Jill Nussinow, Allison Rivers Samson & Michelle Cehn


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.


Find out more about THE DAIRY DETOX


Part I: Jill Nussinow, Vegan Under Pressure
jill2Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, a.k.a. The Veggie Queen™, is a Registered Dietitian who has been teaching vegetarian cooking at Santa Rosa Junior College, in Sonoma County and throughout the country since 1985. She is the author of three award-winning cookbooks, The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes, Nutrition CHAMPS: The Veggie Queen’s Guide to Eating and Cooking for Optimum Health, Happiness, Energy and Vitality and The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment and stars in the DVD: Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Delicious Dishes in Minutes. Her next book Vegan Under Pressure will be released later this year.You will find her frequenting local farmers markets weekly. One of her favorite things is to see what she can cook up in her pressure cookers with what’s fresh at the market. Jill also loves mushroom hunting and teaching fermentation classes. Jill’s goal is to see everyone leading a healthy, happy life through better eating and cooking. She loves to share the passion and joy of great food, especially when using the pressure cooker for personal and planetary health. Her website is www.theveggiequeen.com. You can see her in action on You Tube at TheVQ.

Part II: Allison Rivers Samson and Michelle Cehn, The Dairy Detox
allison-rivers-samsonAllison Rivers Samson is an award-winning vegan chef, author of Comfortably Yum, founder of the first online vegan bakery, Allison’s Gourmet, mom, and wellness coach. She is known as The Maven of Mmmm…for bringing joyful expertise to living a deliciously compassionate life.
michelle-cehnMichelle Cehn is a filmmaker on a mission to make dairy-free living enticing, easy, and fun through gorgeous photography and visual storytelling. She’s the founder of WorldofVegan.com, and co-author of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook, and a YouTube personality who has reached millions through her creative, relatable, and engaging vegan videos.

Find out more about THE DAIRY DETOX


Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody, hello everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass. It’s time for It’s All About Food when we talk about my favorite subject, food…and this is a time where we tune in love. Tune in love with me. Whether you’re listening now or sometime in the future, which is what I love about these podcasts, you can take it in when you’re ready and when it’s right for you. Tune in love. There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world today and on this program, I like to think we talk about things that are happy, joyful, delicious…we have a lot of answers that are easy and good for you and good for the planet and good for everybody. So, let’s just have some fun and maybe you’ll learn something along the way. I know I always do. Let’s do some tuning in love now with my first guest Jill Nussinow. She is the…known as the “Veggie Queen”. She’s a registered dietician whose been teaching vegetarian cooking at Santa Rosa Junior College in Sonoma County and throughout the country since 1985. She’s the author of three award-winning cookbooks – The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less Than 30 Minutes, Nutrition Champs: The Veggie Queen’s Guide to Eating and Cooking for Optimum Health, Happiness, Energy and Vitality and The Veggie Queen: Vegetables get the Royal Treatment – and we will be talking about a new book, Vegan Under Pressure, because it’s about pressure cooking. Jill, how are you doing today?

Jill Nussinow: I’m great, Caryn, thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: You’re welcome. Are you ready to tune in some love with me?

Jill Nussinow: I was just going to say, I love love.

Caryn Hartglass: I love love. Who doesn’t love love? What’s not to love?

Jill Nussinow: I agree. I’m there.

Caryn Hartglass: Good, and you know, those of us like you, like me, who have been doing this for so long, we know, we just know how good it feels, how delish it is, how we’re not deprived of anything at all and we just want to share this good feeling, this love because it feels good and why shouldn’t everybody feel good?

Jill Nussinow: Well, I think everybody should feel great.

Caryn Hartglass: Feel great! Exactly, Okay now we’ve talked about pressure-cooking before. I know you’re quite the pressure cooking expert. I love the title of your book, Vegan Under Pressure. I have to tell you, I am one of those people who have never ventured into the pressure cooking world. Reading your book makes me a little more comfortable and curious about it. And you give a great deal of information about pressure cooking, so I guess we should talk first about why people, if they know anything about pressure cooking, why they might be cautious about it.

Jill Nussinow: Well, I think there’s a big myth, and some of it is not myth, around pressure cooking. There was a time, and I have to say, it happened to me, with my mother’s pressure cooker, where the pressure cookers either weren’t watched and actually a scene in Holly Go Lightly, I think, where the pressure cooker explodes, so people have this image in their head of exploding pressure cookers, but I’ve been using a pressure cooker for more than twenty years and I’ve never had that happen and I give my students at the junior college where I teach about five minutes of instruction and they’ve never had that happen either, so that…there’s a big fear around what could happen and I think, recently, because of these pressure cooker bombs, people are really freaked out about it, but I use pressure cookers for food explosions, not for killing anyone. So I think that that’s really the fear and there is a fear of doing things wrong or maybe their mother or grandmother used the pressure cooker and the food all came out like mush, but that is not what needs to happen, so I think that because it’s so new and the way that I like to explain it in the book is it’s like driving. Before you started driving, you know, you might have gotten like, been like, oh how do I do all those things, but after you do it for a while, you become very comfortable. And it is a whole new skill and I think that’s where people kind of get…have another fear…because a lot of people are like, well I’ve been cooking for forty years, I ought to know how to do this. And it’s not an intuitive thing, necessarily, so there is a learning curve for sure.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so then people would ask, if it takes effort, then why would I want to do it?

Jill Nussinow: Well, if you love beans and you love whole grains and you want to get those foods on your table in a fairly short time, that would be the reason to do it. If you soak beans and you cook them, like black beans, pinto beans, white beans…they’ll cook in four to six minutes at pressure, which is probably a total of, you know, fifteen to twenty minutes from beginning to end. And what I like to say is, you can’t get in your car, or travel to the store, and buy a can in the time that you could cook them at home and you know exactly what you have.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, everybody’s definitely into doing things as fast as they can. That’s for sure. And I can understand if you want to pair healthy eating, and that means whole foods, definitely legumes, which are at the top because they’re so nutritious…the best way to do it is to do it yourself, soaking the beans if you have the time and then cooking them, pressure cooking definitely takes a lot of time off and when time is precious that makes a big difference.

Jill Nussinow: And I also give tips for if you…about how, you know, to do the beans if you forgot to soak them, you can do a quick soak, which is three inches of water above the beans and then you bring it to a boil and leave it for one minute and drain that off, or you can actually soak them, drain them, freeze them and label them and then you don’t even have to remember to soak and then since I wrote the book, I have what’s called the quicker soak, which works with the instant pot pressure cooker which has a zero setting and can be done on the stove top or other electric cookers where you basically use a low pressure, bring it to pressure and then turn it off and that takes about twenty-five minutes instead of the hour sitting if you boiled, so you don’t even have to remember to soak. And then there are a lot of people, but I’m not one of them, who like to cook from dry and do no soak and that works too. I just find better cooking if you do soak but many people don’t even bother soaking. And you can still cook your beans in thirty minutes or so at pressure.

Caryn Hartglass: You’ve taught a lot of people how to use pressure cookers. Now most of these people, I imagine, were curious and wanted to use the pressure cooker. For people who are really hesitant and then invested the time and the knowledge to get the experience, what have been like your favorite responses when they got to the other side and they’re just in love with pressure cooking?

Jill Nussinow: Well, I think it’s pretty much the same, it’s like why did I wait so long? I see this every day. Actually, there’s a few Facebook groups. There’s an instant pot vegan recipe group and many other groups and people are like…and I actually have a video on YouTube about taking it out of the box, which is kind of just a short, little funny video like “It will be okay.” But really, people just…I don’t know what it is…they’re like “Oh, it’s big, I don’t know how to use it” and it may be, you know, more fear than like, your new computer or your new Blu-Ray video or you know, the new TV thing, but we do have a little bit of fear about new things but really people are like, I just can’t believe I was afraid to do this or I didn’t do it. I hear this…I’ve heard this hundreds of times.

Caryn Hartglass: I remember in college, this was a long time ago, a friend of mine got a slow cooker, which I’m going to ask you to explain the difference after I tell my little anecdote, but she wanted to try it out with me her very first time and she didn’t clean it out of the box and she made this bean dish and afterwards we were both feeling a little nauseous and our tongues were solid black. There was obviously some residue in there that she should’ve washed out, so that kind of adds to my resistance, these memories that I have, but I know it’s not the same thing. What’s the difference?

Jill Nussinow: Well, a slower cooker…what I say is the pressure cooker is a slow cooker on steroids. So the slow cooker, and some of these electric pressure cookers now do have a slow cook function, so you can slow cook if you want to but I rarely do that because I am not patient enough to slow cook and the other thing is, you have to think about slow cooking before it’s dinnertime and I’m one of those people that it’s like, “Oh, it’s five o’clock, maybe I ought to think about dinner.” So it just is so much faster, it’s a different process and I think the food, for me, the food turns out way better in the pressure cooker than in the slow cooker. The slow cooker, I think, tends to mush the food all together and the pressure cooker tends to give you very vibrant, beautiful food that still has a lot of texture and color and flavor.

Caryn Hartglass: For those of you who remember your chemistry lessons, I remember the law PV = NRT, which is pressure times volume equals a constant times temperature and temperature goes up, pressure goes up so if you keep the volume the same and you raise the pressure, you’re able to cook at a higher temperature and that’s how this works, right?

Jill Nussinow: Yes, it works by actually, by taking the liquid and turning it to steam and so you’re not…people like want to do this thing with their beans. They cover them with water. It’s like no, you’re not boiling, so you don’t need to do that, so yes you’re cooking with steam, which is almost 250 degrees versus 212 for boiling. And a lot of people get that part wrong. It’s almost funny, people just want to get to the recipes so they skip the beginning part of the book, which is actually the part that I think most people need to read where I explain that. So yes, it’s all about the pressure and the temperature and the fact that this pot is sealed and most people, unlike you, do not remember anything about science and they’re just like “Oh!” like they…you know, there’s a lot of explaining that. I like science, I’m a little geeky in that respect, which is why I think I really love pressure cooking because it is all…it’s about science and math, so there’s a whole thing about the ratios that you use and the science, you don’t even actually need to know, you just need to learn a little bit about the timing because timing in pressure cooking is the big difference between a success and a failure. So people say, “Well I thought that fifteen minutes would be fine” and it’s like fifteen minutes in pressure cooking time is like an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes in real time. So, you don’t cook your carrots for fifteen minutes. You only cook your carrots for like, two minutes. So there’s a lot of these little things that people like, they’re just like…people just want to…I’ll just say this, people want to wing it with their pressure cooker and it’s fine if you’re making a soup and you don’t care and everything is OK if it’s mushy but you don’t wing recipes when you’re pressure cooking if you want people to eat them. But, with that said, for every pressure cooker, what I would call a failure or semi-disaster, like if you overcook your beans, I give ways to take those and turn them into sauces, soups, dips, burgers…so there’s no real failures, it’s just like you wouldn’t want to put those beans on a salad.

Caryn Hartglass: You know, that’s good to know. People need to understand, and have permission…I mean, aside from charring something and cooking it so that it’s black, there are many ways to rescue recipes when they don’t come out exactly the way you wanted them and sometimes that may lead to a new wonderful recipe that you never thought about.

Jill Nussinow: completely agree with you and I don’t think…I mean, there are times when food can get ruined, but you know, ruined is just a matter of how you look at it. I mean, sometimes it is inedible, but a lot of times there is a way to take it and just turn it into another dish. My sister jokes with me that I’m the person that could take like one dish and turn it into five things so it started out as regular quinoa, then it became quinoa salad, then it became quinoa soup and then it became, you know, quinoa burgers, you know, I think it’s just food and It’s like, I like to make individual ingredients and then kind of combine them to turn them into dishes that I think work.

Caryn Hartglass: Well we recommend that all the time, especially for people that want to save time. If you’re working full time, or whatever your schedule challenge is, you’ve got kids, whatever it is, you take the day off that you have, or a moment where you have some time and you make the basics. You make a big pile of beans, you make a big pile of grain and then you do like Jill does and every day you make something different out of them and it’s fun.

Jill Nussinow: It’s great, and the other thing I love to do and I really, I talk about it a lot in the book is to freeze things. I mean, I freeze a lot of dishes and then what I say is because I do the cooking, I just say sometimes I’m so busy and I just pretend that somebody loved me so much that they left exactly what I wanted in my freezer so I could just pull it out and eat it and it’s just, like, a beautiful thing. I was like “Wow!” and then I go, “It was me! I loved me so much that I left that for me,” you know? And it just really works, but I do freeze beans, I freeze grains, I freeze mixed dishes, I freeze soup. If it can be frozen, I will freeze it. And it’s just an easy way, I mean I don’t think, you know, I think people think I probably spend all my time in the kitchen cooking, but I don’t have time to do that, so I just do what other people do and encourage other people to do what I do, which is make your life easier by cooking a lot at once and, and just having what you need. With that said, I really do love to cook fresh vegetables, you know, three, four, five times a week as opposed to, you know, cooking a big batch. Like somebody just asked me about cooking 2.4 kilograms of broccoli at once and I was like, well I think I’d rather cook, you know, broccoli and have it for a few days and then cook another batch but, you know, for me it’s like having the basics and then adding the fresh stuff with it and then it all seems fresh.

Caryn Hartglass: I just have to take a moment and say, for those of you who listen regularly, it looks like the Mister Softee truck is coming around the block in my neighborhood. It’s now autumn in New York and I don’t think the ice cream truck got that message yet, that it’s time to go to the parking garage for another few seasons until summer comes back. It’s like my theme song, almost. Anyway, I also wanted to mention I really should be curious, and really get started with pressure cooking. Number one because I love math. I was a mathlete in high school and my background is in chemical engineering, so it seems like a, a perfect appliance that I should have in my home.

Jill Nussinow: I think you’re correct, Caryn. You would get this very, very quickly. It’s the people that don’t understand math that really have a problem doing it and I actually have little charts, a couple little charts in there for how to do things because what happens is, with grains I use an algorithm to, to increase how much you…how much liquid you add each time and it’s not a straight number.

Caryn Hartglass: But we don’t want to scare people away that only mathletes or chemical engineers…

Jill Nussinow: No. It’s fine. Yeah, it’s fine.

Caryn Hartglass: Everybody can get it.

Jill Nussinow: And I actually spell it out and if you double the liquid and you have a little too much, that’s why they make slotted spoons, so…

Caryn Hartglass: Oh. Very good. A slotted spoon doesn’t hold much soup.

Jill Nussinow: There you go.

Caryn Hartglass: Now you had mentioned to me before we agreed to do this show today that a lot of pressure cookers are being sold.

Jill Nussinow: Oh, you know, there are so many pressure cookers being sold that the instant pot, which is probably the most, I would say well-loved and most sold pressure cooker. It’s an electric pressure cooker that has many functions. You can make soy yogurt in it, which is very cool. They sold 214,000 of them on Amazon Prime Day and that’s a lot of pressure cookers. Now most, I would say the majority, of people are not following a plant-based or vegan-based diet, but a lot of them are, and so that’s huge. And there’s also other pressure cookers, I also love the Thager Lux, which has many of the same functions and so, they’re selling like crazy. And I’m guessing that probably, at least 80% of the people are taking them out of the boxes and using them. And so this is new, and it’s not new because I’ve been teaching it for twenty years, but now it’s finally catching on so I feel like I’m kind of getting in with the pack instead of being ahead of the pack. Somebody told me if you wait long enough, the wave will catch up to you and I kind of feel like it’s getting there. So yeah, they’re selling…they sell so many of these and I have noticed within the last couple of years, my books are just kind of really flying off the shelves because of this and I saw it with The New Fast Food, which some people call their pressure cooker Bible, which I’m like “Wow!” but people have said, because I don’t say it, but people have said that I have the best pressure cooking timing charts that are out there and I kind of think that they’re really good because I’m pretty meticulous about these times because that’s what makes the difference between something good and something not so good and I want everyone to have success when they use these pots.

Caryn Hartglass: Is there any pressure cookers out there that are easier in terms of math and science?

Jill Nussinow: Well no, not necessarily, although the thing with the electric ones is you don’t have to do any kind of adjustment on the stove, so if a recipe says to cook it for four minutes, you set the pot for four minutes, it will beep when it’s done and then you’re…you know, you do either one of two things…it’s called a natural pressure release and that means you just wait until the pressure drops, or the other thing you do is called a quick release and this is when people start jumping high in the air because the steam comes out and they’re terrified and the thing that’s interesting about that is that, that’s what you need to do if you’re cooking vegetables because you need to stop the cooking. But no, you can take the…you can take the math out a little bit by just setting the pressure cooker and the…following the time and you don’t have to really do much about the science part. That’s kind of taken care of for you with the electrics.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so let’s talk about your cookbook, Vegan Under Pressure and how is it different from your other book that people are calling the pressure cooker Bible?

Jill Nussinow: Well I say that The New Fast Food has more basic recipes in it and Vegan Under Pressure has what I would call pressure cooking 2.0. I do things in there that I didn’t do in the other book like show people how to make cheesecake and cake and, you know, steamed things in there like doing whole squash, which people love, so kind of like the next step but still doable for most people. So it’s just got more, I would say, inventive and creative recipes than the first book, but they’re all doable once you get the basics down and I do have basics in Vegan Under Pressure.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, you talked about cooking with a dish inside of the pressure cooker and then you show how you can devise a handle to remove that dish.

Jill Nussinow: Yes and so it’s called pot-in-pot cooking and there’s something that came out since then, which is so cool. It is a silicone sling and they make these from a company, and I get them myself on my website, and they’re called…I just call them silicone sling helper handles and you can use those instead of foil. They are totally reusable. The foil still works fine but it’s just a little harder to get the dishes out and the thing that’s really important with that is those dishes are damn hot, so you have to be really careful. But that’s how you do cake and that’s how you do like apple crisp. That’s how you do cheesecake. But yeah, that’s what you call pot-in-pot cooking. A lot of people use it to reheat dishes in the pressure cooker, which you do with steam, so you put in a cup of water, a rack, your dish and then you set it at pressure for maybe five minutes and you can heat up whatever you’ve cooked. But you do need to get the dish out and so you can either make a foil sling or you can get these helper handles and either one works.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, I’m glad I asked you to find out about that silicone helper handle because…and I imagine as manufacturers discover more people are doing this, they’ll probably come up with some other enhancement in order to do pot-in-pot pressure cooking.

Jill Nussinow: Well, I wish they would, but if they don’t, I’m going to be jumping on it. My husband has been kicking me to do something for years now and I’m like “I’m too busy!” and you know, but there’s things that could really be improvements on the pressure cooker and what you can do it, but the thing about the pot-in-pot that’s great is I have done it with multiple things in the pressure cooker, which makes it really great, so I’ll do rice on the bottom, put in the rack, put a dish on top of that, then put another dish on top of that, so I can do rice, beans and one other thing in there at the same time. It’s pretty remarkable.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, Okay I’m…I’m…I’m I’m I’m I’m…am I ready, folks, for pressure cooking?

Jill Nussinow: You could be, Caryn, you could be. It’s really…I mean, I bet there are people who don’t know math or science who use it quite regularly.

Caryn Hartglass: Well we’ll see. Stay tuned. If you want to know if Caryn does get her pressure cooker and starts cooking with it, you’ll have to read my daily blog What Vegans Eat and see what happens. Stay tuned. Okay, so in addition to Vegan Under Pressure, which is really very comprehensive, people can find out a lot more about pressure cooking at your website. You mentioned there is a fun video there, I’m sure there is a bunch of videos there and what’s the website people can access?

Jill Nussinow: It’s the www.veggiequeen.com and actually I just discovered yesterday…I guess I should’ve known this…that there is a page that has all of my videos on it and people can look at them there. I’m also on YouTube under The VQ and so, I think a lot of people feel comfortable when they see me actually using it and I think that helps.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, Okay good. Well I’m glad we had this opportunity to talk. It was kind of serendipitous that I had something completely scheduled for today and then it changed and the universe provided some wonderful people to talk to today and that includes the Veggie Queen. I’m so honored to be speaking with royalty today.

Jill Nussinow: Thank you, Caryn and you know, I’m all about pressure, so any time something pops up, I just jump right in because I’m not afraid of the pressure and…nor vegans, nor cooking under pressure.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, thank you! Jill Nussinow, the Veggie Queen with her new book Vegan Under Pressure. Whoa! Awesome. Okay, before we move onto my next guest, I just wanted to take a moment to speak about water, and pure water because it’s important to me and I haven’t talked about it in a while. But, as you may know if you’ve listened to this program for seven and a half years or so, I am a big fan of water distillation and of all of the different types of water purification methods, I personally believe that distillation is the best because you can remove everything. Water distillation with a little charcoal filtration at the end is ideal and I’ve been distilling my water forever. The thing that I love about is every time you distill, you’re getting the same clean water. The thing when you’re using filtration systems is the filter continues to collect more and more contamination, so it becomes ultimately ineffective over time and each time you use it, it becomes a little less efficient. But that’s not true with distillation, so the reason why I’m bringing it up is because the Environmental Working Group puts out reports from time to time water…tap water around the country and there’s a new article today just posted on September 20th where they talked about chromium 6. It’s a carcinogenic chemical and nobody wants a big glass of chromium 6 in their water, right? Well unfortunately, many many regions in the country have high levels of this chromium 6 and there are other things that can be in your drinking water that you don’t want in your drinking water…arsenic and chlorine and fluorides are added to the water, unfortunately, in many places…pesticides and lead…and sometimes they’re there regularly and sometimes there might be a leak that we don’t really hear about and in some areas, it might just go right into the drinking water. Well the only way, I think, we can be safe is by purifying our water at the source. Tap water is great and I’m so grateful in the United States we have access to wonderful water right at our home, so it’s important to have tap water and it’s so much better than bottled water because the bottles…to make the bottles, it takes so much energy and water just to make them…more than what’s in the bottle and then you don’t know what’s leaching into your water from the plastics. It’s not a good thing. Anyway, I recommend distillation, so if you go to responsibleeatingandliving.com, that’s where I live, responsibleeatingandliving.com, I’ve posted a new article about distillation and what we recommend here at responsibleeatingandliving.com. I’ve tried lots of distillers and there’s only one that’s my favorite and it’s made in the United States, so find out more at responsibleeatingandliving.com. Well all right, I should have a glass of water right now to drink, but I didn’t prepare one, so I have to go dry.

Transcribed 12/16/2016 by KC


Caryn Hartglass: Now onto the second part of the show! More love happening here. We’re tuning to love one more time. I’m going to bring on Allison Rivers Samson and Michelle Cehn to talk about The Dairy Detox. Hello, lovely people.

Allison Rivers Samson: Hi, Caryn. It’s Allison.

Michelle Cehn: Hello!

Caryn Hartglass: Michelle, did I pronounce your name right?

Michelle Cehn: Very close. It’s pronounced Michelle “Kay-n”, but no one would ever know that.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, it’s a hard “c”! It’s a hard “c”. Okay, very good. The Dairy Detox. I’m just going to turn it over to you. Tell me about it.

Allison Rivers Samson: Okay, great. Thank you so much, first of all, for having us on this show. It’s been a long time since we did this, right?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Actually, I should tell everybody. Allison Rivers Samson, you’re an award-winning chef, the author of Comfortably Yum, and the founder of the first online vegan bakery Allison’s Gourmet, which has fed us so sweetly for so many years. Thank you for that. Is it true: Allison’s Gourmet is going away?

Allison Rivers Samson: Yes, yes. In fact, I think today is our final shipping day.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh my goodness.

Allison Rivers Samson: Yup. After twenty years, I’m moving on to some new projects, and I get to talk about one of them with you today, which is The Dairy Detox. I’m so, so excited. And thank you for all of your support throughout the years for Allison’s Gourmet; it was such a fabulous adventure for me to do. To get to serve so many people and be a part of so many celebrations. Yeah, it’s also very exciting to move on.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. One of the things people will often say when they’re confronted with the idea of going vegan is that they think they’re going to be deprived. And you proved over and over that there’s no deprivation, at least in terms of sweets. You can just make everything wonderfully.

Allison Rivers Samson: Absolutely

Caryn Hartglass: Now, Michelle Cehn is a filmmaker on a mission to make dairy-free life and living enticing, easy, and fun with gorgeous photography and visual storytelling. She’s the founder of World of Vegan, co-author of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook, and YouTube personality who has reached millions through her creative, relatable, and engaging YouTube videos.

Now how is it that the two of you came together to team up?

Allison Rivers Samson: Michelle, you want to take that?

Michelle Cehn: Sure. So I worked with various vegan and animal rights non-profits over the years. At the time that me and Allison met, I was working at the PETA Foundation and I was organizing our weekend events for our supporters. We brought Allison to come and perform a cooking demo because of the wonderful cooking skills she has in the cooking department. We just really connected then and have been close friends ever since.

Years down the line, when we were both ready to take on new projects and adventures, we realized it would be a perfect opportunity to team up and do some really great things to help people, our planet, and animals. That’s how we eventually landed on The Dairy Detox.

Allison Rivers Samson: Yeah, and we’re so lucky. If I could have written a personal ad to find my perfect business partner, I don’t know if I could have done as well as Michelle.

Michelle Cehn: Oh! (chuckles)

Allison Rivers Samson: I mean, she and I have such a wonderful synergy. I’m amazed over and over. We started creating this program (The Dairy Detox) over a year ago, and it’s just amazing to me. Every step we take, it’s like, “Oh my gosh! Another synergy! How amazing!” So I feel really lucky that we get to work together. Michelle has done some beautiful photography and all the videography for our program. How about I tell you what The Dairy Detox is?

Caryn Hartglass: That sounds like a good thing.

Allison Rivers Samson: Okay! The Dairy Detox is a twelve-day online video course that is delivered directly to people’s inboxes so that everything is very convenient. The two of us are sharing tips and everything that people need to know to go dairy-free.

Each day, we cover a different topic about dairy-free living. We talk about health; we talk about nutrition; we talk about why we have this addiction to dairy, what’s the science behind that; we talk about what you can use for the different things like milk, cheese, butter, and all the different dairy products that people are used to eating.

And we tell people this is a detox and people get to choose their own adventure. We guide them how to navigate the grocery store shelves. So if they just want to buy prepared foods that are dairy-free, they can do that. Or if they want to go at the other end of the spectrum, they can use homemade recipes that I’ve created and they can learn how to make everything themselves. We want people to have options, and that’s what we’ve done.

Do you want to add anything, Michelle?

Michelle Cehn: Yeah. One of the benefits of the course is all the recipes that often are specially crafted to your years of expertise in the kitchen.

To make it really easy for people to take their own health into their own hands; learn more about food; and getting into the kitchen and see how really easy it is to make our favorite foods out of things like nuts and seeds. Really basic foods that are convenient for everyone to find and make. You can actually transform them into delicious cheesy sauces, dressings, and all those dairy food things that people think you’re missing out on when you go dairy-free.

Allison Rivers Samson: Yeah. And we know that they are so not missing out. (chuckles) Not at all.

Caryn Hartglass: Exactly. We all know that, but getting the point across to everybody else is the challenge. And we’re doing it with love.

Allison Rivers Samson: Absolutely.

Caryn Hartglass: Like I like to say, we’re tuning in love here. It’s All About Food and it’s all about love. Coming from a place of love. We want everybody to be nourished and happy while not doing harm to ourselves, other living beings, and the planet. Now I’ve been vegan since 1988, over twenty-eight years now.

Michelle Cehn: Wow, that’s amazing.

Allison Rivers Samson: Woo-hoo!

Caryn Hartglass: Woo-hoo!

Michelle Cehn: So you’ve seen a lot of things. (chuckles)

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, absolutely. Many people including myself—maybe not as much now, but I don’t know— the natural way for me was to eliminate red meat, then chicken and fish; then the last thing to go were dairy and eggs.

I always say if I were going to do it any other way or do it again, dairy would be the first to go. I think it’s the most unhealthful food; it’s not a healthy food in any form (milk, cheese, otherwise). I also think, although it’s not intuitive, the way we raise dairy cows today is so horrific, so cruel. These poor, precious animals are just treated so horribly from birth to death. It’s probably a worse life than those raised for meat because dairy cows become meat in the end.

Michelle Cehn: Right, that’s true. That’s one of our most powerful days in The Dairy Detox. Our goal with The Dairy Detox is to reach people who are really looking to do something great with their health. But in the later days of The Dairy Detox program, we talk about the impact on the environment, the impact on animals, and the impact on our planet. I think our day on animals is just the most powerful one for both Allison and I because we are huge animal lovers. Allison is a mom so she knows the connection between a mother and a baby, which is so frequently broken and torn apart in the dairy industry.

We’re really excited to see people who haven’t really thought about the food choices affecting beyond themselves to get to those days and to learn about these issues in a really powerful, powerful way. We spent a lot of time really making those days as impactful as we possibly could whilst staying very non-graphic and very easy to absorb for the viewer.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, since I got the opportunity to review the program, I got to listen to the first seven, I think.

Michelle Cehn: Wow, that’s great! I’m impressed.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes. They’re very well done, very clean, shiny, happy, and easy with lots of great materials. I didn’t get to any of the animal related issues, but one thing that people talk about all the time is, “Well, I have organic dairy. Isn’t organic dairy better?”

Allison Rivers Samson: Day ten is the day that we cover the animal issues. Make sure you check that one out, Caryn.

Caryn Hartglass: (chuckles) I will!

Allison Rivers Samson: I think you’ll really enjoy it. I mean, as much as you can enjoy hearing how that is. But the way that we present it is, I think, a really compassionate way. I think most people are unwittingly, just like the cows are, tangled in this industry that is just feeding us lies. What we’re doing is breaking myths.

And we’re helping people see through the veil of the mainstream culture that has told us things like: dairy can be good for you; it can be healthy; it can be done kindly; organic is better; grass-fed. All of these things that are actually just marketing terminology that really preys on passionate consumers. It’s really frustrating once we see beyond the veil to the truth, that that’s what it is. We’re being manipulated. It’s very eye opening.

What I discovered is that organic is actually worse for the animals. And I didn’t know this. The reason that it’s worse for the animals is when they get infections, there are a lot more limited choices that the—I don’t know what you would call them. They’re called “farmers”, but I wouldn’t call them a farmer. I think when we say farmer, we think of that old fashioned farmer sitting’ on an overturned pail. That’s the farthest thing from what’s going on in the dairy industry today.

But whatever you call them, they can’t treat the animals with antibiotics because humans don’t want antibiotics in their milk. So animals actually suffer with things like mastitis, which is an udder infection. Comes from overproduction, and that happens with dairy cattle because of the way that we’re raising them and what we’re forcing their bodies to do. Absolutely unnatural. That’s just one example. These animals aren’t getting the treatment and medical care they need, so they’re actually suffering worse.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, I didn’t know that. Just one more sad thing to add to that very awful pile. And why we don’t want to consume dairy and why this course is so important.

Now, here we are: it’s 2016 and there seems to be this growing movement—which obviously you’re aware of—where more people are learning online through webinars, course programs like this rather than opening a book. What is happening here?

Allison Rivers Samson: Go ahead, Michelle.

Michelle Cehn: All right, yeah. So one of the beauties today with technology and social media is that we have so many more opportunities to learn really high-level things that didn’t used to be accessible, unless you were willing to go digging around the basement of an old library. This stuff is now accessible to the everyday consumer. They can just open up a computer, they can find courses, they can find free videos online to learn information they’re looking to learn.

One of the beautiful things with a detox course or The Dairy Detox.is that making lifestyle choices that enter your everyday life are really difficult to do when you feel isolated and alone. A lot of the time, you’re just picking up a book and reading the book in your own home. You can feel very alone. You’re the only one seeing this; how are you going to get everyone else to understand what you’re doing?

When you’re able to sign up for an online e-course, you kind of have instant friends. Allison and I are eager to become supporters, cheerleaders, and resources of friends for people who sign up to The Dairy Detox so that they don’t feel so alone. I know all three of us probably went vegan before it became the hip, trendy thing to do.

Caryn Hartglass: (chuckles)

Michelle Cehn: From people I know from my own experience, there probably are a lot of people who have that sense of being alone. Not knowing whom to turn to and not having those accessible people and resources to guide you along the way and share their knowledge. So that’s one of the awesome things about creating a course: that we’re able to connect to people, face-to-face. In a much more personal way than we could through a book.

Caryn Hartglass: You are both moms, Allison and Michelle, right?

Allison Rivers Samson: No, Michelle is not. Just me.

Michelle Cehn: Just Allison.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, I thought you were a mom. Okay. Well, I remember a long time ago—I know it’s still true that families that went vegan and were bringing up their young children without milk got a lot of feedback at the schools. A lot of bad feedback. “You’re a child abuser. You’re doing terrible things to kids. They absolutely need milk.” So I imagine a forum can be really beneficial, where people can share some of their fears and some of the negative things that are going on in their life while they’re going through this transition.

Allison Rivers Samson: Yes, and that’s part of The Dairy Detox that we’ve created. All of our students will be part of our Facebook group that’s just for students and alumni. So they’ll be able to come in there and ask questions, share recipes, share inspiration, different tips; so that people can have that experience of discovering together.

That speaks to what Michelle was saying about how we want to create this as a supportive community. So that people aren’t making this change—that can feel really huge in the beginning—in isolation. That we want them to feel held and supported through the transition because it’s really the transition time that’s the difficult part.

It’s not what happens after the transition, right? It’s, “How do I get from here to there?” Once people open their eyes and they know how to do this—and they have the why’s like, “Why am I doing this?” it’s much easier.

Caryn Hartglass: You probably heard this—I know I have a gazillion, million, trillion times. When I talk about how bad dairy foods are, often the response is, “Oh, I don’t eat a lot of dairy.”

Allison Rivers Samson & Michelle Cehn: (chuckles)

Caryn Hartglass: Until you decide not to eat dairy—and I’m sure you’ll discover in this course all of the foods that contain or may contain dairy that you didn’t realize—you don’t realize that it’s in so many foods.

Allison Rivers Samson: (chuckles) Yeah, it’s true.

Michelle Cehn: Yeah. The other thing that I’ve had other people say to me as well is, “Oh, I tried non-dairy milk, and I didn’t like it.”

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Michelle Cehn: It’s one of the first things that we cover in our course because it’s often the most obvious switch that you can make. Just switching cow’s milk for almond milk, nut milk, soymilk, or any of the other milks out there. The thing that a lot of people don’t realize when they first start shopping for dairy for milk is that it’s not just cow’s milk or dairy-free milk. It’s cow’s milk, cashew milk, almond milk, soymilk, flax milk; there’s so many options out there and they all have different flavor profiles. You can get them sweetened or unsweetened. There are so many different varieties there that need to be explored so that you can find the ones that really resonate with you and you love.

The other thing is that everyone who has gone vegan or made a dietary change learns how flexible our taste buds are. We really can adapt and we do adapt to anything that we become used to. That’s why in some cultures durian—this smelly, uniquely flavored plant which I think is a fruit—some people love. Someone from another culture can try that and spit it out or not even be able to breathe around it.

We start to love the things that we’re used to. It is definitely what Allison was saying: it’s that transition period that’s challenging. After that, it’s effortless. So we’re here to make that transition period easy and really fun. We try to make our videos engaging, upbeat, and inspiring. Just really make the process not feel challenging or overwhelming. Break it down day-by-day, step-by-step, and make it fun.

Allison Rivers Samson: That’s the thing. There are specific details to it, but it doesn’t have to be this heavy, difficult thing. It’s just learning something new, and we present the information in a really friendly and accessible way so that people feel like their hands are held.

We also really value people’s time so we made this program extremely efficient. To go back to what Michelle was saying earlier about online courses, the other really huge benefit is that number one: you don’t have to get in your car; drive through traffic; show up at a certain time; sit in a classroom, in an environment that you may or may not feel comfortable in. You don’t even have to take a shower to take our course. (chuckles)

It’s all very much intended for convenience and respecting time. People can watch it during any time. Even if during the twelve days, maybe they got behind on one day or something, the videos are very potent and intended to be like, “Here’s everything that you need to know.” There’s no extra fluff, but it’s also done in a real beautiful and streamlined way.

Caryn Hartglass: I think dairy milk tastes gross. And I thought it tasted gross as a kid. It had to be really cold or I had to mix it with a lot of chocolate. They’re doing that more these days, adding sugar and flavorings, just to get kids to drink milk because it’s gross!

Allison Rivers Samson: It’s gross!

Caryn Hartglass: If you like milk, when you do a detox, you will (I promise) get to a point where you think milk tastes gross too. That’s cow’s milk.

Allison Rivers Samson: That’s so true. It got this very animal component to it that I think most people don’t know. I can actually smell it on people; I’m part dog so I’m kind of a super smeller in that way. That’s what’s helped me with being a chef. But I can smell it on people, and there is this very animal component to it. People get used to it; it’s just like what Michelle was saying: there is a dairy-free milk for everyone.

Caryn Hartglass: Uh-huh. I wish you a lot of luck. I hope many, many people get off dairy, take your course, do really well with it, and thrive. This may be too early to ask this question, but are there any plans to make this course available in Chinese and Hindu?

Allison Rivers Samson: Well, Michelle?

Caryn Hartglass: The reason why I’m asking this question is because we’re slowly learning in the United States how bad dairy is for us. Unfortunately, many of the developing and growing nations like China and India are behind the times when it comes to nutrition. They’re getting increasingly sick with chronic disease. In China, there’s this big demand, a drive to create more dairy. They need this class!

Allison Rivers Samson: I agree with you.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs)

Allison Rivers Samson: We’re definitely planning it, at some stage down the road. I definitely envision this in other languages.

It’s funny: a lot of people think lactose intolerance is this unusual health ailment. But two out of every three adults—two out of every three! —is lactose intolerant worldwide. It’s actually very, very common, and the reason is that it’s abnormal for us to drink milk that comes from a mammal after our growing years. Our bodies aren’t made to do that. We go into all the details about that in The Dairy Detox.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, the last thing that I want to talk about is cheese. Cheese, cheese, cheese. Because everybody talks about, “Oh, I can’t give up cheese!” Here it is, in 2016, that we have more wonderful options. The original non-dairy cheeses were pretty disgusting.

Allison Rivers Samson: They were!

Caryn Hartglass: (chuckles) But now there are so many that are wonderful that you can make at home or buy in the store. Just tell me a little bit about cheese and your cheeses.

Michelle Cehn: Yeah, we’re in a wonderful time right now to be launching this course because anything that you could miss dairy, there are dairy-free alternatives. Vegan cheeses and dairy-free cheeses are one of the fastest growing, recent explosions. We’ve got Miyoko’s Kitchen, Dr. Cow, Kite Hill, Heidi Ho!, Vtopia, Punk Rawk Labs, Follow Your Heart, Feel Good, Daiya

Allison Rivers Samson: Chao.

Michelle Cehn: There are so many brands that are jumping on the vegan cheese train, and they are getting a lot better, so fast. You don’t have to look at it as giving up cheese anymore. People say, “I can never live without cheese.” Fine! Don’t live without cheese! Look at these million varieties over here.

It used to that you would try it and it would be kind of awful; they didn’t melt or they would fall apart when heated or something. But now a bigger and bigger percentage of the vegan cheeses out there are really delicious! They’re winning awards. The innovation is just so rapid.

It’s a really exciting to make a decision in your life where you’re excited to try out new things. Every time you go to the grocery store, there’s a new brand or new variety of vegan cheese out there that you get to try. It’s a really fun adventure.

Caryn Hartglass: One of the things that needs to happen soon at a federal level with the FDA and at a state level is that in every state we need to be able to call these non-dairy cheeses “cheese”. We can’t do that everywhere.

Allison Rivers Samson: Yeah. (chuckles) That, and we need to stop bailing out the dairy industry when their supply has overgrown demand. When their supply is beyond what the demand is. We know about these recent stories in the news that the government is bailing out the dairy industry because fewer and fewer people are purchasing dairy products. We need to redo all these subsidies and things like that. So hopefully that will be part of the process.

Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely. Well, this has been lovely. I’m so excited about your program The Dairy Detox. People that are listening and interested, you can just go to responsibleeatingandliving.com for this interview. It’s right there. You can find more about The Dairy Detox. Or you can go directly, and the website is—

Allison Rivers Samson & Michelle Cehn: thedairydetox.com!

Caryn Hartglass: thedairydetox.com. Okay, let’s get more people detoxing off dairy.

Allison Rivers Samson: Absolutely.

Michelle Cehn: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: Thank you, Allison, and thank you, Michelle. I wish you well.

Allison Rivers Samson & Michelle Cehn: Thank you. Thank you so much for having us.

Caryn Hartglass: You’re welcome! Okay, bye-bye.

Allison Rivers Samson & Michelle Cehn: Bye.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, everybody: that was Allison Rivers Samson and Michelle Cehn. They’ve got The Dairy Detox course ready for you. I know a lot of you still haven’t gotten over the cheese thing, the dairy thing, and maybe this is what’s going to help you. I hope so.

Just a minute left or so. I’m going to take a breath. Whew! Speaking of cheese, right? Yesterday, we made Open Faced Tempeh Reuben Sandwiches. You can read about it at What Vegans Eat: Day 594 which I just posted today. That included Field Roast Chao Slices. Of course, we can’t call them Chao cheese; we call them slices. But they are one of our favorites when we don’t make our own cheese at home. They are easy, accessible, and very, very favorable. I hope you check them out.

Wow, we’ve come to the end of the show. I can’t believe it. I could talk all day about food, you know that. Thank you for tuning in love with me today. Thank you for tuning in It’s All About Food. I’m Caryn Hartglass and please have a very delicious week!

Transcribed by HT, 10/6/2016

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