Part I – Dan Staackmann & Nicole Sopko
Dan Staackmann is the Founder and President of Upton’s Naturals – a completely vegan, seitan production company based in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 2006, Upton’s Naturals has seen tremendous growth every year that it has been operational. With an incredibly loyal customer base and ever growing retail distribution, Staackmann has succeeded in building and maintaining one of the country’s seitan production companies. Vegan for over 20 years, Dan has been a long time advocate for veganism, animal rights, and environmental sustainability.
Nicole Sopko is the Vice President of Upton’s Naturals – a completely vegan, seitan production company based in Chicago, Illinois. Sopko is a certified yoga teacher of 8 years and has been vegan for over 17 years. Nicole started helping out around the Upton’s office a few years ago and her dedication to the growth of the company, and passion for their products, quickly propelled her into the role of V.P. where she now oversees multiple aspects of day-to-day operations. She also operates two yoga centers, one of which is located within the Upton’s Naturals factory building.
Part II – Victoria Boutenko
Victoria Boutenko is an author, teacher, inventor, researcher, artist and mother of three. She teaches classes on healthy living and raw food all over the world. As a result of her research and teachings, thousands of people are drinking and sharing green smoothies.
Victoria Boutenko is an author of 12 Steps to Raw Foods, Green Smoothie Revolution, Raw Family Signature Dishes and Green for Life. Green for Life is an award winning, international best seller which has been translated into 26 languages with over a quarter of a million copies being sold world wide.
– See more at: http://www.rawfamily.com
TRANSCRIPTION PART I
Caryn Hartglass | 00:27
Hello everybody I’m Caryn Hartglass, and it’s time for It’s All About Food. Can you believe it is October 29, 2013. Getting through another month. Time just keeps marching on, doesn’t really care about what we are doing whether we are taking it slow or taking it fast Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock and I’ve been really loving it because I think autumn is my favorite season. Autumn in New York, there’s a song I’d like to sing about that and it is been such a perfect autumn I don’t know about for the plants, for the trees, for the ground, but for me it’s been great. And I’ve been outdoors a lot really enjoying it and I hope you have been too wherever you have been. I want to say I feel like I’ve slacked a little bit this week usually when I have guests on they have a book to read and sometimes I read one big heavy book and sometimes I read two because I don’t like to have guest on when I don’t read their book or I’m not familiar with whatever it is they want to talk about. Well today it’s kind of fun because I didn’t have to read I just had to eat and eating was good so let’s talk a little bit more about that I’m going to be talking with the people from Upton Naturals Nicole Sopko and maybe Dan Staackmann we’ll find out but both of them are involved with Upton Naturals. Stan is the founder and presidents of Upton Naturals, a completely vegan, seitan production company based in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 2006, Upton’s Naturals has seen tremendous growth every year that it has been operational. With an incredibly loyal customer base and ever growing retail distribution, Staackmann has succeeded in building and maintaining one of the country’s seitan production companies. Vegan for over 20 years, Dan has been a longtime advocate for veganism, animal rights, and environmental sustainability. And then Nicole is the Vice President of Upton’s Naturals a completely vegan, seitan production company like I said before. She is a certified yoga teacher of 8 years and has been vegan for over 17 years. Nicole started helping out around the Upton’s office a few years ago and her dedication to the growth of the company, and passion for their products, quickly propelled her into the role of V.P. where she now oversees multiple aspects of day-to-day operations. She also operates two yoga centers, one of which is located within the Upton’s Naturals factory building. Welcome to It’s All About Food.
Nicole Sopko |
Caryn Hartglass |
Nicole how are you doing? And Dan?
Nicole Sopko |
Yeah we are both here.
Caryn Hartglass | 3:11
Okay first question Dan. How do you say your last name?
Dan Staackmann |
Caryn Hartglass |
Stack-man okay so I didn’t do a bad job of it, just checking. So as I’m reading your bios Nicole I’m saying how do you do all of that, two yoga centers, V.P. of Upton Naturals? And I’m thinking, oh, it’s clearly obvious you’re a vegan. Vegans are amazing.
Nicole Sopko | 3:32
You know it’s easy to do a lot when none of it feels like work.
Caryn Hartglass | 3:37
Yeah that too. Okay so I wanted to talk about a number of things. So what you make is seitan and maybe you want to tell my listeners, I’m sure they all know but, maybe some don’t. What is seitan? Just before Halloween and people might be getting their devil costumes together and wanting to be Satan. Seitan is not connected to the devil Satan.
Dan Staackmann | 4:03
Caryn Hartglass | 4:04
I don’t think so. Maybe you can tell me otherwise but I know some people pronounce seitan like Satan sometimes and it makes people very confused
Dan Staackmann | 4:16
well seitan is a centuries old Asian product. It’s made by rinsing away all the starch in wheat flour. What you have left is very high in protein and low in fat and it is somewhat meat like in texture.
Nicole Sopko | 4:35
So no relationship to the dark lord.
Caryn Hartglass | 4:38
To the what?
Nicole Sopko | 4:39
To any dark lord.
Dan Staackmann | 4:41
Although the phone company did give us the prefix here of 666.
Caryn Hartglass |
Dan Staackmann |
Nicole Sopko | 4:49
That’s our exchange in our neighborhood here.
Caryn Hartglass |
Oh your right 666. That’s a little weird. Did that give you chills when you got that number?
Nicole Sopko | 5:01
Well I mean they gave us the option to deny it but if that’s what they want to give us that’s what we should have.
Caryn Hartglass | 5:10
Yeah go for it. Well you’re turning Satan into good stuff, seitan.
Nicole Sopko |
Caryn Hartglass | 5:18
You know you mentioned Dan that this is something that people have been making for centuries and the way that people made it by rinsing the starch away from flour I don’t know if people can really visualize this – but back in the old days when there wasn’t Internet and I was this lone vegan in my world and I discovered seitan, I must of read about it in a magazine or something but I went out and got some regular white flour and mixed it with a little water, I’m following the instructions I am rinsing the milky water away and there is like a little solid left over kind of thing and then you rinse it again pour off the milky water you rinse it again until finally you just have this chewy gummy solid thing and that’s the gluten or the seitan and it was quite a procedure and when I did it I was left with like next to nothing just this little plop but we’ve come quite a way with making it easy and affordable and you’re making it for us.
Nicole Sopko | 6:28
Yeah we do all the hard work for you. By the time it’s in your house it’s seasoned it’s ready to go, and all you have to do is heat and eat.
Caryn Hartglass | 6:41
Now this is a product that is great for people in transition. Especially from getting away from feeling like they need meat in their diet and moving to plant foods. I mean I know for myself it really helped me there was a time when seitan either like a seitan piccata just like a traditional meat dish where you could make it vegan was essential.
Nicole Sopko | 7:12
Yeah – I mean a lot of people who are regularly purchasing our products are not vegetarian, are not vegan, seitan is still something that they find palatable and it’s easy to use, it’s not too feared or not so intimidating either.
Caryn Hartglass | 7:37
We’ll talk a little bit more about your product in a moment but I’m curious about how the company got started. How you decided it was seitan you wanted to make and if you could give me a little detail about getting the company going because from time to time I like myself and to encourage my listeners to think about where their food came from beginning to when it got to their plate. And if you really do a good job to be sitting there for a very long time before you actually put food in you our mouth because our food goes through all kinds of hoops and travels sometimes if you’re not growing it and just eating something fresh. And building a company, a food company isn’t that easy and keeping it going is not easy so maybe you could talk a little bit about all that.
Dan Staackmann | 8:31
Sure. Well as you mentioned I’m a vegan of over 20 years and early on especially seitan was always one my favorite foods. I knew that I wanted to do something with food, I didn’t have a food background or a business background I just kind of wanted to do something on my own and with food and just decided to give it a shot. So I got a shared kitchen space with a friend of mine and we just started experimenting. The only seitan that I had made previously was out of box mix and it did not go very well, so I was pleasantly surprised when we settled on our first product which was the Italian style seitan. You know we started out very slow growth just in a few restaurants. Once it sort of proved itself there we approached some retailers, invested in the packaging and just kind of branched out from there. A few stores in Chicago a few more then a region then another region and just kept at it.
Caryn Hartglass | 10:00
Where you doing something else at the same time or just that?
Dan Staackmann | 10:04
Yeah I mean technically I guess I was unemployed but I had kind of a run-in the mill office job prior to that and when that ended I knew that wasn’t the place for me. So I’d been buying and selling modern designs to kind of pay the bills. I’m actually a world-class garbage picker. It’s not as easy as it used to be but I was just kind of doing that and experimenting with seitan and luckily the seitan worked out.
Caryn Hartglass | 10:49
Right. Speaking of picking garbage there’s a gold mine here in New York City different days people put out amazing things on the street.
Dan Staackmann | 11:02
Caryn Hartglass | 11:02
Oh my goodness and if I had the time a big warehouse I could be collecting and refinishing and selling and there’s just some really gorgeous things that people just don’t want any more it’s incredible. Anyway, back to the product at hand.
Dan Staackmann | 11:21
Caryn Hartglass | 11:21
When I discovered your product, it was quite a few years ago actually at the first Chicago Veganmania.
Dan Staackmann | 11:30
Caryn Hartglass | 11:30
You were there.
Dan Staackmann |11:31
Caryn Hartglass | 11:32
And I was there. And I got to sample some of your ware.
Dan Staackmann | 11:38
And you were there early.
Caryn Hartglass | 11:39
Yeah I was a speaker or hosting the speakers or something upstairs, I’m not sure if it’s in the same place it was originally but it was quite a surprising event I guess no one knew how many people where going to turn out and it was a phenomenal turn out.
Dan Staackmann |11:57
Caryn Hartglass | 11:59
There is a good market for this product and there’s so many different things you can do with it, so I tried a number of the different flavors. I think my favorite was the chorizo (that’s a popular one) so there is different you can get a crumble version or you can get like a chunky more solid version.
Dan Staackmann |12:24
Yeah, but the traditional is the little chunkier and then the chorizo, ground and Italian are more finely ground they got more of an organic shape, and then we have a bacon that is sliced in well bacon strips
Caryn Hartglass | 12:44
Oh, I haven’t tried that yet I didn’t see that when I was in the store. mmm.
Nicole Sopko| 12:48
Mmmm… the bacon is our newest product and the one people had demanded the most from us over the years knowing that we made it for food service but not for retail
Caryn Hartglass | 13:02
Ah, isn’t that funny we such a thing about bacon and wouldn’t it be great or it is great that there are alternatives to exploiting the pig
Nicole Sopko | 1:15
Whatever we can do to get people to eat seitan instead of pigs we are happy to do it. And I found that even us vegans and vegetarians we’re not immune from some of the bacon fetish
Caryn Hartglass | 13:30
Sure well you know the BLT concept is really a very satisfying sandwich and if we can have something that comes close to it that’s a beautiful thing, without the exploitation and the cruelty and the suffering.
Nicole Sopko | 13:45
Caryn Hartglass | 13:46
Yeah I like it.
Nicole Sopko | 13:48
In Seitan, all the sales of bacon seitan, five percent of those we donate to farm sanctuaries for the pigs there.
Caryn Hartglass | 13:58
Very nice. so you benefit in many ways, if you buy this product you get something that’s delicious and you also give back to some good work. Very nice. So okay let me ask you a difficult question, it’s not that difficult but some people can’t eat wheat and gluten is in the news more and more I’m not sure that everybody who talks about wheat and says they can’t eat it really can’t, you know you don’t know how much of it is blown out of proportion, how much of it is a trend, how much of it is real. But there are a number of different foods soy, wheat, that get some bad PR and I just wondered how you felt about that.
Dan Staackmann |14:53
It hasn’t really affected us very much I mean certainly we do get people at in store demos or different events that come up and say they’re gluten free
Caryn Hartglass | 15:07
And what are you doing about it?
Dan Staackmann |15:09
Yeah nothing I mean we are gluten full so you might want to just keep on walking.
Nicole Sopko | 15:16
We’re usually happy to offer people a button or some other item that we have on the table that does not have gluten
Caryn Hartglass | 15:28
Yeah I mean there are some people out there who just like to complain but there’s a lot of variety out here out in the world and that’s the beautiful thing and I think one thing we discover as vegetarians and vegans when we eliminate animal foods it’s not a diet of deprivation what happens is we open the door and we discover all of these incredible wonderful plant foods out there and some people may be allergic to a handful of them but there are still so many other like sometimes people say they can’t eat soy for some reason and they’re concern about their protein and I tell them you don’t have to eat soy there are so many wonderful foods out there and so for those who have an allergy or a problem with one food or another too bad but we live in a very vast beautiful world with lots of options.
Nicole Sopko | 16:22
We try to make good food with simple ingredients and you know maybe it’s not okay for everybody but for most people it works for them and we’re doing the best we can.
Caryn Hartglass | 16:37
Yeah no absolutely I just wondered because you know I hear things all the time about wheat.
Nicole Sopko | 16:45
We hear sometimes but I mean in general they’ll know what they’re getting from us. We’re a company that makes seitan.
Caryn Hartglass | 16:55
And like you said it’s centuries old. It was like some Buddhist monks or something that created it. Is that correct?
Dan Staackmann | 17:06
Nicole Sopko | 17:07
That’s all we understand. The thing about seitan, this isn’t some fake food that we created to try and replicate anything else this food has been around for a long time it’s not made in a laboratory it’s just real seitan
Caryn Hartglass | 17:30
You know that’s a good point because I mentioned soy before and I like the minimally processed soy foods, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, edamame, but then there are these heavily manipulated processed soy products isolated soy protein where the protein in the soy has to go through all kinds of manipulations in a laboratory before it gets into the food and as I mentioned before as Dan mentioned and I followed up, the way to make gluten is a very simple gentle process.
Nicole Sopko | 18:05
yeah our process uses just water, so the wheat protein is extracted using just water no chemicals nothing else no neurotoxins like are used in the process of soy protein extraction so It’s safe for the people who are eating it but it’s also safe and not harmful to the people who are working in the plant extracting the protein.
Caryn Hartglass | 18:38
Now I have a question, who is Upton?
Dan Staackmann | 18:42
Upton is the man that I did not want to be myself.
Caryn Hartglass | 18:50
what does that mean?
Dan Staackmann |18:53
he is a fictional character, and he is our number one salesman.
Nicole Sopko | 19:03
Dan is very humble and doesn’t want to put his own face or his own name on the products so he created Upton to hide behind.
Caryn Hartglass | 19:12
Oh I see well Upton is rather dashing. With very nice mustache,
Nicole Sopko |
Caryn Hartglass | 19:18
I like him very much and it kind of gives us that artisan old world feeling
Dan Staackmann |19:24
Yeah and we also figured the name of the company would sound a little more interesting as Upton naturals as oppose to Dan Seitan.
Caryn Hartglass | 19:36
I don’t know. It’s got the rhythm and ring to it. Alright just a little question Nicole, where does yoga fit into the world of seitan?
Nicole Sopko | 19:48
I don’t know, you know part of the teachings of yoga are not to harm anybody and I think part of my work in being able to make seitan more readily available and being able to give people a choice to not eat anyone you know really plays into my yoga practice, some days my yoga practice is trying to do my best in whatever part I play in keeping this place running, that’s enough for me.
Caryn Hartglass | 20:34
Okay now, what do people do who are interested in finding your product but don’t see it in their stores?
Nicole Sopko | 20:43
We have on our website a great little form that you can print out and bring to wherever it is that you shop and let them know that you would be interested in the product and also in addition to that if you send us an email, there is an email address on that form, if you sent us an email we’ll send you a little surprise in the mail as a thank you for doing us that favor.
Caryn Hartglass | 21:13
Mmm surprises I like surprises. Okay I took the chorizo seitan and I did a number of different things with all the products I tried but this was my favorite. I’m a big soup eater and I made a soup this week that had a barley miso broth with little turnip cubes, peas, onions and I found this sweet potato starch noodles kind of makes a queer noodle really fun and added some of the chorizo crumbles in there and it was an amazing soup. I’d never seen anything like it and It was really wonderful mix.
Nicole Sopko | 22:0
Dan is making a face like he might like to come to your house for dinner.
Caryn Hartglass |22:10
Just let me know when you’re in New York you are more than welcomed and we are always cooking up great things here.
Nicole Sopko | 22:15
Caryn Hartglass | 22:17
okay so what else before I let you go, anything you want to add to what we talked about.
Nicole Sopko | 22:28
I think we’d just like to add in the past year people who have been following us on social networking may have seen the progress of us constructing our new building in Chicago so we’re in a brand new building that we build in the Westtown neighborhood of Chicago that also has a small café in it. So we have a little store front and we call it Upton’s break room since it’s in our plant and we thought that was sort of funny and since where everybody who works here eats so we call it the break room and people who are visiting Chicago are totally welcomed to come visit us in the break room, we have a great menu of sandwiches and bowls and we have vegan soft-serve we have bake goods that are made by cookbook author Kelly Peloza so it’s a great place here that we’ve created in Chicago and we’d love it if people come see us.
Caryn Hartglass | 23:27
That sounds great. I’m looking at the menu right now; you got a fried bacon mac and cheese with bacon Seitan. Sounds good.
Nicole Sopko | 23:40
Yeah, It’s a recipe that Dan’s mother when he was a child would always make out of leftovers, some kind of leftovers meatballs from the day before, she would fry them in a pan and they’d get a little crispy and so that’s where our bacon mac comes from, inspired by Dan’s mother’s cooking when he was a child.
Caryn Hartglass | 24:05
Mmmm yeah, well it sounds very very comforting and I haven’t been to Chicago in a while but I know where I’m going the next time I get there.
Nicole Sopko | 24:11
We can’t wait to see you.
Caryn Hartglass | 24:71
Yeah great. Well thank you, thank you for what you’re doing for the vegan movement, keeping us fed with tasty good things.
Nicole Sopko | 24:26
Thank you so much for having us
Dan Staackmann | 24:28
Yeah thank you
Caryn Hartglass | 24:25
You’re welcome. All the best to you and the website is Uptonsnaturals.com. Wow okay that was good so definitely if you get to a store checkout… well they have on their website where to buy so if you can’t find something near you then you’ll have to print out their sheet and bring it in to your favorite health food store and tell them to get some. I think it’s time to take a break what do you say let’s take a quick break get yourself a little beverage or something and we will be back with my next guest.
Transcribed by Alma Zazueta, 11/9/2013
Transcription Part II:
Caryn: Hello Everybody we’re back. I’m Caryn Hartglass and your listening to It’s All About Food here on this October 29th 2013. I got my drink. Did you get yours? I got a nice little cocktail here made of Kale, Escarole – I was just talking about Escarole, lots of celery, beets, a little lemon with the rind on ice. Pretty good cocktail. It’s gonna get me through the rest of the day. Alright, let’s talk about more green food. My favorite food which is green and I want to bring on my next guest Victoria Boutenko, who is the author of Green Smoothie Magic. She’s an author, teacher, inventor, researcher, artist and mother of three. She teaches classes on healthy living and raw food all over the world. As a result, her research and teaching, thousands of people are drinking and sharing green smoothies. She’s the author of 12 Steps to Raw Foods, Green Smoothie Revolution, Raw Family Signature Dishes and Green for Life. Green for Life is an award winning, international best seller which has been translated into 26 languages with over a quarter of a million copies being sold world wide, with more at: http://www.rawfamily.com. Victoria, Welcome to It’s All About Food.
Victoria: Thank you so much for having me.
Caryn: Yes, well I have known about you and your wonderful works for a very, very long time and it’s absolute pleasure to have sometime to be able speak to you directly.
Victoria : I’m pleased too.
Caryn: I read your brief file but what I want to know is how did you get so smart? How did you learn about food to begin with. Were you brought up that way?
Victoria: Actually my father was a pharmacist who was very interested in herbs and I started picking up dandelions when I was like five and six. I think that was the key. However, I was brought up on a typical food that was typical in Russia.The main …. typical as it is in the United States and late in life when I became very ill, with arrhythmia, and my family became ill, then I started to look into what would be the reason for being so unhealthy and then I studied to look at the food and I know that the main way of eating actually is not really very healthy and I think it was because on the large scheme by the industry. The industry. The food industry is a corporate business that is interested in products more than in our health. In some ways it works as an enemy because they’re trying to hide things from us. We have to really, these days, we have to have our own brain working and we have to make our web research. We cannot rely on the industry for advise and you can find a little things available, plus I think that if you move in the direction of nature. More natural. When we can actually, have the ingredients in our hands when we put them in our cooking devices. For example, when you make a green smoothie. That’s the easiest, the fastest and very palatable way of consuming lots of natural ingredients. I think ingredients … there’s a combination, a duality. Combination of technology and nature in one cup. It’s like we have duality in everything, for example on one side there’s a science of all this meticulous research and now researching on microworld, on the level of nanotechnology. On the other hand there’s a wisdom of nature that’s been sustaining health for millions of years or thousands, whatever you believe in. In these smoothies you have combination of both. How great is that.
Caryn: I think it’s pretty great and I think that we should be taking the best of everything.
Victoria: Yes, and these smoothies have been really helpful to so many people because it’s really easy. It’s really nothing hidden there. You buy your own ingredients. There’s nothing, like no chemicals in there. It just took the world like gigantic green tsunami. And now I really spend much time, this year for promoting it for children because who will take Obama’s place and Vladamir Putin’s place in 20/30 years? Who will be voting for or against GMO’s and food safety issues in say 2040?
Caryn: I know.
Victoria: The answer is today’s children. What are our children learning about healthy eating today? They are learning from twenty thousand of commercials per year, per each child, for example, in the U.S. statically, 20 thousand per year and …
Caryn: Commercials are not about healthy food. They are about eating junk food.
Victoria: Junk food like pizza and all kinds of drinks.
Caryn: Yes, and it’s not just from the television. It’s posted in their schools. It’s in their community centers. It’s coming out of their phones. Companies are targeting children now by sending them messages into their cellphones. They’re everywhere, in elevators. They’re everywhere.
Victoria: The food industry is smart and they…
Victoria: … and fast and they aim at our children and why don’t we aim our children? So I decided to create children’s books of a very high quality. There’s some children books, created by people but because there’s no profit in that. Absolutely no profit, nobody would ever give you a hand in promoting children’s health books. You have to do it out of your pocket. So I decided to create several books. I’m a best selling author and I have a publishing company. I know how to, what it takes to create a really really high quality book. So I held a competition for artist to illustrate my book. I have written five books for children. My favorite is the Green Smoothie Magic. That is a captivating story of an adventurous boy who learned how to be healthy in an enjoyable way and this not just preachy , saying that you must eat, you will be healthy, no. It’s a very captivating , really really captivating story with a beautiful gorgeous illustration.
Caryn: Well I want to tell you that last night…I always read all the books before I talk to authors on my show. I don’t often read children’s books but I like them very much and they’re a lot easier to read. and so before going to bed last night, I read Green Smoothie Magic out loud to my partner Gary, and it was wonderful. I really… your right, it’s a captivating story. The art work is really beautiful. I enjoyed it as an adult, I enjoyed reading the story. I wanted to know how it ended and I just really enjoyed it very much and didn’t know you had more of them. I’m going to have to read them too.
Victoria: Well I have five, and what’s interesting about Green Smoothie Magic book , that I gave away last year, five hundred copies for free because there’s really no market. People just don’t buy healthy books. They just don’t think how important is that. I give them away and many parents told me that this is the first time when they really got the idea of why green smoothies are so healthy. They said well…I actually said I started to celebrate, in the morning. I went to the kitchen with intent to make green smoothie for me too. I guess it’s really delivers the message.
Caryn: Yes, you really did an excellent job, I really like this book and I think the holidays are coming up. Might be a little wide for a stocking, but it would make a nice edition to a pile of gifts, I think.
Victoria: Yes, and you know children love to read the book they like many times. I know from during my two grandchildren, by reading this book, young readers will begin to develop naturally, healthy way of thinking. Because they are sick and tired of us telling them eat your carrots, eat your broccoli… Here they won’t be defensive. They just like this little boy, Nick, who is the hero, and they will associate themselves with him, hopefully and the more children have access to natural health messages, the better is for our world. Again. they’re going to take care of us. What are we thinking about? Who’s gonna decide when we get older, when you and I become 78 years old, who will be making decisions what to feed us?
Caryn: Well you know the part of it…
Victoria: We don’t want them to just euthanize us because we don’t know what to do with us. We really have to educate them. What do we do for that?
Caryn: Absolutely, the sad thing is though, you probably know this Victoria, is that some of the studies are coming out now saying that the young people today aren’t even going to live as people live today.
Victoria: Yeah, This is true. This is the way for them to research and also, where does adults learn about health? They either learn it from their friends or they learn it from literature. If you go on Amazon there are over 500 books published, with the words “green smoothie” in them but children don’t have that opportunity. They don’t go to Amazon and there’s nothing written so they can understand. There’s really no health celebrity. I hope that some authors who hear me or some publishers will begin to really spend time on this. Also, I hope that our government will begin to subsidize and take care of it because we all are very interested in having a healthier generation of people coming after us.
Caryn: Well, we live in a society that is profit motivated and capitalism is designed so that the goal is to make a profit and corporations are designed so that shareholders are happy and we need to change that philosophy. We need to make it… All businesses certainly, should be profitable but there should be a social element to it where they’re doing something good for the world. I personally don’t think it should be a shareholder driven thing. That’s just my personal opinion and we got along way to go before that changes. I could see and I see it here and there where some companies make a blended drink that has greens in it.
Victoria: Yeah, they have to because there’s such a demand in society and I’m constantly contacted with different people from all over the world that want my signature, my approval of some kind of powdered drink, some frozen drinks, some pasteurized drinks and I’m telling them always no, I would never ever support anything like this because green smoothie is the essence of… the essence of green smoothies is that you choose… you pay your own dollars for the produce you want to go in there. So there are no preservatives in there. No chemicals. This is why it’s so healing because it’s natural and you see with your own eyes, what’s in there and then you drink it, you’re sure that it’s good stuff. You know Caryn, I receive testimonials just before you called I received another testimonials. I received another testimonials every single day. Even diseases like arthritis and depression and all kinds of different pains, and eczema and diabetes. They reversed. Even though I’m not a medical doctor and I’m not supposed to prescribe anything but they just testified that their disease reverse by consumption of one quart of green smoothie every single morning and this is absolutely true. I’m actually collecting testimonials and I decided to put them in some kind of a book. I will publish them because it’s the power of green smoothies, so huge. I recently discovered that Swedish scientist. Some of the Japanese scientist, they discovered the huge importance of magnesium. It’s been underestimated. You know that in the middle of chlorophyll molecule, there is an atom of magnesium. With green smoothies, there’s lots of magnesium, and now Swedish scientist. They could link magnesium to deficiency to such thing as depression, diabetes, obesity, cavities in the teeth. So many things, osteoporosis are apparently, 1.5 % of our bone is magnesium and more than 80% of Americans is significantly low in magnesium. Either you drink green smoothie every day and improve your health or you begin to take supplements which could be iffy and questionable and could have side effects.
Caryn: That’s right. We’re complicated human beings and all living beings are complicated . A lot of things work together. Hundred of thousands of things occur every minute in our bodies. For scientist to think…it’s just easy for them to isolate something and see how it works and how it helps and how it hurts but too many things work together in harmony and the best way we’re e going to get that is the way that nature planned it from whole foods. Minimally processed foods, plants, that have them all practically in the ratios that we need them.
Victoria: Yes and according to the anthropological research, humans in history, they used to eat mostly greens every day and lots of fruit. Their diet could be up to 40% of different greens that are edible like young leaves or fruit trees for example and some herbs, some grasses. Today we practically don’t eat that. We just eat wilted iceberg lettuce in the Subway sandwich and that’s about it, maybe.
Caryn: Yes, we don’t pull it out.
Victoria: I think we need to have about a pound of greens every single day.
Caryn : At least. yes I agree.
Victoria: Because in ….. history, people probably were spending several hours chewing those greens…and had better, better teeth. So now we have mechanical teeth, a powerful blender, a powerful blender that helps us to blend it so its easier, absorbable. Easy digestible. I even found out through observation that if people prefer to eat greens in a salad they need to eat two pounds a day to completely answer all the request of the body nutrition. If they blend it 1 pound is completely enough. Because when you blend it, then the body absorbs it more completely.
Caryn: Right, it’s more absorbable. I had heard that. I love green smoothies. I love anything green. I eat green foods every way I possible can. I have my green juice everyday and I eat salads and I steam them and I make blended salads or smoothies from time to time. It’s all wonderful. Do you know, I’m not going to name any names but I know that there’s one doctor that I respect a great deal but he doesn’t thank smoothies are a good thing.
Victoria: Yes and I wrote to this doctor, open letter. You’re talking about the doctor who says that blending destroys the fiber correct?
Caryn: I think he was saying that it wasn’t good because you add a lot of sugars to it and for people who are especially sugar sensitive, they’ll get a lot of calories and not… I thought it was crazy personally.
Victoria: I have responded to every single criticism that I was aware of and this one also. Online there is Boutenko Films on YouTube and there you can find, several live testimonials. One particularly is about, taken of a woman. She’s from India, who’s been on insulin for 17 years and with type 1 diabetes. On camera with no interruptions, she is measuring her blood sugar with is high, then she takes drinks with banana in it. She’s scared, she takes it and then she waits like two minutes lowers the blood sugar and it becomes lower. In my green smoothie retreats I noticed that diabetes, especially those that come taking medication. They are so afraid of not taking medication and I’m telling them you have to be careful because with green smoothies, from chlorophyll having magnesium in it, that interferes with your body how it works and it heals the diabetes very quickly. You have to be aware that your blood sugar could become too low, which is way more dangerous than having it too high and sometimes they end up eating dates because their blood sugar do become too low. You can go to the that Boutenko Films and actually watch this woman five minutes video and see for yourself that it’s true testimony.
Caryn: Where will we find that, at Rawfamily.com?
Victoria: I know you go to youtube and it’s free, Boutenko Films, and there are many of them. Of course, you have to be careful with diabetes. Especially diabetes type one. Because diabetes 2 decrease the amount of insulin you take and with type 1 diabetes, you have to also include exercise. It can not only be done with diet. We have published mostly information about this. Again, we are not doctors. We’re just share what we know, which you could apply and it helps. The medical doctors, they confirm that it’s possible to add vigorous aerobic exercise and increase your consumption of fiber and greens. That combination really does help with diabetes. Diabetes type 2 usually, if you begin to live on greens, it becomes reversed within 3 days, very very fast. It’s really so affective. I think, first of all, because of magnesium and fiber.
Caryn: Well, what’s fascinating is two things. One is there are foods that clearly aren’t good for us and fill us with toxins and then there are foods that are good for us and not only nourish are body and strengthen are immune system but clear out toxins. Kind of like one or the other. The green smoothies,those green foods they nourish our bodies, they clean out toxins. They are indeed magic as you say in your little book Green Smoothie Magic.
Victoria: Yes and green smoothie are also very delicious. There is a belief that’s popular that healthy foods are not delicious. This is not true about green smoothies. If you make proper green smoothie, it is so palatable.Everybody who tries it the first time, they are very afraid to try it. Soon as they take the first sip their face usually lit up and they say wow that’s actually good. It’s so natural. You can actually taste the greens in it because there are fruits, there are mangos or bananas or apples that completely dominate the flavor of chlorophyll. Like if you will just blend greens, it will smell just like the grass of your lawn. It will smell very very strong. As soon as you add fruits to it. I would between 40 and 60% fruit. It’s depending on your choice. Then it really dominates both the flavor and the taste and it’s so palatable. Even children have no reservation to drinking it.
Caryn: Now you raised how many children?
Victoria: I have three children and two grandchildren and lots of nephews and nieces.
Caryn: Did you raise your children on healthy plant foods from the beginning or did you make your transition later?
Victoria: Unfortunately not but I started with my three younger children when they were 8 & 9. Valya was 8 and Sergei was 9 and that made a big difference. I see when they visit with me. They’re now 28 & 29. When I visit with them, I see that ….when they visit with me, I see that if they are stressed for example, they don’t ever go to bad foods like chocolate or anything like that…. like people go to alcohol or white bread or pastry. If they are stressed, I see they either start to eat dates, raisins or just some sweet fruits like mango or…
Caryn: They have some good habits.
Victoria: I see that and they just warm in my heart because I think well even …. I started not from the beginning but they have already good habits and this is so great. It’s cool. I am kinda happy for them and I don’t have to worry.
Caryn: Right, now was it easy from the beginning or did they resist when you first wanted to change the food?
Victoria: Caryn, it was early enough they didn’t have a choice.
Caryn: Okay, because it’s so hard for parents today, you know we were talking before about corporations and commercials but kids just want to do what everybody is doing.
Victoria: First of all, there are two things you have to do. First of all , I inform my children. I always, when I read the book, I would always read parts of the book or tell them in my own words, for example, I would tell them that 80% of any commercial cereal has sugar in it and that’s what sugar does to your body. I just explain to them. Or I would tell them about GMO or something. I just told them facts that they could understand. Secondly, for example, I told them when they grow GMO wheat they have to wear masks when they harvest in it. The second thing, I always invited them… appreciated that they help and helping me even though, sometimes they were messy. I would say I need help to peel these bananas or I need help juicing these fruits and vegetables with carrots. If children participate in making smoothies or juice, they would want to eat it. They would want to just try it. They can not ignore it. Those two main recommendations, I would give to parents who want to include their children into eating healthier. Preaching works counter, it doesn’t really help.
Caryn: It doesn’t work with kids. It doesn’t work with adults either because we’re just big kids.
Victoria: Also by example, my oldest son, who has two children, recently, he pulled his… and he had a backache. I asked him why don’t he fast. He said I really don’t want to fast because I just would rather just take some pill. I said you know if you fast your children will see you fasting and they will ask you and even not asking and you tell them I’m fasting because my back hurts. That goes into their subconscious. So when they have pain they will do the same thing. So it’s very important because they really take examples from the parent.
Caryn: Yeah, I agree.
Victoria: Eventually, he did fast and his pain went away so fast and he kept raving, like wow, just one day of the water fasting and completely my pain is gone.
Caryn: Yeah, we have some very distorted opinions and ideas about how to manage symptoms. How to manage pain and illness, whereas, some very simple things can really resolve many, many, many problems.
Victoria: Exactly, exactly you know this year, the two children and I, we went to a place in Siberia, where there are 80 centenarians for every thousand of people. There’s lots of centenarians living in there. We went there with our cameras and we were interviewing people. Imagine there would be 105 old woman, who was born in 1903 or 1908 and we would ask her, do you take any drugs? Do you take any medicine? And she would look at us like we were crazy. She would say , no, no, I don’t. She’s 105 years old. She is sewing and she doesn’t even use glasses. She doesn’t have glasses. She was sewing mittens for her great grandchildren, whom she has like hundreds. So it was pretty amazing to see that people don’t take no medicine. This is in our world.
Caryn: Yeah, so may people have just been manipulated to the point. where they think it’s natural. It’s natural to have problems as we age. So may of these problems which we cause or we put on ourselves. Well, we come to the end of the half hour, Victoria and I’m so glad to have this opportunity to talk to you. I love reading Green Smoothie Magic and I might just take it out and read it tonight again.
Victoria: Yes everybody go to Amazon look for Green Smoothie Magic.
Caryn: Yes. thank you for everything you’re doing.
Victoria: Thank you for having me here.
Caryn: Okay, take care and be well.
Victoria: Green Life!
Caryn:Green Life, right on. That was Victoria Boutenko and you can find out more at Rawfamily.com. There’s a lot there. Okay. That’s it. You’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. I’m Caryn Hartglass. Visit me at ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com. Have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Marci Skinner, 11/3/2013