Hi. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and this is “It’s All About Food.” I want to thank you for joining me today. I have a wonderful guest today – Victoria Moran. I’ve met her numerous times, and she’s the author of a number of books, the most recent being – is this the most recent? Creating a Charmed Life. No, I don’t think it is the most recent. But she has appeared on Oprah two times, and NPR’s All Things Considered, and her works have been in USA Today, The Washington Post, The New York Times,
the Oprah Magazine, many other magazines. And she’s an authority on the “charmed life phenomenon.” And we’re going to hear more about that. Victoria, are you with us?
Victoria Moran: Hi!
Caryn Hartglass: Hi! There you are! How are you today?
Victoria Moran: I’m terrific –thanks so much.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay! Thanks for joining me today. What I like to do when I talk to my guests is first get to know you a little bit and ask you how you got on the path that you’re on today.
Victoria Moran: It’s a long and winding story, but it’s absolutely as it should be. I love to listen to other people’s stories. I love watching biographies and reading biographies. Because it really does seem that we all have a purpose that we invariably find – if we’re conscious.
So, for me, I was very lucky as a little girl. My parents both worked and it was before daycare, so they hired this lovely woman to live with us and take care of me. So she had done a lot of spiritual study in her life and she was actually the first person to tell me about vegetarians. She loved animals. She was not herself a vegetarian, but when I came home from school reciting the four food groups, she said to me, “Hmpf. There are some people who never eat meat in their lives and they do just fine!” And I had never heard of such a thing. And I can remember thinking, at about 7 or 8 years old, “Oh, my goodness, there is so much to this world. Who could possibly comprehend it?”
So that was my first spiritual teacher and my first introduction to a lot of really lovely things that gave me insights that I am so grateful for to this day. If it were not for this woman, I would not be doing the work that I do today. So if you have anything to do with children, know that your influence is vast and far-reaching!
I’ve also written since I was very young. Used to write for teen magazines –got in to meet the Beatles when I was 14 and 15. So I really learned that I had a charmed life when I was 17 and Paul McCartney bought me a drink. It was like, “wait a minute. You’re just a nerdy kid from Kansas City and you’re sitting at this table with this Beatle.” Well, who would know that decades into the future we would both be vegans and animal rights activists?
Caryn Hartglass: Right!
Victoria Moran: Life is so fascinating!
Victoria Moran: It’s something I don’t think we’ll ever understand, but the universe works in mysterious ways and we all cross paths, and you know you mentioned something just when we started the show about just being conscious of what’s around and paying attention. And you know, that’s what it’s all about – paying attention, because there are so many messages that we get. And when we’re conscious of it, it can really empower and make our lives….perhaps charmed? Can I say that? So, you have a new book – The Love-Powered Diet?
Victoria Moran: Yeah! The Love-Powered Diet: eating for freedom, health, and joy. And sometimes people say, “But, isn’t health contradictory to freedom and joy?” Nah. No. It’s great, fabulous food and it’s a wonderful way to live.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, I think it’s great that you wrote this book. I have not read it yet, but I will.
Victoria Moran: Thank you!
Caryn Hartglass: But I love the title and I love what it’s about and I think it’s probably in line with everything that EarthSave is about and what this show is about. And the point is that when you discover this diet — everyone I’ve had on this show talking about it loves it. We all love food, we all love to eat, and we feel very liberated and we love our food. But I think one of the things you might center on in this book is helping people that are overweight?
Victoria Moran: Yes, or people who aren’t overweight but who diet all the time. Or who are overweight part of the time and dieting the rest of the time, which was my history. I fought with food for 32 years. My dad was a diet doctor, my mother was in the fitness industry. I was a fat kid — I was bad for business. I started experimenting with a vegetarian diet in my teens and actually committed to being vegetarian at 18. That didn’t help me at all with the weight. I really needed a totally plant-based diet, but I couldn’t do it, because I was a practicing compulsive overeater. I could not stay away from the junk food. I remember at one point I was taking some college classes in my hometown of Kansas City, and this was a period when I was pretty much on the diet side of the diet/binge cycle, which was how I lived in those days. And they put a soft-serve machine in the cafeteria. And I sat there having to decide:
Should I drop out of these classes, lose the tuition, lose the credits, or should I keep taking the classes and go back to bingeing, which I absolutely will do, because there was soft-serve available? That’s how bad it was. It was really a disease. It was an addiction, a compulsion. Very much like alcoholism. Because basically I was trying to fill an inner hole with food. And it was only when I dealt with that inner stuff that I was able to be given the gift of choice. Then I could choose the plant-based diet, which is the other half of the equation, which means that I do eat beautiful, wonderful food and enjoy it immensely, much more than I did in the binge/diet days, but I no longer eat any food for a fix, and that’s the difference.
Caryn Hartglass: You don’t eat any food for what?
Victoria Moran: For a fix. I don’t use any food as a drug.
Caryn Hartglass: Right.
Victoria Moran: I don’t eat to fill the empty places in my psyche, because that’s beyond the digestive system.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, you mention your father was a diet doctor and your mom was a fitness trainer?
Victoria Moran: Yup. Well, not exactly. These were the days before we really knew about fitness, and they had these things called reducing salons, with lots of machines with belts and rollers. So it was one of those places. I can’t imagine that it did much good for anybody, but it certainly didn’t do any good for me.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, do you think that anything related to your problem had to do with some sort of an obsession with or focus on food and dieting?
Victoria Moran: Oh, you know, probably, but it started so young for me. I really wonder, Caryn, and of course I don’t know the why, and one of the fabulous things about recovery from any addiction from the inside out is we don’t really have to know the why, we just have to know the how – how to change things.
Caryn Hartglass: You know, I really agree with you. And it’s true really of anything in life.
Victoria Moran: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: You don’t have to know the why, just move on, move forward, and enjoy now and the rest of your life.
Victoria Moran: It’s true, and the more you move forward, the more you’re given a glimpse of the how.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right. Okay, you’ve told us that you had a weight problem and now you’ve kept it off for a long time.
Victoria Moran: Over 25 years.
Caryn Hartglass: And you look fabulous.
Victoria Moran: Thank you!
Caryn Hartglass: I’ve seen you in person and I’ve seen you in pictures, and you are a stunning woman.
Victoria Moran: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: And you can see your beauty on the outside and well as on the inside. Now there are a lot of other people, we know a lot of celebrities that bounce up and down with their weight. It’s always the cover of magazines – they go down, they go up, they’re on all these different diet programs, Jenny Craig and Weightwatchers and whatever. What’s the difference?
Victoria Moran: The difference is that, if the problem were food, then those programs might work, but the problem is not food. It’s sort of like the alcoholic that says, “Well, I’ll switch to beer,” or “I’ll make wine spritzers instead of drinking straight wine.” That’s not the problem. The problem is you’re trying to fill an empty hole on the inside and you need to just plain stop drinking. And what compulsive overeaters have to do is stop eating for a fix. Now, it’s a little more subtle, obviously, because we still have to eat, but it’s absolutely essential to look at this kind of soul sickness that fuels compulsive eating. Now this is not to say that you can’t be overweight in this culture just because the food is so bad. I heard some French women interviewed a couple years ago on TV, and one of them was saying, “Oooh, we love the Americans, but we do not understand – how can you be so fat with such terrible food?” So I mean we’re given very rich, very concentrated food that doesn’t have the nutrient density that the cells are looking for. It’s also possible to live in a very sedentary fashion. So certainly, you can have some weight to lose without being a compulsive overeater. But here’s the question to ask yourself if you’re not sure whether you are or not: Have I dieted before? Have I dieted 1-3 times in my past? Have I dieted 4-8 times in my past? You know, if you’re doing that kind of thing, it’s a serious problem.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, come on, but you know that’s like most of the population!
Victoria Moran: It’s not the way people are designed to live.
Caryn Hartglass: But most people have dieted or are dieting all the time! They say, “Monday I’ll diet.” It’s a weekly thing.
Victoria Moran: Well, the wonderful thing about the recovery program that I propose in The Love-Powered Diet, and this is based in the 12-step model — and I do recommend Overeaters Anonymous – they’re at Overeatersanonymous.org, for anybody that’s interested. It doesn’t cost anything. It’s an all-volunteer thing – people helping people. But it really is a lifesaver if food is a big problem. And they don’t have diets, so if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan or a kosher or whatever you are, that’s all fine. They don’t worry about what you’re eating. You’re given the respect to deal with that on your own. They’re there for the spiritual program and the peer support. But people who diet all the time are not living all the time. If I live to be 90 years old, I will really have to subtract 8 or 9 years from that for all the time I wasted on dieting, hating my body, un-dieting, bingeing, being obsessed. It was really like years that I didn’t live. But the lovely thing… when you get it back, you get it all back. There’s this lovely thing, I think it’s in the Book of Joel, where it says, “I will give you the years the locust has eaten.” And that’s really what I feel about/with the food. I have been given the most remarkable life – that all that stuff, all that time and all that pain…and it is pain. I have to tell you, Caryn, when I think about the suffering of animals, and this touches me deeply, the way that I am able to empathize with that suffering is to draw on some of the deepest suffering that I have had in my own life. And we’ve all had life experiences. You know, we could all stand up and say, “I’ve suffered this way, and my suffering’s worse than yours!” but I mean…I lost my first husband very suddenly, very young. A year and a half ago, my 16-year-old stepson passed away from a freak illness. I mean, there have been things in my life…
Caryn Hartglass: I didn’t know that.
Victoria Moran: The kind of suffering that I am reminded of when I know what goes on with animals is the kind of suffering that I spent years in, in this trap of the overeating. I couldn’t get out, I hated myself, I couldn’t help myself. And right now, today, I know that this show is archived and some people will be listening to it far into the future, but as we’re speaking today, there’s a big controversy going on because PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization that I have long supported and admired, came out with a billboard comparing obese people to whales, saying, “Lose the blubber: go vegetarian.” I am just horrified, dismayed, and outraged. Because not only 4-footed animals can suffer. Two-legged animals can suffer, too, and something like that is just so unkind. Nobody is obese because they want to be. This is a disease.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, I’m not going to comment on that, but I do want to say that EarthSave is all about empowering people, and not pointing out or making judgment about what people are doing wrong. We want to empower people, educate people, and help them move to a better place.
Victoria Moran: Bravo!
Caryn Hartglass: And so, that said, you know I know many, many people who have been overweight in their lives, and if I can help them get to a better place that’s all I want. I know that they’re all beautiful people inside – that have just…you know, we’ve all had life experiences like you’ve said and we wear our baggage differently. Some of it is weight. Some of us have other issues. And to compare it to the whale – I mean that’s a whole other problem. And the whale is a beautiful, intelligent animal that’s also suffering at this time, with all of the whale hunts.
Victoria Moran: Yeah, the whole thing was ill thought out. I think of one of my first mentors in this lifestyle, who was Jay Dinshah, the co-founder of the American Vegan Society, back in 1960! I can’t imagine anyone founding a Vegan Society back in 1960! But he said, “The whole point, Vicary (he called me when I was 22)…the whole point, Vicary, is to do the most good and the least harm every single day. Then you deserve the air you breathe and the space you take.” And I look at that in terms of animals, humans, the earth. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I’m any kind of Mahatma Gandhi person out doing every perfect thing every minute, but it’s in the back of my head – you know, what can I do today to just make things a little bit better?
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, let’s talk about the empty hole.
Victoria Moran: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: What is it? What causes it? How do you fill it and what do you fill it with?
Victoria Moran: Well, I believe that we all have one, and that it comes with us as human beings and it’s there for a reason. The reason is so that we will search for meaning. But because we don’t know that, we oftentimes try to fill it with something else. So some people choose money, either the pursuit of money or spending so much of it that they’re always in debt. Some people choose sex and inappropriate relationships. For some people it’s drugs or gambling or alcohol. It makes a lot of sense to try to fill it with food, because the empty hole does seem to be right about at the solar plexus, just where the stomach is. So it’s certainly logical that if you put enough ice cream and cookies and potato chips in there, it ought to help, but it doesn’t. Just like all those other things, it tends to just make the hole bigger. So what we want to fill it with is purpose. Love for self and others. And a life that has meaning. So many people are just groundlessly going around doing things that everybody else does.
One of the suggestions from an earlier book is to upgrade your life and start – necessary upgrades — and I talk about little things like toothpaste, and I say, “How many of you in this audience…” maybe an audience of 1,000 – “ are still using the same mint toothpaste your mother gave you?” Two-thirds of the audience – unless I’m speaking for a very unusual group – raises their hands. I say, “What if you went to a big natural food store, went down that toothpaste aisle, and you started to discover Peelu toothpaste from India, homeopathic toothpaste from Germany, cherry toothpaste from Maine, I mean, wouldn’t your life just change? And it really does, because it’s just kind of shifting you, you know.
Caryn Hartglass: Sure. Every morning would be different.
Victoria Moran: Exactly! And you’ve shifted outside the status quo.
Caryn Hartglass: I just want to say I don’t use toothpaste, but that’s…
Victoria Moran: Oh! So do you use just water? Or baking…
Caryn Hartglass: I just use water, and on occasion, but not very often, a little baking soda and, if I feel like I’m having a problem, a soreness, or whatever, I rinse with hydrogen peroxide.
Victoria Moran: How interesting! Well, I’m right now loving a tooth powder called Ecodent. Cinnamon flavored. And I think that’s the thing. You know, you want to give yourself a delicious life. You want to give yourself little treats.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely!
Victoria Moran: Like today I feel like cinnamon, tomorrow I feel like anise. It’s just the idea of living well.
So I digressed here a bit, but so many people are just eating what they think they’re supposed to eat based on what the advertisers tell them, or what’s available as you drive down the highway, and not coming out of the little mental box to see “oh, my goodness. There is a bigger world out there.” And once you open a door, a door to something like Caryn Hartglass’s radio show, or a vegetarian cookbook, or a lecture by someone who really sets you on fire, nothing’s ever the same again.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, I think there’s something really profound here. You’re talking about an empty hole inside, and I agree with you – most people have one, and I don’t think it’s by accident that most people are eating food with what we call “empty calories” – that are calories but don’t have the nutrients that we need. And so everything’s empty empty empty, and then we have all of these fundamentalist religious movements that are supposed to provide meaning in our lives, and they’re not, they don’t really…they’re not really doing the job.
Victoria Moran: Mmm hmm. It’s very interesting about the growth of fundamentalism in this country, and I feel I can speak to this because my academic background is comparative religions. I’m crazy about religions and spirituality. I find that the way that people find meaning is just so fascinating. I could study it endlessly, and a lot of my speaking is at churches. And I think that the reason that fundamentalism, which obviously has some problems when it comes packaged with bigotry toward certain groups, with an almost dislike or distrust for the Earth, instead of embracing the earth as God’s creation, I think that they’re so popular because they’re so exciting. They have really good music! There’s the idea of you go there and people believe in something and there’s energy and there’s something going on — it’s not just “let’s open our hymnals to page 118 and sing the song that we sang the last 3 weeks.”
Caryn Hartglass: People want passion and community, and if somebody’s really passionate about something, whether you agree with it or not, it certainly is interesting.
Victoria Moran: Mmmhmm. And I think that it’s important for those of us in the environmental movement, for those of us in the animal protection world, to reach out and find points of connection in places where we think there are none. I remember years ago, after my first husband died, I was just a little bit….unknowing what to do, so I moved to the country, which was really kind of dumb – I have no skills for living in the country. But my daughter and I were living in a little cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks in southern Missouri. It was one little health food store in the town. And I remember the woman there was absolutely lovely. She had all kinds of rescued animals of every sort, and when I went in I saw she had lots of vegetarian items and I was so grateful to find that down there, and I said, “Are you a vegetarian?” And she said, “Why, yes I am! I did ask my pastor if it was okay, and he said as long as I didn’t put animals before Jesus, it was just fine.” And I remember thinking, “Well, I’m glad I didn’t have to ask anybody,” but you know what? She asked somebody, and I think he gave her a fine answer. So it’s…you never know when you’re going to find somebody who can meet you on a lot of these issues. If we don’t meet on everything, okay. We agree to disagree.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, you brought up a very good point. You know, it’s all about finding what we have in common. Because there really is…we all really share so much. And that’s not just humans, but animals as well. We’re all part of the same planet. We share the same air, the same water. We really have a lot more in common than we know or that we want to know.
Victoria Moran: Yeah, and some of it is so basic. One of the first quotations that really, really drew me to veganism was from Mahavira, the saint in the Jain religion in India. And he said, “To every creature his own life is very dear.” Well, you can’t really argue with that. And I guess it was Season 2 of 30 Days, that wonderful Morgan Spurlock program on FX. For people who aren’t familiar with 30 Days, Morgan Spurlock in fact is the man who made the film “Supersize Me.” But he did have a cable show for 3 years where he would send someone who had a completely different view of things to live with his opposite. So in this particular show, this was a guy who patrolled the border, the Mexican/Texas border — just as a volunteer, because he didn’t want any immigrants coming over the border — and he went to live with an undocumented Mexican immigrant family in LA. And part of the deal is the visitor has to work with the host. So they went out to do day labor, just clearing an empty lot, and the visitor pulls up this rock and this creature is under there. And I just love all animals, but I must say even to me this particular one just was not pretty. It looked like a kind of oversized slug. It was just not an attractive being to human vision, and the guy wanted to just kill it with the rock, and this beautiful Mexican man, who had been through hell in his life, he said, “Just let him alone. He only wants to enjoy his life.” And that’s just how I see it. Can we just let one another, whatever ‘anothers’ they happen to be, enjoy their lives and have a planet to do it on?
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, that’s so hard for so many people. We all want to control everyone else, and we want everyone to think like we do.
Victoria Moran: And it’s tough when you think that you…
Caryn Hartglass: ‘Cause I’m right.
Victoria Moran: …you know, you really have it going on. But one of the spiritual exercises, certainly, is to listen to other people. One of the things that’s been a real education for me recently is that I blog for beliefnet.com. If anybody wants to go to beliefnet.com and just click on blogs, mine is called “Charmed Life.” And people online they’ll tell you just what they think, and sometimes in very insulting terms, because they’re completely anonymous…
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely.
Victoria Moran: But some people are very kind, even if they’re completely different from me. I had a post the other day about foie gras, and I would think that most people listening to your program would know that that is supposedly the most cruelly produced meat in the world. Even the Pope has spoken out against it. And in response to this post, I heard from a foie gras farmer, who of course was defending his position. And then he said, “Now, I don’t eat it, because I’m a vegetarian.”
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, goodness.
Victoria Moran: “But it’s still no more cruel than any other kind of meat.” Well, I disagree with him, and so did most of the other people leaving comments. But he was so respectful in the way that he commented. This is somebody that I could have a dialogue with and I just appreciate that so much.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, the thing is, you are never going to get anywhere if you don’t respect the person you’re speaking with. Which a lot of activists don’t seem to understand. They’re angry, they’re mad, and they’re in your face, and it just makes people want to turn away.
I want to get back to people with weight problems.
Victoria Moran: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: So, what does someone do, what’s like the first thing that they would do if they want to get onto a healthy diet and stop having a weight problem?
Victoria Moran: Sure. Well, you know we’re talking to two kinds of people: we’re talking to people who may just have a weight problem and people who have the empty hole problem. So I’m going to try to cover both – if it fits, great. If it doesn’t, leave it for somebody else. If this is an ongoing problem, if this is something that you’ve battled for awhile, you’re really going to need some more help that you’re not going to get from a diet, even a great diet. So get help. I mentioned Overeaters Anonymous, you can go to their website, read what they have to offer, see if that suits you. If you’ve got any friends who are in AA or one of the other Anonymous programs, it doesn’t have to be Overeaters, it could be anything. Just talk to them about their program. Talk to them about how they live their lives. And see if what they tell you sounds like something that you might enjoy. It’s basically a process of surrendering what you can’t handle — and if you’ve dieted many, many times, oh, come on, you can’t handle food – If you could, you would have done it long before this. It’s the point of giving your will and your life over to the care of a higher power, however you conceive of that. It can be the traditional God, it could be love, it could be nature. Whatever works for you. Just the idea of “I have stretched my willpower like a rubber band until it broke. It’s not going to work for me. I have to find some kind of power that does work.” Then there’s a process – and I’m taking you now briefly through the 12-steps – of cleaning up your life. This is just forgiving yourself, forgiving others, making amends, just so that you have a clean slate. Because a lot of this kind of guilt and anxiety and resentments, they eat us and then they lead us to eat.
Then you want to learn how to pray or meditate. To really have a way to connect, a way to get quiet and still. Because one of the problems with people who overeat is that we’re just not able to sit through the feelings. To sit through the cravings. I used to have some really boring jobs. Before I was fortunate enough to become a full-time writer, speaker, and life coach, I had some boring jobs. And I can remember thinking that from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., I just couldn’t stand it. And that was when I did a whole lot of my eating.
Caryn Hartglass: You want to go to the candy machine, you know, snack, just…yeah.
Victoria Moran: Yeah, that’s the joy of the corporate world.
Transcribed by Paula Chu 9/29/2014
Victoria Moran: What I learned largely through prayer and meditation was how to sit because sometimes meditation is boring, that you just sit and you live, and then if one of those craving comes up you sit with it. Nobody’s ever died of the craving, it’s crazy like somebody knocking on your door, wanting you to change religion. If you never answer, they’re going to go next door, but if you try to be nice and invite the men and give them some tea, they’re going to be back every day. Craving is the same way: you don’t want to entertain it. You just want to be and let it leave you and then you want to live this wonderful enlightened way of life in every aspect of your life. This is what you’ll learn if you go to Overeaters Anonymous. Now I’m just going to go to food, for both compulsive eaters, and just people who eat too much or eat food that’s too rich. If you are binging, if you are seriously out-of-control with the food right now listening to this program, eat out and show it under wraps. Now people say. I don’t live like that, how can I eating out when they give you these big portions and the food is rich. Yeah, but there won’t be mashed potatoes singing to you from the refrigerator in the night so eat out three meals a day. The one caveat I will say there is fast food. It doesn’t have to be an expensive place. It can be a diner. It can be a truck stop. I don’t care what it is, ideally it give you dishes that would break if you drop to them, somebody will bring your food to the table. Stay away from buffet you are not ready for buffets just yet. Order whatever you want, and eat they bring you, and when it’s done it’s done. No doggy bag unless you have a dog. But you get out of the binging habit. People say you won’t lose any weight at all, but this is about your life. This is not about losing twenty-two pounds before my sister ‘s wedding. This is about a day at a time for the rest of your life. So you want to eat substantial enough meals so they carry you over like so many people in the vegan movement. A low-fat, plant-based diet for your health, for your heart. I wholeheartedly agree with that. A low-fat diet doesn’t care you so well from meal to meal so in the beginning have enough fat, have enough substance so that they can get you from the meal to meal. Now I’m going to make another radical suggestion that is that you eat three meals a day. Now I know that if you read women’s magazines all over the place, great, great great. Eat many small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar level, on paper, that sounds just fine. And if you’re diabetic, or if you have another kind of health problem or medically, you have to eat that way then you just have to figure out how to do that, but for everybody else on the planet, if you have a serious long-standing food problems, you need to eat three meals a day for the following reason. One is you need to learn how to live, and if you’re always putting food into yourself, you’re never going to. Number two, for a compulsive eater, the problem is not starting, the problem is stopping. If you only start three times a day, you only have to stop three times today. Number three that compulsive over eaters find that the foot is an appetite trigger for a normal eater food is an appetite suppressant you eat – you don’t want to eat anymore. For a compulsive overeater, it’s almost like it’s just sparking the flames and at least until you get the spiritual stuff going on, and you really get recovery active in your life you eat something and you want to eat more. So three meals a day. And finally number four, a final reason is that society is set up for three meals a day, you go on vacation instead of bed-and-breakfast, you get a job by law, the boss have to give you a lunch hour you’re interested in a guy or a girl and you’re hoping you guys can get together and go out for a dinner that’s just the way it works. And if you can see in the flow of that, you’re going to be much better off.
Caryn Hartglass: I like that, I like it very much. I think people need to read her book. Obviously because it is all there.
Victoria Moran: It’s all there, along with a whole lot of information about a plant -based diet, how to get started, how to shop wonderful recipe website, product website. everything you need to know that to eat green save the planet, save your body. I’m thinking about writing a book about a vegan diet high in raw food which is something that I’ve been doing more recently and absolutely loving and I want to call it: the look great, stay thin, never age and save the planet diet.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, I could do that. Do you have a website?
Victoria Moran: I do, it’s just my name Victoria Moran, M O R A N.com and we would be happy to hear from your listeners.
Caryn Hartglass: This is where they can find out about this book and all the other wonderful books that you have written. That’s great. Now I heard that Michael Moore lose some weight.
Victoria Moran: It’s hard. Such a sweet man. I have an earlier book called Fit From Within, and people were calling me and say “You know you’re in Oprah magazine”. No, so I went to the newstand and buy a copy and it happened that Michael Moore was the celebrity book reviewer that month and he was supposed to write about the ten books that had changed his life. Well. the first nine were Michael Moore type books. They were political, My Heart At Wounded Knee, When Johnny Got His Gun, and there was Fit From Within. He explained that in the nineteen eighties when he was out of work and didn’t have any money, he got into eating a really poor diet, a lot of fast food and that was when he gained the weight and even though obviously he has had great success since then he had not been able to lose it and his sister gave Fit From Within, after he has sworn off diet book. He was just like no, no, no, I’m not going to read another book and he said he kept it by his bed and I met him about a year and a half ago, and as a fan, very nervously I came up to him and said that I wrote the book Fit From Within. I think he liked it and he said “Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m meeting you, I kept your book by my bed. By then I was so nervous, it was like, wait a minute, this is surreal, I’m supposed to say “I can’t believe I’m meeting you”. And then he was so cute, he grabbed hold of the his jacket lapel and opened the jacket and said see how well I’m doing and that time he lost over sixty pounds. I think he’s up around a hundred now, which is really really great.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, that was the one thing a lot of us were saying about Michael Moore is that that was, he would just be so much better if he was more fit.
Victoria Moran: You know like you said we all have a cross to bear and obviously for some of us, like you say it. Oprah left her heart, just so much good for the world and her up and down on the scale it has been no cast there, so many people and we are just all working at it and you know what happens with some people you get one thing taken care of, one of these compulsions or addictions and then you find out I’ve got another one you’ve got to work on money or something else again. Now, I don’t think we’d be here if we didn’t have something to work on.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s why we’re here. So have you talked to Oprah about weight problems?
Victoria Moran: No, but we did get some interest before they went on hiatus in this summer in the possibility of doing the show, the show that I propose to them was called Secrets Of The Long Time Loser. I have kept at 60 pounds for twenty-six years and I was proposing that they would also invite on Dr. North Chumley who lost one hundred seventy pounds and has kept it for seventeen years. He has a book also from Lantern Books, Lovely Environmental Vegetarian Press and in New York here they published the love parent diet and his book is called The Joy of Weight Loss and another person that I suggested with Dr. Judy Hollace who kept at one hundred pounds for thirty years and she had a couple of bestsellers in the eighties Fast And Furious and that is a family affair, and it just makes sense to me that if you want to know something. If you want to know how to do well in the stock market, if you want to know how to raise good kids you got to talk to people have done well in the stock market and people who have raised good kids. Don’t go looking to people who just ooh, last week I invested and now I’m going to talk about it, so with the power of longevity. I think that could be a very, very powerful show so if it has not happened yet, may be you all could suggest Oprah’s website get Victoria Moran and Secret Of the Long Time Losers.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. I like it. You know you just brought up something where so many of us goal to doctors for information about our health and about nutrition and the doctor doesn’t look healthy. You want to go to someone that’s walking the walk and even some concern about the latest recommendation for Surgeon General. I read an article by Doctor John McDougall about how the name escapes me, whose recently been recommended but she wasn’t the most healthy looking.
Victoria Moran: Well we don’t tend to have a good definition in this culture right now for the word health. I think all of the debate that’s going on as we are speaking about the health care reform. It is not about health it’s about medical care it’s about what you do when you don’t have health.
Caryn Hartglass: Some people even say “disease care”.
Victoria Moran: That’s exactly what it is and it’s a very complex issue, but I think for those of us who wanted to find that box and really take responsibility for our own health, everything changes. If you no longer in this dependent state, and medical system is there when you need it. Obviously if you are hit by a bus, you need it, but in terms of so much that we think of a degenerative disease, we can really do so much with diet, exercise, proper rest, stress management, which includes meditation that we talked about. You get those four things going on and you’re just not going to be one of those statistics. I went to the hospital one friend was having shoulder surgery she’d fallen at the subway needed to have something done to her shoulder. A woman who was forty-seven years old and a physiologist came in and he just went through her list of medications to make sure he has them all right. I think you could have just lifted my jaw up off the floor because that list of medication was as long as some of the ones I’ve heard about people in nursing homes and in their eighties and nineties. Highly medicated culture. What were they all going to do? It’s very interesting to you, one leads to another. I don’t remember all of hers, you know, she had diabetic medication. She had blood pressure medication. I’ve just named two conditions. Type two diabetes and hypertension that all of our medical colleagues in the plant-based diet movement will tell you are not just manageable but reversible with a plant-based diet. She also had an antidepressant, which again you can get pretty depressed not eating well simply because the brain has to process the toxins and chemicals and one thing that I have learned just being on more of a raw food diet where everything is just so alive, colorful and wonderful. I tell people my default quotient has gone up from just sort of neutral to happy. If something great happens then I’ll feel ecstatic, but when I get back to center, center is higher than it used to be. It is that happy and I really believe that with all these wonderful vitamins, phytochemicals and enzymes flowing through my blood stream it really changes the attitude in the outlook.
Caryn Hartglass: You raised a daughter. You raised her vegan. Are there many challenges with that?
Victoria Moran: Yes I was not vegan when I was pregnant; I had been vegan prior to that, and I was scared to death by my doctor and I did consume dairy products during my pregnancy and I just learned a week ago, listening to 1999 Health Stats that Doctor Michael Greger put together, 1999 – 2009; help health report that one of the studies implied that if the mother uses dairy products during pregnancy. the child can have chronic sinus difficulties and my daughter did have that even though I stop the dairy the day she was born, and she never had dairy in her life. She did have my chronic sinus difficulties that went on until her early twenties, she’s perfectly fine now. She did out wore them, as they say, but that was pretty tough, and I’ve learned something there. One was that the medical profession is much kinder to a vegan diet for children and I would say for adults and a lot of the holistic health people because the medical profession didn’t have a lot to offer us in terms of my daughters, frequent colds and ear infections and that kind of thing other than antibiotic so we thought different kinds of care with naturopathy chiropractic, traditional Chinese medicine and some of those people were really avidly in opposition to a vegan diet, where that pediatricians were just like “Oh, that’s great, she’s never going to have a heart attack so that was the challenge. That was the one challenge that we did have during childhood. Everything else was absolutely great, and to raise a vegan child, with that kind of reverence for life, with that kind of care and concern for the world. She is twenty-six years old now and I probably admire her more than anybody else I know. She’s an actress here in NY City in New York and they are so solid. They’re buying their little apartment on the upper West side. Wish I’d done that when I was in my twenties. They had until recently two dogs, a fifteen year old Aspen passed away recently so they have their very young dog and they’re going to get another dog when they get back from vacation this fall. The dog is actually vegetarian, my daughter cooks for the dog. She is a lifelong vegan and her husband is vegetarian, vegan at home and it’s just lovely to see how she cares, how she’s a lifelong learner interest in all sorts of things, and the commitment and the stability that giving a child purpose. It is stunning to me, every time I see her I’m more impressed.
Caryn Hartglass: Well I love all of the vegan children that I have ever met and everything that you describe, but I think it has something to do certainly with your upbringing, but it’s more than just food. It’s this mindfulness the awareness of everything that surrounds us. And that’s why I call this show, It’s All About Food because when you realize how food is connected to everything or at least the way we manage what food is available today it’s connected to everything. When a child realizes that what’s been chosen for them to eat has so much meaning behind it. I think it just makes them a better person.
Victoria Moran: and I think the idea of growing up with an expanded reverence for life. It’s very healthy psychologically because children are born with that reverence, they just come in with it and they have to unlearn it, so I remember when I was a kid and I have this very utilitarian sense of thing and I was thinking okay, chickens are for egg, cows are for milk, what are pigs for? And when they call me, I was outraged, of course, now I know that the eggs and the milk are just as bad, but the idea that we would kill someone and eat his or her body was just an outrage, but there was nothing that I can do about it because that’s what my parents told me people had to eat so to just overcome the trauma of learning what meat is very hard on the kids, and in every day, you have to make that really very sophisticated philosophical choice that I’m supposed to love my dog and my canary and eat the cow and the chicken. I mean that’s hard for a trained philosopher to bring to grip, much less the little kid.
Caryn Hartglass: I was reading an article recently about some studies that they’re doing with dogs and say they have such an intense sense of smell. They are able to smell cancer in individuals, and they’re trying to find a way to use them to diagnose particular cancers like ovary which is frequently overlooked and, okay, that’s a dog and I’m just wondering what with the special skill that every species have that if we only tuned in, we could learn from and use. You know, we know that the dolphins and the whales have this great sonic sensibility but we actually torture them with when we put all kinds of crazy sounds in the water, but there’s just so much out there so much skill and intelligence that we’re not taking advantage of. What I like to do towards the end of the show is talk about your favorite things to eat.
Victoria Moran: Oh, gosh. Do you want general food or specific kinds of recipes?
Caryn Hartglass: Whatever makes you happy but I do like to share some suggestions, some people might try them.
Victoria Moran: Well because I’m eating largely raw right now those are all the things that are my favorite at the moment. My favorite cookbook or cookless book, Jennifer Cornbleet’s Raw Food Made Easy For One or Two People, so I use that quite a bit, some of the food that I’ve been enjoying a lot this summer are clean tomatoes soup which is a room temperature soup that you can whiz up with tomatoes, let’s see if I can remember four tomatoes, half of a red pepper, two or three stalks of celery and then you season it with lemon juice, lemon, pepper and Italian herbs, and little Celtic sea salt. That’s a lovely light soup just the way it is that if you are having a little more fat in your diet, you want something creamy and more substantial you can just whiz in half of avocado, it’s an appetizer serving, or a whole avocado, if it is a meal for a couple of people with some crackers and a little salad. And oh my gosh that is a really good thing. So creamy tomato soup is getting a lot of play at this point.
Caryn Hartglass: Tomatoes have to be good, they have to be fresh, they have to be organic preferably. There are some tomatoes that don’t have a good taste.
Victoria Moran: There really are and that’s actually one of the great things about the new bad because of the lemon juice and all the herbs, that if you’ve got some fabulous heirloom tomatoes that were four ninety nine a pound, you might want to slice them up and eat them, and there are others ones that maybe aren’t so great, you can put in the blender soup so something to do with them. Let’s see, oh I’ll tell you another thing, and this does come from Jennifer Cornfleet’s book that first recipe came from another book called, the author is Maerin and I believe it’s Jennifer Maerin, if I know that you were going to ask I’d have brought them from my desk. But this is from Jennifer Cornbleet raw food made easy for one or two people, walnut brownies, the only ingredients are walnut, dates, vanilla, cocoa or you could use carob and a tiny bit of water. You process this in a food processor, you pressed it into a container. If you just making a small amount, you could just use a sandwich container or whatever you’ve got and you slice these and you give them to regular people who are used to regular brownies and they just love you forever and a great thing that I’m really loving about raw dessert, I often also do wonderful blueberry pie is that they’re all food that even the sweetener, in this case, the datea is a whole food so even though there is certainly other concentrated sweeteners that are vegan and probably better than refined sugar, and I’m thinking of agave nectar, low in glycemic index, or maple syrup, but if you are using dates you’re not just getting something that isn’t harmful, you’re getting something that actually gives you nutrients, fiber, and you can call it dessert.
Caryn Hartglass: I get so excited about food, and I hear it in your voice too and you just want people to know about it and try it and there are so many raw foods, especially I did all raw food diets different periods of my life, and the nuts and the raw nuts and the dried fruit, they’re just incredible and fresh fruit too. There are just so many things you can do with them. It’s so exciting. You don’t need to get food in a box that has all kinds in artificial flavors and colors and who knows what kind of pesticides and garbage and preservatives. Just try it. And mango, when you have a fresh, raw, sweet, mango there’s nothing better, it’s candy.
Victoria Moran: It’s heavenly. Among the things that I’ve discovered since being a vegan, so we’re talking many years, and everywhere I’ve lived since being a vegan, the farmers market is just such a joy. Here in NYC I go to the one in Union Square. All the products and all the concrete it’s a wonderful juxtaposition of nature and in humankind and to talk to the farmers and find the ones that are organic and even farmers that are certified organic. They do so much better than the food that shipped in from heaven knows where and is old and then you’ve got all the fossil fuel going into the shipping. So obvious locally grown organic is the gold standard, but if I can get locally grown from a real farmer, I’ll take it.
Caryn Hartglass: You want to stay away from agribusiness since it’s shipped all over the place.
Victoria Moran: And I think they should be showing that movie, Food Inc., in every classroom in the country.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, there are a number of different documentaries that are really phenomenal. That should get more playing. I understand The Cold is quite a good film, although I haven’t seen it yet either.
Victoria Moran: I’m afraid to see it. You know, it is funny it is mentioned, you have to be informed and we have to know what’s going on out there. I feel like I did so much of that early on. I mean, I went through a slaughterhouse and that way it is not just seeing it, it’s smelling it, hearing it and I’ll never be the same again. And I almost feel like I paid my dues, maybe I don’t have to see everything now.
Caryn Hartglass: I don’t thing you do, I don’t think you need to see it, but I’ve heard it’s an excellent seller.
Victoria Moran: Well, if anybody ask, I’ll say Caryn give me a pass.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, you know there’s a point. I don’t know how much you think about the long attraction, and it certainly got some kind of crazy overplay but, I was always focusing on what we don’t want that might continue what we don’t want and we want to really visualize the things that we want in this world. So yeah, I really don’t need selected factory farming and you don’t need to see the violence of stunt animals. You’re doing a great job envisioning for yourself and for other people the life that they deserve and the life that we all should have a charmed life and joyous life.
Victoria Moran: I totally agree with you. And this is one thing I love about the farm and animal sanctuaries, we’re lucky here in New York that we have three of them that I know of, but they’re all over the country, and if you just take a weekend afternoon, find one of these places take your kid, this is really a way to be able to hold a vision in your side. And it’s all about being happy.
Caryn Hartglass: All right, that’s our end of the show music and it’s been great talking with you, Victoria, this is Victoria Moran, her website is victoriamoran.com. Thank you so much.
Victoria Moran: Take care and all the best.
Caryn Hartglass: And I am Caryn Hartglass and this is It’s All About Food. Thanks so much for listening.
Transcribed by Tri Le 8/9/2014