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Sgt Vegan Serves His Country and The Animals: An Inspiring Journey

In a recent episode of The Glen Merzer Show, Glen welcomes Bill Muir, better known as Sgt Vegan, a combat veteran, registered nurse, and author of three compelling books: Vegan Strong, Dead Meat, and The Adventures of Sergeant Piggy. Sgt Vegan shares his remarkable journey to veganism and how he maintained his plant-based lifestyle in the military.

Bill Muir’s path to veganism began during Lent in 1992, not from a place of health or environmental concern, but as a rebellious act to surprise his family. What started as a 40-day vegetarian stint soon turned into a lifelong commitment after he learned about the ethical and environmental impacts of animal agriculture from punk rock pamphlets by PETA. "It wasn't until later that summer when I realized it was a binary choice—either support harm or go vegan," Muir explains.

Transitioning to a vegan diet posed unique challenges for Sgt Vegan, especially while serving in the military. He recounts the difficulty of finding vegan food during basic training and deployments. "The military is not a place for the thin-skinned," he laughs, describing the constant ribbing from his peers. However, his determination never wavered. He even sent himself massive boxes of vegan supplies to Afghanistan, although one unfortunately "exploded."

Despite the obstacles, Muir found innovative solutions, such as trading meals with local Afghanis and utilizing the support from His resilience and creativity are testaments to his dedication. "You would think serving your country while eating human food wouldn't be remarkable, but apparently, it is," he quips.

Sgt Vegan's books reflect his multifaceted approach to veganism. Vegan Strong serves as a practical field manual, Dead Meat delves into the horror of the meat industry, and The Adventures of Sergeant Piggy brings a lighthearted narrative for children. Each book aims to educate and inspire readers, reinforcing his belief that compassion and strength are not mutually exclusive.

Through his story, Sgt Vegan breaks the stereotype that men need meat to be strong and healthy. His journey is a powerful example of how one can serve both their country and the animals with equal commitment and passion. Listen to the full episode on The Glen Merzer Show to hear more about Sgt Vegan's inspiring experiences and insights.

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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: Sgt Vegan Serves His Country and The Animals

Glen Merzer: Welcome to the show. You could find us across all your favorite podcast platforms. You could find us on YouTube and please remember to subscribe. And you could find us at RealMenEatPlants .com. My guest today is an intriguing fellow and somebody who I may have to challenge to an arm wrestle. He is the author of three books. He's the author of a novel called Dead Meat, the Future of Food is Killer. He's the author of a children's book called The Adventures of Sergeant Piggy. And he's the author of a book he calls a field manual, Vegan Strong. So we'll talk about all that. He is a combat veteran. He served in Afghanistan and he is a registered nurse. He's been a vegan since 1992. He's a former US Army paratrooper. He calls himself Sergeant Vegan, also known as Bill Muir. Sergeant Vegan, welcome to the show.

Bill Muir: Thank you very much for having me. Really excited to talk to you and have your guest hear about veganism.

Glen Merzer:  All right. Well, first, sir, thank you for your service. 

Bill Muir: Thank you for having me. Yeah. And thank you for thanking me. 

Glen Merzer: Well, you...You're welcome. I do what I can.  So, Sergeant, it's unusual for a sergeant to be a vegan. Did you come across many vegans in the military? 

Bill Muir: No, I believe there are a few now as it's becoming more popular in the United States. But there are actually more vegans and vegetarians in other militaries throughout the world. In fact, Britain, I'm going to be doing a talk for vegans that are vegan in the British military this week. So it is becoming a thing. It's just as always, I feel like the United States is a little slow to catch up. 

Glen Merzer: OK. Let's start with the origin story. How did you become a vegan? It was apparently 1992.

Bill Muir:  It was. So I originally gave up meat during the lent of 92. And lent for those that don't know is a time in Christian or Catholic tradition where people, uh, get ready for Easter by doing something that they think is going to make their life better. And it's like the 40 days before Easter. So I have, I was raised Catholic and my parents are very religious. And so my mom asked me what I would give up. Now I don't think I was on any super obligation to give them an answer. but because my mom asked, I thought what would, what if I said it would kind of like get their goats, so to speak. And especially my mom, which I, I know my mom doesn't deserve it, but I was a punk rock kid and I, you know, love to get a reaction out of people. So I say, Hey, I'm going to give up meat. I wasn't going full vegan at that point. I didn't even know what the word, I didn't even know that there was a word.describe that. I just said I was going to go give up meat. I was going to be vegetarian. 

Glen Merzer: Now you could have said you were going to give up bowling, right? 

Bill Muir: I could have given up any other thing. I said that. It was the first thing that came to mind. Well, lo and behold, this was some life -changing thing that I had just said. And I also didn't know that people were going to have such a reaction. But when I told people, yeah, I'm just, you know, I'm just eaten healthy, not eaten meat for, for 40 days. People lost their minds. They, people actually thought that I might get sick or die just because of that, which nowadays we know is, is preposterous. It's a ridiculous concept that thinks someone's going to get sick, but just because of that. But you know, this was the nineties, uh, family doctor was like, I don't know if that's healthy, you know, again, which working in healthcare, I, and I talked to plenty of doctors who. say, Hey, you know, meat is the cause of cardiovascular disease. You know, just because we're saying you need more protein does not mean that they go eat a steak, but it was a different time. So I accidentally found out later. And by later, I mean, I went vegetarian. I was solidly vegetarian through Easter through May, June. And then around that time, I got ahold of a punk rock pamphlet at a show. Cause I was really into that. as a kid and I guess still am. And it was from PETA and talked about the evils of the slaughter industry and how awful it was and how resources we were using to grow animals just to kill them, we could easily feed the world with. And then I thought about it and I was like, Whoa, did I accidentally stumble and bumble into something awesome? And I think the answer was yes. So it wasn't until Later that summer, also from PETA that I'd got another pamphlet that talked about the evils of the dairy industry. And at first I was like, uh, by then I had heard the word vegan and I was like, these few people, they're radicals. Uh, I will, I would never do that. I could just be vegetarian. But when it crystallized in my mind as a binary choice, choice of, okay, do I stay? We, you know, vegetarian or I'm participating in, in some way using animal products. I'm saying it's okay to harm animals or do I say, no, it's not okay to harm animals, but then I have to be vegan. And when I realized it was that simple that yes, it was going to be difficult, but the answer was simple. just to go vegan and say no to using animal products and no to giving the people that are doing all this harm to the planet and animals money by supporting them. Then it really just became that simple. And I went vegan pretty much at that point overnight. And that was sometime in August of 1992. And yeah, it's it's almost been 32 years. 

Glen Merzer: So some people go vegan for the animals. Some people go vegan for the environment. Some people go vegan for health. And you went vegan for lent. Well, I guess you would say I went vegetarian for lent. 

Bill Muir: Well, I went vegetarian to be a jerk, vegan for the animals. I see. Because at that point, and I guess I did believe that we didn't know anything about climate change at that point. But yes, I did believe that there were. Well, correctly so that we were going to be using less resources on a vegan diet and that it was going to be better for the environment. But I did not know anything about climate change because that wasn't a thing, but I, it was thoroughly, I mean, I guess 99 % the animals 1 % because I thought I was doing something more environmentally responsible, uh, health wise, 0 % health because a, I was 19 and wouldn't have, you know, It most 19 year olds, luckily knock on wood are very healthy by default. And I was just like that very healthy by default. So I didn't need some miracle cure to make me better. I just, I was like, Oh, I'm healthy. I'll always be healthy as you know, teenagers think they're always going to be at the top. And, uh, I also was constantly being told either by family members, friends, or like I said, even the family doctor, nobody thought that it was healthy. And I was, if anything, I was just like, well, I know I can sustain myself. If I can eat one peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, I could do it, you know, indefinitely. And I guess for the rest of my life is, was kind of my thinking, which, uh, you know, it's ridiculous. Now that I think about it, even then, that's all I was really eating, like, you know, an occasional salad, poorly made vegetables, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pasta, you know, that's just a prescription for not enjoying food. But I mean, I didn't know how to cook in the beginning so that it was that's the best I could do.

Glen Merzer:  All right. So initially you were just kind of. trying to trip up your mother when she asked you what you're giving up for Lent, then it slowly started to make more sense and you became committed to it. At what point did it become, this is now my life's passion, call me Sergeant Vegan. 

Bill Muir: Oh, well, I didn't start using the Sergeant Vegan tagline until maybe 2000 and...Well, I was in the military from 2003 to six and then I got out for good. And then when of course went back in, in the reserves in 2010 to 13, I think sometime around 2011, maybe I was started to use that tag. I know where Sergeant Vegan originally came from is I had, I served with a guy named Sergeant Vega. And I think I was, I was sitting in, we were on a training. I was sitting in this Bay with maybe 50 other guys and Sergeant Vega walked by and I think I saw, I saw him, I saw the tag, his name tag. And I thought, dude, if I put an N after that, it would be Sergeant vegan. So weirdly he was cool enough to just give me one of his name tapes. And I, and I drew an N on it and I got some ridiculous pictures of me. I think standing with a rifle at that point, because we were on a training, I had grown a training mustache and it looked absurdly. It crystallized everything that you would think of when you thought of like, like some kind of Bubba in a reserve unit. It like shaved head mustache holding the rifle like, but then it said vegan. And then I started going by Sergeant Vegan on social media like. YouTube or whatever and the rest is history. 

Glen Merzer: So how did your brothers in the military react to your diet? 

Bill Muir: So the military is not a place for the thin skin and the military is not a place for those that are easily offended. So as you would guess, people gave me shit all the time. And yeah, the military is basically the biggest gang on the planet. So it's it's very much that you would. You're not people that sometimes ask, Hey, did they cater to you while you were in the military as a vegan? Of course not. Nope. You fight to get anything just like you would in a gang or any kind of like military structure. So I, I food during basic training and all the trainings and was difficult. Uh, and people gave me shit all the time, but you, you learn to just kind of navigate that and not be flustered by that. If someone's. saying something that you don't like, you just figure out a way around it. Um, and as a medic, I did have a slightly different path than people who would have been more combat arms, uh, like infantry. I was often attached to infantry or artillery as a combat medic, as you would guess, but I had, I wouldn't say different rules, but they just expected medics to be a little bit different. You know, the kind of people that you would meet if you're in a in the ER or, or working in a hospital or like me on a telemetry floor, we're medics and, and nurses are all, and doctors were going to be kind of a little bit different than everybody else. Cause we're got more things are going to be expected of us. So people would, would give me shit all the time, but they knew that there had to be a stop to like a certain line they didn't want to cross because when it came to the guy that was going to have to, you know, either be nursing them back to health or going and putting myself in danger to save their ass, it was going to be me that like that was my whole job. So they knew that like, you can kind of like just like a parent, you could kind of be grumpy at the parent, but at the end of the day, they're the parent. And that's in a way that's almost like the, the doc, uh, you know, soldier or Marine kind of relationship that it's going to be, uh, you know, I guess more, more than anything. kind of one of a affection because you are the person that's taking care of people. You are, you know, I'm the guy that if you're sick, I'm giving you an IV and making sure that I'm, I'm coming up with the right meds to get you better. If you're, if you're bleeding, I'm going to be the guy stopping your bleeding. You know, I'm going to be the monitoring you. Uh, so we generally speaking, yeah, I got a lot of shit. Uh, I didn't really care what people were saying when I was in the reserves. It was similar. I kind of, I kind of found a way of compensating. So when people would, you know, kind of like call me a hippie for being vegan, I would then make sure that when I was passing them during the run in the PT test, I would talk shit and just be like, that's cause you eat meat. Uh, and I, and part of the, even beef core, I was calling myself Sergeant vegan, part of the persona. And the original persona that I wrote Vegan Strong is, was in kind of a over the top, like Sergeant Slaughter from GI Joe kind of voice where it was like way over the top. And because in a lot of ways to compensate for the, you know, the hippie persona people might think of me, I was more, you know, gung ho than the average person to kind of kind of deal with them. 

Glen Merzer: Could you give us an impression of that over the top voice you would use?

Bill Muir: Where are we? Is this broadcast 100 % clean or?

Glen Merzer: Try to clean it up as much as you can, but I think we could manage.

Bill Muir: I mean, I would, I was definitely like, I would do one of these like, like, Hey mother scratcher, get your S to get, you know, it's, it's hard to do a clean. Yeah. But I mean, And that's why I think when people don't know that I'm vegan they automatically if they see me, you know speaking more forcibly or doing like, you know being in somebody's face they would they would not think ooh this guy is a hippie vegan he probably wears tie -dye like it wasn't until they were like, oh he's like a you know, super liberal also vegan for the animal, you know, they peel back those layers of the onions and then there's like they were like what's going on here, but on first examination, I mean I wanted to be a ranger. I wanted, you know, full blood and guts and all that, you know, just kind of like the hardest thing. And, and that's how I ended up winding up being a paratrooper. I wanted, I, I'm like most kids my age, I saw full metal jacket and black Hawk down. And instead of like cautionary tales, I was like, that's the shit I want to do. Like sign me up. Uh, the vegan thing, I didn't feel that really. Had anything to do either way. I was like, well, I'm not going to eat meat. I'm still going to do some cool stuff. I don't know 

Glen Merzer: When dinner was served while you were while you were serving overseas. Was any effort made to make sure you got enough vegan calories? 

Bill Muir: Oh, not any effort on anyone's part. And I think that's one of the misconceptions. I think people think that, especially during training, that they're forcing you to eat stuff that they're like, that there's some kind of test where they're like, uh, private, if you're not going to eat that steak, we're going to kick you out of the, you know, the military now, uh, they don't care. As long as you're not overweight, if you're overweight, then they're going to be watching to make sure you don't eat too many calories. And the, and, and the kinder gentler, uh, you know, everybody's a unique snowflake, uh, era that might be different. But when I was in the biggest concern was someone doesn't gain weight. Uh, or, or not make weight. And other than that, they didn't care. So for me, the most difficult times to, for food were basic training. Number one, only because most limited. Then after that, it was if when I was out in the field and a field training exercise where there was no way that I'd be able to buy food other than that. Oh, and obviously, as you would guess Afghanistan, cause I can't go run to the nearest Ralph sir ACME to go. pick up stuff. Uh, so I guess let me segue to a quick story. So when I knew I was going to deploy to Afghanistan, I was like, okay, this is going to be, this is everything that I had thought about and, you know, trained for and worried about what am I going to eat while I'm in a war zone? Like that's the real test of if I can pull this vegan thing off in the military. So what I did was I collected pounds and pounds and pounds every kind of vegan product that I could think of, uh, soy milk, rice milk. Uh, they didn't really have any other other things, but you know that the pre -packaged soy milk or rice milk, rice stream. It was called back in the day, ramen, dry ramen, uh, cliff bars, cereal, like it might've been some, uh, packaged protein. Probably not. Cause this was, would've been 2003 or actually 2005 when I deployed. So, I got these two gigantic industrial boxes, the size that you could fit probably an average size person and their friend in. And I filled these boxes with all kinds of food and I sent them to myself and I was like, like, look what I'm doing. I've, I figured a way around stuff. I figured a way to make this work. And I was so proud of myself until our first day in country, they were giving us a safety brief. And at the end of the brief, uh,my platoon sergeant looked at me and goes, Oh yeah. And doc, by the way, one of your boxes exploded and my jaw dropped. How did my boxes exploded? Did not fully explain if it was hit by artillery, if it was, if something inside the box had malfunction, if it had fallen off a plane. Like they just said that. And I went like this, I made this gesture with my hands where from a closed fist to an open palm and simultaneously I said, exploded. And for you 

Glen Merzer: didn't pack any popcorn, did you?

Bill Muir:  No, no, no, I did not. So for the for at least six months, any time we were attacked, which was frequent, someone would say, did something explode? Was there an explosion with the hand gesture? And it I you know, it would be more funny if I wasn't seriously worried about what I was going to eat while I was.down ranges, you know, as a vegan, that was huge. So I, for a week or two, I've primarily ate off the food that I had sent myself. And I looked at stuff, you know, what I could eat at the chow hall, which there was no discernible chow hall was basically a 10 by 10 plywood box, uh, with two Marines opening tins and very little of it was vegan other than the stale bagels. Uh, and, and, kind of contaminated, washed with shit water, uh, vegetables. So I was, I was thinking, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? I started trying to eat MREs because, uh, at that point, the number 12 MRE was vegan. Then, then they were like, Hey, uh, doc, you're eating too many MREs. You got to stop that. So then I found out that the whole L, uh, MREs, the whole all meals ready to eat were vegan. So I found a stash of them and I was eating them till I got reprimanded for doing that. 

Glen Merzer: You got reprimanded because you weren't of that religion? 

Bill Muir: Yes. And they were they were to give to locals when we were doing deals. So then I started trading food with the with the local docs. I would bring them something from our chow hall and they would give them give me Afghani food, which the Afghani rice was was vegan. It was a sticky rice. Then I was told I can't spend that much time. like with the locals. And I was like, man, you're, I feel like I'm getting blocked every, uh, every move I make here. And it wasn't until I realized that there was a site called any soldier .com, which when we occasionally had a internet service, I could put a listing on any soldier and .com and say that, uh, I was a vegan in Afghanistan and I needed food and the response. Well, not just stateside, but as far as, uh, Canada and Britain as well, people's minds were blown that anyone would be, I guess I could just say ridiculous. Anyone would be that ridiculous that would think that they could get away with being in the military as a vegan and go to war. I mean, it is some hubris. I would, I would agree that I would think that I would be able to get away with that and then it would work out.But I mean, it did. 

Glen Merzer: You know, you would think that it wouldn't be such a remarkable thing to serve your country while eating human food. But apparently, apparently it is. 

Bill Muir: Well, I mean, we we definitely have an evolution of thought of just about everything. And this is this is a topic as well. I don't think people people really. considered it up until relatively recently and maybe the last 30 years of not eating animals. They just was taken for granted by a majority of Americans that that's something that you had to do. So I can understand that, especially because, you know, we take the word of a doctor as almost from God and doctors weren't sure about it either until recently. So I get any reason to believe that 

Glen Merzer: it's improved since you last served.

Bill Muir: It a little bit. They've been making small changes. They now serve impossible meat in some dining facilities. At one point there was a dining facility that somebody that I was talking back and forth on the internet that he was doing as a part plant based. So there has been mild changes, I would say. I mean, things change with the times, right? So in this way too. I don't think it's going to be easy everywhere. It's generally easier to have, for those guests that are wondering, it's generally easier the farther away from combat arms you get, the easier it is to maintain any kind of special diet or whatever. So if you're, for example,in the Air Force, it's going to be generally easier than the Army. And in the Army, it's generally going to be easier the farther away from infantry you get. And Marine Corps, I don't know enough about the Marine Corps other than say that they do so many things right that I have the utmost respect for that branch. I think the Army could learn a thing or two from them. 

Glen Merzer: Well, in case the Secretary of Defense is listening, I would just like to say...that you know it might be a good idea if you provide human food for everybody in the military, it would just make the military that much stronger. 

Bill Muir: Couldn't agree more. If it has been considered a human right to get sustaining nutrition and that we're going to afford prisoners that right, then to not give our servicemen and women the choice to eat what they want. especially food that's fit for a human, I feel that that's regrettable. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah. I mean, if you're fighting for freedom, you should have the freedom to eat food that's healthy. 

Couldn't agree more. 

Glen Merzer: Now, somewhere along the way, you decide to become an author and you wrote three books. So let's start with the field manual, Vegan Strong. Tell us about that. 

Bill Muir: So I originally wrote Vegan Strong because...Well, let me back up. In 2008, after the military, I had planned to start a vegan restaurant. I'd gone to a vegan culinary program in Lancaster, Massachusetts. And my number one goal was to help the world be more vegan by starting my own restaurant.

Glen Merzer: And where was this restaurant going to be? 

Bill Muir: So it was probably going to be in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But here's the thing for the kids who don't remember what was happening in 2008 because they were kids. Uh, the economy collapsed. That would have been the worst time to open a board, potentially the best time, but probably the worst time to open a business that you could think of. Cause everything was busy closing and collapsing. So I, I had gone, you know, spent all this money and all this time to learn how to cook and I haven't done anything with it. And fast forward to 2010, I went to volunteer in Haiti and that prompted me to go to start polishing my medical skills up to go back in the reserves and then ultimately become an RN. But I was bummed because I had spent all this time preparing to open a business and hadn't done anything with that. And then I thought, you know, man, it sucks that I spent all this time and what I'm going to do with this. And then I, a little light bulb went off in my head. You know, I could put all the recipes that I was going to use. And I could put all of my years of experience being vegan and really, I would say like figuring all this stuff out into a book and be able to get that in people's hands and be able to impart that knowledge. Well, then it wouldn't have been for nothing. Maybe if I could help even one person, maybe, uh, maybe it'll all been worth it. And that's what vegan strong became. Um, at the time when I wrote it, uh, most of the publishers that I approached with the idea, I, Generally speaking, reading between the lines, they were like, well, vegans are just a bunch of hippies and this doesn't look very hippie -ish. It's a camouflage on it. It's very unhippie. And I don't think the public sentiment was quite yet there with me that you could take all of the propaganda out of veganism effectively and that it was for everybody. But...I think I was able to do that with Vegan Strong and now it's like, I put that on in 2018. So, wow. Six years later, I think it still holds up as a really solid way to learn about veganism without any of the hippie stuff that usually is included in it. 

Glen Merzer: And then you wrote a novel, Dead Meat? And by the way, there are a lot of books called Dead Meat I've discovered on Amazon. 

Bill Muir: Yeah. And mostly zombie, uh, mostly zombie books. So, and having nothing to do with, with what my book is about, which I, uh, you know, I think there is a certain revulsion around dead bodies that people have rightly. So until, uh, it involves. something they're gonna put in their mouth and then they're like, oh, I'm game for that. If they pass a dead squirrel, there's like, ew, that smells, that stinks, that's a rotting corpse. But then if you, for some reason, they're like, if you put it in the right packaging, they'll be like, oh, totally down to eat. It's completely bizarre. I don't discount there being scenarios hundreds of years ago where you might be, you would have to eat. Uh, whatever you were able to get, if you've ever seen the revenant in that kind of situation, but you know, I don't know anybody who's going through a revenant. I know people that are going to the local supermarket and buying stuff. The only, you know, the only hunting I see these days is for bargains at whole foods, you know, and they're spoiler alert. There are no bargains at whole foods. It's it's ridiculous to me, but human beings can talk themselves in anything. So after I had put out. Dead Meat, I followed it up with the Adventures of... Sorry, after I put out Vegan Strong, I followed it up with the Adventures of Sergeant Piggy. Most of the... OK, now I have to ask you, Sergeant. 

Glen Merzer: Your head is blocking the poster of Dead... So there you go. There's the Adventures of Sergeant Piggy. 

Bill Muir: OK. So after I put out Vegan Strong, I thought, you know, I really want to have a vegan book for kids. I want something full of light and happiness and fun because most of the vegan books that I've seen for kids are like weepy sad, like look at this goldfish that is imprisoned and their life is pain. And I thought, man, this sucks. You're going to, you're going to give kids a Debbie Downer story. Like that, that's no good. And so eventually Sergeant Picky is like low key veganism for kids. It's supposed to be fun and, and, uh, and, uh, I couldn't really say anything other than full of life because honestly at ages five to 10, you know, do you really need to be, uh, learning about really sad stuff? I think the world is an amazing place and that it should always be seen as such. And then COVID times, uh, I had a lot of time to myself as a lot of us did. And I thought, you know, this is the, the, I was, like most of us a little bit sad, a little bit depressed. And I worked in a hospital and during COVID, um, there was every, it was pretty dark and pretty bleak. And because the pandemic was caused by what we probably think it had either to do with the lab or had had some kind of interaction with a slaughterhouse and the lab. And I started to put it together in my head of, Wouldn't it be an interesting follow -up to my vegan trilogy to have a book that explained veganism, but...had it be like a horror movie.

Glen Merzer:  Ah, so that became Dead Meat. 

Bill Muir: And that became Dead Meat. I could have named it other things, but honestly, the double meaning of Dead Meat, of the expression Dead Meat and also the...the fact that it is kind of a scary thing. I don't know. I guess I wish that all the zombie novel authors who probably use dead meat, I wish some of them had been able to reflect on what they were writing and consider not eating dead meat themselves. But the world is people, and I'm probably included in this, people generally don't reflect much on what they're doing. They like to know, do their own thing and then not really look inside. Anyway, that's what it means. 

Glen Merzer: Had you ever tried your hand at fiction before or was this something completely new to you? And how did it go?

Bill Muir:  I would like to think it went great. One of the best reviews that I got of it was from a friend of mine who read an early version and said it gave him nightmares. And honestly, the entire.meat and dairy industry should give you nightmares. So a book that turns that what we're doing to animals on its head and instead we're doing the same stuff to people is Nightmare Fodder and all of it should give you nightmares. 

Glen Merzer: All right, well that's a good way to sell the book. If you want nightmares, read Dead Meat.

Bill Muir: It's not for the faint of heart. I don't want to, you know...uh, shoot myself in the foot and tell people not to read it. But if they're looking for an entry in the veganism, I would say get vegan strong. If you're looking for a book for little kids and what, like just a little hint of saving the planet and veganism, but not to an obnoxiously, uh, and not an obnoxious amount. Like you want to give it to your normie neighbor or their kids. Eventually the sergeant piggy is great.And if you're just ready to go to battle with the whole world, dead meat is great. But don't... There's no punches pulled, I only throw extra punches. So that's dead meat.


 All right, we're going to take a quick break and we'll be back with Sergeant Vegan.We're talking with Sergeant Vegan, author of Vegan Strong, Dead Meat, and the Adventures of Sergeant Piggy. Sergeant, did you ever speak to any children who read the Adventures of Sergeant Piggy and get their reactions? 

Yeah, so far, the kids that I have talked to really liked it. I...I gave it to my nieces and they were over the moon and I did a book reading for kids and they all loved it. I really think I did a great job knocking that one out of the park. And as I always mentioned, my good friend Hayden Fowler did the art and it is a crime that that guy's not like...just doing kids books because I think he really is an amazing artist. 

Okay. So do you know if any of those kids started giving their parents some flack about not being vegan? 

Well, I'm pretty sure that the parents who bought the book for the kids were already vegetarian or vegan. So in that case, I don't know of any cases offhand. where the kids somehow went on Amazon and bought that for themselves. And then that was their gateway. And the thing I think it was the parents bought it for the kids already, already fully on board. 

So you've never, you've never given it to anyone who, any kid whose parents weren't on board. Well, I mean, I'm sure that the book has gotten into hands. Like I'd mentioned earlier, people have bought it for their friend or family members, kids who aren't, aren't vegan because it mentions vegan things, but it tries to keep it very much on the down low just because I didn't want it to be harping on the subject. I wanted it to be kind of lighthearted. 

All right. Now, so initially you became vegetarian to kind of trip up your mother when she asked you what you're getting given up for lent. Along the way, you decide to go vegan, at what point, if at all, did you start focusing on health and learn how to do this in a healthy way, not just what you're not eating, but focusing on what you are eating?

I would say it's probably been in the last third of my vegan journey that I've been more cognizant of that. And I would say mostly because why? Well, from 40 to 50, I've been more interested in that. Uh, in the, in the early days of being a teenager, uh, you know, I just thought and somewhat rightly so that almost no matter what I did, it would be okay. Uh, whereas now I put much, much more emphasis on, on making smart choices all the time. And a lot of it is because back in the day, You know, people know what Whole Foods plant based always eating, you know, stuff with the least process junk in it. Well, back in the day, there was only Whole Foods plant based and everything I was eating was Whole Foods plant based. There wasn't any vegan junk. If there was, I would have probably killed someone for it because I love cookies, candies, cakes, all kinds of junk like that. But then there wasn't any. So just had flat years of just eating broccoli and some rice and some tofu.

 I think Oreo cookies are vegan, right? 

They are now, but they weren't in the back in the day. So, you know, if there's been this evolution, even like something stupid like Skittles, I remember when we found out that Skittles had changed their their formula to not have gelatin. It was like I was just eating Skittles for a meal. Now. Now I might be able to eat a Skittle and like a single one, but more than that, I mean, you would have to pay me to eat an entire pack of Skittles, especially in one sitting. I just think like, sometimes I think, man, if only I could now be eating and there weren't so many delicious hyper -processed vegan options. And I was just doing the...the broccoli and tofu thing, I'd probably be better off in a lot of ways. Without all the vegan donuts that I ate while I was in Australia, because there were vegan donuts easily accessible. But do I need to be eating donuts like every day? Like, no. Should I be even eating donuts like every month? Like the answer is also no. Like you don't need any of that junk. And the more I'm able to stay away from that, And to stay within my calorie limit and focus on protein as one of the most important macros, the healthier I feel. And I think, I think the better I look.

So do you allow yourself to eat oil, for example? 

Yes, I don't think it's about being healthy is mostly about balance. So the way I cook, I usually cook with cooking spray and keeping oil and fat to a minimum. I also try to. And this is again, in the last 10 years, I've been doing less processed carbs. So I keep pasta. Breads down to a minimum, but it's more than anything about there's a certain amount of calories we all need a day. If you're going to, we're going to, I'm just going to pull a number right out of my four points of contact and say 2000 calories. Most people burn just about 2000 calories a day. Anything above that is going to be stored as fat. The way to look at it is you need to fill your car up with gas. And if there's not enough gas in your car, your car just won't drive. You're just not going to feel good. And that's why people, when they go on some kind of crash diet, they feel awful. Why? Cause there's not enough gas in the car. But when you eat too many calories, it's like you filled your gas tank up and then you're like, Hey, well I got extra gas. So then you pour it all over your car and maybe in the back seat too. Well, obviously that's bad for your car. Just like eating all this extra stuff is bad for your body. And you can get away with it every now and again. Like, uh, let's just say, You know, if you do a vegan Thanksgiving and a vegan Christmas, that's great. So twice a year. But if people are doing every meal, like it's Thanksgiving and Christmas vegan or not, you're going to gain weight and you're going to end up feeling bad. And, you know, because we're a very body conscious, image conscious society, you're going to also not look great. You can get away with that better and easier when you're younger. Cause when you're younger, your body rolls with the punches better. But as you get older, you know, overweight is going to not be good for you in so many ways. And whether it's dealing with illnesses, whether it's dealing with covid, whether it's dealing with, you know, any kind of sicknesses that, you know, that those extra pounds are going to weigh you, literally weigh you down and make you unhealthy. 

Did you ever have a problem with weight?

No, but lately I've been trying the most, uh, vainest of things, which I, I've been pretty stoked on my journey on trying to lower my body fat so I can have abs. So when my band is playing, I could look good in photos. Uh, I thoroughly acknowledge that this is, 

are you shirtless in these photos? 

Well, I mean, if my band's jumping around and this is like a, when, This is an in theory thing because we haven't played in the summer yet because it's a newer thing. But what instrument do you play? 

I am the vocalist in a punk rock band called DFC. So anyone who's interested could look up on Instagram DFC Mosh. 

We have the V as in Victor, F as in Frank, C as in Charlie, D as in Delta, Boxtrot, Charlie.

DFC and that stands for? 

Death follows closely. 

Well, that's a very sweet name. 

Well, thank you. Yeah. But yeah, so I've been trying to look my best for only the most vain of reasons. So when we do when we have pictures of us playing, I can look good or at least my best. 

Now, how old are you, Sergeant?

I would ask you to guess, but that's easily find outable. I'm 51. 

51. And isn't that at the upper age limit of being a punk rocker?

 It should be. It should be. But the guys in bad religion are way into their sixties. 

So. Yeah. But when did they start? 

They probably started in their teens. 

Yeah. And when did you start?

 So I was in bands in my twenties. And when I was living in Japan, I had a very small… taste of success. I did a song for the Final Fantasy 10 soundtrack that sold like 10 million copies or maybe 14 million copies and it did extremely well. And then I followed it up. 

Hold it. You were in a band that sold 14 million copies. 

So I was in, I was in a band then I was, then I did, uh, I did a soundtrack where I was the vocals of the soundtrack, uh, for Final Fantasy 10, which

it I never really followed that up with anything because I instantly I immediately went in the military so I left Japan joined the military because this was after 9 -eleven and the world became a very different place than 

I but I got hung up on all those millions of copies yeah you know it was doesn't that mean that the band was famous 

so you Maybe infamous again, it was like in Japan and we I never capitalized on that success and I'm sure they made a lot of money. But when I was hired to do that gig, I think I got paid like 500 bucks. 

So you got 500 bucks and somebody else got a million dollars. 

Way more than a million, I'm sure. 

But here's the thing. It doesn't seem fair. You should have held out for a thousand. 

Yeah, I didn't even think I was going to get paid when I when wehad the conversation. 

You were happy with the 500 and were you singing in this?

 I mean, you could call it that. It's it's it's punk rock. It's heavy metal. 

Was it in English or Japanese? 

It was in English. 

So you were singing in English on an album on the Final Fantasy 10 video game soundtrack on a video game soundtrack that made millions of dollars. 

You've got 500 bucks. Probably not even that because it was it was a Goman and which would be 50 ,000 yen, but then that translates. 

Does anyone listening know a lawyer? Please have the lawyer get in touch with Sergeant Vegan. I think there's a lawsuit here. You should have gotten more than $500. 

Could have. I'm sure if I had if I was more business savvy at the time. It would have been different. At the same time, they could have just told me to kick rocks and got somebody else. Yeah. And I was pretty stoked to have done that and to have been part of that history. And I also, if you could go back, if I could go back in time and talk to myself then I would have done it for free. That they made a whole bunch of money. There goes the lawsuit, buddy. Yeah. 

Here goes the lawsuit. At the, you know,Don't call it. Don't call in a lawyer, folks. He's just made a confession that's going to kill his case. 

Yeah, I mean, that's why, you know, I think more than anything, instead of heaping money on me, I wish I had been able to use that as more of a stepping stone. Had I stayed in Japan, had I. 

What were you doing in Japan other than singing on a record breaking album? 

So I go briefly into it in my book, but I was. doing martial arts. 

What kind of martial arts? 

I have a black belt in Aikido. 

Okay. And did I read that you're fluent in Japanese? Yes, my Japanese is rusty, but yeah, for the most part, I could have a conversation in Japanese. I could. How do you say I am a vegan in Japanese?

 I would say Bokuwa. It depends on if I want to say vegetarian in Japanese. Saishokushu -gisha is vegetarian. But that's -

That whole word was vegetarian? Say that again?

 That whole thing. But you could say the Japanese also have a veganized version of vegan. They just say we -gen, which is just as that they put it into their alphabet, we -gen. But that doesn't have any more meaning than just spelling out vegan, but in putting it in their - syllables so if someone there doesn't know what vegan is I would have to say Well, uh vegan to you know what what what does vegan mean? Uh, what do I want my tomago eggs? What have a nice she? Niko what more tabanay she? Saka now which is fish more tabanay milk more time. Well, no man I did much I would say 

so you're explaining everything that you don't need 

Yeah, and just say like I don't use any animal products whatsoever.

 Well, you fooled me. You seem Japanese to me. 

Well, I can, you know, it all depends on to what level. I have friends who do translation and they're like, you know, they're translating college level stuff. I can have most conversations in Japanese. It just gets to if we're talking about nuclear fission, then I guess I wouldn't know how to do that in English either. 

So what years were you in Japan?

I was in Japan for most of the nineties and into two, well, 1994, five, when I, uh, uh, I w I studied there for a year. Then I came back a graduate from university Pittsburgh. Then I, I lived in Japan for about seven years. Then nine 11 happened. It really changed my life and most of our lives that who were, um, around at that point. Then I kind of struggled with what do I feel very strongly about America being attacked? What do I do with it? Most of my armchair liberal friends were just, you know, yelling at the TV, all their opinions. And I thought, you know, if I went, I joined the military as a medic, I would be able to help. 

And did you already have a training as a medic? 

No. Luckily, Uncle Sam, Hear me out, kids. Uncle Sam will give you whatever training you need free of charge. And in fact, they'll pay you for it. So join today if you want. I don't know. 

So OK. So you decided to get training as a medic and join to serve your country. And that's when you left Japan. Y

eah. And it's I definitely see a parallel universe where I stayed in Japan and that was the rest of my life. And.

Did you love living in Japan? 

Real. I loved it. I mean, even as a vegan, it can be sometimes tough. But if you if you speak Japanese and read the language, you could easily get by. 

You were in your 20s. What was the dating scene like in Japan? 

You know, my main quibble with the dating scene in Japan is that. Uh, yeah, you could say that there's, there might be an advantage to be a white dude in Japan if you're dating, but the disadvantage is just that you're just a white guy in Japan. So, uh, as a 20 something year old, I'm then competing with 50 year olds or 60 or whoever, or we all, we're all just the same. That kind of thing, uh, kind of annoyed me. Um, and, uh, the J. living in Japan, it, you know, it's a whole big combination of a lot of things. It's, it could be the best of times. It can be the worst of times. I think there's a lot of advantages that live in, in Japan or, or some places in Europe have over the States. It's safer. It's in a lot of ways easier. Um, America still is the land of opportunity in my opinion, but with, with ultimate freedom comes ultimate everything. So you're going to experience, um, the blight of homelessness and crime and guns and other nonsense here where almost most other countries I would go to throughout the world, you wouldn't have to see. Yeah. 

Were most of your friends in Japan Japanese or expats?

 I would say mostly Japanese. The band that I was in, all Japanese, uh, friends from the dojo. So I was in a instructor course that had a good amount of people from America and Britain in it. Um, So it really, yeah, I would say more than half of my friends were Japanese. 

And when you were with Japanese friends and they would speak with each other, obviously in Japanese, were you able to follow or were you a half step behind? 

Maybe a quarter step behind. Maybe most of the time I would be with them. It's kind of a, I'm sure everybody who's ever learned a language has experienced this where, You want it both ways. You want, Hey, uh, slow down for me and make it easier for me. But then when people are like, Oh, okay. And then they talk at a normal, a normal speed, then you're like, Hey, slow down for me. Like you, you, you want to be included as an equal in that native language. But then when they people do, then you're like, Hey, I won't put, put the kid, put the kid gloves back on. Uh, you know, don't be so rough, you know, um,

I would say for the most part, people took it, me being a foreigner into a consideration when, um,

when talking to me, but I had some friends who did - Here's what happened to me. Tell me if it happened to you. I lived in Paris just for a short period of time, a number of months. And I was close to being fluent in French, but maybe just a drop shy of it. And so when I was with French friends and they would speak to each other, in every sentence I would get seven or eight out of 10 words. And so I was very proud of myself and I thought I understood.

But you know what, if you miss two or three out of 10 words in a sentence, you don't really understand. You're, you could totally be missing the point. And so I found that I was tricking myself into thinking I was understanding when I wasn't. It depends. Sometimes there's one word that's very important. Sometimes it didn't matter at all. And you, I think you just have to, if you're learning a language, just go with the flow and not, and just,

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get a majority of it. I mean, it's with, it's with any job and anything in life, you just have to kind of go with the flow. I think, uh, you know, as a, an RN who sometimes has to, you know, coach new nurses through, I, there are crucial times where, uh, you know, one little thing missed is gigantic, but most of the time you're just trying to get, just trying to do a good job.

not trying to do the world's best job, you know, especially depending on I work for the VA, a lot of our patients are just very difficult. So I manage my expectations very often. And the same goes for learning a language. You just don't, you know, don't think, you know, just because you've been learning this language for a couple of months that you're going to know as much as someone who's been learning it for 30 years, you know? Right. Right. So you got training as a medic, you served as a medic overseas.

At some point you're back in the States and you decide, you know what, I'm going to go full in on this and I'm going to become a registered nurse. When was that? So 2010, after volunteering in Haiti and being able to, you know, really do hands -on stuff again for people and in their time of need, I realized that just like I had done in Afghanistan with, you know, wrapping up burnt babies and all this kind of

awful stuff that I guess I just, I had a knack for it and, and maybe a stronger stomach than most people have. And I'm also able to, for the most part, like disassociate from it. Other than the kids, it was kind of hard, uh, where when you're working with, with kids who are really sick or dying, that bothered me. Um, other than the sick and dying kids, it was fairly

I wouldn't say easy, but I was able to handle it better than I've seen other people handle it. Kids, I can't get when you see sick kids and kids that are wounded, it it destroys the natural order in your brain because adults you you're born, you have your life. Then as you get older, you know, you eventually die. I mean, spoiler alert for anyone that doesn't know this. But this is coming as bad news, but go ahead.

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Yeah, might be coming as bad news to some but when you see that happening to kids, it destroys that whole natural order in your brain that because they're like, you're like, what about the part where you live your life and you're able to, you know, do all wonder, wondrous things and see things and just have this adventure instead you're just dying. It's just not fair. And then you remember, oh, yeah, the world's not fair. And it's

It's just, you know, it could be a whole just world of suffering. And anyway, it that having to deal with that is really hard. But as far as adults go, I mean, it's it's unfortunate, but, you know, it's it's part of life. Well, speaking of a world of suffering, let's talk about when you were a registered nurse during covid. Oh, yeah. Where were you? And I'll use the word serving. Where were you serving as a registered nurse? And why did you see?

It really did feel like a deployment. I, I worked at the West LA VA medical center. And at one point we were told that short of dying, we were expected to come to work no matter what. And, uh, kind of like in the military where you're not allowed, you're not allowed to call out. You're, you're not allowed to not come in. There's just, you, you have to, you have to be physically dying to not show up.

I think I've seen that medical center near veteran Boulevard or Avenue. Uh, in West LA. So it's on Wilshire. Um, yeah. And that whole, I would say, uh, from two, 2000, uh, from 2020 April for about a year and a half easy two years, uh, it, it really, it really stopped.

And then I did - What did you see? How many were these were all veterans you were working with? Almost exclusive veterans. Occasionally when the local hospitals were overrun, we would get some of the extra patients, the overflow and a lot of sick - Was it the obese veterans who were dying?

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Mostly obese and people with breathing problems. Yeah. Cause if you're smokers and smokers, but to be fair, most people, if they could, would just, uh, do COVID sick at home on their own. They wouldn't have come to us if they were not able, uh, if they were having, they wouldn't have come to us unless they were in a really bad way. Um, because you now we know, and, but even then that COVID something that you could just,

deal with on your own. And did you get COVID as you were working with these patients? And thank you very much for asking. I certainly did. I got COVID from patients. I'm at so far three times I've had COVID, twice from patients. Once from was a very inconsiderate lady on Spirit Airlines who spent the entire five hours I was on the plane coughing in my face.

Um, and that's typical Americans, uh, knowing that you're sick and not feeling like the need to even cover your mouth or, or wear a mask because someone's not forcing you to do the right thing. Um, in the cases at work, we were wearing masks, but sometimes we would take the masks off. And I, I was, I was in this, uh, I was usually wearing like, uh, like a, one of those thin cloth.

things that you had seen, which doesn't actually provide any, any safety whatsoever was to technically something was on my face. And both of the times I got paid COVID from patients, they were patients that didn't have COVID. Oh, I actually, they did have COVID. So that we were supposed to not in that case being like a safe zone and they, but they hadn't checked correctly. And then, and then, you know, patients popped positive. I, my COVID experiences,

with the have you have you had covid I had it once did you have OG like original gangster covid or the newer covid I don't I think it was fairly early. Did you have a pre vaccine no no it was about a year or two into the crisis and so the the the main difference that I noticed was it's a little less.

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serious after having the vaccine and the the you know, the omicron variant and the other thing was the first round of kovat had this weird Now one of the symptoms was everything smelled like burning cookies to me Which I I thought was just the strangest thing and my nose you know how when if it's really cold outside you go outside and your nose is cold and you like you

you might cup your hands over your face and then breathe and it kind of like you can kind of your nose has like this Arctic thing going on. It was like that, but for like two weeks straight. Hmm. Like I could be inside in front of a heater. My place super warm and I would still have this burning cookie smell in my nose and it would be I'd be really cold. Well, other than those exotic symptoms, did you get very sick? Not sick to the point where I needed hospitalization, no.

Sick to the point where I was miserable for sure. I was coughing and I mean through this I was writing Dead Meat the first and really it kind of probably helped make Dead Meat as bleak as Dead Meat is because I felt awful. But you know I never got sick to the point where I needed to be hospitalized I mean or anything like that. I just...

I've heard Dr. Kim Williams speak about how he doesn't know of anyone who was eating a healthy whole foods vegan diet who died of COVID.

I mean, I could, I could understand that in that, I mean, I don't know of any vegans personally that died of COVID at the same point. I saw plenty of people who got really sick and who died and they had COVID. Uh, I don't, I was just watching Bill Maher today and Bill Maher's, he, he walks a fine line between, uh, thinking that COVID was some kind of conspiracy and then being a anti -vaxxer, a COVID denier. Um,

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And I, I could kind of get that. I, I think the government, our government might've overreacted when we closed some of the schools to that extreme at the same point, people were getting sick, people were dying. And this thought that we shouldn't have done anything to protect our less vulnerable to me is very irresponsible. And you know, like that we're, uh, Spartans and we just throw our weakest and sickest among us out to die. Sounds awful.

At the same point, I can get younger people's grumpiness about having their lives disrupted for a year or two years. I mean, I get that. I get both sides. I generally think the whole point of society is make it better for everyone and to protect our less strong and our weaker among us. And that's kind of goes into my thinking of veganism. The whole point of veganism is to make the world a better place and give a voice to the voiceless.

At the same point, from the military standpoint of the, if you can't hack it, get out of the way or just, or the, again, the Spartan mentality that will be stronger if the weaker just die off. I get it. I don't think it's right, but I get it. Yeah. You mentioned Bill Maher and I'm an admirer of his and I watch his show. He's often very funny.

And sometimes he makes points that I agree with completely. And I say, yes, finally somebody's saying that. As I heard him say during COVID, that it's about the food, that this is a virus that's targeting the obese. And you need to eat healthy food. And he would talk about that. And I'd say, great, finally somebody on television is talking about them. So kudos to him on that.

The problem is he doesn't know what healthy food is. He once brought on a guest who was recommending the keto diet and he just nods his head. He doesn't have any clue as to what - Well, he's trying. I'm pretty sure that Bill Maher is either vegan or vegan adjacent, which you're not vegan, you're not vegan at home. I think he eats fish. Look, I know that he knows that fruits and vegetables are healthy. I'm sure he knows that.

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He thinks bread is terribly unhealthy. Now bread isn't the healthiest food in the world, but it's not as bad as a sirloin steak. I don't know if we need to call bread unhealthy. I think bread is fine in your diet. But the reason why I've personally started limiting bread products and stuff like that is it's just extra calories and extra calories other than the calories that you're going to burn become fat. Right.

But as far as, you know, we had tofu scramble this morning with, you know, I had bread with some vegan butter on it and jam. You know, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Now it's carb smart bread in two pieces. The vegan butter I might quibble with. You know, it it's made from oil, right? But how much of it did I have? Again, a very small amount. Did I have like

half of the bread like lumped with like, you know, like a sandwich style amount of butter. No, it was like a teaspoon or less, just enough to have something on it. And when I had the similar thing yesterday, instead of butter, I used Vegemite, which just coming from Australia, I had a thing of Vegemite. I like Vegemite. I could see some people liking Vegemite. I could see some people hating Vegemite. What's that made from?

It's from yeast. It's very similar to nutritional yeast. It's basically like a yeast spread. OK. It's it's an acquired taste. When they say acquired taste, it takes some acquiring. Well, anyway, in case Bill Maher is listening, I know he's a big fan of my podcast. In case he's listening. It's not whole wheat bread that caused all those people to die of COVID. It's the meat. It's the dairy.

It's the sugar, it's the fried foods, it's not whole wheat bread, which it's not as healthy as broccoli, but it's not terribly unhealthy. I would generally agree with that. I think if we're going to, the main thing where the standard American diet becomes unhealthy for most people is twofold. One, it generally leads to obesity for a majority of people.

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And then two, and, uh, well, I w we'll go with three things. Uh, it often leads to obesity. If you're going to look at our, our rates of obesity among this average Americans versus vegans. There you go. Number two, diabetes and number three, meat and dairy products often lead to a clogging the arteries, arteriosclerosis, where it causes cardiovascular diseases where we don't see that in, in our vegan population. Uh,

Can you be healthy eating a standard American diet and eating animals? I mean, I have seen people that are, that are fairly healthy doing that. Unfortunately. Yeah. I think in our cohort and the vegan cohort, I think we have some, some advantages we need to talk up our lack or. Rater chances of not getting cardiovascular diseases, uh, are less incidences of obesity, less incidence of diabetes.

Um, can you be healthy eating a standard American diet? Yes. Can you be unhealthy eating a vegan diet? Well, yes. I think most people that I know that are vegan are primarily vegan for the animals and you can't, in my opinion, eat animals and still say that you're an environmentalist or that you care about animals. Because, uh, if you're an animal lover eating animals, I would hate to see you, uh,

person who also calls themselves a people person who, what does that kind of mean? Are you going to be a cannibal and pop into Guinea or something like that? Like, uh, uh, it scares me. But I think this kind of thing, I think if we were able to have these conversations honestly and openly and not just, you know, fall to propaganda and say like, Oh, you can never be healthy. You know, you know, eating animals, it's, you know, veganism is a little bit more than just health.

You know, it's only recently that we've discovered that being vegan is healthy at baseline period. So, you know, there's always going to be some 95 year old who, you know, eats steak every day and smokes three packs of cigarettes. And somehow you're like, what the hell? Uh, how is, how are they doing it? You know what? It's probably super awesome genetics.

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You could argue if they ate vegan, they would maybe live to 115 instead of to 95, you know, and, and that's just about it. However, does that mean if most people smoke two or three packs a day, they would be healthy now, man, you're, you know, still probably most of them are going to get lung cancer and emphysema. And as far as the standard American diet goes, it doesn't work for most people. And there's just some people who, no matter what happens,

they're going to be healthy. There's some people that no matter what happens, they're going to be unhealthy. And the rest of us are, it could go either way. And the vegan is being vegan and plant -based and exercising is going to help a majority of people. But, you know, there's always going to be that X factor. What was, what happened with your genetics? And, you know, maybe like me, you were in the military and exposed to some crap. And then we're, we're just going to have to wait and see what happens, you know? Well, you know, in our lifetime and I'm,

a little bit older than you, but in our lifetime, we have seen this country get so much fatter and so much sicker. And now even longevity is declining in America. And it just astonishes me that more people don't stop and say, wait a minute, what are we all doing wrong? And it's so clear.

that the animal foods as well as the sugar and the processed foods are making people fat and sick. It just couldn't be clearer. But somehow when COVID attacked us and killed so many people who were made fat and sick by the American diet, you couldn't get the president or the surgeon general or the head of the CDC.

to mention die at once. Are you, you didn't actually expect anyone to bring this up though, right? Did I expect any of those people in positions of power to bring it up? Not, not, uh, no, I didn't expect it, but I hoped for it. I mean, especially Trump, who is somehow. Yeah. Well, look, we had two presidents during COVID Trump and Biden.

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I'm just going to say, as far as that guy goes, his diet is primarily fried food and fat and obviously... No, I wasn't expecting him to bring it up. But we have a surgeon general today who I believe is a vegetarian. He doesn't bring it. It's probably a very... Well, there's another component to it. And this is something that Bill Maher does talk about that...

Other people aren't willing to do and say, I think it's very unpopular in this day and age. It's back in the day you could say it's bad to be fat and people would say like, yeah, I agree. Whereas now we're with body positivity and anti body shaming. We're the ones that are wrong for saying that. Now I think there is a difference between saying, you should not let yourself go to the point where you're obese. Don't.

don't get fat. You can say that without pointing fingers, but at the same point, it's easy for people to point at us and then, you know, be able to twist that sound bite and making it sound like, Oh, Sergeant Vegan is fat shaming or, you know, where we're being, we're trying to marginalize a community that's already had some problems. You know, I can understand that too. It's, well, I don't, I, you know, I know it happens and I appreciate your bringing up that issue. Um, but,

The truth is that when I say something like COVID targeted the obese, I'm just speaking a fact. I mean, I'm not saying, I'm not calling anybody names. True. I'm not shaming anybody. I haven't mentioned who I'm talking about. I'm just saying we know for a fact that if you got...

COVID and you were obese, you had a much greater chance of dying from COVID. Just a fact. And by the way, not just from COVID, but from cancer and being attacked by autoimmune diseases and heart disease and high blood pressure. So these are just the facts. Obesity is not healthy and that's a fact. I would agree with that. And as far as the implications of how it got that way, I think

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At the end of the day, it has the responsibility has to stop the buck has to stop somewhere and it should with the individual that, you know, no, for the most part, and I've never heard of anyone force feeding you McDonald's. That's something that people are going to willingly on their own at the same point. Yeah. Society should bear some responsibility because it's all these commercials on TV. It's the.

You know, it's the parents that are, they're teaching their kids, this is how to eat, you know, a 10 year old, a majority of what happens to them is they're not just their responsibility, but their parents, they've been, they've been forced into these habits. They've learned this from their parents. Um, I, I see why our government would be not super, uh, willing to expose these truths. I mean, just look how.

previous administration, Michelle Obama talking about eating healthier and moving got a lot of flak. So she got a lot of flak and she also didn't know anything about how to eat healthy, except she knew eat your vegetables. I mean, that's a pretty good start. It's a good start. But when you don't, you know what, when you don't know the next step or the really simultaneous step, don't eat animal foods.

you just say, eat your fruits and vegetables, but if you eat your vegetables with a steak, not healthy, not a good meal. I mean, I'm not going to argue that. I obviously am on the same page at the same point, almost no matter what Michelle Obama was going to say at that point was going to get her flack. And if she had added some vegan propaganda, they would have probably marched on Washington. I don't know that it would have been good for her husband's political fortunes to advocate.

the diet that we advocate. But this is just the problem. The problem is that unless you... Everybody agrees. Eat a healthy breakfast. Eat healthy meals. Everybody agrees. Healthy is good. But then you have to know, well, what is healthy? And healthy isn't having a balanced meal of chicken plus rice plus a vegetable.

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plus a sugary dessert. The balance we need to create is not the balance between healthy and unhealthy foods, some of each. Sometimes you have to pick your battles. With those people, I would probably push the limit red meat angle and the limit your calories. Only in that I think we would get, I mean, it would do more to help their health than...

just having them be vegan as much as I'd like to just push the vegan message. A, a lot of those people aren't going to listen to us no matter what we say. And B, you know, if you're able to kind of get them to do one thing that might help with their health, that might do more like limiting count. If you eat less crap, and this is the big difference between the fifties and now, people ate

had a crappy diet in the 50s as well, but they weren't as obese and they weren't having some of the issues that we have now. What changed? They ate the same amount of processed crap and their food wasn't any better. They just ate smaller portions of it. You know, more crap. I don't know if that's true. I think I think that people are eating a fattier diet now and more animal products now and more sugar now. But look at.

I mean, people still ate hamburgers and fast food. They just had a, a more, what I would consider normal and less unhinged hamburger. They had a hamburger that was like a, a normal size. If you had a soft drink, if you had a soda, which is your gurgling sugar, it was a normal size and some French fries, none of which are healthy. It was just normal to have a smaller portion with this super size.

off the rails culture we have. We're just, people are just like using a forklift to put the unhealthy food in their body. And if you look at an old Betty Crocker recipe, none of that stuff people were eating was vegan and none of it was particularly healthy. And even the vegetables would have lard or some crap on it. It's just that they were eating smaller portions and, and, and society wise being unfit.

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and fat was shamed, which I don't believe in fat shaming, but I do agree that people should be able to kind of like watch out for themselves and say like, hey, I got to, I got to, okay, I have one piece of cake for me, not the entire cake, you know, and I think that - Well, here's the thing though, Bill, when people, when you eat healthy food, unhealthy foods like cake, you better watch your portion size because -

That cake is very calorie dense, very unhealthy. So you're going to be less worse off if you eat a small piece of cake than if you eat a large piece of cake or three pieces of cake. So portion size matters when you're eating unhealthy foods. I couldn't agree more. But the diet that I eat, whole foods, plant exclusive diet.

with no sugar and no oil. I don't even think about calories. I can eat as much as I want because I'm eating foods that are not calorie dense. And so I hope that this would attract people who are overweight and people who want to get healthy to say, you mean I can eat as much as I want? I don't have to watch what I eat. And I would say yes.

You're eating sweet potatoes, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains. Eat as much as you want and the pounds will come off. And I would think that that would be an attractive message. There's so many different ways to do it. So many different games you can play with it. And the girlfriend doesn't like to call it games. She says that, but I think it is like.

You use intermittent fasting. I do a combination of intermittent fasting with, and I also do a liter of water before I even start my first meal of the day. And I think it is somewhere between games and just a good practice. And exercise wise, I don't even consider it exercise, but I walk three miles a day and at baseline before even I add in my, you know, five or six hours in the gym a week and.

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And now my, that I'm blessed to be able to run again. I'm doing a run once or twice a week. Um, but whole foods plant -based. Yes. Definitely the healthiest way to go. I, I would caution ever telling anybody that they can eat as much as they want, especially if they're trying to lose weight. It really does come down to the calories and that, which is a whole bunch of different ways to track your calories. The absolute best way, which I don't use myself.

but is to have like an app like my fitness pal and put everything in and make sure that you're in a deficit, meaning that you're eating, putting less calories in than you're burning. But if you generally, if you want you kind of figure out what is a good amount of food for you, good, I mean, in that at least you're at maintenance, then you're fine. Obviously you figured it out long ago and you don't have to sit there and weigh everything. Right. Um, but it's somebody.

Intermittent fasting is always a good idea. And basically it means that you take the time period that you're sleeping, let's say you're sleeping from 10 p .m. to six or seven or eight a .m., whatever it is, you take that time period, you're fasting then, and you extend it on both ends. So if you go to sleep at 10 p .m., well, you try not to eat, let's say, from 7 p .m.

So you don't eat for a few hours before you go to sleep. Then you're not eating while you're sleeping, hopefully. And then when you wake up, you don't immediately have breakfast. You take an hour or two or three before you start eating. So then you look at it and you say, holy cow, I haven't eaten in 12, 14, 16 hours. And that's good for the human body. And then if you do that, that does give you a little more freedom to say, well, if I'm eating.

just during eight or 10 hours of the day and I'm eating only whole plant foods, I'm not going to worry too much about how much brown rice and broccoli I have. That's fine. I can have big meals. Because the main thing about it is it makes it harder to go over the amount of calories you need a day. I mean, but with the standard American diet, it's very easy to go over your calorie limit even with one meal. But

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you know, Whole Foods plant based like you're rocking. It's it makes it easier to stay within that limit. And I add on top of that, I have, you know, one big salad a day to fill me up. I mean, you can still you can still manage to go over that with Beyond Burgers and Impossible Burgers and fries. But it's just it's just harder. I mean, which in a good way that this podcast does not recommend. I mean, personally.

I think one of those every now and again is not bad. It's just don't be eating that every day. Like it should be common sense, but like we both know, many things are not much sense is common these days. You think things are getting better on the vegan front? You think we're, we're gaining vegans?

I generally think yes, but I think there was a plant -based bubble that happened with B and was kind of evidence with Beyond Meat stock being like the new big thing. And it, when Beyond Meat stock first came out, it was doing gangbusters. And now it went from 200 a share to now $6 a share. Right. And now, and Beyond Meat was in almost every restaurant.

And now they're, they're taking it out of a lot of different fast food places. But I think, I think that's going to equalize to being to vegan and plant -based generally being acceptable and being in more places, but not being, uh, I don't think we're, I think the move toward a vegan world is not a straight line. It's more of a.

it comes and goes. And I think it's more prevalent among Gen Z than it is Gen X or boomers or millennials. And I think as we move toward the next generations and the ones coming, I think it's going to be even better. All right. Well, on that hopeful note, thank you, Sergeant Vegan, Bill Muir for joining us. And the books again are Vegan Strong Dead Meat. and the adventures of Sergeant Piggy. Where can people find you? What's the website? So I'm on sargentvegan .com. That's sgtvegan .com, sgt underscore vegan on Instagram and sgtvegan on Facebook. And all the books are available on the Great Satan Amazon. So, yeah. All right. Much for your support. Well, thank you, everyone. Everyone.

Please follow Sergeant Vegan. Thank you, Sergeant, for joining us, and we'll talk soon. Thanks for having me. Sounds great. Thank you.



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