Interviews with Tom Regan and Ricki Heller 10/23/2012



Part I: Tom Regan
The Case for Animal Rights

Thomas Howard Regan was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 28, 1938. He is an American philosopher and author (professor emeritus of philosophy at North Carolina State University) who specializes in animal rights theory.

Tom Regan wrote multiple books on the philosophy of animal rights. His most famous being The Case for Animal Rights, a work that significantly influenced the modern animal rights movement. It was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Tom Regan started his career in 1965 as Instructor, and then Assistant Professor of Philosophy, at Sweet Briar College. In 1967, he started as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at North Carolina State University. In 1972 Associate Professor of Philosophy, in 1978 Professor of Philosophy and from 1996 to 1999 Regan served as Head Philosophy & Religion in the North Carolina State University.

During his more than thirty years on the faculty, he received numerous awards for excellence in teaching; published scores of professional papers as well as more than twenty books; got major international awards for film writing and direction

Tom Regan is married to the former Nancy Tirk, with whom he co-founded The Culture and Animals Foundation, advancing animal advocacy through intellectual and artistic expression.


Part II: Ricki Heller
Diet, Dessert And Dogs

Ricki Heller is an educator, writer, cookbook author, natural nutritionist and lover of all things canine. She’s is a college teacher who works as a part-time cooking class instructor/chef and a part-time freelance writer. She holds a PhD in Modern American Literature. Find out more about Ricki at her website,


CARYN HARTGLASS: Hi Everybody, I am Caryn Hartglass and you are listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me today on this October 23, 2012. How are you? I am doing pretty well and I am glad you are joining me today. We’ve got a very interesting program lined up and I know I am going to be learning quite a bit. But before we get started I wanted to remind you for those of you familiar with my nonprofit Responsible Eating And Living, REAL, we are in our October Fund drive. We are calling it the REAL Virtual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser. And you can go to our website, you can download the Sourdough Cornmeal Vegan Gluten-Free Pancake Recipe and have a good time with it and make a donation if you are so moved because we could really use it. We are doing lots of wonderful things for the planet with this organization. Thanks for your support in advance.

Alright, my first guest is Tom Regan. He is a universally recognized as the intellectual leader of the animal rights movement. During his more than thirty years on the faculty, he received numerous awards for excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching; as named University Alumni Distinguished Professor; published hundreds of professional papers and more than twenty books; won major international awards for film writing and direction; and present hundreds of lectures throughout the United States and abroad. Upon his retirement hi receive the William Quarles Holliday Medal, the highest honor North Carolina State University can bestow on one of its faculty.
Thomas Howard Regan was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 28, 1938. He is an American philosopher and author (professor emeritus of philosophy at North Carolina State University) who specializes in animal rights theory.

With his wife Nancy, he co-founded The Culture and Animals Foundation, (

Welcome to It’s All About Food.

TOM REGAN: Oh, it’s an honor to be on your show.

CARYN HARTGLASS: Oh no, no, no, no the honor is all mine. In fact I was so honored when I got to meet you earlier this year and I am so glad I did. Of course it was kind of a bitter sweet experience as you may remember, we both went to the memorial of Marti Kheel who was a phenomenal author and activist.

TOM REGAN: She was a wonderful person.

CARYN HARTGLASS: And a wonderful person. I want to say that I was fortunate to meet her shortly before she left this life and the wonderful thing about that memorial, all of us who gathered afterwards, it was really a wonderful experience to be together with so many people who share the same dream of making this world a better, more kinder place.

TOM REGAN: Yeah, it was an inspiration to me I can tell you and to Nancy as well. We went home fueled with the compassion that we felt at the memorial service and also at the table, so we were better for having gone there.

CARYN HARTGLASS: I agree and inspiration is something that all of us to get continually because it’s easy to lose focus, we’re depressed because we are continually focusing on what is wrong.

TOM REGAN: Well that’s an astute observation. The movement goes forward despite those who leave it every day, despite because they are dispirited, despite because they are impatient. Because they give up hope and it’s like a revolving door, people come in and people go out. Our first obligation to the animals and to the earth is to stay in the movement, to keep making a contribution in our several ways and our separate ways. But the enemy wins if we go out the door.

CARYN HARTGLASS: That’s right. We have to stay with it and stay fueled and stay inspired. I like to keep things as positive as we possibly can and we will be focusing on both the good and the bad and hopefully leave with a lot of good.

If somebody saw you walking down the street, I don’t think they would think, oh that’s an animal rights activist.

TOM REGAN: No, I don’t think so either.

CARYN HARTGLASS: The unfortunate thing is there are many different stereotypes all around the world for many different kinds of people and kinds of characters and the animal rights activist is no different, there is a stereotype. I don’t think it’s true. There might be a smattering of people who fit whatever the stereotype might be. But you are a lovely, friendly, kind, soft spoken, intelligent, person.

TOM REGAN: Well that’s very kind of you to say, I think that, of course, the public’s image of the animal rights activist is what the media feeds them. And the media loves a plane crash, the media loves vandalism and violence. Just look at the front page of any newspaper in the world and you’ll confirm that for your self. So our great struggle is to get past the media so to speak, and the way we do that is by the example of our lives. Everybody makes a contribution to the struggle just by being compassionate in their life and we must never forget that because the animals depend on us for their safety and for their survival. We must not abandon them. That’s our first obligation.

CARYN HARTGLASS: People may or may not realize I just want to briefly continue on the media concept, that what we see very often in mainstream media is the sensational, the violent. We have so many great editing capabilities today that people don’t even realize when they are watching maybe some live coverage or something, very often a picture is spliced in to and may not even have been from that event but it there to give us some subliminal thoughts and guide us along in one direction. We don’t even realize very often what’s happening.

TOM REGAN: No, I think you are correct about that. I am not a keen student of the modern media but I do know that subliminal messages can be placed out of context.

CARYN HARTGLASS: It happens all the time. Just a quick little history about what inspired you to get where your thinking is today and what inspired you to write your animal rights books.

TOM REGAN: I was a butcher when I was in college. I sliced, I diced, I minced, I ground. And as I’ve said in the past, their cold flesh gave way to my cruel will. The pieces of meat I was working with might as well have been blocks of wood. I was so distant from any kind of identification or any kind of spark of compassion. Not that I was intentionally cruel to the compassion animals in my life, they were always special. But the other animals were like blocks of wood. And it may have stayed that way in my life except for the head and heart. The head was I was involved in the anti-war movement in the Vietnam period. My wife Nancy and I founded North Carolinians Against the War, a state wide, grass roots organization. I thought, I am a trained philosopher, I should be able to make a contribution, a philosophical contribution to the anti war movement and I remember this as clear as if it happened yesterday. I was in the university library and I took down a book and it was by an author of whose name I recognized but I had never read anything by him and the title of the book was My Experiment With Truth and it was written by Mahatmas K. Ghandi better known as Mahatma Ghandi.

Ghandi had an enormous influence on me. Basically he said, not that he literally said this, I wasn’t hallucinating, it was as if he said to me from the pages of his work, “I understand Professor Regan you are against unnecessary violence.” And I said. “ Yes, that’s why I am campaigning against the war. And he said, “Well what are those dead body parts doing in your freezer, then?” That was like a lightning bolt of thought. Of course, these animals met a violent end and I was living my life according to my commitment to nonviolence and there were dead body parts in my freezer. That had an enormous influence on me. And the second part, the heart matter, we had a dog who was hit by a car and died because of someone’s irresponsibility. It just awoken my heart in a sense that I thought that if any other dog was in my life as this dog had been I would have felt just as bad, just as hurt, just sorrowful. It was a short step for me to say but by golly, if I knew a pig as well, or a cow as well or a chicken as well, I would have felt the same way at the loss of this creature. It was a combination of the head, my thoughts with Ghandi, an the heart with the death of a dear friend. That was 40 years ago when that happen. We’ve seen a lot of water go over the dam since then. That’s how I got interested.

CARYN HARTGLASS: It’s a good story. That’s why I think it is important to tell the individual stories, because we relate so much more. We are so overwhelmed with the numbers. We hear 60 billion land animals, plus or minus a few billion, are killed every year around the world – that’s just an overwhelming number. But when we can look into the eyes of a hog or look into the eyes of a cow, or a chicken, I think it’s a very different thing, to see the individual personality and the life.

TOM REGAN: The thing is, my way of thinking over time has really become simplified. They are somebodies, they’re subjects of a life not a life without a subject. The other animals that are in the world, they are aware of the world they are aware of what happens to them, and what happens to them matters to them because it makes a difference in the duration and in the quality of their life and in this respect they are fundamentally the same as you and I. So it is from my perspective we should not do to them what we would not have done to us. It is really the application of the Golden Rule. We don’t want to turn them into meat, turn them into clothes, turn them into competitors, turning them into performers, turning them into tools in laboratories, we wouldn’t want that done to us. Given our subject of equality we should not be doing it to them. It’s really very simple to me.

CARYN HARTGLASS: Yeah, it’s simple to me too and it’s so hard to find the ways to get that message across to as many people as we can. It’s amazing how difficult it is. We live in a very violent world. We are violent to the people around us, whether we know them or not, we are violent to the Earth in many ways, we exploit so many things, people, animals, resources. It is kind of part of human nature.

TOM REGAN: Well it does seem to be, for sure. I think that our mind is pickled by the violence that we see around us. It is almost an act of will to keep the true violence alive in one’s mind rather than to deny it or bury it or to forget it or whatever it is very important to keep our sense of violence in the world alive. And what I mean by that is if you see tens of thousands of chickens in a battery henhouse and you don’t see the violence you don’t see the violence being done to these animals, you are not really living in the world. It’s our obligation to keep our sense of violence alive in our life. Not that we practice it, but that we are aware of it, aware of what others do not see, that’s the case, they don’t see what’s being done.

CARYN HARTGLASS: There are horrible things going on every day, all around us in the world. I remember when September 11, 2001 occurred many of us were feeling it because it was so close to home, especially here in New York City. One of the things I kept saying to everyone I possibly could was you are feeling overwhelmed, we don’t know what to do, the thing we can do is get the violence out of our own lives. And we do that by what we eat and the products we use.

TOM REGAN: I couldn’t agree more. There is an image that I sometimes use when I am giving talks and it is the image of this web of evil. You have this picture of an enormous complicated web. As long as we are alive we are going to be some place in that web. We are going to be imperfect creatures in an imperfect world, we are going to contribute to the evil that is being done by actively or passively accepting it. But what we can struggle to do is to get as far from the center of the web as we can. Because that is where the people who are perpetrators or viewers of evil don’t recognize the evil that do or see. Those of the people in the center of web and we have to struggle to get as far from the center as we can. Knowing that we are not going to be perfect in any way shape or form we are just going to be imperfect creatures in an imperfect world. But we can make a difference by trying to get away from the center. There is another image, if I may, I sometimes picture this enormous wall, that represents the oppression of other sentient life, the ecosystem and so on. Of course what we would like to do is bring that wall down, at once and whatever. But we know, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that we can’t do that. But what we can do is we can take the wall down a brick at a time. That takes enormous stamina and courage just to take one brick down. Just to end greyhound racing in Texas. Just to get chimps out of laboratories. It’s one brick but it takes enormous amounts of time and effort.

CARYN HARTGLASS: I fight it. You are right about this brick concept and I always try to get people to see, the whole picture, to see the whole wall, and it’s hard.

TOM REGAN: We are so used to seeing some things that we no longer see them. We are so used to seeing animal abuse in factory farms and in laboratories and in marine display. We are so insensitive because it’s part of our daily diet in the world. But that’s why we have to, the people listening to your radio show, we all have to, keep our sense of anger alive in response to the evil that we don’t see,

CARYN HARTGLASS: Now you mentioned to me this war analogy. Can we talk a little bit about that?

TOM REGAN: Yeah, when people try to find an analogy, the two most common ones are the slavery analogy and the holocaust analogy. The slavery analogy has a point up to a point. But it seems to break down. It was normally in the interest of the slave owners not to kill their slaves. But it is in the interest of hog farmers to kill their hogs. And in the holocaust analogy, the purpose was to exterminate various groups of people, homosexuals, Jews, Seventh Day Adventists, I think that it were, to obliterate them, to take them off the face of the Earth. But that’s not normally what happens when humans dominate other animals. It may sometime happen but rarely, it’s the exception, not the rule. And again when you think about what’s in the interest of furriers and what’s in the interest of pork producers, it’s in the interest to have more animals, not to exterminate them. I’ve been thinking about what would be a better analogy it’s the war analogy, what are the characteristics of war. Individuals are injured, they are killed, they are imprisoned and weapons are used, and if we think about how animals are exploited, for example in animal agriculture, they are imprisoned, they are injured, they are killed, and weapons are used. The interesting thing is, of course they’ll say, we use tools, we use stereotactic devices and rat guillotines for something. Once you adopt a war analogy that kind of thinking, you think, no, they are weapons, that’s what they are, they are weapons, carried on, used by the perpetrators of the war. The other thing about it, this seems to put all the blame on all the producers and the consumers get off scott free. But no, if you think about war again, there is a group of people called mercenaries and the mercenaries are the people who are paid to wage the war. In the United States, the war for our independence from Great Britain, the Hessians, were used. But that’s what we do, We pay people to carry out the war on our behalf, if we are meat eaters or use cosmetics that have been tested on animals and wear fur and all the rest of that. We are paying people to carry out the war. That’s what the consumer is, a consumer of these products.

CARYN HARTGLASS: Our hands are not clean.

TOM REGAN: No, no, for sure, for sure. At the same time, it is just so very important. I remember and experience I had, a person came up after I gave a talk, a person said, well what about plants. And this woman who was with me, a very accomplished philosopher, just went ballistic. She said, “I’ve heard this question a thousand times and I da, da, da” And she stormed off in a huff. And then later she came back later and she said, I have to apologize I am so disappointed in my behavior but I really have heard that question a thousand times.” And I said to her in an uncommon moment of insight, I said to her, “Yes, but that was the first time that person asked me that question.” That’s what we have to remember. People can’t hear you when you are shouting at them. It’s a paradox. They can’t hear you when you are shouting at them. That’s why Ghandi, part of the reason Ghandi had such an impact on my life, he was so meek of a man and yet so tough and resilient and committed. And he won his country’s independence. You can imagine that, this man when he died had a doti, a pair of sandals, some glasses and a bowl. He brought down the might of the British army.

CARYN HARTGLASS: With nothing but his own integrity, very powerful.

TOM REGAN: He’s still an inspiration to me.

CARYN HARTGLASS: We just have a few minutes and I wanted to talk about the animal welfare versus the animal rights debate. Is that a brick versus wall scenario?

TOM REGAN: Yeah, I guess so, no, not quite. There are incremental abolitionist steps. Greyhound racing, you can end cosmetic testing and you can end toxicity testing, you can end dog labs for example as PCRM has successfully done. So there are abolition issues, it’s not like you are reforming a practice and keeping it and making more welfare respecting but you are actually ending things. I give a list of all sorts of campaigns in my book Empty Cages. I think from my point of view as long as, we view other animals as a culture, as our resources, welfare reform simply makes it more acceptable to view other animals as resources, they are treated better, they can turn around, whatever. But they are still our resources. I am opposed to welfare reforms because they don’t really address the problem and at the same time it makes meat consumption more acceptable.

CARYN HARTGLASS: Everybody pats themselves on the back, saying, okay we are doing a good thing, we are giving a bigger cage to the chickens, there is really no improvement.

TOM REGAN: No that’s why I have always said empty cages not bigger cages. Empty cages means there is no animal who is our resource in that cage. And that’s where we want to get and I don’t think we do get there by making welfare reforms.

CARYN HARTGLASS: Okay you have been active in animal rights for several decades, are we making headway?

TOM REGAN: Well in some ways we are, in some ways we aren’t. In terms of body count, 1975 when I published the Moral Basis Of Vegetarianism, there were roughly 6 billion animals destroyed in the United States. Today there are in excess of 10 billions animals. In terms of body count, no, we are going in opposite directions I would guess. But in other terms, when I retired from the university, they presented me with the highest honor. They also invited me to establish the Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive at the university library. I don’t think that was thinkable when we started in 1972. It was impossible. And if you look at the growth academic course in literature, in philosophy, in law, in sociology, in anthropology, in biology and so on, there was a point when we would think of the university as the castle and we were outside the moat, now we are inside the castle, That really is an amazing turn of events, an amazing change.

CARYN HARTGLASS: We are definitely inside the castle. I wanted to mention we have publications like LA Weekly saying that vegan is mainstream. I was reading this online blog post recently that said that vegan and vegetarian is mainstream. I don’t know if it is mainstream but we are in the castle.

TOM REGAN: We are in the castle, we are not outside the moat.

CARYN HARTGLASS: So people can hear us and that’s a good thing. Okay the last thing I wanted to talk to you about is your favorite foods.

TOM REGAN: Oh! Pasta, pasta, pasta. I am the luckiest person, I am like Lou Gehrig, I am the luckiest person on the face of the Earth, because my wife is a marvelous cook. I always say, I am married to Nancy Regan and it’s been the best of times and the worst of times, being married to Nancy Regan. I am blessed. I haven’t done anything to deserve it and she is a committed chef. She loves the challenge of making wonderful vegan food and she basically makes everything fresh.

CARYN HARTGLASS: That’s the way to do it. Thank you for joining me, so much, on It’s All About Food, Tom. I look forward to seeing you and Nancy again and enjoying some wonderful plant food.

TOM REGAN: Oh, let’s look forward to the day. I am honored to be on your program.

CARYN HARTGLASS: Thank you for everything you have done, Empty Cages, A Case For Animal Rights, all of your great writing, you have made a great difference on this planet. Thank you.

TOM REGAN: I hope so. I hope I have made some anyhow.

CARYN HARTGLASS: Okay, be well.



Caryn Hartglass:  Hey everybody!  I’m Caryn Hartglass and we’re back and it’s All About Food because it is all about food, you know it and I know it and I love talking about it!  Thanks for joining me.  I’m going to bring on my next guest, Ricki Heller she is an educator, writer, cookbook author, natural nutritionist, lover of all things canine. She’s a college teacher who works as a part-time cooking class instructor/chef and a part-time freelance writer, she holds a PhD in American Modern Literature and she has a website: . Welcome to It’s All About Food, Ricki!

Ricki Heller:  Thank you so much.  What a wonderful introduction.

Caryn Hartglass:  {Laughing} Well…isn’t it true?

Ricki Heller:  Yeah, they’re all true {laughing}

Caryn Hartglass:  Yeah…

Ricki Heller:  When you put it all together, it sounds like a lot!

Caryn Hartglass:  It does…it sounds good…

Ricki Heller:  {Laughing}

Caryn Hartglass:  I like people that…sounds like you love life and it sounds like you like to do a lot of things!

Ricki Heller:  I do.  I always like to have a full plate—so to speak.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah…and I get a very positive feeling when I’m on your website.

Ricki Heller:  Oh, great, because …that’s partly my intention, for sure.

Caryn Hartglass:  Yeah, it’s a happy place to be!

Ricki Heller:  It is…and it is for me too!  I love writing it…I love hearing from my readers…yeah, I do love blogging.

Caryn Hartglass:  Ok…so you have…one thing I like is to share people’s stories because we like to hear stories…I don’t know if it’s the voyeur in all of us or what it is, but we relate a lot more to individual stories and you have one, yourself, maybe you can give us a little brief synopsis…of the good…

Ricki Heller:  Sure…

Caryn Hartglass:  …of the highlights and low lights

Ricki Heller:  Ok {laghing}.  Well, basically, I mean the way I guess I got to be doing what I’m doing…I call myself a “Sugar Addict.”  I think that’s true, just like an alcoholic, you’re never not a Sugar Addict once you are one.

Caryn Hartglass: {Laughing}

Ricki Heller:  You know, I grew up in a home where is was just a standard, American diet.  I ate a lot of junk food, we loved sweets.  My mom was a terrific  baker, but unfortunately, what ended up happening was as a result of that, was I spent my life being overweight and on a diet and eating a lot of sweet things and doing a lot of baking myself.  So, when I was, I guess, in my late 20’s, I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome…

Caryn Hartglass:  Hmm.

Ricki Heller:  …and basically, at the time what doctors tell  you to do for that was take some pills… {laughing}

Caryn Hartglass:  Hmm…yeah…

Ricki Heller:  …lots of pills

Caryn Hartglass:  …and some very dangerous toxic ones which very often lead to other problems…

Ricki Heller: …Oh…

Caryn Hartglass:  …like cancer.

Ricki Hller:  Exactly.

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmm…Hmm.

Ricki Heller:  And, what they tell you to do is, of course, not going to get rid of the problem and it’s not going to help you much.  So…but I did…I was on medication for 16 years…

Caryn Hartglass:  Wow !

Ricki Heller:  …what ended up happening was around 40 I ended up having 4 sinus infections in the space of 3 months and, at one point, was so ill.  I had a 104 temperature

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmmm….

Ricki Heller:   …and I ended up going from doctor to doctor and they were giving me antibiotics that didn’t seem to be working and I just…you know…I can vividly remember at the peak of that problem, we came home from one doctor’s appointment and my husband had to take me because I was too weak to go and I, literally, could not get upstairs to the bedroom.  I had to crawl up on my hands and knees…

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmmm….Mmmm.

Ricki Heller:  …I was so sick.  So, at that point, someone told me or, said to me, “ Why don’t you go see a Naturopath?”  Of course, I hadn’t thought of that before because I was pretty conventional and, you know, she…I did…I went to see someone and when she completely changed my diet and that’s sort of what got me started on this road toward holistic nutrition.  It did take me…ehhhh…about 10 years longer before I really, sort of, dove right in, but after that, I got a little bit better, I changed my diet and decided I wanted to study nutrition to find out for myself why some foods were good and why some foods weren’t good for me.  And, it wasn’t until about 10 years after that that I ended up having a really severe case of Candida.  Because I had been doing very well, I had been eating a whole foods diet and feeling great and I guess I felt so great…

Caryn Hartglass:  {Laughing}

Ricki Heller:   ….that I thought, “Oh you know…a little bit of the old stuff won’t hurt me.”  It was Christmas, Christmas 2008…I remember distinctly…and I just had one little piece of cake and then that turned into 2 and then 5 and then chocolate and everything else I had been eating before and I ended up with a really bad case of Candida.  So, I’ve been on a Candida free diet since March 2009 and …

Caryn Hartglass:  And, doing well!

Ricki Heller:  …I’m doing well…yeah…I’d say I’m about 95% back to where I was when I was healthy.  But, what’s great about being on a whole foods diet, I was able to get off my medication for irritable bowel, and when I first changed my diet, it took about 6 months before I was feeling so much better that I decided to try to wean myself off with my doctor and we also got me off medication for low thyroid at the time.

Caryn Hartglass:  Hmmm.

Ricki Heller:  So, I’m basically not on any medication right now which is terrific.  I’m just eating a whole foods diet and taking natural supplements and still being supervised by my Naturopath and hoping that I’m probably going to be able to maintain this for the rest of my life.

Caryn Hartglass:  For the rest of your long, high quality life

Ricki Heller:  Let us hope so, yes!  {Laughing!}

Caryn Hartglass:  {Laughing!}  Ok, so I’ve was taking notes while you were talking and I wanted to talk about number of things you had mentioned.  The first thing was being a Sugar Addict and we live, today, in a world where many people are addicted to food, especially, sugar, and there are a lot of reasons behind it.  Some of them are political; some of them are just the time that we live in.  There are a lot of laws that have been passed, things that have been deregulated; farmers are growing as many things as they possibly can without letting pieces of their land rest.  Our food system is overloaded with an abundance of food—more than we really need.  Food is cheap, it’s everywhere and it’s not necessarily the healthiest food that is all around us.   And then there’s marketing, that knows very well how to have those little voices in our heads tell us to eat their products.

Ricki Heller:  Mmm…Hmm.

Caryn Hartglass:  {Laughing!}  Then all of those things work against us and then there’s also a lot of science that shows that when we eat more sugary products, we do get addicted.

Ricki Heller:  Absolutely.   Yeah.  I mean, I think you’re right.  All of those things working together…it starts at the level of the individual…so, if you look at emotional, physiological factors (and in my case) because I’m a little be older than the young people, today, that are becoming addicted.  When I was a kid, there wasn’t really all that much processed food.  Certainly not in my house because my parents were very old fashioned, my dad was raised on a farm.   But still, we had the emotional factors, and we had the physiological factors of eating sweets every day.  My mom was a baker and my dad wanted baked goods in the house…

Caryn Hartglass:  Hmm…

Ricki Heller:  ….so, ya know…those things work together and as you were just saying, if you’ve read David Kessler’s book, The End of Overeating, he talks about how addictive sugar is and the sort of triad of sugar, fat and salt and how they work together to make food so appealing and how food producers actually use that information and base their recipes upon how much the food is going to be addictive to us.  So, it’s just insane.  I think that this is what we’re being offered and this is what we’re eating so regularly.   And, some of what the appeal and the draw of this food isn’t even voluntary to some extent.

Caryn Hartglass:  That’s right.  So the thing is, we shouldn’t belittle ourselves if things aren’t going our way because not all of it is our fault, but at the same time, I want to say it is our responsibility—our health is our responsibility and we have to take control if we want to feel good, look good, live a long time and have a high quality, energetic life.

Ricki Heller:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  And, I think, part of the problem, too, is that, you know, whole foods aren’t that sexy as packaged foods are made to look beautiful and they’re shaped a certain way and so on.  You know, we’re not used to eating real food in our society.

Caryn Hartglass:  Yeah.  It’s all perspective though, because I’ve see some very sexy cauliflower.

Ricki Heller:  Yeah…I suppose…yeah..ok…yeah…I’ll go with that.   {Laughing}  Even as your talking, I’m thinking, right now, my major sweetener in  my live is Stevia and it’s an herbal sweetener for people who aren’t familiar with it, but, yeah, I don’t know if your listeners are aware, but I’m in Canada, so, it’s slightly different the way Stevia is offered here and offered in the States.  Because, in Canada, the only Stevia I’ve seen is 100% pure extract from the herb so you can get a powdered extract or a liquid which is basically just the suspension of Stevia in some glycerin or alcohol depending on what they do because Stevia is up to 100% sweeter than sugar.  But, what’s so fascinating to me is that as soon as Stevia was approved in the U.S.,  I started seeing all kinds of products…

Caryn Hartglass:  Yeah.

Ricki Heller:  …like Truvia…I can’t remember…Purvia?  And, I believe, that’s partly because you can’t patent Stevia, but you can patent a combination of Stevia…

Caryn Hartglass:  Yeah.  Altered products.  Yeah.

Ricki Heller:  …so you can’t make a lot of money off of Stevia.  So I think that’s where food manufacturers play a role because they want things that they can make money off of.

Caryn Hartglass:  I wanted to just remind my listeners if you haven’t listened to it, several years ago, I did speak with Jim May who is the founder of Sweet Leaf, Stevia and he taught me…

Ricki Heller: Ohhh…

Caryn Hartglass:  …he told me that it’s pronounced, Stev-ia (short e) even though we all pronounce it Steevia (long e)  {Laughing}

Ricki Heller:  Is that so…I’ve heard it both ways…

Caryn Hartglass:  Jim says…yeah he says it’s Stev-ia (short e) and he’s the one who brought it to North America at least that’s what he said.

Ricki Heller:  Ohhh….amazing!

Caryn Hartglass:  He had a really hard time getting it approved and now…now there’s all these other companies that are taking market share away from him who did all of the ground work…

Ricki Heller:  Wow…

Caryn Hartglass:  ….but you can learn a lot about that product from that show and I would just go to, my website and put in Jim May or Stevia and that show will come up.

Ricki Heller:  Great.

Caryn Hartglass:  Stevia is a great product,  but the downside is that it still allows us to have a sweet tooth.

Ricki Heller:  Yes.

Caryn Hartglass:  Probably more than natural.

Ricki Heller:  Well…I mean, yeah…I think, naturally, we do have a sweet tooth.   One of the things I talk about sometimes when I do talks about sugar and cooking low glycemic and what not, you know if you think about the very first food that most of us had, at our mother’s breast, mother’s milk is very sweet…

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmmm…Hmmm…it’s sweet.

Ricki Heller: …so we’re sort of hard wired to like sweet.  I think the problem occurs when we have an abundance of it available—much more so than would be naturally available to us.  So, we tend to consume it way more than we ever could before in history.   But, yeah, you’re right…I think, of course,  Stevia…Stev-ia …allows you to enjoy sweet food.  But, I have to say, for me, it was a life saver because, if I haven’t had that as my sweetener which allowed me to still enjoy many familiar sweet treats, I probably wouldn’t have been able to stay on the Candida diet as well as I did and for as long as I did in order to start healing.

Caryn Hartglass:  Right.  There are a lot of different fruits out there and many of them have been hybridized to be sweeter.  I tend to stick toward berries which aren’t as sweet as others although I eat all kinds of fruits, but I don’t eat a lot of the sweeter fruits, they’re more treats for me.

Ricki Heller:  Mmm….Hmmm.

Caryn Hartglass:  But, fruits are a good food, I don’t want to scare anyone away from simple fruits.

Ricki Heller:  Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass:  So, the next thing I want to talk about is you went to a Naturopath and I want to congratulate you for thinking outside of the box.   So many people feel like there’s only one doctor in the world, the one they’re going to and they have to listen to whatever he or she says.    It’s so important to get different opinions and try to make sense of it all.  There is no one right answer and not…I’ve even heard a lot of different things from different Naturopaths…

Ricki Heller:  Yes.

Caryn Hartglass:  ….some of them have favorite diets…hunter-gatherer, or Paleolithic or…you know…one thing or another and I don’t agree with what all of them say, but it does enable you, it empowers you to consider all kinds of different things.

Ricki Heller:  I would agree.  I think it’s really important…well…I…and  certainly I came to that conclusion after having gone to, certainly, more than a dozen doctors—none of whom could help me rid myself of this Candida and it was the Naturopath who was able to help me.  So, I think …and the other thing I’ve come to realize after being on this diet so long and the other thing I hear from so many people…it seems to be something that’s increasing…

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmm…Hmm.

Ricki Heller:  …in numbers, but that no one diet works for every individual either.  So, even people…there are probably at least a dozen different Candida diets out there if you do a Google search on the Internet.   You’ll find many, many different versions for this diet.  Some allow fruit in the first stages, some don’t allow fruit in the first stages.

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmm…Hmm.

Ricki Heller:  Some allow certain nuts and some other nuts and so on.  So, what I found was you really also have to tailor the diet to you individually and what works for me, may not always work for someone else, even if we’re both following the Candida protocol.

Caryn Hartglass:  That’s very true.  The other thing I wanted to mention is you said you were on a vegan diet for a long time and then you weren’t well and you’re doctor was insisting that you eat meat and change your diet…

Ricki Heller:  Right.

Caryn Hartglass:  …what I want to mention is that not all vegan diets are healthy.  There are variations and, again, it depends on the individual.  I was a long term vegan on what I considered a healthy diet and a very healthy diet and still I came down with advanced ovarian cancer and I lived to talk about it.

Ricki Heller:  Wow.

Caryn Hartglass:   I believe that my diet saved my life…

Ricki Heller:  Mmm….Hmm.

Caryn Hartglass:  ….but you know, there were other factors that came into play and the thing is, we’re vulnerable as humans and things happen.  The thing is…the goal…I think is to enjoy our lives, live a long quality life and figure out how to do that.

Ricki Heller:  Yeah.  Not to…you know…be trite…but you have to find the balance.  When I was first in university and I…I didn’t even know I was a vegan when I was in university….and I was a vegan, but I was  junk food vegan.

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmm…Hmm.

Ricki Heller:  And, that’s when I got sick.  And, that’s when my doctor told me I had to go out and eat meat.   And then I realized after I had gone to  nutritional schools, that I finally, understood how horrible my diet had been and that’s when I decided with my new found knowledge, I was going to try again and see why did I have to eat meat.  I didn’t think…knowing what I knew at that point…that I didn’t think I’d have to eat meat anymore.  I was able to disagree with her.  So, and now I feel great.  I feel like I’m eating a well balanced diet, I’m getting all of the nutrients I need, I’m getting enough protein without…really without having a problem with that at all and, so, I think it’s all what you know and what kind of diet you’re , sure.

Caryn Hartglass:  Okay, let’s talk about my favorite subject, which is delicious food!

Ricki Heller:  Okay!  Mine, too!  {Laughing!}

Caryn Hartglass:  {Laughing!}  And, I’ve been to your website:  Diet, Desserts N Dogs, that’s the letter, N… Diet, Desserts, the letter N, , and, most recently, you have some really beautiful recipes up for Halloween.  I saw those beautiful little pumpkin cupcakes…

Ricki Heller:  Oh, thank you…the whoopee pies!  Well, one of the things that has been going around the Internet is a pumpkin shaped cake made of two bundt cakes…

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmm…Hmm.

Ricki Heller:  …set bottom to bottom and I thought, “Oh well, I don’t want to do a whole cake, but what if I could do individual servings and I bought a miniature Bundt pan and I made whoopee pies out of them.  But, the thing about those, I don’t know if you looked at the ingredients, that is a recipe from someone who is now following what I call Stage III of the Candida diet.  So, I do allow myself to have some coconut sugar on occasion which is a low glycemic sugar or coconut nectar.  And, so, this is a cake, a vegan cake, made with coconut sugar and Stevia as the sweetener and it’s a frosting that is made out of coconut butter, sweet potato and Stevia.

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmmmmmn!

Ricki Heller:  And, it is fluffy and light, it’s like frosting, so…my husband thought he was eating orange butter cream because I used orange flavored Stevia as a sweetener …

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmmmmmn!

Ricki Heller:  ….and to me, that’s both fun and delicious!  I just love being able to recreate recipes that people will be surprised to learn are vegan or are surprised to learn are healthy.

Caryn Hartglass:  Right.

Ricki Heller:  So, I don’t even want them to know these are healthy unless I tell them.

Caryn Hartglass:  {Laughing!}  Oh, sure, you want to give them the treat and then there like “Oh, it’s a treat, it’s good…”

Ricki Heller:  Exactly!  So, for me, that’s just fun and I think that as long as you can have those kinds of treats in your life…and I don’t…the first time I was on this diet, I remember feeling I was very deprived and always whining when my husband and I went out to dinner…

Caryn Hartglass:  {Laughing!}

Ricki Heller:  …I couldn’t eat what I want.  But, this time around, I think I have finally embraced this as something I’m going to do for the rest of my life because I’m just constantly amazed at how well you can eat without sugar and without refined flours and all the other bad stuff.

Caryn Hartglass:  I want to say something that I believe in.  If you’re in a severe health crisis, you’re either feeling absolutely horrible… or you’re facing what could be a terminal illness… I believe that you have to get really serious about your diet.

Ricki Heller:  Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass:  And, even still, that doesn’t mean that the food isn’t going to be enjoyable, but there’s food that you really shouldn’t be having if you really want to get well.  And, I did that for a year and a half, I didn’t eat any sugar, I ate very few fruits, just the berries and I stayed away from refined foods,  I was eating a lot of greens, limited whole grains, lots of greens…I underline the greens, raw and fresh…and I was on a lot of nutritional supplements.   But, then after that, I opened—I don’t want to say the flood gates—but I allow myself treats and, on my website you can see some of them.  I do a lot of gluten free baking.  I do use evaporated cane juice, it’s not good for everybody, but you can allow yourself some special foods and you have to know that they’re treats—that’s what makes them special!

Ricki Heller:  Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass:  When you don’t have them all the time.

Ricki Heller:  {Laughs} Exactly.  As we were saying earlier, I think that’s the problem with the average diet in North America today, is that we do have them all the time.   We have sugar for breakfast, sugar for lunch, sugar for dinner, sugar for snacks…all the time!  And, that’s the way I was certainly eating.   One of the things I…one of the stories I talk about on my blog….when I was an undergrad, my roommate and I used to go out and buy a layer cake on Friday afternoon from the local supermarket and that’s what we ate all weekend!

Caryn Hartglass:  Mmmm…Hmmm.  Oh, I remember when I was in college I lived on coffee and ice cream and you know…all those treats.

Ricki Heller:  Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass:  But, you know, one of the wonderful things about the human body is how forgiving it is if you catch it in time, you really can turn things around dramatically!  We just have a minute, I wanted to ask you, you have a cookbook you’re…that’s coming out soon.  What’s that about?

Ricki Heller:  Oh yes.  This is an updated, revised version of Sweet Freedom which is my first cookbook.  So, it’s going to be a book of gluten free, refined sugar free, refined everything free dessert and baked goods so from breakfast baking down to the fanciest desserts for when you have people over for dinner and it’s scheduled to come out in October of 2013.  So, a year from now!

Caryn Hartglass:  Okay!  We’ll look for it! Thank you Ricki Heller!

Ricki Heller:  Thank you so much!

Caryn Hartglass:  We’re at the end of the show thank you for joining me go to her website and I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Visit my website: , make a donation if you can and have a very delicious week!   Goodbye!

Transcribed by Gail Schriver 3/10/2013


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