Meet Ocean Robbins and his “31 Day Food Revolution”
We discuss how:
– Ocean Robbins is the author of the newly released book “31 Day Food Revolution”
– His Food Revolution Network advocates healthy eating to millions of people
– His message is that food is the foundation of health but can also be the foundation of disease
– Also crucial is the link between the food production system and climate change
– The book combines knowledge with action by proposing 31 steps to health
– It moves from an extensive research on more than 400 peer-reviewed scientific journals
– Ocean stresses the importance of probiotics and prebiotics for gut health
– “Trusting your gut” is definitely more than just a concept!
Clint: Well I’m excited thrilled to have our guest today. You know one of the great things about being on a plant-based diet as we are when we follow the Paddison Program is that we’re not only looking after ourselves but we’re looking after the planet we’re looking after animals and so today we have one of the heavyweights with us whose whole family has been involved in this movement for some time so I’m going to give you a little bit of his background in the second I just want to say first of all thank you Ocean Robbins for joining us on this podcast episode.
Ocean Robbins: Oh thank you so much. You know it’s funny with the obesity epidemic being what it is most people don’t want to be called a heavyweight but when it comes to this topic we also want and we take it seriously. So Im gonna take that as a compliment and think that being called a light weight would have been an insult but it’s just kind of funny how words mean different things in different contexts.
Clint: Most definitely, most definitely. So you know you’ve got a fantastic publicist and she has sent me what is what I consider working as a neither side job that I’ve had for nearly 20 years and stand up comedy and hosting corporate events. It’s a fantastic bio and I want good bio ‘cos often mine’s been used for my introductions and so for. So I’m gonna rule out your bio because I think it’s very appropriate given her how much you and your family have achieved so folks can sit back and listen to this short bio before we proceed. Ocean Robin is the author of the newly released book 31 day food revolution. Heal your body feel great and transform the world. He serves as CEO and co-founder of the 500,000 plus member Food Revolution network one of the largest communities of healthy eating advocates on the planet. Ocean has held hundreds of lives seminars and events that have touched millions of lives in a hundred and ninety nations. His grandfather founded Baskin Robbins. That’s right the ice cream chain. So we’ll get into this in a minute. And his father John Robbins walked away from that family company to write bestsellers like diet for a new America and become a renowned health advocate. Now ocean is on a mission to transform the industrialized food culture into one that celebrates and supports healthy people and a healthy planet. So ocean what’s it feel like when I read that out. How do you feel you must feel just like such a great human being to hear that about yourself when it’s run out.
Ocean Robbins: Yeah. I appreciate it. You know I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and the reason I’m proud of it and what my family’s accomplished is because it translates into less people suffering. Less tropical rain forests being cut down for cattle grazing less climates destabilisation, more topsoil for future generations, less farmers getting poisoned in the fields because they’re working with neurotoxic pesticides and more human beings who aren’t losing their loved ones to heart disease and cancer and type 2 diabetes. More people who have the mobility and the levity they need to dance and run and play ‘cos they’re not barred down by excess pounds. So to me the food revolution is about freedom. It’s about vitality and it’s about health for us and for our planet and the fact that I get to spend my life advocating for a food revolution means I get to help people every single day of my life to be healthier and happier and more satisfied and to build a healthier happier world. And so yeah that is a real privilege Clint. It really is and I love that you invited me to join you in this mission and that you are doing so much for so many people and thanks for bringing me into it with you.
Clint: Well as I said earlier it’s absolute pleasure and I wanted from a personal point of view you know. And I never realized I’d have the opportunity to tell this story to yourself but I. The first book that I ever touched that talked about changing to a plant-based diet was your dad’s book and it came into my hands way before I was ready. And I think there is a reluctance to a lot of folks who are following a Western diet who enjoy the Western diet addicted to the Western diet. And I was given the book and I was told You must read this book it was from an American girl. She was in her 20s I was probably a similar age in the late 20s. And I read, I read the book and it’s confronting you know your dad’s book Diet for a new America big American flag on the front of the copy that I had and I’m really and I’m like I couldn’t quite handle the truth that was in there. And this was the first exposure that I had and some of our listeners may have read that book. And it was the first time that I was made aware that what was brought to my attention how much suffering there is for animals and you know the message it took 10 years later for my own health to decline before I then took the leap that was required. But your dad’s been in this moment as a pioneer and then going back earlier. Your grandfather famously started the ice cream chain so perhaps you could walk us through your version of your family history and how you came to see your position as well.
Ocean Robbins: Sure. So as you mentioned my grandpa Irvin Rabins founded an ice cream company the Baskin-Robbins company back in those days in the late 40’s. There were basically three flavors of ice cream there was chocolate strawberry and vanilla. And my grandpa got the idea that there could be a lot more flavors 31 in fact one for each day of the month. So he joined with his brother and Robert Baskin in launching the ice cream company and kind of inventing inventing franchising in the United States. My Dad John grew up with an ice cream cone shaped swimming pool in the backyard and 31 flavors of ice cream in the freezer. He was groomed from early childhood when they joined in running the family company. But when he was in his early 20s he was offered that chance and he said no and he walked away from a path that was practically paved with gold and ice cream too. As we jokingly say in our family follow his own Rocky Road and ended that moving with my mum to a little island off the coast of Canada where they built this one-room log cabin. They grew most of their own food. They lived very simply they practiced yoga and meditation for several hours a day and they named the kid Ocean,of course that would be me. And then when I got a little older my dad ended up becoming a best selling author with the publication of books like diet for a new America and he inspired millions of people to look at their food choices as a chance to make a difference in the world. So I grew up, you know with a family that was obviously up to big things. My grandpa with the ice cream business and then you know my, my dad with the world change in business and then I was inspired by their example. So at the age of 16 I founded a nonprofit organization called “Yes” I traveled the country speaking to school assemblies about the environment and how youth can make a difference in the world and reach more than 650,000 students. And then I started organizing these transformational events for young leaders and the thought was how can we help young people to make a bigger difference on the planet and to take our part as the leaders of the future. So I work with leaders in over 65 countries over the course of 20 years. And what I saw as I organized for a grassroots positive change all over the planet was that everybody eats and that what we’re eating is having this huge effect. Essentially what my dad’s work had been all about with his research and his writings was right on the nose. I sought with my own eyes that the United States was exporting ways of producing food with pesticides and GMO and herbicides and fungicides and mass production.
Ocean Robbins: We were exporting ways of processing it with white flour and white sugar and chemicals with names we can’t pronounce and also starts selling them with KFC and McDonald’s and Baskin-Robbins spreading all over the globe. And that as this was happening all over the planet and waistlines were expanding and hospitals were filling up, people were getting diseases they’d never had before. Like heart disease and cancer and type 2 diabetes which were rare virtually unheard of a couple generations back.
Ocean Robbins: Now they are becoming the primary causes of death in nation after nation from Japan to China from Russia all over the world. And guess where it started, it started in this country and we’re kind of on the front of the curve on this. We now have obesity rates and of overweight rates that are unparalleled except by Mexico which is following along very closely. Two-thirds of our population is overweight or obese. We have more people in the United States right now per capita that are chronically ill that are living with miserable sick frustrating painful debilitating conditions than any population that’s ever lived.
Ocean Robbins: We spend 19 percent of our entire gross domestic product on what we call health care which is really a disease symptom management. Medical treatment is the leading cause of bankruptcy for individuals but it’s also bankrupting our nation. You know Medicare is something we literally can’t afford if we keep spending like we are on disease symptom management by having so many people sick. Costs of Alzheimer’s treatment are expected to triple in the next generation.
Ocean Robbins: So who’s going to pay for all that. My generation is. right?. And so what are we going to do. Well we got a stem to tide by changing what we eat. So I realize that food was at the center of so much and it was a place where we can make a huge impact. And so I decided to join forces in 2012 with my dad directly and we launched food revolution network. We’ve been working online, organizing people all over the world, I’m the CEO we now have more than 500,000 members. We’ve reached millions of people with our mission and our message and we’re just getting started. But you know what lights me up every day of my life is the fact that I get to advocate for something that really truly matters and that helps people you know food’s the foundation of health. Unfortunately, it’s also become the foundation of disease. But we can turn that around.
Clint: Tell us about the food revolution network and how you actually change lives. Tell us how it works.
Ocean Robbins: Absolutely. So food revolution network is an online-based education and advocacy community and you know our goal is healthy ethical and sustainable food for everyone who eats. We really bridge the personal and the social and the systemic or political dimensions of food. So we look a lot at health. You know got to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. But we also need to save the freaking plane you know because we’re in a situation right now where there are some pretty big major problems going on in the world and a lot of them come back to what we eat. Know food is food is fueling climate change, aquifer depletion, you know it’s fueling topsoil erosion. It’s it’s creating conditions where deserts are growing and are we may or may not be able to feed humanity in a generation or two because we’re on a collision course with the collapse of our food production systems because we’re being so unsustainable. But the good news is we can turn that around. So food revolution now is standing for a real revolution in our health, in our bodies, in our relationship with food and also in how we consume foods that serve a healthier planet for all of us. And we do that to online Tell Us summits, classes. E-mail, newsletter, blog, and article we have you know millions of people visiting our blog get food revolution.org every year. And now our newest initiative, the one that I’m most excited about right now is a new book “31-day food revolution” which I’ve just released and I’m so excited about it. The subtitle is “Healing your body, Feel great and Transform your world.” And I really captured our message and I’m putting it into simple actionable steps you can take every day to get the results you want.
Clint: I love having tied in the 31-day length with the 31 flavors from that wasn’t (inaudible).
Ocean Robbins: Oh you notice that ha.
Clint: I notice that one yeah, and what I also find impressive after looking at the 31-day food revolution website is the endorsement. I mean you’ve got some endorsements from very very prominent people in the world not just in the plant based world like Dean Ornish andDr. Greger and so forth but from Paul McCartney. I mean the opportunity to reach a large audience is obviously there with this book. But can you tell us when did it launch. Where can people get it and then we’ll go into details about why did you write it and so forth. Give us a short promotion about the book.
Ocean Robbins: Absolutely. Well so so the book is, it came out February 5th. And it’s about really how you can put this into action you know at the end of the day. Cancer doesn’t care a heck of a lot how much you know or how many podcasts you listen to or how many books you read. No. No offense to either of us Clint, but at the end of the day Cancer does care what you eat and how you live. So do heart disease and arthritis and all of the other major ailments and challenges that we’re facing right now. And so my goal is to help people get relief and to help people put what we know into action. You know I think a lot of what we face isn’t a crisis of not knowing what to do it’s not doing what we know. If all that was needed was for people to know we need to eat more vegetables we need to eat less sugar and processed junk, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic in America. But unfortunately just knowing it isn’t enough. And so I’ve been in stood if looking at what does it take to turn knowledge into action so you can get real results. My book combines knowledge with action every single chapter ends with simple action steps you can take to put it into practice that 31 chapters because of course at the end of the day 31 steps to health will give you more satisfaction and more joy even than 31 flavors of ice cream and I divided the book into four parts and part one is detoxify and that’s where we really look at how you can simply and easily with your body your health your kitchen your life of toxins some of which you may not even know are there and they could be making you sick. And part two is narration that’s what we look at how you can really saturate your body with wonderful micronutrients and macronutrients that help you thrive in it. We look at the best foods for fighting cancer and dementia and inflammation and heart disease and how you can bring all that down and bring your joy in your life up. and then and then part three is gather. That’s what we look at the social side of food. You know a lot of us think that we’re lone wolves most diet books out there treat it like you can just change your diet all by yourself. But guess what we’re connected to food with a lot of other people. We share meals whether or not in households than at work and family gatherings and all kinds of events and places. So when you get the social side supporting you instead of fighting against you then it actually helps you to stay on your path. And the key is learning how to navigate tricky social dynamics so everyone wins and everyone feels respected and loved. You don’t all have to agree but you can all agree that everyone should feel respected in their food choices and values. And then we also look at how you can be a positive influence on people you love without feeling like you’re shoving an ideology down their throats. And then in part four, Transform. The focus is on how food can be a tool of positive change. You know the food revolution is one you can fight with your knife and your fork. And this revolution has no losers. Everyone wins, you win, your community wins, your family wins your whole planet wins. So we look at their global impact and the political impact in how food can be a way to to make a difference on this planet that we love. And I’m gonna suggest that everybody listening right now I’m sure you care about the world we live in and a lot of us have become cynical because it can feel like the problems we’re facing are so freaking overwhelming that it’s easy to lose hope. But what I’m saying is that when you actually know you can do something you do. You know if there was if there was somebody you love was suffering and you knew that a simple action you could take would make a huge difference in their life. I bet you would do it, if you really knew what mattered. Yet we become cynical because we’re sick of brainwashing, people lying to us and telling us that something matters and it turns out it was an empty promise. You know politicians that secure our votes with empty promises and at the end of the day they don’t deliver and a lot of us deal with this and we get cynical but I’m saying that when it comes to food you have immense power to make an impact in a positive constructive way and the spoiler alert is it’s a heck of a lot easier to change the world than you’ve ever imagined. I’ll show you how.
Clint: Yeah fantastic. Well, that’s writing a book like this with the objective to cover so much like you have is a big a big task. Okay, so other people may have felt that they have tackled everything at once which it sounds like your book does. Quite so you’ve got you’ve got the challenge of people finding it hard to transition to a plant-based diet not knowing if they can. And so what do you think. What problems mostly do you think the book solves for folks.
Ocean Robbins: Oh well it solves our confusion about what’s healthy and what’s not. Because you know I’m not trying to push an ideology I’m trying to help you get healthy and get the results you want. And so I look at what that medical research actually says. Pulling from more than 400 scientific journals that are peer-reviewed in the course of the book. I’ve spent a lot of time researching and you don’t have to you can guess the distilled wisdom. But we actually have thousands of medical studies that I point in the same direction. Medical science is not nearly as confused as most of us think about what human beings actually need to eat if we want to get results and get healthy. So I share that I break it down and make it simple and easy and accessible. And this isn’t about some fundamentalist ideology it’s about basic science and put it into practice if you actually want to be healthy. And then I also solve the problem of apathy and lethargy by giving simple bite-sized steps you can take to get momentum to get results and to keep on going. And in fact not only is there one action step for every chapter. There are actually three because I want to meet people where they are. So some people are more advanced some people that are more early on the path wherever you are. I welcome you. This is a big tent approach. And one of the other beautiful things I think about the food revolution there’s room, there’s room for everybody in this revolution. So if you’re a mainstream kind of eater who is struggling to give up you know Twinkies, Welcome to the club. You know that there is room for you here and let’s help you make some progress so you can get the results you want. And if you’re like long term hardcore vegan who is trying to figure out whether or not a teaspoon of honey is okay and your green tea. You know welcome to the club you know. I help you solve that one because you can always take more steps. And I’ll bet you if you’re in that position you probably have some friends and loved ones who don’t eat quite the way you do. And maybe there is a bit of tension around that and I help you navigate that. So wherever you are. I welcome you. Let’s let’s move forward together let’s get informed and let’s make some progress and let’s take some action.
Clint: Yeah. The latter is where we insist more at. We’ve got a lot of people who have been following a plant-based diet for a long period of time. They’ve got all the nuances down and their questions are more like the teaspoon of honey style. So that’s going to be very helpful. You’ve got a product the website page here and I’m just looking at part to nourish which you mention before as you walk through each of the four parts you talk about heal your gut. Now this is a big focus of what we do when we’re attempting to reduce inflammation and get well from tricky, very difficult diseases like I called them mean diseases. Once, there are a couple of things we advocate for healing the gut and I’d like to get your input on this and maybe some other ideas and talk a lot about leafy green leafy greens to feed their gut bacteria. And focusing on easy to digest foods things like quinoa and buckwheat that are alkalizing and so forth. Any other ideas around this that you found suitable for your book.
Ocean Robbins: So the core of the two main things that you need to understand if you want to heal your gut are prebiotics and probiotics. So probiotics are more well known. They are the good bacteria that you know that digest your food and then produce the neurotransmitters that give your brain the nourishment it needs to be happy and well. They say that gut is like your second brain and it really it’s only when we think about trusting our gut. Well, that’s more than just a concept. There’s actual science behind it. Your gut has incredible wisdom and a lot of that wisdom isn’t actually yours. It’s your bacteria. You know you have a couple of pounds of bacteria in your digestive tract. And they are they have more DNA by far than you do and they are what kind of makes the world go round way more than you recognize. So you want to obviously feed the good guys. And that’s where probiotics come in because it’s actually really hard when you’re taking probiotics to have them make it all the way down to the lower intestine where they do their magic. A lot of them die because your stomach is like a P-H of what three or something. So it is very acidic and it’s actually designed to kill critters. So they don’t tend to make it down very easily some do and probiotics can be helpful. But prebiotics is kind of where it’s at because that’s where you feed the good guys who are already there and help the ones that make it their prosper and what they love to eat is fiber. There are a lot of different kinds of fiber. And the average American gets less than half the recommended daily allowance for fiber. We get about 15 grams a day the recommended amount is about 30 but our paleolithic ancestors got about 100. So it could be that we should be getting you know five six, eight times more than we are right now. And I’ll tell you where fiber is it’s in whole plant foods. It’s not in animal products. There is absolutely zero fiber in any meat dairy eggs fish. None of them have any fiber whatsoever. So if you want to get more fiber it’s whole plant but there’s also no fiber in bottled oils. There’s very little in white flour. There’s very little in sugar but there’s a lot in vegetables. There’s a lot in legumes and there’s actually quite a bit in whole grains. So from a fiber standpoint these are your friend and are less than 5 percent of the US population gets the recommended amount but you can be an at 5 percent and you can even go beyond that and you’ll get tremendous benefits because the fiber is what the good bacteria love. Now there are certain kinds of fiber that are extra yummy for them. There are their treats. And if you really want to be the good guys then give them the treat. So that’s where some of my favorites jicama is incredibly high and wonderful fiber and also Jerusalem artichoke.
Clint: Jerusalem artichokes thank goodness. Sorry, what was the one prior to that I’d never heard that before.
Ocean Robbins: Jicama, Jicama
Clint: What’s Jicama?
Ocean Robbins: Jicama is that. It’s a white collared tuber that it goes underground. It tastes kinda like an apple but a little less sweet and it’s a vegetable but it’s green in salads. And some people just like to chop it up and eat it you know in slivers or slices. You can even chop it really thin and make a wrap with it because it kind of holds together and it can wrap around stuff. But Jicama is a really amazingly underappreciated superfood when it comes to feeding the good bacteria in your gut. And then you know bananas have some good a wonderful nourishment for the good bacteria.
Clint: Starch right?
Ocean Robbins: Yeah. Yeah. Those are a few my favorite acacia gum Bao abab. These are things we don’t eat very much. Right. Sometimes people get them in powders if you’re looking for some prebiotic powders and it’s not a bad supplement to take on a sip. You had to choose between taking a prebiotic supplement and a probiotic I’d probably go at the prebiotic because that’s really how you feed the good guys and the truth is right now you’ve got them you’ve just, you just may not have enough of them. Now let me add to that they also don’t want to feed the bad guys. So there are some bacteria but we know are bad like e-coli or you know salmonella. But there are other bacteria that are that are kind of bad that you probably don’t want in your stomach either. And guess what they love. They love sugar. And very interesting they love sugar. They love processed junk. And when you eat that stuff you actually are populating your digestive track with bacteria that like to eat that. Now they’re going to actually send signals to your body to say they’re hungry and they want more. So if you feed the good guys they’re going to make you crave good foods. But if you feed the bad guys you’re going to make you crave bad foods. So this is one I think thus the under-recognized element of the science of food addiction is that there are a lot of elements to it of course but one of them is that there are bacteria in your gut that actually get addicted to junk food and make you think that you want it, if they made you
Clint: Yeah most definitely. So if you were to if you were just overly generalized this, would say that sugar is the predominant source for feeding the bad guys? Would you go so far to say that? or could we also include fats or what else perhaps. ?
Ocean Robbins: I think Sugar feeds bad guys and I think animal products are a wasted opportunity because they don’t provide any fiber for the good guys. Right. Nice. I don’t think they literally feed the bad guys. Yeah but what you really want to do is not just. You know get rid of the bad stuff but actually say yes to the good stuff but I’m really interested in crowding out the bad with the good. So it’s not about depriving yourself a lot of people take away their doughnuts and the coke and the steak and whatever else and then they look at their plate and all they got is a little side of plain mashed potatoes and some peas or something and they’re like What am I going to eat right now. You want to fill your plate with all kinds of wonderful foods and you base your diet around that and then and then you get the results at the end of the day you know an ice cream cone is not going to kill anybody neither is a doughnut once in a blue moon it’s what you do day in and day out that matters the most. But some of us like to draw bright lines because we can’t trust ourselves to eat a little bit of something. You know that you can eat just one isn’t just a catchy marketing slogan, it’s actually a threat. And unfortunately, one that the company delivers on there are a lot of foods out there that people can’t eat just one because they’ve been scientifically designed to manipulate our taste buds and our brains to crave them and want more and get addicted to them and to not know when we are full. So you gotta stay away from that stuff. There are 1400 chemicals in the modern diet that are added by the processed food industry additives, flavourings, colourings. All this stuff emulsifiers, they’re all added to our food. Most of them have never been tested for the real long term impact on human beings. Now we wonder why we got an obesity epidemic. Well our food has become food-like products and it’s toxic and it’s killing us. That’s why it’s time to make a change. Now a lot of people listening might say oh I don’t eat that stuff. You know I don’t go to McDonald’s I don’t drink coke, I know I’m way ahead of that. Let me say that the toxic food culture makes you make it seem because normal is so bad for a lot of us it makes it seem like you’re doing you can be doing way better than the other folks around you. You can still not be in a place that is optimal. Yeah. And so I think part of the food revolution is lovingly and gently starting where you are and then moving towards where you really want to be. And most of us could eat a whole lot more vegetables than we are. Let me just make this really clear you could eat five times the average American’s helping of vegetables and be nowhere near what’s best because the average American doesn’t get hardly any. So you know I think you could eat a couple pounds of vegetables a day and still get more. They’re a lot good for you. I mean the science is just absolutely overwhelming. So all kinds of vegetables obviously we hear about kale a lot. But you can even go with cabbage. Mean cabbage isn’t that expensive. Find ways to love it and enjoy it learn to love foods that love your back and your body will thank you for the rest of your life.
Clint: I once did a glass of cabbage juice through the juicer and nearly vomited. So that was a.. that stuff go on.
Ocean Robbins: Don’t recommend that not for the faint of heart.
Clint: If you drink a glass of pure cabbage juice, you’ve really, you (inaudible) has adjusted in in a very very aggressive manner to be able to handle that. So.
Ocean Robbins: Yeah I know, cabbage is one of those things that gets weirder when it gets cooked.
Clint: Right. right
Ocean Robbins: You know, coleslaw I mean, you can enjoy that. It’s got a nice crunch to it. But some food. Onions are another one. They just totally change when they’re cooked. Yes, and it’s why you know I have loved raw foods and there’s a lot of benefits to it. But sometimes we can eat more of things when they’re cooked because they’re softer and they get sweeter and more palatable. So obviously you have to find what works for you but I think a whole mixture of raw and cooked is optimum.
Clint: That’s exactly my conclusion after doing eight months for raw with raw foods and finding that I got tremendous pain relief but I was unable to sustain my weight even eating more than my daily required intake of nuts and seeds that were being soaked and activated. And it was you know it had great benefits. But then when I was able to add some more cooked foods back in then my body found further healing path after that. But people know my story. We will know more about yours. Getting back to the book you know we talked about healing the gut in Part 2 Chapter or part number 12 with in part 2 is how to love eating vegetables. So let’s continue down this vegetable path. Can you give us a couple of ideas from the book about how we can love our vegetables more?
Ocean Robbins: Yeah yeah absolutely. This is let me say this is one of the challenges a lot of people face is you know we think about all the kids who are told you can have dessert after you eat your vegetables and they (inaudible) their face and ate. Fight their way to it and they maybe even try to hide it in their lap. You know because it becomes a chore right now and a lot of us feel that way we make great our teeth and do it or not. But at the end of the day you’re probably not going to persevere with something if you don’t learn to enjoy it because most of us want to enjoy our lives. And it’s a whole lot easier to live them abundantly if we surround ourselves with is enjoyable as well as good. So how do you make eating vegetables enjoyable? Well one thing you can do is add them to all kinds of things you can try making them a centerpiece rather than a side dish, so you know making spaghetti and then you use the zucchini pasta or try making a wonderful curry sauce and then putting it over veggies with a look at look at your potato or your sweet potato or your quinoa or legumes as a side and put vegetables in the centre of your plate make sauces you love, use spices.
Ocean Robbins: Spices are so underappreciated on their culinary value. I mean around the world they’re not around the world in most countries. Spices are the centerpiece of what makes cultural cuisine what it is, but in the US, in the UK and Australia and a lot of the so-called civilised developed world that’s how we think of ourselves, we have completely lost touch with the power of spices we use salt and sugar and fat to flavour our foods or we’re missing out on so much fun. I mean there’s nothing wrong with salt sugar or fat inherently but when they become how you add flavor and you miss out on the incredible savory and sweet and pungent flavors that are available from spices you’re missing so much fun. So spices also have incredible healing value and they’re a great thing you’ll make friends with your spice rack with your sauces and currys and add them to veggies and you get a whole new flavor in the mix. Learn to also cross the savory and sweet lines up. We’re finding we can use Pineapple in all kinds of savory dishes. We can add spices even like allspice or not make or cinnamon sometimes to a savory dish. And then for that matter try some chili in a sweet dish, you know chili chocolate. I mean we’re finding that sometimes these lines get crossed and the food gets a whole lot more interesting. As far as vegetables specifically with kids it’s nice to chop them in funny shapes and make little cutouts. Having them on hand when hunger strikes is important. We had a time a little while back and we were noticing as we were making dinner our kids were getting snarky and they were rummaging through the cupboards finding whatever they can grab and they were filling up on that and then we’d make dinner and put it on the table. They’re like “sorry we’re full.”
Ocean Robbins: So what we started doing was we’ve steamed a (inaudible) part of veggies and put it on the table along with maybe hummus or some kind of a dip in sauce. Sometimes we just put out carrots or celery and some peanut butter whatever it was we get some healthy stuff out there on the table and if they want to fill up let them fill up on veggies and our kids have literally devoured an entire head of cabbage before dinner and they sit down and if they’re full and I was like “no problem kids. You’re doing great.”
Ocean Robbins: So the same is true for us. Snacks comprise about a quarter of our calories typically. They’re like another meal. It’s about 600 calories a day for the average American and most of those snacks were some of the worst foods. Right. They tend to be highly processed. Things you can grab and go that have come out of a package. So if you can plan ahead snack on your hummus with carrots and celery snack on your peanut butter logs in celery snack on you know some steamed kale or veggies and that’s a snack you don’t feel guilty about. And if you get the munchies late at night go for it or not that long ago our son River was you got the munchies he’d already brush his teeth. And snacking on you know cabbage steamed cabbage. And I think his dentist might not approve but this is kind of cool attributes late-night doughnut binges. You know so when you actually surround yourself with healthy foods then they become the path of least resistance because that’s what they are. And a lot of the key is stocking the right things and having the right things on hand and frankly having them ready to go when you need them. Because most of us if you like me you get busy and you don’t want to stop and spend 45 minutes in the kitchen in the middle of your busy day or before you go off to work first thing in the morning. So planning ahead in quantity is really helpful and then finding the ways that worked for you. You can also add veggies to everything from smoothies to pasta sauces,a lasagna. You know just keep sticking them in there even with other foods. It’s amazing how it all adds up and you can wind up just learning to love veggies more and more and more. Your taste bud will change. The other thing I want to say. they really do evolve. They have a pretty high amount of turnover every two weeks so even just as little as a couple weeks they can literally change what things taste like and how they feel and new habits get formed.
Ocean Robbins: If it rains the water flows into the point of lowest land area and it will go into grooves and eventually they become gulleys and eventually creeks and eventually rivers. And what we all know is that those pathways tend to be pretty consistent from winter to winter. Well, I live in California so it rains in the winter here but from rainy. Rainstorm to rainstorm, the water go where it usually does. And those queues get deeper. So my point is that habits are kind of like that and when you create use your will power to create new habits then your path of least resistance becomes the healthy one. Yeah and that’s the right use of will power not to fight in the middle of a rainstorm to push the water to go in the right place. But when it’s sunny when it’s clear, go out there in your field and find the spark that the water goes and create the groove you want and that’s where it’ll go the next time it rains.
Clint: Nice. Yeah, I like that. Now I have a question for you. This is relevant to part three in your (inaudible). You have a number 21 of the 31 different sections is eat well when you go out. Now what we find with inflammatory arthritis is that oil’s vegetable oils really tend to stir up inflammation in the body. I’d just like to get your own thoughts regarding whether you’ve observed that yourself with the people you’ve worked with, talked to spoken with had questions at seminars whatever. And also whether or not you mentioned this in your book and whether or not oils are something that Ocean Robbins considers okay or not.
Ocean Robbins: I’m not a big fan of bottled oils, I’m not a big fan of processed anything. You know I think there’s a place for processing now and then a little bit of it’s not going to kill you most likely. I mean there are conditions where it actually could but in most cases for most people most of the time it’s all about the dose determines the poison and moderation of anything can generally survive not maybe not Dioxin. But you know most things however they’re not good for you. They are processed food. What we’ve done is we’ve taken a whole food whether it’s rapeseed or you know soybean or corn or sunflower seeds or olives and we’ve stripped away the fiber and a lot of the vitamins and minerals and we’ve just pulled out the oil which is not unlike what happens when you create processed sugar or refined flour. You strip away a bunch of food and you’re left with just a piece of it and then we use that for various purposes so inherently there’s kind of a problem with that oil concept unless you’re using it as a supplement. Now there are some supplements that can be helpful. In general, I think we should get nutrients from food but there’s a lot of data telling us that most of us do better with some vitamin B12. On its 5 percent of the American public not just vegans are deficient in B12 and there are also issues with Vitamin D3. We’re finding the Vitamin D is something that most of us don’t get enough. We’re not in the sun nearly as much as our ancestors were and we’re paying a terrible price for that. So those are a couple of supplements I highly recommend and then omega 3 fatty acids are another which brings us back to the oil piece. Because DHA and EPA, in particular, are two of the omega 3 fatty acids that you can’t get from plant foods except the algae and most of us don’t eat a heck of a lot of algae. So if you’re interested in getting EPA and DHA you either need to incorporate some fish into your diet or you need to supplement with some algae sourced EPA and DHA and that’s oil. You can also take some flax soil or incorporate flax seed and chia seeds better yet into your diet ideally ground up there to be able to really absorb them and that can be good for fighting inflammation too by the way omega 3s are strong inflammation fighters. But you know at the end of the day there’s a place for that but it’s you know it’s a supplement. You don’t want to base your diet around it. And some people who are trying to avoid oils altogether eating out can be tricky because restaurants are catering to a public that’s used to certain tastes and cuisines. And frankly, we live in a society that is overwhelmed it’s practically swimming in oil and salt and sugar. And so depending on you know how far you want to go and what your particular dietary pattern is eating out can be more or less difficult. Some of the top tips are you can actually search online for a healthy restaurant in a specific area and you may be surprised to find some you didn’t even know about that advertised themselves that way. Obviously just because somebody appears on that list doesn’t mean they are healthy.
Ocean Robbins: But it may be or if you’re a vegetarian or vegan go ahead and put that in there and you’ll find that if when they created their website if they took the time to say healthy or vegan or vegetarian then at least they want to cater to that audience so it’s a certain filter right. And then check out their menus online to see what’s there. You can do a little advance research so you don’t wind up in a place that can’t accommodate your needs or when you walk in and ask for the menu first thing. If you’re going out with friends or loved ones and they go into a place that doesn’t have anything on the menu that you would typically want to eat you can decide are you willing to compromise or not but you can also order what I call off the menu which is to say you can make special requests with all the ingredients that they already have and many restaurants want to accommodate you. I was in a hotel not too long ago and they didn’t have anything I could eat but I really want to hang out with my friends. So I ordered. I asked them to combine a unique mix and I ended up with a sweet potato and a curry sauce from another dish they had and a bunch of chilies and then I had a different spices and then I got side of like three different sides of vegetables and I had a feast you know I wasn’t it wasn’t the hyped gourmet cuisine but it definitely worked. None of what I ate was actually on the menu per say yeah but they had all the ingredients and they were happy to accommodate. They were a little confused on how to bill me but we worked it out. Everyone wanted something that was fair and you know you can do that. They are in the business of serving you and I tell you what if enough people make requests like that, I’ll bet you before long a restaurant like that’s going to serve sweet potatoes with curry sauce on the menu because you know what. That’s how the world changes. When I was a kid, restaurants didn’t even know what vegetarian was. They were like oh we got the chicken over here you know. And nowadays they do and they often even have vegetarian menus or sections of the menu. And this is becoming common and all started because people asked. So same thing if you’re oil-free ask for it let them know what your needs are. And a lot of them can accommodate if they don’t have a chef that it can accommodate, then I am guessing that they’re probably not on the leading edge of healthy food and that’s a place you can go once in a while but it’s probably not what you want to depend on for your for your health.
Clint: Absolutely yeah and some great ideas that you get regarding to picking from different food items on the menu and being able to say well look you really have that let’s combine that and that you know I’ve never quite gone that far but that’s a level of creativity that I’m going to apply next time as well. So I know we come in up to our time when you’ve been generous with your time with us. I’d like you to before me just direct people to where they can get a copy of your book. How do you see the future of this plant-based movement going? I certainly I’ve seen a massive shift as you just alluded to with restaurants catering more towards plant-based leaders certainly vegetarians. Where do you see as a family with yourself and your dad and I’m sure you know your children going forward as next generation. Do you see a future in which most human beings are eating a plant-based diet?
Ocean Robbins: Well I mean it is remarkable how fast plant-based eating has spread in the number of Americans who identify as vegan has increased fourfold in the last 40 years. I’m not kidding. I mean that’s a major change. The number of Germans who are eating a no or low meat diet has increased from 22 percent over 40 percent in the last few years. It’s amazing than the number of Brits or going plant-based has like doubled in the last few years so all over the world we’re seen a radical shift. Now is there is that does that mean that it’s going to become normal to be vegan. I’d be a little surprised to be honest with you it could be but I think that the acceptability of being plant-based of driving most of our calories from whole plant foods that’s growing fast and I don’t think that’s going anywhere anytime soon. If you look at the blue zones, the places in the world where people live the longest healthiest lives. This has been documented by Dan Buettner for National Geographic. We see that generally the people in those regions I mean they’re very varied in their diets and their life patterns but they all get a lot of exercise. They all have strong family bonds. They all have stress reduction tools and methods built into their lives and they all lead a predominantly whole foods plant-based diet. They are of the five official blue zones. Four of them are not vegetarian or vegan per se but they get between 5 and 10 percent of their calories from animal products and what actually is tending towards vegetarian or vegan. And that’s Loma Linda California. But there are you know five or 10 percent or zero percent is a far cry from 34 percent which is what we average in the United States. The average American gets thirty-four percent of calories from animal products and about 50 percent from processed foods and animal products. So what’s what’s left is you know 16 percent or so from whole plant foods. And we need to put that on its head if we get 85 percent from all plant foods we’re doing pretty darn good. If people want to go to 100 percent at the end of the day what matters is the direction we move. And whether you go sort of all the way or most of the way is up to a lot of different factors. Your personal choice your life context your health history and reality your environment your stage of life what resources you have financial and otherwise. But I think that at the end of the day the direction most of us need to move is super clear and I think a lot of us are you know we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired or hungry for a change. We are fed up with toxic food. And we’re making a difference with our own lives and in the culture. And this is a part that I think is actually really exciting. Every single person who chooses to take a stand for healthier food is actually a leader. Because to be a leader is to do something different than the norm. For reasons of conscience or intentionality or purpose and that naturally creates a gravitational pull away from the norm and towards a new possibility. People feel the conviction they feel the purpose they feel the values and they frankly see your health and they want to be more like you. So that’s how we get momentum in this food revolution and the food industry which has made billions it’s made a killing of making us sick. It’s starting to get with the program more and more food companies are realising that they’ve lost the trust of the consumer. And then if they just focus on selling processed junk and trying to make it as tasty and appealing and fattening as possible they are going to kill their customers and they’re going to lose their business and so more and more of these companies are starting to slowly look at how they can make changes and partly for marketing and PR reasons partly because they actually genuinely want to do the right thing. And I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I think we’re going to see more and more companies are reducing their ingredients reducing the amount of toxins reducing the amount of sugar by more and more organic natural non gmo all food offerings on market and supermarkets in restaurants sent in our kitchens.
Clint: Yeah absolutely. It is exciting and you know I was reading about reports about you know meat and dairy industries investing their own money into plant based alternatives. So there’s this cross pollination or cross covering all bases from those industries as they see those plant based product lines on the rise. So you know they know better they know things are shifting. They can see which direction the money’s going and they don’t want to miss out on that as well. But there’s so much we could talk about. There’s so many other things I want to chat with you about but people can get a ton more from you from your fantastic book “31 day of food revolution” by Ocean Robbins. You can get it by going to that name 31 day Food Revolution which is 31 the number food revolution dotcom online and also join the food revolution group. Go across to food revolution and be able to get those information products, E-mails and so forth an online training regarding how to eat healthier and as a result improve not just your own life but to save the planet. Let’s face it. And with endorsements that you have you know from Paul McCartney and so many other prominent others like Tony Robbins obviously no relation but we’re talking Anthony Robbins the coach and so many others go. Check it out. This is a fantastic book that I’m going to actually I’m waiting on my copy, your publicist sent me a copy in the mail so I’m waiting on my, it didn’t quite arrive before I (inaudible). But I’m very excited to read it. And I want to thank you for coming on and sharing what you’ve shared with us today and also from a personal viewpoint having such fantastic speakers such as yourself such pioneers in this field to be in our court and on our team and helping to shape the way that people think about food and what it’s doing to their bodies and and how it can impact so many things other than than just themselves. It’s really great to have you out there doing what you’re doing. Writing books like this and hopefully we can meet in person one day at an event or something. And I really enjoy that. So thanks very much for coming on the episode.
Ocean Robbins: Thank you so much. Clint and everybody who’s listening. Thank you for caring. Thank you for investing your most precious resource which is your time and attention, in learning. You know food can be medicine it can be healing it can be medicine for you and it can also be medicine for our society and in our planet. So thank you for learning and engaging and for your partnership in this food revolution. Let’s do this. And with my book 31 day food revolution can support you on your path I am real. That’s why I wrote it. So go ahead and check it out. You can also get it from your local bookstore. And thank you for your partnership in this revolution. We are just getting started but we can do some big things together. I know it and thank you so much Clint.
Clint: Awesome. Thanks Ocean