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Vegan vs. Standard American Diets: Unraveling the Grocery Dilemma

In this compelling new episode of the Real Men Eat Plants pod, host Bryan delves into the vegan versus standard American diets with expert insights from Brian Herskowitz, Paul Chatlin, Mike Young, Tom Kramer, and Anthony Masiello. This panel of seasoned plant-based advocates shares invaluable advice on navigating grocery aisles, emphasizing a vegan lifestyle's health, environmental, and economic benefits.

Introducing the Experts:

  • Paul Chatlin: Founder of the Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group and co-founder of the Sage Circle Alliance.

  • Mike Young: Chief Foodie Officer of and organizer of the Health Optimization Cruise.

  • Tom Kramer: Producer and editor for Nutmeg Notebook LLC, focusing on whole food plant-based lifestyle education.

  • Brian Herskowitz: Writer, producer, and director in film and television who transitioned to a vegan diet for health and environmental reasons.

  • Anthony Masiello: Co-founder and CEO of Love Life Telehealth, a lifestyle medicine practice focused on disease prevention and reversal through whole food plant-based nutrition.

Insights You'll Gain From This Episode:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Plant-based groceries can be more wallet-friendly than those of a standard American diet, particularly when focusing on whole foods. Bryan shared a cost comparison between a standard American diet and a whole-food plant-based diet. The plant-based diet was shown to be approximately 50% cheaper based on a detailed analysis of grocery items from Kroger.

  • Health Benefits: A vegan diet not only supports chronic disease prevention but also enhances overall vitality and wellness. The discussion highlighted numerous benefits of a whole food plant-based diet, including: -Lower calorie intake and higher fiber content. -Reduced saturated fat and sodium levels. -Significant reductions in CO2 emissions and water usage. -Improved vitamin and nutrient intake, leading to better overall health.

  • Environmental Impact: Adopting a plant-based diet significantly lowers one's carbon footprint and water usage, making it a sustainable choice for the environmentally conscious.

  • Cultural Acceptance: With veganism gaining cultural traction, supermarkets and festivals are increasingly catering to a plant-based audience, making this lifestyle more accessible.

  • Practical Tips: From grocery store strategies to seasonal food selections, the episode is packed with practical advice to simplify and enrich your vegan grocery shopping experience.

This week’s episode is jam-packed with information, and we’re excited to feature not one but two amazing vegan recipes.

Vegan Recipe of the Week #1: Paul's Hibiscus Tea Blend

As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting delicious and healthy plant-based choices, we're thrilled to share Paul's Hibiscus Tea Blend—a refreshing drink perfect for hydrating and delighting your senses. Here’s how to make it:


  • 4 hibiscus tea bags (e.g., Zinger, Bigelow)

  • 1 Fuji apple, cut into slices

  • 1 orange, cut into slices

  • Optional: a little lemon or lime, sliced

  • Optional: strawberries, raspberries, grapes, blueberries (for additional flavor variations)


  1. Place the hibiscus tea bags into a pitcher.

  2. Add the apple and orange slices.

  3. Optionally, add lemon, lime, and other fruits for additional flavors.

  4. Fill the pitcher with water and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

  5. Enjoy your refreshing hibiscus tea blend!

This recipe offers a flavorful and healthy alternative to plain water, using natural fruits to infuse the tea with a delightful taste.

Vegan Recipe of the Week #2: Nutmeg Notebook Smoky Mushrooms

Tom Kramer from Nutmeg Notebook shares his signature dish, adding a rich, smoky flavor to your vegan meals.


  • 1 pound mushrooms (your choice, e.g., button, cremini, portobello)

  • 1 large onion, sliced

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional for added flavor)


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

  2. Clean the mushrooms and slice them into even pieces.

  3. In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms with the sliced onion.

  4. Add the vegetable broth, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, sea salt, and nutritional yeast (if using). Mix well to ensure the mushrooms and onions are evenly coated.

  5. Spread the mushroom mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the mushrooms are tender and have absorbed the smoky flavor.

  7. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Use these smoky mushrooms as a topping for salads, grain bowls, or baked potatoes.

  • Add them to wraps or sandwiches for a delicious smoky flavor.

  • Enjoy them as a side dish with your favorite vegan main courses.

These smoky mushrooms are a versatile and flavorful addition to many dishes, offering a hearty and satisfying plant-based option.

Join the discussion and enhance your plant-based journey with Real Men Eat Plants. Each episode promises to enrich, educate, and inspire. Dive into the full episode to embrace a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle—one delicious 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 (00:03.118)

All right, welcome everybody. I'm your host Bryan and welcome to the Real Men Eat Plants podcast where we are exploring the robust world of plant -based living. Today, we're gonna dive deep into the intricacies of grocery shopping as a vegan compared to that standard American diet. Again, I'm your host Brian and today we have a great panel of experts who are gonna breathe, who live and breathe the plant -based lifestyle.

Welcome to the program Brian Herskowitz Paul Chatlin Mike Young Tom Kramer and Anthony Masiello So welcome to the show guys I'm looking forward to unpacking the grocery the grocery shopping dilemma that I seem Out there as an excuse to not go vegan with us on that front But I hope we can find the right way to unpack that together a little bit further with some of the ways that we're gonna explore that but

I just take a quick minute and introduce yourself and why you're here joining us today. So Paul, you want to kick us off?

paul chatlin (01:06.988)

Sure, welcome. My name is Paul Chatlin. I'm the founder of the Plant -Based Nutrition Support Group and the co -founder of the new SageCircle Alliance.

Bryan (01:17.902)

Welcome to the party, Paul. Mr. Young.

Mike Young (01:23.431)

Hey, I am Mike Young. I'm the chief foodie officer of AplantBasedDiet .org, a 501c3. And we also run an annual event called the Health Optimization Cruise. I'm really happy to be here.

Bryan (01:38.029)

Thank you, Mike. Great to see you again. Tom.

Mike Young (01:40.263)


Tom Kramer (01:42.336)

My name is Tom Kramer. I am the producer editor for Nutmeg Notebook LLC, Whole Food Plant -Based Lifestyle, Cooking, Educational and Kitchen Solution, Blog, YouTube channel, social media channels. And I serve to the author of our online services, Tammy Kramer. And so she's our...

our front end presenter and then I do all the admin stuff. So here we are.

Bryan (02:17.325)

Welcome to the show, Tom. Thanks for being here. Brian.

Brian Herskowitz (02:20.692)

Yeah, I'm a poser. I'm not really an expert in vegan lifestyle, but I'm a writer, producer, director in film and television. And I started going vegan about five years ago for health and just the environment reasons really, because I love animals. So that was my reason. So I'm kind of the voice of the every man here, I think.

Bryan (02:23.373)


Bryan (02:45.804)

I love it. We appreciate you being here. And Mr. Masiello.

Anthony Masiello (02:50.558)

Yes, thank you. Long time plant eater and the co -founder and CEO of Love Life Telehealth, which is a lifestyle medicine practice available nationally, focused on the prevention and reversal of disease using lifestyle medicine and whole food plant -based nutrition. And I'm thrilled to be here with you guys. Yeah.

Bryan (03:14.508)

I have been, had the privilege of hanging out with you quite a few times, Anthony. You always have some great perspectives for us. So really appreciate you all being here and joining me on this episode. I want to just start us off with like a veg news roundup. The thing that I saw a couple articles on is as we're heading into summer, it's veg fest season. So obviously even more and more veg fests are happening and I find...

paul chatlin (03:41.516)

Thank you.

Bryan (03:41.804)

that there's a ton of veg curious people going to these things in a lot of ways to explore the thing. I know Mike has personally ran a few of these in the past. So I'm just curious, what do you guys think of these? Have you been to some? Which are some of your favorites? And weigh in on, is this a great little gateway for more people to find out more about the veg lifestyle? Who wants to kick us off there?

Maybe Mr. Young, because he's got some deep experience here.

Mike Young (04:12.167)

Sure, yeah, we've done many. Since early 2017 was the first one we did. The last two years before we stopped about a year ago, we did about 25 festivals in the course of two years. So yeah, they're super valuable. And traditionally, they've been in public places. Traditionally, there has not been an admission charge. It's kind of like a state fair, only fully plant -based. A lot of times, depending upon where you go, there's a...

There's always food, there's always plant -based food, lots of selections there. Other vendors are all fully plant -based too. So it's a vendor event, kind of like an outdoor festival. And most of them still have educational components, although those are kind of moving away over time, I'd say. The whole idea of the VegFest is kind of changing a little bit. And kind of as you insinuated, we don't actually run them anymore ourselves.

paul chatlin (04:45.228)

I don't know.

Bryan (05:06.189)

Cool. We appreciate your insights there. I know I took real many plants to the one here in Charlotte last year for the first time and met quite a few cool, amazing people and trying to pour into our local community here. Who else has been to some of those recently or attended some? Has anybody else had a booth, Tom?

Tom Kramer (05:29.568)

We don't have our own booth, but they are a rather dramatic social event in the plant -based community in the Sacramento region. There's more than one a year because we have the vegan society here. We have the vegetarian society here, which is really mostly vegan. And a lot of vendors do come out.

You can't from our whole food plant based and in our in our NumMak notebook, you know, it teaches about the salt oil and sugar free aspect of veganism. So kind of a tough time for us going to those veg fest because there's typically not a lot in our category to dine on.

Mike Young (06:11.687)


Tom Kramer (06:16.16)

Um, but it is great to go there and meet some of those vendors and, and have some, you know, networking and social interaction in the plant -based community, or at least in the vegan community. So, um, so we know a lot of folks there. They're fun to go to. We don't go to everyone. We did initially because, uh, uh, as you mentioned, or one of the other gentlemen mentioned, uh, originally there were a lot of speakers and so we would pick up a lot of education there, but they seem to be shifting more towards.

vendor things because our speaker events are kind of more standalone now in at least in this market.

Bryan (06:50.382)

Yeah, some good points there. Anthony, do you find Love Life Telehealth has a presence at some of the festivals or have you been?

Anthony Masiello (06:59.006)

We've been, I've been to many of the veg -fests and things that were in and around the New Jersey area myself. And even when traveling, I've bumped into some in other cities across the country and I love going to them for the community and to meet and connect with other people, as you said, Brian, and kind of like what you said also, Tom, you know, sometimes it's, ironically, it's a little bit hard to find something to eat when you go there, depending on how...

Bryan (07:26.99)


Anthony Masiello (07:27.294)

how strict you want to be towards the whole food plant -based diet, meaning limiting oil and processed foods and salt and things like that. So I think it's a wonderful opportunity to invite people into this community, to show people that eating a plant -based diet or eating a vegan diet doesn't mean you're not gonna ever have any fun or have any flavor or have anything like that. For all of those reasons, I think they're wonderful. And...

Bryan (07:55.533)


Anthony Masiello (07:56.35)

I do think that there is opportunity for us to continue to promote the message there that food is food and there's a spectrum. And there are some foods that are going to help with disease kind of fighting and there's other foods that are going to be disease promoting. And it doesn't necessarily have a hard line on whether vegan falls on one side of that or another because I think everything falls everywhere. So as far as vending there,

We have not had a presence there mostly because of kind of manpower. The telehealth services are available nationally. So we would like to be everywhere. But I need to try doing more of that just to raise awareness in local communities when we can, when we do have someone who happens to be near one. We've got a little bit of material that we can use to create a booth. We've got a table skirt and a pop -up banner and we've got some.

some shiny five by seven cards that people can take home with them. And I do think kind of getting a little bit more boots on the ground will be helpful for us. It's just a little tricky, I think, with an online service. It tends to be nice for things that people can walk away with at those vendor opportunities versus something that people have to kind of just get some information and then go home and do something with it.

Bryan (09:17.517)

We'll have to compare some notes offline, because if I go to the Charlotte one again, I'd love to help support you and promote all of you guys if there's something I can do to help on that front. But I want to tee it up, because really the second news article I pulled out was I just saw this amazing news announcement on the Sage Circle Alliance. So I wanted to turn it over to Paul and let him explain a little bit more about the Sage Circle Alliance. And then maybe, Paul, you could weigh in on community building and the VegFests from your perspective.

Anthony Masiello (09:23.55)

Thank you.

paul chatlin (09:46.252)

Well, thank you so much. On May 1st, after one year of working behind the scenes with some of the friends I have here, hopefully Tom and Brian, I might spur you to join in and join us. But we introduced the Sage Circle Alliance, a quick back history. I don't want to take up that much time in this area. Yes, I do. I really do. I want to spend the hour doing it, but it was just started with an open letter. I was like lamenting on.

Bryan (10:08.462)


paul chatlin (10:16.044)

how, you know, I made the comment. I said the top 10 or 15 people in the plant -based world are doing just fine. And it's like that next huge tier of people are just working endlessly and just getting by. And I said, why can't we just create at a union like the Dairy Association or the Meatpacking Association, you know, why can't we do that in the plant -based world?

And I just threw it out there and all of a sudden I started getting emails and got one within two hours from Meryl Fury who is in Chicago lives in Wisconsin area. And she said, let's do this. And I'm like, you know, like many times in my life, probably in yours. Oh, it sounds like a great idea. Let's do it. Well, that started a 60 hour week for the last year in preparation because you have to get the back office set.

I want to give deep thanks to Anthony and Mike and special double deep thanks to Daddy Brian because he helped us with the website and with the graphic artistry and the Sage Circle Alliance is what it's it's an alliance. It's an alliance of people who are like -minded who will share resources.

join in on the funding, join in on the benefits of it, looking for change makers, people who are in the same boat, where they just want to continue working, making a little bit of money, keeping the awareness going. So we are now live, accepting members in the charter member period.

you know, what I could lastly say about it is that there's room for everybody. And I think the thing I probably like the most is I'm the founder on the Plant -Based Nutrition Support Group. To kind of backdoor, I have been part of VegFest, I have helped run a couple of VegFest, I have been to many different VegFest, and as a wearing the hat of Plant -Based Nutrition, I...

paul chatlin (12:23.5)

I don't find any food I could have, generally speaking, and I'm at the edge for everybody. But what I love about the Sage Circle Alliance is I've always wanted to... I'm an animal lover and a planet person, you know, first and foremost. So what the Sage Circle Alliance allows me to do finally is go into the area of what I love, which is animals, the planet, which everyone should be number one on everyone's list.

And it allows us to bring in people, not just plant -based people and human health people, but people who care about animal compassion and planetary awareness, and of course, always human health. So that's the joy that I'm getting through this. I can't wait to talk to you guys about grocery store shopping. I used to give grocery store tours.

to help people understand how easy it is and you're not spending more money than meat prices and dairy prices, but I'll wait. I want to have everyone weigh in, but yeah, it's a great time to be part of the Sage Circle of Lights. Thank you, Brian. Thank you, Mike. Thank you, Nathan. Thank you, everybody.

Bryan (13:28.59)

Yeah, I appreciate that. I saw that, saw that come across the news wire. So I had to make sure we, we gave a shout out there. We, my last quick article is I just saw ABC news published a nice little article and, and video story as well on how a climate friendly diet. So I do think the younger generation is probably caring a lot more about the planet than some of the older generation maybe. And so it's just so interesting. Like I think most people I spoke to have either

paul chatlin (13:34.22)

It's a, you know, thank you.

Bryan (13:58.607)

joined our revolution because of health or animal reasons. But I think that the climate one is going to make a big call to action here over the next 10 years. And it's so nice to see ABC News really announcing the fact that, you know, a more plant friendly diet can help save the planet in many, many ways. I still think they quoted some of the numbers a little bit low. Food production accounts for 20 % of greenhouse gases. I think it's much higher than that.

But it was good to see that get into the mainstream news, at least on my radar for the past week or so. But yeah, thank you Paul for sharing that. I did wanna dive into the grocery store side of it. So I spent way too much time hanging out with my good friend GPT discussing the standard American diet. And so maybe Brian, since we haven't heard from you a whole bunch yet.

paul chatlin (14:50.668)

Ha ha.

Brian Herskowitz (14:52.02)


Bryan (14:52.111)

What do you think the standard American diet is and represents?

Brian Herskowitz (14:57.108)

Well, I mean, I think, unfortunately, I think the standard American diet is McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. I think that the majority of people tend to go to what's fast, what's easy, what's tasty, without much thought of, you know, what's it doing to my body, what's it doing to the environment, what's it doing to the animals that are being kept in cages and, you know, mistreated. So I think that, unfortunately, I think that's the standard American diet. I hope that that's changing.

And I think that, you know, I can't remember in my lifetime a period where there was more intensity in terms of people being educated about those issues, about the health impact of food, about the environmental impact of food, and about the impact on animals. And it's really, you know, we've talked about it in other shows, but there are documentaries that are being produced that, you know, show...

pretty concrete evidence that a plant -based diet is going to be healthier for you and better for the environment. And so I think that that's shifting, but I think that's the mainstay. And I got to say, somebody who, when I went vegan, I was not a big red meat eater ever. I did eat chicken and occasionally seafood. But when I went vegan, I started worrying about it. Well, am I going to miss chicken? Am I going to miss having those flavors?

It's that kind of the convenience of walking in any place and going, yeah, I can have any of that stuff. And the truth of the matter is, getting back to this idea of grocery shopping, I found it pretty easy to go in and say, and particularly, you know, and I know there's controversy here, but particularly in terms of the foods that are being made by Beyond Meat, by Impossible Burger, by Daring, by there are other places that are taking.

you know soy proteins, pea proteins that are putting them into a package that really kind of simulates the experience of having that convenience and the ease of getting food that you want without the, at least without the expense of the environment. Health may be a little more iffy, but certainly on the environment side and the animal cruelty side. And I think that that's a huge step in the right direction.

Bryan (17:22.674)

I love it. Well said. But on the flip side of it, just so we have a proper definition for the whole food plant -based side, I think we have to have Mr. Young hit us with this as one of the creators of a plant -based diet. So tell us what your definition is of the whole food plant -based diet.

Mike Young (17:41.703)

Sure, well let me start off by saying my license plate says WFPB on it. Whole food plant based. But we recognize that there's no universal definition so we came up with our own and we use it in our festivals like we talked about earlier. We're not in them. Some people mentioned the food wasn't healthy and we recognize that so we developed what we call healthy vegan food. If you want to learn more about it you can go to healthyveganfood .info but this is our minimum standard.

So unfortunately, like the Beyond Meat and the Possible Burger don't qualify. And the reason why is because they have to have these six attributes. Number one, no animal products. Number two, no alcohol. Number three, it has to have actual plant fiber in the dish. And then there's three other things, no added oil, no added salt, and no refined sugar. So you can use dates, maple syrup, and agave, but nothing else. We use T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies as that.

definition. So that's it. To us, that's healthy food. And like you're talking about grocery shopping here, if people have a concern about money, I'll I mean, if it's if it's really tight, I'll say, look, just eat rice, beans and bananas. There's some of the least expensive foods you can buy. I know it's not 100 % complete, but you're pretty darn close just on something like that. And if somebody like you said, Brian, you want to simulate the standard American diet, you can.

But we can't call it healthy because it doesn't meet those six attributes that I mentioned.

Bryan (19:08.432)

I think that was very, very well said. And I know we're probably all on different spectrums of that to a degree here on this show. I have this vision of like the podcast getting really, really successful and me handing it off to somebody in 15 or 20 years, kind of a thing where they take it over and they have been vegan since birth. All of us, I think on this show, were meat eaters at one point in time. So I want to share my... There you go.

Mike Young (19:26.375)


paul chatlin (19:30.828)

Does being reborn count?

Anthony Masiello (19:33.776)

Thank you.

Bryan (19:35.024)

I wanted to just share my screen and let you guys look at this and sort of walk us through like, you know, maybe Tom, if you want to sort of hit us with what did you used to eat versus what you eat now. I spent a lot of time with chat GPT just talking about what does it look like for a standard American diet. But for those of you that can't see the screen, you're listening to this podcast. You know, the standard American diet on Sunday is the pancakes and the waffles or the eggs, you know.

Then you're going to have cheeseburger and fries for lunch. You're going to have the steak or the grilled chicken breast or spaghetti with meat sauce for dinner. I think we're all aware of what the standard American diet is. We see it advertised everywhere we turn. And then on the, on the whole food plant -based diet that's up on the screen, it is the, the oatmeal's and the smoothies and the whole grain toast and avocado and chia seeds and granola and things like that for breakfast. It's going to be.

the salads and the hummus and the veggie soups maybe for lunch and for dinner. It's going to be the tofu or the stuffed bell peppers or pasta just without the meat sauce, roasted vegetables. I mean, almost any, any of my favorite dishes at this point, 14 years in, I've been able to veganize in some way, shape or form. And I'm very happy with the results of that, but Tom hit us with what it was like for you on

one diet and now what it is sort of day to day with you on the whole food plant based diet.

Tom Kramer (21:06.72)

Sure. Well, you know, previous to 10 years ago, I was, you know, clearly on a very, what, meat -centric diet. And as was mentioned earlier, you know, I was in sales, I was on the road a lot. And so Monday through Friday, most of those days, I was at a fast food restaurant for lunch. And if it was an overnight, then I wound up at, out west here, we call them Red Robins. And...

My life revolved around pretty much burgers and burritos and an occasional chicken sandwich if I wanted to think I was doing something healthy. Weekends at home, you know, my family used to call me the grill master and so then it was all about, you know, pork chops and rib eyes and more chicken. So really, as bad of a diet as you can imagine from what we know now and you know, that's why my...

all of my blood work numbers were getting high and my waistline was getting wider and all of those kinds of things. So my face was getting rounder. And so it was really a transition. And I think we mentioned our earlier broadcast 10 years ago, my wife led the charge in going to Whole Food Plant based. I transitioned, she just flipped the switch and was all in all at once. And I did use those processed.

fake meats to make that transition. And we talked about that on our earlier show here, where not the best thing health -wise, but for me, they were probably helpful in getting to where I am. And that transition was about a year to do that. So not great, but not entirely bad. The manufactured, right now I do not want to eat something that resembles meat. That's...

That's kind of a gross idea at this point. So.

Bryan (23:07.76)

I am with you. I don't like my plants pretending to be animals anymore either. I went through that same transition you just described.

Tom Kramer (23:11.296)

Right. Yeah. Yeah. So the grocery experience changed dramatically because I would come in and I'd head for the meat and cheese counter and start, you know, scrutinizing all that stuff. And now it's quite a dramatically different routine that my wife and I go through. We do do that adventure together most weeks and we go in with a plan and we go in and we execute it. We're in and out and people just are marveling at our cart of goodies.

The checkout people are like, wow, you guys must eat really good and healthy. They don't know what to say.

Bryan (23:46.608)

Yeah, I Love it Anthony from your side of it like you have to have so many success stories being with love love telehealth on this front like Hit us with some of the success stories that maybe you've seen and I know you went through your own giant transformation a while back as well Like what did you see switching between those two diets?

Tom Kramer (25:55.744)


Mike Young (25:59.303)

Yeah, yeah, I get it.

Bryan (27:05.712)

I love it. Thank you, Anthony. I think it was interesting because Paul said this many episodes back, you know, like if there's nothing there, I just don't eat that meal and it's not a big deal. And I, I've done that myself in the past, but I think, um, since you said that it really stuck with me and I've done that a lot more since we recorded that episode. So thank you, Paul, for that. But I wanted to turn it, I want to come back to you, Paul, with the next big question on the grocery store tours. But I wanted to just let Brian weigh in on this last question for a quick second.

Just cause I think you're the newest vegan among us here. So, you know, as the newbie, welcome to the club. Got a handful of years under your belt here. What have you seen in the standard diet versus whole food?

Brian Herskowitz (27:42.26)

Thank you. Thank you.

Brian Herskowitz (27:50.804)

Yeah, I mean, you know, obviously, personally, I've seen a change in health, a change in my just ability to exercise and work out. In terms of the grocery shopping, you know, the one thing that I've found is every grocery store has a huge vegetable and fruit section and everything in a vegetable and fruit section is vegan. So...

you know the people say well there's nothing to eat you know i find that almost laughable because you've got this incredible and you know particularly the you don't have to go to whole foods you can go to galsons you can go to ralphs you can go to you know pavilions they all have every kind of food you can imagine that now the one thing i am seeing more and more and particularly out here in l .a. i don't know if it's nationwide or not but when you go into a grocery store there are now plant -based sections so

That's something that I never saw years ago where you would walk in and they would say, you know, plant -based. Now you go straight to that section and it's all the foods that they have that's available that's plant -based. And then again, it's just a matter of educating yourself to be able to look at a label and say, what are the ingredients? What can I have? What does this mean? What is that other ingredient? What are the things that are in this food? And things that are simple and clear.

and don't have meat or byproducts or oil. Those are the things you eat. So that's been my experience.

Bryan (29:24.626)

Thank you, Brian. Appreciate you sharing that. Paul, take us on a grocery store tour. What does that look like? And sure.

paul chatlin (29:27.436)

Yeah, allow me just to, I want to comment on a couple of things I was listening to. Brian, spot on, it's about convenience. You know, that's the reason why, you know, wife and husband are working. They need to bring home food to the kid. It's not like we have plant -based restaurants. And yes, I did try to make one at one point, but, and by the way, the name was going to be Gladiator Veg, but.

you know everything needs funding so the point being is it's convenience also uh... anthony you absolutely red robin does offer but i would recommend to anybody who takes that tactic he can be a couple bowls of broccoli to start you might just want to ask do you put a little oil on it ahead of time i learned that the hard way where you know sometimes they will coated with a little bit of oil to make it look prettier

And after a bite, I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, what's going on here? So, you know, you need to find out if they've already done that for the whole batch. But on the grocery store side, on the grocery store side, you know, we used to give tours all the time. And my first suggestion to anybody who's just starting out is do a little deep diving on different words for sugar and oil, because they come in so many different names.

And you know now there's a debate out there that first cut olive oil may be okay for you. I'm not in judgment of it. You know I could see both sides of the aisle for this one. But there's so many other names for oils. So many names for sugars. And then if you're somewhat of a purist like I am. You know I have an ingredient level. Like once it gets past like five, six ingredients. You know and I don't understand some of the words here. I can look them up. But I just don't even bother. You know what's Gorgon?

You know, it's like, there's some weird names for some weird stuff. And here in the United States, we allow, sorry for the English, more bad stuff in our food than anywhere in the world. So I'm just saying that, you know, know your oils, know the names for sugars. And, you know, the coolest thing for me, and I think, I think Tom, you said it, which is you get into a pattern. There's a bunch of different grocery stores I could go to.

Brian Herskowitz (31:25.012)


paul chatlin (31:52.684)

I ended up going to the one that I get 99 % of my stuff that I enjoy. And I could go in there for, you know, about an eight day shop and I could be out the door in 20 minutes. It's crazy. I love it. Cause I don't like grocery shopping. And generally speaking, you know, I go to the beans. I know which beans I'm going to eat. I go to a, you know, a bread section where I get my Ezekiel bread. And then I just have a field day.

in the fruits and vegetables. I wish they would, somebody would create new fruits and vegetables, but it's what I need and what, you know, and, and it's all right there, you know, and then you just have to decide, you know, what's on sale. What is it? If money's an issue, they've got like here in Michigan, they, I don't know if it's everywhere, but Forgotten Harvest, where you could literally order different shaped funky looking, you know, fruits and vegetables that didn't make it to the grocery store.

but they are just as good. And if you could have like a purple carrot instead of a orange carrot, it's still a carrot. So there's ways to work around that. But I think that if you don't want to spend the money on beans, you can get your own beans and get an Instapot one time. So there's a lot of ways to reduce the cost. And the grocery shopping side of this thing is quick. It really is quick. Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Oh my, that's it. So.

That's my story.

Bryan (33:19.122)

I love it. Well, wait a second. I am a chocoholic, so I need to pick up my bar of dark chocolate on the way out, but I'm with you.

paul chatlin (33:26.54)

Cacao is good, you know, a little bit of raisins or dates, you know. Be careful on the dates though. Like I fell in love once with a date recipe that allowed me to almost taste like I was having chocolate as a kid again. But I had to put like 10 dates in, you know, and then I realized, well, I might as well just take a whole bunch of sugar and just suck it down my throat. So, you know, be a little careful on that. But again, it all depends on where people are at. I've got a son.

Bryan (33:31.474)


Bryan (33:44.018)


Bryan (33:48.178)

Ha ha ha ha.

Bryan (33:54.098)


paul chatlin (33:55.852)

who's just turned 40 and he's been vegan for 10 years since I was whole food plant -based. So he's so far healthier ahead than I ever was. So again, it just meeting where people are and Anthony, you've mentioned it and I totally agree. It's just, you know, no judgment, you know, big steps or overnight steps like Tom's wife, whatever works. But the important thing is, you know, get healthier because once you go whole food plant -based, I'm 66 and I feel fricking.

good every day.

Bryan (34:27.57)

I love it. Thank you Paul for sharing some of that wisdom. I took that grocery list that I showed up on the screen and I broke it down into the items that we would need to buy at the store. And Kroger is the biggest grocery store in the United States. So I went through the Kroger website and I added them all to my cart kind of a thing. So on the standard American diet.

paul chatlin (34:28.812)

All right.

Bryan (34:50.197)

It came out to be 55 things that I had to buy at the grocery store to sort of have that meal for the week. And at the Kroger website, as of a day or so ago, it came out to be $282 and 17 cents for me to buy those 55 things. A good majority of that was in the meat protein section of that on the whole food plant based diet. It was 45 ingredients that I had to buy at the grocery store. And it came out to a hundred.

$112 .26. Now that's Kroger, one of the biggest grocery stores. Maybe you could save a few bucks at Walmart potentially. It would probably cost $20 more at Whole Foods is my guess kind of a thing. But those are just some average pricing. And I think both of those meals looked exorbitant in my mind because I barely have time to make my smoothie in the morning sometimes. So I'd probably make a big batch of smoothie and save it for multiple days until I drink it all up. But at the same time, I just thought that was

I thought it would be cheaper, but this is the first time I like did this comparison of it on a cost basis and just the number of items and to see that it was at least half Maybe you add a few more things into the the whole food plant based one It might go up a few dollars

be a little bit more expensive, but it seems to be about 50 % cheaper for my deep dive analysis at Kroger on that front. So what do you guys think from a cost perspective? Cause then I really want to unpack a few of the other things that I asked chat GPT to sort of estimate for us. Mike.

Mike Young (36:27.495)

cost, I think, you know, as long as you're buying more whole food, not whole foods, this grocery store, but whole food products, not products, just plants, right? That's going to be your best value, I think overall, but then you have to get a little more creative, or you have to like eating a lot of raw plants. And then once you go to the more processed food products, your bill is going to start going way up. Like the other Brian was talking about what the meat products, the faux meat products.

So it really just depends on what you're comfortable eating and what your budget is. It could be, in my opinion, it could be a whole array. I've heard people say that eating vegan is more expensive, but they were going almost exclusively for these processed food products that just happen to be vegan.

Bryan (37:13.556)

Yeah. Have you, has Tom, have you seen your grocery bill change?

Tom Kramer (37:19.04)

Oh yeah, I've got, I brought receipts. What kind of jumps out at me because like Paul was saying, you know, it gets down to you hit the drawer at the store and we hit the fresh berries. We pick up the potatoes and the onions and the bananas. We go into the cooler and we get all of the fresh greens, you know, asparagus, celery, bok choy, spring mix, the spinach, the carrots. But.

Bryan (37:23.987)


Tom Kramer (37:47.968)

On this receipt I'm looking at here from Costco, there's only one thing that's over $10. There's no $63 roast of whatever kind of animal product. Everything here is $2, $9, $8, $4, $5. Everything is under $10. And then I look at the, we don't have the Kroger's out wide, maybe we do, but we hit Whole Foods after that.

And again, $6, $4, $3. Here's some pumpkin seeds. We buy the unroasted pumpkin seeds to go on our salads because they're good for your brain, right? They're in share. So everything is like $10 or less. We're not spending these, you know, 20, 30, 40, and $50 line items for an animal product. So that really cuts it down.

And then there's a few odds and ends at Trader Joe's. I think it's even better there. I'm looking at $2 and $3. The most expensive thing here is $6 .87 for some, oh, three bags of corn at $2 .29 a piece. So, you know, during the pandemic, everybody was screaming about the price of meat and dairy and milk and all that stuff was skyrocketing. We were like, meh.

Oh well, it doesn't affect us. It wasn't very, not much compassion there, I'm sorry. But it's like, yeah, whatever, we don't have to worry about that. I mean, our prices went up too, but not as dramatically. You know, and that...

Bryan (39:11.699)


Bryan (39:19.507)


Bryan (39:27.989)

I guess for me as I'm buying for a family and stuff, my biggest line item on my vegetable bill is probably those darn Honeycrisp apples that we're all addicted to because those guys are expensive. But yeah, that's awesome. I appreciate you saving the receipts, Tom, and sharing that with us. I didn't think of it from that lens, but you're right. Almost everything we buy is probably less than 10 bucks individually.

Tom Kramer (39:38.304)

Yeah. Yeah.

Bryan (39:52.18)

on that front. Just the fact that you can buy two pounds of beans for a dollar fifty and stuff and two pounds of black beans, gosh, will last a family a month almost probably. So, Brian, what's what's some of your thoughts on the cost side of it?

Tom Kramer (39:52.256)


Tom Kramer (40:01.312)

Mm -hmm.

Brian Herskowitz (40:06.036)

Well again, I think everybody's right that when you start looking at the convenience factor and you start looking at the processed foods, that the prices go up. And for those people that are trying to make the transition that are kind of in my category, really then it's about A being what you want versus what the traditional was. And I think right now the prices are, they're in about the same range. So I don't think there's a lot of savings there.

I do think that no question that your fruits and vegetables overall are less expensive than going out and getting processed foods, meat and dairy. And I think that as long as you're primarily eating whole foods, you're absolutely, there's no reason you can't save money if that's your goal. But for me, honestly, listen, I'm as miserly as the next guy and I love the idea of saving money, but this is less about saving money than it is about.

Bryan (40:54.741)

That's right.

Brian Herskowitz (41:04.148)

eating well, eating healthily, helping the planet, and taking care of animals and your health.

Bryan (41:11.348)

So I took the, I.

paul chatlin (41:11.436)

You know, another way to spin it if it helps people is I look at it the cost of my health bill back before I was whole food plant based versus my health bill today. I'm on no scripts. Okay. I was on three. There was a cost to that. I was seeing the doctors multiple times a year. There's certainly a cost to that.

Brian Herskowitz (41:22.644)


paul chatlin (41:38.508)

I only go now when I don't feel, when I feel bad. I haven't been sick and I can't even remember the last time I was sick. So, you know, it's like you look at the other things that surround it that helped me reinforce the decision I made.

Bryan (41:55.381)

Yeah, I think that's very, very well said. I still think America hides the cost of health care in...

in the insurance plans to a degree. And that's definitely gonna change over the next few years with the high deductible plans hitting everybody's bottom line in a big way. I did ask it, I don't wanna run out of time, because this is an awesome topic for me. But I did ask ChatGPT a few other questions to sort of summarize both those diets that I had on the screen. And I'll make sure for those of you listening, this is all in the blog that you can read about it if you're so intrigued. But the estimated daily calories,

on the one diet was somewhere between two or three thousand for the sad diet and about fifteen hundred to two thousand for the the plant -based one. There was 30 processed foods out of the 55 on the standard American diet and only five processed foods, technically the bread and a few other things, that on the whole food one. Average fiber intake was 15 to 25 on the sad diet and 30 to 50 on the plant -based one.

Brian Herskowitz (42:39.188)


Bryan (43:01.576)

Protein intake was 80 to 120 grams on the standard American diet and 60 to 90 on the whole food one. Saturated fat 20 to 30 grams on the American diet and 10 to 15 almost half as less on the whole food diet.

Sodium intake was 3000 to 4500 milligrams on the standard American diet and only 1500 to 2000 on the whole food diet. Obviously it looked at CO2 emissions much, much higher on the meat and dairy angle of transportation and raising that way low on the plant -based one. Water usage, extremely high on the standard American diet. Animal suffering off the chart.

obviously animals were killed for the standard American diet. And you know, we might kill a few insects as you're harvesting some of the plants for us, but obviously very, very low on the harm and suffering. Vitamin C 50 to 70 % on the standard American diet and a hundred to 130 % on the whole food diet. Vitamin A 60 to 80 % of daily nutritional needs and 110 to 140 on the whole food diet. Calcium 70, 90 % and it's about equal.

on the whole food diet. Iron 80 to 100 % and just a smidge lower on the whole food diet. Obviously, Paul already mentioned it, the health impacts, greater increase of obesity, heart disease, all the top 10 killers of Americans in the United States because of the standard American diet and obviously a much lower risk otherwise. I think it comes back to these last couple of variables that I thought were interesting. Taste.

cultural significance, perceived convenience. We've touched on that a little bit and flexibility and variety. I think it's still interesting to me. Like Paul said, let's come up with some new vegetables. I don't know if I'm quite sick of it yet. I just got a whole batch of yellow kiwi to slice up and dice up and there's a million types of even kiwi. Um, but this preconceived notion that there's no variety in the vegan diet still bothers me to this day. But so talk about taste.

Bryan (45:15.957)

cultural significance, convenience, those kinds of things. Mike, you wanna weigh in on that?

Mike Young (45:20.711)

Sure, well, just what you and Paul were saying about the different types of vegetables, I can tell you that there are only, let's say fruits, for example, which I really highly recommend people eat more fruit as much as they can, but you got to get it ripe. And as you know, there are only so many fruits you see in the store, but that's only a tiny fraction of what's available. It's not like you have other types of cow meat available. It is what it is, but there are so many, if you want to take a deep dive into new foods,

Go to fruits. There are so many fruits that are just simply not in the stores because they're hard to transport. They need to be local. Especially when you go on vacation somewhere, try out some fruits that are local. You know, I mean, that I'd say is an area that is available for you to explore that's not available in the animal product world.

Bryan (46:10.868)

Well said, sir. Anthony, what's your thoughts?

Bryan (48:02.547)

Thank you, very well said. Tom?

Tom Kramer (48:05.216)

Well, one thing I wanted to mention before we run out of time is the if people are looking for ideas, you know, one of the one of the gentlemen mentioned about the variety. Tam and I were talking this morning and she says, remember, the things are seasonal and that when we when we hit one of the big stores, that one of the exercises we go through is what's new today and to look for those, you know, interesting different fruits that are not available all year to change up. But.

One of the services that we provide on our YouTube channel is what's called a grocery haul. And if so, if folks are wanting to get a really broad spectrum view, we have multiple grocery hauls. So on YouTube it would be Nutmeg Notebook Grocery Haul. That's all you gotta do in your search window. And it will come up with a variety of videos over the last couple of years of different runs. And...

we get a lot of comments from people that, wow, that was really helpful. I didn't know that item existed. We recently did one where we did a tour of, we went shopping at Walmart. We went there actually just to kind of check out what they had, and we wound up buying our week's worth of organic groceries on that visit to Walmart. We were amazed at how deep they were in inventory for the kind of stuff that we wanted to buy. So, you know, in terms of, of,

What to buy in a whole food plant race, how to shake up the variety. Why in our show, in our videos, we do go into why we buy that particular item and how it fits into our diet. Tammy does a wonderful, very thorough presentation on that facet of it. So, I just wanted to offer that up. One question I have is why is it that Costco, you go in there and it's counterclockwise? Because we hit.

We hit the fruits and then the vegetables and then the grains and the breads and out the door. And then we get to Whole Foods and it's clockwise, it goes the other way. And then we hit Trader Joe's for the Lucins and then it's counterclockwise. Is there a science behind that? Whether these stores are...

Brian Herskowitz (50:08.82)

Thank you.

paul chatlin (50:15.276)

It's a grocery shop, a grocery cart issue. You know what I'm saying? They want you to bruise up that stuff, I guess. But I always wait to the very end. I don't care clockwise or not. I do not let anybody play with my fruits and vegetables. That stays on top. And then I see the cashier, they'll grab that thing and bounce it. And I look at the person, I'm like, you take care of that like it's your baby, okay?

Tom Kramer (50:31.264)

Uh -huh.

Tom Kramer (50:40.96)

Yeah, I pack a lot of groceries. I do my best. I tell them, I got it. We bring our bags. I very gently cradle that stuff in the top of the bags. So I'm with you, Paul.

Bryan (50:57.17)

That's awesome. Paul, tell us some of the cultural and the perception side of things.

paul chatlin (51:00.14)


paul chatlin (51:03.532)

You know, let me, if you don't mind, if you could indulge me, I'd rather just, I've been sipping on something I made a while back. I want to share what it is. I don't think I could turn it so it would spill. But for those people, since we're talking grocery, this could be a new grocery item for you. So my big thing was always, you know, I can't just always drink water. I start my day with four gallons of water. I'm just water, water, water all morning.

But then you get into your soy milk or almond milk or whatever. And then what else? Well, you can try whatever. So I've come up with, I take hibiscus tea and I use like Zinger, Bigelow, I think it is. Hibiscus tea, I drop four packages in a container, in a pitcher. And then I add.

It's up to you to, what I add is I cut up an apple of your choice, you know, be it sweet or sour, whatever you like. I go with the Fuji apple and then I take an orange and I cut it with it. And then I add a little bit of lemon sometimes, a little bit of lime. I just throw it in the refrigerator and by, you know, within 12 hours, I've got myself another drink to kind of sip on throughout the day that isn't just.

pure water. So play around with it. The key things for me are the hibiscus tea and the apple and the orange and take it from there. You know I've had strawberries in it, raspberries in it, I've had grapes in it, blueberries in it. You can play around with it but you'll find it to be a very tasteful drink.

Bryan (52:38.387)

Thanks for sharing, Paul.

Brian Herskowitz (52:39.284)


Bryan (52:41.619)

That is all the time we have for this episode of the Real Many Plants podcast. I really appreciate all of you weighing in on it. I want you to close us out with your favorite mushroom recipe, because I am addicted to mushrooms lately. So I want to get some more recipes that I can try. So hit us with your mushroom recipe, because I think that's the misconstrued one, because I see so many chefs that just take the oil.

and pour the oil in and have to fry these mushrooms up in the oil. And I feel like the oil ruins the flavor of the mushrooms on every level because they do so well just frying up on their own. But what's the secret way of doing it? Mine is definitely to throw a little bit of the nooch on them and bake them in the oven a little bit. I like my cheesy mushrooms, I guess, on that front. But close us out with your mushroom recipe.

and how we can get in touch with you to find out more about what you've got going on. So, Brian.

Brian Herskowitz (53:43.54)

Yeah, so I tend to make portobello mushroom steaks. I really enjoy that. I'll do it with a little bit of garlic, a little bit of soy sauce. I'll sometimes use monk fruit to sweeten it a little bit. And that's really excellent. I can take that and I can also use a little bit of what is the rice wine vinegar.

and mix that so it makes a little bit of a teriyaki marinade. Excellent. And you can reach me at brianhersquitz .com and that's where I am.

Bryan (54:24.243)

Awesome. Thanks for being here, Brian. Mike.

Mike Young (54:27.847)

All right, well, I am a foodie, so I don't cook that much. But I would love for someone to make me a mushroom stroganoff. I've had this in the past, and I love that dish. If someone would love to make it for me. And I'm the chief foodie officer of AplantBasedDiet .org, and that's where you can find me at our nonprofit site.

Bryan (54:51.443)

And if you want to take Mike out to dinner, he runs some great food events on that front. And so thanks for being here, Mike. Anthony.

paul chatlin (55:08.94)

Thank you.

Brian Herskowitz (55:15.316)

Thank you.

Bryan (56:22.002)

Thanks, Anthony. We appreciate it. I have recommended a few of my family members there, and they've thoroughly enjoyed their conversations with your team. So thank you for providing that awesome service. Tom.

paul chatlin (56:31.5)

Thank you.

Tom Kramer (56:33.6)

So my favorite mushrooms are Nutmeg Notebooks Smoky Mushrooms recipe. For those of you watching on a video device, you can see an image there. And they are a hickory smoked mushroom. And they're, you know, we make up a batch, batch prep them in the oven and then we keep them in a, you know, in a snap lock glass container and try to make them last as long as we could because they are so tasty. And they are a condiment that go on top of our salads.

Or they can go along with a dish as a little side item. You can serve them however, but they are on our recipe blog. Just Nutmeg Notebook, Smoky Mushrooms, that's all you got at Google. So yeah, check them out. They are one of our, what we call, our fan favorites. We get emails about them. And you can find Nutmeg Notebook at nutmegnotebook .com.

Bryan (57:02.323)


Tom Kramer (57:31.712)

and authored by my wife Tammy and produced by myself, Tom.

Bryan (57:38.675)

Thank you, Tom. We appreciate you being there. I'll make sure all of the links that people have mentioned are in the show notes here so you can check out those great recipes and get in touch with the people here. Paul, help bring us home.

paul chatlin (57:49.516)

Well, my favorite mushroom recipe is more like Anthony's. You know, I just throw, I love onions. I'll throw a whole bunch of onions. I'll put a little vegetable broth. The cool thing to me about mushrooms is they have so many different tastes. So every once in a while I'll do a lobster mushroom, an oyster mushroom. There's so many different tastes. So I would say to anybody who's listening, you're used to the button or some of the kind of boring ones.

Go ahead, try some new mushrooms today or tomorrow. They taste really good and they'll bring some interesting flavors your way. Best way to reach me for your extra 30 days once you see Anthony's doctor and they say goodbye, where do you go for support? PBNSG. So best way to reach me is www .pbnsg .org. And then also if you want to be part of our alliance.

And I hope that this is reaching everyone right now, this week, today, right here. Best way is you can reach me directly at connect at, big long word, sage, circlealliance .org. So thank you so much, everybody. Great show today, by the way. Great show, guys.

Bryan (59:04.753)

Thank you. I appreciate everybody being here. A big shout out to Brian, Paul, Mike, Anthony and Tom for your insights today. Thank you. We couldn't do the show without experts like you who make navigating the vegan lifestyle more accessible for all of us. So thank you again for being here. And I want to say a big shout out to you listeners for tuning in and downloading this episode. We appreciate your curiosity. We take your feedback and turn them into topics like this. So don't forget to subscribe, get your friends to subscribe.

and like us on YouTube and everything else, and follow us on some of our social media to stay in touch. Leave us a review, leave us a comment, because we want to hear more from our community on what we can do. So until next time, everybody, keep pushing that boundary of what it means to live plant -based. And I'm Brian, and you've been listening to the Real Men Eat Plants podcast. Stay green, everybody. We'll see you next time.

paul chatlin (59:49.42)




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