#78. Sheila Michail Morovati on Changing Habits of Waste

#78. Sheila Michail Morovati on Changing Habits of Waste

decorative image with the episode title and a picure of Sheila Morovati

You can’t wait for anyone to make changes for you. If we’re going to save our planet, we have to change the habits we have that contribute to waste. It doesn’t have to be a massive overhaul of every aspect of your life. Start small, but do something.

WELCOME TO THE DARIN OLIEN SHOW

Sheila Michail Morovati is challenging the world to start small by making big changes.

As the President and Founder of HabitsofWaste.org, Sheila Michail Morovati dedicates a large portion of her time to changing habits. The non-profit organization finds simple solutions to shift habitual behaviors that contribute to pollution and waste. Their mission is “cleaning up the planet, one ‘habit of waste’ at a time.”decorative image qith the quote Don’t wait for someone else. Don’t wait for the government. Don’t wait for anybody. You do it. You have the power. by Sheila Morovati

It all started with a clever idea to recycle restaurant crayons for school supplies. Once Sheila was aware that she could shift mindsets with minimal effort, she started to think bigger. The successful effort to ban single-use plastic straws and cutlery in Malibu was another proud campaign Sheila spearheaded. To top that off, her #CutOutCutlery movement successfully encouraged major delivery apps like UberEats and PostMates to change their default settings to omit the option for plastic cutlery unless it’s asked for.

In this episode, Sheila tells me all about the inspiration for her passion for changing habits. And we break down her newest campaign, #8meals. You know I’m a big fan of anyone that advocates for a plant-based diet, but Sheila does it in such an innovative way. She’s a big believer in small tweaks for big changes, so she’s challenging people to switch 8 meals a week to plant-based. This small commitment could lead to lifelong habits, eliminating waste from factory farming and improving our collective health. I think it’s genius, and I’m so excited to give her another platform to spread her message.

ALSO IN THIS EPISODE:
  • Sheila’s inspiration behind Crayon Collection
  • The campaign to ban plastic straws
  • Why small tweaks is a more successful approach
  • #8meals and how it’s spreading

The Darin Olien Show is produced by the team at Must Amplify. If you’re looking to give your brand a voice and make sure that it’s heard by the right people, head to www.mustamplify.com/darin to see what Amplify can do for you.

Episode Transcript

Darin: You are listening to the Darin Olien Show. I’m Darin. I spent the last 15 years exploring the planet looking for healthy foods, superfoods, environmental solutions, and I’ve had my mind blown along the way by the people, the far off places I have been, and the life-altering events that have changed my life forever. My goal is to help you dive deep into some of the issues of our modern-day life, society’s fatal conveniences. The things that we do that we’re indoctrinated into thinking we have to, even though those things are negatively affecting us, and in some cases, slowly destroying us and even killing us. Every week, I have honest conversations with people that inspire me. My hope is through their knowledge and unique perspectives they’ll inspire you too. Together, we’ll explore how you can make small tweaks in your life that amount to big changes for you, the people around you and the planet, so let’s do this. This is my show, the Darin Olien Show.

Darin: Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. This is Darin Olien. This is The Darin Olien Show. I’m stoked to be here with you. I am actually recording from Australia as we’re filming Down To Earth. So I can’t wait to share more of that with you and uncovering what we can do as a society, what we can do as individuals, and highlight some incredible people and things that are moving the needle forward in the environment, into the health of all of us, into the health of us as individuals and as a whole of a society. And this is a perfect segue into my next guest, Sheila Morovati. She is the president and founder of habitsofwaste.org. This is a fatal convenience too because we are so conveniently wasting and out of sight out of mind, we throw things away. We use too much of things and it’s having a massive impact on the planet. And Sheila has been spearheading one thing after another making some massive waves and changes in this area. And she has a sociology degree from the UCLA. One of the first things she successfully spearheaded the historic ban of plastic straws, and utensils, and stir straws in the city of Malibu. And that directly affected me in a positive way, so that was great. And recently through #cutoutcutlery campaign, she convinced Uber Eats and Postmates to change the default setting in their applications globally. So that it wasn’t automatic that plastic cutlery was sent, you had to actually request it to get it. She also set a Guinness Book of World Records in August 2018 through her first campaign, crayoncollection.org. And we talked about her Genesis and how that happened. And most recently, Sheila created a new campaign, then this is what we talked about a lot. I support everything she’s doing, but this one was very cool because it’s called #8meals. And you can check out more of that information on habitsofwaste.org. And this is literally a study done by the University of Michigan and Tulane University that sought out to reducing animal protein intake of the masses by 40% because that would directly affect the greenhouse gases that were emitted in our atmosphere in the United States. Because not all people can go straight whole food plant based, so it’s hard to make those shifts. But if you can take eight meals throughout the week, so that’s basically one meal per day, if you’re eating three meals, one meal per day, and then two meals on one day of the week, making a total of eight meals replacing for whole food plant-based, that reduces the CO2 creation. If all people adopted that protocol, we would eliminate all of the CO2 and balance all of the CO2 that’s emitted in the atmosphere every year. So how crazy is that power in numbers? So sit back, relax, enjoy, and take in this information to your soul so that you can also start taking steps towards a better future in your own home with your own children with your own life and reducing waste to make a positive future. Alright, enjoy my great talk with my good friend, Sheila Morovati.

Darin: So Sheila, awesome, thanks for jumping on with me. We’ve been chatting quite a bit. I’m really stoked about your organization, habitsforwaste.org. And for everyone that wasn’t able to hear some of the stuff that we have talked about or done, and let’s back up. It’s such a great story, the origin stories of some of that. A little bit of your background because that sets up your skillset as well.

Sheila: Well, firstly, Darin, thank you for having me. This is such an honor to be able to share my work with you and your wonderful audience. When we did that Instagram Live, the love that came from that group of people who were listening, they literally launched a whole campaign like Firestorm. So I can’t thank you enough for having me on there and then again, here. So this is a great group of people that you have listening in. And everybody’s ready to go, it seems like, with some good ideas for the planet and for their health. So here we go. To answer your question, I did start my work with Crayons, and it was so unexpected. I had never really thought much about environmental work throughout my life. I kind of was in a position where my family immigrated here from Iran. I was kind of growing up playing in a creek all the time because I remember my toys never had batteries in them. So somehow, we ended up outside a lot in this creek. And it just felt like such a place that hours would just pass. And it was like a really wonderful place to just sort of be outside a lot and it was a New Jersey, actually. And my parents were really just trying to make it. So wasting wasn’t really an option for us. It was just sort of a way of life. It wasn’t necessarily the environmental impact, but it was just the mindset that we kind of had as immigrants that whatever you have, you kind of got to hold on to. And then cut to, I’m a new mom. I have a little toddler who’s about two and a half years old, hates my cooking. And yet when we go out to eat at restaurants, she eats really well. And so we’d get four free crayons each time. And by the end of the meal, we’d be kind of hurrying to leave because she’s so little and ready to leave this seated hard high chair, and the crayons were going in the trash. And I kept thinking to myself like, this is such a bizarre behavior. You know like when sometimes you think about someone would come down from Mars and watch us here and see what we’re doing. So, a kid gets crayons uses them for less than a minute or two, some of them don’t even make it out of the box, yet they go in the trash. So I kept noticing this. And I, of course, collected mine and before I knew it, I had like 50 crayons, but I found out restaurants were throwing away 150 million crayons a year. And then there are school teachers who are spending their personal earnings to give kids classroom supplies. So I decided to do something about it. And I started calling restaurants and asking if they’d collect the crayons that kids left behind, and I’d find a local school to pick up the crayons and use them for school supplies, and it worked. And then we developed even a full art education program to bring that in because it’s so important for kids to have access to the arts and use their left and right brain. And unfortunately, in this country, so many budget cuts have limited that. So that’s kind of where my work began. And I realized everybody was annoyed about this idea that crayons are being thrown away, but no one really knew what to do. And I just took step by step action and before I knew it, we’ve saved over 20 million crayons and set a Guinness World Record, and done all these cool things.

Darin: How funny is that? Those people spend their lives out to get a Guinness Book of World Records and you just did it by way of a necessity. So unpack your background a little bit. It’s very interesting and fascinating as it relates to this.

Sheila: My background, again, is I was born in Iran immediately after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. We come to the United States. I moved 14 schools. This was actually like torture growing up, but it ended up being a real benefit because I can talk to anybody now. And I realized that we all have something in common. And it allows me to really be able to do a lot of understanding of the bigger picture. It’s not just my little circle anymore. I’ve been to so many circles essentially through all these schools. I ended up in LA and I went to UCLA for sociology. It was just a fascinating subject to understand how you can shift the behavior of millions of people, like how can that even happen? But the truth is normal behavior is only what we think of it. There’s really no such thing as normal behavior. You only kind of create it and we’ve created what we are doing today over time. And now it’s time to undo some of those normal behaviors because our planet is screaming for it.

Darin: You know there’s so much in that right there that you just said because I think of it going normal in most cases doesn’t mean good. And you could look at it from cultural to eating. Normal means mostly, when you unpack it destruction. That’s just like, whoa, wait a minute. We have to start questioning this stuff. And in that questioning, which I love what you’re doing because you’re also creating solutions. It’s not that we have to go back and yell at people or create judgments. And I’m a big fan of you know what, there’s some insanity going on in terms of what people are doing and how we’ve accepted these things. Okay, well, look at beyond me, right? So it’s like, they didn’t sit there and come out with their campaigns and meat’s evil. They just created an alternative that now look at the response. And that’s what I love about what you’re doing. So, Crayons, you changed that whole paradigm and then–

Sheila: So in those same restaurants, I would look over at the tables around me, and I’d see two people are sitting there with four or five drinks with six or seven straws, and I’m like, how is this possible? First of all, no one even asked for the straw. Second of all, sometimes the drinks would come, you know, back then, a cup of water would come automatically with a straw in it. And so I kept thinking of how many people could possibly be getting these straws? And I started to write a blog post just for fun. And I came across this crazy number of 500 million straws per day. Well, now, we’ve all heard this number over and over and over again. But back then, this was like 2017, I had never heard this number. We use 500 million plastic straws for a few minutes and then throw them away every single day in the United States, that’s wrong. So I kept looking and looking. And yet again, that number kept coming up. So I realized there’s no way I can reuse these straws like I did with the crayons. But I did know that one of the most iconic beach cities in the world that my cousins who live in Italy literally dream about coming every summer is the city of Malibu. So they had been really excited about my work at Crayon Collection because it was an out of the box approach to recycling and teaching kids especially that you don’t just waste. And so I went over to them and I said, hey, what do you think about this idea of banning plastic straws in the city because you guys are the epitome of surf town. The ocean is such a huge part of the culture here. And it’s kind of like this oxymoron to allow plastic straws while we cherish the ocean so much. And so they explain, you know, it actually has to pass and there has to be a ban. And I said okay, well, how do you make a ban happen? And so I realized right there that I need to use an opportunity to educate the community. Because if I would have gone to the city council meeting with my three minutes of public comment, and for everybody listening out there, in your city, you get two to three minutes to talk about anything you want at city council meetings. So I knew that if I went in with my three minutes and asked for a ban on single-use plastic straws and cutlery, I think what would happen is I’d get a big fat no. Instead, what I did is I went in and I asked if I could share a film screening of this film called Straws with the community and do that in partnership with the city of Malibu. They said yes, and we showed the film, and we had a panel afterward, answered everybody’s questions that lives in the city. And everybody was confused by the end of it. I wouldn’t have known it because we convinced everyone that single-use plastics need to go. So the following week, we went back to city council and we asked for the ban on single-use plastic straws and it passed unanimously. So they became the first city in history to ban single-use plastic straws, had the ordinance public. So from then on, all these cities were able to just plug and play. And they were able to use the gold standard, which is what the city of Malibu did because they didn’t even allow compostables to be kind of like the leading, the shining light to get rid of all these single-use plastic straws that were just coming at us from every which way. So I’m really proud of that. And I feel like that was a great learning experience. And you guys, again, I say this over and over. I had no background in this. I kind of had no business doing this. I just went in and asked the question one step at a time, but it’s the right thing to do. And it makes sense and everybody was in agreement.

Darin: Yeah. And that’s the epitome of habits of waste. So we’re just like, grab these things. We are given these things and we just use these things unconsciously, robotically. And unless someone steps in, it’s just that the epitome of one person can do so much. And when you come about it with the common sense of education, I love the fact that you’ve used a film that had all of the information, the emotion and the understanding, so that you didn’t have to try to cram it in to two to three minutes yourself and then try to tell people. It kind of set that up for you and everyone who has already moved, and boom, then you just come in, and everyone changes it. And that’s also probably a little bit of the sociology understanding. You’re like, well, how can I shift the perception in a positive direction.

Sheila: That’s why I picked Malibu because I knew if my cousins in Italy that have that whole beautiful European vibe going on in their summers, they choose to come to Malibu all the way from there. I knew that if Malibu announces this, it’s going to go far and wide, and it did. They really made some noise.

Darin: So how much noise? What happened after Malibu did it? How many cities– what’s going on with that?

Sheila: I mean, I remember even Buckingham Palace announced it afterward that they were going straw-free. And it was just everywhere. Before I knew it, I just kept hearing. And then China came in after us. But now, they’ve actually completed it. And they’re like, completely banned single-use plastic straws and bags and everything in the country. The problem is they’re still producing it, but they’re not even allowing it in their country. So we’re a little behind still. But what I think what happened after that straw ban is people kept talking about takeout. And they’re like, well, what about all this plastic cutlery I get when I get takeout? I’m so sick and tired of it. I have this drawer full of junk. And I keep trying to communicate with restaurants and they keep sending it to me. So I just think like we really built on that Malibu plastic straw and cutlery ban. And actually, we’ve developed a campaign called cut-out cutlery where we convinced Uber Eats and Postmates so far. We have a couple of new ones coming up soon that I can’t wait to announce. We convinced them to change their default setting, so no one receives plastic cutlery unless the user requests it. And by doing that, Postmates announced that they saved 122 million packs of cutlery in one year. And that’s $3.2 million of savings for restaurants. Uber Eats just delivered their billionth order. So when we have 40 billion pieces of plastic cutlery produced every year with the sole intention of being used once and discarded, just a simple default setting changes our behavior so much. So again, Malibu led to many, many things and that is one campaign I’m really proud of also.

Darin: So for years, maybe most of my life, people have been asking me, “What kind of foods do you eat? What kind of exercises do you do? What kind of water should I drink?” All of these things and so much more we put into a 21-day program so that can take you through a theme every day of knowledge, action, and then eating these delicious meals, working out, getting support, anchoring in these new habits so you can do what? So that you can kick ass. So you have the energy, the vitality to live the kind of life that you really want. That’s what it’s all about. So all in this app, we have grocery lists, we have education about real hydration and what greater oxygenation and the balance of alkalinization. All of these things we are diving into as you’re heading down this hero’s journey of implementation into a new life to give you the kind of life that you actually want. So join my Tribe. All you have to do is go 121tribe.com. Sign up, and you get three free days. Join me on this hero’s journey. Join the Tribe.

Darin: Your #8meals idea is cool. So unpack your little journey, how you got here, and then how this is kind of set up because I kinda like this idea a lot.

Sheila: Eight meals is a campaign that’s really about introducing a partially plant-based diet to the mass public. So I recognize that probably despite all the other work I’ve done, plastics, all this stuff, crayons, the single most important thing that we need to do for our planet is to reduce our animal protein intake because animal agriculture is such a huge contributor to greenhouse gases and climate change. And so, I was, again, I am a perfect example of someone who does not come from an environmental background. I am coming from a place that’s very different than most environmental organizations. I’m very much focused on the individual. And so I thought to myself, if I struggle with being fully vegan all the time, even though I know I feel better, even though I know it’s healthier, whatever the reasons might be, going to mom’s house and there’s nothing available for me that’s vegan, whatever the reasoning is, I’ve always felt this sense of failure when I fall off the bandwagon, so to speak. And I started to really study that, like, why is there a vegan bandwagon? Why is there a group of people who have that title of vegan that I really look up to and I think of them as a very disciplined group of people? But what about the rest of the people who think like, okay, well, I can’t be vegan so I guess I’m just going to eat whatever and wish that I could. So how about if we were to set the bar a little bit lower to introduce it to more people and just give a little bit of information on how important it is actually to do a partially plant-based diet? Well, lo and behold, I fall into a study done by the University of Michigan and Tulane University talking about how Western cultures must decrease their animal protein intake by 40% to 50%. If we even have a chance of combating climate change. Well, that was enough for me to really start studying this even further. So I looked at how many meals we eat on average. Since I said this, apparently, everybody kind of has an opinion about this. But I said we eat about 21 meals per week, but I’m in LA, so many people have said they do not eat 21 meals per week. So let’s just say we all eat 21 meals per week. If we were to deduct about 40% of that, that comes to 8 meals. So we kept it simple. And we call the campaign 8 meals. And the goal is, can you eat 8 plant-based meals per week? Can you swap out eight meals a week? So I told the researcher that who wrote the study, I said, I’m thinking about giving this tangible, attainable goal to many, many, many, many, many people, and what do you think about it? And they both, Dr. Diego Rose and Dr. Martin Keller, both said to me, we really like what you’re doing. By the way, if a person were to eat 8 plant-based meals per week, per year, it’s equivalent to driving a hybrid car for one year. And that just made me think, oh, my goodness, that is so powerful to just know that your diet can change, so much can offset that much carbon. So it’s 500 kilograms of carbon that you’d be offsetting. So I also want to add one other piece to this puzzle because I think it wouldn’t be telling the whole story if I didn’t tell you that I was driving up the five freeway last summer, and it was about 115 degrees. And I looked over to my right, and there is a massive cattle farm. No shade, no nothing. They’re just out there, just brown mud that they’re in. And that was hard enough to see. Again, it’s 115 degrees. These animals are massive and hot and just huddled up underneath kind of like this tiny little piece of shade. And then I go up further. And there was the worst thing I’ve ever seen, which was a veal farm, and they’re on the highway. It’s just for everybody to see. And again, in boxes, like tiny little space. And I don’t even like to go down this path so much because I just think that shaming is just the worst thing you can do to invite people in, but that was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back. And I was like, that’s it, I have to do something. And luckily, ever since I started this, 8meals has sort of become no problem. So now it’s about how much more can I do and getting closer and closer to that fully plant-based diet that I feel I should be on anyway, and it’s so much healthier, and I feel better, and it’s just all-around win. So people have been liking it, and they’re having fun with it and exchanging recipes. And so we’re going to create an application that’s almost done, where we can help people get through their 8 meals every week with recipes with chatting with different features to kind of make sure that everyone out there who wants to give it a try has as much support as possible.

Darin: Yeah, that’s amazing. And you know, habits are powerful and habits are necessary. And we’re talking about the mass population and the horrible, unsustainable, absolutely, from every angle, completely unsustainable as we move forward. So as a culture, if you look at any number directed at factory farming, it makes no sense whatsoever. Plus our tax dollars are subsidizing this horrible business choice that we have no choice in. There’s a great book called Meatonomics, breaks it all down. So it’s not us just pontificating, this is based in real numbers.

Sheila: I just want to add one thing to what you’re saying there. Similar to that default setting that we talked about in cut out cutlery and those food delivery applications. This is a default setting change that we must reverse it that instead of saying, oh, I ate plant-based meals a week, I want to see the future like three years from now people having conversations and saying, I only ate meat once this week, I feel so good. And reversing the conversation, reversing the dialogue where it becomes more normal to eat less meat. And I think that 8 meals is an opportunity to allow people to have that type of conversation, that type of reality without making it so impossible at the beginning that they’re just like, forget it, I can’t even try. This is a door opener. And it’s, again, re-evaluating the defaults. And like you’re saying, you know, we have the power as consumers to decide what happens. And I think that’s what we forget a lot. We forget that we actually have a lot of power. So if I were the animal agriculture industry right now, I’d really think about coming up with the replacement meats because this campaign is really taking off. And I think people are ready for a change. And this is a fun way to do it

Darin: Hundred percent. And there are so many great things about it because it takes time. It takes time to develop new habits, new ways, the education, as it relates to awareness, as it relates to adoption, as it relates to putting it into action, that all takes time, that’s cool, it’s fine. And that’s why I love the 8 meals ideas. It’s like listen, don’t be overwhelmed, pretty easy. Just eat this in the morning, eat a bunch of smoothies and fruit and wonderful, amazing whole food. That’s it. Cool. You just ate breakfast, and you replace that complete. You don’t need the eggs, you don’t need all that stuff. Boom, that’s done. Do whatever you want. And then that’s the thing when you apply these things and your body starts responding. There’s this kind of other effect that happens.

Sheila: Yeah, the second wave. We call it the second wave. It’s like wait, I just did that and I feel good. And actually, we’re even saving money on this meal too, how did that happen? It’s one of those things where I was actually really surprised by the response and part of it was like, I thought about meatless Mondays. And meatless Mondays are three meals, again, based on that notion that we’re all eating three meals a day. And meatless Mondays was funny because Tuesday would roll around and you forgot it was meatless Mondays yesterday. And you’re like, oh, I guess I have to wait till next Monday. And so what I liked about eight meals was you can kind of plug and play and have fun with it. Like I said, do all six meals on the weekend, and then throw into more during the week or do just whatever. Mix it all up and have a good time with it. And I think that that’s what a pleasure is also is to play around with it, have friends talk to you about it, what is your recipe, what’ am I making, what are you doing? It’s just cute, it’s fun, and it’s changing the world. That’s the other part.

Darin: Hundred percent And like you said, very, very important, and I think the transparency of the world is requiring more of the awareness of what’s going on and where we put our dollars. So this is such a fun way because number one, you don’t get so overwhelmed. You can literally just do it. And you don’t get overwhelmed by all of this, I gotta learn all this stuff, I gotta learn how to cook. No. There’s plenty of stuff. I got an app, I just give three days of it free. You can just grab all the recipes. There you go, you’ve already started. There are all kinds of different ways that you can get involved. And so like for you, what would you want to see happen? How do you see this as kind of getting out as wide as possible? Aside from us having these chats and getting on the podcast, how do you see this rolling out? What’s your goal and dream?

Sheila: Well, since this campaign is based on a study that really is scientifically proven that it is around the right number between 40% to 50% of our meals. I really feel like that should kind of be adopted by larger corporations, larger restaurant chains where they kind of have this almost like this model where 8 meals is kind of thrown into the food that we’re encountering outside of our homes. So that the 8 meals model is sort of put into the back of your mind almost like you’d talk about different sections of the menus that you’d see. By the way, if you see a menu that has a vegetarian section, versus just throwing in those meals in like the main menu section, there’s a huge difference in how many people will order it. So if it’s in the vegetarian section, less people will order it than if it’s in the main section. So what I’d like to see happen is for 8 meals to be part of the main section, that it’s not like this separate entity anymore where it’s again, under this like label of veganism or plant-based living. It’s just life that you just start to shift your actual normal mindset of health and how we eat on a weekly basis as you do your meal planning that eating half of your meal is plant-based should just be life, that there are no more labels to it. And so I really feel like it’s an important piece of the puzzle that right now we have a lot of labels, I’m keto, I’m paleo, I’m vegan, I’m this, I’m that. How about just forgetting all of that and just having it in the back of our minds as we start our week that, okay, this week, I’m gonna eat this, I’m gonna eat that. And hopefully, the number of animal protein meals will slowly start to come down because like we just talked about, as people take a chance and give this a try, the second wave comes through, you’re like, oh, you know, I really feel good. And I don’t mind this at all. I didn’t think it was going to be so easy. And that’s been the response we’ve had from everybody. So I think what we’re trying to do right now is to really inspire people to tell a friend. There’s nothing more important than you can do after listening to this podcast is take the 8 meals challenge, of course, if you’re not already fully plant-based. and if you are, tell a friend, tell a couple of friends, tell them to tell a friend. This is how things spread. This is how social movements occur. Later on down the line, I know it’s gonna be an uphill climb, I know it’s a big battle, but really starting to talk to the US government about this and really getting them to kind of get behind this notion that eating at least 8 plant-based meals should be part of that pyramid that we’re always seeing and making sure that there’s a new approach to this. We have so much data from nutritionists, doctors, again, environmental researchers, there’s nothing here that you can argue that this is going to do anything but good. And on top of it, the one thing I really want to emphasize is if you create meals with whole food plant-based ingredients, your meals are at least 25% less expensive than those with an animal protein in them, 25%, so that adds up. And I just can’t emphasize it enough that it really starts with us. And everyone out there might be thinking, oh, I’m just one person, oh, I’m just one person. And so that is something that I’ve had people say to me so many times, but you’re just one person, but you’re just one person, well, I am just one person but look, one person can do a lot of things. And by the way, I have two kids, I have a full life, I have charity elements that I’m running, yet, I’m able to continually push because I believe that people do want to do the right thing. It’s just they don’t know what the right thing is sometimes. And we’re kind of inundated with these, again, defaults that are around us. And we just started going about our day without really thinking twice about it. And I’m here to kind of shine light on those habitual behaviors and say, hey, how about we rethink this one and maybe that one too. We have a lot of campaigns that I think are going to be really starting to shift some of the things that we see out there.

Darin: Many of you who follow me know I’ve spent most of my life searching for the healthiest foods on the planet from the Amazon jungle to the Andes of Peru, to the Himalayas and Bhutan, to the deserts of Africa, and everything in between discovering hundreds of plants and herbs and superfoods like this is my passion. Things like sacha inch, an Incan treasure, wild [unintelligible 00:31:41] mushrooms, things like Maya nuts, another Aztec superfood, wild cocoa moringa, many adaptogenic herbs and on and on and on. If you look hard enough, there are a few unknown extraordinary foods around the world that people still don’t know about. And a few years ago, I came across my favorite superfood discovery of all time, barukas nuts. Why is that my favorite? Well, when I first tasted them, my eyes lit up. I was blown away. They’re so delicious with notes of popcorn and cocoa and chocolate with peanut butter, and with this amazing crunch, so the taste alone just absolutely blew me away. But after sending them to the lab, which I do, and getting all the tests, I realized they’re the healthiest nuts on the planet. No other nut even compares. They have an unusually high amount of fiber, which is critical for healthy digestion. We’re all getting way too low of fiber in our diet and it’s good for the healthy bacteria and microbiome. And they’re off the charts in super high antioxidants, and have few calories than any other nut. It’s jam-packed with micronutrients. And what they don’t have is just as important as what they do have because they’re found in the forest in the savanna what’s called the Cerrado biome of Brazil, not grown on a plantation or a farm. They’re untouched by industrial pesticides, larvicides, fertilizers. They’re truly a wild food. But they’re not just good for you, they’re really good for the planet. Most other nuts require millions of gallons of irrigated water, not to mention, using bees and shipping them across the United States and just horrible sustainable practices just to grow certain nuts annually, but Baruka trees require no artificial irrigation. At one time, the Cerrado’s forest were made up of millions of these trees. These trees are incredible. They’re nitrogen fixers. They give back to the other plants in the forest. Their grandfather of sacred trees, but most of them were chopped down to make way for cattle, soy, and corn production. When you’re down in Brazil, it can be absolutely shocking. And actually, I’ve cried several times with miles and miles of deforested land filled with soy farms. This beautiful Savanna filled with soy farms and cattle grazing. Our mission is to reverse that. And the long term goal is to plant 20 million new baruzeiro trees throughout the Cerrado. And if that wasn’t enough, we are also providing highly beneficial and fair jobs for thousands of indigenous people so they can stay on their land and they can thrive with this consistent income every year forging and working with Barukas. Barukas are truly good for you, good for the planet, and good for the world community. It’s a win all the way around. I really think you’ll love them, so I’m giving all of my listeners 15% off by going to barukas.com/darin. That’s B-A-R-U-K-A-S dot com backslash Darin, D-A-R-I-N and using the code “Darin” at the checkout. I know you will enjoy.

Darin: I’m in for the long haul and everything that you’re doing and you stand for. And this plant-based thing, this takes the pressure off. It just takes the pressure off, and it’s and it’s really easy for people to do. And like you said, you’re just taking the meat out, saving some money, better for your health without a doubt. And listen, we need to add more fiber to our frickin diet anyway. So there’s nothing better than fruits, vegetables to add more fiber, and feed our microbiome. There’s literally an infinite amount of benefits by including more plants. And so if people just say, you know what, I’m going to do this, it’s time. What’s the best approach for them right now?

Sheila: Everyone can sign up for the 8 meals challenge at habitsofwaste.org. You’ll immediately receive a step by step guide on really how to get started and some shareables if you want for social media. There’s also a lot of information on our website on the campaign page, which is 8 meals and then as well as the calls to action under our plant base. So we can kind of give you a little bit of a full story of what it is that we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Funny little story is I’ve been trying to get my mom to adopt a more plant-based diet over the years. And she’s been like, well, why would I do that I need protein, you know, my age, and this and that, all the things that you hear. And she actually listened to our Instagram Live, the one you and I did. And afterward, she called me. She’s like, I can do this, I can do 8 meals, this isn’t a big deal. It sounds like it’s gonna be so much better for me. And it was really about her and her health. And so just so you know, we were able to convince my mom who is well over 70. And she is setting her ways. And so she’s taking the meals challenge. And now that’s kind of how she’s been able to adapt a lot of her regular recipes just eliminating the meat, and she has had no problem whatsoever doing that. So anyone can kind of come on this journey and the goal, once again, is to eliminate a lot of labels because we’re all here to do our best. And so if you feel like you have to hold this title or this label about what type of eater you are, I think that that’s kind of what holds people back. And so I love thinking about July 4th and all those barbecues, that is a tough day for a person who wants to be fully vegan to actually say like, okay, I just fell off the bandwagon, I’m done, I guess I should just start over again. But this is what I’m talking about, like the mass public can still enjoy a day like that but then the next day, start their week all over again. And remember to plugin that partially plant-based diet and maybe you hit more numbers that week or something. I’m sure there are many listeners out there saying, well, why can’t you just go fully plant-based? It’s not that hard. Why aren’t you promoting that? And I’m just thinking, the reality is that most of America would not be able to do it at this time, at least today. Maybe in a few years time because of everything that’s trending, but at this moment, I think we’re This is where we’re at.

Darin: Yeah, it’s a start. It’s a start, and I started somewhere, you started somewhere, we all started somewhere. I ate from Minnesota. That’s where I started?

Sheila: What made you do it? Like what did what was it that made you shift one day that you did it?

Darin: Well, it was slow education. I mean, I had a physiology and nutrition background. And then I started, and then I was an athlete. So I bought into all of the ideas. And I was being an athlete and pushing myself and working out like crazy, that hasn’t stopped by the way. So at one point, I started looking at protein metabolism a little more, and I saw that the body was recycling amino acids. Number one, I’ve always loved animals and push that out of my awareness that it’s an animal. I want to be a vet as a kid, so I can’t even kill a fly. I literally put a cup around it and take it off the window and put them outside. That’s who I am. And so to not live an integrity hurt me on some level. So when I saw from an athletic perspective that the body actually utilizes amino acids and doesn’t want to get rid of them when the cells are naturally kind of autophagy is happening in the cells are naturally replacing themselves. The body keeps the amino acids and reuses them. I was like, holy cow, I didn’t know that. So I started questioning the amount of protein I needed from that point. And so I was like, screw it, I’m only eating fish at this point anyway, just end the rest, increase my workouts. Let’s really put this to the test from study of one. And I just immediately was like, I feel like a gazelle. I feel amazing. And then, of course, all of that morals and ethics and sensibilities around the environment, and then all of that I felt like liberated and empowered, and leading my life in a certain way that I wasn’t before. And then it just compounds, I felt better and better and better and better and better and better. So I’ve never looked back. 

Sheila: It’s interesting because I always notice as I was growing up, they told me you got to have protein, you got to have protein, so I’d order a salad and had chicken in it. And at the end of the meal, the chicken was still on the plate, and I felt like why am I doing this to myself? But there are so many things that are taught to us that if you don’t eat the protein, you’ll be hungry in an hour, you got to eat the protein. If you don’t eat the protein, your hair will fall out. You have so many of these things that have been kind of embedded in our psyche that this is the way it must be. So it’s great that there are resources out there that are like yours that tell people, like no, actually, the protien that you need could actually be in all these plant-based options and you don’t need the animal protein. So, again, just dispelling a lot of the myths is half of the battle. So to answer again back to your question a minute ago, how do we get this out there? It’s about dispelling these myths, providing new science, new facts, more science, more facts, everything that’s out there and highlighting it and getting people out there to just learn the new reality that we’re aware of now.

Darin: Yeah, totally. And bring out some of those old science that Dr. Campbell has been like, you know, they pushed this away, the agendas of the monopolies have been manipulating science for as long as they’ve been around. It is bottom scary. I was reading papers just recently, a guy who used to run The Lancet, top respected scientific journal. You know what he said? It was over 70% to 80% of all of the research that’s coming out is funded by the very thing that wants favorable results. He’s mortified. He’s like most of the science is not accurate. Most of it is not. That’s our scientific community. So that’s the world way, and then you have T. Collin Campbell who spent 65 years in the science running the NIH, running these organizations in the belly of the beast, and he’s looking at the science and he’s being crucified the entire time because these old guys, these old systems don’t want to break even in the face of real science. That’s been going on, still going on. So that’s the world, like are we going to empower? So this is my point to what you’re saying. At the end of the day, you are a leader in your own life, whether you’re going to acknowledge it or not. So this is an opportunity, it’s another opportunity to lead your own life towards a better environment, towards better health. So lead your life, grab your friends, grab your family members, lead your freaking life towards something that is better for you and better for the planet. And that is attractive magnetically, intuitively, common sense, all of that stuff. That’s how we change stuff. 

Sheila: It’s a win-win. It’s a win-win on all fronts.

Darin: Exactly. 

Sheila: I appreciate your passion, Darin. I think you just convinced the nice handful of people out there to get on board. You convinced me again.

Darin: But again, I’m here because of the birthing of this opportunity and this way for you. And it’s another angle and sometimes, things have been around. Obviously, plant-based has been around and it’s growing, but this is a different angle, another angle that demistifies and allows people to not get caught up in lables, not get caught up in I’m this or I’m that but to actually move forward towards a different life.

Sheila: And just take action, just do it, and that is our biggest message here at Habbits Of Waste, don’t wait for someone else, don’t wait for the goverment, don’t wait for anybody. You do it. Just get out there and do it. You have the power. When I would go to the beach with my kids, everytime, we would have to pick up 10 pieces of trash before we left. We wouldn’t just sit there and complain about the trash because I knew that I need to teach them to take actions, so our goal is each peson gets 10 pieces of trash and unfortunately, for us, there was 10 pieces of trash for each of us to pick up. But my point about all of that is from an early age, we must teach our kids, we must do it ourselves, take action. You want to look at someone that’s super healthy and plant-based and say, oh, I wish I could do that. Well, why not? You don’t have to be all or nothing, just try. Just do a little bit at a time and see how you do. And all of the things that we have on our website like even the cut out cutlery campaign I was mentioning, that’s all people emailing Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, sending email one at a time. We’re alost at 10,000 emails to these companies where we’re basically saying stop sending us plastic cutlery. We don’t want it anymore. Change the default. We only want it when we ask for it, okay? And Uber said yes, and Postmate said yes. And now we have a few others that are coming on board soon. As soon as I’ll get the green light, I will tell you all about it, but that’s all from individuals taking action. And collectively, look at what we’ve done. And so I’m just saying that is the biggest mission here at habbitsofwaste.org is to get individuals to understand that they actually have a lot of power, so much power, and we can shift and turn things around much more than waiting for a law to pass or something. Legislators, by the way, will take action much more when they see that there’s a lot of noise among us. So this whole situation for the cutlery, right now there are so many lawmakers who are trying to get an executive order from Governor Gavin Newsom right now because we know it’s going to save restaurants who are struggling so much money. Same thing, we have people in Washington, DC working on it. We have people in the city of LA, everywhere we go, and we’re just proving look at how many emails were sent, look at how much impact we’ve made. All these individuals out there have helped us do what we’ve done because like you said earlier, we all want to do the right thing, we all want to do better. This earth is our home, and I know it sounds really kind of, what can I describe it as, just this la-la-la positive, but it is. It is the expansion of our little home that we live in. We all naturally want to take care of our home, it is innate. But when you think you’re just powerless and you can’t do anything about it, that’s when all these pollutants win. And I’m here to say, don’t wait, just get out there and do your part. It’s much bigger than you’d imagine.

Darin: I’m in for the long haul and everything that you’re doing and you stand for. And this plant-based thing, this takes the pressure off. It just takes the pressure off, and it’s and it’s really easy for people to do. And like you said, you’re just taking the meat out, saving some money, better for your health without a doubt. And listen, we need to add more fiber to our frickin diet anyway. So there’s nothing better than fruits, vegetables to add more fiber, and feed our microbiome. There’s literally an infinite amount of benefits by including more plants. And so if people just say, you know what, I’m going to do this, it’s time. What’s the best approach for them right now?

Sheila: Everyone can sign up for the 8 meals challenge at habitsofwaste.org. You’ll immediately receive a step by step guide on really how to get started and some shareables if you want for social media. There’s also a lot of information on our website on the campaign page, which is 8 meals and then as well as the calls to action under our plant base. So we can kind of give you a little bit of a full story of what it is that we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Funny little story is I’ve been trying to get my mom to adopt a more plant-based diet over the years. And she’s been like, well, why would I do that I need protein, you know, my age, and this and that, all the things that you hear. And she actually listened to our Instagram Live, the one you and I did. And afterward, she called me. She’s like, I can do this, I can do 8 meals, this isn’t a big deal. It sounds like it’s gonna be so much better for me. And it was really about her and her health. And so just so you know, we were able to convince my mom who is well over 70. And she is setting her ways. And so she’s taking the meals challenge. And now that’s kind of how she’s been able to adapt a lot of her regular recipes just eliminating the meat, and she has had no problem whatsoever doing that. So anyone can kind of come on this journey and the goal, once again, is to eliminate a lot of labels because we’re all here to do our best. And so if you feel like you have to hold this title or this label about what type of eater you are, I think that that’s kind of what holds people back. And so I love thinking about July 4th and all those barbecues, that is a tough day for a person who wants to be fully vegan to actually say like, okay, I just fell off the bandwagon, I’m done, I guess I should just start over again. But this is what I’m talking about, like the mass public can still enjoy a day like that but then the next day, start their week all over again. And remember to plugin that partially plant-based diet and maybe you hit more numbers that week or something. I’m sure there are many listeners out there saying, well, why can’t you just go fully plant-based? It’s not that hard. Why aren’t you promoting that? And I’m just thinking, the reality is that most of America would not be able to do it at this time, at least today. Maybe in a few years time because of everything that’s trending, but at this moment, I think we’re This is where we’re at.

Darin: Yeah, it’s a start. It’s a start, and I started somewhere, you started somewhere, we all started somewhere. I ate from Minnesota. That’s where I started?

Sheila: What made you do it? Like what did what was it that made you shift one day that you did it?

Darin: Well, it was slow education. I mean, I had a physiology and nutrition background. And then I started, and then I was an athlete. So I bought into all of the ideas. And I was being an athlete and pushing myself and working out like crazy, that hasn’t stopped by the way. So at one point, I started looking at protein metabolism a little more, and I saw that the body was recycling amino acids. Number one, I’ve always loved animals and push that out of my awareness that it’s an animal. I want to be a vet as a kid, so I can’t even kill a fly. I literally put a cup around it and take it off the window and put them outside. That’s who I am. And so to not live an integrity hurt me on some level. So when I saw from an athletic perspective that the body actually utilizes amino acids and doesn’t want to get rid of them when the cells are naturally kind of autophagy is happening in the cells are naturally replacing themselves. The body keeps the amino acids and reuses them. I was like, holy cow, I didn’t know that. So I started questioning the amount of protein I needed from that point. And so I was like, screw it, I’m only eating fish at this point anyway, just end the rest, increase my workouts. Let’s really put this to the test from study of one. And I just immediately was like, I feel like a gazelle. I feel amazing. And then, of course, all of that morals and ethics and sensibilities around the environment, and then all of that I felt like liberated and empowered, and leading my life in a certain way that I wasn’t before. And then it just compounds, I felt better and better and better and better and better and better. So I’ve never looked back. 

Sheila: It’s interesting because I always notice as I was growing up, they told me you got to have protein, you got to have protein, so I’d order a salad and had chicken in it. And at the end of the meal, the chicken was still on the plate, and I felt like why am I doing this to myself? But there are so many things that are taught to us that if you don’t eat the protein, you’ll be hungry in an hour, you got to eat the protein. If you don’t eat the protein, your hair will fall out. You have so many of these things that have been kind of embedded in our psyche that this is the way it must be. So it’s great that there are resources out there that are like yours that tell people, like no, actually, the protien that you need could actually be in all these plant-based options and you don’t need the animal protein. So, again, just dispelling a lot of the myths is half of the battle. So to answer again back to your question a minute ago, how do we get this out there? It’s about dispelling these myths, providing new science, new facts, more science, more facts, everything that’s out there and highlighting it and getting people out there to just learn the new reality that we’re aware of now.

Darin: Yeah, totally. And bring out some of those old science that Dr. Campbell has been like, you know, they pushed this away, the agendas of the monopolies have been manipulating science for as long as they’ve been around. It is bottom scary. I was reading papers just recently, a guy who used to run The Lancet, top respected scientific journal. You know what he said? It was over 70% to 80% of all of the research that’s coming out is funded by the very thing that wants favorable results. He’s mortified. He’s like most of the science is not accurate. Most of it is not. That’s our scientific community. So that’s the world way, and then you have T. Collin Campbell who spent 65 years in the science running the NIH, running these organizations in the belly of the beast, and he’s looking at the science and he’s being crucified the entire time because these old guys, these old systems don’t want to break even in the face of real science. That’s been going on, still going on. So that’s the world, like are we going to empower? So this is my point to what you’re saying. At the end of the day, you are a leader in your own life, whether you’re going to acknowledge it or not. So this is an opportunity, it’s another opportunity to lead your own life towards a better environment, towards better health. So lead your life, grab your friends, grab your family members, lead your freaking life towards something that is better for you and better for the planet. And that is attractive magnetically, intuitively, common sense, all of that stuff. That’s how we change stuff. 

Sheila: It’s a win-win. It’s a win-win on all fronts.

Darin: Exactly. 

Sheila: I appreciate your passion, Darin. I think you just convinced the nice handful of people out there to get on board. You convinced me again.

Darin: But again, I’m here because of the birthing of this opportunity and this way for you. And it’s another angle and sometimes, things have been around. Obviously, plant-based has been around and it’s growing, but this is a different angle, another angle that demistifies and allows people to not get caught up in lables, not get caught up in I’m this or I’m that but to actually move forward towards a different life.

Sheila: And just take action, just do it, and that is our biggest message here at Habbits Of Waste, don’t wait for someone else, don’t wait for the goverment, don’t wait for anybody. You do it. Just get out there and do it. You have the power. When I would go to the beach with my kids, everytime, we would have to pick up 10 pieces of trash before we left. We wouldn’t just sit there and complain about the trash because I knew that I need to teach them to take actions, so our goal is each peson gets 10 pieces of trash and unfortunately, for us, there was 10 pieces of trash for each of us to pick up. But my point about all of that is from an early age, we must teach our kids, we must do it ourselves, take action. You want to look at someone that’s super healthy and plant-based and say, oh, I wish I could do that. Well, why not? You don’t have to be all or nothing, just try. Just do a little bit at a time and see how you do. And all of the things that we have on our website like even the cut out cutlery campaign I was mentioning, that’s all people emailing Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, sending email one at a time. We’re alost at 10,000 emails to these companies where we’re basically saying stop sending us plastic cutlery. We don’t want it anymore. Change the default. We only want it when we ask for it, okay? And Uber said yes, and Postmate said yes. And now we have a few others that are coming on board soon. As soon as I’ll get the green light, I will tell you all about it, but that’s all from individuals taking action. And collectively, look at what we’ve done. And so I’m just saying that is the biggest mission here at habbitsofwaste.org is to get individuals to understand that they actually have a lot of power, so much power, and we can shift and turn things around much more than waiting for a law to pass or something. Legislators, by the way, will take action much more when they see that there’s a lot of noise among us. So this whole situation for the cutlery, right now there are so many lawmakers who are trying to get an executive order from Governor Gavin Newsom right now because we know it’s going to save restaurants who are struggling so much money. Same thing, we have people in Washington, DC working on it. We have people in the city of LA, everywhere we go, and we’re just proving look at how many emails were sent, look at how much impact we’ve made. All these individuals out there have helped us do what we’ve done because like you said earlier, we all want to do the right thing, we all want to do better. This earth is our home, and I know it sounds really kind of, what can I describe it as, just this la-la-la positive, but it is. It is the expansion of our little home that we live in. We all naturally want to take care of our home, it is innate. But when you think you’re just powerless and you can’t do anything about it, that’s when all these pollutants win. And I’m here to say, don’t wait, just get out there and do your part. It’s much bigger than you’d imagine.

Darin: There you go. So everyone listening, I’m challenging you to do 8 meals, #8meals, go to habbitsofwaste.org and sign up, post about it, share about it, tell your friends, your family, your kids. If you tell your kids, they don’t get it and then they’ll actually keep you in line probably more than ever. So sign up, I challenge you. Thanks for tuning in. And Sheila, you’re a inspiration to me and I’m grateful to help in any way that I can and thank you for all that you’ve done and all that you’re gonna continue to do.

Sheila: Thank you, Darin. Your support means so much. I appreciate you having me on the show today.

Darin: Absolutely.

Sheila: Thank you, Darin. Your support means so much. I appreciate you having me on the show today.

Darin: Absolutely.

Darin: That was a fantastic episode. What was the one thing that you got out of today’s conversation? If today’s episode struck a chord with you, and you want to dive a little deeper on a variety of topics, check out my live deep dives on darinolien.com/deepdive. More episodes are available on darinolien.com as well. Keep diving my friends, keep diving.

Darin: This episode is produced by my team at Must Amplify, an audio marketing company that specializes in giving a voice to a brand and making sure the right people hear it. If you would like or are thinking about doing a podcast or even would like a strategy session to add your voice to your brand in a powerful way, go to www.mustamplify.com/darin. That’s www.mustamplify.com/darin.

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