And we were really amazed that people were lined up. They had to kick us off stage because we ran out of samples and people were in line to get them. So that really says anything. And you know cooking is about love. You know it’s about sharing your love for your family, that you want them to have something really nutritious, delicious, and you know it’s from your heart. So that’s my thing.
Hey there, and welcome to Rise and Thrive with me, Ella Majors. I created this high vibe podcast from a place of profound curiosity, fierce compassion and the deep desire to connect you with the wisdom of inspirational wellness, health, fitness and conscious leaders and change makers. Here’s to discovering our blind spots and embracing life as the adventure it is. The time is now. Let’s do this. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, hey, hey everyone, hi. I’m going to start this episode, or this intro, off with a celebration, and the reason I’m doing that is because that’s how I start all of my individual and group coaching sessions. We like to acknowledge first what is working in our lives, what we are grateful for, before getting into the ways we’re struggling right and the challenges that we’re facing and sometimes the challenges are the celebrations right, so, yeah, so what I’m celebrating today is getting back to boxing. It had been maybe a month since I trained and that is because, leave it to me, I injured my neck, my spine, right where the cervical spine meets the thoracic spine, and I did this by overdoing it. Imagine that, yes, that’s something I am still constantly working on myself in terms of overdoing chin stance in yoga. So, yes, we can even get injured in yoga, and what I had decided I really wanted to do my new goal was to be able to lower myself down from a handstand to a chin stand right. So I was practicing, and practicing, and practicing and I just threw my spine way out of whack, which is yeah, it’s frustrating. I just sometimes want to move through the world as if I am super human, and in some ways maybe I am, and otherwise obviously I am not. So I have laid off the chin stands, got some help from my friend Yoav, who is a spine specialist and, yeah, he actually is in part two of the Fitness for Longevity video series that I put together in collaboration with Complement for their Plant-Up Palooza event that many of you are probably a part of, because I had been promoting that the last few episodes. Anywho got back to boxing, was able to really get in there and get some sparring in. I just posted on Instagram. If you’re not following me, follow at Sexy Fit Vegan. I also have my personal on there, which I have not put hardly any attention to at Ella Majors at Sexy Fit Vegan is kind of where it’s at, so check that out if you want to get a little inspiration around boxing.
Muay Thai has been my thing for many, many years and, yeah, boxing is just my moving meditation. It brings me to a place when you’re sparring and when I’m hitting the mitts with my coach. You really cannot be anywhere else in your mind If I’m not totally present, totally in flow, totally there in the moment. If I’m not, then things are going to go down, and I don’t want to go down, I’m going to get punched in the face or whatever it is, and when I’m in flow, wow, there’s just nothing better. So that’s my celebration. I hope you are thinking right now of what you are celebrating, even in the midst of so much going on in the world. I’m sure in your own life the challenges, the struggles, the sadness, the separation and I think one of the best ways that we can do something positive is to work on our own vibrations, our own frequencies. And so, yeah, I feel like for me, the more I can be in my flow state, the more I’m contributing, and, of course, the podcast is another great way. So, thank you so much. I am just so grateful for your support, for you listening, and, yeah, it turns out.
I jumped the gun last week and actually I’m not going to say jumped the gun. I’m really working on choosing words wisely and intentionally and I’ve cut out lots of those common idioms that are cruel to animals. You know, I kill two birds with one stone. That’s not cool. What about I feed two birds with one scone? I like that one. So, anyway, what I did last week was announce that this week would be a co-host situation with Quinn, who I’m referring to as my person. I guess you could call him a boyfriend. It’s a relatively new relationship, but I feel like I’ve found my person and when it comes to my dog.
We say my dog and I call myself shy’s person, not her owner. I don’t own her, I’m her person. And, yeah, boyfriend just doesn’t quite cut it, and that’s why I’m really excited for you to meet him, which will happen in just a couple episodes, most likely next episode. So, that being said, I want to get to you today’s episode, which is fabulously fun and insightful and actionable as well. Before I do, are you signed up to receive my monthly newsletter, the one I call the Way? And the Way stood for the Way Out Is Through, and now I am debating on if the Way Out Is Through or the Way Out Is In. So I’m glad I just called it the Way, because this is something I’m contemplating. I created it thinking the Way Out Is Through, and I still believe the Way Out Is Through, but I also think the Way Through is in. Ah, what about that? All right, anyway, I send out a monthly newsletter once a month and it has my top five latest bad-ass discoveries, insights and explorations. I’m talking about books, I’m reading quotes, I’m pondering podcasts, I’m listening to food, I’m eating recipes, I’m trying workouts, I’m doing and recommending gadgets, I’m playing with. You know all sorts of fun stuff. So I definitely recommend. It only happens once a month and the link to get on that list is in the show notes. So, yeah, sign up for that. It’s fun, all right.
Now let’s get to today’s episode. I had the pleasure of interviewing the hosts of the lifestyle brand Plant-based in the Burps. That’s Sherry Johnson, aka Sherry Sherry, who is a fitness expert, entrepreneur and the founder of W29 Activewear. Paige Parsons-Roch is a longtime friend of mine. She’s an eco-vegan event and media producer and communications director. Together, sherry and Paige bring the let’s Chat show to Instagram Live, weekly, showcasing various impactors in the vegan space. I was one of those guests and I will be again.
They also are featured chefs on the Unchained TV global streaming network, provide cooking demos at VegFest and Community Offense, as well as offer uplifting content on their YouTube channel, plant-based in the Burps. Speaking of YouTube, you can also watch this episode and all the episodes of Rise and Thrive on my YouTube channel, and that’s the Sexy, Fit, vegan channel. So if you go to our podcast page link is in the show notes you can click on over to that YouTube channel and watch if you’d like. All right, you guys, let’s do this. All right, we are doing this. I am so, so thrilled to have you both here. Sherry and Paige, thank you for being here, and we saw each other just not that long ago at the Vegan Women’s Summit.
Yes, so good to be here.
Thanks for having us A thousand percent. This was meant to be, and I’m going to kick us off with a question that I’m just I don’t know. This is a question that, for some reason, I think I’m going to start asking everyone, so it’s a little different. So we’ll start with you, sherry. How about that? Beyond your bio and all the accomplishments and accolades, who is Sherry Johnson? Who is she?
Well, one woman, two, mother and wife. I’m very energetic. I am tenacious. I love helping people. That’s just part of me. I love inspiring people to make change and I’ve always been that way. I love talking to strangers. I’m very outgoing, but I do have a side where I do like to be a loner at. Sometimes. I like to have my own peace and quiet. Let’s see what else am I? That’s a good question. That’s a good question because most of us don’t think of ourselves. Beside the titles that we have, I’m still a dreamer. I’m a kid of heart and I’m always dreaming big and I’m always dreaming and I’m always thinking of ideas. That’s something that’s innate in me. So I love people and I love being loved. I love relationships with others. I think that’s how I can sum it up.
Love it, I love it, and you Paige. You stole everything I was kidding, I was kidding.
Yeah, no, you started so beautifully there. Woman, mother, wife, passionate, being committed to causes that matter to me and I feel that matter to change the world in a way that’s a positive. I wasn’t always this way, I really wasn’t, but something clicked in me in my 20s and I realized I wanted to make an impact bigger than just my small world. I wanted to really make an impact to leave a difference for the future generations. I am, I say, passionate and I’m also very go at it. When I see something I want to just do, really go for it, and I would say my family would say mom doesn’t stop. So I’m unstoppable and let’s see, a lover of the ocean. I’ve also fallen in love with the mountains. I live near the mountains, so I love nature and I love making educational difference with kids as well, for the future.
Yeah, yeah, I love it and I know when you talked about that, I just composting just came into my head, and so I think we’re going to have to get to composting. When I was a little kid, so I was born in a little log cabin with an outhouse and we had a little garden and all that, and my dad was really big into composting. Now, of course, since I moved to Miami and I live in a condo and I feel so separated from all that, and so when I read about the composting you’re doing and teaching kids, I do want to get to that as well. But first let’s talk about how you two met up and how you started. Let’s go there next either of you.
So I guess I’m going to take that. So Paige and I are both were in the fitness industry and we worked in an all women’s gym. Paige was the group fit instructor and at that time I was the front desk, like I took people in at the gym. You know, I just needed to get a job that worked in the hours that I can pick up my child, and I’m really trying to think how that relationship forged, I know, as time went on I became a personal trainer in that same gym and I think that’s when we started to bond. And then I became Paige’s trainer, because we were always in the gym early in the morning and that’s when our relationship really took off.
And you know, being a trainer, you know you get really intimate with your clients. You know they’re able to share things that they may not be able to share with others and we have that confidentiality about us that we do hold that for them and I think that’s just how we end up being really good friends and it’s just from there on. And then we end up being vegan, starting to go vegan at the same time, without even knowing it, which was really crazy. It was like I don’t know, it was just that timing and that even bond us even more. I mean, paige is one of those people that make you do things that you don’t want to do, and she was always making me do things. Our dog places are do things that I don’t want to do, but I’m always in doing it. You know, you have a friend like that and so I think okay.
So I think the first one was do you remember when President Clinton I don’t know if he was President Clinton at that time, but she said we have to go upstairs, we have to go upstairs to President Clinton because he’s talking I can’t remember what year it was and so here we are, we’re going up there and we’re taking pictures with the poster President, I mean just all kinds of things. She pulls me and, okay, you got to do lunch break, live, and you got to do. You know she’s like really, she’ll call me up, sherry, you have to do. And I’m like, huh, I don’t really like that time getting out of my comfort zone, and she was that friend. If she is that friend that always pulls me out of my comfort zone, which is really great. You always need someone to give you like a little kick, and so from there. You know, she’s just like my girl, you know, you just collect.
You just collect. I remember when you called me your ride or die and I was like, yes, I got.
You got your die. What’s the matter? She had no idea what that meant. Covered from two different places. Right, I do now that’s great.
But also remember, sherry, we bonded also over going to the smoothie place down below. I mean, we connected a lot, but there was this smoothie place that was doing these really clean drinks and I remember us just going down there several times and then we were bantering. And it was when Facebook Live was just really kind of starting back in like 2015 or 2016,. Right around there and we both had gone vegan and our friend that was there Sherry’s friend really said want me to like hold the camera for you, something like that Video, take us, you two are good together, like you’re funny and we’re just doing us. And then that’s how it evolved into, you know, going live on a regular Unchained TV and then doing shows and kind of going from there and kind of building the brand you know lifestyle brand around us, just bantering, having fun, naturally it’s so natural that’s always the best right.
When it just comes naturally, like that. Now let’s chat for a moment about your going vegan stories. That’s pretty wild that you are both making that transition at the same time, but not together, right?
So yeah, let’s go ahead and start Paige, you start Joce.
I’ll make it quick. My daughter came home at 13 and said I’m going vegan. And I really didn’t ask her much about how she went by that. We had been dabbling in plant-based vegetarian for a while and she had been vegetarian since she was nine and I didn’t really know it. She didn’t announce I’m vegetarian now. She just stopped eating animals and I didn’t realize it, right. And so when she said that, I did start getting curious. It’s like why? Why? I said. And then as a mom, I went how am I going to feed her? I need to make sure she’s in middle school. Her brain is developing. She needs as many nutrients, protein, calcium, everything that I’ve been taught from you know, the standard American diet. What am I going to give this child?
So I started educating myself and then after six months we sat down together. I said well, you watch this movie Cowspiracy. It just come out and, being an environmentalist, it’s called the sustainability secret. Within the first, maybe like 15 minutes, they talked about bus loads of water that it takes for a dairy, a cow, a mother cow, to then have a baby and then produce milk. And I never put that all together. I just believed all the propaganda that is out there that doesn’t tell you that these are mother cows. And being a mother of two, and having nursed them, both full into their first years and my daughter at two years, I know what it was like. I was thirsty all the time. I know what it was like to be exhausted and I started thinking about these mothers. I never thought about cows as mothers that was. What really drew me in was the amount of water, but then also, then I start to make the connection of the animals as well. So that’s kind of what happened for me.
Wow, yeah, Mine was so different. Yeah, Tell us Mine was so different. My husband and I belong to this church at the time and every year they do a church fast and you could do whatever you want. They put like a large sheet on the wall. You can walk up. Everyone is. You make the commitment if you want to participate or not. And so my husband wasn’t anywhere, he was volunteering and I went up and I wrote our names down and said we’re giving up meat for 14 days. And so when I came back and I told him, he goes, what are you talking about? So we did give up the meat for 14 days.
Now, mine, you didn’t understand the word vegan. We were still consuming dairy and cheese and all those things. But we found out that we were feeling really well, feeling really good and energized. So my son, my youngest son, Chase, had told me that he was going to go vegan. I was like vegan, what are you talking about? You know, like you’re not going to do any milk or eggs. You know I’m thinking like you don’t have any eggs.
And you know, the more and more we started to understand not really didn’t have anything to do with the animals, it was just really about health in the beginning, how we started to feel how our body had changed. We went through that same stage along progression vegetarian, pescetarian, and then finally we got rid of the cheese. After I saw what the help. We saw that that really changed our perspective and game changer, and so from that point on, we just decided you know, everything has to go. And then, as I started to learn more about being in this space, then that’s when I was really aware of what was going on with the animals, how it’s affecting our planet, what is doing to the human body and to your generations of your family dying from heart disease, cardiovascular blood pressure, diabetes and that is all is a part of the food that we’re consuming, and so that’s what really triggered us to come on over to the community.
Amazing, amazing. And as you started to get more and more on board and go through that journey, was there times when you were like now, I got to share this with other people. At what point did you feel called to actually then start to share that with others?
You know what? I think it was just naturally because people always wanted to ask, because I’m naturally thin, but people always want to know what you’re eating, especially with your clients. And look, I’m not one to force, but I am one to tell you. And you have to make that decision. And I think I just start talking about it with my clients and my family.
It was really difficult, you know, because you know you get all the naysayers and all those people who says how are you going to make it? You’re not going to live, you’re not getting enough protein. You know the basic saying is where’s your protein? Well, you know what You’re getting protein. Secondhand, I’m getting straight from the source, right, and so people, you know, I just kept leading by example. Basically is what my husband and I did every time we would go to a function or family function, If they didn’t have the food, I would bring my food, you know, or I wouldn’t eat until it was over, and then we’ll go someplace where we can have our food. So, you know, always leading by example, I think it’s the perfect way to do that.
Agreed, agreed, and we can’t force people like that. No you can’t force people, but it is a matter of okay. Well, how can I be most impactful? What I’m doing or saying, you know, have the greatest impact, exactly. And so at what point did you all like? How did plant-based and verbs come to be? Oh that’s such a great name, you have to tell us the real name, though Paige.
Yeah, okay, the real. The first name we had was the shift show, the shift show, shift perception. But if you say the shift show a lot, shift show, shift, shift, shift, shift, shift show you run into trouble. You know what it sounds like.
And you can say it here, yeah so.
I like the shift show. It’s not being a shift show. Oh, I thought that was on purpose the shift. No, it really wasn’t, it was.
I was thinking that could be a really fun little play shift, like I would have thought okay, but got it.
I was actually thinking more, like you know, shifting your mind.
Right, yeah, yeah, shifting your body, shifting, yes, and you brought the shift.
Yeah, moving your body, shifting your body, shifting your mind. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then we were, you know, dabbling in names and things, and I got a hand at Jane Vales-Mitchell actually of our team, because we were in a conversation with her and you know she said, well, you look around the, you look around the burbs, you know. And it was like you’re right, we do so. Then we were like you know what plant-based of the burbs? And the reason we chose plant-based was we really wanted it to be welcoming to everyone. Some people have energy around the V word, some people, you know. So we’re like, we know we’re vegan, we know we’re in it for all the reasons. We don’t think anyone, you know, so we’re like let’s just call ourselves plant-based of the burbs. I think that has a nice ring to it, and that’s kind of how that happened. You know, I was thinking about something, though, because you said I can’t remember what you said, but it made me think about at the gym. Oh, I know how we wanted to make an impact.
I was leading these group classes, right, Sure, and I would talk to this one gal at the gym who managed one of the managers is Jim, and I was telling her everything. I was like not even knowing it, but I was kind of practicing things with her. I was just like she was so open so I was just sharing things and I really was unattached. And she’s like wait, so I didn’t know that, tell me more. And she kept asking. So then one day she said what about like, do you want to do like a? We’re doing an open house. Do you want to do like a vegan cheese spread? Because I said I just tried this vegan cheese. Meo goes, it was so good, she goes, so she goes here. Let me give you a little budget. I go sure I’ll set something up.
And the next, you know, as people were walking in, I had samples for them and I’m like this is so fun. And then she let me do like a smoothie cheesies. I did several of these demos at the gym, like we just kind of worked them into the day and I started to realize like I kind of like this giving back. I had homeschooled the kids for 10 years but I was really kind of behind the scenes. I wasn’t doing a whole lot of group teaching, but I watched a lot of people do it and I think it’s just in my nature now to want to just give so community opportunities. I do try to find ways that I can, you know, maybe educate and incite people, and I have fun at it, so that’s great. Coming off the stage from the SoCalFest over the weekend where we cooked and it was our first stage experience where we were on a stage and we were in front of people and they lined up for samples afterwards.
That’s pretty cool, fabulous, oh my gosh, I love it. Now I’m so glad you got to do that at the gym and had somebody receptive, because in my experience, the fitness industry is still really far behind. I mean, they’re just so stuck on. Well, I mean and I think part of it and tell me what you think but the fitness industry traditionally has been very little about health. I mean, it’s really about how you look on the outside right, exactly and so they’re like, ok, well, eating this meat, and we’ve got it down and I can eat meat and broccoli and protein shakes and get a ripped body and look healthy on the outside. So why am I going to change that? Like, I feel like there’s so much resistance among trainers and the fitness industry. Do you have any thoughts on how that’s progressing at this point? Because I still feel like it’s that resistance is really strong.
I believe the resistance is there, but there’s still a little window of opening. Like there’s a lot more vegan pea protein powders on the market now. There’s a lot more trainers that are plant based, are vegan, on Instagram showing people how they can still build that muscle and have that lean cut physique by just eating vegetables, tofu, tempeh, things like that, avocado and things like that. Now, you know, I did go to the fitness expo here. It was just too much for me. I could handle it.
It was a lot of whey protein people talking about, you know, eating so much meat. You know, it was really. It’s really for me. I think it’s a shame that we really are focusing on the outer appearance of our body and I don’t mean to be harsh, but even when we’re doing fitness championships or bodybuilding, the things that we put our body through in order to look a certain way you know dehydration, you know there’s a lot of things that are really important. There’s a lot of things that are not very healthy, and then the long one can cause eating disorders for these champions or participants, and I think that you know we really need to open up our minds and see that there’s more than one way to have this beautiful body inside and out. So that’s just kind of my take on it.
We could go down this rabbit hole.
I want to say how I know things are changing is because I got a text this morning, or DM and Instagram from a friend that I knew in 2020. Honestly, we’re not. He lives in Bakersfield, he and his wife, and they’re in one of the top nutrition companies that sells all kinds of things that have been around a long time, so you can imagine. And he says to me look at our brand new plant based protein powder. No joke. I’m like, and we all know this name, it’s a name you all know. Okay, I haven’t heard from this person in forever. Look at this, like that’s fantastic. So I don’t know. I think you know, I don’t think. I guess what I’m working on now is so for a while, I was focused on right now. Now I’m focused more inward and more about let’s highlight what is shifting. Now I have my days, yeah, and, like I said, highlight the ones, because it is. We are small.
And if I focus on the small, I get nervous, or yeah, or like you know. But if I focus on the fact that I see things popcorning, because it is the seeds we planted that are starting to make an impact, I believe and yes, there’s people who are making changes here and there, but that have been vegan for a long time but I don’t believe they were really vegan.
I don’t know, I just.
I don’t know. I think there was something else there for them and I’m not even going to judge them. It’s like that’s their path. That’s a path, yeah. Who else wants to learn about this? Who else wants to make a shift?
Yeah, I have to double on that too, but I do see that I get email about food trends and a lot of people are starting to do that because they see that there’s a demand for that. So a lot of companies are putting out plant based alternatives that way so they can capture these consumers that they may have looked, they’re losing, you see. So it’s a big market and a lot of people are putting their toes in it, which is good, because that offers opportunities for other people to try something else. Especially if they have lactose intolerance and they’re doing whey protein, we know automatically that’s going to cause havoc, bloatiness and everything. But now that gives them opportunity to try to pee protein, hemp protein, you know, whatever other source they can have. So it’s a good thing that everyone wants to jump into this market.
That was in percent, and I think, and like for my podcast, I want to be so inviting, right, and I think that’s what you’re doing with your brand is being so inviting and inclusive to welcome everybody, to make steps in this direction and see how it feels, and let us support you in that, and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You know, this is a journey and we’re here and we can show you how it can be the most joyful journey possible, that it’s not a sacrifice at all.
It’s not that’s what I love, and and I love also how much you’re impacting your community. Can you talk a little bit about that piece of your brand and the projects you’re working on?
Go ahead Paige yes.
Okay, well, I think the one that we’re most involved in is the Vegans of Los Angeles Vegan Food Bank. It’s a food bank and it’s once a month that we volunteer and do food outreach, which is essentially build a bag. So folks come through about 400 people, three to 400 come through and we hand them and we say, would you like this broccoli or would you like this eggplant or cabbage? And then they say yes or no, and then they’re feeding families of about four to five. So we’re actually we realized that we’re impacting about 1200 people just that day alone.
This is, like I said, once a month, and this is headed by the founder, gwen Hunter, and she is creating outreach. She just told me that she’s looking at doing a floating food bank as well, which would be popping up around town in Los Angeles, which would be incredible because, as we know, you know, prices are going up and food insecurity is of the high here in the United States and around the world, so this is an opportunity to feed people. People have the worth of food naturally and, as Gwena says, we naturally need to feed them healthy, nutritious food that will feed their entire family, and that’s something that you know we’re involved in on a monthly basis.
I love it, do you?
want to add anything, Sherry?
I mean, I just love it. I mean, you know, I watched Gwena’s interview. She had an interview yesterday with Maggie Burr and she really is a caring and compassionate person and that’s what makes you want to volunteer, because you know that she’s sincere. And then when you see how grateful everyone is to receive the food. Now, when I was growing up, we had those same issues food insecurity, and so feeding people or helping to give people healthy food is so close to my heart and I enjoy every smile that I see coming through the line, all the children knowing that they’re getting great vegetables, nice fruit, that probably they wouldn’t buy vegan products, that they probably would never try. But someone is there to say, well, you know, you can do it like this if you want to try it, and they go, oh, okay, okay, and it really is teaching them or showing them that you can survive on that, and not only that.
I think the plant-based treaty also gave you some pamphlets. Is that where we have Paige, that Spanish or whatever that we can give out, that they give out to each member if they, if they choose to take them in Spanish to explain what veganism is and how you can do it. So it really is remarkable, and every time I miss it I just hate when I have to miss it. It’s just amazing. It’s a great feeling to think about something bigger than yourself. You know like I can sit home and think about all the things that’s not happening for me, but when I’m out there doing it for other people, it just really gives you pure joy. That’s how I can explain and we also.
I was just gonna say one more thing is that we worked out a compost scenario At first. When it was in between, I was bringing the things that were not presentable to the public, that were, you know, a little bit brown or something, and we do a sorting the day before volunteers do, but once you’re on the line you might see things, a bruise, this or that. So we ended up bringing some of this to a sanctuary a local sanctuary, animal sanctuary to spirits and the animals absolutely loved it.
It was so amazing. I’m obsessed with Billy Ghost. I’ve always been a Billy Ghost, you know, and we had all that lettuce. I mean all the characters you get, that pushy one, the one that wants to get everything. Some are jumping around, but it was just amazing. That was the first time I’ve ever been to a sanctuary and it was joyful. I have to say it was joyful.
It was amazing what a win win, win, win, win, win, win for everybody for humans, for animals, for the planet, for the people doing the feeding, the people getting fed Wow.
Wow, this is fabulous. That brings me to you know, sherri and I have talked about wanting to do more with sanctuaries, animal sanctuary. So, sherri, I just came up with this idea why don’t we we’ll coordinate a day where we can bring our pre-vegan family and friends and just go to one of these cool sanctuaries? We can go to that one. Yeah, like plan a day and go visit and just bring family and friends and see who wants to come. Yeah, we can bring some food that we would have compost into the green bin, because in California you could put it into the green bin. Yeah, we could carry that and bring it up to little critters. That’s cool. They have cows there.
Yeah, All kinds of chickens. I have never seen chickens that had look like they had fur. You know what I mean. They just like a little bitty flat feet. You know little short chickens. It’s just really cute. I was like what is that?
And I can tell you that the gift of bringing that food is from somebody who you know I’m on the board of the Hogs and Kisses Farm Sanctuary in Virginia. I’m headed up over there next week and, yeah, when the community donates and shows that interest and shows love in that way, it’s so meaningful to the sanctuaries. We are actually contemplating now our next species, what we will be bringing in next. We’ve got pigs and bunnies as of now. So, yeah, it’s exciting, exciting times. Well, speaking of food, sherry, you are very comfortable in the kitchen. I know, paige, you were a little later in the game like getting comfortable with the really you know owning the vegan kitchen, but I know you have been your grandmother, was it? Who was great in the kitchen? How has that influenced you and the cooking you do now? And you know, in terms of maybe some traditions also around I don’t know, thanksgiving, that’s going to be coming soon when this comes out. Can we chat a little bit about that?
Yes, this is interesting. My great, great grandmother was an excellent cook. Then she passed it down to my grandmother, then to me and my sister, and I think I gravitated to it more. Even though I don’t want to own it, I do feel at ease when I’m in there and I have a purpose, that I’m making something. I think what made becoming vegan made it really exciting, because now I had to try everything that I was used to and try to do it vegan. So now it’s like being in the science lab, you know, trying to concoct your traditional food. So, finally, master my sweet potato pie. That took a minute, that took a while.
I used my grandmother’s recipe and just swapped out everything. But you know, some things you have to change because of the consistency, not having the eggs to bind everything. So you know, I played around with different things flaxseed cornstarch or arrowroot or things like that. Pretty much I’m doing everything. You know I’m just swapping things out. Nowadays you can really much do it. You know, like mac and cheese, you can use cashew cheese. I use carrots and potatoes before made cheese, you know. I mean it’s just like you search the internet and you go, wow, I can do that. Okay, so I got to try it.
So that’s just how I just kept going and what my family made it easier because we’re all eating the same. You know, before, when I had all four of us was here, we had some. One of my sons was not vegan, so you know we had to make allowances Now that we were in the house just my husband and my other son. It’s really easy, you know. And when my oldest one comes, he eats vegan and you know he eats vegan when he gets here. So it makes it easy not trying to have to make so many different meals. But when you had growing boys and they weren’t doing that, you know that’s just what happened.
But I love in the kitchen. Sometimes now I love cooking, like when Paige and I did Soquel Veg Fest. That was amazing. It was the first time we ever did that and we were really amazed that people were lined up. They had to kick us off stage because we ran out of samples and people were in line to get them. So that really says anything. And you know cooking is about love. You know it’s about sharing your love for your family, that you want them to have something really nutritious, delicious, and you know it’s from your heart. So you know, that’s my thing, that’s my deal.
Now my question follow up on that is did your family cook healthy food Like? Were the ingredients healthy? Or is that also something? You’ve kind of not only getting out the animal products but also swapping out things to make it healthier? Is that something? Yeah?
of course, because you know my grandmother’s from Kentucky, you know, and so we had a lot of fried chicken fried, this fried that you know a lot of Southern soul food, collard greens, and you know she would make oh my gosh, she used to make a lot of stuff. I don’t even hate to say it, but you know, when you come to the South they make neck bones and you know, and it’s the so weirdest thing is, I just never even put it together. I mean, that is just what’s so mind blowing about eating unconsciously that you just really never paid attention to where this food chicken wings. It tells you what it is, but you still don’t compute. You know, I was looking at something on on-chain TV yesterday.
I don’t know who the person was, but she was on the streets on Hollywood Boulevard asking people would they like to have breast milk? Right, and everyone yeah, okay, darcy. So everyone was like no, god, no, no. And so she walks up to this young guy I don’t know, he could be 20 something and she said do you drink, such as cow’s milk? And he says no. And then she says so, do you drink milk at all? He goes yes.
I said what do you drink? I drink the milk from the grocery store. I saw that. I saw that and I was like, oh see how they we are so disconnected from the source of our food. It just blew my mind. I had to, like, rewind that because, like no, I drink the milk from the store, I don’t drink cow milk.
Well, you know, that just shows you how we’re so disconnected from our food and how we eat unhealthy, just from generations eating things that brought down lots of butter, lots of sauce, lots of fried food, lots of oil, lots of grease, lots of bacon, lots of all those things have saturated fat, causes arteries, and then that’s why you have generations of people having those things I mentioned diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, dying young, and people think that runs in their family, so they think that they’re gonna end up having that same faith. So, changing all this to vegan and healthy yeah, mindful, we do have vegan food. That’s unhealthy, but I try my best to keep it as healthy as I can and we, you know, sometimes you gotta have the unhealthy because it’s just what it is Mm-hmm.
You know you’re actually making me think about the fact that, oh my gosh, cornish gamehands oh yeah, that’s what we mean in our family Rabbit my mom cook up a rabbit. I’m just thinking that steak was part of our lives. There would be steak on the table on a regular and I remember just trying to chew it. It’s like let me get that napkin, add it to the peas.
Exactly. You know what?
I mean, but then, like you, wanted to eat the chicken skin.
Yeah, it’s a truck. It’s a truck.
And then like grandma’s fried chicken. I just think that like just not present to, as Chef Abetz said. So that’s like the puss and sweat, the chicken being cooked up, you know, like woo-hoo, woo-hoo. Never thought about that, Never thought about that. I wanted to say. Something that in this conversation I’ve actually gotten really present to is in my family there was a lot of food waste and I think that’s why I save all my leftovers and I repurpose them.
And now I’m big on the compost because I want to figure out how to take that food waste out of the system and put it into a compost. Because I’d see my mom dress the salad, the huge salads, be it for kids and then there would always be someone over and she put all the dressing on it, sopping dressing, like ooh, I always get my dressing on the side, now, right, and then at the end we wouldn’t be able to finish it and there would be like a quarter of it left. Throw it into the trash can. And I look at that now and I think that happened night after night after night after night after night for years. And I mean, I just wasn’t you know, just not being aware.
So I feel like when you brought up the question about when did you have that change where you wanted to like, be vocal and share, I think once I started, the veil started to be lifted for both the share and I and I probably for you, I was both and I started thinking I didn’t know either until I knew. And now I know. So I made it shift. So you know, I feel like I’m not mad at people who don’t know, because I get it. I didn’t know either. I get upset sometimes once they know I don’t know what to put it I’m like come on, there’s so many reasons, so that’s where you know I manage my mental wellness.
Right and to jump on page now. When I was growing up my mom was a young mother, you know. So we had to eat leftovers and I used to hate eating leftovers, so she would make a big pile of beans. We would eat those beans until they were gone. So, you know, that’s kind of like her way of maybe not wasting food, stretching the food so that we can have you know those things for the rest of the week, and then she would add something different to that, you know.
So that’s kind of how we did it, when it’s also interesting that this just popped in my head, you know, talking about our relationship with food, and some people couldn’t leave the table until all their food was eaten, right, and that also that’s not healthy either. You’re saying I’m full too bad, you have to keep eating, and I wonder we have people that you know that are overeating in their life too.
So there’s so many things that happened in. Our parents were all doing the best they could, right With what they had. And I know my mom like before. I went vegan at 15,. I went vegetarian at seven, vegan at 15, but she would make me drink an entire glass of milk at the dinner table because she was terrified that I’d have braille bones otherwise. And whose fault would it be? Would it be my mother’s? And he did the taste of milk and I had a whole system for getting it down and I would hold my nose and I would chug it and then chug water Before I could breathe out. It was like I had to mentally prepare myself. It was like, oh my God, such torture, you know. And it also reminds me of the quote by Maya Angelou who said do the best you can until you know better than when you know better, do better.
And I go back to what you said, paige, and so many people and clients I’m sure too for you, sherry. A lot of times people do know better and they know they know better, and yet there are so many things that are still causing them not to do better. And those are the tools and the inspiration that I try to think about when I’m giving talks or whatever it is. It’s like, okay, a lot of people, they do know better, they don’t need another health lesson. How do we help them? So I ask you, how are we helping people that do know better yet still are having trouble doing better? It’s challenging.
I mean really it is. I mean, just like my family, you know they try it for a little while and they go oh, I couldn’t do that. You know I was getting fat. That’s the main thing. I was just getting fat on the vegan diet and I’m like, well, you know, it’s the choices of the foods that you’re making.
And now you know, when you first start you may have to use the mock meats because you’re used to your plate looking a certain way, but it cannot be all of your diet. You can’t be everything that you eat. And you know I think to. Really you have to be ready here. I don’t care how many times we can tell you, share it, give you healthy tips. It’s all about mindset. Just like working out. It is your mindset. If you can sit and watch an animal be tortured and then turn around and eat an animal. That says a lot about a person, and so I think it’s a challenging job. You can inspire, like I said, lead by example, share food with them to give them ideas, and if they can incorporate some of that in their diet, that’s a win. That’s a win, you know. Oh, so, like you said, we have to take them where we can get them, how we can get them, and you know, the mind is a powerful thing, paige.
I know your husband is a flexitarian. Yeah.
Yes, and a reductionitarian, you know combination of those. But you know, I just thought of something too, because I have a very dear friend who’s been plant-based for years and she’s shared with me go to vegan restaurants for years, years and years, 25 years, right, and it took my daughter to come home and then me to be educated start getting educated. Then I wanted to say lifestyle. I got this lifestyle book about Rich Roll and his family who lived, you know, not far from here, but I kind of went, okay, there’s a family showing family enjoying being vegan, together, plant-based. And so I was like, huh, okay, let me see these recipes. This is so too hard, I think I could make these. So it took like the seeing of something of how this could be a practicality in my own life. And then I think, by sitting down with her watching Cowspiracy, being an environmentalist, the other light bulb that went off was for a future planet for her and our son, to leave a better planet for them. That it would be really selfish of me to continue what I’m doing because, living in California, I’ve been mindful about a drought. You know, we’re mindful of a drought for a long time, right, and even when we moved to where we live now. They said no more lawns, get a full lawn or figures, get sustainable plants or you know, drought, drought, talent. And so that’s what we did. And so I think there was a bigger purpose for me, outside of my health, outside of my physicality, outside of it’s, like all of a sudden, it just became bigger than me, my selfish needs of what I thought I needed my sushi, because that was the big one, like what. That’s the time I went vegan, literally. That’s why I know it’s October 1st that I went vegan, because the night before we had all you can eat sushi and I was like, okay, go for it. I wasn’t thinking about those fish. Those fish didn’t have feelings. Yeah, I had saw other things that had experiences with fish that clicked, but I didn’t care. I’m like I want to eat what I want to eat and I could afford to eat how I wanted to eat to, and so this is like an opportunity for those people that may be resonating with me to go. Huh, I never thought about that. This is something beyond me, but you also.
I think health is key, because if you don’t feel healthy, but if you’re feeling healthy already, because I was healthy, so I didn’t do this for the health. You see what I mean. If you have to dial in your health, get that figured out. Then we can talk about how you can now shift and do, because I think when you’re in a health crisis, you just are trying to figure it out.
There are a lot of people who have been in health crisis with lupus, autoimmune disease, cancer, heart disease, that switch, and they have changed the trajectory of their future. So it takes a lot of work. Going to a doctor to get a pill and having a surgery is something people do very readily now and I’m not even going to judge people, I just know my stepfather died suddenly of heart disease, but Christmas before I said let me make the menu happen, and sadly he called my sister-in-law, said bring me something I would like to eat. Okay, that might be a lot to say. It’s very sad. I also have learned to cook better. I wasn’t the best cook. I was going to figure it out though. So I have a commitment that people are aware of this information and then they can choose, and that’s really where I’m at now. Thank you, sherry.
Yeah, and that’s what it is. If we’re talking about being conscious about what we’re putting in our bodies, what it’s going to do to us, where it came from, that mindfulness piece, that’s, I think, being mindful. And I was doing a talk in Omaha, where you guys were at the veg fest this past weekend and I did a mindful eating exercise and I think that connection with your food allows you that opportunity to actually besides the benefits of actually chewing your food to a pace and all the digestive benefits to that. But just what am I chewing? Where did this food come from? What is it going to do within my body? Is this an act of care? Is this an act of compassion for myself? Is this an act of compassion for animals, for the planet? That mindful eating piece, I think, is key.
Yeah, all right, this has been so fun, and so I’ve got one kind of last question to find out, and if you have anything else you want to, I want you to tell people where to find you and all that good stuff. But we’re going to end it with this. You have been gifted a billboard to do whatever you want with what goes on that billboard and why, and I think we’d need many more billboards. Whatever you choose, I really want it to have?
I have to think about that I have to think about it too.
Okay, I will say what comes to mind is eat more plants, y’all. I have a y’all showing some fun images, because I don’t know how much the sad images really resonate with people and they just can nick away. I think there’s a time and a place for those. For sure, 100%. But just where I’m at now, I’m about get more plants in your plate y’all, and that kind of says it. It gives people an action to do not do, but to do.
I probably would show on my billboard swap outs. Like you know, we talk about protein and you may show a steak. I can show you tofu. You know we have those all on Instagram. Anyway, Just show people the swap out beans. I mean. Listen, people talk about being a vegan is expensive, but if you buying your plants, it is very inexpensive. Like one of our friends, Vegan Pop East, can show you how you can eat on $20 a day. Now think about buying dry beans. A pound of dry beans can feed a family Rice. This doesn’t cost that much money buying your vegetable. So I would probably do something like that, and I probably would do it in the community that I come from, to show people that we don’t have to eat fried chicken. We can eat this instead, you know. So that’s what I probably would do a swap out and to show them how affordable it really is when you think about it. Because this myth of vegan food is expensive. It’s really that’s what it is, unless you’re buying mock food. That’s where the expense comes from.
That’s where the expense comes from too. I was going to say, and I want to say I want to keep a clause, the y’all. I lived in Tennessee when I was in third grade and it stuck with me. So I lived on a farm they were actually cattle ranchers or family, and my brother had a pet pig, so y’all and I had some pet chickens. Mom from North.
That’s powerful. I’ve never seen that that’s really powerful, because that was something I saw at this restaurant that I would go to Joy Cafe. They still have the messaging board and they would put that chicken versus chickpeas and they put the nutrition facts.
Yeah, that’s what I would do. You would do that.
Beans versus beef Right Really really powerful.
And then I think if people can actually see that, it will probably really make them think about it, because meat is expensive and if we’re talking about people who are having problems putting food on their plate, then this would be a great alternative to really get nutritious food, really with substance, satiate it and not spend that much money, and everyone can do that, so that would be really cool.
Yes, we need to make that happen. Yeah, all right, tell people where they can find you, where they can join you when you do your show, and all that good stuff, and we’ll put in the show notes, of course.
We are plant based in the verbs with a Z. Yes, you can find us on all social media. We have a YouTube channel. We also have six cooking shows that were produced and they’re on Unchained TV Global Streaming Network. It’s free. So, you can head over there to Unchained TV. One word find us there, and then all the other socials. But I’m also Paige Parsons-Roch and I’m Sherri.
Sherry and we also have a show every Tuesday called let’s Chat, which Ellen was on, that we bring on people in the vegan community that have inspirational stories, can help shift people’s thoughts on becoming vegan or vegan curious. So, and that’s really something that we enjoy doing that too. So every Tuesday at 11.30, pacific Standard Time and 2.30 Eastern Standard Time On Instagram.
Instagram. Thank you, yes.
Fabulous. You guys are so fun. We can talk for hours. There’s so many directions we could go, so you’re probably going to have to come back.
Just Okay, love it I’m going to do it too.
Yes, let’s do it.
Yeah, we can get three in.
Yes, that was challenging. Yes, but we did it here and we’ll do it again.
Yes, Thank you, ellen so much.
Thanks for watching Peace and Plants. Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Rise and Thrive with me, ella Majors. I truly hope you found it inspiring and, if you did, please help me spread the word by leaving a rating and review on your favorite podcast player and by sharing the show with your friends. As you probably know by now, my life’s purpose is to use my voice to make this world a more conscious and compassionate place, and your reviews and shares make a huge impact. And last, I’m getting a ton of insanely positive feedback about my short and sweet monthly newsletter called the Way Short, for the Way Out Is Through.
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