Caryn shares her recent reaction to MSG in her soup at a restaurant. She discusses self-love and self-loathing and how it affects our relationship with food. She offers up her favorite Passover and Easter recipes and some brands of natural candies, free of artificial colors and preservatives; GMO-free, gluten-free and vegan.
Caryn Hartglass: Hi, everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass. You are listening to It’s All About Food. I missed the show last week because we were in California for a short trip, and we were actually flying back last Tuesday during the time of this broadcast. And I wanted to talk about that day because it actually has a lot to do with food, and I’ve been thinking quite a bit about some of the things that happened. To begin with we were having a particularly challenging time the night before, and in the morning with some personal issues, and we were getting ready to go on our flight, which was in the early evening, we wanted to get some tasks done and say good-bye to family members. And I got some difficult news in the morning, some emotional sad news that I needed to kind of wrap myself around and deal with, so Gary left me at Roy’s Station in San Jose, and he went off to see his dad, and take care of a few things. Have you been to Roy’s Station? I don’t know if I mentioned it on this program before, but it’s one of those real mom and pop kind of coffee shops, and there’s a lot of outdoor seating, and the weather is usually pretty lovely, it’s in Japantown in San Jose. If you ever are in need of a coffee shop, some tea, some coffee, and just really lovely atmosphere, I really recommend it. And I prefer to get my tea in a real cup rather than in a cardboard cup, and they’re really good at doing that with great service. And I like to order to Mate Chino and I get it with soy milk, so that’s a europamai tai, and I’m in a Ma Tai period these days. I’m enjoying Ma Tai tea more than any other tea lately, I kind of go up and down with white tea and green tea and black tea and Ma tai, but it’s Ma Tai for me right now. And with the seed sorbs it’s really yummy and really comforting and that’s what I needed at that moment. I was sitting with my tea outdoors and just reflecting on life, the blue sky, breathing, the basics, and when Gary came back we had to decide where we were going to nourish ourselves before getting on a plane. And as you know, the food situation on airplanes is dicey, it’s really better to be well fed before you get on a plane, or at least look for food in the airports. And we didn’t really have an opportunity to prepare our snacks like we normally do, okay, so we decided we couldn’t go to the Vegetarian House which we really loved, you know I interviewed the manager there, Sonny Muller, and we learned so many wonderful things about this restaurant, Vegetarian House, how they really care their customers and their food, and the quality of the food. They’re closed on Tuesdays, so we decided to go to a place on the way to the airport, and we’ve been to this place several times, and it’s called Veggie Garden and it’s in Mountain View, and its vegan. And it’s funny in hindsight, some of the concessions I’ll make when eating if a restaurant is vegan. I tend to go a little less clean sometimes, anyway, we sat down it was around lunch time so they offered the lunch menu, and we’ve never had the lunch menu before which comes with soup and we each got the miso soup and I was excited because other than having miso soup at home which we do, it’s hard to get miso soup in a restaurant. Why? As a vegan, miso soup is not vegan. In Japanese restaurants especially because there tends to bonito flakes, fish flakes that are in the broth. And a lot of times I don’t even trust the servers to know whether the bonito flakes are indeed in the broth, so I don’t even ask anymore. But here we were in this vegan place, and I thought I don’t have to ask, its vegan. We ordered a bunch of things and we had hearty appetites, and we thought we’ll fill up and then we’ll be fine for the flight, everything will be wonderful. They have the sautéed greens that I really love, you know big pile of greens they have spinach at this restaurant, but it’s like a stringer spinach, a kind you have to be really careful and chew. Of course, we need to chew everything right, but this especially needs some extra chewing. And we ordered a bunch of other dishes, but the soup came first and they were small bowls and Gary looked at me and asked me what I thought of it, he said it’s kind of salty is it? Because you know I don’t like salt in my food, especially salty, but it was good. And it had wakame in it, a seaweed that frequently is in miso soup, and I love wakame, and then we had a salad. They called it a chicken salad and it had these chewy, chicken-y kind of pieces in it, but it was mostly green salad, which was what I wanted. And then the server bought our main dishes. And the option was either brown rice and these some kind of noodles, like rice noodles that made it yellow and then your main dish. We opted for two servings of brown rice instead of the pasta, and I had an eggplant basil dish with tofu, and Gary had some veggie beef with broccoli I think, and they came and as I didn’t even try a bite of it, all of a sudden, I felt pressure in my temples. It’s a feeling that I had when I was a child, when we used to eat in Chinese restaurants. Have you experienced this, do you know what I’m talking about? It feels like someone or something is pressing into the temples. And I also started to get a little tingle in my face like a flushed feeling, I had never experienced that. I knew what it was. I knew what was going on. I had ingested MSG. And I was almost afraid to mention it to Gary because we had had such a difficult evening and morning and I didn’t want to add to it. But I felt like I had to. Actually, the symptoms were scaring me, I had this happen to me as a child and not too long ago, it happened to us when we’re eating at another vegan place, called Tofu Com Chay in San Jose, only it was not as intense. I told him I’m having an MSG reaction and he said I am too, in fact, he thought he might be having a stroke. Okay, exciting huh, have you ever experienced an MSG reaction. Like I said, it used to happen to me when I was a child when we were in Chinese restaurants, and I would explain to my mom and dad that I was feeling this pressure in my head, didn’t know what it was, and my mom knew what it was, she said that’s probably a reaction to MSG. And the funny thing is we would just keep on eating, and we would return to those restaurants time and time again. But, I never really liked having those reactions. And Gary got up and he went next door where there was a barber, he needed a haircut. And he didn’t want to eat anymore, he said let’s just pay for it and leave, but I had to say something. And I spoke with the server and she knew right away she said oh it’s the soup, it’s the MSG, it’s the soup, I know because I had a similar reaction. She said the soup it comes in little packets, so not only were they not making this miso soup from scratch, it was from little packets with who knows what was in it, but I know that MSG was in it, and she said that nothing else had the MSG in it. None of the other dishes, I don’t know if I was, if I felt comforted at that time or not having her say that nothing else had MSG in it, but really, I’m a little confused actually. Gary was having his haircut, I sat with the food, I picked at it a little up and I asked her to pack it up and I thought maybe I would eat it later at the airport. It was traumatizing, because it’s a feeling where you don’t have control. Chemical toxic poisoning can really be frightening. I was just really surprised because I thought, who uses MSG anymore? And then of course, I started to dig, and I started to read, and I started to research, everybody uses MSG, a lot of restaurants do. A lot of fast food restaurants, it’s in a lot of prepared food. MSG, monosodium glutamate, it’s also known as sodium glutamate. And it works with savory dishes; it’s supposed to intensify the meaty, savory flavor of food. And here in the United States, the good, old U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that MSG is generally recognized as safe. It has a GRAS, generally recognized as safe designation, but there is this popular belief, a belief that large doses of MSG can cause headaches and other feelings of discomfort. It’s called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, but unfortunately the studies that have been done haven’t been able to prove or show evidence of this reaction which blows my mind because I’ve experienced it. And it’s not like a placebo effect or anything because when I was a kid I wasn’t expecting to have it, and I wasn’t expecting to have it most recently at the Veggie Garden. I was looking at Wikipedia just for some information about MSG, and I was surprised actually. There’s this statement that they make a popular belief that MSG can cause headaches, and other feelings of discomfort, but double-blind tests have found no good evidence to support this. And when I went to the link that they were referencing, for this double-blind test because I wanted to see what they actually did, the conclusion is, we conclude that further studies are required to evaluate whether or not a causal relationship exists between MSG and ingestion and headache. It says because of the absence of proper blinding and the inconsistency of the findings. The study actually says that they don’t know. The tests weren’t good, it was inconsistent, and yet Wikipedia cited this study as evidence that there was no evidence as evidence so there was no evidence as proof that there is no obvious evidence or that MSG causes headaches. I’m wondering to myself a number of things. I’m wondering does the MSG have to be combined with something else and have an interaction in order to get this feeling. I don’t know that answer, but there are plenty of ingredients that go into Chinese food that might interact with MSG and get this feeling and maybe that’s why the studies were inconsistent. I can’t tell you, have you ever had this experience? But it gives me pause, because it makes me think of how many others ingredients are out there that are considered safe generally, considered safe given the GRAS designation, Generally Recognized as Safe, that are problematic, and as I dug further, I read a number of different stories and there anecdotal I understand, my story’s anecdotal, so it’s not any sort of proof that one can cite, I know my body, I know what happened, I know what I’m feeling, it just makes it more difficult to want to eat these restaurants, it’s a leap of faith like I’ve said many times because it’s really hard to know what is used. I’m livid all of the places that I could go to more and more. One of the things that I liked about Chinese or Asian food like Vietnamese, and Chinese, Japanese even, is there tends to be a lot of fresh vegetables. I like that. I like vegetables and I like tofu. And some of these places actually say that there is tofu is non-GMO. Okay that’s good, but perhaps the best choice if I’m going to eat at any of these restaurants is to request steamed vegetables with nothing on them. Do you have any suggestions? Because I really don’t want to consume not only MSG, but a whole host of artificial chemicals. It doesn’t feel good. It took about two days for the symptoms to dissipate from consuming MSG, we both had headaches, there weren’t pressure headaches anymore, but they were just headaches, and we were achy. Just to review before I move on to another topic; symptoms from eating foods that contain MSG can last anywhere from a few hours, to a couple of days and the symptoms can include headaches, sweating, skin flushing, numbness or burning in the mouth, numbness or burning in the throat, nausea, fatigue, and less common symptoms are chest pains, a rapid heartbeat, an abnormal heartbeat, difficulty breathing, swelling in the face, and swelling in the throat. Nice huh? On to the next subject, before we went to our quick trip to California, we were here in New York and we went to see the Broadway play “Angels in America,” this was something Gary really wanted to see, it’s expensive and I was trying to figure out how could we afford to go. And I discovered the Broadway lottery. If you want to know more about it, the website is lottery.broadwaydirect.com, and there are a few Broadway shows that are up there and you can sign up for a lottery, it doesn’t mean that the tickets are going to be free, but they are going to be significantly reduced, and we won the lottery. Ooh! Won the lottery, very exciting. Now this particular show, “Angels in America” I believe is 25 years old, it was written by Tony Kushner and its starring Nathan Lane, and Andrew Garfield, and directed by Marianne Elliot. It’s a two-part play, so it’s really two plays in one. The first part we went to was matinee, and it was 3 ½ hours, the second part was in the evening and it was about 4 hours. This was a serious commitment. I have to say it was one of the most amazing performances we had both seen in our lives. And as theatre people and performers we can be kind of snobby because we don’t like most things that we see on the stage, but this was a life changing experience. And for any reason you have any opportunity this is something not to be missed. So, what was so good about it? I don’t know if you’re familiar with the story, but it takes place I believe in the 80s I believe during the AIDS crisis. And most of the characters are fictional, but there is the character Roy Cohen, who was a real person he was an American attorney, and he worked with Senator Joseph McCarthy’s investigations into Communist activity in the United States, and Cohen was McCarthy’s chief counsel. He ultimately was disbarred for unethical conduct. He is someone that Donald Trump looks to as a mentor and apparently Donald Trump has learned a lot of his style from this man Roy Cohen. Okay, you get the picture? The story of “Angels in America” is very timely today to in terms of our political situation today. And how we handle people of privilege and treat illnesses, there were many complicated relationships in the play it was nothing short of amazing. The reason why I wanted to bring it up is because we see the evil character of Roy Cohen in this play, and then there were other characters who weren’t necessarily evil, but maybe they just didn’t make the best choices, and there was a thread, a thread about self-loathing. And when many people don’t feel love for themselves, within themselves, and actually feel a disgust, a hate, or an anger for themselves, unfortunately their reaction to others can be violent and very destructive. And it helped me in a way understand why many people do what they do in their lives. Why we have so much violence in the world, why we have exploitation, why animals are treated the way that they are in this world, and how it is accepted as normal. I like to talk about Tune In Love on this show, I want everybody to tune in love, and feel love for each other and for ourselves and I know one of the reasons why you listen is because you want to hear about the good in the world because there is so much focus about the bad in the world, but I love doing this show because it’s my moment to tune in love and feeling your love back whether you’re listening when the program is live or sometime in the future it’s really just a wonderful connection. But there are many people who don’t feel love for themselves, and it’s this self-loathing that causes so much terror and difficulty on the planet. What do we do about it? This is where tune in love, this is where being compassionate and being understanding and more loving to those that are struggling and are doing terrible things. Love is the only answer and after seeing Angels in America, I believe in it even more. There was so much about the human condition in this play and it was brought to life in a very powerful way. The commitment of seeing a piece of theatre for over seven hours is a big one. And you know, many times when I see a piece of theatre or I’m watching a movie or something, it’s very easy to glance at my phone, check a few things, I’m not really committed because the piece that I’m watching is not demanding that commitment, it’s not demanding that engagement. And this play that we saw demanded it. I was not thinking about anything else, I was engaged in watching these people’s stories and being a part of it, and time there was no time. You did not feel the seven hours go by, it was an amazing experience. And I learned a lot. I learned what people will do when they hate themselves and it’s such a cyclical thing because those that hate themselves often hate themselves because society will not accept them as they are, and in this particular case with Roy Cohen, he was a gay man. But he would not admit it, he would not admit it to the people he worked with. Apparently, he had relationships with men on the side that he didn’t want anyone to know about, of course, people who were close to him knew about it, but he would fight for the rights for gay people and litigate against them. And he had a very, very accusative as an attorney nature. And working for Senator Joseph McCarthy as his chief counsel during the second Red Scare when they were investigating people into Communist activity, this was a terrible part of America’s history where people were called into court and asked to name names and asked to out other people who might have some association with Communism. This was a very scary part, and this lawyer who was loathing in himself used the law to make it difficult for other people to live their lives who were doing nothing wrong. Unfortunately, for people who are experiencing some degree of self-loathing, food can play an important role. Food can provide some momentary comfort. Food can create a protective layer, when you’re eating a lot of food, and you gain a lot of weight, that fight, that weight around you, can be a sort of protective layer, to protect you against the outside which seems somewhat fearful and judgmental, creating a reason, an extra reason for the world to be judgmental against you. But it’s also in some ways a protection against your inner self. The inner self that you don’t want to release out into the world, and I’m always trying to figure these things out, because in my work, helping people transition to a vegan diet, a plant-based diet, to be healthier and to be gentler on the environment, and kinder to animals. I’m continually reflecting on what the challenges are going to be with every individual I relate to. And this is an important one, this self-loathing. Because when we are making changes we have to acknowledge that whatever we were doing prior was wrong or wasn’t what we feel good about. Acknowledging that eating animals is not a good thing is a very hard thing to accept. Except when you are an adult, an older adult, someone who’s lived awhile, acknowledging that your life has been based on something that you might be ashamed of not proud of can be very difficult to accept. If you’re already a person who doesn’t like themselves adding this extra layer can be devastating. It’s much easier to stay as you are and not change even though you’re dealing with things that may make you feel physically bad or uncomfortable. Change is hard. Like I said, a few weeks ago, it takes courage. So be kind to yourself and try and find the love for yourself. Now I’m not a psychiatrist, or a psychologist, or a therapist, I don’t have the tools for those things, there are so many self-help groups and books and webinars, and programs out there, I hope that you recognize that you can’t find the love for yourself that you do look for ways to create it for yourself. Because you deserve it. Why not love yourself? There must be so many wonderful things about you. You just have to focus on them not on the things that society says are not good. There are plenty of articles coming out all the time which are very encouraging. It was one recently in “The Guardian,” for example, talking about health, there’s a movement happening, there’s a vegan movement happening more people are realizing that eating animals is not something that’s healthy, or something that’s good for the environment or nice. And what’s exciting about this is that I hope we reach some kind of tipping point where it becomes exponential just like our population for example. I spoke about this with my last guest on this show, Nils Zacharias a little bit, about how the human population was creeping along growing, but nothing really happening, but in the 20th century, all of a sudden things just started to blow up exponentially, and now there are so many people on the planet we are starting to see the negative impact of that. So, looking from a positive point of view, I’m thinking that the more crinkle mass the more momentum we have with people learning about a vegan diet, the more products that are out there, more normal it becomes more people will jump on the bandwagon, and I’m hoping it just starts to explode, and grows exponentially upward where more and more people decide yes, I can be vegan, I can love myself, and treat myself well, I don’t have to consume misery from the animals that are being raised so horribly. The vegan diet is a diet of delicious joy I think that’s about it, delicious joy. It’s a way to eat that shows your concern for the world, concern for other species, and the love for yourself. So here’s to that. Now I want to talk about food because this show is called It’s All About Food, I want to talk about some of the foods I’ve been eating. The first food is beets. I just started having a craving for beets. And it’s funny because I’m not a big beet eater. Are you a beet eater? Gary always likes to say you can’t beat them. I had a beet craving while we were in California, and we went over to Whole Foods looking for cooked beets, because we weren’t in any position to make our own. And I didn’t want to have beet juice, I wanted to have the full beet fiber plus, we ended up buying the beets that were on the salad bar because we couldn’t find them anywhere else, canned, glassed, and packaged anywhere. And the ones on the salad bar were just beets, and it made me think for a minute because we had recently purchased a burrito bowl at Whole Foods, and here’s another situation with the ingredients, I thought I was doing something sensible something clean, and if you read all the ingredients, and Whole Foods is really good, they label everything, they tell you what’s in everything. They have these nice burrito bowls and I’ve had them a few times and when I’ve been really, really starving they’re great, but I was realizing it is not the best. The beans, for example, black beans, they’re cooked with all kinds of stuff and oil and salt, and who knows whatever else. There were a bunch of ingredients. When we make beans at home they’re made with beans, beans and water, I don’t even salt the water, occasionally maybe I’ll add a stick of kombu or kelp which is seaweed, but really, it’s just beans. And I don’t need all those other things in my beans and to add to that we ordered some guacamole to go in the burrito bowls. And I don’t know what was in that, probably plenty of salt, who knows whatever else, now I’m questioning all the ingredients in everything, so something may appear to be clean, may not be as clean as it appears. But the beets, can’t beat them. Beet were just beets. We were running auditions for a show that we were going to be directing in San Jose this summer, and I brought the box of beets to one of the audition sessions and I just ate them all. So, I knew what was coming, everything that comes out when you eat a lot of beets is going to have a nice reddish, pink color. And for the few two days that was true. And from [inaudible] the urine and the bowels were all a beautiful magenta color, so if you’re eating beets just keep that in mind, that whatever comes in, comes out and it can be frightening sometimes if you don’t realize that you’ve eaten a purple or red fruit because it will affect what’s coming out and it’s not blood, actually it’s quite nutrition and it helps. Beets are rich in nitrates and they’re the healthy nitrates that come in plants and they relax and die with blood vessels, they help reduce blood pressure, drop your heart disease risk, give you energy, your brain even, can help your brain. A lot of things that affect the heart can also affect the brain. Why? Because everything is connected, and there are blood vessels everywhere, so if you are blood vessels are stiff and coated with fat, it’s going to be hard for the blood to get anywhere. Beets will help, and I just felt like, I don’t know, I needed them and I was so glad that I had them. And now I’m going to work and try and add beets to my life. You know I am a big promoter of green foods and I can’t eat enough green foods. So, the dark leafy greens, kale and collards and spinach, and all anything that’s dark and leafy and green is on my plate. But the purple foods are good, too. Red cabbage, red grapes and beets, there are many vegetarian festivals and vegan festivals all around the world these days, which is really lovely. I remember when I used to run the “Taste of Health Vegan Festival” from 2002 to 2006, at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. There really weren’t many around. In some ways we were the only kid on the block, and it was a wonderful time, but things have really changed since then for the better. I remember always having a hard time trying to get exhibiters. But now there are so many problems that companies are looking for opportunities to market, market their wares, and these festivals are a great opportunity for that. I just wanted to bring to your attention if you’re in New York the 11th Annual Veggie Pride Parade is next Sunday, April 8th, and I’m going to be there, I have one of the speaker slots, they’re quick, we all get about five minutes. That’s fun, and there’s a parade, and Responsible Eating and Living, my nonprofit will be exhibiting there. It’s a very fun day, with vegan speakers, a costume contest, there are many animal protection organizations, there’s food to sample, and of course, there’s networking, and getting to know people likeminded people. If you have the opportunity please come by and say hi. I would like that. You can find out more at veggieprideparade.com, and it’s a little different this year in that the founder Pamela Rice, who’s the author of 101 Reasons Why I’m a Vegetarian, she stepped down, she’s done, she did it for 10 years, and she has given Maggie Sergeant the baton to lead this event, and I’m really looking forward to see how this event, takes off and expands, and reaches more and more people with this happy, delicious, joyful message. Now for a recipe, how about that? This is really, really simple. I was having another craving, I’m having these cravings lately, but fortunately they’re for good things, like beets. I had a craving for a millet croquet, I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know, it’s just one day this week it popped into my head. I want a millet croquet. Now the old days a millet croquet I don’t know where I even had them, it’s not something my mom ever made, she never cooked millet, but it must have been like in a micro biotic restaurant or something like that. There are like these little patties, and they’re typically fried; now of course, I didn’t want to make a fried croquet, but I wanted to see what I could do. I cooked up some millet, and I added some vegetables and made nice, moldable dough and baked in the oven on parchment paper and I made these wonderful little patties. And I think you should try them because it was pretty simple. Now this croquet is very mild flavoring, I didn’t put any seasonings in it, just light parsley, I didn’t even put salt in mine, and some people will need to salt theirs, or add a little coconut aminos, or tamari, or soy sauce or something because some people’s palettes are not used to eating food without salt and that’s okay, but it’s a comforting food. It’s like a burger, like a millet burger, it’s chewy, and I thought about it as I was popping them in my mouth, like as a snack after I’d made them, they’d be a great travel food. You could make them in advance and bring them with you on a plane. And then when I served them Gary had a great idea that they would be good with tahini dressing he was right, and then he went one step further and rolled his up in a collard leaf. And that was really fun, have you ever made any kind of collard roll? They even serve them now at restaurant chains like Bare Burger for instance, and I think TGIF, Thanks Goodness it’s Friday, Friday’s that restaurant that now offers the Beyond Burger, you can get it served instead of on a bun, maybe in a lettuce leaf something like that. But collards make a great wrap. The raw collard leaf will work, for some people that are a little too intense, but you can lightly steam them, it makes them less chewy, and gives them a milder flavor because I’m kind of getting tired of the bread scene. I don’t eat wheat, at least refined wheat, I don’t have a problem with faro, for example, the whole grain faro, but refined wheat gives me trouble. And it could be because of the glyph sate that’s used to harvest the wheat, it could be many, many things, or the fact that it doesn’t have the fiber or nutrients that the whole grain does. But I don’t do well at all with wheat, and then I made a variety of gluten free breads with gluten free flour, but none of them really come out okay, and what I mean they go in, but they don’t come out okay. If you get my drift. So, I’m really steering away from the bread scene, and sometimes you just want to have a wrap or a roll or something to hold in your hand, and collard leaves really do a great job. So, I would recommend steaming them and then rolling whatever it is you like in them like a millet croquet with a little tahini dressing. You could simply spread peanut butter on a collard leaf and added some chopped apples and pears and raisins for a sweeter version, some bananas, things like that, add some rolled oats in it or something and then have that kind of thing. That’s really fun kids even like that believe it or not, a great way to get greens into your belly, and the kid’s belly. Now because I missed my show last week, I didn’t have chance to talk about Passover and Easter. Passover is going on right now, and Easter was yesterday, but I just wanted to talk about some of the recipes we have at Responsible Eating and Living that might look into now or save for next year. When it comes to Passover, I have a few really favorite recipes that I hope, whether you celebrate or not you might look into. So my first, is the flourless chocolate cake. It was inspired by a cookbook called “Vegan Holiday Cooking,” by Candle café’ and I modified it to make it work for me. The crust actually has really good ingredients in it, carrots, coconut, almonds, I used ground almonds, some people might buy an almond flour, but I don’t recommend it I recommend using organic almonds that you grind yourself. They’ll taste so much better; they’ll be fresher, and more nutritious. But another favorite recipe is my vegan gefilte fish. So if anybody is familiar with Passover or the Jewish cuisine, there is a molded fish that is eaten with horseradish, and often has some jelly that comes with it, and I have created a version that is made with almonds actually, you could also make it with sunflower seeds if you have a tree nut allergy, and it’s fun, it’s delicious and if you’re sitting down for Passover Seder it’s kind of fun to be able to have the foods that everyone else is eating, or the foods that you’re used to eating. And that’s there where this vegan gefilte fish comes in you can even make the jelly if you want to which is like an aspect made from rather than the fat from animals it’s made with a seasoned broth and ager powder which is a seaweed gelatin. Yeah, so go to responsible eating and living dot com if you click on the recipe index you can scroll to the holidays and find recipes for Passover and for Easter, and for Easter we put up some of our favorite desserts that work well for Easter including a vegan, gluten-free cannoli which is not difficult to make. Now some people may think that making a cannoli shell is difficult, this particular recipe is not difficult, and it’s really fantastic and so I hope you might consider trying that for fun or either anytime or for next Easter or anytime. Did I just say anytime? Yeah, anytime because it’s good. We don’t eat a lot of sweets here, but we do like an occasional treat and the Easter bunny did visit our house and I want to tell you about some of the candies. Actually, the Easter bunny went to the natural candy store dot com. I will admit I just discovered this website and they have organic, dye free, non-GMO, allergy friendly, gluten free, vegan fair trade candies. They do have sweeteners in them, sugar and evaporate cane juice. I’m not saying these are healthy, but for a treat, for a celebration, when children want to feel like they belong and you don’t want them to consume all the toxic poisons and other things that might be found in other candies, this is the place to go, and I found such wonderful things I want to tell you about, okay where do I begin? Amy Easy Bakery makes a peanut brittle that is corn syrup and dairy free, it’s made with coconut milk, and it’s really yummy. Careful though you can’t eat a lot of this stuff and it’s terrible on your teeth because it’s hard, and Gary kept reminding me don’t chew it, suck on it, and just let it melt in your mouth, it’s really yummy. You know I just had root canal in December and I never want to have that again. I’m being really careful with my sweets. Something that we loved was the organic candy bar, called Ocho, and they make a lot of different products, they even have little mini-bars, which I’m thinking would be great for Halloween. But this particular bar was coconut covered in dark chocolate. It’s like a Mounds bar. But its certified gluten free and its certified vegan, and it’s certified organic. I mean it’s kind of crazy right that foods need to have these certifications, but we end up with MSG and other toxins without these certifications so I’m glad they exist. You’ve probably have heard about the Tao brand of chocolate they have in organic fair trade peanut butter cup, I had to get some peanut butter cups for the Easter basket, and they’re fair trade and palm free and soy free. We haven’t opened them up yet, but we know they’re going to be yummy and like I mentioned I don’t like to consume gluten, especially in refined foods. So, I found a gluten free licorice product, actually a couple of them. One is by Zotar organic, no, Zotorganic, Z-O-T-O-R-G-A-N-I-C, Zot, they make licorice beads, firm and chewy, gluten free, made with sugar, Arabic gum, glucose syrup, licorice extract, and its flavor, mint flavor and palm oil, oil organic. Now palm oil, you know is a politically questionable ingredient because of what’s going on in the rain forest. We don’t want to consume a lot of palm oil, but this company seems to be somewhat aware of what their ingredients are and where they come from. I’m hoping that it comes from sustainable source, and there’s candy free, no candy tree, [chuckle], a wheat free, gluten free, organic strawberry laces, these are fun, we haven’t had these yet either, they’re distributed in New York, but it’s look like it’s a product of the Netherlands. Why? Because Celiac’s disease and wheat intolerances, and wheat allergies are all over the world. And another great candy we just tried it today are the Cocomels, the original coconut caramel. This is a vanilla, non-GMO, gluten free made without dairy, a lovely candy. I like it the marketing is great just to read it, I want to read it to you, it says, “smooth, and luscious like a Brazilian samba, give in and let go.” Luscious, smooth, warming, yum. And you only need one. And that’s enough; you don’t need to have a ton of candy just a little bit, a little sweet. A little sweet tickle on the palette and it’s just wonderful to know that all these things exist and that you can have an occasional treat, that isn’t made with artificial colors, dyes, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, go to the Natural Candy Store. NaturalCandyStore.com, all the fun without the funny stuff. I like to wrap up this show, by talking a little bit about protein. Now as a vegetarian and a vegan, for many, many years I’ve heard the question, “Where do you get your protein? Where do you get your protein?” Yeah, if you’ve heard it, not surprised. I haven’t heard it as much lately, but I’ve seen protein packaged a little different these days. Part of it is what’s the government’s been doing with the choose my plate which you can find at choosemyplate.gov. We see a plate and it has grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein, its mixing types of foods with a macro ingredient. We all need to consume protein, carbohydrate and fat. But why on the plate did they call out types of foods, like grains, fruits and vegetables, and then say protein, and it’s a marketing thing that I’m just kind of figuring out. Because I read a lot of different books and webinars on nutrition and different programs, and more people are talking about eating more fruits and vegetables and grains and beans and things, then they talk about protein. We need to eat all of these foods, and we need to get our protein. And the marketing or the packaging behind this protein concept is that we don’t want to say meat, we don’t want to say animal food, but it’s often implied that when people are talking about protein they’re talking about animal foods. They’re packaging it differently and plus they want to make their program more inclusive so that vegetarians and vegans with they hear protein, will interpret it differently than those who are omnivores and those who consume animal flesh and animal proteins. So the vegetarians and vegans will think I get my protein from beans and nuts and seeds and actually what I want to say here is we get our protein from all plant foods because all plant foods contain complete protein, and this is something I can’t say enough because the myth about complete protein in plants continues, I’ve seen it in nutrition books, in all kinds of programs and webinars, and e-books and people that claim they’re knowledgeable about nutrition and blogs on the internet they talk about complete protein and how animal foods have complete protein and plants do not. This is a fallacy all plant foods contain all the essential amino acids that we need to put together the proteins that we need in our bodies. I was recently eating out with a dear friend of mine, and he was asking what we recommended in this restaurant that we go to all the time. One in our neighborhood called, GreenZenphony. I just want to add we asked them recently do they put MSG in the food, and the server was like taken aback, saying, “you’ve eaten here many times, you know we don’t do that.” It was almost like an insult asking if there was MSG in the food, which was comforting to hear. So my friend wanted something with protein in the dish, he was thinking about tofu or something and it was an interesting comment that he was looking for protein. I ended up talking him into a mushroom dish which is fantastic. The question really is why do you feel that you need more protein? Or why does one feel that they need more protein? And I like to ask people who say oh, I want to get some protein, what should I eat? The question is why do you feel like you need more protein? And when you dig deep enough you realize that most people don’t have a clue, either they’re tired they want to have more energy, and they feel like they need to eat more protein. If you’re tired and you feel like you need more energy, number one you need to be getting good sleep, you need to be staying well hydrated, and then you need to focus on getting nutritious food, not just protein, but carbohydrates and fat, from whole plant foods, you need a whole range of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and fiber, you need a lot of fiber if you don’t get fiber, you could really feel lethargic because things are not moving through your system. So that’s my brief little discussion on protein, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Remember, you can find me at responsibleeatingandliving.com, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I hope if you have any comments and questions you will reach out, because I love hearing from you. Remember tune in love all the time, love is the only answer, and have a delicious week.
Transcribed by: Alexis K. Ellis. 4/13/2018