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Tackling Temptations: The Plant-Based Path to Healthier Living

In the latest episode of the Real Men Eat Plants podcast, our host Bryan, along with guests Maxime Sigouin, Will Loiseau, and Brian Herskowitz, delved into the heart of facing down temptations and trials on a plant-based journey. The discussion was rich with personal anecdotes and practical advice on how to maintain a commitment to a healthier, more compassionate lifestyle amidst common challenges.

Brian Herskowitz shared his journey as a film writer, producer, and martial artist, emphasizing how a plant-based diet has been integral in managing inflammation and maintaining his competitive edge in sports. His story highlighted that plant-based eating is not just a dietary choice but a lifestyle that enhances physical and mental well-being.

Maxime Sigouin, founder of FIT Vegan Coaching, discussed the psychological aspects of resisting temptations. He stressed the importance of creating environments that foster healthy choices and shared how visual reminders of the cruelty in animal industries help strengthen his resolve against temptations.

Will Loiseau, a holistic sports nutritional consultant, touched on the personal challenges he faced when transitioning to a plant-based diet. His journey from a traditional diet to plant-based living illustrated the cultural and social pressures that can act as barriers but also how education and community support can be transformative.

The episode also covered exciting developments in the plant-based sector, like the rise of plant-based seafood and the growth in plant-based job opportunities, showing that the movement is gaining substantial momentum in various industries.

Moreover, the guests shared their strategies for dealing with social pressures and maintaining their diet during events and gatherings. They emphasized that being prepared with your own plant-based options and focusing on the why behind your choices can help navigate these situations.

This discussion was not just about food choices; it was a holistic look at how plant-based living intersects with various aspects of life, including health, ethics, and the environment. The conversation was a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of aligning one’s actions with their values.

→ Vegan Recipe of the Week: Vegan Pickle Juice Popcorn

Dive into a delightful snack that's as inventive as it is satisfying. This recipe, courtesy of Rachael Brown from the book For Fork's Sake: A Quick Guide to Healing Yourself and the Planet Through a Plant-Based Diet, transforms ordinary popcorn into an extraordinary treat. 

Start with freshly popped popcorn, warm and ready. The main twist? Spritz pickle juice lightly over the popcorn to add a zesty kick. Finish off with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, lending a cheesy, nutty flavor that's irresistibly tasty. It's simple, delicious, and captures the essence of creative vegan snacking. Whether you're a seasoned vegan or new to the scene, this popcorn will surely be a hit at any gathering or cozy night in.

Ready to conquer temptations and embrace a plant-powered lifestyle? Join the Real Men Eat Plants community, where we explore the myriad benefits of plant-based living. Whether you're a seasoned vegan or just starting, we've got the resources, stories, and support to help you thrive on this journey. Connect with us and let’s grow stronger together, one plant-based meal at a time!


>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 (00:01.006)

Hello everybody and welcome to Real Men Eat Plants, the podcast where we dive into the heart of plant -based living, breaking down barriers and showing the world that strength comes in many, many forms. I'm your host Bryan. In today's episode, it's all about facing down temptations and trials on our journey towards a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle. So joining us today, we've got some amazing guests who've navigated these waters themselves and have come out stronger on the other side, I'm sure. So I'd just like to take a quick minute and let each of them say hello and introduce themselves. So welcome to the show, Brian.

Brian Herskowitz (00:37.832)

Hello everybody, I'm Brian Herskowitz. I'm a film writer, producer, director, also a teacher and a martial artist. I'm a world champion in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and continue to compete and train in that.

Bryan (00:54.382)

Thank you, Brian. We appreciate you being here. And Maxim.

Maxime Sigouin (00:58.674)

Yes, Maxim Sigwein, I'm the founder and CEO of FIDVegan Coaching, one of the world's top whole field plan based body recomposition coaching program. And I'm happy to be here. And yeah, Brian's a badass. He didn't say he was a world champion earlier when we were talking.

Brian Herskowitz (01:13.96)

Oh, I forgot to mention that.

Bryan (01:18.062)

He underplays it, I'm telling you, Max. And last but not least, we got Will joining us.

Maxime Sigouin (01:20.241)


Will Loiseau (01:24.634)

Yeah, so I'm Will Loazo and I'm a founder of Pro Healthy Choice and I'm a certified holistic sports nutritional consultant and practitioner, personal trainer, and also a published author of two books.

Bryan (01:40.942)

Thank you all for being here. We really appreciate you diving in. And like I said, we're sort of unpacking a temptation and we'll go into that in a little bit. But I thought we would do a couple other little segments throughout the show today just to break it up a little bit. So I did find a couple really interesting news articles that have come out in the past little bit. And I thought we would just maybe talk through one or two news articles for a second and get your reaction and thoughts on what's happening in the plant -based world.

So we're calling this the vegan news roundup where we're spotlighting some of the latest and most exciting developments in the world of plant -based living. So the first story I found was really the rise of plant -based seafood. So in 2024, it looks like it's shaping up to be the year of plant -based seafood with sustainability and simplicity steering the market. Consumers are now turning towards healthier, less processed options.

from vegan tinned fish to gourmet seafood alternatives. They're using mushrooms, walnuts, legumes, and crafting delicious ocean -free. Because I know a couple episodes back, we did the little kill counter, and it was just amazing. At the end of an hour -long podcast, we had almost 10 million animals out of the ocean killed in just one hour. So that just goes to show how big of a deal this plant seafood is. But...

Brian Herskowitz (02:58.952)


Bryan (03:04.174)

What are your thoughts and reactions? Have you tried any of the plant based seafood options out there?

Brian Herskowitz (03:09.416)

I have.

a couple of different ways in a couple of different places. There have been in a few different places that I know that do vegan sushi, which is an interesting concept in and of itself. And you can go and you can get vegan margarero, which is supposed to be a tuna substitute. And it's pretty good. The restaurants that really specialize it, there's one in Houston and in Las Vegas called Chef Kenny's. Give them a little plug there.

And they can really, you know, it's not the same. But it captures the essence. And if you're jonesing for that sushi flavor and that sushi taste and the experience of holding it with the rice under it, not a bad way to go at all. And I have also tried the packaged tuna from, I had mentioned there's an all vegan grocery store here called Besties. And they have vegan seafood and vegan

Bryan (03:40.27)


Brian Herskowitz (04:09.93)

shrimp I've also tasted tried I've tried it both with Thai food where it's at restaurants and also you know purchasing like fried shrimp you know fried shrimp and all not bad really not bad I mean if you if you're committed to the vegan lifestyle and you still have that you know draw that temptation it's not a bad way to go at all.

Maxime Sigouin (04:34.28)

Beautiful. I... Yeah.

Bryan (04:34.35)

Thoughts Max or Will?

Will Loiseau (04:35.866)

Yeah, I remember back in like 2012 when I first started this journey, there was a, like Brian mentioned, there was a sushi restaurant. I forgot the name of it, but I know they had like two or three locations. And I've never had real sushi before, so I'm not really sure how sushi tastes, but I just like the creativity that they used to make these dishes. They were colorful, they had the rice and they had the...

Bryan (04:56.046)


Will Loiseau (05:05.466)

you know, the Nori wraps, and that was my first time trying all that stuff. And it was, it was good. I liked it. As far as, you know, the package stuff, I think there was this company was called, I think it was called Good Catch. I'm not, I'm not sure what the name of the company was, but it was one of those, you know, you go on Whole Foods and it's in the frozen aisle section. And it was like fish sticks or something like that. And I like to try these things just to see, you know, how they taste some, and it tasted great.

The problem is when I looked on, I started learning to read nutritional labels and the sodium on these products, a lot of these products through the roof. You know what I mean? So it tasted good, but I felt the difference afterward because I had already started eating more uncooked fruits and vegetables. So my body was really sensitive to the salt, you know? But yeah, some of these products taste good, but I don't know. I don't think they're healthy. You know what I mean?

Maxime Sigouin (06:00.259)


Bryan (06:01.006)

Max, what's your thoughts?

Maxime Sigouin (06:02.371)

Yeah, as I say, my experience is similar to both these guys. It's the sushi spot. I've never been a type of guy to just buy fish before I was vegan. And so when I went vegan, it was never something that I really looked for. The only place where it was kind of missing was in the sushi. And there's this delicious spot in Agoura Hills called Mackin Sushi. And honestly, like the best vegan sushi I've ever had, like across the world, everywhere I've traveled. I, when I first brought it up, I was like, Hey, like, are you, are you bullshitting?

shitting me like this looks like fish you can see the piece of fish and the little nerves and everything and then I was like hey I'm gonna be sick if I eat this I'm gonna be really upset and they're like dog it's vegan and they showed me the package it didn't buy from this company and like and in the UK but yeah they have like they have crab they have shrimp they have salmon yeah and it's absolutely delicious you can't even you can't tell the difference and ultimately the taste is masked

by the rest of the ingredients in the sushi, but it just gives it that really cool visual look.

Maxime Sigouin (07:06.049)


Bryan (07:06.926)

And it's such an interesting thing because I do think out of the, you know, we have a good life cycle for the cows and the pigs and the chickens, but we are just destroying the oceans and haven't, in my opinion, really reached a sustainable path for the fish that we pull out of the ocean. So I encourage everybody out there that's listening that hasn't tried some vegan seafood alternatives, give it a try, help support that market and that industry in some fashion.

Maxime Sigouin (07:33.088)

Yeah, and no mercury poisoning.

Bryan (07:33.87)

Thanks for sharing some thoughts there the other article that I thought was That's right exactly and no no plastic no mercury poisoning great point Mac Was another article on just the plant -based job growth The plant -based movement is well on its way the industry seems to be surging 32 % increase in job postings just over the past three months in this plant -based sector

Maxime Sigouin (07:42.303)


Bryan (08:00.526)

So the boom is not only reflects a burgeoning demand for plant -based products, but it points to a sector's robust health and its vital role in the future of our food. Are you guys seeing that as well? Do you find you're not losing employees or anything or how do you sort of see it as part of that trajectory that we're all on together?

Brian Herskowitz (08:20.712)

I'm going to have to opt out because I'm kind of a one man band. My employees are all doing just fine. Thank you.

Maxime Sigouin (08:20.765)


Bryan (08:23.886)


Maxime Sigouin (08:27.198)

So we are.

Will Loiseau (08:28.922)

Yeah, same here, but I will say this.

Maxime Sigouin (08:33.661)

Sorry, I think there's a delay in my audio, which makes it sound like I'm cutting you guys, but I'm not. So I'm just trying to speak when no one is speaking. Sorry about that. So I'll just go because my audio is going right now. So I'll just talk. Yeah, we have several team members and we always try to make sure we hire vegan employees. And four years ago, it was a little bit more challenging to find people that were vegan to kind of just keep the value of the company. But it's definitely been a lot easier to find good vegan employees. Because before they were very far and few. Yeah.

Will Loiseau (08:34.074)

Oh, sorry. Yeah, sorry about that.

Bryan (08:42.19)

No worries.

Bryan (09:07.246)

Thanks Max. Well.

Will Loiseau (09:08.73)

Yeah, similar to Brian, I'm just myself. But I will say this, I remember during the lockdowns in 2020, how there was a new stories coming out about the conditions of the factory workers that were working in those factory farms and how dangerous it was. And I guess that was a good opportunity for more people to learn about those environments. You know what I mean? Cause a lot of people don't think about where their food comes from. So yeah, I do think that it's...

Definitely positive news if we can steer employees away from that direction.

Brian Herskowitz (09:43.208)

You know, it's one other thing that I'll just throw out is that, you know, I can't remember any other period of my life, and I'm a bit older than the rest of you guys, so I've been around for a little bit longer, where there was any kind of sustainable growth in a vegan direction.

Bryan (09:43.374)

I love it.

Brian Herskowitz (10:07.208)

Now there's Kevin Hart has a vegan restaurant that he is franchising. It's on the corner of Highland and Sunset here in Los Angeles. It's, you know, there's he has others there are near my in my neighborhood. There are no less than 10 vegan restaurants. Some are, you know, comfort food down home cooking Mexican food, Thai food, burger places, and not just

one, several, and many of them are chains. And you know, you couldn't, I couldn't imagine having a sustainable franchise in a vegan restaurant around the country. Now that's happening and it's happening more and more frequently and those places are actually providing delicious food. Healthy? Well, I don't know. You know, that's something you have to know. I can say that.

Bryan (10:57.742)

The sodium's there.

Brian Herskowitz (11:00.936)

There are, you know, when you apple to apple it, when you look at a burger and then you look at a vegan burger, and particularly now, I think Beyond Burger just got their heart healthy stamp on their new formulation. They're really starting to look at it not just as are we capturing people's imagination with the taste, but are we also helping them be healthier? And I think that is a focus for the film food industry on the vegan side.

Bryan (11:29.806)

Agreed, agreed completely. Well, let's dive into the temptation because I think that's what half of this battle with the food is on that front. So thanks for helping me unpack some of those news stories. We'll try and do that segment a little bit more. So let us know in the comment box if you like those bits and those insights. I'd say we all have been faced with moments of temptation on our plant -based journey.

Maxime Sigouin (11:32.278)


Bryan (11:57.358)

whether it's the smell of the barbecue at a family gathering or something, or just the convenience of fast food when we're out on a busy day, especially during that time period where like we're transitioning and you're like, you haven't figured out some of the keys to the kingdom yet. So I just wanted to dive in and navigate the waters, trying to figure out temptation to help unpack that. So what tempts us? I mean, for me, it,

It's still to this day is chocolate. Like I know I'm a chocolate holic and unfortunately 90 % of all the chocolate out there has dairy or something bad in it or it's chocolate covered bacon for that matter. So, you know, like I think Brian and I were joking before the show even started and I think you said it very, very well, Brian. All chocolate is vegan when I see it. So how do you how do you yeah, how do you how do you unpack that?

Brian Herskowitz (12:51.08)

Yeah, that's my superpower.

Maxime Sigouin (12:51.347)


Bryan (12:57.294)

And what are some of the temptations that you guys face?

Maxime Sigouin (13:02.483)

Yeah, like...

Brian Herskowitz (13:03.08)

Well, since you've already outed me, I'll start. That's okay. So yeah, for me, I was not a big meat eater in terms of red meat, but I did eat a lot of chicken. So it's smelling the roasted chicken at the grocery store.

Bryan (13:05.07)

Sorry, Brian.

Brian Herskowitz (13:22.248)

Chocolate is the big one. Chocolate is the one where, you know, I sometimes it's like there's an old joke, nah, I won't go into it. But there's a way of looking at it and saying, my superpower is I can take any chocolate and make it vegan, no problem. So there are, there all are alternatives. There are oat milk and almond milk.

Maxime Sigouin (13:29.617)


Brian Herskowitz (13:42.696)

Alternative milk chocolates and that's one of the things that I think people miss it because you can find dark chocolate That's vegan and that's not that difficult to find and there are certainly a lot of brands even you know going into your grocery store They're there but finding something that really replicates that feeling of the soft moist milk chocolate is difficult because

Now you're looking at milk. But there are a few companies that have alternatives that are pretty good. And I can't remember the names of them. But if I can think of them, I'll let you know. But Besties has a bunch of them. I know you can find them on Amazon. There are alternatives. One of the big temptations for me has always been Thanksgiving.

Maxime Sigouin (14:16.111)


Brian Herskowitz (14:31.208)

because you're going to meet with a group of people, they're all having these incredible huge roasted turkeys with stuffing and all that goes with it. And the first couple of years that I went vegan, that was really hard because you would go and you would smell it. And I had a couple of vegan alternates that...

Bryan (14:49.166)

Mm -hmm.

Brian Herskowitz (14:55.272)

We're beyond not good. That we're like aggressively bad and I went this is not going to work. So but actually the alternatives going and getting the turkey loaf from a vegan place and using that Gardein I think makes one. There are a few other companies that make them and they're pretty good. And again I'm sure they're loaded with sodium. I think you do have to if you're watching sodium you got to be careful with that. But.

So is the turkey, so is everything else. So if you're just talking about switching one evil for another evil, switch the one that does the least damage to the world and to your health if you can avoid it. So that's my philosophy on it. But the chocolate is a tough one and I have to admit, once in a while I fall off the wagon, I'll have a Hershey's kiss or something and feel guilty for a day and then I'll get back on. But I think that's somewhat like an alcohol.

Bryan (15:51.054)

That's right.

Brian Herskowitz (15:54.474)

I think you have to forgive yourself if you fall off the wagon if you're at a restaurant or you're at a party and the only thing they're serving is Something that is not vegan and you eat it. Don't beat yourself up. Just tomorrow. Don't Don't eat a fish. Don't eat a dog. Don't eat a meat. Don't eat don't eat anything. That's not vegan. I Don't know why I said

Bryan (16:13.23)

That's right. Max, what's your thoughts?

Maxime Sigouin (16:17.321)

Yeah. So I'll share it from two different perspectives. I'll share it from the vegan standpoint and using alternative, but also from a health fat loss standpoint, because that's ultimately the world that I live in all the time. I think there's a lot of companies that have gotten a lot better at making alternatives, like Brian was sharing with a chocolate. I think the big one that I hear all the time when people want to transition to eating plant -based is, I can't let go of the cheese. The cheese is the hardest one to let go. And I feel that we didn't really have good alternatives.

in the past, like, I want to call it Daya, but man, it was like melted plastic strips when you put those in the oven, it didn't really look too nice. And it wasn't that great. But now there's a lot better. Like me, Miyokos I think is one of them is like better like vegan cheeses that kind of emulate the same texture and taste as real cheese does without the negative impact.

you know, on the flip side of, of using vegan products, I'm a little bit more extreme in that I made sure that I watched a lot of videos of like animals being like tortured in those industries. So when I walk into meat aisle, when I walk by the dairy aisle, like I can't, I can't even look at it. If you see me in a grocery store and you don't come and say hi and you just look at my behavior, I'm looking at the ground or I'm looking at the ceiling. When I walk in the meat aisle or the dairy aisle or the fish aisle, I just can't look at it.

because I've seen too much of it. So that's kind of for me, I can't even like go back. I'm going on a decade of veganism this year, so I'm excited. It's been a long time. And from a fat loss standpoint, I just think it comes down to putting systems. For myself, I used to have a big history with binge eating, so I love donuts, cookies, chips, cookies, like ice cream, I love cookies, I said it twice.

ultimately it was about putting systems in place and not keeping those things in my house, you know, never going to the grocery store hungry. If I was with my partner being like, hey, don't let me buy cookies. And so just putting little systems in place to make it harder for me to make the wrong decisions and easier for me to make the right decisions. Yeah.

Bryan (18:05.422)


Brian Herskowitz (18:23.975)


Bryan (18:24.494)

I love it. Will, do you have some thoughts on this?

Will Loiseau (18:26.714)

Yeah, you all mentioned a lot of key points that I went through. In the beginning, that's when it's the most difficult part when you're trying to make the transition. And the thing with food is food is such a personal ritual. So it's tied to a lot of culture, it's tied to a lot of memories, and that makes it extremely difficult to give up. So some of the things that I did was to curve that a little bit was educate myself more. So that's what I always stress to a lot of people. If you know...

not only what you're doing, but if you know why you're doing it as adults, like when we were kids, you told a kid not to do something and the kid's gonna do it because the kid doesn't, he doesn't understand or she doesn't understand why you're telling them not to do it. So you gotta understand, get a better understanding. That's what helped me tremendously. Chips, chips has always been tough for me. And these companies are getting smarter and smarter because they're marketing them better. So they'll.

tell you they'll use blue corn or it's non -GMO. And you're like, oh, non -GMO, I just learned about GMO. So it must be good if it doesn't have it. And then you're eating it. And so that was tough for me. But having said all of that, fries are still extremely tough for me to pass up. So like Brian mentioned, from time to time, I'm not gonna kill myself if I have a craving for fries, I'm gonna eat fries. You know.

Bryan (19:38.606)


Will Loiseau (19:51.45)

chances are my body's gonna respond to it and it's gonna tell me that that's not the way that I should be going. So I'll just get back on the path the next day and then continue with my healthy eating. So.

Bryan (20:04.942)

Yeah, I think that's a big, big thing to it is you say that you're vegan and everybody wants you to, you know, sit there, you be this perfect model of it and you never ever do anything bad. Um, kind of thing or, or break the rules or whatever. So I think we all find ourselves in those situations and we do once in a blue moon. I think some of us have more willpower or perseverance than others. I do. We had Paul Chatlin on.

few episodes back and I think he said it really, really well. Like if I'm there and you know, I want to stick to my guns today, then I just don't eat anything at the dinner or whatever. Like I'm just going to skip, skip, skip that meal. So fasting is a good alternative now and then as well. And we all should probably fast now and then. Um, but it, I guess you touched on it, but I want to unpack it a little bit more. Like the social situations and navigating them is another biggie, right? From weddings to work events and.

The pressure is there. And, you know, like, you know, I definitely have brought some vegan dishes to those kinds of events or, or just have that conversation starter. Like, I mean, heck, even this morning I went to a breakfast event and the only thing that they had that was vegan was a bagel and I don't really want a bagel. Right. So, so yeah, I mean, what's, what's your thoughts in some of the social.

social situations and what's your tips. Max, you want to start us off?

Maxime Sigouin (21:32.762)

Yeah, I'll be honest with you. I've curated my life in such a way that everyone around me is vegan. So I don't have to deal with that too much. It just when I.

Bryan (21:44.43)

Well done, I'm jealous.

Maxime Sigouin (21:46.97)

Yeah, so my whole my whole world is pretty much vegan. But when I met when I met my my now wife, she's a Filipino and Chinese. And so it's heavy culture of like meat in the Filipino culture. And her mom's from the Philippines. So when we went to a restaurant, it was you know, it was pork, it was chicken, it was like the deep fried food, it wasn't like some of the healthiest options. And that was my first time I was exposed to someone eating chicken in front of me. And like, I got almost, you know, eight years at that point. And so yeah, honestly, I just had

vegetables while I was there. I just I've gotten past the aspect of I need to eat the same food as everyone when I'm at a restaurant because I guess I've just been doing it for so long that I'm like everyone knows I'm vegan no one argues with me anymore. I just think it's harder if you're newer to it and you're transitioning and people know that you're newer then they know there's like some give rise like hey just you know one more time it won't do anything to you or blah blah blah and so people are way more willing to apply pressure.

if you're transitioning, if you're newer to it, because it's not a thing that's a part of your identity yet that they have to respect. And so I can see how it can be more challenging for people that are transitioning. But like I said earlier, man, just watch documentary like Christspiracy, Cowspiracy, all those documentaries. And then once you look at chicken, you'll be like, oh, I can't.

I can't look at that. I'll just throw one thing. Chef Babette, I had the opportunity to meet her at the Cryspiracy premiere here in LA a few weeks back. And I found a clip from her on Rich Roll. And she mentioned something about like, if a human burns their skin, right? What's the thing that comes out, right? The liquid, it's gonna be pus. It's gonna be like skin juice, right? If I'm gonna put it that way. And she's like, what do you think happens when you put a chicken in the oven? It's skin. So people are just like, oh, that's chicken juice, right?

Bryan (23:09.71)


Maxime Sigouin (23:35.701)

Like that's pus, like you're literally burning the skin of a chicken and people think it's normal. So anytime I see some type of animal in front of me, that's all I think about and I just cannot look at it or even the thought of consuming it. So yeah, that's my point.

Bryan (23:54.254)

I've seen that video, I know exactly what you mean and it didn't click until I heard it expressed that way, you know, and then it's just like, yeah, my goodness, we rationalize it in a weird way. Will, what's your thoughts?

Will Loiseau (24:08.57)

You know, I grew up on Long Island, New York, and you know, when I was making the transition back in 2011, 2012, just me going to the grocery store and putting a whole bunch of colorful fruits and vegetables on the conveyor belt. And you feel all the eyes staring at you like, what is this guy doing? There's no meat, there's no processed food. Like.

You know, and just having to go through that before even going to the social events and having to deal with family members and friends that are not used to your transition. And, you know, of course the whole, um, you know, where do you get your protein comes up? And it took me, like I said before, having to really, you know, go back into the research to know and reinforce, Hey, why exactly am I doing this? And how do I answer it? How do I answer those questions and concerns? Because you know, it's coming from.

you know, a genuine place if it's a family member or friend, but how do I answer that without being defensive and without being argumentative? You know what I'm saying? So once I started to do that, then it became a lot easier. And, you know, like you, like you guys mentioned before, you know, I became more knowledgeable in how to, you know, bring something for everyone. So I'll bring my own food and I'll bring something enough for everyone. And, you know, Hey, this is what I'm doing. If you want to join what I'm doing.

Go ahead. And more times than not, when they try your quote unquote vegan food, they like it because, you know, it's plants and that's what we were designed to eat. So, you know, just, just going through those situations and like I said, becoming more knowledgeable, that just made the process easier. And now I'm at a point now where people come to look, they look for me to, they look to me for advice because they noticed the difference, you know, in health.

And you know, it's actually a good feeling to be able to offer help without being preachy. So it's been a, it's a challenging transition, but I wouldn't trade the way I transitioned for nothing.

Bryan (26:09.486)

Well said, well said. Brian?

Brian Herskowitz (26:12.232)

Yeah, so I've been vegan now for about five years, four years. I still get the eye roll from people, you know, when you go to a restaurant and you sit down and...

You're looking at a menu and going, let me see if I can find something that's not, you know, that's vegan and asking, you know, what is this cooked in or is there butter or is there milk or any other issues that you might have with a dish? And you still get this, oh, come on, you know, it's not gonna kill you to do that. And there is a point where you, what I basically do is just kind of nod and smile and say, yeah, I'm gonna do my thing. But there are times when you're placed in a position where it's,

it's awkward where you don't have those options or you're at a restaurant where there's just absolutely nothing they don't cook in either lard or they don't have added milk or butter or you know some sort of non -vegan

items on the menu. And then you're faced with, you know, do you just have a glass of tea and wait? And that's generally what I do, is I try to figure out, you know, but I also try not to put myself in those positions anymore. So one of the things I'm always looking for when people say, let's go out somewhere, is I look at the menu and I look at, is there an option? And I don't have to have 30 different options. I just have to have one thing that I look at and go, they have salad. Great. They have

They have balsamic Brussels sprouts, fantastic, whatever it is. I don't need to have 30 different options. I don't need to have a whole menu just knowing that there's something that people can eat. And I do find that more and more restaurants are accommodating people and open to saying we have things for those people who don't want to eat animal protein or animal byproducts.

Bryan (28:04.622)

And it's as long as it's not overcooked pasta and soggy vegetables, you know, that's their default. Yeah, once in a blue moon, I don't mind it, I suppose. That's right. So but I mean, I think I think we all touched on it, you know, so like two more little little things to unpack on this temptation side of it. There's my balloons is.

Brian Herskowitz (28:09.032)

Sometimes that's okay too. I'll take that in a pinch too.

Maxime Sigouin (28:13.032)

A plate of fries, man. It's all you need.

Will Loiseau (28:18.714)

Thank you.

Bryan (28:32.366)

is like the peer pressure is real, right? I mean, we this is the real many plants podcasts. And so for us, especially men in society, they equate the manliness with the meat eating. So like, you know, I know, I think I'm I'm going on whatever 13 or 14 years now on this journey. And it's like, I've been just very, very comfortable being a leader.

and setting the example to try and help shape other men's perspectives on this. But I've definitely, I still to this day get the peer pressure from my brother or family members or whatever, or just somebody that doesn't know me that well that wants to try and chide me a little bit. But so like, what is some of that? And then the second thing is like, what are the, temptation is not just about the food on that front. It comes in many other.

ways that we we're tempted as humans. Like I feel like it comes back to we have to know as men or just as people in general, like what are our core values and what are we not going to allow in our life? Whether that's, you know, swearing or pornography or whatever it is for you, you know, personally that you've decided, like, you know, what, how do you have this barrier in your head to say, I going to bend the rules and have a piece of

you know, milk chocolate twice a year. I know I'm going to break. That's okay. But like these are my hard and fast lines. Like I don't think I, you know, I'm with Maxim on this. Like I don't think I'm ever going to eat chicken no matter if it's dipped in chocolate, right? Like that's, that's not my thing. So I'm just curious how you've unpacked the peer pressure and how you define these like temptation lines in your head of something that I will bend the rules on once in a blue moon versus no, I'm never doing that.

Maxime Sigouin (30:07.587)


Maxime Sigouin (30:22.433)

Yeah, if you don't, if I can go, I'm just trying to talk first so the audio picks up. So you guys all might all go first. I'm trying to time to delay. Yeah, so honestly, I realized at one point and not to go too deep, but that the pressure, I only cared that it was only an amount of pressure if I cared what the person thought. And it wasn't pressure if I didn't care what the person thought.

Bryan (30:24.238)

Who wants to go first?

Will Loiseau (30:24.923)

Yeah, I guess I'll start it off.

Bryan (30:30.478)

No worries, go have max.

Maxime Sigouin (30:52.063)

And you know, some of you know my background or not, but.

I was a caregiver to my late partner for five years to breast cancer and she passed away several years ago. And so I was already vegan at the time when I met her and I got bugged all the time. Like, yeah, you're gonna be a man. You gotta eat meat because I came from the world of bodybuilding and powerlifting. All right. I was 240 pounds. I'd deadlift my Honda Civic. I was eating out with a bunch of bro beer drinking, steak eating guys for breakfast. And then I completely transitioned to being vegan. So I did get heckled a lot. And then when I started becoming a caregiver,

and I started to have more empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence, I was like, man, that's what being a man is. Is you being able to show up for the people that you love regardless of how it is. Whether you're skinny or you're big or you're eating steak or drinking beer or smoking cigars, it doesn't change anything. Because I know a lot of steak eating, beer drinking, cigar smoking men that mistreat their wives or that wouldn't show up for the people that they love. And to me, that's not being a man even though you're doing all those societal things.

that people used to define a man. I was like, man, if you have the ability to pour your heart for the people that you love and show up for them when it's the most inconvenient, that's what a man is being about. And once that shift made for me, like there's nothing no one could ever tell me about not being a man because I know that most men in my situation would have left. And I'm like, yeah, you can drink all the beer and steak and cigars that you want. It doesn't make you a man because I know you're not showing up for the people that you love when it actually matters. So, yeah, that's my little story.

Brian Herskowitz (32:24.424)

All set? No.

Bryan (32:24.43)

I love it, it's an excellent point. Will, you want to go next?

Will Loiseau (32:27.994)

Yeah, for me, working in the box gyms as a personal trainer, you know, I used to see a lot of individuals that would do tremendous things in the gym, lift tons of weight and what have you, extremely athletic individuals. And over time, I would see these people, same people either pass away or have...

you know, real serious, you know, health issues. You'd be like, well, what happened to such and such? I haven't seen such and such in the gym for a while. And then, you know, another gym member would tell you what happened and it'd be some type of, you know, real chronic disease. So, you know, a lot of individuals still don't realize that, you know, it's the diet that causes them such problems. So, you know, as far as like the peer pressure and all that, I mean, you know, just...

my own progress over time. And I'm in the best shape of my life now. And I know how I used to eat before. So, you know, just my progress has just given me more and more confidence. And I'm at the point now where it's like peer pressure doesn't, it's funny because at the time that you're really, you know, thinking about that, it's everything, you know, you're thinking about other people's opinions and that really weighs a lot and you know, takes up a lot of real estate in your mind.

But now, that's the last thing I'm thinking about. I'm just thinking about just observing how so many people are suffering from preventative disease and how I can be some type of influence to try to help them. So that's what I'm always trying to figure out. And it depends on the individual, depends on their personality, depends on a lot of things as far as how you approach them. Sometimes you approach them by not saying anything and just by being an example. So.

Maxime Sigouin (34:06.329)


Will Loiseau (34:17.85)

Yeah, it's an interesting journey, but yeah, I no longer feel the peer pressure, but I know a lot of people that are starting, they definitely do because we're living in arguably the most unhealthy country in the world.

Maxime Sigouin (34:34.711)

You're muted, Brian. Your mic is off.

Brian Herskowitz (34:35.208)

You're muted, I think.

Will Loiseau (34:37.338)

Yeah, I don't hear you.

Bryan (34:38.99)

Oh, sorry. Sorry. The kids are on Easter break and they are running around the house. So I didn't mute myself. Yeah. So, Brian, I want to turn it over to you as the kids come back in the house here and get your perspective, especially from the judo side of it. I'm sure there's a story there too.

Brian Herskowitz (34:43.144)

I don't know, the pattern of little feet.

Brian Herskowitz (34:58.728)

Oh, I'm sure. I can't think of any at the top of my head, but I'm sure there are. There are a couple different things. One of the things is that the people that are in my sphere, when they have objected, I think I mentioned on the last podcast that my brother and I, he was also a martial artist, also a judoka and...

in the country back in the day and he has arthritis, pretty severe arthritis, but he's in incredible condition and at 67 years old he...

the other day called me and said, so I can do now 18 pull -ups. And I'm like, I don't want to curse on your podcast, but I was not pleased because I'm in the gym going, I can get three, I can do it. I'm struggling. He's a monster. But he became vegan after he was giving me, kind of needling me about it. And I said, let's sit down and watch this one documentary called Game Changers.

and let's look at what they have to say. And this was shortly after he had been diagnosed with the arthritis and he jumped up and went, I can do this. I can do this. And his wife was like, oh gosh, now I'm gonna have to do a whole vegan thing. She was not happy about it, but ultimately they both.

changed and and You know, I can't necessarily attribute that he can do 15 16 pull -ups at 67 years old to being a vegan But I can't discount it either and the fact is that he's still you know Just in a phenomenal shape for a man who's almost 70 years old and it's extraordinary So the the argument that I use is example

Brian Herskowitz (36:53.224)

You know, I'm 66. I may not have a six pack, I got a three pack, maybe a four pack somewhere. But I'm in pretty good shape for a guy who's 66. And I still compete with kids who are 20. I still train on a daily basis. And judo is not, it's a contact sport. It's not a, you know, we're not just doing, no offense to karate, because I've done karate too, it's not just kata. And it can be really rough on your body.

Bryan (36:59.822)

Ha ha ha.

Brian Herskowitz (37:23.13)

So the fact that I'm still doing it and still there at this point in my life I have to attribute it to something and I look at the facts I look at there was another documentary by the same people recently where they took sets of twins Identical twins one one was put on to a healthy Omnivore diet. The other was put on a healthy vegan diet and they compared the two and there were up pluses and minuses to both but

The things that to me are most important in terms of long term health, in terms of longevity, and in terms of being healthy late in life where I am now, those are important to me. To try and impart that to other people, to me it's not so much about being defensive when people are negative about the idea of being vegan. It's rather saying, well, here's some information. You should check this out.

Here's the reason I'm doing it. I have found that I have high calcium in my arteries and that's a real risk for me. I wanted to look at what are the things that I can do to mitigate that risk. One of the biggest things I can do is limit inflammation. How do you limit inflammation? Well, inflammation, one of the things that causes inflammation is any kind of...

animal protein. So if you cut that out of your diet and you add fruits and vegetables, suddenly you're in a better place in terms of your cardio health. So those are the things that I start to talk to people about and I explain, hey, you know, I mean, I do it for many reasons. I do it for the environment. I do it because I love animals and I want to see animals suffering. And I do it for my health. But I start with my health so that when people say, well, you know, why are you doing this? Well, look, I've got heart issues. If I don't take care of myself, I'm in a position

where I have calcium score of 425, which is in theory, this was something that was diagnosed years ago, in theory that's a 95 % chance of a cardiac event within five years. I've had nothing. When I go to the cardiologist, he says you're in great shape, it's perfect.

Brian Herskowitz (39:37.736)

But I have this calcium and it's a ticking time bomb. So if I don't do the things that I'm doing to help my health in terms of limiting the animal protein and trying to mitigate the inflammation in my blood, I'm basically saying, ask her it, I don't care. And I do care. I care about the people around me. I care about the life I care about, but I also care about the planet and I care about animals. So I want to do everything I can for that. But I start with that personal level and say, I'm doing this for my health. You don't have to do it.

Forget about it for you. I don't mind if you want to eat meat and not live as long. I'll come to your funeral. I don't mind. So when people start hearing them, they go, wait a second, hold on. Do I want to live healthier? And it's not just living longer. There's nothing worse, I think, in life than being in a position where you're old and you are.

Bryan (40:18.19)


Brian Herskowitz (40:32.168)

your past, your expiration date and you're just hanging around. So I want to be 95 and healthy. I want to be the guy that's still doing, still getting on the mat and still moving around and still going on trips and still enjoying life at 95, not staring out a window drooling. So that's my...

Bryan (40:51.086)

I hope you're on the podcast at 95 with us still, you know, popping in to dump some wisdom on us. Yeah, absolutely. We'll have 95 years of awesome wisdom to dump on us for sure. So, I mean, I guess to try and summarize it, you know, temptation is indeed everywhere. So it's not limited to just the dining table. It challenges us in many areas of our life, as you heard us each talk about.

Brian Herskowitz (40:55.432)

I hope so too. It's not that long. It's not that long.

Brian Herskowitz (41:05.096)

That'd be great.

Bryan (41:19.566)

But each time we make a choice that aligns with our core values, we strengthen, in my opinion, our commitment to a kinder, more sustainable world. So whether it's the food or the clothes that we wear or how we interact with the world, staying true to our beliefs is a powerful statement. So, you know, really quickly, you know, just go around the horn and give us, you know, 10 seconds on some closing thoughts on temptation. So Will, kick us off.

Will Loiseau (41:48.314)

I would say one of the things I tell people to do all the time is to observe nature and observe the other animals. Because I think that we've become disconnected from other animals to see how they interact with nature. We are a part of nature. We need to connect with them. Bio photons and fruits and vegetables and from the sun is the easiest way to connect. And once we connect, it just becomes easier to just follow a healthier lifestyle.

Bryan (42:15.054)

I love it Will, thank you, thank you. Max, tee us up some closing thoughts.

Maxime Sigouin (42:20.273)

that whatever you think is worth it is not worth it. So even, you know, just a little burger here, a little bacon there, a little bit chicken there, a little bit of fish there. Ultimately, once you get sick, you would take all of it back. And again, I saw it firsthand, you'd give all the money you have, everything you have just to be able to get your health back, just you can feel like a normal person. So whatever you think is worth it, it's not. Because once you lose it all, you realize how important it actually was.

Bryan (42:53.39)

True, true, true. Mr. Herskowitz.

Brian Herskowitz (42:56.296)

Yeah, so temptation's a bear and it is something that we face every day in all kinds of aspects including food. Those people that fall to temptation, forgive yourself, get back on the horse, try to focus on the next day, the next moment and don't worry about the consequences of that one misstep.

Forgive it yourself and try to prepare so that you're not putting yourself in the position to be tempted. As you were talking about, bring food with you. Have other alternatives. Pick places where you know you can eat well. And if you have some place where you know you're going to go and they're going to have cake and you really want that cake, bring something that gives you pleasure. Bring a vegan brownie. Bring something that you go, okay, this is going to be my cupcake. I'll put a candle on this and do it that way.

Bryan (43:49.134)

That's right. Thank you guys. It's been a ton of fun unpacking temptation with you and I feel like there's some other ways we can do it. I wanted to flip gears a little bit. I'm going to put you on the spot and sort of a new segment and it's sort of like the, the on the spot vegan recipe. And one of the ones that I've been trying to figure out and I have not mastered yet is a vegan pop.

because we all love our popcorn, but plain boring popcorn stinks. And so I'm just curious if you guys have a vegan popcorn recipe that you're really, really proud of. And so I have to give it credit. I spoke to Rachel Brown earlier this week and she is the author of For Forks Sake, a book to help people come to the plant -based lifestyle to a degree. And she's got some great little tips, but.

I'm always trying to figure out like, how do I get my nutritional yeast to stick to the popcorn better? Cause I love that's my combo. That's my little recipe tip is nutritional yeast plus popcorn. And you can't use the butter and I don't want to use the oil. She told me to try out pickle juice. So I am going to try some pickle juice this weekend and spritz my popcorn with a little pickle juice. And I am sure that that's going to get the nutritional yeast to stick to it.

Maxime Sigouin (44:48.593)


Bryan (45:11.022)

and make this cheesy, delicious popcorn for me. But what is your secret recipe for popcorn? Who wants to go first?

Brian Herskowitz (45:21.768)

We'll let Max go.

Will Loiseau (45:22.17)

I haven't eaten popcorn, I don't think, since I started this journey. That's just weird. It was one of my favorite things to eat, but I don't even eat it.

Bryan (45:25.678)

Okay. Well, are you going to try the pickle juice plus nutritional yeast now? Has that intrigued you?

Will Loiseau (45:34.17)

That was interesting.

Bryan (45:37.934)

You'll have to report back to us, Will, next episode. Max, do you have a secret popcorn recipe you wanna share?

Maxime Sigouin (45:44.721)

Well, I was gonna say depending on what I'm doing, if I'm doing a muscle building phase and I have more calories, I'll do coconut oil. But if I am doing a fat loss phase or just trying to stay lean, I'll usually use water. So pickle juice is actually really smart. I don't know why I never thought about it. I would just like spray water on the popcorn and like toss it in nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and different spices to make it stick. But yeah, pickle juice is actually really smart. I'm actually gonna try that.

Brian Herskowitz (46:11.976)

Thank you.

Bryan (46:16.046)

We're spreading the word here. Thank you, Rachel. Brian, do you have any tricks to your popcorn?

Brian Herskowitz (46:21.288)

I use the old olive oil method. I spray it with olive oil, light olive oil, and then I coat it, and then there is a popcorn salt, which is a very, very fine salt, and you use a little bit less of it, and it'll mix well, and then a little pepper. So salt and pepper is kind of an interesting bit. But I do use oil. But that pickle juice is an interesting option. I may try that. But.

Bryan (46:47.822)

Yeah, and it just makes me think of like what other little tricks does Rachel have up her sleeve? So check out Rachel and her book for Forks sake. Well, I have a few other new segments we wanna try out on some other episodes, but the best way that you can support this podcast is to click like and subscribe beneath this video. So we hope whatever medium you're adopting and listening to us on,

that you just take a moment to give us a comment, tell us what topics you want us to address. I mean, we are here to help other men and for that matter, anybody on the planet come to a more plant -based whole foods lifestyle. I really appreciate Brian, Will and Max jumping in here to help me unpack temptation and share some of their insights and experiences. Close us out guys. How can the audience that's watching and listening get in touch with you?

And where do they find you on the web? Max, you want to kick us off?

Maxime Sigouin (47:48.305)

Yeah, for sure. If you just head over to fitvegancoaching .com, at the bottom there's links to everything. Our Fit Vegan podcast, which I've had Brian on, our Fit Vegan YouTube channel, our newsletter, Instagram, Facebook group. Everything is in one spot.

Bryan (48:06.254)

I love it. Thank you, Max. Appreciate you being here. Brian.

Brian Herskowitz (48:10.28)

You can find me at BrianHersquitz .com I also would love to give a shout out to my daughter's pod Her YouTube channel, which is Mad About Animal Mags She's been a vegan since she was two years old and is now a she's a writer, actress and also a animal scientist just got her master's degree from the University of Edinburgh and Has a really interesting video blog about animals and about

veganism and about how we ethically treat animals. So if you have if you love animals and you want information and she does everything from cosmetics and what animals are being tested on and what aren't and just really you watched one I think should we kill John wicks dog which I thought was really interesting video so please check that out and but you can find me at BrianHerskowitz .com

Bryan (49:07.534)

Thanks, Brian, for being here. And Will, how do we get in touch with you? And I think you have a book out, right?

Will Loiseau (49:12.442)

All right, so my latest book just came out last, I mean this February, so it's called Young at Any Age, Secrets to Slowing the Aging Process. And it's my best work. And you can find anything related to me at trueironwill .com. It's T -R -U -E -I -R -O -N -W -I -L -L .com. And yeah, that's where you can find me at.

Bryan (49:39.406)

Well, we really appreciate you all joining us. Thank you so much, guys, and I hope you tune in next time for another awesome episode of the Real Men Eat Plants podcast. So take care, guys. Thanks for being here.



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