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Discover the Joy of Vegan Bread with Shane Martin

At Real Men Eat Plants, we’re thrilled to present a fascinating conversation with Shane Martin, the creative mind behind the Shane and Simple blog and author of two must-have vegan bread baking books. Join us on the latest episode of The Glen Merzer Show as Shane shares his journey from cooking at home to becoming an author of Baking Vegan Bread at Home and The Vegan Bread Machine Cookbook.

Shane’s second book, Baking Vegan Bread at Home, is a testament to his dedication and passion. Shane recalls the emotional moment of holding his book for the first time: "I got a little emotional. It felt like the closest I could get to giving birth without the umbilical cord!" This book, filled with beautiful, everyday artisan plant-based bread recipes, emerged from Shane’s hands-on approach to bread making, emphasizing kneading and crafting each loaf by hand.

Not long after, Harvard Press approached Shane with a unique proposition. They asked him to create a bread machine cookbook, noting the absence of vegan bread machine cookbooks on the market. Shane was initially hesitant, but the convenience and simplicity of the bread machine won him over. “The bread machine does it all—mixes, kneads, proofs, and bakes. It’s stupid simple,” Shane enthuses.

In The Vegan Bread Machine Cookbook, Shane explores this appliance’s versatility. He shares that selecting a machine with various settings, from crust color to bread type, is key. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner, Shane’s guidance ensures delicious results every time. He also provides tips on ingredient order, a crucial factor for the machine’s functionality.

Shane’s books offer something for everyone, from oil-free oat flatbread to indulgent treats like the Sunny Day Lemon Loaf and Island Coconut Pineapple Bread. As Shane puts it, "It’s like eating a piña colada in bread form." These recipes cater to health-conscious individuals and those seeking vegan alternatives to traditional bread.

The episode also dives into Shane’s broader journey, including his transition to veganism and the challenges of navigating the ever-expanding market of vegan products. His practical advice, such as using applesauce as an oil substitute or aquafaba from chickpeas as a butter alternative, makes plant-based baking accessible and enjoyable.

For those interested in Shane’s work and the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, tune in to The Glen Merzer Show. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or curious about making the switch, Shane’s story is sure to inspire. Subscribe to our podcast and visit Real Men Eat Plants for more insights and delicious recipes.

Embrace the simplicity and joy of vegan bread baking with Shane Martin. Your journey to healthier, plant-based living starts with one loaf at a time.

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE: Shane Martin's Two Bread Baking Books!

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DISCLAIMER: Please understand that the transcript below was provided by a transcription service. It is undoubtedly full of the errors that invariably take place in voice transcriptions. To understand the interview more completely and accurately, please watch it here: Shane Martin's Two Bread Baking Books!

Podcast Transcript:

Glen Merzer: Welcome to the Glen Merzer Show. You can find us at all your favorite podcast platforms. You could find us on YouTube. And please remember to subscribe. You could find us at RealMenEatPlants .com. My guest today, back for the second time, he was one of my early podcast guests, so about a year ago, is my friend Shane Martin creator of the Shane and Simple blog, and now I can say author. He's the author of Baking Vegan Bread at Home, Beautiful Everyday, and Artisan Plant -Based Bread. Shane, do you happen to have a copy of that handy? 

Shane Martin: I do. I just happen to have it right here beside me. 

Glen Merzer: Oh, that's a beautiful looking book. You know, I have to say it was...I remember my wife coming in bringing the box when they sent me all the copies and opening it and actually putting my hands on it. It just, yeah. I actually saw that when I was scrolling on Facebook. I saw you opening your box. Yeah. I'm getting a little emotional. I did. I did. I was like, I've never given birth, but I assume that that's the that's as close as I could get to it. 

Shane Martin: Right.There was no umbilical cord involved, but there was fortunately no. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah, there was tape very hard to get through because I didn't have a knife on me at the time.  So. Right. And you also have a second book coming up, which is available now for pre -order. Yes. Called The Vegan Bread Machine Cookbook. And yes, my first question to you is, are you the vegan bread machine?

Shane Martin: Uh, no, no, I am not. So the, um, so after I finished the first cookbook, Harvard press came back and said, Hey, um, they had talked to me about it initially when we did the first book, but they came back and I, after I finished, because I think you and I, you kind of knew all the stress I was going through to finish the first book and this time management is not my gift, but They had originally talked to me about the possibility of doing a second book when I first started talking with them a little over a year ago. And, um, right the minute we finished this one, they said, look, we've gone in and we've looked and there are bread machine cookbooks out there. But we, and we found a vegan, a gluten free bread machine book that's been still sells well after five or six years. But they said there are no vegan bread machine cookbooks. So you essentially would be the only one on the market right now. Would you be willing, would you want to do that book? And I thought for sure after missing all the deadlines and making them pull their hair. I was like, there's no way they're going to ask me to do a second book, but they loved the way the first one turned out. And they said, yeah, we want you to do the second one. So me being a glutton for punishment, I thought, sure, why not? So this has been a little easier. I'm still behind, but like I was talking to you earlier before we started, I've got to finish shooting and just finished editing the final copy edits a couple of days ago, but, Yeah, so anyway, where this book will differ is instead of this book here is all about making bread by hand, kneading and all of that. This next book will be purely using a bread machine. So a lot of the bread is baked, is kneaded, baked, mixed all in the bread machine. And then some of the recipes use the bread machine to knead and proof and...I've got to say it is the best way to make bread. I don't know that I'll I don't know that I'll ever go back making bread the same way. It's just too easy to do it this way. So I don't know. 

Glen Merzer: I don't know anything about bread machines. Tell us about bread machines and how are they different? 

Shane Martin: You know, I hate to say this, but you're really asking the wrong guy. The guy is writing the book. The guy is writing the book. So it's it's funny like. I can't remember if I told you this, Glenn, but when they first asked me to do about doing a bread book and they reached out to me, when Harvard Press reached out, they said, yeah, we found one of your recipes on Pinterest. So you're a bread guy, right? And I went, I really like to eat bread is what I said. So I didn't lie. So 

Glen Merzer: you were qualified. 

Shane Martin: Yeah. So I didn't lie. But I really, when I got on, when I signed on to do the second book, We had an old bread machine somebody had given my wife or that she had had and still works. But I got online and just kind of looked and I went to Amazon and read some reviews and I said, that one looks good. So I bought a Quazenart and it's been great. I know that some of them do two pound loads. Some of them are smaller. It's really cool. From what I've seen, you want to get one that has all the functionality on it everything from you can adjust it to crust color like light, medium, dark, artisan bread, French. There's a cake setting. I mean, it's just it's it does the work for you. 

Glen Merzer: So first of all, color should be light. I don't like it when it looks. 

Shane Martin: I don't either. But I think that some of the breads, the artisan breads have a crunchier crust. And from what I've seen, that's kind of what it means is It cooks a little longer. But I will say that if you're going to get a bread machine, one of the things I've learned is they're really not super expensive and it's worth getting one that just has all the functionality. And they don't take up much space. I mean, it's not much bigger than my blender, oddly enough. So, but yeah, it's been really easy. I mean, it's just, you go through and...The big thing that I've seen that this is really important when you ask about a bread machine is that the big thing more than anything is if you're following a recipe and it tells you to put the ingredients in a certain way, that's how you do it. That that's the key. That's what I've learned. The order of the ingredients. Yes. Add it the way that it says, because it's almost like the bread machine is is made to function in a certain order. So if you're doing a recipe.

Glen Merzer: It does the kneading for you. 

Yes, it does. 

Glen Merzer: What else does it do for you?

Shane Martin:  So you essentially just there's a there's like a container is called the bread pan and you take it out and there's a little kneading paddle in the bottom of it. And you essentially just put all your ingredients in, put it in, close the lid, hit start. Done. And it mixes everything, kneads everything, proofs everything, bakes everything. And this is called the bread man.

Glen Merzer: No, it's just the bread machine. 

Shane Martin: No, 

Glen Merzer: I said the container. What was the container called? 

Shane Martin: Oh, the bread pan. Bread pan. 

Glen Merzer: Oh, pan. I thought you said man, and I didn't understand that. 

Shane Martin: All right. Yeah. So, you've been using this machine. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, like I said, my wife had one, and she's the only one that's ever used it. But until I got started working on the cookbook and researching recipes and developing the recipes. I've never used one, but I can't really say that there's a lot to it, to be honest with you. I mean, it's just... 

Glen Merzer: Well, your blog is called Shane and Simple, and you kind of promote the idea that you make recipes that are easy to make. So presumably then the bread machine is easy to use. 

Shane Martin: Yeah, I mean, it's crazy. I mean, it is just...I mean, it really is stupid simple. I mean, it really is. 

Glen Merzer: Well, let's talk about the book that's out now, Baking Vegan Bread at Home. Tell us about how this aligns or doesn't align with Shane and Simple. 

Shane Martin: Yeah, so I tell people going into this, if you're looking for this to be like a healthy bread book, it's really not. And I know a lot of people are like, wait a minute, Shane and Simple is all about a whole foods plant -based diet. But this book was not written to be like a Shane and Simple book. So I always like to kind of clarify, but the way that all this happened is, you know, normally when you get a book deal or you write a book, you either self -pub and you write the book that you want or you get a literary agent and you have an idea for a book and they go shop and try to get you a book deal and then you write that book. Well, when this happened, I got an email from one of the main editors at Harvard Press introducing himself and said, hey, we'd like to talk to you about writing a book. But then he went into saying, hey, this is a little bit different. We already have the subject. We already have the budget. We just need the author. And we think you'd be a good fit for it. And I just learned in my...course of life as a musician, whatever, if anyone asks you if you can do something, always say yes. And then learn how to do it if you need to. Because a lot of times saying no, you're done. Like, I don't encourage, I'm not saying lie, but if you learn how to do something and so they asked me if it would be something I'd be interested in and I said yes. And...They told me what the book was about. They told me, like I said, they had the budget and everything already planned out. So I did not tell them that I would sign on right away. I said, I'd like to think about it for a couple of days. And what I did is I talked to my wife about it. Cause I mean, you've written books. I mean, it's, it's a, it's a task. And when you undertake that task, I mean, there's a lot that goes into it. And it's more so than I thought, I'll be honest with you. And But I also was like, it's gonna take time away from the blog and we've been moving and renovating for the last two and a half years. So that's been inconsistent. But also I realized it was not gonna be able to be a whole foods plant -based cookbook because they specifically wanted like a lot of artists, because a lot of bread is vegan naturally, you know, there's, but I realized like a lot of the breads they wanted, artisan breads like that used eggs and cheese or You know things like that egg washes. It was not going to be possible to do 75 bread recipes that were completely whole food plant -based compliant because and you know as well as I do Glen you've been you've been vegan a long time and following a whole foods plant -based diet a long time, but there are some things like we can find the equivalent of a healthier version of something that we left over in the animal world. But it's never going to be the same. Like flax eggs work as a binder, but they're never going to work like real eggs do in a cake recipe. Or, you know, it's possible to mimic, but often not always possible to completely duplicate. And so we have to depend when it comes to baking and some things like a lot of times the only way to get those results are with the the vegan products that are out there that aren't necessarily healthy, the vegan butters and the vegan cheeses. And so I really struggled with that, to be honest with you. And so I didn't tell them yes right away. I talked to my wife and then actually I talked to a friend of mine who was a New York Times bestseller who had ended up going on a plant -based diet and become one of my followers and had through the years reached out to me. And when Um, I guess I had put something out on my Facebook page about this opportunity as a book deal or I had messaged him and he gave me his number. He called me and he said, anything you need, you know, I'll any advice. But what was really encouraging is, you know, he's a whole food plant -based guy all the way. And I just said, well, I said, the thing I'm struggling with is this won't be able to be a whole foods plant -based cookbook. So, you know, I can't promote it as a Shane and simple book And he just told me, he said, look, man, he said, use this as look at this as college tuition, because you're not going to get this huge advance, but this is an opportunity you have you've never had. And he said, if you do a good job, it opens up these doors to do what you want. And he said, you're still being part of the movement and helping the cause in a smaller way. But he said, he said, this is an opportunity that if you turn down, you may never get again And so I talked to a couple of people and a couple of other peoples that are well known in the whole food plant based blogosphere. And, um, and one, you know, extremely well. And I didn't ask her permission to share a name, so I won't, but you probably know who I'm talking about. And she was super encouraging, super encouraging, you know, and, and, um, so that's kind of how this came about. And so I called them back, said I would do the book. And yeah, that's kind of how it started. And then was behind on almost every deadline and working myself crazy and towards the end of the book, sleeping, I think four hours and three and a half days or something like that. And, and, and then I remember getting the product and holding it and just going, Oh my God, it's a real book. I mean, it's a real book. And, and so, and then 

Glen Merzer: I see that it's getting great, great reception on Amazon. Yeah, it's the reviews have been just incredibly kind and generous. 

Shane Martin: So I'm super excited and, and yeah, like anxious to see what happens, but not long after that, they came right back and said, we want to do one with the bread machine. So here we go. And so I'm on the tail end of that now, but yeah. So, but I have to say the recipes turned out great. And I will say by the end of this project, I was sick of bread. I mean, because.Yeah. So anyway, but. So based on what you said, obviously some of the recipes in the book are going to be healthier than others. 

Glen Merzer: Sure. So you want to point us to one of your favorites that's one of the healthier recipes? 

Shane Martin: I would say one of the healthier recipes would probably be. Let's see, I think the. Let's see.The pancakes are great. There's oil -free pancakes in here. 

Glen Merzer: We make the Shane and Simple pancakes at home. 

Shane Martin: Oh, yeah? Really? Which ones? The plain ones? The fluffy ones? 

Glen Merzer: The bananas and blueberries. 

Shane Martin: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So these were just like a basic plain pancake, like fluffy pancakes. OK. So there's pancakes in here. 

Glen Merzer: The book is not only bread. It's also pancakes. 

Shane Martin: Yeah. There's some biscuit recipes in here. There's English muffins. The two ingredient flatbreads, the lentil flatbread was really good. I like that. So there's a few oil -free oat flatbread that's just rolled oats and water and a little pinch of salt. Those turned out really well. 

Glen Merzer: And show us a couple of your favorite pictures from in there.

Shane Martin:  Okay. Let's see. This is...So, you know, one of my favorite things before going vegan was Starbucks lemon loaf, their little lemon cake they have. So we did a vegan version called Sunny Day Lemon Loaf. This is one of my favorite pictures. 

Glen Merzer: All right. 

Shane Martin: So that's one of my favorites. This, I will say, is an incredible bread. It's Japanese milk bread. Japanese milk bread, 

Glen Merzer: but no milk. 

Shane Martin: But no milk except almond milk. Let's see. I'll have to say one of my, there's also a healthy whole wheat sandwich bread. It's oil free. This turned out really good. 

Glen Merzer: Oh man, that looks beautiful. 

Shane Martin: Yeah, that was good. But I have to show you Glen, probably my favorite photograph. There's two. They take up the whole page. It was this one. 

Glen Merzer: Oh my goodness. That is a great photograph. 

Shane Martin: Yeah. Shot that on my kitchen, my kitchen, my dining room table.

Glen Merzer: A Dutch painting. 

Shane Martin: Yeah, it was it was it. I had to shoot that at like 12 in the morning. But I guess one of my favorite pictures would have to be. I, you know, I was really close to my grandfather and, you know, he's been gone for a while. And, oh, this was really good Swiss braided bread.

Glen Merzer: Oh man. 

Shane Martin: And so I kind of wanted to do something to kind of honor him a little bit. And he was, you know, he'd wake up at like 3 .30, four o 'clock in the morning and he was always had a pot of coffee going and sitting at the table with hardly any lights on and smoking his cigarettes. And so I wanted to kind of figure out a way to get him in this book. And one night they were needing a couple of extra photos of just to cover up space to cover across. And so, you know, we've been renovating this hundred year old house and we have the original French doors. So after everybody had went to bed, I found one like I've got an old coffee cup that looked like one. And so, I tried, this is the picture that kind of honors him. You see the chair by itself? 

Glen Merzer: Yes. 

Shane Martin: And so the coffee cup and the old coffee pot, that's just kind of to symbolize that would have been his chair, you know? And so that's probably one of my favorite shots of the whole book. But I mean, the other good breads that aren't so, I would say, I wouldn't say they're, I say they are less unhealthy than their animal counterparts is how I like to say it. Um, I got my wife, my wife spent 10, 12 hours in the kitchen one day at the end cooking for me so I could shoot. I will tell you this hands down unanimous. Our favorite recipe in this book is this, uh, Island coconut pineapple bread. Oh my God it island coconut pineapple bread.

Glen Merzer:  It's like drinking a pina colada of a bread.

Shane Martin:  It's like it's like an eating a pina colada that's in bread form. It is fantastic. I mean, it is just absolutely delicious. That's probably our favorite one. And Andrea actually made the healthier because there's some oil in it. But Andrea made the like a Whole Foods version of it one day and it was really turned out really well. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah. So do you just leave out the oil or do you have to do something to? 

Shane Martin: Typically what you have to do. Typically like a one to one ratio with like applesauce. Is that what you did? Yeah, like applesauce. And then a lot of the recipes use organic, unbleached, all purpose flour. She made it with whole wheat pastry flour. 

Glen Merzer: All right. So. So the listening audience could could. Take that hint that if there's a recipe with oil, you might be able to just substitute applesauce.

Shane Martin: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. 

Glen Merzer: So now I will say about if it has vegan butter, is there a good substitute for that? 

Shane Martin: That's a little harder. But what you can do is what you can do, it was because it was used where it gets tricky is like in recipes like biscuits. Cause when you make homemade biscuits, you're either cutting in butter or lard in non -vegan versions. And that's what kind of gives them that fluffiness and everything. But Andrea has really like on the Shane and simple website, uh, there's a homemade biscuit recipe and she uses applesauce to replace the butter. But one thing that I've started using more with good success is a aquafaba, the juice from chickpea cans. And.I think for each egg or maybe one or two tablespoons of butter, you use like a quarter cup of aquafaba. And it's surprisingly has worked like really well. So that's kind of become my new fave oil replacement if I can use it. 

Glen Merzer: And that would probably work with the juice from other kinds of beans too, right?

Shane Martin: I haven't had that success with other kinds of beans, honestly. Yeah. Is there something, I don't know what it is about the chickpea juice. I don't, it tends to be a little more neutral in flavor as well. Um, which is odd, but, um, I think I tried it with red beans one time and I don't know if the liquid wasn't as thick or whatever, but yeah. So I, so I just stopped and I was like, well, I'm not going to try anymore. So I just, I just use the chickpeas.

Glen Merzer: Now, I love bread and it would be hard for me to give it up. I know it's not that it's not the healthiest part of my diet. Bread will never be as healthy as a sweet potato. Right. But I'm back at my high school and college weight. And, you know, I don't want to lose any more weight. So I find that bread is something I could eat that's, you know, I don't think it's unhealthy if it's a whole, you know, whole grain bread. And it satisfies me. It keeps the cat. It gives me a source of calories in between meals. 

Shane Martin: I love I have always loved sandwiches. I love sandwiches. And I just when we used to watch Friends and I just remembered the character, Joey, when they'd say, what's your favorite food? And he goes sandwiches. He didn't have like a specific. And I feel like that's kind of like me. I love making veggie sandwiches with hummus and just. Anything sandwiched between two pieces of bread. I mean, I love a sandwich. 

Glen Merzer: You know, when I used to write for TV, I had an interview to be one of the writers on Friends its first year. 

Shane Martin: Oh, wow. 

Glen Merzer: And I had just seen the pilot. And to me, it didn't look like New York City. You know, OK, they look like it could have been set in the Midwest or in Kansas or something. So I said to David and Marta who had created the show, I said, are you thinking of bringing in any ethnicity into this show? And they kind of froze and I didn't get the job. And then I read after the show ended, they said, you know, probably we should have had more ethnicity in the show.

Shane Martin:  Wow. 

Glen Merzer: So asking that question cost me several million dollars, but.

Shane Martin: But you're happy, Glen. 

Glen Merzer: Oh, yes, I guess so.  Now, Shane, your story, which is you told in the first time I interviewed you, was that you lost something like was it 100 pounds or more? 

Shane Martin: Right, right close to it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. 

Glen Merzer: And you did that just by going on a basically a whole foods plant based diet. Yeah, I mean, I eventually started exercising, but I mean, the bulk of the way it came off just because of diet. Yeah.  And so that was how many years ago? 

Shane Martin: Eleven. Eleven years ago. Eleven years. 

Glen Merzer: During those eleven years, how has your diet evolved? 

Shane Martin: Pretty much the same. I mean, it's gotten broader just because of learning to cook because. You know, we still, my wife and I will still joke from time to time because we talk about, it's amazing to see how much the whole vegan industry and even the area of eating plant -based has evolved even in the last 11 years. Cause you've been vegan, how long? 

Glen Merzer: 33 years. 

Shane Martin: Yeah. So, I mean, you know, more than, I mean, like, I guess the only thing really on the market back then was,Maybe soy milk, I mean, was soy milk, I mean, like, I mean, even that was a fairly new concept, I think, I mean, but I, it just, even in the last 11 years to see the way things have changed and not necessarily for the better from a health perspective, cause you know, all these vegan products that are over plant -based, I'm like, well, not really, this is not what we would call plant -based, but I mean, it's, so I do feel like, learning to cook and learning how to make. I think that's the big thing is just how much in my repertoire things have changed and evolved and just learning new techniques and things like that. But I will say, I feel like I have to be more cautious now because it's very easy because your job is when you are a cooking blog or a recipe blog. you're cooking all day and you're shooting all day. And the last thing you want to do is turn around and make it's like people, it's like accountants who do taxes. The last thing they want to do is talk about accounting when their time off. And I always love to talk about food and cooking, but you know, I get to the end of the day and my brain is mush from doing SEO or updating and writing posts. And then I go, I don't want to go cook. You know, it's like, let's just spend for ourselves. And so I've had to be cautious with that. Um, And it's just easier because things are so much more accessible. So, you know, the vegan burgers and the sausages and it's like, you know, we might. Yeah. So you, I feel like you got to keep your antennas up with those things because the, the accessibility is so easy now, I guess to say, you know, that you can lure yourself into thinking, well, Yes, at least it's not real meat at least it's not so it is a healthier version but yeah, you can you can put on weight real quick and you can and you read the ingredients and They're really not any more healthy than it's kind of like I joked with while ago I'll tell people I say I say they're less unhealthy just because there might not be any cholesterol but you're still looking at all the saturated fat and the sodium and everything they put in that to make it, you know, it's, and I, I think in the same way that the FDA regulates, you know, they can't call eggs healthy by law. You know, they shouldn't be able to put healthy on these packages or even use the word plant based on some of this. I mean, cause I mean, I do think it's kind of, if you don't know, it's very deceptive, you know, and if you've noticed Glen, a lot of the, fake meats, if you just walk over the freezer section, they don't say vegan alternative. They're all made from plants, plant -based, you know, and plant -based carries a much healthier.

presentation than even the word vegan does now because Oreos are vegan, Lays potato chips are vegan. French fries are vegan. 

Glen Merzer: And the real crime seems to me to be coconut oil. Coconut oil is in so many things. 

Shane Martin: Yeah. And I still talk to people who are put it in their coffee or they think that it's it just yeah, that that one I don't get. 

Glen Merzer: I just. It's like as much saturated fat as, you know, roast beef. It's just, I don't understand why anyone would give up animal foods and then eat coconut. 

Shane Martin: Yeah. Just, yeah, I don't get it.

Glen Merzer:  I had a friend I used to argue nutrition with, who used to say that I wasn't getting enough fat in my diet. And he recommended that I do what he did, which is take a jar of coconut oil, which is full of all kinds of health benefits, he said, and take a tablespoon of that every morning, just a big tablespoon of coconut oil to get all those health benefits. And I argued that it wasn't healthy at all. And we don't argue anymore because he had a sudden cardiac arrest.

 Shane Martin: Oh my gosh.

Glen Merzer:  So, you know,Coconut oil is just oil. I mean, all oils are 100 percent fat. And this one is particularly, in my opinion, deadly oil full of saturated fat. 

Shane Martin: Well, and I tell people all the time, I mean, like whether it's olive oil, whether it's palm oil, whatever, just all you have to do is read the label and see all the zeros by all the nutrients. And the only one that doesn't have a zero is the fat and calories. That's the I mean, so, yeah, I mean, it. And like I said, I'm not, I'm never gonna like, I know people that will, you know, when they cook that are plant -based and they may, you know, put, like they'll use grape seed oil to season their pans, cause it's a hard oil and it doesn't burn. And so they'll wipe their pan down and they'll, you know, but I'm like, to me,Yeah, that's not the greatest thing, but that is not the enemy. But it's like people just loading this crap up and thinking they're being healthy. But like I said, coconut oil seems to be the worst culprit. And just everything I read about it, it seems like it's fairly unstable too. I mean, it just free radicals or unless I'm remembering that wrong, it just doesn't seem like… Well, no oil, but that one just seems like it's almost always the demon is in the details with that one. You know what I mean? 

Glen Merzer: And then you go into the typical grocery store to the vegan section and you look at the vegan yogurts and the vegan cheeses and the vegan faux meats. And it seems like nine out of 10 have coconut oil. 

Shane Martin: Yeah, that always seems to be the biggest one. I will say and I'm getting absolutely nothing to say this. I'm not being paid, but.I will say if you're going to like the Kite Hill does a vegan cheese. 

Glen Merzer: I was going to say it too. 

Shane Martin: Yeah. Yeah. If you look, yeah, if you look, it's just almond almond cultures. And so there there there are a couple you have to dig to find them. But but that seems to be like if we are going to have like a brunch or host a brunch and we're doing like a fruit tray or bagels or just, you know, something like that. Kite hill is usually what we'll go and get. And I think it tastes better than the other ones too. I mean, it's, I used it in some of the recipes in the book where cream cheese was called for. 

Glen Merzer: I'm guessing you have a bagel recipe in the book. 

Shane Martin: No, it's the one that I don't have. 

Glen Merzer: No. I asked a question I shouldn't have asked.

Shane Martin: No, I think that's good. Let me make sure. I mean, let me hold on

Glen Merzer:  You should know. Have you read this book, Shane?

Shane Martin:  I have, but it all runs together. All right. So I don't think.I have a doughnut recipe. 

Glen Merzer:  Well, that's a different different

Shane Martin: No, there's not a bagel recipe and all right biscuits Just yeah No, all right. Well, no, I'm for the next book required too much work, man

Glen Merzer:  Now wait I forget when you became a vegan, was it because you had seen a documentary? 

Shane Martin: Yeah. Forks over knives. I feel like that's kind of the entry. That was kind of the cornerstone for a lot of people. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah, I think for knives, vegans out there. 

Shane Martin: Yeah. And, you know, it's interesting for me when I saw that documentary, it was kind of at my wits end, like because I'd gotten to my heaviest and was like feeling it and getting staph infections all the time and things like that. But a friend recommended it to me and, um,And I thought this is gonna be one more vegan documentary. And the thing was, I think I, like many people, were just resistant to the idea of going vegan just because the stereotypes and the caricatures. And I'm not an activist type person. I mean, I will not remain silent on things, but I've also, I feel like I don't want to be the caricature of anything. Like, I want to go out and have an intellectual debate and intellectual discussion because I feel like, you know, that whole thing, you win more flies with honey than vinegar kind of thing. But I believe there, I believe there are places for activism and standing up and we see that through history. But to me, that's what veganism represent. I'm like, I'm not going to go protest zoos. I'm not going to yell at people for wearing leather. You know, it's like, and that's kind of what I thought. And then when I saw forks over knives, what pulled me in, And what attracted me is I thought it's the first time I'd seen anything like that. And it was completely centered around the science of everything, like nutritionally. And one of the things that blew me away is because my dad had developed type two diabetes and some heart issues and he had done, the doctor had put him on like the low carb thing. And. He did lose weight, but we know that losing weight is not always meaning healthy. And I mean, cancer patients lose weight when they are on chemo and things like that. But, um, I, he was still having to manage his diabetes. It never like would go away. And I'm like, there's a reason, cause you're still eating fat. You know, that's what causes diabetes. And when I saw the documentary, what it did was, It blew a lot of the myths out of the water. Like, you know, they, like my dad wouldn't eat potatoes. He wouldn't eat a lot of fruit, you know, and things like that. And here I am watching this documentary of all these people dealing with diabetes and heart issues and they're eating spinach and all the greens and everything we know about, you know, but they're eating. Then I see John McDougall talking about eating corn and beans and rice and potatoes. And I'm like, wait a minute, rice and potatoes, because you're told. those things are unhealthy even today. There's too many carbs. There's too many carbs. And I'm like, well, I love potatoes, you know, and then they're eating breads and they're eating pasta. And I'm like, you know, and then I see Dr. Esselstyn and I see T. Colin Campbell and I see RIP and I see their diets and I see what they're eating. And I'm like, I remember telling my wife, I looked at that and I said, and initially I thought, Well, all of that looks good. And I just heard them talk about remove the oil, remove the butters. And I thought, well, that makes sense to me. High in fat and high in calories. That just seems the logical place to go. And, um, so, you know, like early on kind of going back to the conversation earlier, I think the reason I dropped so much weight to begin with is we were just eating tofu and salads, you know, and because we didn't really understand. I didn't get, I didn't make the connection that most of us eat more of a plant -based diet than we realize, especially in the South, because you're eating corn, beans, rice, and potatoes. The problems is, is you're seasoning it with butter and lard and, you know, obscene amounts of salt. But if you cut back and make that, and I always tell people here, like, if you're not going to eliminate the animal product, just make it like a small side and make the corn, the beans, and the rice the majority of your meal. But kind of going back to Forks Over Knives, I think that's the thing that appealed to me was all the food they were eating and you're seeing these desserts. And, you know, I remember watching Rip Esselstyn like the next day on a Ted Talk talking about like they were making peanut butter oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies, you know, and I'm thinking my mind was just kind of blown. And so I would say after about three or four weeks of just kind of grinding it out, um, I found Rip Esselstyn's book, the Engine Two Cookbook at the library. We were living in Auburn, Alabama, and I found his cookbook. And so I started making the Adonis cake and I made a chocolate cake and I mean, started making like a Tempeh Reuben and things like that. And I was like, this is the easiest thing in the world. You're just learning to cook again, you know? And so, and we were fortunate to have an Earth Bear close, so I was able to buy silken tofu and...And when I discovered nutritional yeast and how to make cheese dip out of cashews and nutritional yeast, which I tell people that's whole foods, but you can gain a lot of weight eating cashews and things like that. But all that to say that documentary, it just showed me that that's when I realized a plant -based diet was not about deprivation. It was about literally like I tell people gorging yourself to hell kind of thing. 

Glen Merzer: I'm thoroughly convinced that our food tastes better than their food. You know, 

Shane Martin: I have no doubt just what you can do. I mean, it's it's limitless. 

Glen Merzer: That excuse of not going vegan for the taste because they like the taste of hamburgers or something. It's just kind of pathetic when when you know what really good food tastes like. 

Shane Martin: Yeah, absolutely. I agree 100 percent. It's like Rip Esselstyn said, he said. It's a vast cornucopia is what it is. I mean, because there's just so much you can do within with whole food plant based ingredients. 

Glen Merzer: So how long did it take from the time you started with your first vegan recipes from RIP's book, The Engine 2 Diet to the to the time when the light went on and said, hey, maybe I could be a vegan blogger. Oh, recipes. Yeah, man. 

Shane Martin: Yeah, that's a good question. I remember my wife, like the first year that I lost my weight and people were, so that was 2013. And people were just calling me like friends and family, like, what are you doing? What are you doing? And, um, I told them, and of course, many of them were like, well, I'm not giving up milk and I'm not doing this. You know, you gotta have your calcium. You gotta have your, which again, you're learning all the myths and busting all the myths, but Andrea, had followed women who blogged and she said, she said, you ought to consider doing something like a blog because a lot of these places will sponsor blogs or pay people. And I didn't think much about it, but I thought, man, yeah, that sounds great. You know, and then you get to become passionate about it. And I was like, man, I would love to figure out a way to do something like what Rip Esselstyn does, talk to people or something like that. And so I guess I didn't think much about it. And then probably in 2014, I got on looking at blog platforms and thinking of what it would look like to start a blog. Oh, that'd be great. And just, I just had no clue. And originally I had gone and registered the name for the blog to be, um, famine to feast was going to be the name of the blog. And Andrea, my wife is a graphic designer. And so she was designing, it was, it was, we were designing things every other day cause I was changing the name of the blog. And, um, but I'm also a perfectionist as an artist. And so I don't want to put things out that are, I want them to look like they've been, like I've been doing it, you know, and, and even when you watch your favorite sitcom, you're talking about friends while ago, if you look at the first pilot, compared to where they got episodes in, the scenes change. Like even in Seinfeld, his apartment changed, like things get better and that's how it supposed. So anyway, so it started out as spamming the feast and Andrea had designed it and, or done me like a logo and then I was having breakfast with a friend. So that started in like 2014 and then we ended up moving to Charlotte and I kind of dabbled but never really did anything and. a friend of mine, I was just ready to try something new. And, and so this was probably 2015, 2016. And I said, what did you think about that logo? He goes, yeah, I didn't really like it. And I was like, well, my wife worked hard. He goes, it's not the logo. He said, it's the name. He said, it sounds like a bad name for a church youth group, famine to feast. And I thought, okay, point taken. And so I just started trying to come up with another name and I went through several things and then I, I came up with. the plant -based menu, and Andrea had designed a really cool logo with that, but I thought, I just, it doesn't feel right. And I was talking to a friend of mine over Messenger one night, FaceTime one night, and he said, man, he goes, I don't, he goes, you really got to not, you're trying to remove yourself from the blog. And he said, really this is your story. So you need, it needs to be about you, like what you're doing. And, and so one day Andrea was out of town. I think she'd gone back to visit family and I don't remember how it came up, but you know, this is over the course of a couple of years and I never will forget we were in our rental house in Charlotte before we bought our house and, and something he said, you just, he said, the great thing about your recipes is you just have a gift of keeping them plain and simple, but they're healthy and they're, they're good. And they're not like what most people think of all these ingredients, like a lot of bloggers. And when he said that, I thought, Oh, wait a minute. What if I just kind of did Shane and simple, you know? And so I called Andrea and said, what do you think about this? And we always joke like I'm, I'm real extroverted and I get on things real quick and Andrea has to process. And, and so, but she went, yeah, I like that. And then the more we talked about it, she goes, yes. And so. We always talk about one of the things that we just hated about sometimes what people perceive as vegans is they can be pretentious and the recipes can be overly complicated. That's what a lot of people think. So that's how the tagline practical, not pretentious plant -based recipes kind of came in. And so the name stuck and that was probably 2015. And so we kind of started toying around with it, but it wasn't until August of 2017.

that my wife found because I was listening to all these podcasts about bloggers and they were saying just put something out like your content is what's important. You'll learn to take the photographs even if you're taking them with your phone. Just do something and get consistent. And one day again my wife said just put something out there. Do it. We've been talking about this for three years now. You know you just really start till 2017 2017. And I finally wrote my first blog post. I took pictures with an iPad and an iPhone. It's, and it's still on there. It's the very first recipe. It's a grilled peanut butter and jelly and banana sandwich. And it's still on there. And I didn't know anything about SEO. I didn't know anything about keyword research. I just was writing and the photographs are terrible. The lighting was horrible. But I left it on there and I put it out there and had a few more recipes. And back when you could really build up a following with Facebook and get in other groups and share before Google ratcheted down its algorithm and started locking you out of groups. I just started sharing a lot of stuff and it picked up a little steam. And I would say probably I remember adding Google AdSense where you could go in and register with Google and you could just put a code and Google would run an ad. I wasn't with an ad network. I'm with Raptive now. It used to be AdThrive, but I was running Google ads and you get paid like not even cents on the dollar, like less than cents on the dollar. And I remember the first day, my blog, I looked and it made 12 cents and I was looking in Google ads. I was like, Oh, this is terrible, but I made 12 cents and I had no clue how to make money doing it. 

Glen Merzer: And do you remember where you invested that? 

Shane Martin: That 12 cents?

Glen Merzer:  Yeah.

Shane Martin:  Um, I tried to find a, uh, gumball machine, but you know, they're all 50 cents or a quarter now. So I didn't even make enough to buy a piece of gum. Um, I, uh, So yeah, I was running some ads just that the codes I would put in just because I thought it made the website look legit. And, um,I remember I started to get some page views and stuff like that. And then I think it was 2018, maybe around Thanksgiving, I just kind of plugged away and plugged away. And around 20, Thanksgiving of 2018, I had my best day. And I think I had for the month, I think I had 75 ,000 page views. I couldn't crack that 100 ,000 page remark. And, but I ended up having enough page views or sessions to where I could apply to one of the big ad networks called Mediavine and ended up applying and got accepted. And then I started seeing the blog make like $25 in a day through ad revenue. And I started making about eight hundred eight to $1 ,200 a month in blog income, which was a good side income in addition to my job. And, um, and then I kind of got discouraged going into the first of the year, my job at the church got really busy and I had put the blog off and I had not posted for three months on the blog. And I just remember going, this is something I want to do and I love, and I'm not letting anything kind of get between that anymore. And Mediavine, the ad network I was with, had actually come to Charlotte to do like a workshop for its bloggers. And there were several bloggers in Charlotte with them. And they were just talking about here's way to increase page views, you know, things to help your monetization. And it was, it was really encouraging and I got really pumped. And I remember coming home that night and I just bore down and I started working on the blog. Like I made, I set a schedule and I said, Tuesdays and Fridays are when new recipes will go out. And so basically the way I worked is I would work my job through the day at the church and then I would come in and have dinner with the family. And then while they were watching TV and then go to bed, I would start getting ready and I would cook, I would photograph, and I would write the post. And I would usually end the day about 2 .30, three o 'clock in the morning. And I did that every Monday night and every Thursday night. so that there was a new recipe going out on Tuesdays and Fridays. And I just started to see things grow a little bit. And so still not at the point of a full -time income. But October of 2019, the church I worked at was growing and I just had become getting burnt out. I was just tired. And I was like, I want to do the blog. And my wife is a freelance graphic designer and I never will forget, she could see that I was burnt out too. And I was just exhausted from my job. And there was a little coffee house about two miles up the road from the little community we lived in called Nova's Bakery. And they opened every morning at five 30, six o 'clock. And even when I was making no money, I would get up at five in the morning, five 15 and start blogging or doing something. And I would go and sit there until it was time to go to work and just blogging. Like I was making a million dollars a year. And I would go there in the afternoons to work cause it was always, there was hardly anybody in there. It was just quiet and, and, um, But this one afternoon I was telling her, I said, the church is getting ready to restructure. They're adding another site location and they're talking to me about doing this. And she goes, I don't think you need to do that. And we had friends saying, we think it's time for you to step down. But I'm like, I got to support a family, you know? But she brought our budget and we sat down at this little coffee shop at like two o 'clock one afternoon and had a business meeting together. And she said, here is the bare minimum. we have to make to survive. Like monthly, this is what we need to bring in. And she increased some of her hours with her clients, but she said, this is the bare minimum we have to make. And I'm looking at it and going, I'm not far off from that. Because at this point, the blog was probably half of my income, a little more. And when it comes to owning a business, one thing I just had people tell me, they're like, you have to get to a point where you are willing for a little while to work full time and double time for part time pay if you want to make it full time. So we said, and we just looked over the numbers and we thought about it and we prayed about it. And we finally said, let's do it. Let's just go for it. And that was in October. And I worked like crazy in November and December. And I ended up moving ad networks and going with what was ad thrive at the point, which I'd already before I ever made money blogging. That was my goal. I said, if I can become part of ad thrive, the the broker, that's where a lot of my favorite bloggers are. I'll consider that I've made it. 

Glen Merzer:  And that's when you quit the church job at that time. 

Shane Martin: I turned my resignation in.the next day, two days later, and January 1st of 2020 is when I became a quote unquote full -time blogger. I still wasn't praying about quitting the church. I had to pray about that. You know, like it was a big deal because that's what I'd been doing for 15 years. And, um, and then when I ended up leaving and doing the blogging,Um, you know, my income was probably about three quarters of what it was maybe, but, but then COVID hit. And so ad revenue. So it was like, we had everything going against us, you know, and, but, you know, here we are over four years later and, you know, it was funny. My wife and I were talking the other day and we were like, neither one of us have had bosses. together for over four years. And, you know, it's, it's a struggle at times. I mean, cause things change in the blogosphere and you're trying to figure out a way to keep up. And, but I mean, it's the greatest job in the world, you know, and I just, I hope I'm fortunate to get to do it a long time because I don't know what I would do if I couldn't do this. 

Glen Merzer: Well, you're on a healthy diet, so you should be able to do it a long time, which brings me to my final question for the day. Sure.

Shane Martin: Sure. 

Glen Merzer: You recently got some momentous news at your relatively young age. What are you about 50?

Shane Martin:  I just turned 51. 

Glen Merzer: OK, 51. And you got the momentous news that you're going to be a grandpa. And so here's my question for you, Shane. Yes. How do you think you would feel if you got that news when you were 300 pounds compared to how you feel now?

Shane Martin: I first, I think it's, I think it's safe to say that. I don't know that I would have been here to receive that news. That'd be the first thing. But the second thing is I would think, oh no, something has to change, were. But yeah, I mean, that being said, that is not the story now. So we're really, really excited. It's kind of, one, it was weird having a child old enough to get married, you know, and, um, But second, like, because there's six years between my wife and I, so she's, she's 45. I'm 40, I'm 51. So to think that we're going to be grandparents, you know, we still feel like we still need to be in that phase of just getting ready to have kids, you know, and, but it's just, I don't know where we, I mean, but you know, my oldest daughter, she, she graduated college last summer. And her husband graduated the year before her and was in Air Force ROTC. So he is in fighter jet pilot. He's training in that. But it was like, even their wedding was like, we didn't even get to go to the wedding. They kind of eloped, you know, cause he found out he was getting moved to San Antonio and, and they were still in the same area. They were about 30 miles apart because she was working in the town that she graduated college in. But she. She called us and she said, yeah, we're not going to do a long distance relationship. He graduated flight training the second week of November. They got engaged that day of his graduation. They got married the Sunday after Thanksgiving and then moved to San Antonio five days after that. And so we went to go see them back in March. The girls, our other children at home had summer of spring break and we walked in and they told us that day. So it's, yeah. So it's. We're excited. I mean, we feel like we're still young enough where we have friends our age just now having kids, you know, so it's like, so we kind of feel like we get to relive it again. So it's, but yeah, we're excited, but the thought of being called a grandpa is just, I'm still trying to process that information, but, but I do tell everybody I said, but I'm married to a hot grandmother. So, 

Glen Merzer: well, Shane, it's been a pleasure talking to you and congratulations on that news.

Shane Martin: Thank you, Glenn. 

Glen Merzer: And we'll put it in the show notes, the link. The book is Baking Vegan Bread at Home, Beautiful Everyday in Artisan Plant -Based Breads. And if you want to have all of Shane's books in your collection, the next one you could preorder is The Vegan Bread Machine Cookbook, available for preorder on Amazon. Shane, it's been great talking to you. The blog is

Shane Martin: Yes, yes. And you can follow me on social media, facebook .com, slash Shane and Simple Cooking. All of my handles at Instagram and Facebook are Shane and Simple Cooking. So follow me there. But Glenn, thanks for your support and just pursuing me. I appreciate it. It's been a hectic time in my life and I really appreciate you reaching out and promoting the book.

Just your friendship, I really appreciate it. 

Glen Merzer: Thanks, Shane. We'll see you soon. Take care.

Shane Martin:  All right.



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