Lani Muelrath, The Plant-Based Journey



Part I: Caryn Hartglass, Delicious Brunch and Travel Food Ideas
caryn-in-caliCaryn talks about great recipes for brunch and the foods she brought along on a recent weekend trip to the beach.










Part II: Lani Muelrath, The Plant-Based Journey

Lani-MuelrathLani Muelrath, MA, is an award-winning teacher, author, and speaker well known for her expertise in plant-based, active, mindful living and the author of the new book, The Plant-Based Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide To Transition To A Healthy Lifestyle and Achieving Your Ideal Weight. Lani has served as presenter and consultant for the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Complete Health Improvement Project. She is published in prominent periodicals including Prevention magazine, USA Today, and The Saturday Evening Post, and has been featured on ABC-TV and CBS-TV, on numerous radio shows, and created and starred in her own CBS television show, Lani’s All-Heart Aerobics.

Recipient of the California Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Instruction, Lani is also the author of Fit Quickies: 5-Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts; guest lecturer at San Francisco State University; and associate faculty in Kinesiology at Butte College, where her book has been adopted as a required course textbook. She is certified in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University, certified Behavior Change Specialist, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, and maintains multiple teaching credentials in the State of California. Lani presents and lectures extensively and counsels a variety of clients throughout the world from her northern California–based private practice on successful transition to healthy plant-based living. More from Lani, including free book preview and special report at



Caryn: Hello everybody! Hey I’m Caryn Hartglass! You’re listening to It’s All About Food and guess what we’re going to be talking about today? My favorite subject food and I’ve just been having so much fun with food for the past couple of weeks and I thought for the first part of this program I would just talk about all of the incredible food experiences, plant food experiences I have been going through for the last couple of weeks because what we’re going to be talking about today and later with my guest Lani Muelrath we’re going to be talking about the plant based journey, transitioning to a plant-based diet and all the different levels that are involved along the way and whether your just curious about eating more plant foods or whether you’re new with taking on making plants the center focus of your life style diet or maybe you’re more advanced and you’ve been doing this for awhile, you’ve really got the hang of it or maybe you’re a master at eating plant foods. I think we have something for all of you today and I’m just going to share all of the deliciousness because I was thinking of what to talk about today earlier and there’s so much in the news related to food and I was reading about some of it and it was just getting me down and I don’t want to get you down. I want to get you up, I want to get you excited and I want to change the world with healthy happy plant foods, are you with me? Wooh! Great, now keep in mind you can always contact me at just write that down in case you’re new at this and I love hearing from you. And you know if you’re a little bit shy to send me a note don’t be, I don’t bite, at least not people. I bite my plant food. Okay good so I’m feeling good. It’s hot out. It’s still summer. It’s like 90 degrees here in New York and I’m kind of enjoying the purging, the sweating. It’s a cleansing feeling and it’s feeling really good at the moment, sometimes it doesn’t feel too good and you have to jump in the shower or something or turn on the air whatever works for you but I’m rolling with it today. Good so last week I missed the show and I’ll be honest with you I was having some computer challenges so two weeks ago I told you I was having some computer challenges and I was very proud of myself and I’m still proud of myself because I took the thing apart and I cleaned it and it made a tremendous difference. But what really motivated me to do it was there was a problem with the machine that I could not fix and it happened fortunately since I have a MacBook pro early 2011. There are some video issues that are still covered even if you don’t have a warranty anymore or your warranty is expired. So I got it fixed for nothing and now my best friend here, my MacBook pro is up and running and thanks to my little cleansing work last week it’s silent and luscious and lovely. And I’m feeling so grateful for that. Now meanwhile, let’s talk about food shall we because this is all about food and this transitioning to a plant based diet thing is not difficult. It just takes a little shift in your perspective and I guarantee that it is going to be the most delicious thing you’ve ever experienced if you’re not already there experiencing it. So one of the things that I did that was really fun was I was invited to stay at my friend’s beach house not this weekend but the weekend before and I had to bring food because this beach house is on a piece of Fire Island and you take a ferry to get there and there’s a little store there but it’s expensive and you really want to bring your food to this place because that’s what you do so that’s what I did. And what was I going to bring with me? I brought some very simple things and it turned out to just be so satisfying and so perfect. So I brought rolled oats, can’t ever go wrong with rolled oats, you can have them cold, you can have them hot. And I did cook them in water. I brought along some shredded coconut and some pumpkin seeds and dates and that made for perfect morning cereal. I brought one of my favorite teas, kukitcha. Have you tried kukitcha yet? There’s a brown version and then there’s a green tea version. I kind of prefer the brown kukitcha. It’s twig tea and when you buy it, it looks like little sticks. But it’s such a warm, sweet, rich flavor. I really recommend trying it and I brought with me a bunch of things you’ve already heard about that I had made and frozen a while ago. And I just carefully packed them up in my luggage and they traveled really nicely and they weren’t even defrosted by the time I got there and my trip was about, I don’t know, about 2, 3, maybe even 4 hours from door to door. But I brought along my creamy carrot soup, have you tried that yet? So good and it’s good cold or warm. And I also brought the stuffed cabbage that I had made a few weeks before that I had stuffed with brown rice and chard and mushrooms and how much fun is it when you make a dish that’s good. And you freeze some of it and then you forget about it and then you remember it and you take it out and it’s like a gift. And it was a gift because it was so good. And I enjoyed it very much just like heating it up at the beach house. I also brought with me some pink lentils, some people call them orange lentils. I call them pink, they’re kind of, the color sort of peachy. You don’t call them peachy lentils but what’s great about them is they’re probably the fastest, fastest cooking bean on the planet. I would even take them camping with me because they cook up so quickly and they cook up kind of fluffy like mashed potatoes almost. They get very soft. So if you have texture issues, these beans may be a little too soft for you, I don’t know but I love them and I brought them along and made them as well. So the eating was really great. The one thing I regret is I was planning on bringing a couple of heads of kale with me and oops that’s what I forgot but I didn’t forget my frozen green juices which traveled very nicely so I was able to have green juice with me on the beach and then the last thing was that was the sensation for me. Summertime is a time of delicious, sweet fruits right? Especially when they’re ripe and juicy and one of my biggest disappointments probably in the last thirty years maybe even forty years is it’s so hard to find a good peach, a good sweet, juicy, peach where the juice just drips all over the place and it’s so phenomenal. Have you had a good peach like that, recently? Tell me about it and tell me where you got it. Well I haven’t and I don’t even like to buy them because I know I’m always going to be disappointed. Well there was a little farm stand on the beach, they actually ferry the stuff over from a local farm on the other side of Long Island, near Davis Park where I was staying and they had a few organic items, tomatoes things like that but not everything was organic. And I got into a nice conversation with I think it was the father of the farmer, he used to be a farmer but now his daughter was farming. And he was talking how they used to raise cows and dairy. I just bit my tongue because I didn’t want to start proselytizing and I just smiled and then he said “you know we’re now growing fruits and vegetables” and I was listening. And I said “I love fruits and vegetables” and then we were looking at the peaches at the stand and I told him my thing with peaches, how I haven’t had a good peach in a long time and then he just said, “here come here”. And he brought me over around the corner to like a secret stash and just gave me, for free, this fabulous peach and oh my goodness and it was everything I remembered. They exist. It was so good. And peaches, all food should be like that every bite just incredible either in sweetness or in savoriness or in texture, juicy or dry, whatever it is. And that’s one of the things I love about summer and as we come to the end of summer I really want to get my full summery kind of things and that means really delicious, ripe, sweet, thirst-quenching, hydrating, fiber filled fruit. Yeah so I ate well on the beach and got my sun in and the last thing I want to mention while we were there, have you ever watched the moonrise? Silly question. No not a silly question, it’s a really good question. I know that a lot of people take pictures of sunsets because it’s a convenient time. We see them, the sun going from the top of the sky, down to the horizon and we see all these beautiful colors but to be in a place where you can see the moon rise above the horizon and up into the sky. It happened to be a full moon and we were there out on the beach and watched the moon rise. It was really, really spectacular and I highly recommend it, just to take the time and realize where you are. Where you are, your feet planted on planet Earth and we’re spinning around and we’ve got that little moon spinning around us. And we’re spinning around the Sun and all this spinning. You forget about it and taking a moment to just be quiet and watch what’s going around you and taking in all of the awe and feeling the awe is awesome. Now, next thing. I know I’ve mentioned to you many, many times that people ask me, what do you eat as a vegan, what do you eat? And as a result, I’ve created my blog what vegans eat. I’m now on day 210, have you checked any of those posts yet? I hope you have. There are a lot of different ideas there as to what to eat in case you’re getting bored with plant foods and I can’t imagine how that can happen but there are so many different varieties and so many different ways to prepare them and I hope that I give that idea from time to time. Oh, wait I forgot one more thing about the beach but it’s still in my blog What Vegans Eat so I’m sort of still on the same subject. So I’m staying with my friend, she rents this beach house out to people during the summer and there’s a grill outside. And when we got there, she wanted to have one of the dinners while we were there be a barbecue and I had some vegetables with me and she looked at the grill and it was just a disaster. And you know if you don’t clean your grill on a regular basis it gets all oily, and greasy and sooty and she spent a couple of hours cleaning the grill. Now all the time I was thinking to myself, if people were grilling plants on that grill, it wouldn’t be that hard to clean. It’s all that greasy animal fat on a grill that makes it especially uninspiring to grill because you have to clean the grill. And you really want to clean the grill because if you don’t you could be setting yourself up for some nasty grease fires which are not pretty. Anyways, so I recommend you want to barbecue and there’s still some time even though we just had Labor Day. It’s still warm out in areas around where I am in New York. It’s a great time for grilling and I just grill simple stuff: corn, carrots, onions, and sliced tofu. Phenomenal on the grill. So simple, fabulous. Okay back to the What Vegans Eat blog. What I wanted to say is I am doing this so people have an idea what vegans eat and sometimes people ask me what to make for a party or an event, having people over. And I’ve been thinking about it for awhile and this weekend, this past weekend, the focus was brunch and I’m starting to think that’s probably an ideal thing to make for guests, whether they’re vegan or vegetarian or not. I think the foods that we can make for brunch are how do I want to put this, you can make brunch like foods that don’t seem abnormal or different to people who are eating animals or not eating animals so we made this fabulous brunch. I had a lot of my family out because we were having a big family event, a reunion of sorts on Sunday so I had my parents and my sister’s family up on Saturday we made this terrific brunch spread and I just want to talk about it because I want you to make these recipes. I want you to have people over and I want you to make these recipes but what you have to do, is you have to make the recipes, try them out first, practice. You should never have people over and experiment on them unless you don’t like them because we learn and even though a recipe may be really, really, clear, if you’re not that familiar with it, things can go wrong. It’s always best to make food you’re familiar with for people that are coming over especially if you want to them to get a good impression. Okay so what are the things we made. This was such a phenomenal, phenomenal breakfast, brunch, everything. To start with, we made the French scramble. The French Scramble. It’s at the website. You’ve had tofu scrambles perhaps. They’re wonderful. This is a particularly rich scramble. It’s for a special event because it has cashew cream in it, a little vegan butter. It’s very rich. What’s nice about it is, everybody loves it and it’s like an easy way in to learning to love tofu, making it rich. And it looks like eggs and tastes like eggs. Incredible. French. The French Scramble. And we made a number of different sauces to go with the French scramble and the home fries that we made. Now our home fries are not fried, they’re baked. You can find a number of different baked potato recipes at This particular one that we made is with onions and some light spices. So easy to make and fabulous for breakfast or brunch. Now we made a cashew cheese sauce and then a pesto cream sauce and a spicy salsa. And we had these different sauces available to put on top of the French Scramble and the potatoes. And wait there’s more! I’ve been talking about, I think I talked about this, the fruity waffle. So I make all of the baked foods pretty much in our family. The waffles and the pancakes but Gary came along and he improvised on some of our waffle recipes and he made this amazing fruity waffle recipe. I think it’s our best waffle recipe ever, please try it, it’s just so yummy. What makes it sweet is one pear, one orange, and a few dates and it’s just a delightful waffle recipe. Has a great texture and we make a lot up and freeze them and then we take out a few and toast them. Better than Eggos, no bizarre ingredients, only real food in our fruity waffles. And then I made a fruit compote made with banana, peach-no not peaches, banana, pear, and strawberries. It was lovely to go on top of the waffles. We also had a, we splurged, and got a little maple syrup. Maple syrup can be extremely expensive but occasionally, very nice to have. And then we had some coffees and teas. Gary made a lovely creamer with some cashew cream, very simple with a little agave and a little vanilla. And it was lovely in our coffees and tea. Just a word for a moment on tea, because everybody that loves tea, and I’ve been talking from time to time about tea. I just wanted to bring this up again, tea can be really delicious and really good for you. Plenty of antioxidants in tea and in coffee but I personally think that tea is a better choice. I don’t like tea in a bag. Think about what those tea bags are made of, even though the FDA and everybody says they’re healthy, I really don’t want to put any one of this silken tea sacks. It’s like using, putting pantyhose in hot water. Yeah, that’s kind of a gross image, isn’t it and then you don’t need to do that. You can just take a simple tea egg and some of them are metal and some of them are made from silicone. I actually got a silicone looking tea bag that you can put your bowl of tea in or you could just put it loose in the bottom of the pot, boil your tea and then strain the tea as you’re going got have it. But it makes such a better tea especially if you’re buying organic tea and tea ingredient clean water. I really believe in clean water, using your tap water and filtering it and then using some sort of method to purify your water. I’m a huge fan of distillation if you want to know more about that, send me an email at and I’ll tell you all I can about clean, distilled water. But it makes all the difference when you’re drinking water, fresh, cool water or water for your coffee and tea. And the great thing about this particular brunch event, we made most of the things the day before or two days before and then we’ve had great leftovers for the week. I really encourage you to make brunch now if you can’t make brunch, you can go out and get brunch. And that’s what we did on Sunday, we went to Candle Café west. Now I’m a big fan of the candle company if you have been to any one of the restaurants here in New York City. I hope you had a good time. If you haven’t been to New York or haven’t had a chance to visit Candle Café, Candle 79 or Candle Café west, I highly recommend it. I just always have a good time there and I have to say that these places are literally seeped in love. They’re seeped in love and joy because one of the owners is named Joy, Joy Pierson and, Bart Potenza. So we had this big family gathering at Candle Café west on Sunday and it was spectacular because we had people that weren’t vegetarian and then there were people that were vegan and vegetarian. And everybody loved the event and the food. It was really phenomenal and I want to tell you a little more about it. I mean just imagine these things, everybody can eat these foods. So one of the options we had to choose from was pancakes. Pancakes with fruit, strawberry, butter, and gingered maple syrup. Who doesn’t like pancakes? And everybody who ordered them loved them. Then they had this great dish called a Vegetable Crepe and what was great about it was it was gluten free. So people who cannot consume gluten can eat this and it’s a crepe made from garbanzo bean flour and we’ve got a number of recipes at to make this type of dish. It can be like an omelet or a crepe and a fabulous breakfast food and they were offering that at the restaurant and we had some great desserts. Apple, cranberry pie and an Almond Mousse pie. Are you getting hungry? The last thing I wanted to say about Candle Café was that I love them and I’m happy to plug them but if you are in Manhattan, you really need to check out their grumpy hour. They used to call it their happy hour but they’re calling it grumpy hour now which I think is great. You’re go in grumpy and you definitely leave happy. I think it’s from like 4-6 during the week, you go sit at the bar. They have $4 organic beer, organic vegan beer because everything in this restaurant is vegan. And we were in there a few days ago and had the Wolaver organic beer. They gave us some edamame and olives to munch on and then I ordered a little roasted vegetable sandwich and that’s leading me to the next thing I want to talk about which is roasting vegetables. If you haven’t done it or you haven’t done it recently, this is where vegetables shine, when you roast them and we had a great roasted vegetable sandwich at Candle, Candle Café West. Okay, what else did I want to talk about next? I think, I’m looking at my notes, oh one more place that I wanted to talk about is Beyond Sushi, another great place in Manhattan but I think they’re inspiring me to create some new recipes myself that I will put up at Beyond Sushi is a restaurant in Manhattan. They only have like a few small tables so it’s kind of very informal. It’s not great for a big sit down dinner unfortunately but they make all kinds of Japanese style hand rolls, rolls like maki, and sushi and some other dishes, soups and salads whatever. But it’s a spin on Japanese sushi and maki only they use all kinds of fabulous ingredients and sauces that will just blow your mind and your palette of flavors will really explode. And we were there in the past week and if you look at, go to the blog you can see that particular blog post, the colors are just incredible. Okay, here’s what I want to do, I want to take a short break and then I’m going to bring on my guest for today and talk about the Plant-Based Journey. Okay? We’ll be right back.

Transcribed by Anna Molotkova 12/14/2015



Caryn Hartglass: And here we are. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re tuned into “It’s All About Food” and that’s what we talk about here – food. Wonderful food. Sometimes we talk about the dark side of food, but that’s not what it’s about today. Today’s about joy. Today’s about deliciousness. Today’s about “mmm” . I wasn’t even planning on saying that, but today is about “mmm.” And I’m going to bring on my guest and we’ll get more into the “mmm” of the plant-based journey right now. So, Lani Muelrath is an award-winning teacher, author and speaker, well-known for her expertise in plant-based active mindful living and the author of the new book, “Plant-based Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide to Transition to a Healthy Lifestyle and Achieving Your Ideal Weight. Lani has served as presenter and consultant for the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and the complete health improvement project that’s CHIP, —we’ve talked to both Neil Bernard of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and Dr. Han Steele of the CHIP plan in Loma Linda. And she is published in prominent periodicals, including Prevention Magazine, USA Today and The Saturday Evening Post, and has been featured on ABC TV and CBS TV on numerous radio shows and created and starred in her own CBS television show, Lani’s All Heart Aerobics. And welcome Lani! How are you today?

Lani Muelrath: Hi Caryn. I’m doing great and thank you so much for having me on your fabulous program.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, thank you! And thank you for you being fabulous. You sure look fabulous.

Lani Muelrath:

Caryn Hartglass: I haven’t met you in person, but the pictures are hot!

Lani Muelrath: Oh well I had a good photographer. You know, what can you say.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, you know. Photographers can only do so much.

Lani Muelrath: Oh well, I’ll take it!

Caryn Hartglass: That is so lovely. Make up is great and photographers and a great hairstylist. They can make a difference, but you’ve got to have the right bones.  Plant-powered bones, right?

Lani Muelrath: Yeah!

Caryn Hartglass: And what surprises me from time to time—there was a time, decades ago, when I thought I was alone being vegan and I thought I knew everybody in the vegan movement, and it’s not true anymore. And I can’t believe I’ve never met you. You’ve been doing this for four decades.

Lani Muelrath: Yes, but actually Caryn. We have met.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, oops!

Lani Muelrath: No, Caryn. It was at the Earth Day vegan Earth Day in Berkeley. Weren’t you and I both on the panel—on the Q&A panel?

Caryn Hartglass: Yes! Oh my god!

Lani Muelrath: I think that there was a—I think someone was between us though, but I saw your name come up I was very excited because that was such a good experience to see you do a little bit of work there. We were presenting, so we weren’t really interacting with each other so much as the audience. But there you have it, Vegan Berkeley Earth Day was a couple of years ago.

Caryn Hartglass: Thank you—

Lani Muelrath: Yeah!

Caryn Hartglass: Thank you for remembering and now I feel—I’m putting my foot right in my mouth for not remembering that, but I remember it now.


Lani Muelrath: Good—yes! No worries.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes. Or maybe—well I don’ even want to go there or talking about forgetting because we’re not going to be those people forgetting. Anyway, that was a really interesting event and I was happy to be there. The timing was really good for me. It was—I know why I didn’t remember now because it was about two years ago, wasn’t it? Two or—

Lani Muelrath: Two years ago.

Caryn Hartglass: And we were—we were premiering our very first Swingin’ Gourmet’s Happy B’EarthDay Revue in San Jose right after that event. And that’s where my event was focused.

Lani Muelrath: The weekend’s a blur. I understand that.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah  Yeah, anyway. Okay, well look at that. Next time I’ll pay attention.

Lani Muelrath: Well I was listening to—just coming in—your talk about these restaurants in New York City. And honestly, I live in the middle of nowhere in the woods in California and I’m lucky if I can go 45 minutes to find a Chipotle with like a bean burrito. So you have it—whenever these people in cities talk about their food choices, it’s just like I—kid in a candy shop pictures for me. So congratulations.

Caryn Hartglass: Now where are you?

Lani Muelrath: Northern California. Way north. Out in the woods.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh! That’s nice. So you’re in paradise.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah. And another thing I wanted to comment. You were talking about the theme was “mmm”?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, “mmm.” I wasn’t even thinking about it. It just came to me.

Lani Muelrath: Well, this is the perfect tie-in here because as I told you, we just returned from Africa. We got a chance to visit the elephant orphanage, where we have—we support this organization and we have several adopted elephants there. And the first baby that we adopted, her name is Mbegu. And that’s an African pronunciation that starts with an “M” and goes right into another consonant. And it means “little seed,” because she was a little seed of such good things. So that’s perfect. And I have a recipe named after her in the plant-based journey. It’s Mbegu peanut sauce. She made it into the book.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh I love that.

Lani Muelrath: Mmm.

Caryn Hartglass: See that’s why that popped into your head! Absolutely. I didn’t do it. The universe did it. It just like made the “mm” come out of my mouth.  Well, that’s fabulous. Okay, so you’ve been doing this vegan thing for a long time. But it hasn’t always been—let’s say—easy or healthy? Yeah?

Lani Muelrath: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah and we have to make that clear because when—there’s a lot of arguments and discussion about terminology. I always use “vegan” because I am a—I don’t believe in killing animals, first. That’s my first top priority mission, but other people are into health, like to focus on whole foods, plant-based, and they don’t always mean the same thing.

Lani Muelrath: Nope. That’s correct.

Caryn Hartglass: So tell us a little bit about your plant-based journey.

Lani Muelrath: Well I started with becoming vegetarian over 42 or 43 years ago. And vegetarian at that time—first, that was perplexing. You know, I don’t know how many people on the radio remember those days. But in those days if you went to a restaurant and asked for vegetarian, you got a, “Veggie what?!” So it’s kind of like maybe where vegan might be now, but we’re just lightyears ahead of being able to get different kinds of foods than we were back then. So I had dropped all animal products, except I was eating dairy products, but I had given up eggs as well. And my initial reason for becoming a vegetarian was because of ahimsa, which is nonviolence and caring for all beings and you know, the care for the lot of animals. So that was my initial step into becoming vegetarian. At the same time—this is all explanatory of how my journey started. At the same time, I’m one of those people who’s genetically predisposition to have a hard time losing weight and to easily gain weight. And I was always on a quest for some way of eating that would allow me to be full without being fat. And I’m sure by “I tried this” diet list is much longer than many of the people that are listening. But to me it seemed like this might also—even though I had a philosophical desire to move toward this way of eating, I thought maybe it would help me with the weight too. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to make chocolate chip cookies without eggs, and you know, all those kind—and milk—and still pound them down just like the other stuff. And I did my best to that regard, but it wasn’t until I really moved in that whole foods piece and edged out that many of the processed foods that this—I got this easy edge on the health and weight problem that allowed me to lose 50 pounds that I’ve sustained for almost the last 20 years now. So you see—well count those—do the math there. There were still several years where I was struggling with my weight, with maybe how processed foods were going along even though I was eating whole grains. You know? But you can spread vegan butter on—

Caryn Hartglass: Mm Hm
Lani Muelrath: And yeah, so all of these things combined. And interestingly, at the time I became vegetarian, the third big reason that people go vegan and vegetarian and plant-based now is because of the environment, and you know what? That was an issue 43 years ago and it’s just even more compelling now. So all three of those drove my decisions, but in that realm, I’ve then had to adjust certain things to get my other goals in place.

Caryn Hartglass: You know I—you just said it was an issue 43—42 years ago. And it just gives me pause for a minute, because “should of, could of, would of”. If we—if only everybody had gotten it back then, we’d be in such a better place today.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Okay so we have to get it now. For the planet’s sake.

Lani Muelrath: Times a wasting.

Caryn Hartglass:  Well that was a good story. And there’s a happy ending because we’re now—we’re older and we’re better than ever.

Lani Muelrath: Mm hm.

Caryn Hartglass: And there you have it. And everybody can be that way too. So some of the things that you’ve learned along the way, you’ve now put in this book, “The Plant Based Journey.” And that’s nice because you kind of consolidated 40 years of learning and taken all the nuggets or you can share it to people who want to get it right away because that’s what this culture is like. You know, we’re in an instant. Everything has to be right away.

Lani Muelrath: And that does work against us in some ways. So the—where’d all the content for the plant-based journey came from was because I’d also been teaching, training and coaching others for a long time. And so what I found was that though I—I wanted to find out what is it that makes those people successful at making this transition for—in a lasting way. For example, people always come to me because they want to lose weight. They hear about my story and they’re really drawn to the plant-based way for a variety of reasons, whether it’s for the animals. They see it’s for the health. And of course the environment. But they’re wondering exactly how to make that happen for themselves. And the people that have gone through, respected all five of these steps are the ones that have sustainability. And that’s really important Caryn. And when someone says, “Well I lost 50 pounds in three months.” And I go, “Great. Let’s talk again in five years.”

Caryn Hartglass:

Lani Muelrath: And maybe that’s how it’s going to work out okay, but along with my experience and my coaching, for the plant-based journey, I surveyed over 1200 people for their responses about, “How long have you been successfully eating this way?” “What do you think—wish you would have known when you started that would make it easier?” And “what would you like to tell other people getting started that would make it easier for them or if they’re getting stuck along the way, what helped you get unstuck?” So that all informs a manuscript and it’s so richly full of tips and information that way. It’s exciting to bring to the public.

Caryn Hartglass: And I think you notice this in your surveying, but people who have been doing it longer than others, they don’t necessarily forget, but they thought that the transition was shorter or easier. And that it didn’t happen overnight. It actually took steps to get there.

Lani Muelrath: That’s exactly right. And I’m really glad you brought that up because that’s one of the questions, and I report on this. What do you think is the best way to transition? One increment at a time or overnight? And it’s so funny. It’s exactly like you just said.

Caryn Hartglass: Mm hm.

Lani Muelrath: For those people that reported in—oh overnight, just clean slate, cold turkey, whatever terminology they want, but then they would go on to qualify their answer by saying how they—in retrospect—it actually became incremental. So I report about that in the book too because I think that’s interesting.

Caryn Hartglass: It is.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah it really came out to, well I did big change overnight, but in steps. So  that’s in incremental steps. Yeah. Very insightful.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, you know. I’ve been doing this maybe not as long as you. I started on the vegetarian path when I was 15. So that’s 42 years ago. And right now it’s like the easiest thing and I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s very easy. And I have to remind that it took a long time to get here and a lot of bad meals .

Lani Muelrath: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: I made a lot of bad meals.

Lani Muelrath: And that’s important too that you bring this information forward too, Caryn. Because in many of the—there’s a lot of books out there about plant-based nutrition and a lot of them are written by the doctors and the dietitians that give us really good information. But where they connecting – connecting that with your reality is where I come in. I’m the behavior change person to help you loop with that information. And many people who have been on this path for a while forget, exactly like you said, some of the transition pieces. For example, in “The Plant-Based Journey,” I have some recipe templates, which by the way, have gotten off to a really good, positive receipt. People are really enjoying that I put those in there. And they’re just based on how I cook.

Caryn Hartglass: Mm hm.

Lani Muelrath: I love to eat, but I don’t like to cook. I’m a lazy cook. Just get me something really good so I can sit down and eat it. So I use really basic, simple processes like using vegetable broth to cook chopped vegetables in a pan and then putting it over rice. You know, that kind of stuff. And for people who have been on this journey for a long, long time, that seems like second nature. Just like you said.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Lani Muelrath: But we have to realize that, that is a life-changing recipe information for someone who’s stepping into this from another way of eating. And that’s what I wanted to bring into the book so people could feel empowered and, “Yeah, I could do this.” “I could do that.”

Caryn Hartglass: Well and it is simple once you make that subtle little shift in your perception and open your heart to plant foods. It’ll all make sense. But I think the biggest problem, not just—it’s a combination of things. But the biggest problem is people don’t know how to prepare food anymore. And they don’t want to prepare food. And because they don’t prepare food, they don’t know what’s in their food. So the whole idea of getting off the animal and getting with the plant is just like speaking a foreign language when you don’t even know what’s in your food.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: And you know, I—I know you believe this too, but I know everybody’s busy and I know they feel like they don’t have a lot of time, but I think it’s so important to make food. You may not do it every day, and there’s ways to same time and you go into that in your book. But we all need to get a little familiar with the kitchen. I like to say, “Find your kitchen—

Lani Muelrath:

Caryn Hartglass: “…and make food.”

Lani Muelrath: Where is it?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. And then when you know what’s in your food, then you can be a more empowered and unknowledgeable customer in a restaurant, asking the right questions to get the healthy food that you want to eat.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah that’s a good point. And as you suggest in the book, I also do talk about building systems for success. And that’s exactly a match for what I’m talking about, is that there are simple little strategies that you can put together that aren’t as overwhelming. And this is—people might think it’s going to be—and this is one of the perceptions that is problematic. People coming from, “I don’t know what’s in my food or where my kitchen is” –

Caryn Hartglass:

Lani Muelrath: –as you so eloquently put it, to “how do I make this thing,” and think they’re going to have to do these elaborate recipes. And I don’t know about you, but if a recipe has more than like five ingredients, my eyes just kind of glaze over. So I just like something basic and simple. And you can east successfully plant-based without fancy recipes and people need to feel—take the pressure off.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, exactly. And there are—there are some recipes that are just a few ingredients that actually taste fancy too.

Lani Muelrath: Good point.

Caryn Hartglass: Anything with cashew cream in it.

Lani Muelrath:
Caryn Hartglass: Cashews and water blended up, pour it on anything and you have gourmet. It’s amazing.  Yeah, I think I overdosed on cashew cream this weekend, actually.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah that can happen.

Caryn Hartglass:  It was a big, big festive weekend and yeah, I’m done.

Lani Muelrath: Labor day celebrations.

Caryn Hartglass:  Yeah, well we had—I have an unusual last name, “Hartglass.”

Lani Muelrath: It’s nice.

Caryn Hartglass: And there aren’t many people that have it and about 60 years ago, the family used to get together with these reunions. They call them “family circles.” And I remember the last one when I was five years old. And we haven’t had one since. So my sister just organized one this past weekend. And we met with our second cousins, our third cousins, and we even Skyped with some cousins in Israel, which—

Lani Muelrath: Oh my god!

Caryn Hartglass: ––is really, really special. And it was nice to just look at all of these people that I share a lot of DNA with

Lani Muelrath: So was there—you’re telling there was cashew cream involved this weekend too?

Caryn Hartglass: Well, we made a brunch here at home for my parents and my sister’s family who was in. And we made a lot of cashew cream based sauces and our tofu scramble I was talking about earlier had cashew cream and it was very rich.

Lani Muelrath: Mm hm.

Caryn Hartglass: And then we were at Candle Café West, which is the newest of the Candle restaurants.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah, I’ve heard of those!

Caryn Hartglass: And they made just some fabulous food. And I’m sure there was some cashews in some of that—anyways, it was just great.

Lani Muelrath: Oh I had an indulgent weekend too because I was invited the VIP reception for the relaunch of Colleen’s Veg News Magazine.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh we’re going to the one in New York next year.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah, I was going to ask you if you were going to that one. So it was just such a great party. And tons of food and like a four-tiered cake. The baker for the cake, the business name was, of course they asked for a card because it was so good. The company was called, “Pig Out Vegan.”

Caryn Hartglass: Oh!

Lani Muelrath: And I thought that’s—

Caryn Hartglass:

Lani Muelrath: Just saying it like it is. But it was a really great party. We stayed for hours. Very fun up in the—San Francisco, near the mission district.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, we have to give ourselves credit. Vegans are phenomenal partiers.

Lani Muelrath:  there you go.

Caryn Hartglass: We love parties. We love food.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: And, yeah. We’ve got a lot to celebrate. And we just want to share this delicious joy. That’s it.

Lani Muelrath: Well it’s something to be able to eat in a way that is in harmony with your highest ideals. And I know that you know that. There is a layer that adds to life that is unmeasurable and difficult to explain until you really experience it.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, one more thing. We may get back to the book in a minute. But I wanted to say that I appreciated you including your week of meals that you—that were real meals that you actually ate.

Lani Muelrath: Oh, in “The Journey”? In the book?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Lani Muelrath: Oh, good. I’m glad you like that! You found it instructive and helpful?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, because—well, I have this blog called, “What Vegans Eat”—

Lani Muelrath: Yeah, I saw that.

Caryn Hartglass: And I started it—I started 200 days ago. And I just write what I eat. There’s nothing really special about it. I just snap what I’m eating and talk about it. And I’ve gotten some crazy responses like, “Do you really eat like this?” “I mean, do you eat this like this?” And I go—I have to keep saying, “This is what I’m eating, okay? I’m not setting anything up here.” I’m just making my plate and setting it up. And people say, “But you’re eating so much food.”

Lani Muelrath: Ah.

Caryn Hartglass: I’ve gotten so many responses and it’s great for people to just really see real meals.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah. Yup. That’s been a very popular section of “The Journey” too, because of that. People still have this—it’s the old mindset of portion control based on concentrated calorie, processed foods and animal products. So to remove people from that, it takes a little bit of work to tease that out.

Caryn Hartglass: Mm hm.

Lani Muelrath: It—and even people who will be struggling and come to me for counseling support. And I’m having my oatmeal for breakfast and I go, “How much did you have?” And they go, well I had oatmeal for breakfast. And they go, “A half an ounce of…” And I go, “What’s that?”

Caryn Hartglass:
Lani Muelrath: “What is that?” And you know, but I understand where that’s coming from because we have that—that food control, dietary mindset. So I come to right to where that person is, fully understand that place in the process and work with your hunger and fullness signals and how those operate and how really when you’re eating plant-based, whether you call it vegan, when you’re wholefood plant-based, you can eat mountains of food compared to concentrated rich foods that you have to eat in smaller quantity to stay within your calorie count or you’re in trouble with your weight. And that’s hard to do.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay now, eating on the road. It sounds like you do a lot of traveling. And you just came back from Africa in Safari.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: What were you eating?
Lani Muelrath: Oh my god. I just posted an entire blog with all these pictures of my plates. I’ll have to send you those links because when you go on Safari—have you been to Africa?

Caryn Hartglass: I’ve been to South Africa.

Lani Muelrath: Oh. Have you traveled on Safari at all?

Caryn Hartglass: No. I’m going to brag and say it was back in 1995. And I sing opera musical theatre.

Lani Muelrath: Oh, cool!

Caryn Hartglass: And I was part of this Eisteddfod Festival which came from Wales, originally, and it’s an incredible week-long arts festival with singing and dance and countries competing and all kinds of things. And I won the Grand First prize in Classical Voice.

Lani Muelrath: Oh!

Caryn Hartglass: And that was back in 1995 in South Africa.

Lani Muelrath: Congratulations.

Caryn Hartglass: And I was eating vegan then
Lani Muelrath: Yeah, yeah. And I’ll tell you what. When we were—some of the time, we had our own apartment where I do easy for food preparation, but most of the time, were on Safari where you go to a different lodge every two days. And we went last year as well. We’re hooked on this. Once Africa gets in your blood, I tell ya!

Caryn Hartglass:

Lani Muelrath: But it’s—my concern was, before we left and went, everyone—the company told us all the different lodges, you’ll be able to eat vegetarian fine, but you never know what that really means. Right? Until you show up. And so every single lodge as soon as we arrived there, we said, “You have food for vegetarians.” And I used that word because I figure I could navigate my way through from that—easy to do. And every place, without batting an eye, actually, they were proud of their presentations. Even one of the lodges said, “70 percent of our food is vegetarian.” And it was true. And of course it was rice and chapattis and all these different grains. Then there would be potatoes and always be some kind of dahl, some kind of curry. And all kinds of vegetables. And as you know in Africa, dark greens—sautéed dark greens is a very common dish and they served that with ugali, which is their traditional—it’s like polenta. It’s a white maize, unsalted and served with sauces. But I Instagrammed the whole time one dish after another and it got so much attention that I just—yesterday I put up at the website—it’s easy to find,, it’s the same as my website. And the latest addition in the blog is a lot of the food pictures that I just snapped on my plate at the different lodges. Though it was easy. It was made a little bit richer than I was used to.

Caryn Hartglass: They used a lot of oil, probably.

Lani Muelrath: But it was easy to eat around that, too, if I wanted to. It wasn’t in everything. There were mountains of salads that didn’t have dressing on it, so there would be grated carrots, chopped cucumber, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, beets—all of that. Yeah, you didn’t have to sink yourself and have fat.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, in some ways that’s how communities traditionally were eating. Primarily plant, right?

Lani Muelrath: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: And now they’re just getting this bad influence from us.


Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, okay. And what do you love about Africa?

Lani Muelrath: There’s something about—and maybe you experienced this too or maybe it’s an experience of being out in that; we saw the crossing of the wildebeest on the Serengeti. Oh my gosh. But there’s something about connecting with all of our roots. We all came from there a long, long time ago. And there’s something very grounding and intense about that and it’s very beautiful and the animals are so extraordinary. And to us they’re just quite exotic. And I could watch elephants for hours. We stayed in this one place along the river where these giant, massive elephants were just walking through camp. And you’d just watch your step and make sure you don’t get in the way of one. But it’s—yeah. And I’ve always been a nature lover. And we’ve traveled all over

world to just work with wildlife and this was another experience like that in a whole new world.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, well you were fortunate to see the elephants. And you know, I don’t know what’s going to happen to them, but it doesn’t look good.

Lani Muelrath: No Caryn, it doesn’t. As a matter of fact, I’ve told my people since I got back, “You better go before the elephants are gone.”

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah because they’re holding even on the poaching problem, which is not good news. Even though there are a lot of controls in place, it’s so easy—with the terrain—for things to slip in. The poachers just slip by. There’s a lot of corruption in government. People getting information they shouldn’t get and it’s just hard. For those of who get it about the animals and the planet, it’s excruciating.

Lani Muelrath: Yup.

Caryn Hartglass: The only good news I read is there was somebody going out and planting these synthetic tusks that had a chip in them.

Lani Muelrath: I think that’s in National Geographic magazine. There’s a feature on that. I haven’t gotten the chance to read it. It just came in. Is that? Go ahead.

Caryn Hartglass: So you can see where the tusks are going and they were hoping to find some of the poachers. And it did help them because they saw where they traveled to. And you know that’s a good thing.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh yeah. Okay, so we just have like two more minutes left. I just wanted to say, can’t say that I got that feeling in Africa, but I do get that feeling in Costa Rica and especially in the wild area as I’m not really fond of the developed parts of the country, but I love being out in the jungle.

Lani Muelrath: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: And hearing nature and just eating the fruits and it’s just a spectacular feeling.

Lani Muelrath: Well we’re going back to Costa Rica next year. That was the very first place we worked on the sea turtle project with the black sea turtle with the Caribbean Conservation Corps.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmm. Very good. Costa Rica’s an interesting place. They just banned zoos, I believe.

Lani Muelrath: Wow.

Caryn Hartglass: I just remembered hearing that. So that’s very positive, too. Okay so we have two minutes left. Tell me Lani, your favorite, favorite plant-based journey food.

Lani Muelrath: My favorite plant-based journey food?  It depends on what my mood is. You know, when someone asks me that, though, I was answering some of the questions from Africa. Someone was doing an interview that they posted on their blog as a review of “The Plant-Based Journey,” and they said, “What’s your favorite go-to plant-based meal?” And at the time, since I hadn’t had broccoli and brown rice in like two weeks, that just sounded so good. And that’s really true. That’s kind of a go-to for me, it’s just some steamed broccoli and some brown jasmine rice and some kind of crumbled baked tofu with it and some kind of a sweet pepper sauce, which seems to be just fine. I may have that for dinner tonight.

Caryn Hartglass: That sounds pretty good, but I know what you mean. It really depends on your mood and everyday my answer would probably be different. Right now I can’t think of a single food because my partner Gary made this amazing Spinach Frittata for lunch and I’m so beyond stuffed.

Lani Muelrath: Oh, okay. Well send the leftovers over for dinner!

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, okay  Well Lani, it was so good to talk to you. I was delighted to read your book and I’m glad we could reconnect

Lani Muelrath: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: And finally get you on the show because I think I said to you back then, that I wanted you—to have you on my program and finally you’re here. Thank you.

Lani Muelrath: Well I appreciate that. It’s always a pleasure to meet up with you and thanks for the good work you’re doing.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, great. All the best! Okay, we’ve got 20 seconds left so what can I say to all of you wonderful people out there? I hope you’ve enjoyed this time talking about my favorite subject, delicious plant food. I hope you do get a chance to try some of the recipes if you’re not convinced yet. And you know if you have any questions at all, “How do I do this?” “What if I did this?” Or “I did this and it was a disaster.” Whatever it is, you can write to me. I’ll help you out. I am there for you. Visit and remember, have a delicious week!

Transcribed by Toni-Ann Hall, 2/15/2016

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