Marc Pierschel and Jeff Wirth: The End of Meat
Jeff Wirth is a filmmaker, photographer, and all around documentarian from the Pacific North West, United States. Jeff spends most of his time traveling around the world doing video and photo work for a handful of grassroots and NGO groups and organizations. Although he likes to document many different things that catch his eye, Jeff has a soft spot for anyone trying to better this world.
Marc Pierschel is a sociologist (M.A.), author and filmmaker from Muenster, Germany. He is the co-founder of ‘roots of compassion’, the author of ‘Vegan! Vegane Lebensweise für alle’, an introduction to veganism and ‘Vegan lecker lecker’, a vegan cookbook with over 40,000 copies sold. He also the co-director of ‘EDGE – perspectives on drug free culture’, a documentary about the US Straight Edge subculture, and director of ‘Live and let live’, a documentary about the ethical, environmental and health reasons that move people to go vegan.
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody! I’m Caryn Hartglass. And it’s time for It’s All About Food! How are you today? Huh? I don’t hear you. How are you? I’m good. I’m really good here in New York City on this lovely— It’s another one of those hot, humid summer days, and I’m digging it. It just seems to be right. I want to get started. I’m very excited about my guests today, and I want to get right to the meat of this show because it’s all about the end of meat. The end of meat. Are you ready for the end of meat? The End of Meat actually is a film, and we’re going to be talking about it right now with two of my guests. We’ve got Mark Pierschel. He’s a sociologist, author, and filmmaker from Muenster, Germany. He is the co-founder of roots of compassion, the author of Vegan!: Vegane Lebensweise für alle, which is “Vegan Lifestyle for All: An Introduction to Veganism,” and Vegan lecker lecker, which is “Vegan Yummy Yummy,” I believe in English, a vegan cookbook with over 40,000 copies sold. He also is the co-director of EDGE: perspectives on drug free culture, a documentary about the US Straight Edge subculture, and director of Live and Let Live, a documentary about the ethical, environmental, and health reasons that move people to go vegan. We’re going to talk a little bit more about that in a moment. And we’ve got Jeff Wirth. A filmmaker, photographer, and all-around documentarian from the Pacific Northwest, United States, Jeff spends most of his time traveling around the world doing video and photo work for a handful of grassroots and NGO groups and organizations. Although he likes to document many different things that catch his eye, Jeff has a soft spot for anyone trying to better this world. Hello Mark!
Mark Pierschel: Hi, Caryn! Thanks for having me!
Caryn: How are you today?
Mark: I’m great, thanks.
Caryn: Great, thank you for joining me. And Jeff, formerly known as ‘Jack’ for a few minutes on my social media pages, how are you?
Jeff Wirth: I’m wonderful, how are you?
Caryn: Very good. Okay. Well, let’s jump right in and get started. So, tell me about The End of Meat. What is it? Why do we need to know about it?
Mark: Sure. It’s going to be a documentary. It’s not filmed yet. We’re still funding it to be filmed, and we’re starting in August. The idea is to explore how a world without meat would look like. Basically, how could we live in a vegan future? We will be talking to philosophers, to scientists, to artists, and to activists who are working in some way or another on that idea. And yeah, we’re really excited to start filming and work on the documentary.
Caryn: Well, this is a very different kind of approach, seeing what the world would be like, and I love it because it’s positive. Unfortunately, to get this message across about what’s going on in the world today about meat production, there’s so much violence and horror and just, horrible images. I really love focusing on the positive, and I love this idea of imagining what the world could be like. I’m imagining it’s going to be a happy story.
Mark: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, I hope so as well. We have several ideas on how to approach this. We’re going to be looking at the ethical side. How will we treat animals in a world like this? What kind of rights would they get? There’s a very interesting book by Will Kymlicka and Sue Donaldson to Canadian authors, and the book is called, Zoopolis: Its Citizenship Approach for [A Political Theory of] Animal Rights. It’s very interesting, a very interesting read. We’re going to explore that a bit; we’ll talk to them. We’re also looking at ways of representation for animals. Since animals can’t talk to us and communicate with us directly, we will need someone who can represent them. For example, there are pro-animal rights parties in various European countries already working towards that approach. We’re also going to be looking at what we’re going to eat in a post-meat world. Obviously we know that as vegans. But we’re going to be looking at lab meat, if that’s an alternative to change and alternative for vegan future, and how this would impact the environment and our health.
Caryn: Let’s go back a little bit. You’ve made a few other films. What moved you to do this work?
Mark: It was during the shooting of our last film, Live and Let Live. We were on the road with two activists from Animal Equality, and they were doing an open rescue. They’ve rescued six hens from a battery farm. I was in the car with them when they took them to their new home, and it was a really inspiring experience. At that time I was wondering how could a world look like where we don’t exploit these animals, how we live together with them in peace? That was the idea of The End of Meat.
Caryn: Right, lovely. Now Jeff, how are you today? You’re good?
Jeff: I’m good, I’m good. All things are good up here in Portland, Oregon.
Caryn: Yeah, you’re in a really groovy spot.
Jeff: I like to think so as well.
Caryn: I’m sorry that I had you as ‘Jack.’
Jeff: No worries.
Caryn: I tried to correct it on all my pages and whatever. I do that from time to time, I’m not quite sure. We were filming a little promo piece on a local vegan restaurant here in our neighborhood a few months ago, and I was interviewing one of the staff whose name was Henry, and I kept calling him Brian. I don’t know why. But maybe there’s something to ‘Jack’ with you. If you ever figure it out, you can let me know and I won’t feel so bad about making that mistake.
Jeff: All right.
Caryn: Okay. Now I noticed in the picture that I have of you, you’ve got a lovely little Sea Shepherd hoodie on.
Caryn: Are you affiliated with Sea Shepherd?
Jeff: Yeah, I’ve been doing media work for Sea Shepherd the past two years. The picture you’re referring to was taken on the last campaign, Operation Icefish, where Sea Shepherd went down with two of our ships, the Sam Simon and the Bob Barker, and we went down to try to catch six illegal poaching vessels known as the Bandit 6. That picture was taken when the Sam Simon was spending five weeks retrieving illegal gillnet that one of the poaching vessels put in the waters of Antarctica.
Caryn: Wow. Sea Shepherd does some incredible work. Everyone that’s involved with that organization has to be very, very brave.
Jeff: Yeah. Sea Shepherd’s definitely doing work that no other ocean conservation organization would dare to do. Going down there with two ships facing six ships is pretty overwhelming and a daunting task for any organization to take on, for sure.
Caryn: Yeah. I thank you for your involvement with that. Anybody who’s not familiar with the Sea Shepherd organization, Google it and start learning. I want to say, this organization not only—this is going to be silly, but I just feel like saying it—not only do they walk the walk, they swim the swim.
Jeff: Yeah, it’s true.
Caryn: Yeah, in deep dangerous waters. Okay, now, you’ve got—
Jeff: And cold.
Caryn: Excuse me?
Jeff: I said, and cold waters.
Caryn: And coooold waters, yeah. It’s deadly if you’re not careful.
Caryn: Those waters, they’re really not meant for us. We’re not supposed to be messing around in there. Those are for very, very different individual species out there to live their lives, and not for us to be torturing them and then eating them.
Jeff: I agree.
Caryn: Or doing something else with them. I mean, it’s just crazy what we do with other live beings for all kinds of strange reasons. Now, you’ve got a new project. Mark, tell me what’s going on with your Indiegogo project. How far have you gone, what’s the reaction been, and what are you planning on doing with the funds?
Jeff: Yeah. A few weeks ago, Mark and I started the Indiegogo campaign to help with travel expenses and post-production expenses. We are a month or so into the campaign, and we only have five days left. We’re trying to raise €30,000 and right now we are around €18,000. We have around sixty percent completed, so we still need quite a bit more within five days. I can’t express how important this support is to our film. Mark and I are two broke filmmakers, and we can’t afford to travel around the world and pay a camera crew a living wage to make this film happen. We think this film is a very, very important animal rights film, and we can’t wait until we start shooting.
Caryn: Yeah. Well, I don’t know much about it, but like I said at the beginning of this program, I really love the concept of showing us what the world could be like rather than showing us what the world is like right now, which in many cases is not very pretty. There was that film, The Secret Law of Attraction. There’s a lot about that film I didn’t care about; there’s a lot of woo-woo wa-wa stuff that I don’t think has been supported. But I do believe in this idea of putting forth positive ideas in order to make them happen rather than focusing on the negative aspects of some particular idea. Focusing on the positives, talking about it, putting the images out there. This is so important in order for it to happen. And this is the first step.
Jeff: Exactly. That was one of the sole reasons why I signed on to help Mark film this movie. I didn’t want to help Mark make another animal rights film that’s just like every other animal rights film showing what’s going on that’s bad. We know what’s bad. With The End of Meat, we’re trying to move past that and show what we’re working toward, show what kind of world is possible. I’m very excited. This is a new, original take on animal rights filmmaking, and I’m very, very excited to be a part of it.
Caryn: It’s an interesting world that we live in. Art is so important. I’m an artist in different ways. I think it’s part of what life is all about. It’s unfortunate here in the United States and many other parts of the world where we don’t encourage creativity and we don’t encourage the arts in our young people today. It used to be more important years ago, but now because of cost-cutting in all kinds of weird ways, we’re cutting back on something that I think is so essential to humanity: the arts and creativity. Most artists know we hear that expression all too often, “the struggling artist,” because it’s so true. We don’t want to support our artists, and we need them desperately. Not only to understand ourselves, express ourselves, but also to see what our potential is.
Jeff: I agree.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely. Regarding the last question, I’m also hoping that this film will be an inspiration for everyone who is working towards a better future for animals because then there’s another reason if we actually show that there’s another way of how we treat animals in this world, that more people will start working towards a better future.
Caryn: Now in the United States, we have all kinds of new regulations. Laws that’re coming into play where we’re not allowed to film inside factory farms, CAFOs—Confined Animal Feeding Organizations—Operations, excuse me. There are more and more laws that are actually squashing our concept of freedom of speech to be able to show what’s wrong so that we can take action against it. I know other countries are learning, unfortunately, from this and are starting to make similar kinds of regulations. What’s going on in Germany?
Mark: In Germany, over the last two to three years we’ve seen a rise in veganism. The number of vegans actually has doubled in these two years or three years. We’ve seen a lot of new vegan restaurants opening up and we’ve seen a lot of cookbooks coming out. There’s new vegan products coming out almost weekly. The reception to veganism in the mainstream media is really positive at the moment. There is really a positive movement going on also as well regarding animal rights, people interested in animal rights and working towards animal rights. I think it’s a really positive thing right now and I really hope it gets going.
Caryn: Can we talk a little bit about your film Live and Let Live?
Caryn: Great. I remember—I’m not sure when I first saw the trailer, but my partner Gary and I, we both really loved it, especially with the person rushing the cage. There was some really lovely images. I didn’t realize that it was available to watch on YouTube.
Mark: Oh yeah, yeah.
Caryn: It’s an excellent film, and I recommend people watch it, especially if you’re curious about this next film, The End of Meat. You can watch Live and Let Live, see the kind of work that you do, Mark, and then be moved to support this next project.
Mark: Yeah, thanks. It’s also available on DVD. You can get it from Food Fight! and from Amazon. There’s some extra material on there, like extra interviews and a few bonus features.
Caryn: This is a film that local groups can get the DVD and then they can show it at an event and talk about it.
Mark: Yeah, we’re offering a screening kit on our website. People or organizations can write to us if they want to screen the film. We’ve had lots of screenings all around the world with the film, and we have had a lot of positive reactions towards it. It’s just a basic introduction to veganism. We followed around some people who have really interesting stories. There’s a chef in Portland, Aaron Adams, who used to be a butcher and then he opened up a vegan restaurant. Or there’s a dairy farmer in Germany who opened up a sanctuary. All of these are very inspiring stories. It’s a really nice film to watch.
Caryn: Yeah, I agree. Those were two very heartwarming stories. Of course you interviewed a lot of people that we’re familiar with here in the United States: T. Colin Campbell, Gary Francione, my favorite friend Tom Regan, Peter Singer, Will Potter. All great activists in the movement doing wonderful work. It’s a very nice film, so thank you for that.
Caryn: I encourage people to check it out. Live and Let Live. Okay. You’re not quite at your goal. I want to put it out there and say that in the next four days, you’re going to make your goal. This is the kind of project, Indiegogo, you get to keep what you raise whether you meet the goal or not.
Mark: Yeah, that’s correct. The goal of €30,000 is our ideal goal. That’s how we want to make the film and how we think the film should look like. In the worst case, we can work with less, but we’re going to have to make a couple of changes and it’s not going to be quite as the way we want it.
Caryn: Yeah. Now, can you just give me maybe a little teaser or something? How do you see the world in the future if we’re not eating meat? Is there like one little image that I can twirl around in my head?
Mark: We’re also going to be looking at animal sanctuaries, farm sanctuaries. We’re going to ask the question if that’s going to be an example for a way how we can live together with farm animals or animals in general. How can we organize communities around animals so they are safe, they don’t get harmed, they don’t get hit by cars or by other kinds of traps that are all around us? Birds hitting windows or pollution or habitat destruction, all these kinds of things. We’re going to be looking at these small examples because right now there’s no larger example we can look at, but I’m hoping that in the future these sanctuaries can be examples for larger communities.
Caryn: Mark, tell me. What does a vegan eat in Germany? And what do you like to eat?
Mark: I like to eat pizza.
Caryn: Pizza! Okay.
Mark: I love pizza. There’s lots of vegan restaurants right now. In Muenster where I live, I have four vegan restaurants now and lots of vegan options. It’s really easy to eat out and you can get lots of vegan products, lots of cheese alternatives, meat alternatives. It’s really easy to be vegan here.
Caryn: Amazing. It frustrates me— I mean, I’m really excited to hear about this, but I lived in Europe in France in the early ‘90s for about four years and I visited Germany quite a bit. Munich mostly, but all around. There was a vegetarian restaurant here or there. You could always go to a “Reformhaus” and buy some soymilk or maybe a package of some sort of veggie paté, but it was difficult. I ended up eating a lot of spaghetti mit öl und knoblauch.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely. It was really, really difficult ten or fifteen years ago. I remember when I first became vegan, I had no idea where or what I could eat. It has changed tremendously over the last couple of years.
Caryn: What I just said was that I used to eat a lot of spaghetti with oil and garlic. Which was good. Not the healthiest, but that was really all I could get in a lot of places. I’m so glad to hear that it’s changing. Jeff. I remember speaking to Laura Dakin a while back. Do you know her?
Jeff: Yeah, of course.
Caryn: Of course. She is the cook for the Sea Shepherd and she has a new cookbook out.
Jeff: Yeah, Cookin’ Up a Storm.
Caryn: Right, right. What do you eat when you’re traveling on a ship?
Jeff: We eat the exact same things that we eat when we’re not on a ship. The cooks that’re on the ships are— The galley is the heart of the ship, they’re the masterminds of the ship. They have to plan out three vegan meals a day for thirty to thirty-five people every single day, no matter how rough the weather is, no matter if we’re getting rammed by a ship. They have to be there in the kitchen, in the galley, making the food. We have cold rooms and dry rooms that we keep all of the food in. For example, this past campaign we were at sea for 144 days and we were eating fresh fruit the entire time.
Jeff: Yeah. The first thing that we start to run out of is greens, so we’ll run out of our spinach and lettuce. But apples and oranges and kiwis, we were eating the entire time.
Caryn: Well I think that’s a really important bit of information for people who think how difficult it is and how often they have to shop. There’s plenty of food that you can keep at home and be ready, or you can go days and months eating healthfully without even going shopping. Although fresh greens are very nice and nutritious to have around.
Jeff: Yeah. We were growing and eating our own mushrooms throughout the campaign. We got a few mushroom starter kits, so we would water our mushrooms every day and every few weeks we would pick some new ones. That was pretty fun.
Caryn: Wow, I love that. You guys are amazing. Okay, just a few more minutes. Let’s just wrap this up about The End of Meat. What do you want us to know that we don’t know already or repeat what you’d like us to do.
Jeff: For starters, I think the most important thing is for us to tell you that our Indiegogo campaign ends in five days. Without your support, this film won’t be possible. Every dollar that you give us goes toward travel costs or post-production. We want this film to be the best it can be, and we can’t do that without your support.
Mark: Yeah, and you can already pre-order the DVD or the digital download.
Caryn: Okay, so all you have to do is go to Indiegogo and then search for The End of Meat.
Jeff: Yeah, we have lots of awesome perks that you can get when you donate to the campaign. Like Mark said, you can reserve your DVD. We have insider packages where you can get T-shirts or stickers, the digital download. DVDs including The End of Meat and Mark’s last film, Live or Let Live. And we have the behind the scenes diary where you get pictures of production of us filming on set and lots of interesting things that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.
Caryn: Okay. Well thank you. I want to encourage people to support this project. I really think it’s an important idea that needs to be born and come alive and grow so that we can have it in our consciousness and make it a reality.
Jeff: Thank you very much.
Caryn: That’s The End of Meat. You’re welcome. Thank you for joining me, Mark Pierschel and Jeff Wirth.
Jeff: Thanks for having us.
Mark: Thanks, Caryn.
Caryn: Okay. Take care, be well.
Mark: You too, bye.
Caryn: Okay. That was that. And I hope you do check them out and visit the website, The End of Meat. Let’s see—I didn’t mention that before, and I want to make sure I get it right. theendofmeat.com, how simple is that, theendofmeat.com. That will lead you to the Indiegogo project if you don’t want to go to Indiegogo directly. You can sign up for their newsletter. It’s in German and in English, so you can have fun with that. And I give this a big thumbs-up. All right. Let’s take a little break, and we’ll be back in a few minutes.
Transcribed by JC, 8/6/2015
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Hey everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food. In the background you’re listening to the Mr. Softy Team, because they’re roaming around in my neighborhood as they always do. They were out here, I think it was the first day of spring when it was snowing, but the Mr. Softy truck was out and about. And you know what, I’m just going to put this out here, I’m looking forward to the day when all the products off their line Mr. Softy, not just one, is vegan. I don’t even know if they have any vegan items. Maybe, maybe a fruit pop or something. I haven’t bought anything from that truck in probably about four decades. I was really young when I bought from Mr. Softy and I have some wonderful memories of Mr. Softy, but you know, we could do it all without the animals and have lovely soft frozen treats that come out of the machine and pile up beautifully into a cake cone, we can dip it in chocolate, dip it in sprinkles, it’s beautiful and tasty and gentle on the environment and kind to animals.
So I’m not only looking forward to the end of meat, I’m looking forward to the end of dairy. The end of dairy: maybe that’ll be their next film. After they do the end of meat. Alright, I wanted to just mention that my non-profit ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com we just went to pretty links and that may not mean anything to you but may mean something to others, but when I started this website four years ago or so I was using the default kind of web address links which are ugly and meaningless and I just went to pretty links so if you’re scared about doing it, it was very easy to do and it’s done now and the old links redirect to the new links, but I just wanted to say if you’re ever on the site ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com and there is a link that doesn’t go to the right place or it’s dead, please let me know. I would really appreciate that. I cannot access all of the content and pages that are up there to make sure that they’re all up and live and working and your help would be wonderful, so send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you find anything or if you have any comments or questions; we always appreciate it. Also I mentioned Live and Let Live, Marc Pierschel‘s documentary, and I highly recommend going to YouTube and putting Live and Let Live by Marc Pierschel, that’s M-A- R-C Pierschel, P like Peter, I-E- R-S- C-H- E-L, and watch the film. It’s about an hour and twenty minutes, and there are some really lovely lovely images, and some heartwarming stories. I recommend it.
Okay, today! Brand new, not sure if you’ve heard about it but on politico.com there is a new article and I wanted to go over it a little bit because it is about food. The article is called How Many Sick Kids Does it Take For Us to Act and the under title is How President Obama and Congress Passed a Landmark Food Safety Law and Then Let it Slip Away, and I highly recommend going to politico.com, reading the full article, but just to summarize it a little bit, you may remember about five years ago we had this regulation pass called “The Food Safety Modernization Act”, FSMA, and it mandated so many things more inspections, more anti-contamination standards, from processed foods, produce, and focusing on preventing outbreaks rather than waiting until we find there’s a problem and people getting sick, and then trying to trace it down. And I’m all about prevention on many levels, certainly choosing the right foods that will boost our immune systems and prevent chronic diseases is one form of prevention, but another form of prevention is to make sure our food that’s being grown, harvested, distributed, stored, our food that’s being manufactured, processed, packaged, stored, shipped, is done in a way that’s clean, and does not allow for the spread of infection, disease, and unfortunately, the law is in place, the Food Safety Modernization Act, and what this article has uncovered, although we’ve been aware of this for some time, is that basically, there’s no funding to put this mandate into action, and we could make a lot of laws but if we don’t put the money behind it to make it happen, nothing happens, and it’s really quite sad. There has been a lot of money behind it, maybe not enough, more than two hundred seventy six million dollars, and we need more emphasis, more support, by our government, by our president, and Obama is recommending raising some more funding, but this is really a serious issue. So many of us, most of us, want to believe our food system is safe. Many of us believe that it, here in the United States it’s safer than anywhere and we needn’t act like this because we have outbreaks all the time, some of them deadly, and some of them we trace to the source and some we may never know why they occurred, and it’s just unacceptable, and there are so many stories about things that go wrong and when we finally uncover what happened it’s really very frustrating when we read about dirty factories that end up spreading contamination and then people get sick and sometimes die. The history behind it, this article goes into the history of how we got to where we are today, and how we’ve put our food system in place, and it started at the turn of the century, when the book came out, Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, and have you ever read The Jungle? It is a heartbreaking read. It’s fiction, but it uncovers the grotesque situation in the Chicago meat plants at the time, the focus primarily on the people, the immigrants who came to this country and worked in these plants, and their own personal living conditions were horrible, they were taken advantage of not only by their employers, but by the businesses around them, the people that rented them homes; it’s just a heartbreaking story, and as a result some regulations came about to improve the situation in the plants. Now, that’s because of a book. It didn’t focus on the animals themselves, and the animals were horribly treated, but since that time the factory farming, the treatment of animals, has gotten incrementally worse and even though we have regulations in place, we know that there are many people in the food system who are highly underpaid, treated very poorly, and unfortunately, this particular act, after five years, has not come to fruition and I highly recommend reading this article, How Many Sick Kids Does it Take For Us To Act? Now, what can we do about it? Truly hard to say, I want to say I believe in government, I believe in helping the government make change, these times make it really hard to believe, but we have to do whatever we can in our own personal lives to support local businesses where we can get to know the people, get to know what they’re doing, be able to see their facilities and see what they’re doing, visit the farms, visit the manufacturing facilities, we want transparency in our food system, we want to know the people that are making our food and support the people that are doing a good job, a clean job, an ethical job. We have a lot of work to do, don’t we?
Okay, another interesting chewy tidbit in the news, not exactly about food, but I think it’s related to food, ultimately, and that’s about CVS. Have you been reading about CVS? CVS is a pharmacy, a drug store. It’s a big chain, they’re out here on the East, and I know they’ve merged with some other pharmacies on the West Coast I’ve seen. I imagine they’re all throughout the United States. But they’re actually, they’ve actually been taking the high road, as one article says, on tobacco sales, and they’re recently in the news for something really fascinating, and another kind of show about our government and what it promotes and doesn’t promote, the New York Times recently had an article US Chamber of Commerce Works Globally to Fight Anti-Smoking Measures. So we have a US Chamber of Commerce, and what they really want to support is commerce, and that means supporting big business, and defending the tobacco industry, so although we have more laws here in the United States against smoking tobacco because we know it’s not healthy for us, first hand smoke, we finally have acknowledged is not healthy, and second hand smoke we have finally acknowledged is not healthy for those around people that are smoking. We’re moving in the right direction there. But unfortunately, the US Chamber of Commerce has been promoting marketing tobacco in other countries by going against countries individual anti-smoking measures, and CVS was, up until recently, on the board of the US Chamber of Commerce, and they decided to step down, to get off the board, because it wasn’t about what they believed in, and I think this is a good thing. I would love to see it happen with respect to food, but it took a long time, a long time, decades, before people, governments, society acknowledged that cigarette smoke was harmful, and carcinogenic? And that it was highly promoted by companies through media, all different ways, and so a lot of funding today goes to market anti-smoking measures, here in this country and in other countries, and it’s going to take a long time before we see an acknowledgement of some of the foods that are considered healthy, meat and dairy, before we see it go down a similar path, like what’s happening with tobacco, so that’s why I think it’s important to talk about it, and ultimately I hope more companies will support things that are based on science, that will discourage things that aren’t healthy, like tobacco use, and ultimately unhealthy foods, and it’s a good thing, what CVS is doing. Now, that doesn’t mean that I love everything that CVS is doing, but it’s a good start. You can buy a lot of junk from CVS, and maybe they’ll realize that they are in the health care business, that maybe ultimately this is something that they’ll want to take another stand with. It’s tough, because this is a company, the profits from the sale of things, and I’m sure they profited from the sale of tobacco, now they’re probably profiting from the sale of anti-smoking or different kinds of patches and medications to get people off of smoking, I don’t know if that’s perhaps behind their altruistic stance or not, but I want to say it’s a good thing.
Now, the US Chamber of Commerce, it’s just one example of a government organization that because of their mission, which is to promote commerce, they may not be doing what is in the best interests of people, and that includes people outside of the United States. So we have the USDA as an example, where they have all kinds of conflicts of interests; they’re supposed to be promoting agriculture and also educating people about nutrition, and you cannot promote dairy and cheese then say that saturated fat from cheese isn’t healthy, and yet the USDA does that, and they fund to do that. It’s really crazy. That’s our government, hip hip hooray! Yay.
The last thing, okay, this one was really funny. Another bit in the news, this was last week, Wednesday, last Wednesday, an article came out in the New York Times called Talks on Iran Nuclear Deal are Extended Once Again. I don’t know if you caught this, but there was one particular paragraph that popped out, and here it is. Now, this is all about the Iran nuclear talks, did I, did I just say that? Nuclear. Oh my gosh. Iran nuclear talks. The paragraph says: “To sustain itself during it’s marathon meeting, the United States negotiating team has since the beginning of June, consumed at least ten pounds of twizzlers, thirty pounds of mixed nuts and dried fruit, twenty pounds of string cheese, and more than two hundred Rice Krispy treats, according to it’s informal count.” Okay, so we have our officials sustaining themselves on high sugar, high fat, junk food. Now, they’re also consuming mixed nuts, and I’m sure those mixed nuts are not raw organic mixed nuts, they’re probably mixed nuts salted and roasted in oil, and the dried fruit, although some dried fruit can be healthy in moderation, it is a very high sugar food, and this is just classic, and how many times, if you work in a corporate office, or small office, where you’ve gone to a meeting, and someone is responsible for the snacks or the food and they bring in unhealthy treats, like doughnuts or other unhealthy foods. It’s rare to see healthy food served, and it’s something that we need to change, and the only way that’s going to change is if as individuals we speak up and say something. The person who is responsible for buying the food or the snacks just may not know what to buy, or may not know what the best foods are, or that person may believe that everybody wants doughnuts. But I have a colleague, a friend in college who is always complaining about some of the businesses that she visits, and come meeting time, or even conferences for example, I’ve talked about that, when it comes to snack time, we’re served foods that aren’t healthy. It’s up to us to demand healthy snacks for our meetings, for our schools, everywhere that we interact. That’s the only way that change is going to happen. Please, don’t be shy. Please speak up. Be nice about it. We don’t have to be argumentative; we can do these things in a loving, non-judgmental, compassionate way.
Sometimes bringing healthy treats is a way to go. Everybody loves fresh fruit, cut up fresh fruit, melon, not necessarily dried fruit, and I’m not saying dried fruit is bad, it’s just higher in sugar. Fresh fruit comes with fiber and water; it’s hydrating, delicious. Now I know there are companies, more modern companies today like Google, for example, where they have a big cafeteria and they have all kinds of options, and they provide the food for all their employees. We need to do more healthy options, every where we go, and the only way to do it is to demand it.
Now, there’s one more thing in the New York Times that I have to mention, another recent article on the eleventh, I loved it. For all of you fish eaters, especially fish eaters here in New York City, you know when you ask “is this fish fresh?” I always smile when people ask that, because do you really think they’re going to answer is the fish fresh or not, course they’re going to say it’s fresh. Where, where was I? Oh well. An article came out in the New York Times requiring restaurants here in New York, New York City, to freeze raw fish before serving. So, that means the fish must be frozen from fifteen hours to up to a week, I believe, and then defrosted again. The servers, the restaurateurs are saying they don’t really think that people will notice, but the reason they’re doing this is to prevent exposure to parasites, and apparently freezing, deep freezing, it’s kind of like a way of cooking, but instead of heat they’re using cold temperatures to remove parasites or bacteria on the outer surface, and this is just another reason, in my opinion, to avoid eating any kind of raw fish, or fish in general. Now, apparently this doesn’t apply to all seafood. Shellfish, farm raised fish, certain types of tuna apparently are exempt from this rule, not quite sure why that is. Those foods are full of other kinds of things to be concerned about, but that’s just one more kind of silly rule, you know I said this before, my Dad’s favorite expression is “if you can’t solve a problem eliminate the problem” so they’re trying a patchwork way to solve the problem of parasites, the way to eliminate the problem is leave the fish alive swimming in the ocean, and learn how to eat plants, delicious, yummy plant foods.
And now, in the last few minutes, that’s what I want to talk about. Delicious yummy plants. I don’t always remember to end on a delicious note, but I really think it’s important to do that. So, first thing I wanted to talk about is this particular, this past week I was able to visit Three Brother’s Café on Long Island in Farmingdale. You may have heard about Three Brother’s Café, it’s not entirely vegan, but it does have a lovely vegan story. It started out in Rockwell Center on Long Island, which is further west in a little pizza parlor. This family had an Italian restaurant, and one of the young sons, Jay Astafa, became vegan and decided to talk his family into offering a vegan menu, which they did. It was extremely popular, I remember going to Rockwell Center and enjoying all kinds of great food, they also offered brunch, and what they learned was that their dining business increased dramatically. All these vegans rushed to sample all these foods and try these foods. They did close that restaurant and moved it to a different one in Farmingdale, which is further east. And they’re opening a new one in Copiague and this is great for Long Island. For some reason, Long Island hasn’t been able to hold onto an all-vegan restaurant and it’s hard to find vegan options that are clearly spelled out and offered. So this is kind of like an oasis. I hope it’s the beginning of a new future out on Long Island where we see more vegan menus and more vegan options, but this restaurant is really a fun place to go. It’s also nice because everybody can go; they have an omnivore menu and as well as a vegan menu. But this is a great place to go to get some gorgeous pizzas and pasta dishes and salads, and it’s like, classic Italian, vegan style, or not, your choice, and they have some great desserts too. And you can visit 3brotherspizzacafefarmingdale.com. That was really fun, and if you want to see a sample of some of this great food, you might go to my website, Responsible Eating And Living, click on the “What Vegans Eat” blog to visit day 148. Day 148 is when I visited this restaurant, Three Brothers’ Café. And, Jay Astafa, who created this menu, is an up and coming chef now in the vegan community, you might visit his website jayastafa.com, he does a number of different pop-ups in New York City, with some really creative, amazing food, which is very exciting.
And, it’s summer time here in New York, for those of you listening on the other side of the world I know it’s kind of cold now, but I’m going to focus on hot weather, humid, and it’s time to eat more raw food, more salads. I recently heard from someone who said, “I’m just so tired of salad”, and it made me smile, because I thought “Tired of salad? Which kind of salad? There are a gazillion different kinds of salad.” The first things that come to mind of course are green salads, salads made from kale, salads made from collard, romaine based salads, mixed greens, how about cabbage salads like green cabbage or red leafed cabbage, or Napa cabbage, which I love because it’s a lovely soft leaf. Or those spicier, bitter greens, like arugula salad with a little radicchio. You take any of these greens, you could vary it up every day of the week, it’s always different, toss it with a very different dressing each time. My favorites of course are tahini or our Creamy Balsamic which you can find at my website. We have a vegan Caesar, we have our favorite Seed Caesar dressing and our Little Seed Caesar dressing. These are all based on using nuts and seeds as your fats rather than oils, and blending them with a citrus or vinegar and some other flavorings to make whole food delicious dressing, and there are so many different ways to do this, it makes the variations endless. And then depending on what you top your salads, tomatoes, onions, all different kinds of beans, you know there are over forty five thousand varieties of beans on the planet, I love saying that, and I love adding fruit in salads, especially in the summer time, apples, pears, berries, papaya, phenomenal on salad, mangoes, and then of course raw nuts and seeds. So, I can’t get tired of salads. Another thing we’re using a lot lately is lettuce wraps instead of making sandwiches, wrapping things in bread, we’re wrapping things in salad, especially fresh and nutritious and cleansing delicious, putting normally what you’d put in a sandwich or in a wrap, instead of using something flour based, you can put it in a big romaine leaf, or even a kale leaf, or a collard leaf, and fill it up with your favorite schmears and things, there you go.
And here I am, it’s the end of the program and I’m just getting started talking about my favorite subject, food. Thank you for listening, thank you for joining me, visit ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com for more food ideas, send me an email at email@example.com, and remember to have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Yasmine Emamooor, 10/24/2015