Jason Wyrick, Vegan Mexico


Since 2009, It’s All About Food, has been bringing you the best in up-to-date news regarding food and our food system. Hosted by Caryn Hartglass, a vegan since 1988, the program includes in-depth interviews with medical doctors; nutritionists; dieticians; cook book authors; athletes; environmental, animals and health activists; farmers; food manufacturers; lawyers; food scientists and more. Learn about how we can solve many of the world’s problems today and do it deliciously, here on It’s All About Food.

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Part I: Jason Wyrick, Vegan Mexico
jwyrickchefphotocurrentJason Wyrick is the Executive Chef of The Vegan Taste, the first nationwide meal delivery service founded in 2006. He is the author of Vegan Mexico and Vegan Tacos, the NY Times Bestselling co-author of 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart, and the food editor for NY Times Bestseller Living the Farm Sanctuary Life. In 2001, Chef Jason reversed Type II diabetes and lost 120 pounds by going vegan. He left his position as the director of marketing for a tech company and became a chef so he could use his experience to help people live healthier, compassionate lives. Since then, he published the world’s first vegan food magazine, The Vegan Culinary Experience, has been featured in the NY Times, Vegetarian Times, and other prominent publications, and has traveled the world leading vegan food tours and classes. He is the first vegan instructor to teach in the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu program and has catered for prominent organizations such as Humana, Google, Farm Sanctuary, PeTA, and the Frank Lloyd Wright foundation. You can learn more about Chef Jason Wyrick and his meal delivery service at www.thevegantaste.com.

PART II: Caryn Hartglass, World Vegan Day; Thoughts on Being Vegan
Caryn celebrates World Vegan Day on It’s All About Food, and talks about the choices made when vegan, and on being a vegan advocate. She shares food stories from her recent trip to South Florida.


Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody! I am Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. How are you today? I am so happy; it’s a beautiful autumn day here in New York City. I’m back in New York, I was traveling last week all around Florida and missed doing this show. And I do miss it, so I’m really glad to be back today, we have a lot to talk about. I’m sitting here with a lovely pot of Kukicha tea, one of my favorites, and I’m all ready to go. I wanted to talk, before I bring on my first guest, I want to talk about the publisher of his cookbook the Vegan Heritage Press. Their about page talks about how they are here to change the world one book at a time, and we’ve had other Vegan Heritage Press authors on this show, especially this year some great cookbooks have come out. Baconish by Leinana Two Moons and Aquafaba by Shoe Dever, really amazing recipes in both these books that are changing the world, not just because they’re showing that we can use plant ingredients instead of animal ingredients, but there’s so much creativity, ingenuity, and great flavors that we should all be experiencing because it’s not hard to do. And I’m glad that these authors are here to make it easy for us and give us inspiration to do more.

And with that I will bring on another Vegan Heritage Press cookbook author and one of my favorite cookbook authors period, Jason Wyrick. He’s got a new book, it’s released today on World Vegan day, it’s called Vegan Mexico, and we’re going to be devouring that in this first part of the show. Jason is the Executive Chef of The Vegan Taste, the first nationwide meal delivery service founded in 2006. He is the author of Vegan Mexico and Vegan Tacos, the NY Times Bestselling co-author of 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart, and the food editor for NY Times Bestseller Living the Farm Sanctuary Life. In 2001, Chef Jason reversed Type II diabetes and lost 120 pounds by going vegan. He left his position as the director of marketing for a tech company and became a chef so he could use his experience to help people live healthier, compassionate lives. Love it! Jason, welcome back to It’s All About Food.

Jason Wyrick: Yay! Thank you for having me.

Caryn Hartglass: Now the last time I spoke to you I believe your daughter was about to be born.

Jason Wyrick: Yup! I can’t believe that it’s been two very quick years.

Caryn Hartglass: And tell me, has everything changed?

Jason Wyrick: It has and in ways I didn’t expect, which has been really wonderful.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah that’s what parents always say. Anyway, I’m excited that your new book is out and just like Vegan Tacos it’s excellent. What I love about your books is that number one you really know what you’re talking about, you’re expertise comes out in every sentence. And I love that you share right down to the nitty-gritty the things that we can do to make wonderful great-tasting, not just vegan, but all kinds of food that just so happens to only contain plant ingredients, which is my vision for the world, when the vegans take over. Don’t let anybody know that’s my secret mission, because it’s the most delicious thing. Okay, so, you excited about today?

Jason Wyrick: I’m super excited! My publisher, Jon Robertson, wrote me yesterday to tell me the book had already sold out before it was even released today, and the second printing is on its way to Amazon. So that’s pretty incredible!

Caryn Hartglass: That’s wonderful news! Congratulations! I wanted to say in the opening and you just reminded me of it, vegan cookbooks now are flying off the shelf, there are so many of them, so many different kinds. People always loved cookbooks and now people are opening up to vegan cookbooks, and what I wanted to add about Vegan Heritage Press is unlike other publishers they’re not just jumping on what they see as a hot new trend. Vegan Heritage Press is all about vegan cookbooks, period.

Jason Wyrick: The Robertsons were in this game long before vegan became popular so they’re one of the warriors to me. They’re one of the guys out there really championing what’s going on.

Caryn Hartglass: And the real deal! Just because someone publishes a vegan cookbook and it happens to be on a bookshelf in a store doesn’t mean it’s the best one you can buy.

Jason Wyrick: Right, I totally agree with that.

Caryn Hartglass: In fact most of them aren’t. I’m glad they’re out there, and I’m glad there are more of them because it supports my secret mission. But Jason your cookbooks are in the top in my collection of many many vegan cookbooks, and I’m not just saying that. Okay, so let’s dive in. One of the things that I loved about Vegan Mexico is there are stories, and we love stories, and there’s history, and history is always fascinating. So one of the things that I was tickled with was the Mole Poblano being created by nuns. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Jason Wyrick: So there are actually a lot of great foods that have come out of convents and monasteries, stuff like that. Like beer in Belgium, Belgium beer is wonderful, created by a monk. In Mexico there are plenty of different desserts and dishes that were created in monasteries and convents. The Mole Poblano, it’s hilarious because it was basically something I think a lot of people can relate to. When you have guests coming over and you’re like, “Oh my God what am I going to make?” And that’s basically what they did when one of the higher-ups in the Catholic Church said, “Hey I’m going to come visit you guys and here’s like a day’s worth of notice,” and they were like, “What are we going to do?” So they started kind of with some basic techniques that they had already had, like with roasting tomatoes, the chilies and that sort of stuff, and then they just kept adding to it and adding to it and adding to it. And I imagine one sitting there going, “We have to make this better, okay a dash of oregano. Oh what are we going to put in next? Let’s do some raisins.” And throughout the day these nuns were creating what became the classic Mole Poblano and they served it to, if I remember it right, it was the Bishop. And they served it ­. And I just imagine the creation of that dish was really repetition of something that almost every house cook goes through, which is, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?”

Caryn Hartglass: Of course, and now sometimes that can go in a good direction and that can go in a bad direction. And I’m thinking of one bad direction in my mind right now but I don’t want to share it. Just sometimes, you know, especially for people that aren’t that familiar in the kitchen but they want to cook and they want to make something special for people, it can be intimidating and that’s why it’s important to have a good cookbook if you’re going to choose a recipe. I always suggest practice before you make it for a group or a special person, to make sure it’s going to be the way you want it to be. And it gets easier to when you practice making a dish.

Jason Wyrick: Yeah, and to me a good book has recipes for all skill levels. So you have recipes for beginners, and then most people get used to the flavors and the techniques used and that style of cuisine, and then they can move on to more advanced recipes like that Mole Poblano.

Caryn Hartglass: Alright so the next thing that popped out from the history was the impact that the Spaniards had in Mexico; two things being meat and wheat.

Jason Wyrick: Yeah it’s interesting; I did a lot of research. I just love history and anthropology and that sort of stuff so I always do research on the recipes that I’m looking at even when I don’t have to because I’m just curious, and I always find myself going down that rabbit hole. So I knew that meat was used sparingly pre-Columbian times but I didn’t know just how sparingly it was used and how much that changed once the Spanish came because they brought chickens with them, and they brought pigs, and they were pretty heavy meat-eaters at the time. So a lot of the meat-heavy dishes that we see in cuisine now are a direct result of that Spanish influence.

Caryn Hartglass: I missed that last part.

Jason Wyrick: Oh and I was going to say the wheat, wheat wasn’t around in Mexico before the Spaniards brought that, but the Spanish used the Northern part of Mexico as kind of their colonial bread basket and so that’s why if you go to Northern Mexico, the Southern U.S., and those areas you’ll find stuff like wheat tortillas used as much as corn tortillas.

Caryn Hartglass: What I love about history, especially bringing history forward to present-day, is that things that we think are hardcore traditions things that we think oh you can’t change it because it was always made that way. We know in cuisines it’s a dynamic process and it’s continually changing, I’d like to think continually improving but that’s not always the case. But as different groups of people move around the world for different reasons, some of them good and some not so good, as refugees or whatever or when things are difficult in one country and they can’t grow food enough anymore or there are droughts or maybe people just want a better living or they’re adventurous and want to find riches somewhere else, the cuisines adapt. And here we are in the 21st century and the one way our cuisines are adapting is by making traditional foods, traditional dishes with plant ingredients instead of animal ingredients.

Jason Wyrick: Yeah, it’s amazing, and I see vegan cuisine takes foods from different cultures and a good one will escort its flavors out. So that’s why in Mexican cuisine you’ll see a Lebanese influence, you’ll actually see a Chinese influence in some parts of Northern Mexico, you’ll see a Japanese influence in parts of Baja California and Baja Sur places like that. Then of course you see Mexican food all over the globe, but what I think is interesting is when a cuisine, a culture of a cuisine, exports itself somewhere and then brings new ideas back from the place it was exported to. So we’re talking about with vegan cuisine obviously in the United States. Mexican cuisine got very popular and there was a pretty strong contention of vegan chefs doing a lot of good work in the U.S. and Mexico started to sort of doing that too. But pretty soon afterwards it caught on to the vegan movement that was really growing here in like Germany and Britain and the United States, and so in a way they brought their cuisine out of Mexico to some of these places and then imported vegan versions of that back into Mexico or to vegan Mexico or great Mexican chefs started taking those vegan ideas and creating wonderful vegan Mexican dishes. It’s a really complex, beautiful process.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, and Mexican food it’s just a natural to be entirely plant-based. It’s just bursting with plant flavors, and I think you say it somewhere in the book but in many ways the flavors, the sauces, those are the things that are the stars and replacing the meat, the animal meat, with the plant meats. That’s just like the chewy vehicle that you can smother with all these great flavors.

Jason Wyrick: Right, and you can make a great Tamale just out of Masa and black beans, and then you cover it with an amazing sauce and no one can miss the meat.

Caryn Hartglass: No, absolutely not. I can’t pronounce it but can you tell us, I always love when I learn about new ingredients and one of the ones that I’ve learned about in your book is this fungus that grows on corn?

Jason Wyrick: Huitlacoche.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes! I’m curious about that.

Jason Wyrick: It is just a fungus that grows on the outside of corn. It has a really pungent, earthy taste to it. Here in the U.S. it was considered a problem, it was blight for a long time. In Mexico it was cut off the corn and eaten as a delicacy used in tacos and chile relleno and stuff like that, and now that Mexican food has gained prominence in the U.S., corn growers in the U.S. are now selling huitlacoche as a delicacy and not calling it a blight anymore, pretty funny.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s just like so many weeds; things that were called weeds are now expensive grains in farmers markets. Do think it can be used to make some kind of vegan cheese?

Jason Wyrick: I’m not sure. I guess if you do the right thing with an ingredient you can turn it into basically anything, so I’m sure there’s a way to turn that into a vegan cheese or use it as a flavor-agent for vegan cheese but I can’t tell you how to do it right now.

Caryn Hartglass: Who knows? Okay, stay tuned. Now you give some really great detail about the importance of pan-roasting and charring and how much flavor is gets. I just want to share a quick story. This is not the way to do this; don’t try this at home. I was just in Florida for a week, my partner Gary and I were there, we were staying in one of these little time-share resorts, it had a tiny little kitchen with not the best kitchen supplies. And I thought I would just quickly heat up some peppers to put with some other things, we got some great produce from Josh’s Organic Market in North Hollywood, one of the best farmers markets on the planet I think. I had no oil; I didn’t want to cook with oil, so I just sliced the peppers and put them in this little frying pan. Now I started doing other things and all of a sudden the smoke alarm went off, and I had perfectly charred these peppers. Gary grabbed the pan, he deglazed it, everything was fine, but the peppers were great. Let’s just talk about how wonderful pan-roasting and charring can be for flavor.

Jason Wyrick: See food isn’t just the part you put in your mouth, it’s the entire experience, and I mean sometimes smoking out your partner!

Caryn Hartglass: But yeah, it can be really wonderful just lightly blackening the vegetables, can do so much for flavoring food.

Jason Wyrick: And I love leaving those charred bits on there instead of peeling them all off. Most people will peel off the entire skin of a blackened chili, but I always leave a little bit of that charring on there because it has a primal raw flavor, even if you just throw it on the grill.

Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely! It just looks appetizing, it looks so primal is just the best word for it. Okay, some recipes I want to point out in the book that got me excited, I love chorizo and Chorizo Tempe is just the best.

Jason Wyrick: Ohhh, I love that stuff. Did you the Chorizo Verde, the green chorizo, or the red chorizo?

Caryn Hartglass: That was like the next thing I wanted to talk about, but yeah, red! I love that, it was just awesome. I guess the green will be next. I love that Tempe. I mashed it before and it looks like ground beef, it’s just such an easy replacement, easier.

Jason Wyrick: It is, and it has a really nice nutty flavor that goes along with all the other chorizo flavors; I love the way that they play with each other.

Caryn Hartglass: And for people that don’t naturally like Tempe because it has this mushroom-y fermented flavor to it, when you drown it in spice that goes away!

Jason Wyrick: It does!

Caryn Hartglass: And then it’s just this lovely vehicle, again, for sauce and spice. Okay, the next thing that I’m very grateful you pointed out, I remember your Queso Fresco in the Vegan Tacos book, and you offered a faster trick, which is not entirely fast but it’s easy, just takes time, and that is using Kite Hill as a Ricotta.

Jason Wyrick: Yeah, you can just taste Kite Hill’s ricotta cheese and then just spread it out and let it dry a little bit and you have Queso Fresco. And it tastes amazingly like Queso Fresco, because it has a little bit of that acidity to it and the flavors that you get from a culture because the Kite Hill cheese’s are cultured unlike some of the other almond ricottas that I’ve seen, and so they give you that real cheesy flavor.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m always telling people to find their kitchen for so many reasons. I happen to love to cook, I know many people don’t. I have a feeling that some people don’t like to cook because they don’t have the skills and they feel intimidated or they just don’t know where to began, and on top of that so many people are busy today they don’t have the time. But I still keep insisting for so many reasons because I think we should all experience the best things possible, the best foods possible, the best flavors possible, and the way to do that when it comes to food most of the time is to make it yourself unless you’ve got someone like Jason Wyrick who can cook for you all the time. Still I think if people aren’t going to cook, I know people like to watch food shows and they love to read cookbooks, and this is a good cookbook to read because you learn so much about what goes in to food and what goes in to sauces, and we need to know what’s in our food.

Jason Wyrick: We do, and I think we need to see excellent too. I mean there’s something to be said for a 10 minute recipe but there’s a lot more to be said about a 10 minute great recipe.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s frustrating, I’m sure you’ve heard it many times, but you know people keep insisting on recipes that are quick, they want to make food that’s quick. Now you’ve probably taken advantage of that because you created a meal delivery service ten years ago.

Jason Wyrick: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Because so many people don’t want to prepare their food.

Jason Wyrick: They don’t, or some of them don’t have time, I mean we have a lot of people that are doctors and are putting in these insane workdays and they want to have good food but they don’t necessarily have the time to come home and do it or they don’t have the emotional energy to do that kind of work and then come home and do that stuff, or they’re doing other things. We have one client that does this but then also runs an animal sanctuary; she’s a doctor and then runs an animal sanctuary on top of that.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, wow!

Jason Wyrick: Yeah, we help those people out. And of course people with health problems that are used to eating the standard American diet and they’re like, “What am I going to do now that I have to go vegan?” So we help those people out, because we give them great food and then it’s easier for them to stick to their vegan diet. They get healthier, when they get healthier they inspire other people, and then more people go vegan; it’s such a great circle.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, there’s another circle. The other recipe I wanted to point out which I haven’t made, and again it’s all about the sauce, is the Bacalao?

Jason Wyrick: Oh yes, that’s a fun recipe!

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah so, I haven’t ever had the real version, the fish version but I imagine it’s very flavorful, spicy, saucy…

Jason Wyrick: So there are actually several different versions, because there’s Spanish Bacalao, which is, you know there’s the Indonesian version of Bacalao, the Basque version of Bacalao, there’s the Mexican version of Bacalao, Portuguese version of Bacalao… And the one that I did of course is the Mexican version and it’s based on kind of a Salsa Veracruz, which is this tomato chili salsa with raisins and olives in it, which has that heavy Spanish influence. In Mexico you basically turn that into a soup and then you add the Bacalao which is the fish to it, so my version, of course I’ll use something else in there and you get the same great soup. It’s an incredible experience and I love that it’s a versatile recipe because you can use it for salsa or you can set it out and use it for a few days.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, if anybody’s tired of the way they’re eating there are so many recipes in this book that are going to wake up your pallet, and I think it’s worth taking a couple of weekends, maybe one weekend to read the recipes, kind of figure out what you don’t have in your pantry and get the ingredients you need, and then take another weekend to dive in and make some of these recipes. The last ones I wanted to bring up, and they may actually be my favorite because I haven’t seen anything like this, are the beverages.

Jason Wyrick: Ohhhh, yeah those are good.

Caryn Hartglass: They are, they are good! Now I’m a big fan of Agua Fresca and I just like blending up a melon or tropical fruit, I don’t even add sugar to it, I just mix it up and pour it over ice and it’s amazing, but what pointed out to me, I haven’t had a chance to make it yet, it’s actually savory, the cucumber Agua Fresca.

Jason Wyrick: Yeah that was a pretty interesting experience. I went down to my local Mexican market and they have all these jugs of different Agua Frescas, and there was a cucumber Agua Fresca. I’d never tried it so I got it and I took a sip and I was expecting it to be sweet like every other Agua Fresca that I had had, and all the sudden here was this jolt of salty cucumber with these chilies in it. I was like, “What did I just eat? This is incredible! I have to figure out how to make this.” And so I just went and I talked to those people working there and asked them how to make it and they told me and that’s the recipe you’ll find in my book. It’s this really nice, refreshing, slightly salty drink with a little shot of chili to it that’s fun.

Caryn Hartglass: Is it almost like a soup?

Jason Wyrick: It’s… eh… no, it’s this weird unique thing which is why it totally caught me off guard when I had it because it’s really thin like a drink should be and it has a refreshing cucumber taste, like if you have ever had cucumber water then you have a pretty good idea of what Aqua Fresca tastes like, but then it has this little bit of saltiness added to it and the heat from the chilies to wake your pallet up. Yeah it’s completely unique.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah I’m going to definitely try that. And then the last one I wanted to talk about, even though there were so many I could talk about, the corn ice-cream.

Jason Wyrick: Oh yeah that was pretty good.

Caryn Hartglass: It makes sense because corn, if you have good corn, it’s naturally sweet. So why not make ice-cream with it?

Jason Wyrick: Right and I love that you get different textures of corn with it. So you get an ice-cream made with a corn base but then you also get a pop of fresh corn kernels right in the ice-cream.

Caryn Harglass: So let me just ask you, this isn’t related to Vegan Mexico, this is related to another Vegan Heritage Press book, have you toyed at all with Aquafaba?

Jason Wyrick: No I haven’t. Not because I don’t want to but because I’m actually pressed for time myself.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah I bet, but it’s like, I just can’t get over it, it’s the craziest thing.

Jason Wyrick: I’ve looked through it. Actually it’s one of the most interesting cookbooks I have in my collection too, and I’ve got a lot. So it’s kind of on my list once December hits and everything kind of slows down around Christmas for us.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, well you’re going to have fun. I don’t know… how long have you been vegan?

Jason Wyrick: Fifteen years? And I was a vegetarian for five years before that.

Caryn Hartglass: Well for me, you know egg whites they didn’t exist for me for like the last thirty years, so to have a new ingredient to play with it’s like my new toy.

Jason Wyrick: That’s funny because I accidently had some chickpea water spill on my stove because it over-boiled when I was making chickpeas and I looked down and I saw when it cooked it had that meringue-like texture and was like, “Why didn’t I think of that before?”

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah we’re all thinking the same thing Jason! When beans cook and they get really hot and they’re boiling, they get that white foam on the top, its right there. Okay, anyway, let’s get back to Vegan Mexico. Thank you for writing it, I’m real excited to dig in a little more about it, looking forward to what comes next from you, and good luck with your release today, I’m sure there’ll be many many many printings, and it helps support my secret mission, thank you.

Jason Wyrick: You’re welcome, thank you very much for having me.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, take care!

Jason Wyrick: You too, bye!

Caryn Hartglass: Bye! That was Jason Wyrick everybody, author of Vegan Mexico and also the author of Vegan Tacos, both of them are great cookbooks and if you like Mexican food, and the Mexican food that we have here in the United States it’s almost like a bland version of all of the exciting recipes that are in these books. Highly recommend them!


Transcribed by Lydia Dearie, 11/22/2016


Here we are, you and me and it is World Vegan Day. Wooooooo!! Woooooo!! Drop the confetti, pop champagne [cork popping sound]. Isn’t that good? I love making these champagne cork popping sound. I’m going to do it again [cork popping sound]. Woooooooo! Pop the champagne and let’s celebrate World Vegan Day! I remember as a child when it was Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, I used to ask, “Why isn’t there a Children’s Day?” and the response I always got back was, “Every day is children’s day and here at Responsible Eating and Living, in our house every day it’s Vegan Day. Every day is World Vegan Day and I, I just want to reflect on this a little bit because, well number one, I think about food every day not just because I get hungry, but because I have such a passion for it and I believe It’s All About Food and I just wonder is there a right way, is there a wrong way to go about it, is there a better way? For me, I became vegan number one reason for the animals. I was young, I realized that we were killing animals for food, that didn’t make sense to me, flesh was off the plate and it’s been a journey I’ve learned so much over, oh, how many years has been the last 40 plus years since being vegetarian and then becoming vegan and so much has changed for the better making it a lot easier. For those of you who are vegan, thank you. For those of you who are interested in becoming vegan, thank you. For those of you who are curious about eating more plants, wanting to get healthier, thank you and thank you for listening. I have conflicts sometimes about what it is I want to promote as a vegan. So, when I stick to being vegan for animals, for example, I’ll create all kinds of recipes to please the palate; to let people know that there’s no deprivation; that you can have lemon meringue pie; that you can have all kinds of wonderful treats and desserts and satisfying sauces. There’s no deprivation, there’s only satisfaction and the benefits that you get from it. From the standpoint of animals the obvious benefit is not exploiting and killing nonhuman animals. Now, there’s that. But my conflict comes in as an advanced ovarian cancer survivor. So, 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer and I thought, “How could I, healthy vegan, get cancer?” Well, I did and I’ve come to know and meet others who are on what they believe are healthy diets who get one kind of illness or another. Healthy diets do not necessarily prevent disease. They lower risks, but no one gets out of this world alive, and all kinds of things play into getting sick. So with that in mind, I like to promote recipes that boost the immune system, create good health, create energy for the human body, feel good, make us stay young looking, make our joints feel or not feel, so we don’t feel them, so we don’t have arthritis. Things feel good, move well and the foods and the recipes that are health promoting may not be the tastiest for people who are used to a high sugar, high salt, high fat diet and I have this conflict. Do I make recipes that people on the standard American diet would really like just so they will try it and get off the animal? or do I promote the most healthiest food possible so that I can be a part of helping people get well, lower their risk of disease live a long, happy healthy life? I go back and forth all the time. So far, as I like to quote Sondheim, “I decided not to decide.” [laughter]. Those are the lyrics from a song Cinderella sings from Into the Woods by the way, but you knew that. Anyway, and by not necessarily deciding one way or the other at Responsible Eating and Living we offer everything. All recipes are vegan. Some of our recipes are tagged as anti-cancer, health promoting and others are just treats and I like to say that a treat is something that shouldn’t be eaten every day. It’s for special occasions and that’s what makes it a treat, but you can have it. Now, when I’m coaching people who are in a health crisis, I do not recommend consuming treats. Now at some point, when health is restored and the disease is gone, it’s a choice if you want to incorporate back some foods that are not the most self-promoting and that means an occasional treat now and then. That’s personal choice. But I do like to make treats that are animal free and sometimes for people for example who can’t consume gluten with celiac disease or extremely intolerances, I don’t want them to feel that they have to incorporate eggs in order to get the baked goods that they’re familiar with the breads and the muffins and the pancakes and I just want to take a moment to talk about pancakes [laughter] because we were in Florida this past week and we were invited over to a friend’s for brunch and it was quickly decided that Gary and I would be making a brunch. Our friends aren’t vegan. They were very gracious and open to trying new foods, but they insisted that we make breakfast. So, I picked. Rather than picking one of my own pancake recipes that you can find at ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com. All of them are gluten free. We decided to choose a recipe from the Aquafaba cookbook. We happen to have had a little extra bean water from some of the beans that we had eaten during the week and I was curious to try this because I got this like crazy curiosity about Aquafaba right now and this recipe had a lot more salt and sugar in it than I’m used to using, but I thought it would appeal to the standard American diet palate and they were amazing pancakes. They were light and fluffy and flavorful and tasted like the old fashioned kind of pancakes I used to eat and sometimes there’s a time for that when I want to open people’s minds so that they know that vegan food can be tasty and as I mentioned before that vegan food can be satisfying and it’s not about deprivation. Happy World Vegan Day. Happy World Vegan Day! Let’s open another bottle of champagne [cork popping sound]. That’s vegan champagne by the way [laughter] and if you want to know if your champagne or any alcoholic beverage is vegan, where do you go? Barnivore.com. B as in boy, Barnivore.com. That’s where I always go. All right, so, I want to move on back, move on and back and on and back and forth to my week in Florida. We were actually there for a vacation. A vacation is something that doesn’t happen very often in our world so it was an interesting time. Now that didn’t mean that I didn’t work every day because I pretty much did work every day doing our daily blog and some other things, but there was plenty of time to relax, walk on the beach. It was very nice and one of the exciting things for a vegan going to a new place is to discover the food and I wanted to mention some of the food that we discovered while in Florida. The first part is the negative side, right? Most of the areas that we drove through, Ft. Lauderdale and we drove all the way up to Jacksonville, there’s so much homogenization of the landscape. Now homogenization is actually a food term. It’s a process. The definition of it is making a mixture of two mutually non soluble liquids the same throughout. It’s like blending and an example is the homogenization of milk where milk fat globules are reduced in size and disbursed uniformly through the rest of the milk. That’s homogenization. Well, we use the term homogenization in an urban sense when everything around us looks the same. When everything resembled each other. The stores are all the same, the restaurants are all the same. Now, sometimes homogenization will result in high rates and gentrification, and that’s difficult for those who are struggling to afford anything at all because the prices go up. But in general, mostly all over America there are chains that are everywhere. You know which ones they are – we’ve got McDonald’s on one end and now we have some newer restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen and the Cheesecake Factory, Chipotle and California Pizza Kitchen and Cheesecake Factory, we actually frequent them because they realize that people want a variety of things that are meat eaters, there are vegans, there are people that are gluten intolerant or have Celiac and have certain allergies and they can accommodate all of those diets, so that’s a really good thing. On the other hand, those restaurants provide a lot of food products that are highly processed. Some may say that they’re non GMO. Most often they are high GMO-related food products and you’re always going to get consistency. You’re going to get homogenization. You’re going to get food that tastes the same no matter where you go and some people like that. I’m not a particular fan of it and whenever possible, we’ve loved discovering little mom and pop outfits that are creating flavorful, “homemade” foods. Foods that they make from scratch and we actually did find a little mom and pop that really, really surprised me. It was on the beach and there are a number of seafood restaurants, none of them looked very appealing and this particular place didn’t look that appealing either, it was really a hole in the wall. It was called quiches Delacaseas in Lauderdale by the Sea and they made some vegan items. They’re noted on the menu. You could tell that they kind of did it quickly to accommodate I guess the increasing demand for these things, but they made the most amazing hummus. It was light and fluffy and so, so flavorful and while I’m on the subject of hummus and I’ll get back to Florida but I have to bring this up. You’ve heard me rant about hummus before, now hummus is a traditional food it’s made from chick peas, olive oil, lemon juice, sesame tahini butter and salt. This is hummus. It’s blended up and you can flavor it many, many ways. You can add cumin, you can add red pepper, you can add more lemon juice, some people make it without olive oil to keep the oil level down. Hummus means chick peas. That’s the word in Hebrew and Arabic for chick pea. Okay, the most popular hummus today on the market is Sabra. In fact, they were just voted the most favorite hummus by VegNews awards and I’ve been ranting about Sabra for a while because I don’t like the ingredients that are in their product which consist of, well, I have the ingredients here and I wanted to read them. Okay, well, the two ingredients that are in Sabra hummus that I don’t like are the genetically modified soybean oil and citric acid. They use a soybean oil. They don’t even use olive oil, but there’s actually some good news because apparently enough people had been ranting [laughter] and they have announced that as of April of this year, they began to remove the GMO ingredients from many of their hummus flavors. So, I think ultimately they will all be non-GMO. This is good news. They’ll probably still be using soybean oil instead of olive oil. Okay, but at least when we go to a party or an event and people realize there are going to be vegans and they don’t know what to do and they grab Sabra hummus in the store because they know it’s a vegan product, we don’t have to worry about it as much. So, that’s good news and all the more reason to keep, keep your voices loud, keep your voices high, whining and complaining and ranting in a loving, nonjudgmental, compassionate way, please. We have to keep on these companies to let them know what it is we want. All right, so some of the good news over in Florida. We discovered some wonderful places like the Gourmet Garden. They’re not entirely vegan, but they had many vegan options they had green juice and what I loved about it was the food was spectacularly clean. I had a plate of Portobello mushroom slices, sweet potato and a kale cabbage apple almond slaw which was spectacular and it was just simple, clean food. It was excellent. We had just come off the plane, we were starving and I was so happy to be able to be nourished this way and then we discovered this great juice bar called Dr. Juice. Dr. Juice. It’s also in Lauderdale by the Sea. If you ever get there, please tell them I said, “hi”. It was a wonderful juice bar and we went there every day for daily green juice. One of the absolute places not to miss when you’re in South Florida, I mentioned it earlier in the program, is Josh’s Organic Farmers Market. We did a video on Josh’s Farmers Market years ago. It’s on the ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com website. You can check it out. Josh Steinhauser is the owner and he is so crazy passionate about bringing healthy plant food to the world. He’s a wonderful person and he gives away a lot of free produce to people in need and to children and he’s got this great farmer’s market on Sundays in North Hollywood. We went. We got the “Thank God” green juice. That’s the name for the green juice. It was fabulous and in addition to getting lots of wonderful produce like kale and peppers, walnuts and so many great things, green onions, hmmmm. It was all so good. The best thing we got, are you ready for this?, purple potatoes. Have you ever had purple potatoes? I’ve had potatoes that were purple on the outside with an orangey, yellow flesh inside and they were good. These are bright purple inside. They taste like doughnuts. We were on this road trip. We were riding from Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville. We had prepared a bunch of food for our trip. We had actually microwaved these potatoes. Now, I rarely use a microwave, but we were in this little kitchen. We didn’t have a lot of options and then we ate them lukewarm in the car on the way up and they tasted like doughnuts. Purple potatoes! I have to find them again. If you know where to get them, let me know. E-mail me at info@realmeals.org. I’ve got to get my purple potatoes [crying sound]. They are so awesome! That was one of the best things we discovered and of course we visited the wonderful Sublime restaurant which is an upscale vegan restaurant in South Florida. We went there twice. During the middle of the week, it wasn’t as good as on the weekends and I’m kind of concerned about it because I don’t know that the community there is really supporting or ready to support an all vegan restaurant like we have a gazillion of them here in New York. I’m not sure that South Florida is ready for that, but it’s a beautiful restaurant and the food is very nice, very nice indeed. We just have a few minutes left and I have a couple of things to talk about, have you heard in the news about this crazy food product Soylent. We talked about it before. Soylent is this, it started as a vege meal replacement product and a lot of people, some people like it because they don’t want to think about food, they don’t want to think about nutrition, it’s something easy. They’re in powder mixes and bars. Frankly, for somebody like myself, who loves food, and I think, frankly, most of us really love food, don’t we?, love the taste of food. I don’t understand a product like this, um, but they, they advertise that they’re giving you the best nutrition in this easy version and when I look at the ingredients, it doesn’t look like the best nutrition at all. This week, of course, it’s all over the news because a couple of their products have been giving people gastrointestinal problems and I’m not sure what’s causing it. If it’s ingredients in their product or something that got in there that shouldn’t have, but they’re getting a lot of press. It’s not good and this, what scares me about a product like Soylent. I was talking about homogenization of the landscape before with all of these chains that are providing food that is the same no matter where you go, well, Soylent takes it a step further. This is food that has no taste [laughter] and it gets you no enjoyment factor in sitting down and enjoying the bounty of abundance we have on this planet in terms of the delicious and nutritious plant foods and you know, here’s one more thing, I think there’s something that energizes and nourishes ourselves. Something down to the cellular level when we experience joy in consuming our food and when you’re eating mindlessly or eating something that has no taste, I don’t believe you can get the full nutritional value of it. I have no data on that, I’m just saying it. You heard it here, first. Last thing, just wanted to talk about what’s going on in my kitchen for the last few days because I’m so excited about this. We just got home a few days ago and I made sauerkraut before it left and I’m really into making sauerkraut and never made it before until like last month and it’s like my new favorite food. It’s the easiest thing. If you haven’t made it, you just grate raw cabbage, toss a little salt, stuff it in a drawer and leave it alone. It’s almost that simple. I made two jars before we went to Florida. I put them in the refrigerator and the result is just spectacular! Better than any sauerkraut I’ve ever bought and it’s inexpensive and it’s loaded with probiotics and it’s tasty and it’s crunchy and for me, someone who doesn’t like salt very much, you can adjust the amount of salt that you put in it. That’s a good thing. The other thing I just made, I haven’t eaten them yet, is Buckwheaties. Have you ever made them? I used to make them all the time in my 100% all raw day, but I’ve kind forgotten about them and I just remembered them and I’m so excited. If you take raw buckwheat, buckwheat that hasn’t been toasted, and soak it overnight and then rinse it and then you can either toast it at a low oven temperature or dehydrate it. I happen to have a dehydrator option on my oven. When they’re dry, they’re like grape nuts, they’re like cereal and then you pour your nut milk over it. I like to make fresh almond milk and it’s one of the best cereal and milk things that you can have that’s so wonderful. So, I want to leave you with that lovely, delicious note. I’ll be sharing that in my What Vegan’s Eat post in the next couple of days. You can check that out and in the meanwhile, you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you so much for joining me. Visit me at ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com. Send me a message at info@realmeals.org, and the most important thing, have a delicious week! [Music].


Transcribed by Nanette Gagyi, 12/15/2016

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