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Exploring Resilience in the Vegan Journey




In the most recent episode of the Real Men Eat Plants podcast, host Bryan brought together an impressive panel of guests—Brett Nyquist, Will Loiseau, Brian Herskowitz, and Mike Young—to delve into the theme of "Green Mindset: Cultivating Resilience As A Vegan." This episode highlighted their personal journeys and transformations and unpacked the broader implications of veganism on mental health and societal perceptions.


Each guest shared their unique vegan journey, providing listeners with a personal glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of embracing a plant-based lifestyle. For instance, Brian Herskowitz discussed how the documentary "Game Changers" shifted his perspective on veganism and athletics, illustrating the media's profound impact on personal health choices.


The discussion touched on influential documentaries like "Food Inc." and their sequels, which have significantly raised awareness about food production processes. The panelists reflected on how these films prompted them to think critically about the origins of their food and the broader food industry's impact on health and the environment.


A significant portion of the conversation focused on the mental health aspects of veganism. Guests shared how adopting a plant-based diet has affected their mental well-being, highlighting both the positive changes and the challenges of navigating a predominantly non-vegan world. Brett Nyquist, for example, noted improvements in his anxiety and overall mental health since becoming vegan.


The episode also celebrated the innovations within the vegan food market, such as the expansion of Beyond Meat products in mainstream outlets like Walmart. This segment underscored the increasing accessibility and acceptance of vegan options, catering to lifelong vegans and those transitioning to a plant-based diet.


Emphasizing the importance of community, the discussion showcased how support networks, both online and in-person, play a crucial role in sustaining a vegan lifestyle. Platforms like PBNSG.org were highlighted as valuable resources for newcomers and seasoned vegans alike, offering support and fostering a sense of belonging.


This Real Men Eat Plants podcast episode served as a robust platform for discussing the resilience required to maintain a vegan lifestyle amidst societal pressures and stereotypes. It provided listeners with insights into the holistic benefits of veganism, extending beyond diet to encompass environmental ethics and mental health.


→ Vegan Recipe of the Week: Scrambled No-Eggs

Dive into the morning with a dish that’s as nourishing as it is delightful. This Scrambled No-Eggs recipe offers a vegan twist on a traditional breakfast staple brought to life by culinary creativity in the vegan community. Using firm tofu as the base, this recipe mimics the fluffy texture of scrambled eggs without any of the dairy.

Ingredients:

  • Firm tofu, crumbled

  • A drizzle of oil for cooking

  • A pinch of turmeric for color

  • Black salt (kala namak) for that distinctive eggy flavor

  • A sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy touch

  • A splash of your favorite plant milk for creaminess

  • Optional: Add-ins like spinach, mushrooms, or tomatoes

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Tofu: Press the tofu to remove excess moisture—this is key to achieving the perfect scramble texture.

  2. Heat the Pan: Warm a non-stick skillet with a little oil over medium heat.

  3. Cook the Tofu: Add the crumbled tofu to the skillet, seasoning with turmeric and black salt. Mix well.

  4. Add Flavors: Sprinkle nutritional yeast over the tofu and pour a bit of plant milk to achieve a moist, creamy consistency.

  5. Include Extras: Toss in any additional vegetables you desire, cooking until they are just tender.

  6. Serve and Enjoy: Once everything is heated through and the tofu is slightly browned, serve your Scrambled No-Eggs hot.


This recipe captures the essence of traditional scrambled eggs and introduces a heart-healthy, plant-based alternative that’s easy to love. Whether you're a longtime vegan or just exploring, these Scrambled No-Eggs will brighten your morning routine.


Ready to embrace more plant-powered dishes? Join the Real Men Eat Plants community! Whether you’re deepening your existing plant-based lifestyle or just beginning, we offer support, insights, and a place to connect. Together, we’re building a stronger, healthier world one meal at a time. Connect with us, and let’s make every meal an opportunity to thrive!



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>Podcast Episode’s Transcript

Please understand that a transcription service provided the transcript below. It undoubtedly contains errors that invariably take place in voice transcriptions.


Bryan: Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the real man. I was going to say plant based. No, that's not it. Welcome to the episode of the real men eat plants podcast. I do the other podcasts too, a little too much I think lately. So anyway, thank you everybody for being here. We've got another great roundup of real men eating plants with me here. So let's just go around the horn and have everybody say hi and introduce yourselves real quick. So.


Brett, did you want to kick us off, sir?



Brett Nyquist: Let's do it. All right. Yeah. So hello, everybody. Nice to meet you all. My name is Brett. I, um, well, I've been a vegan since 2015. So at 26 years old, I decided my wife and I decided to go vegan together. We watched Cowspiracy and that was like the end of the, that was it. We literally got rid of everything in our kitchen. We went grocery shopping that night and.

We have been running with it ever since. And then we kind of, we kind of started like whole food, plant -based and vegan at the same time, you know, we were buying vegan products and stuff. But we pretty quickly transitioned to like as whole food, plant -based as possible pretty quickly after that. And then I became affiliated with the organization, nonprofit plant -based nutrition support group in 2017. So for the past seven years, I've been their director of technology. So I do another social media and web design and all that good stuff. And we were doing a lot of in -person events with top names like Michael Greger and Neil Bernard and all those guys would come and talk. And COVID hit and we transitioned to a full online platform. So this space is pretty comfortable for me. I've been in technology for 10 years now as well. So yeah, that's kind of a little background. About me. So it's good to be here. Thanks for having me, Bryan. 


Bryan: Welcome back to the show. You've been on before. We're glad to have you back and check out PBNSG .org when you get a chance. They got some great support groups over there, including ours, the Real Many Plants support group. So you can hang out with Brett and I and a few others once a month and talk all things plants with us too. So, uh, Will, welcome to the show. Say hi, where are you at and what's up with what you got going on?



Will Loiseau : Peace and blessings to everybody. So my name is Will Loiseau and I've been on this journey for about 14 years now. And, you know, I started, like a lot of us, you know, just making the changes and seeing the results and feeling a lot better than we were before. And I became a holistic sports nutritional consultant and practitioner and also a personal trainer. So I've been helping my clients through my company called Pro Healthy Choice. And pretty much what I do is I help people, especially over the age of 35 and 40, get in the best shape of their lives. So it's enabled me to run two full marathons within the last five months. First was New York in November and Fort Lauderdale in February. And I, I'm just, I'm just feeling great and I'm just trying to spread the message. Uh, so yeah, the journey's going really, really well so far. 




Bryan: And he's underselling himself. He's got two books out. He's working on a third. So will is a man on the move. So check out well, and we'll make sure your books get mentioned in the show notes. Um, and I'm jealous. Well, I'm going to have to get some marathon tips from you because I've done a whole bunch of half marathons, but I still need to to bite off a full marathon. So I'm looking forward to getting some tips from you. Mr. Young, welcome to the program. Great to see you again. 


Mike Young: Thanks. My name is Mike Young. I'm 54 years young, and I am also the chief foodie officer of our nonprofit, which is a plantbaseddiet .org. We focus on the plant -based lifestyle and really kind of focus almost exclusively these days on health span and longevity. And I've got a book that we have out, which is a free resource called Live to 150. We kind of think, unfortunately, that most people didn't learn these habits when they were growing up. And they're doing almost everything wrong, but still live in the 75. So what would happen if you did almost everything right? That's kind of what we want to do. We want to have fun in life. We want to enjoy life. We want to avoid all forms of non -communicable disease, which are, you know, modifiable and, in my opinion, optional. So...That's what we're doing. We hope this is a new paradigm of life. And, you know, we do events, anything from local restaurant events, if we can get them to make the food we want, the way we want it, which is what we call healthy vegan food, to we have something called the Health Optimization Cruise, to communities in Ecuador where they're growing their own food that are totally plant -based. So everything in between. Awesome. It's so great to have you on. Yes, Mike Young's got his fingers in a little bit of everything on the pulse of plant -based. So.


Bryan: Thanks Mike for being here. And Mr. Herskowitz. 


Brian Herskowitz: Yes, I'm having a little technical difficulty with my ear pods. So if I I may end up going, I don't know. I can't hear you. But I'm Brian Herskowitz. I'm a writer, producer, director in the film industry. I'm also a older master athlete in judo and jiu jitsu. Championships just black and I've been doing that for 60 years. I'm an older gentleman, but I'm also newer to the vegan lifestyle. And partly I was bullied into becoming a vegan by my daughter who started at two and a half going, what is this made out of? It's made out of chicken. I'm not eating that. So she became a vegan very, very young. And she, over the years, kind of like kept pushing me in that direction. I went kicking and screaming until I saw a show called Game Changers, which kind of changed my view about athletics and inflammation and how a plant -based diet can actually support your athletic.


Bryan: Awesome. Yes, I do not want to pick a fight with you. That is for sure. So we are glad you are here. Mr. So today's today's topic on the Real Men Plants show is cultivating mental resilience. So we're looking forward to unpacking that topic with you and and diving into that and a couple different lenses and just sort of see. what each of you think on that. But I thought I'd kick us off with just a couple news topics of the day and just get some thoughts and reactions from a few of you and see what's going on. So the first one up is Will just brought it to our attention that Food Inc. 2 has come out. So it should be on some of your streaming services. So how many of you have seen the first Food Inc. and what do you think about the second one coming out?


Will: Yeah, so the first one, I saw that one and that was one of the first, I guess, plant -based movies, documentaries that I've seen. And that really opened my eyes towards what goes on behind the scenes because I really wasn't aware of that. I had heard stories here and there, but until you actually see it, it doesn't really impact you that much. And I never really, like a lot of people, I never really thought about where my food comes from. You know, I see it in the store. I have like this trust that it's going to be safe because if it wasn't safe, it wouldn't be there. So, you know, once I started to see what went on behind the scenes, then I really started to get into reading labels and I started to ask questions as far as like, how far is this being shipped away from, you know, and what is the process behind how it gets to my, you know, to my plate? So.

You know, that was a great move. I'm really looking forward to the second one because I think that the first one came out, I think it's been like over 15 years ago. So, you know, a lot has changed as we know, as far as the food production. And I think a lot more people are getting conscious of the fact that, you know, the food isn't as safe as, you know, we've been led to believe. So yeah, I'm looking forward to it. 


Bryan: Yeah. Thanks for sharing. Well, Mike, what's your thoughts?


Mike: Oh, well, I barely remember that movie because it was a while ago. And just like Will said, I'm looking for the update because something I don't know. I can't remember all the details about the Food Inc., but I remember like What the Health, which is obviously related to this. It's a similar type of movie. And I know that was kind of groundbreaking when it came out. But, you know, from our perspective. let's say like since What the Health was released and since Food Inc. was released, it did raise a lot of awareness initially. But I think that we've seen a lot of people that kind of go into the space because of movies like that, that have somewhat been disappointed because most of what we've seen in the space that's been introduced since these movies have been released has been more of like the food -like products, the plant -based food -like products, not the real health promoting foods.So I'm really interested to see what the new movie has to say about that. 


Bryan: I am curious too on every level, because that's one of our other articles. I think you teed it up pretty well. Beyond Meat has expanded its vegan chicken tenders. They're now available in 8 ,000 stores, which is a great win for the plant -based movement. But to your point, they're debuting in Walmart. It's a significant expansion, and it just shows a great deal. growing and accessibility and plant -based is on its way in the meat alternative markets. But, you know, Brett, what's your thoughts on Beyond Meat's latest news announcement and how it ties into Food Inc?


Brett:  I mean, I think those products are necessary for transition for a lot of people because, you know, like for instance, I know my father -in -law wouldn't have eaten nearly as many plant -based meals that I've made if I didn't...Introduce him into like Beyond Meat Impossible Foods and stuff like that because he was such a meat and potatoes kind of guy that if those products didn't exist he wouldn't have even Steered away from those products So, you know, I use them in a few recipes at the beginning, but I think that that's what those products are good for Transition away and then try to research a little bit more and incorporate more whole foods after that But I think that those products are so important because there's so many people that haven't transitioned away from their meat eating habits that those products are gonna go a long way still. 


Bryan: So. Yeah. Brian, you want to add some thoughts in there? 


Brian: Yeah, a couple of different things. You know, as somebody who is probably the new the new kid on the block in terms of being a vegan, those foods are really important to me because the the things that I miss in terms of the flavor and the texture. I was able to get from these alternative vegan products. Recently, there was a study that was done, and I don't know if you guys have seen it or heard it, but one of the big kind of pushes from the meat industry was, oh, these processed products that beyond meat and everybody's putting together, they're just as bad, if not worse for you than meat -based products. And There was a pretty large study that was done by, I can't remember who it was, Harvard or one of the big medical schools. And they found that not to be the case. It didn't have any positive benefits for your health, but it didn't have the negative benefits that you find in consuming meat products. And I think that's a huge win for those people that do want to continue to eat those kind of products and find their way into the vegan lifestyle. Um, you know, the other thing is that the transitioning is important. But the one thing that, you know, we've talked about before is this idea of, you know, there are so many people that are A, as Will was saying, unaware of where their food comes from or the way the animals are treated, what's happening to the environment. And they don't want to necessarily know. But those people, for example, in Europe, Burger King, just in Europe for some reason, They made the price of their plant -based burgers less expensive than their meat burger. And I think that's a huge positive movement in the right direction. Because we have to kind of embrace and get people on our side. Then if we want to talk about, OK, let's move you away from the processed products into whole food products, that's great. But you're not going to get everybody to do that. And if you don't give them some alternatives that allow them to feel like, they're still getting what they want out of the equation. They're gonna go exactly stay on the route that they're on, which is, you know, hey, I like my burgers, I like my steak, I like my, you know, I like my chicken. And, you know, without taking into consideration what's happening to the environment, happening to the lives of those animals, what's happening to our societies. So I think it's, I think it's an important distinction to make between. Yeah, they're processed. Maybe they're not as healthy, but it's honestly the lesser of two evils. And I think it's significantly less. And I think as long as we have those alternatives, we're going to be bringing more people into the fold. I mean, who among us would have thought three years ago, five years ago, that you would go to Chipotle and be able to get vegan food or vegan meats or go to a burger place? And now I mean in my neighborhood alone there are three vegan hamburger places just. In my immediate vicinity, one by Kevin Hart, another one called the plant. Lab, but there are like three or four places where you can go. You know if you have if that's your Jones, you can go there. You can get a burger. You're not killing an animal. You're not destroying the environment. You know, maybe you're not doing the best thing for your health, but it's probably better than what you were doing when we were going to McDonald's.



Bryan: That's right. 


Brian: That's my five cents worth. 


Brett:I could add to a couple of things. Yeah. If I could include one thing on that, just real, really real quick. It's just funny to think back on like even back in 2015 when my wife and I first went plant -based, Beyond Meat wasn't even out yet. I don't think. So like we started with tofu and tempeh. Like that was our protein go -to and like beans and you know, rice and broth. And so, So like, I think it's even easier now for people to make the transition. I just want to see them not eat those foods for like every single meal, but use them as a transition food, you know? So that was just kind of a side thought that I had was like even 10 years ago when we were nine years ago, they weren't even around. 


Brian:I think it's a, it's - I'm sorry,  one other thing I just wanted to add is that I know that Beyond Meat just got a seal,on their newest formula for their burgers from the heart society that it is heart health, which, you know, let's see a hamburger. 


Bryan:That's right. 


Brian:That's my that's my good point. 



Well, it's it's an interesting segue to one of the other stories that I have is and I forget where exactly you are out in California, Brian, but the the. Plant X, have you guys seen Plant X? They have their grocery store and they just opened a huge flagship store in San Diego where you can walk in and the entire grocery store is vegan. That just blows my mind because every time I go to the grocery store, there's at least three packages I have to pick up and check for milk product or whatever kind of thing. I cannot, it's just blown away. Like when you go to a vegan restaurant and you're like, I can order anything on the menu. Now I can't imagine walking into a grocery store and anything I pick up, I don't even have to look at it. I know it's vegan. Now, you know, to Mike Young and others points on here, like maybe it's not the most healthy vegan food for you and you can make better, smarter choices on that piece of it. But that would just be a huge relief to just walk in and see that. So what do you guys think about PlantX and congrats to them opening that. I hope you open one in Charlotte sometime soon. I'll be there supporting you. Mike, you want to read that one?


Mike: Sure, we spent a lot of time in Florida. That's where we're headquartered. And I think Black Radish, I believe, is all vegan grocer in Tampa. And there's another one in Fort Lauderdale. I can't remember the name of that offhand. But yeah, there's more and more every day. And kind of like someone mentioned earlier, Europe seems to be leading the way. I think these started in Europe. Now they're coming over to the US. And yeah, we definitely see the value in transition. This whole thing is a journey for everyone, including myself. So we just want people to keep learning. And...keep growing and we see that. And I also want to kind of, I think it was Brett, you mentioned how things were different 10 years ago. Our nonprofit was totally different 10 years ago. We were only doing festival events because we were trying to introduce people to this stuff. And like you said, there was nothing in the grocery store. Now all these plant -based products are in every grocery store, which is fantastic. And because of that, we've actually transitioned away from the festivals because we don't need to introduce that kind of stuff anymore. Now we're going to the next level, right?


Bryan: I love it. I love it. Other comments and thoughts on the vegan grocery store? Will? 


Wil: I think it's fantastic. Yeah. I think it's great. The more accessible these options are to people. And like you mentioned, it is a great feeling to be able to go somewhere and not have to always think that you have to second guess what you're purchasing. So yeah, I think the more it's available. the more people will gravitate to it because a big part of the reason why so many people are attracted to these fast food restaurants is because they're everywhere. So whether you're walking, you're driving, whatever, you're smelling these foods, you're seeing everyone walking around with the packages and the colorful packages in their hands. As human beings, most of us are followers. So you always want to follow what everyone else is doing. But if there's more plant options, I think by nature, we're gravitated towards plants. That's our nature. It's just that we've been so disconnected from our nature that we're just going in the opposite direction. So yeah, I think it's great. 


Brett: Well, I'm glad you brought up the fast food element because I'd love to see where their locations are because I'd love to see these kind of stores pop up in more impoverished areas. So that those kind of areas, I feel like that's such a big thing is food desert areas, all they have access to is...crappy food and so like man, I'd love to see healthier food markets be in those areas. But also like what are the prices, you know prices would have to align. Obviously that's such a bigger topic to open up, but yeah, I just wanted to bring light on that. 


Mike: Well, what was saying about about followers? I think I wanted to just really kind of.agree with that and expand on it a little bit to say that we see that what we I think what we need to do is this is a sociological issue and definitely a psychological issue for a lot of people. So the minute this is normalized and that they're receiving positive peer pressure because so many more people are doing it, it just allows the whole transition. So these grocery stores are our giant move step forward in that direction. 


Bryan: Yeah, can you I mean, you imagine like. I know I want to dive into our topic at hand, but like the thing that always goes back to me is just those moments of change. Like the people that's got electricity first and the people that resisted it kind of a thing, the people that, you know, said, I'm not going to give up my horse and buy one of those cars. That's just a death trap. And now we look at the Amish and we're passing the horses going, what are you crazy? Why are you riding a horse still? Right. So, you know, so I just see these moments happening and I think we're just on the. bleeding, cutting edge of this paradigm shift that's going to happen over the next 15 or 20 years. I hope it has to, or else our planet is in trouble in a big way. I want to keep this conversation going, but I also want to interweave our sort of topic of the day, if I can. And that is, you know, focusing this episode on mental resilience in the vegan community. And I wanted to just explore how being vegan affects our mental health, and then just try to unpack it a little bit with how to cultivate resilience. in the challenges that we face as being some of these bleeding edge people in the world and go from there. So the first little piece of it is just really the psychological impact of veganism. How do you guys feel adopting the vegan lifestyle has impacted your mental health, positive or negative? So I'll tee it up for Brian first. Put you on the spot.



Brian: impact psychologically is I love animals. I'm an animal lover. I always felt guilty when I would eat meat. And that has been alleviated. I no longer have that feeling. And it's actually kind of heightened that realization that when I walked into a market and I would go into the meat section or I'd smell chicken and think, oh, that smells so good. And I go, I don't want to kill that animal. I don't want to be that person. And so that that side of it has been a real positive in terms of negative effects. I really haven't noticed anything. You know, there there are and we've you know, we've talked about this and other shows as well. You know, there are there are those people that, you know, are going to try to bully you into eating, eating that piece of steak or eating that chicken or eating, you know, having a hot dog and and kind of belittling you because, you know, you're not eating meat. And it's kind of like, yeah, but. You know, there are so many reasons not to and so few reasons to and the only reason honestly is a selfish reason. It's taste, it's flavor. They like the taste, they like the flavor. And you can say, look, you know, I'm giving up that and not really even giving up that because I have so many alternatives now and so many terrific dishes that aren't necessarily have any kind of, even, you know, don't even have the process to eat, but you know.I cook pad thai, I cook different things that are noodle dishes, and they're fantastic. So, you know, it's a real, when you start looking at it and you start explaining to people, look, you can help the environment, you can help your health, you can stop killing animals, you can, you know, do it. And then they go, sometimes you get into the economic issues where people say, well, you know, what about the farmers and what about the ranchers? I understand, but life has to, You know, we have to take care of the planet first. Otherwise, it doesn't matter how many hamburgers we eat because there's not going to be anything here. So I think it's important to stay on that path and just be reasonable. And the one thing about that is I don't I don't try to force my opinions on people, but the people that I've kind of opened up the options to instead, take a look at this almost to a person. They've gone, you know what? I'm going to start eating more plant based. Even if they haven't switched to veganism, they've gone, you know, I'm going to go more in the whole food direction. And it is certainly affected their life. A friend who lost 30 pounds, and he's in much better shape than he was three months ago.


Bryan:Yeah. I love it. Will, do you have some thoughts on the mental side of it here? 


Will: Yeah. I mean, as human beings, in order for us to be functioning at our highest levels, we need to make sure that we are having access to biophotons and biophotons. That's like the sunlight energy that is absorbed in the fruits and it's responsible for every cell of every living thing to communicate with one another. So in addition to mental clarity, having that connection with the rest of the planet is vital. And it's helped me to have like a, just a higher vibration. So I think one of the biggest issues as far as like why there's so many divisions and why there's so many issues is because we're just not connected. So we're not connected to the earth, we're not connected to each other because we all are part of the earth. So, you know, these fruits and vegetables, they're electrical foods and we need that in order to survive and to function and to thrive. And so it's definitely helped me, especially in the beginning when I was going through like a mental fog where a lot of people are suffering from these days. You know, and it's even getting worse and worse as each year passes by because we have more distractions, you know, with social media and all these, you know, goggles that are going to come in the next few years, AI and all this and all that. And it's very important for us to just make sure that we stay connected to just the basics, man. Just, you know, basics of just getting that sunlight energy. So definitely it's helped me to, you know, be more clear as far as mental, mentally.



Bryan: I love it. Well, that's a great one. You taught me something new here. I'm reading an article now on on bio photons and it is eye opening. So you'll have to come back. We'll have to have a whole episode just to unpack that one further, I think. So Mike, what do you think? 


Mike: Thanks, Bryan. What Brian H is saying, you know, the the not having that karma effect, that bad karma effect is amazing. OK, I love that. And actually, that kind of meant that kind of goes back to the grocery stores, the vegan grocery stores, right? Zero bad karma. I don't like walking through the meat aisle either, so I forgot about that. That is such a plus of a vegan grocery store. And then Will, yeah, Will and I talked recently. We really super understand, not as much as Will does, but the necessary, the need of the sun's energy in growing those plants and transmitting that to your body. That's key. Something else we talk about a lot too is, and Harvard University says this, that 95 % of people, do not get enough fiber on a daily basis. And of course there's zero fiber in any animal product food. You can only get fiber, actual fiber, not a pill, the real deal from plants. So that will, you know, that fiber optimizes your gut health. And of course your gut health determines your mental health. So you gotta eat those plants. And I say that's an automatic major positive benefit of eating mostly whole or minimally processed plants.The other part of that, because we're about health span and longevity, is your daily vigorous aerobic exercise. That's key to your mental health. Those two things, the fiber, of course, no more bad karma, getting that sun's energy, and then also, got to get that daily vigorous aerobic exercise. By the way, I'm standing up, I'm not sitting down. I just want to say, important, very important, because I think that you got to have fun in life. Like I was saying, you got to have a good mental attitude. You got to be… You got to be mentally in balance. That means having your gut in balance. So it's so important to, you know, to focus on that. And of course the best way to do it is no animals and plants. 


Bryan: I love it. Well said, Mike. Brett, round us out here on this one. 


Brett: That will do. Yeah. I mean, I think this one's a pretty heavy topic for me. I think I, I think it's affected me in so many different ways. And you know, number one, like I've suffered from anxiety my entire life. And when I went plant -based, it automatically helped and improved that anxiety, right? Like my mental health automatically got better just from eating better foods. You know, my anxiety wasn't as bad just from eating the food. So, you know, with that being said, and then, you know, I was always, I was more of a skinny kid. And then when I turned 21, I think my diet caught up to me and I started to plump up and over the four years of my 20s, I, yeah, and I lost 40 pounds within like the first, I mean, it was really quick, right? So I got, I was skinnier than I even was before plant -based. So that obviously helped my physical, that helped my mental health too, right? It's just like being a healthier human being. I also think there was almost a negative effect to it at first where when I went vegan, I became mad at people that aren't. There was that factor of it, right? There was a little bit of anger, but then that anger turned into compassion. So I was actually, I transitioned that anger into more compassion for people that haven't transitioned yet. And I would say I'm way more of a compassionate and empathetic human being because I'm plant -based. Sorry, I know I'm touching so many different areas here, but. Like I said, this is such a, such a strong topic for me with the mental side of things. Um, and if I don't think if I would have gotten introduced to plant -based, I wouldn't have got introduced to yoga, meditation, um, earthing, all of those types of things that I now incorporate into my life because of plant -based. So like I learned about plant -based, which then made me research other aspects of health. And then I incorporated those things into my life as well. So it all trickles down to becoming plant -based for me. 


Bryan: So I love it. Well said. I mean, I, some of the things I wrote down trying to prepare for this episode was obviously the, you know, you go plant -based and I'm promising your physical health is going to get much better on every level. So it's going to lower your risk of all sorts of diseases, et cetera. I think we all are living testaments to that. Um, but it's also. It just improves your energy level. And since it improves your energy level, it improves your brain energy level as well. And I just feel like you have more clarity of mind. You have more thought process to process certain things. And then for me, it was the struggle of like, I've always felt very compassionate towards the animals. I've always felt like we need to do something to help the planet. Like we all see the planet sliding off a cliff rapidly. Um, from all the time -lapse videos for the past hundred years, almost everything, the Amazon. And just like we feel powerless on what we can do, but like you summarize it into, you know, we can vote with our wallets and we can vote with our mouths, uh, on that front, every single meal, three times a day on that front. And so that alignment of that moral ethical choice, like, you know, Brian mentioned it as well. Just, you know, it just is. is soothing on so many levels from that front. And it just let me sort of live in alignment with the moral values that I feel like I still think like, you know, people ask you like, what happens when World War Three comes in? Like, we're all fighting for food. Like if push came to shove, I would probably be able to kill a cow and eat it, I think. But like, that's never going to happen. Like the chances of that happening are so slim to none. I mean, most likely all the cows will be caught in the first two weeks anyway of World War Three. Right. Um, so, uh, I just think that's a weird, crazy edge case, but, but, you know, for the most part, like I can't do it. I couldn't, you know, I'm, I just ate lunch before we started the show here. I'm fine. I don't, there's no way I could do it. Um, so yeah, I, I do think some of the downsides are in some of those, those aspects of like, you decide to go down this path and you have to find your community. 12 % of us Americans are at least vegetarian. but the vegan population is even smaller. I think it's getting bigger and more rapid. So I think, you know, you have to redefine your tribe and refine your tribe. I know I've gone through that multiple times throughout my life, but finding the vegan tribe that you can jump in with and have that bonding moment or share recipes is so important. So there's a couple like ways that I think we want to, I just wanted to try and get your thoughts and feedback on some ways that we can cultivate resilience amidst challenges that we might face as vegans and give some tips and tricks on that a little bit. So I touched on the first one, that supportive community. So, you know, Brett, as the as one of the lead guys at PBNSG, like hit us with the supportive community angle and some of your thoughts on that topic. 


Brett: Yeah, I mean, I'm going to tell you, like, if I wouldn't have had support, it was much easier to follow this. having my wife by my side and us doing it together. So, you know, that's, if that's not a testament, I don't know what it is because it was so much easier to do it with somebody else. So I feel like the support group aspect of it is if somebody is, you know, having challenges, like they might be the only person in their family that wants to go down this journey and everybody else is fighting them. Well, you know, like at PBNSG, it's an online support group. So you can jump on there and get support from people that are already doing it or people that are in your same situation so you can relate to them. And you can all share tips and tricks and just share in the plethora of resources that are out there within the community aspect of it. So, I mean, I honestly think it's one of the more important aspects, pillars of transitioning to this lifestyle because you cannot do it alone. 


Bryan: Hence why I put it first, but I want to keep building on these. So I sort of teed up one for each of you kind of a thing. So Mike, uh, you know, the second one I wrote down was educating yourself and others. The number one question we all get asked, where do you get your protein from? We all know that one. So I think you very quickly find out the answer to that, but then they just go down the rabbit hole. So, you know, I think being well informed about nutrition and the ethical arguments is good. Like you're so, every time I've spoke with you, Mike, you hit me with a new point of like, oh, that's a cool tidbit I got to remember. So talk to us about how you educated yourself and others around you, and then maybe build on the community angle. 


Mike: Sure. Okay. Well, I think the, the biggest hold back in my opinion is a lack of open -mindedness. I think that if everyone collectively as a society would open their minds, uh, this movement would go a lot faster. But in the meantime, community is important, like you just touched on, because those are the open -minded people. Again, that's the only hold back. So in terms of what people need to learn, how they need to learn, there's always more to learn. That's something that's part of open -mindedness is recognizing that there's always more to learn. I don't claim to know it all, but our organization, our nonprofit, really exists as an educational or a learning uh... institute that's kinda how i would describe it because and that's why we started actually cuz when i turned the cat doesn't fourteen i didn't know anybody else plant -based uh... i'd no friends no relatives so i had to go out onto the worldwide web you know the internet and that's how we start building our communities like like uh... brett was is affiliated with uh... and and you Bryan the sage circle alliance right i mean that's an amazing group of people that's gonna help to uh... to bring education to the general public and anytime you can you know just get in with people just wherever they are right so they you kind of you bring them in and then they get on board and then we all start learning together and i think that that's that's where we're going we're seeing that progress right i'm very optimistic very hopeful it's always going to take longer than we want but we're seeing that progress i'd say that you know the the reality is this is this i know this is maybe a little bit um You know blunt, but I think that people are gonna want to see results So like if I'm saying we can live to 150 people see people that live to be between a hundred and hundred fifty regularly That's gonna be You're not gonna be able to dispute that evidence. Okay, people are gonna be like how are they living without getting sick? How are they able to do what they want? How come they don't want to go to the doctor and fill prescriptions all the time? Like how do I do that? You know people people haven't seen this yet, but I do believe that we will see this as we go forward And you know, everybody here, all these guys here, you all are doing important work and we're going to show everybody how it's done. I love it. 


Bryan: Well said, Mike. I hope to cheers you on our 115th birthdays for sure. Will, I want to turn it back to you because I know we've had a couple of chats before and I think it's also important to make sure you have like some coping strategies. You know, how do you get your stress relief? How do you, you know, practice your mindfulness? Can you hit us with some, some thoughts on that from your your perspective. 


Will: Yeah. I think the first thing that's really important is are you ready? You really have got to be ready to make a change because if somebody would approach would have approached me like before I made this change 14 years ago, I don't know if I really would have been interested in all this vegan stuff and hugging trees and I've been, no, I'm not really about that stuff. You guys are weird, you know? So that's the, that's the first thing, man. But, um, like, like Brett said, A lot of the things that you become interested in learning through going through this journey, it really helped you out a lot. I also incorporate grounding. Being out here in South Florida, I try to make it a regular practice to at least go to the beach at least once a week, once every couple of weeks or whatever. That's so important as far as connecting with the earth and getting those ions and letting… letting go of that stress. And as far as the yoga, like Brett said, I would have never been doing yoga if it wasn't for this neither. So doing the yoga and realizing that, yeah, you can push and pull during the exercise phase, but if you're not balancing it with some type of, you know, elongated stretching process and stress relief, then you're not really gonna, you know, experience the full benefits of this lifestyle. So I truly believe in a holistic lifestyle. community. I never would have, you know, this type of stuff that we're doing right here wasn't available when I first started, you know what I mean? So I had to rely on books. And like Mike said, going to the internet, that's what I did a lot of there was no YouTube at that time. So it was just like, you know, seeing someone's email, the bottom of another email and emailing that person trying to get in contact with them and hoping that they're they'll give you some time to talk about. their progress, you know what I mean? So a lot of that has to go in together. When you see somebody else, like all you guys have said, when you see somebody else who's successful and, you know, they're doing it, you're like, wow, okay, so it's possible, I can do this, you know? And then that gives you more confidence to keep going down that road. So yeah, I think all of that is extremely important to stay focused and to stay mindful.


Bryan: I love it, Will, and I think you hit on a very important point. If you're watching us on YouTube, hit that subscribe button right there, because we need more love and attention to grow this channel. Crush it. All of us have some other YouTube channels, so check us out and help keep this movement going. Brian, I want to turn it over to you because I just figured with multiple black belts, you know all about celebrating the small wins. So I wanted to just talk about, you know, you know, hit us with some thoughts and facts on just those little positive winds you get as you, as you head down this journey. 


Brian: Yeah. I mean, you know, again, a lot of it has to do with the positive impact you as an individual can have on your health, on your life, on the planet. And on, if you're, I know very few people that don't profess to love animals and, you know, interesting, uh, kind of side story or my,

my daughter who is vegan is dating a young man who's also vegan, but he doesn't really like animals. And he's learned to love her. She's an animal lover. She has a degree in animal ethics law and animal ethics law and something from the University of Edinburgh, which is a big zoological school. And that's one of the...things that really pushed her to kind of she has a channel, a YouTube channel called mad about animal mags where she goes into vegan issues and also talking about ethics and morality with as it relates to animals. It's a terrific YouTube channel. The last one she did was whether or not we should kill John Wick's dog and looking at it from a different perspective. But, you know, one of the things that she said, and I thought this was really interesting, she said, I would rather be with someone who doesn't like animals, but won't eat them, then to be with someone who says, I love animals, hand me that hamburger and some ketchup, you know? And I get it, I do. I'm a writer primarily, that's my livelihood, I write movies and television and books. And one of the things that I talk about is behavior is what defines character. And it's not the person who, you know, a guy can talk about being a hero and how great he is. And then, you know, when it hits the fan, hides behind a car that tells you more than the guy who says, I'm afraid of every shadow and mouse and then goes out and saves the people that are being attacked by a predator. So I think that the important thing is, how are you behaving? How are you? What are you doing in your life?that's giving back to society. And I see these people that nobody I know would say to me, I hate, you know, other than my, my daughter's boyfriend. I don't know anybody that says I don't like animals. They're, oh, I love animals. I love animals. Why are you eating them? I really love them. Why, you know, how can you, how can you balance that? So I think part of it is trying to act, you know, walk the walk and talk the talk. And in, in each one of these steps, whether it's, You know, for today, I'm not gonna eat, you know, I'm not doing red meat anymore. I'm not gonna do beef and pork, and I'm not gonna do, and then maybe chicken, and then maybe fish, and then maybe I'm not gonna do dairy products. Taking it one step at a time, nothing wrong with that, and celebrating each one of those wins. And I think the more you go down that rabbit hole and realize there are animals that are suffering, our planet is suffering, your health is suffering, and there is an answer, and it's a fricking easy answer. It really is. It's not that complicated. And, you know, for better or worse, the products that we've been talking about earlier, they make it pretty easy to transition away from these these products that are damaging your health, damaging the environment and damaging, you know, animals. And we can put that all together in one little package and slowly but surely encourage people, even if it's something where. You know, somebody who ate steak seven days a week is now doing it once a week or once a month. You know, it doesn't have to be all or none for everybody. I think that's an individual decision. And I think each one of those is a win. And when you get somebody to kind of acknowledge, hey, there's another way you can do this and you don't have to be an omnivore or you don't have to eat as much of an omnivore. If you can convince that one person, that's a small one. Because I do think it's a thing where you tell two people and they tell two people and they tell two people, and eventually you have a society that is moving more in that direction. I think, you know, we've talked a little bit about how Europe, you know, there are areas now that are trying to bring a healthier environment to their community. And it's not just food, but it's also the environments, whether or not there are gardens, whether or not there are places for people to gather, whether there's a community. All of those things help with your holistic improvement of your life. And I think those are things that we can all kind of support politically. We can support in terms of being active in those things. And, you know, without being, you know, particularly harsh about it, trying to convince people that there are other choices. I don't know if that answered the question. I rambled.


Bryan: I think you hit it out of the park. Lots and lots of small wins. You don't have to jump into this cold turkey and only eat beans tomorrow. You know what I mean? So like I love all the different ways you acknowledge the small win piece of it. I know we're talking specifically about this mental health topic. So I think it's important to just round out this little segment here to sort of say, there are so many professional help services out there. So whatever you are going through on that mental health front, we all are walking our own journeys and stuff. So whether that's, um, thoughts of suicide or loss of a loved one or whatever else it is, it's on your journey. There is help out there. There's phone numbers all over the place. We'll make sure we put a few of those in our show notes, uh, down below here. Um, so if you do need help, there's community out there, there's friends and family that care. And there's professional help. Love Life Telehealth is one of the ones that I know is a plant -based one with Anthony Masiello. So check his out, but there's services, there's help out there. So seek that out and help get you into the right mindset and framework for sure. I wanted to pivot and sort of have a little chat so we could wrap up and talk about how to veganize it. I'm call, I don't know what to call this segment yet. So if you've got some ideas, shoot them at me. But like there's these favorite foods that we all love and we maybe we grew up on eating in some way, shape or form. Last time we talked about popcorn and so a big shout out to Rachael Brown, who gave me the cool idea of putting pickle juice on your popcorn with your nutritional yeast to make it stick instead of the oil. You can avoid that. Um, but today I really wanted to talk about the eggs, like the breakfast food kind of thing. So what is your sort of go to scramble? I don't want to say eggs. But what's your go -to scramble for that morning thing? I know I'm a big fan of just the tofu chopped up and throw as much nutritional yeast in as the rest of the family can stand on that front. But hit me with your secret recipes for the breakfast scramble. So I'll turn it over to you, Brett. I know you've got a few up your sleeve. 


Brett: Well, scramble -wise, mine's a tofu scramble too. It's my favorite. I chop up a red bell pepper with red onion. and I'll saute that in some water. You know, get it, get it nice. And then I'll add the tofu. I do nutritional yeast, turmeric, garlic powder, paprika, a little bit of Himalayan pink salt and some black pepper. Obviously if I want that eggy taste, I'll do some Kalanamak, but I don't buy Kalanamak very often. So I'll just, I'll just do those. 


Bryan: That's the Indian black salt, right? Yeah. Indian black salt.


Brett: Yes. Yep. Yup.


Bryan: Throwing out these fancy words here. 


Brett: Yeah. So that's really, I mean, that's my go -to if I want like a scrambled type thing. And then if I want like a, I know we're on the scrambled, but if I want like a egg sandwich, I'll do like a cutout of a piece of tofu in like a circle egg shape and I'll do the same seasonings, but I'll just kind of sear it a little bit or I'll throw it in the air fryer. And I'll put some avocado and some hot sauce and put that on some bread and I'm good to go. All right. 


Bryan: Who's going to trump's Brett's recipe here? Will you got one up your sleeve for breakfast? 


Will: Well, I'll say this man, unborn chicken fetus is one of the first things that I gave up along with sausage and that type of stuff. I gave that up pretty early. So. I haven't really fiended for that stuff ever since I've been on this journey. I have gone to some restaurants and I've seen they have some pretty interesting options. If I did want to go that route, I would go to a restaurant and try and see if I like something that they had. But as far as - 


Bryan:So you're telling me you're the smoothie guy. You're the morning smoothie guy. 


Will: Yeah. That's what I am. So my smoothies, that's pretty much a mandatory every morning. I love it.


Thanks Will. Mike, you got a secret scramble recipe for us?


Mike: Well, I'm actually kind of similar to Will, although on our cruise, on the Health Optimization Cruise, they did have tofu scramble and I actually encouraged them to put some turmeric in there, you know, to kind of make it more yellow. So that's the only advice I can give you is that, but I will tell you for me, for me and my wife, our go -to every morning is yellow. All right, it is, but it's pineapple. Our goal, as long as I can source it, is three ripe pineapples every morning for breakfast. I eat two of them. I cut them up, eat them. She eats one. And I know some people will say, well, I can't eat that, Mike. You know, it's going to hurt my mouth. That's because they're not ripe. This is part of the problem with the way society is set up right now. There's not very good access to ripe fruit. It's like we all live in a ripe fruit desert. Even if the stuff looks ripe, like the red tomatoes at the grocery store. They probably almost certainly were not vine ripe and they were picked green and they were gassed to turn red. And like apples, there's a whole other story behind apples because they only produce apples once a year. So how do you get fresh ripe apples? There's a whole other story behind that. But just to say that, you know, I love it. I think that if people could eat fresh, ripe fruit for breakfast, like really ripe, there's nothing better. I mean, we love pineapples. That's all we do. That's our favorite fruit. But again, you have to have it ripe. And the reality is most people have never eaten a fully ripe pineapple.



Bryan:I love it. So get your pineapple, let it ripen. And we're going to see a blog article on Mike's website sometime soon to tell us exactly when. Mr. Herskowitz, what do you have for your scramble? 


Brian:I'm the black sheep of this group. So I use Just Eggs, which is a vegan egg substitute. I scramble that up. I do grilled onions and mushrooms. And then I take Vital Life Cheese, which is a vegan cheese. And, uh, That's my go -to with a little bit of garlic salt. Very processed, but I love it. Fantastic. Very, very, I don't do that very often.


Bryan:I guess I don't think I eat the scramble all that much myself. Maybe a couple of times a month on that front, but like when you get it, it's delicious. So, hey guys, this has been a really fun episode to talk through all this stuff with you and unpack the mental health side of it. Let's close this out one more time. Just quickly go around the horn and tell us how we can get in touch with each of you and how we can support you. So, Will, where do we get these books? 


Will: Okay. Yeah. So my latest book is Young at Any Age, Secrets to Slowing the Aging Process. And you can find that on Amazon. You can just contact me with anything related to health, fitness or whatever at TrueIronWill .com.


Bryan: Awesome. Thanks Will. Mike, how do we sign up for the cruise? 


Mike: Well, foodishealthoptimizationcruise .org, but that's just a page on our website, our nonprofit, which is the same. The address is the same as its name, aplantbaseddiet .org. That's where everything is, the communities in Ecuador, our local communities, our events, aplantbaseddiet .org.


Bryan: Including the pineapple recipes, right?


Mike: Actually, we've got lots I do have lots of videos including short ones on how to pick a ripe pineapple where I go into the store and show everybody And yeah, lots of them. 


Bryan: I'll email me email me your favorite video. We'll make sure it's in the show notes Okay?


Brian:is it picking a leaf is it if the leaf pulls out easy? Is that one of the tricks? 


Mike: Well, actually The reality is it has to be almost fully yellow and that's why almost no one has ever eaten a fully ripe pineapple. And because they don't ripen after you pick them. So some fruits that do not ripen and that is one. I know you may find some evidence online that says different. They're not right. Nobody eats more pineapple than me and my wife. I can tell you. I've been through every scenario possible with pineapples. 


Bryan: All right. So watch Mike Young's video clip in the show notes there and we'll get that to you. Brian, thanks for being here. How do we get in touch with you? 


Brian: You can find me at brianherskowitz .com. That's my website. And if you're interested, I have a novel out called conceptus, which is a murder mystery Also have a textbook on screenwriting called process to product if you want to learn how to screenwrite And I would encourage you if you love animals go check out Mad about animals Mads on YouTube my daughter's 


Bryan: I love it Perfect. Thanks Brian for being here and Brett close this out Yeah, 


Brett: it's sort of a tongue twister, but it's pbnsg .org. So that's Plant -Based Nutrition Support Group. Just go to that website. You can always shoot me an email at brett@pbnsg .org. Check out our YouTube channel, check out our Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, all of it. And yeah, we have a membership portal that you can be a part of for $10 a month. So yeah, that's how you can get ahold of me.


Bryan: I love it. Thank you so much, guys. We really appreciate you being a part of the Real Men Eat Plants podcast. Tune in for more in a couple of weeks while we are going to unpack some other cool episodes. We're going to be talking with a whole bunch of vegan bodybuilders soon. I'm trying to line up a bunch of chefs. If you've got some great ideas for some topics or people that should be on our show, please reach out to us. Let us know. We would love to get your input and feedback on how we can make this show better. Thanks again, guys, for being here.Until next time, we'll see you. 


Brett: Thanks, Bryan. 



Bryan: All right.


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