengthens and balances our endocrine system, so it’s really wonderful for peri-menopausal, post-menopausal, hormonal balance. It’s, actually, known to be a natural “Viagra” for men.

Caryn Hartglass: Whoa! Let’s repeat that one! Natural “Viagra!” Maca powder! {laughs}

Ani Phyo: Exactly! You don’t need the pharmaceutical. You just get it from a whole foods, super food source! So, the reason that’s happening is that it’s increasing our overall vitality and health. So, when you become stronger and healthier, you, of course, become more vibrant. That’s why it would then act like a natural “Viagra.” It increases, whatever, everything, virility, vitality, just everything!

Caryn Hartglass: You know you mentioned at some point in your book, I remember reading , the cost of eating healthy and you really brought up some good points. It’s all perspective, how we see our life and what we’re spending money on. Not just in the moment, but in the future and you realize the value of eating healthy foods even if it may seem a little more expensive in the moment.

Ani Phyo: Absolutely. I think a lot of people, especially with the economic challenges that our economy, I think a lot of people have gone through some challenges and they’ve realized I may lose my health care. Or, it may be expensive to get my own health care. So, what can I do that’s actually preventative care. Or, how can I maintain my health so that I’m more healthy, less likely to get an illness or to pay for expensive health treatment. And, so you know, a good thing that has come out of all that, I think, is that people have decided to grow their own food, that’s the best thing ever…

Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely, yeah…

Ani Phyo: … have a garden…yeah, it’s wonderful! Even in Detroit, the citizens of Detroit, took over all the public land and grew…started growing farms and produce. How wonderful is that?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, urban agriculture is really exciting.

Ani Phyo: Yeah, it’s so great! They’re in control of their food supply and that is really the best way, anyway, because then if you think about most of the food we buy in the grocery store, it travels at least a week, if you think about it. Because, the farm has to pick it, they process it, they put it on a truck it travels to wherever they manufacture it or package it, it sits in a warehouse, and then it goes to the store and then we go to the store and we bring it home. When we grow our own food or, second best, even, going to a farmer’s market, that food is picked a few hours prior and it makes such a difference. When you go out in your yard and pick tomatoes and then use them right away. That is like liquid sunshine and life force energy that is so vibrant! Whereas, a tomato that may be in a store, may have been picked green and then gassed along the way because, they want it to stay fresh on the shelf longer. Right, so it’s not picked at the optimal time so, when we can’t choose local and seasonal, that is actually when the food is at the peak of its flavor, but, also, it’s nutritional profile gives us more for our money. We’re, actually, getting more.

Caryn Hartglass: Ok, so you wrote this book, Ani’s 15-Day Fast Blast, and a lot of people…this is the most popular topic: How to lose weight, feel good, and do it quickly and this is your solution. So, let’s talk a little bit about that and why you think it works.

Ani Phyo: I think it works because people have already been getting the book early and they’ve been posting to my fan page! To all my Facebook pages so I recommend that everyone go check it out, but the responses have been amazing! The biggest response I saw was someone lost 19 pounds in 15 days!

Caryn Hartglass: Wow!

Ani Phyo: Somebody else, just now, posted that they lost 15 pounds in 1 week! So, I was just confirming that. But, on average people are “yeah, I lost 6 pounds in the first 4 days.” It is already being proven that it does work. There’s tons of comments. So, I’m really excited about it!

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Ani Phyo: Ya know, when I develop a book, my testers, they test the book, but they’re already in the lifestyle, they sort of already have the flavors—they enjoy these flavors already. So, when you see people outside of the community—main street people—enjoying the recipes, liking the flavors and getting the results is really amazing. So, basically, what I’ve done is taken raw foods concept. So, if we eat whole foods that have no fillers, no empty calories, they’re just nutrient dense, we lose weight on accident without even trying.

Caryn Harglass: Right.

Ani Phyo: So, I just, basically, repackaged this concept of raw foods into a diet plan. It’s a 15-day diet plan with recipes, it has menu plans and it has shopping lists. I broke it into 3 phases. The first phase is all blended so it’s shakes, smoothies, soups and it’s really to get the body cleaned out, detoxified, immediately, in a quick 3 days. And then, the second part of the first week, the next 4 days, is phase 2. I’ve now taught the reader to add nutrient dense shakes and smoothies to really nutrify the body and to fill up on water and fiber and all these nutrients. And by the second phase, were adding on a salad, more salads in the middle of the day, still having the smoothies for breakfast and dinner and for snacks. By the end of the second week which are days 8-15, it’s a just raw food diet and, again, we’re still using the shakes to really nutrify the body to really bring dense nutrition into the body. What happens when we nutrify the body, my theory on obesity, is that when we eat empty calories, our body is actually starving for nutrition and 10 minutes later, 20 minutes later we grab for a bag of chips or some other snack and we keep eating and eating because the body’s…

Caryn Hartglass: The body’s hungry!

Ani Phyo: …yeah! The body is starving for nutrients.

Caryn Hartglass: Yep!

Ani Phyo: So, when we’re eating nutrient dense food, then we get satiated much earlier, more quickly and we don’t have to eat as much. So, that shows you the idea. Also, what I’ve discovered, identified and utilize are 4 basic components they’re types of ingredients. One is a thermogenic ingredient. Thermogenic ingredients actually accelerate metabolism and body fat burning so, one is chili. Capsaicin, comes from chili is the active ingredient that is found in diet pills.

Caryn Hartglass: Hmmm…

Ani Phyo: Now, I’m just using chili, because I’m not going to recommend that people take diet pills.

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Ani Phyo: We’re using chili, we’re using green tea, we’re using cacao which has a little bit of caffeine, mostly theo-bromine, things like that. Ginger…you know, pineapple has bromelain, which is an enzyme for burning…that decreases inflammation. So, I’m actually using ingredients that accelerate fat burning in different combinations. Another category is probiotics. Probiotics are really great for aiding in digestion, aiding in breakdown of food, assimilation and then elimination of toxins. Then another is prebiotics. All fruits and vegetables are, basically, prebiotics and they feed the probiotics.

Caryn Hartglass: Hmmm…

Ani Phyo: And then, the last category is medium-chain fatty acids. The only place that we can find medium-chain fatty acids is in butter and buttermilk or coconut oil. There have been numerous studies. All my facts here are cited. They’re all backed by scientific research, I’m really happy about that, that all these facts are backed up with research they’ve done, but medium-chain fatty acids actually help to burn belly fat. So, I’m, basically, combining ingredients from each of those four categories of foods in different ways throughout each of the three phases to synergistically increase fat burning and belly fat burning during that 15-day program.

Caryn Hartglass: That sounds pretty good! And it all tastes good, too!

Ani Phyo: Yeah! {laughing}.

Caryn Hartglass: So, one of my goals is to just get people to move along the food continuum. Eat less meat, eat less dairy and eat more fruits and vegetables and we’ll see so many benefits for that. I know many people have different fine points or specifics about plant-based diets and I’m probably more in line with your approach than with many others, but I just wanted to talk about some of them because people are always confused. I mean, for example, Dr. McDougall has a new book out called, The Starch Solution. And, Dr. Joel Furman, I’m a big fan of him, he focuses a lot on dark, leafy, green vegetables.

You mention Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn in your book, and he’s had a lot of success with heart disease, but do you know on his website, there was a lot of flack about this, recently, I just wanted to bring it up because I find it kind of amusing. He writes in his “question and answers” that he does not promote smoothies, he says avoid smoothies and he says not to juice and he tells people to avoid oil. I don’t agree…I don’t think he meant to say exactly what he is saying on his website. But, there was a lot of confusion on the internet a few months ago. I don’t know if you’ve caught it, but people were all kind of crazy because some people were saying, “ don’t have blended salads.”

Ani Phyo: Well…

Caryn Hartglass: I, personally, think they are very nutritious.

Ani Phyo: Yeah, I think it depends what the goal is. Some people will say, “don’t,” because they feel it, actually, weakens our digestive power…

Caryn Hartglass: Mmm, Hmm…

Ani Phyo: …basically, what we’re doing when we blend, is we’re allowing the blender to chew the food for us. So, that when we drink it, it decreases the stress that our body has to work to digest and break that food down. So, to do that now and again…if you’re just doing that all the time…forever….yeah, that would not be ideal. But, to add on a nutrient dense smoothie or shake in that manner, that’s what helps to, actually, make that food and those nutrients more easily assimilated into the body.

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Ani Phyo: And for something like a juice, as well, if somebody…this could get a little complicated…but if somebody has been eating a standard American diet for their whole lives, they could have a lot of mucoid plaque build-up in their digestive tract. It’s, literally, like having a rubber inner tube lining. Did you ever see the inside of your digestive tract?

Caryn Hartglass: Mmm… Hmm.

Ani Phyo: Imagine when you eat something, it’s struggling to break it down and then those nutrients may not be absorbed as easily because your tissue is covered in this mucoid plaque which is, actually, blocking absorption.

Caryn Hartglass: Ewww…{laughs}

Ani Phyo: That’s why detoxes are important and that’s why raw food is naturally detoxing because of all the fiber and the water. That’s why a lot of people will do detoxes at least once a year, if not once a season, to help—just overall—will break that down and then that means the foods we eat are easier to digest and breakdown and assimilate the nutrition from. So, if somebody has that, the juice, a green juice, is a wonderful way to bypass that mucoid plaquing to get those nutrients straight into the blood stream because there is no breaking down of that food, there’s no fiber.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m a total proponent of juice. I’ve been juicing everyday now for a long time and I really believe that I am here on this planet today because I’ve been juicing. It’s a great way to supercharge your immune system, no question about that.

Ani Phyo: Absolutely. I just love it. Sometimes, when I’m really starving—like I’ve been so busy, recently, promoting this new book—so there have been days that I cannot even think about what to eat and I’m, actually, really hungry I’ll just juice. I’ll grab, really quickly, all the vegetables in my fridge and I’ll juice a pint or two and I drink that and it’s amazing, but it’s satisfying and I get full, but then I don’t have to worry about malnourishment because I know I’ve gotten all of these nutrients into my body. To make just a pint of juice, that takes a huge bowl of vegetables and greens…

Caryn Hartglass: Yep!

Ani Phyo: … much more than we could eat.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right!

Ani Phyo: Wheatgrass juice. One ounce—one little shot of wheatgrass juice is so dense in minerals and vitamins, but I think it’s equivalent, isn’t it equal to is so equivalent to like 12 pounds of vegetables?

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, I don’t know the number, but it’s good. It’s just good!

Ani Phyo: Something ridiculous, like 12 pounds.

Caryn Hartglass: The thing is though, that most people, unfortunately, don’t like work. They don’t like cleaning up. I’m always saying that you’re worth it and it’s a gift to yourself to juice and then clean up afterwards. If you think that you are giving yourself something, the clean up doesn’t seem to problematic at least, in my opinion. But, with blending, and you have all these great recipes for blended salads and blended soups, how easy is that?

Ani Phyo: So easy, there’s no clean up. You just throw everything into the blender…

Caryn Hartglass: There’s no clean up, no!

Ani Phyo: …you blend it and then you rinse. So easy.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmm…Hmmm.

Ani Phyo: Yeah, and then I, actually, find that you just drink it. It’s just easier to just, actually, drink. People will find, too, especially on phase 1 and also on phase 2 of my 15-day plan, you, actually, have more time in your day. If you think about what it, actually, takes to go prepare food, and then plate it, sit down to eat it, it takes at least 20 minutes or half an hour. Instead, you’re just throwing everything into a blender, blending it in two seconds, and drinking it. That is just so much faster and with no clean up. It, actually, saves you a lot of time.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m…I kind of go down both paths…so I realize, I appreciate the value of being able to do something quickly and I know for a lot of people, that will help them eat better, but I also think it’s important to plate your food, do some beautiful presentations, sit down together with people you care about and enjoy the meal. Both of those are important.

Ani Phyo: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s really important, I think, to share food…and it’s always important to share food. That’s why I love food so much because it brings people together and your around the table, you’re all sharing food, breaking bread together, raw bread {laughs}, I find that, especially, in the beginning, so many of these wonderful raw food potlucks and things like that, they’ve really popped up everywhere and to have that community and support and then also inspiration. You go there and try someone else’s recipe and you’re like, “wow, that was so good, how did you make that?” It’s just so exciting because now you’re discovering all these new foods and tastes and textures. It just makes it a lot more fun when we’re sharing food with friends and family and community.

Caryn Hartglass: I just came back from Costa Rica and when I’m there I stay in a very undeveloped area and one of the things that I love about it is all of the fresh, tropical fruit. I just kind of really go nutty about it! You really realize, oh gosh, you know, I love technology, I love progress and development, but we really need to get some balance with it, because there’s just some things we’ve just forgotten. So, so many of our foods today, the processed foods, come so overly packaged. I love bringing a papaya, when I’m leaving Costa Rica, to the airport because it’s naturally packaged, I can sit down and cut it open, even with a plastic fork or something, it’s really easy to open up. You scrape the seeds out and you can eat it anywhere, it’s so satisfying, it’s fresh, it’s full of…it’s hydrated and yet it’s got some density to it. That’s my favorite airport food! {laughing}.

Ani Phyo: That’s awesome. That’s wonderful.

Caryn Hartglass: And then I brought some avocado with me and another papaya and it was funny because my friend and I were eating on the plane together on the way back to New York and everybody was really envious because they had these disgusting dry, packaged foods and we were having a feast! {laughing}.

Ani Phyo: Yeah, yeah, I never understood that either, because I was always taught that when we fly, that for every hour we fly, you want to consume about a liter of water.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmm…Hmm.

Ani Phyo: It’s already so dehydrating to be on an airplane and then they serve all this lifeless, dry food that’s not hydrating at all. So, that is the best thing, a papaya, things that travel really well. I always travel with cucumbers, celery…

Caryn Hartglass: Mmm…cucumber, good! Mmm…Hmm.

Ani Phyo: …jicama, apples, they all keep really well out of refrigeration, but they’re juicy and they give us that delicious hydration while we’re flying. It’s a great way to stay hydrated.

Caryn Hartglass: And, fortunately, or unfortunately, I don’t know, you have to eat it all before you get through Customs, because they won’t let you bring food into another country.

Ani Phyo: Oh, …right… well right…especially fruit.

Caryn Hartglass: Yep.

Ani Phyo: The fact of the bugs on it and stuff.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so raw food. I’m not telling people that they need to eat all raw food, but we definitely need to eat a lot of it and you should get to know your food. Apple, apples every day. Easy, pack easy. I don’t work in an office, but when I used, too, just bring in a big bag, you don’t have to refrigerate them. They’re there when you need them. Packaged, naturally, perfectly and they’re satisfying.

Ani Phyo: Exactly. That’s the whole theme. I think we’re all on the same page, we’re just encouraging everybody to chose directly from Mother Earth and avoid things that come from a factory or that are processed.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmm…Hmm.

Ani Phyo: So, like an apple, you just literally just pull it off the tree and it’s like that, or a cucumber…

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Ani Phyo: …or papaya or whatever. That’s it. It not even, necessarily, a matter of… I know some people hear the word, “raw,” and they get scared it’s not…I just think of the word “raw” as whole food straight from the planet just like we use raw lumber or raw stones to build a building.

Caryn Hartglass: It just seems the vocabulary that we have today just coming back to what already was. We have to find new words for. We call food that’s not treated with pesticides or herbicides we call it “organic.” If it’s treated with toxins, we call it “conventional.” How crazy is that?

Ani Phyo: So crazy. You know organic, I was shocked to learn about a year ago, that
“organic” means organic chemicals.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Ani, we have Eric from New Jersey who has a couple of questions. Eric, welcome to It’s All About Food.

Eric: Thank you. Thanks so much. I have a couple of questions. That was interesting what you guys were going to cover about the organic chemicals. There’s a ton of those. It’s been watered down like crazy, right?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Absolutely.

Eric: So, could you, if you have a moment, please cover how you prepare nuts? Do you soak them in hydrogen peroxide for particular parasites because you don’t know how long they’ve been laying around and then making smoothies out of them. Do you combine them, do you follow food combining laws like, nuts and oils and proteins are not good to combine with fruits, but they’re better with veggie smoothies. And, also, as far as combining the veggies and fruits together in the same smoothie or what not. I’ve heard it’s better so that you don’t spike your sugar high in the blood. Do you combine 60-40. 60 veggies and 40 fruits, but then there’s also the other side saying it’s not good to combine the fruits and veggies together…

Caryn Hartglass: Ok, Ani, what do you think?

Ani Phyo: Well, ideally, they say you should have everything separately. Now, for the fresh fruits and fresh veggies, you can combine them together. Different people have different outlooks on that so, if somebody has weaker digestion and they’re getting bloating and they’re having trouble with certain food combinations, it’s always best to just either mono-diet or stick with one category of food. So, yeah, then it would be just vegetables or it would be just fruits. Most people can mix fruits and vegetables. In an ideal world, if you want to be real extreme, they say it’s not best because you are mixing up the different digestive enzymes in the system. So that that may sort of put more stress and more wear and tear on the body.

I mix those things together and I don’t have a problem with it. I think where the issue comes in is that a protein, so something that’s a heavier fat protein which you had mentioned like a nut, and boy, all those fats they, actually, take sometimes take two hours to breakdown, digest and then leave the body. So if you’re eating a fruit that takes 20 minutes to breakdown like a cantaloupe or an orange…whatever. Anyways, besides, I always gravitate toward low glycemic fruit anyway, so they may take about 20 minutes-30 minutes to breakdown. If you eat a heavy nut first, and then eat a fruit, you can imagine the fruit is like a Ferrari that’s ready to pass through your system, but now it’s stuck behind a moving truck. This big truck that’s slowing going down the system. What happens is that, that sugar starts to breakdown, it starts to ferment, and it’s stuck and it can’t enter the body, it’s stuck behind the heavier protein. When things ferment, like when we pickle vegetables, that actually creates pressure, it creates gas and it creates bloating. A lot of times when people have trouble digesting, it is a lot of times due to food combining. I think, especially, when people start to first transition into a whole food diet, if they’re getting that kind of bloating, we should pay attention to the food combining.
In general, I, personally, don’t worry about it.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m with you there. I believe in keeping it simple, Ani. What you first said, originally, listen to your body. See how you feel. A lot of people have no problem at all combining fruits and vegetables and I give the body a lot of credit. I think it’s really smart and I think it knows how to handle protein, carbohydrate and fat all at the same time. But, if there’s some food that gives you a problem, then don’t eat it or don’t mix it with other things. It’s that simple.

Ani Phyo: Exactly. Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Ok. I think we’ve come to the end of our part here, Ani. Thank you so much for joining me. Thanks for writing 15-Day Fat Blast and thanks for making this world a better, happier place.

Ani Phyo: Oh, thanks to you, too, Caryn! It’s been lovely to speak with you.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, it has. And one day I will meet you somewhere and we’ll share a shake.

Ani Phyo: I would love that!

Caryn Hartglass: Ok, thank you. That was Ani Phyo, 15-Day Fat Blast. I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food and we’ll be right back with Richard Schwartz talking about Who Stole My Religion.


Transcribed by Gail Schriver 1/21/2013



Caryn Hartglass: Ok…we’re back and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. Next part, are you ready? I am going to bring on my guest, Dr. Richard Schwartz who is Professor Emeritus, Mathematics College of Staten Island, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and co-founder and coordinator of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians. He is best known as a vegetarian activist and advocate for animal rights in the United States and Israel. His writings inspired the 2007 documentary film, A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Heal the World, directed by Lionel Friedberg. His latest book, Who Stole My Religion: Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet can be read in the eBook form, freely, at . Welcome Dr. Schwartz to It’s All About Food.

Dr. Schwartz: Oh, thank you very much for that very kind introduction. Great to be with you.

Caryn Hartglass: I am so in awe of all the work that you have done to this point and I look forward to everything you are going to do in the future.

Dr. Schwartz: Thank you, thank you very much. You’re very kind.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, well, we’re both a bunch of kind people I think! {laughing}

Dr. Schwartz: Well, we try…

Caryn Hartglass: We do! Anyway, so you have this great new book out and I just wanted to say, this show is called It’s All About Food, and we have talked, before, on this show—you and I—about vegetarianism and how important it is for our health and for the environment, and how you, personally, apply the Jewish philosophy to the importance of being vegetarian. And, one of the things that I find, most people—I’m not going to say all—but most who move to eating plant foods, when they discover that they don’t need to kill animals to eat and to thrive and to live, it opens a whole new perspective about life and our planet and we start to realize more and more all of the exploitation that’s going on. All of the suffering, all the pain and it’s connected, I believe, to all kinds of issues on the planet, the environment, politics…everything that’s going on in the world.

Dr. Schwartz: That’s right…

Caryn Hartglass: And, you really hit on it in your book, Who Stole My Religion.

Dr. Schwartz: Well, thank you very much. You know we try…Of course, as you say, the switch to vegetarianism is so important—that’s more important than ever, today, as the world, is very unfortunately, rapidly approaching climate catastrophe, major scarcities of water, energy and food and it’s essential that religious groups get involved and it’s essential that everything possible by everybody be used to avoid these catastrophes. And…it’s also essential that there be a major switch to a vegetarian diet in order to have even a chance to reach a sustainable path.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, what I like about your message is, certainly, you are applying Jewish philosophies to the points you want to make, but these points apply to all of us. I’m not a religious person. I was raised Jewish and I like to celebrate the holidays for the songs and for the food and for the gathering of the families, but I don’t follow the religious protocol. And, there are many other religions on the planet, but these points you bring up are basic, moral, essential points, that really should be the foundation of all of our lives.

Dr. Schwartz: Well, absolutely. What I try to do, for example, in Judaism and Vegetarianism, is point out that there are six fundamental mandates that point to vegetarianism as the ideal diet for Jews and for everybody, because all religions are based upon compassion, sharing and justice. Anyway, I wanted to just, briefly, indicate that these six mandates are, and not, necessarily, in any special order, but to take care of our health, to treat animals with compassion, to be co-workers with God in protecting the environment, to conserve natural resources, to help hungry people, and to seek and pursue peace. And, there’s just one other point related to that. The two ideal times in the Jewish tradition are both pictured as being vegetarian periods, those are the Garden of Eden beginning in…

Caryn Hartglass: Hmmm.

Dr. Schwartz: …Genesis 129, God’s first dietary regime, it was strictly vegetarian. And…the ideal time that Jews yearn for, the Messianic Period, also considered to be vegetarian by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook, and others based on the powerful prophesy by Isaiah that, among other things, the wolf will dwell with the lamb, the lion will eat straw with the ox and no one shall hurt nor destroy in all of God’s holy mountain. So this is a challenge. I would love to get into a respectful debate on should Jews be vegetarians, should people in general, be vegetarians, but there’s a lot of denial out there, a lot of stonewalling and people just want to avoid the issues.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Well, we do welcome questions, if anybody has any comments or questions, the number is 1-888-874-4888. There’s so much going on, especially, with the Internet today—lots of information. Some of it’s great, some of it not so great. And the thing that frustrates me the most, is so many people gravitate towards information that gets them all red in the face and all fired up and it’s very misconstrued and it brings out a lot of anger. It doesn’t promote any good, really, and it just separates the sides and it keeps us all full of anger and it’s not solving any problems. And you explain a lot of that, especially, in the beginning of the book when you’re talking about Jewish people in the United States and their voting tendencies, now, with the Democrat and Republican parties.

Dr. Schwartz: Right. Absolutely. First of all, I make a very strong case that Judaism is a radical religion, but very positive, honorable religion with powerful teachings on peace and justice, etc. I’m part of an Orthodox community and there, too, the people are kind and involved in charitable work—many positive things—but, unfortunately, I’m finding is among the Orthodox Jews, many have turned to the right. Many are, unfortunately, in denial about climate change in spite of the, almost, everyday evidence of floods and storms. The polar ice caps are melting, the glaciers are melting, etc…

Caryn Hartglass: Mmmm…Hmmm.

Dr. Schwartz: …and they’re supporting a party that is more and more for the wealthy, for corporations rather than for the middle class. We’ve seen many, many examples of that in Congress, and the deadlock, where… the Republican party, for example…in 2010, all the Senators signed a statement that they would not let any further legislation go forward unless they were guaranteed that the wealthiest 1 or 2 % would not be taxed any further.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. It’s kind of crazy. We’ve certainly see…ugh…our government has been very frustrating in the last few years. We’re not getting anything done because nobody wants to compromise and everybody wants their own way and we’re seeing over and over again that, that small 1% seems to win out all the time.

Dr. Schwartz. Yeah. Absolutely. But, I think the Democrats have been willing to compromise in many cases, but many of the Republicans have signed statements that no matter what, they’re not going to vote for a tax increase and the taxes for the wealthy are far lower than they’ve been under previous administrations even when they were Republican. So much has to be done, so much is needed in order to create jobs. Our infrastructure is crumbling, a lot has to be done on that, and that would create more jobs, bring in more tax revenue, reduce the unemployment benefits and, hopefully, bring the economy back. So that…I agree with you when I mentioned in the book… that a lot of people see things in terms of black and white, good and evil…

Caryn Hartglass: Mmm…Hmm.

Dr. Schwartz: …us vs. them, but I think it’s important to try to find common ground and solutions.

Caryn Hartglass: There are a lot of emails that go around and they highlight certain things, very often, many of the points are out of context…

Dr. Schwartz: Right.

Caryn Hartglass… so, people can make a point that’s not really valid…

Dr. Schwartz: Right.

Caryn Hartglass: …and people pass these things around, they go viral and everybody gets angry. {laughs}

Dr. Schwartz: {laughs}

Caryn Hartglass: What I would like to see is in the early part of your book where you list lots of different things that have happened in government. Lots of votes that went one way or another…

Dr. Schwartz: Right.

Caryn Hartglass: … based on Democratic and Republican parties. I’d like to see all of that in an email that gets spread around and goes viral.

Dr. Schwartz: Well… {Laughs}…I would love that more than anything…

Caryn Hartglass: {laughing}

Dr. Schwartz: …as you, very kindly, mentioned at the beginning—the threats are so great and the denial is so widespread—that I’m making the entire eBook—385 or so pages—freely available to everybody and all people have to do is go to our Blog, as you pointed out, and a little scrolling down under the picture of the cover, they can, actually, download the eBook and, I hope, do that. Read at least part of it; pass it on to others because it’s essential that major, major changes soon occur. People often say, “Well, climate change may be 50 years from now…100 years from now..,”

Caryn Hartglass: Mmm…Hmm.

Dr. Schwartz: …but we know it’s happening already. Some islands in the Pacific have been inundated and all that. As I’ve said, glaciers are melting and that’s going to be a major threat to future irrigation and farming. And, more and more severe climate events are occurring. This past March, 15,000 plus temperature records were broken in just one month and it was the warmest March in recorded history.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow.

Dr. Schwartz: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, the thing about…the thing I don’t think most people realize, we live in the United States, many of us, in a great deal of abundance. To the point where many people are obese, they’re eating all the wrong foods…

Dr. Schwartz: Right.

Caryn Hartglass: …and they’re getting lots and lots of calories. But, at the same time, where we have all these great technological innovations…

Dr. Schwartz: Mmm…Hmm.

Caryn Hartglass: …to enable us to produce a lot of food, there’s still tremendous amount of poverty and hunger…

Dr. Schwartz: Right.

Caryn Hartglass: …and I was really surprised to read that even in Israel, there is a great deal of poverty and hunger.

Dr. Schwartz: Yeah, unfortunately, there is a lot of poverty and the poverty gap is growing between the wealthy and the poor as it is in the U.S. And, again, part of it is because of the power of money. I wish everybody was wealthy. I don’t begrudge anybody that, but I think the problem is, when the wealthy abuse that wealth in order to cut out regulations, and do things that will increase their wealth at the expense of everybody else, that could be a big, big problem. That’s why I try to address issues like that in the book, as I point out, Judaism, has these powerful teachings on justice and peace and the important thing is to put them into practice in trying to build a much more just, sane, healthy, environmentally sustainable world.

Caryn Hartglass: So, let’s just get a little bit away from food for the moment, even though I know it’s all connected, { laughs} there’s this Israeli-Palestinian conflict that’s in the news all the time and things are really getting interesting now with the whole Middle East in kind of a revolution. Where do you think we should be going?

Dr. Schwartz: Ok…

Caryn Hartglass: What’s the Schwartz Solution?

Dr. Schwartz: {laughing} Well, unfortunately, time is not an issue of sides. It’s not on the Palestinian’s side, it’s not on anybody’s side. It’s difficult and they’ve been working on this for years, but you know, with two children in Israel, they make a case for Israel, and the many positive things they’ve done. But, unless, somehow, there is a just, comprehensive, sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, unfortunately, Israel will not be able to revert renewed violence, be able to solve its economic problems, and you mentioned the poverty growing, it’s environmental problems. And, by the way, they’ve had a 7-year drought, there would’ve been more rain this year, but somebody just told me, today, they’d need 10 more years like that, with extra rain, to get things back to normal. And, also, Israel would not be allowed to remain both a Democratic state and a Jewish state. So, I think it’s essential that there be this resolution and, hopefully, it will be tied in with what some are pushing, as a global marshal plan. You know, we haven’t done a marshal plan…

Caryn Hartglass: Hmmm.

Dr. Schwartz: …after World War II where much of Europe was restored by U.S. providing aid, etc. So, I see the importance of a global marshal plan that would use a small percent of the gross national product of developed countries and maybe a lot of that from the military, because there’s so much spending on the military nowadays with the U.S. spending almost as much as all the other combined on the military. But, anyway, using a small percent of that to try to sharply reduce poverty and hunger and illiteracy and disease, pollution, climate change, etc. It’s almost like a dream, but…

Caryn Hartglass: {laughs}

Dr. Schwartz: …it’s very important, because, hopefully that combined with an Israeli-Palestinian peace would bring much greater prosperity to that area and to the whole world because now there’s so much violence and conflict and, as you say, we have great new technology, great new possibilities. So, hopefully, we’ll get some good leaders that will point these things out and lead us to much greater cooperation rather than always conflict.

Caryn Hartglass: There’s a part in your book where you talk the Muslim community center, what some people term, the “Mosque” that was being built near Ground Zero. Can you just talk about that and give me your perspective on what’s good and not so good about it? Because there, certainly, was a lot of energy and anger about that…and we’re not hearing much about it anymore.

Dr. Schwartz: No, well, that’s faded a little bit, but it wasn’t just that Mosque, but there were other Mosques that were under attack in other parts of the country. And, you mentioned before, about all the misleading information and, you said, sometimes out of context and sometimes completely false, that is being passed around anti-Muslim material. Now, I’m completely against terrorism, no matter who is doing it, etc., but thank God, Muslims in the U.S. have been very helpful in many areas, making great contributions. Somehow, as I say, we have to find common ground. As far as the Mosque, certainly the feelings of the victims of 911 have to be taken into account. Some of those were Muslim some of the Muslims were first responders. So…and that was a fair distance away—in a major city like New York—from the World Trade Center you know, from Ground Zero. So, I think that could have been a way of bringing people together. That Mosque was supposed to be modeled on the 92nd Street Y or the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan as a place where not only Muslims would be using it, but all kinds of people. It wasn’t going to be just a Mosque, but a real center and it could have been bringing people together. As a matter of fact, one of the advisors is a Rabbi who is the Director of the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. So, unfortunately, sometimes for political reasons people are stirring up all kinds of negatives. Of course, we have to be watchful, in general, about terrorism, but, once again, I mention that global marshal plan where we work together to end some of the poverty and hunger, disease, Illiteracy, etc. And, unfortunately, you can never completely eliminate evil and terrorism, but I think that can go a long way toward reducing it.

Caryn Hartglass: I, absolutely, believe that if we focused our time, energy, finances and resources on providing food for people and education, all the problems would go away. Everyone wants the same thing…

Dr. Schwartz: Mmm…Hmm. Absolutely.

Caryn Hartglass: …everyone wants to not be hungry, to be fed…

Dr. Schwartz: Mmm…Hmm.

Caryn Hartglass: …to be with their families, to pursue their interests—the basics—the real basics, and…

Dr. Schwartz: You’re right.

Caryn Hartglass: …if everyone around the world had them…

Dr. Schwartz: Mmm…Hmm.

Caryn Hartglass: …Ah…it would just be an amazing place.

Dr. Schwartz: {laughs} Of course, I agree 100 percent. That’s why it’s really something like cruel, animal based diets, now, sometimes madness and sheer insanity. When you realize that an estimated 20 million people are dying from hunger and its effects every single year and almost a billion people are chronically hungry according to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization. And, yet, in the U.S. as I said—madness and sheer insanity—we’re feeding 70 percent or more of grains to animals destined for slaughter. And, what makes it even more madness and sheer insanity, is that we are taking very healthy products like soy and oats and corn and other grains which are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber and we’re feeding them to animals and we get meat products that have no fiber, no complex carbohydrates and are very high in unhealthy saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein. So, that’s why, I say, that a major switch to vegetarianism is not only a very important individual choice for people, but really, it’s a societal imperative. And, when you realize the contribution to climate change and the greater threat to humanity, that adds to it.

Caryn Hartglass: We just have a few minutes left. Can we talk about kosher and raising animals for kosher food? And, is it any different or is it any more compassionate? I know that it implies that it’s more compassionate.

Dr. Schwartz: Ok, well…the so called laws of Sechita, or ritual slaughter were designed to minimize pain. Other people say we should only use the bolt stunning method, but if you read that book, a wonderful book by Gail Eisnitz, called Slaughterhouse, you’ll see there are many problems in un-kosher slaughterhouses, as well. And, also, because of today’s modern, mass production, even—ideally—it minimizes pain because things are done so fast, it’s not always carried out properly. And, also, unfortunately, on the factory farms—whether kosher or not—in general, animals are raised the same way. So, I always argue, that even if slaughter was ideal, minimized pain, can we forget the months, the many months that the animals are so mistreated on factory farms. I’m sure, on previous programs, you’ve probably had many discussions of the incredible horrors…

Caryn Hartglass: Yes.

Dr. Schwartz: …I know of egg-laying hens that can’t even raise their wings, males are killed right away…

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I was surprised—I remember awhile back—I forget what website it was, but I was looking up kosher food and there was a picture of a company that sells kosher chickens and, just looking at the pictures they’re showing, you see all these crammed chickens on the floor…

Dr. Schwartz: Mmm…Hmm.

Caryn Hartglass: …and I’m thinking, “Why are you even showing this? It looks horrifying to me!” {laughing}

Dr. Schwartz: Yep, yep, it’s far from the ideal because Judaism does have powerful teachings on compassion for animals. According to the Psalms, God’s mercies are over all his works, including the animals. Book of Proverbs, says the righteous individual considers the life of his or her animal. Many teachings are part of the Ten Commandments, animals as well as, people are supposed to rest on the Sabbath day, but unfortunately, reality is far from the ideal and that’s one reason I use that title, Who Stole My Religion. Every religion has such value if really practiced for the compassion and the teachings about justice and peace and sharing.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah…they all…many…I’m not a religious expert… but my understanding of many of them is based on some really basic, simple, good, principles and somehow hypocrisy floats in and power gets involved…

Dr. Schwartz: Mmm…Hmm.

Caryn Hartglass: …and people get distracted, unfortunately.

Dr. Schwartz: Yeah, absolutely, and it’s…

Caryn Hartglass: What’s the response like…you’re in an Orthodox community,,, what’s it like when you share your ideas with your synagogue and your Jewish community?

Dr. Schwartz: Well, unfortunately, as I think, was it Mark Twain was credited as saying, “Denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

Caryn Hartglass: Right. I say that all the time! {laughs}

Dr. Schwarts: Yeah. Yeah, and people are unable to respond to my basic points. As I said, I would love to be in a respectful dialogue/debate on should Jews be vegetarians? Should they be environmental activists and all. And that’s why to some extent, I chose that title, Who Stole My Religion to try to really challenge people to a larger extent. So, I get a lot of kidding in my community about being vegetarian. I don’t mind it because it shows that they are sensitized to the topic to some extent, but for some of these points, it’s harder to change a person through religion than through diet sometimes.

Caryn Hartglass: Yep. Well, we’re at the end of the show. Thank you so much Dr. Schwartz! And, I recommend everyone go to , download this free eBook, there’s so much wonderful information in there. Also, you can go to and I have lots of different holiday recipes that are traditional, and yet, vegan, many of them gluten free. You can have your cake and eat it, too, and do it compassionately.

Thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food! Have a very delicious week!

Dr. Schwartz: Thank You.

Caryn Hartglass: Thank You, Dr. Schwartz. Be Well!


Transcribed by Gail Schriver 1/28/2013

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