25 May Use Your Voice to Spark a Food Revolution | Ocean Robbins
The Standard American Diet is collectively making us overweight, unhealthy and complicit. The only way things will ever change is if we speak up and stop supporting companies and brands that go along with the status quo. It’s time to use your voice to spark a food revolution.
WELCOME TO THE DARIN OLIEN SHOW
Ocean Robbins grew up knowing the power of his food choices.
As the co-founder and CEO of the Food Revolution Network, Ocean Robbins is dedicated to educating the world on the power of food choices. He is also the best selling author of the book 31-Day Food Revolution: Heal Your Body, Feel Great, and Transform Your World. Ocean has been actively engaging his community in healthy choices since the young age of 16. It was then that he founded Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!) and continued to direct it for the next 20 years.
If Ocean’s last name sounds familiar to you, it’s because you’ve probably seen it in bright purple and blue letters throughout your entire life. That’s right, Ocean’s grandfather Irv Robbins founded the massive Baskin Robbins ice cream empire. However, Irv’s son John did not follow in his ice-cream making footsteps and instead “followed his own rocky road”. John went on to have Ocean (whom he almost named Kale) and instilled a sense of responsibility for healthy food choices. Grandpa Irv eventually saw the light, cut out the sugar in his diet, and went on to live a long healthy life before passing away at the age of 91.
In this episode, Ocean and I chatted about the responsibility we all have in the food choices we make. If you support companies that are contributing to our planet’s problems, then there’s no way you can be a part of the solution. He also explained his and his father’s powerful Food Revolution Summit and how it’s pointing people to the power of a more plant-based diet. Ocean wants to change the way the world grows, produces and consumes food. And I want to help him do it.
ALSO IN THIS EPISODE:
- 31 Flavors of the Robbins family history
- America’s toxic food culture
- Cheap corn and soy’s role in the SAD
- Growing plant-based curiosity
- The truth about protein
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. Thanks for tuning in. Thanks for your time. We have an amazing guest. I love this guy. Real name, Ocean. Last name, Robbins. Ocean Robbins, what a frickin delight. He is centered, powerful, on a mission, and has been building literally the Food Revolution Network, 600,000 members. He is the author of the best seller 31-Day Food Revolution, Heal Your Body, Feel Great, and Transform Your World. Ocean founded the Youth for Environmental Sanity called YES at 16 years old, and has been cruising ever since. He has spoken in person to over 200,000 people. He is smart, he’s articulate, he is organized and is leading the foodrevolutionsummit.org. You can register. You can support that. The foodrevolutionsummit.org is such a cool organization, supporting plants, supporting health, supporting education around your health. Come on. Why wouldn’t you want to be tapped in and turned on to that information? That is our currency. If you haven’t figured it out, our greatest currency is our health, our mental health, our physical health, our spiritual health, and the health of ourselves and our family. That’s it, people. If you don’t have that, your currency is nothing. If you have a bunch of money in the bank or you’re pursuing that in the debt of your physical and mental health, then guess what’s going to win. You’re going to destroy yourself. Many people have in the pursuit of this outside of themselves wealth. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t do it at the sacrifice of yourself. So check out foodrevolutionsummit.org, that’s an incredible organization. Enjoy this wonderful conversation with my new friend, Ocean Robbins.
Darin: Hey, man, I’m so glad we could reverse the situation now and me talk to you. You know, you’re an incredibly fascinating guy and you’ve been in this space for a long time. And I’m just super stoked to hear about this, almost this Genesis story at what 16 years old. You started in on environmental initiatives. It’s kind of been in your life’s blood and now started the Food Network, well, Food Revolution Network and Food Revolution Dummit, which is coming up. So talk to me like how did this all kind of come together, and now amassing like over a half a million people following what you’re doing? And obviously, a lot of our pillars line up together because of what I’ve been connected to and what you’re doing. So it just makes sense that we’re connected and having this conversation. So how did that all start for you?
Ocean: My grandpa, Irvin Robbins, founded a little ice cream company called Baskin-Robbins. My dad, John, grew up with an ice cream cone-shaped swimming pool in the backyard and 31 flavors of ice cream in the freezer. He was groomed to one day join in running the family company. But when he was in his early 20s, he was offered that chance and he said no. And he walked away from a path that was practically paved with gold and ice cream to as we jokingly say in our family, follow his own rocky road. He ended up moving with my mom to a little island off the coast of Canada where they built this one-room log cabin. They grew most of their own food. They practiced yoga and meditation for several hours a day, and they named their kid Ocean. And they almost apparently named me “Kale,” and that was long before kale was cool. So I on behalf of my social life, I think the deities that my parents took pity on me and chose the more conservative route when they named their son. But we did eat a lot of kale and cabbage and carrots and other veggies from the garden. And as I got a little older, my dad wound up researching and then writing a book called Diet For a New America, which is about how our food choices impact our health, our happiness, and the future of life on Earth. It came out in 1987 and inspired millions of people to look at food as a chance to make a difference in the world. And the media went crazy with it. They called him the rebel without a cone, profit of nonprofits. And as fate would have it, his book sold very well. And we received tens of thousands of letters from people thanking him for his work and for changing their lives. One of those people whose lives was changed ended up being my grandpa Irv. My grandpa’s brother-in-law and business partner, Burt Baskin, my dad’s uncle had died of heart disease at the age of 54. He was one of the most successful entrepreneurs in American history, but he [00:06:35] a family he loved, he had lots of money. He had a business he enjoyed, but he didn’t have his health and he ended up losing his life. And my grandpa, at the age of 70, always ate the standard American diet. And then he got the standard American diseases. So he was suffering from serious type two diabetes, heart disease, weight issues. His doctors told him he didn’t have long to live unless he made big changes. And then they give him a copy of my dad’s book and tell him to read it. Amazingly enough, my grandpa did and he made big changes. He ended up giving up sugar, giving up ice cream, eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and less animal products, and getting results, like massive results. He reversed his diabetes, reversed his heart disease, got off a ton of drugs he’d been told he would need to take for the rest of his life, lost a bunch of weight. His golf game improved seven strokes, that’s probably the biggest thing of all for him. And he ended up living 19 more healthy years. So we’ve really seen in our family that when we follow the standard American diet, we get the standard American diseases and die the standard American death and that’s sad. But we’ve also seen what can happen when we make a change. And my grandpa was a stubborn cookie. And he had a lot of investment and thinking there’s no connection between food and health. So I figured if he can make a change like that, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us too. For me, seeing my dad’s impact on people’s lives, including my own grandfather, seeing the power of food to harm or to heal lit a fire in me. At the age of 16, I founded a nonprofit. We worked with young leaders all over the world, working for peace, human rights, social justice, and sustainability in 65 countries, and we focused some on food. But over the years, I kept seeing that food was such a big freaking deal because everybody eats. And what we’re eating is having this huge impact. And I work with indigenous leaders in the Amazon, who are losing their homeland to cattle. And I worked with indigenous leaders in the Arctic, who are losing their homeland to climate change, which is fueled by cattle. And I worked with women in West Africa who are facing food shortages and droughts fueled by climate change but also food shortages that are directly linked to a food system that has made commodities crops and the buying and selling of goods more important than human life, more important than the well being of farmers and farmworkers, more important than the future of life on this planet. Food has become fundamentally a commodity. So the way I look at it now there are three levels of food. There’s food 1.0, which is about survival. If you can get enough calories to fill your belly, that is success. And for most of human history, that’s been the name of the game. Food 2.0 is governed by commerce. It’s about commercial interests and it’s about us, 31 flavors of ice cream, and a lot of amazing opportunities but it’s morally bankrupt. It’s killing us and it’s killing our planet. So I’m calling for Food 3.0 now, which is healthy people and a healthy planet coming from a healthy food and we can make healthy profits doing it. So I have launched Food Revolution Network in 2012, after running the nonprofit for 20 years because I wanted to work with my dad directly in spreading the good message about food and health and seeing if we could change some things for the better and we’ve had some success. We’ve got about 700,000 members. We’ve held online summits for millions and millions of people, and we produce courses and resources and a blog with 5 million visitors every year. And I think we’re just getting started. I mean, the mission is so huge. We want to change the way the world grows food, produces food, consumes food, and ultimately make everyone healthier because of it but one step at a time and one bite at a time.
Darin: Isn’t that the truth? And wow, I mean, there’s so much you said in that whole thing that resonates with me and I know is gonna resonate with a lot of people. And number one, the redefinition of success, pride, and true health, it’s like the pursuit in our systems that we have in place, the pursuit of that profit as this, like you said, destructive aspect to it, not only is it destroying us on a daily basis, it’s destroying the levers of our system and the system itself and the planet itself. So I’m so grateful that you’re awakened in that way, and you saw your grandfather and you saw your father and kind of just literally in your face, the polar opposites. And then the resurrection of your grandfather making those new choices, incredible. And then taking it on yourself because obviously, if you don’t have your health, it doesn’t matter at all. The money can be sitting there and does nothing for your past choices. I love that. So the Food Network, what is your main education, inspiration, and then mobilization of action? Is that kind of some of the pillars that you create for the Food Network then?
Ocean: Yeah, all of that, absolutely. We want to give people the knowledge, they need to make the choices that are in their own best interests. And we want to give them tools and resources to apply that knowledge. And then we want to help them change systems. The truth is that if all that was needed for us to be healthy was we needed to know that we need to eat less sugar and processed junk and more vegetables, we would not have an obesity epidemic. Two-thirds of our population is overweight or obese. You think people don’t know that they need to eat less crap, less total calories, and more healthy food. Of course, we all know, but we’re not doing it. And so the issue isn’t so much knowing what to do, in some cases it’s doing what we know. And there we come back down to the fact that most of us are fundamentally addicted to junk food and we live in a toxic food culture. And junk food is advertised, it’s mainstream-ized, and it’s subsidized courtesy of the US taxpayer. Every year, the United States government provides 10s of billions of dollars in subsidies that essentially bring down the price of commodities crops. I’m talking ultimately high fructose corn syrup, and white bread and sugar. These are cheaper, while broccoli is getting left out. I was in dialogues with Coca-Cola A few years ago. We were challenging them to go non-GMO, which they are in Europe. And they said, “Oh, we couldn’t possibly afford to in the US.” I said, “Why?” “Well, we use high fructose corn syrup in the US and that’s genetically engineered.” And I was like, “Well, why don’t you use that in Europe?” They’re like, “Oh, it costs too much money in Europe.” It’s like, “Well, why does it cost more there than here?” They were like, Oh, subsidies, of course.” That’s like, okay, so the US taxpayer is providing money that ultimately is enabling Coca-Cola to use high fructose corn syrup to sell coke cheaper. And our kids are getting sick because of it. You know, obesity is off the charts. Now, I’m not saying kids are only getting sick or getting obese because of coke, but it’s not helping. And we could talk about the merits of a free market, or whether government should intervene, that’s a legitimate conversation, but I don’t know anybody who thinks government should intervene to subsidize junk food that’s gonna make us sick. And then and then at the end of the day, we’re all going to pay higher health insurance premiums and more Medicare payments. And Medicare is going to go bankrupt sooner, because we didn’t have the foresight to invest in the health of our population, at least by not discouraging it. Right now, it’s like, you’ve got to pay extra to do the right thing. It’s like you’re being fined for wearing your seatbelt. If you want to eat healthy foods, you’ve got to pay more. Well, commodities, crops are subsidized. Factory farmed meat is subsidized. Those animals are eating corn and soy which is bad for their health, and bad for our health, and bad for our planet. It takes 12 pounds of grain or soy to produce one pound of industrialized feedlot beef in the United States today. The other 11 are essentially wasted. We’ve got a protein factory in reverse, but it’s all financially viable because of one fundamental linchpin, cheap corn and soy. It’s cheap because of taxpayer subsidies. I think that’s got to stop.
Darin: It’s got to stop in a big way. And I think people may be hearing this for the first time. It’s not out in the public. And it’s literally our tax dollars are going to supporting unhealthy food. And then people make the argument of, well, we need more food so we need to scale this thing. So what is your argument when people say, well, we all have to eat.
Ocean: Yeah, we do. That’s why we got to eat more plants because when you cycle calories up the food chain, you have waste. Worldwide right now, 83% of our agricultural land is being used for livestock production to produce 17% of the world’s calories. If just theoretically, Darin, the entire world went vegan tomorrow, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but just play with me for a second, if everyone went vegan tomorrow, we would free up an area of lands equal to the entirety of the United States, China, the European Union, and Australia combined. That’s how much land would be freed up instantly by making that pivot because we have a protein factory and reverse recycling calories through livestock, and they’re wasting most of it. They turn it into hoof and hide and bones and feathers and energy. They used to move and lots and lots of poop. All of that is essentially waste from a caloric standpoint. Yes, some of that can be useful. Sure, we use some fertilizer, we use the leather, but at the end of the day, calorically, we’re wasting those calories and that nutrition. And yeah, some livestock can eat grass, and there are places where pasture raised meat can participate in a healthy ecological system. But on the scale that we’re doing it, we have chopped down tropical rain forests to create grassland for cattle, and there’s nothing sustainable about that. So what would happen is, if we ate lower on the food chain, we could free up large amounts of farmland, which could then be used to sequester carbon to create carbon sinks, or to go back to forest, maybe fruit and nut trees while we’re at it, maybe some barukas. And it could also be used to grow crops for human consumption for a growing future human population. People gripe about how organic food gets. Yes, less yield per acre, at least in the short run and it’s true. Let’s not pretend here, organic is wonderful in all kinds of ways, but it takes about 10% more land to produce the same amount of pounds of food, organic, generally, in the short run. Long run, it’s more drought resistant, it’s more flood-resistant, it’s more sustainable, you’ll have topsoil instead of eroding it. There’s a lot of good things about organic but short run, there’s a cost there. However, we’re wasting so much land with livestock production. So one of the things we could do if we ate less meat and dairy and eggs, is we could have some of that land freed up to support organic agriculture and sustainable agriculture, and regenerative agriculture without just having to focus on this quarter’s profits and maximum yield per acre. We could look at nutrition per acre and long-term health of the ecosystem and build a better world for everybody. We produce enough food to feed probably twice the world’s human population right now if we just stopped wasting calories and stop cycling them through livestock. So there’s a lot of room to improve here and reap tremendous benefits.
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Darin: It’s such an important topic for us to talk about because the systems that are old and archaic and are still in place and still being subsidized are so inefficient from a perspective of health calories, land use, you name it, that old system and no one wants to change especially when you have these governmental systems. Most people probably are, again, hearing for the first time like, wait a minute my taxes are going to subsidizing poor quality and largely toxic food? That’s crazy. I don’t have a choice in that. So we’re not given that choice and then through regenerative practices and through better use of land, we can create all the food, and largely our food systems are wasted system. So we’re wasting so much food, we can actually supply enough food for everybody. It’s just that those old systems in place. So what do you think then are ways that we can actively push back and change these systems because I’ll say this, I’ve been actively talking to some very big companies and everyone from General Mills to you name it. And there’s definitely greenwashing, there’s definitely all that stuff, but at the end of the day, they are seeing there’s writing on the wall. They are seeing that they need to– I mean, I always catch myself, it’s like regenerative farming, sustainable farming, it’s almost indigenous farming. I mean, it’s kind of like taking a step back. Our indigenous ancestors have been using this type of farming for a long time. And now some of these companies really want to, or at least they are starting to move in that direction. Ocean, how can we put more pressure on them? How can we take a step? I largely stay away from politics but at the same time, you have to create a new way of doing things in order to replace the horrible ways we’re doing stuff. So how do you see us and these people listening right now to go, whoa, I didn’t realize that that’s a bad system, how can we create a new one? How can we push back?
Ocean: First of all, I think that there’s no one answer. We need a biodiversity of strategies. And you never know for sure what’s really going to work. I mean, who would have thought that plant-based meats would explode like they have in the last few years. Obviously, a few folks did or they wouldn’t have been behind making it happen. But you know, they’re changing the world faster than any of us expected. I mean, now that McDonald’s and Burger King are going in plant-based directions and pioneering testing out plant-based parts of the menu and expanding that. So things are changing in ways we never would have expected. But as we look to the future, and how we can create maximal influence, I think there are a few strategies we need to employ. One is walk the talk and eat the talk, and live your message. Bring your food choices into integrity with your values because it starts there and it starts on that personal level. And people notice what you do, not just what you talk about. So try to bring that into integrity, which is sometimes challenging, actually. It’s actually easier to tell people what to do than to do it, but we got to do that and we got to model that and spread the word. Number two, choose to support the good guys, and not support the bad guys. So boycotts are important. And you don’t have to be part of an organized boycott to say no to companies you don’t value. I know a lot of folks who are saying they’re trying to pivot away from supporting Amazon and try to support local businesses, even if it’s more stressful and more expensive because it’s their values, right? So you can think about what your values are. That’s one example. Other people, a lot of people are choosing, you know, I don’t support fast-food companies, I don’t personally support any of the really big mainstream food brands because I don’t think that their practices are in keeping with my values, even if they make one product that might be, you know, the ingredients less work for me. I believe their labor practices are probably cutthroat. I believe they’re probably treating the farmers as badly as they can get away with, it’s legally permissible, and I don’t want to participate in that. So and then boycott also has the other side which is buycott, which is support the good guys. Invest in food 3.0, invest in a healthy food economy by supporting family, farmers, and farmers markets, by supporting the smaller companies that are trying to do the right thing, by supporting companies that exclusively create natural products. If you can, local independent businesses. Support if you can local natural food stores. If you have access to that not all of us do, but if you do, then wonderful. And don’t make the perfect into the enemy of the good. If the only store in your area for 100 miles is a Walmart and they have an organic section, for goodness sakes, make use of that. And they’ll grow the organic section, if more people buy from them there. So we all do the best we can with what we got with the financial resources we have but investing in the new food economy is a powerful stand to take. And it’s a value you can hold that makes your purchasing dollar have more meaning. So the way I look at it philanthropy and health budget and food budget all go into one lump in a sense. Like I’m investing in a better world, I’m taking care of my health, I’m not gonna go to the doctor as much, and I’m gonna spend my food with that in mind, which means I’m going to spend more than I would have if I was just focusing on filling my belly with the cheapest possible calories. But in the long run that could save so much money because last time I checked cancer was pretty expensive too. So those are all steps we can take. And then there’s the political side. There’s the policy side. So you can write letters to companies and tell them what you think. You can antagonize on their Facebook page. There’s been a lot of work done on that on different issues. If there’s a company that’s doing something you think is bad, tell them about it, speak up and raise a ruckus. General Mills practically had to shut down their Facebook page some years back because people took on on the GMO issue, just like blasting them with the fact that they weren’t labeling GMOs in their products. And it had an impact. I met with some of those folks. They were like, it was a backroom joke. Someone was like, watch out or we’re gonna stick [00:24:59] and everyone laughs nervously because the food babe organize a lot of people to post on Facebook pages and just say, hey, you’re good companies, why do you put GMOs and not tell us? And why are you funding the fight against GMO labeling, and they got embarrassed. So you can speak up and organize and those kinds of ways. Let them know why you are or aren’t supporting them. You can write to them, you can call them. Believe me, they’re tracking that stuff. And these companies know all it takes is a small tipping point. If 5% of consumers are going to turn against them, 5% of their customers will turn against them because of a policy, you can be darn sure they’re gonna think twice about that policy. And so that’s how you make your voice heard. And then politically, we need to elect officials that are accountable to human health and the future of the planet more than to their donors. Their donors, for the most part, are the status quo. They’re the people profiting from what’s happening now. So we’ve got to hold people accountable and hold companies accountable and hold political leaders accountable.
Darin: Yeah, I think those are some really, really good and powerful directions for people because now that we do have platforms, essentially, as individuals, we push back. The food obviously has been doing some great mobilization in that way. And then that creates that cascade effect. And more people are able to do that. And like you said, that affects their bottom line immediately. Some bad press goes a long way. And I love that. And that is where the individual can make a powerful stand and tell their friends and their friends and their friends. And next thing you know, these people need to change or want to change because it’s really affecting their bottom line. Let’s talk because this always comes up as much as I never want to talk about it. But it needs to be talked about because it’s such a kind of an urban weird legend that protein is so necessary and animal-based protein is so necessary, and we’re literally going to die if we don’t have it. And how dare you talk about not allowing the billions of people to have animal protein. And obviously, T. Colin Campbell, The China Study, just came out with a new book, the future of nutrition, where he went 100 years back, and the kind of the cover-ups of some of the science that’s been out there. Incredible book, just blasting 65 years of his own life into the true science behind this. So talk to me because I definitely don’t subscribe to that as well. So what’s your point of view? And how do you tackle that question about the protein question?
Ocean: Well, there are three major macronutrient categories protein, carbs, and fat. And people have been arguing for a long time about what the optimal ratio is of those three. Carbs have had their day being villainized, fats had its day of being villainized, but protein has so far been unscathed. Everyone seems to agree, you need more protein, you need more protein. Here’s the thing, Darin, we do need protein, absolutely. We also need carbs and we also need fat by the way. And the perfect balance is there’s a lot of flexibility, honestly. The human body can handle in times of struggle and challenge living mostly on fat or mostly on carbs, or frankly, mostly on protein although no one’s ever lived on protein shakes that I know for a long time. But in the end, you need a balance. And the right amount of protein is going to vary depending on your time of life and your exercise level and a lot of other factors. But there are 21 amino acids that make up protein. Twelve of them you make yourself. There are nine that are called essential amino acids because you need to get them directly from food. One of the myths has been, oh, animal products are complete proteins. And plant products are not. Well, some plants have more or less of the different amino acids but not all plant foods have all nine essentials, but many do. And those that don’t have a mixture in different ones, and if you just have a basically varied wholesome diet, you don’t have to worry about your amino acid ratios, the balance will be fine. So you can just think about total of the macronutrient protein then. And from that perspective, how much do you need? Well, in the US, the recommended daily allowance is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. So if you weighed 150 pounds, you’d need 54 grams of protein per day to get that target. If you’re an athlete and you want to build muscle, if you’re pregnant or lactating or if you’re under exceptional stress, they say you might need 0.4 or 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So then you need 67 1/2 grams if you weigh 150 pounds. Meanwhile, the Mayo Clinic’s going a little higher. They’re saying a senior because they say seniors need a little more. It’s gonna need basically a 150-pound senior would need 66 to 78 grams of protein per day. So you know you can find yourself in that but it’s somewhere between 50 and 80 grams for most people is going to suffice. You can go a little higher if you want to be absolutely sure. The average American is getting like twice that, more than twice that. And it’s actually very difficult to design a diet based around whole plant foods, or any diet that are based around Whole Foods. If you’re not just loading up on oil or sugar, which are very low protein and high calorie, if you’re eating real wholesome foods, very difficult to design a diet that doesn’t get to those levels if you eating enough total calories. And that’s the bare minimum, but can you get too much? Well, actually, you can. Dr. Valter Longo led a study out of University of Southern California. And the bottom line conclusion was that excess protein is very dangerous. It’s promoting premature mortality. And he actually concluded that eating a high protein diet was as dangerous to your life expectancy as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. So the reality is in the United States right now, way more people are dying, according to Dr. Valter Longo’s research from excess protein from insufficient protein. So that’s where we should be focusing. And then the other piece which Dr. Campbell has highlighted is that not all proteins are equal. And far from saying that animal protein is superior, he’s saying it’s actually inflammatory. It’s pro-inflammatory because your body experiences it as a foreign protein. Shocking, but true. You’re eating protein from another life form, and your body gets inflamed as a result. So he’s saying that actually, animal protein is inferior to plant protein. An perhaps Dr. Valter Longo’s research would show a different result if the protein in the high protein diet came from plant sources. We don’t know that. But bottom line is, eat a wholesome plant-based diet and you’ll probably feel better and have a little less protein, which is probably a good thing.
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: And those are the two top guys. I mean, Dr. Valter Longo, I got to hang out with him in Sardinia and the document docu-series we did, and really have some behind-the-scenes deep conversations. And the bottom line is you’re going over and T. Colin Campbell came up to the same conclusion. If you’re going over 10% to 15% of your overall calories per day certainly of animal protein, you’re definitely kicking on some cancer activation within your genetic expression. And that has been looked at peer-reviewed science all the way down the pipe from longevity to the expressions that the T. Colin Campbell has found. And come to find out that when you’re higher in animal-based protein, it doesn’t turn on those same mechanisms. So isn’t that interesting? So you know, these guys are deeply steeped in the science and also deeply steeped into uncovering all of what’s kind of been pushed down keeping this whole kind of game of cards afoot in terms of the subsidies and the USDA and the importance of meat, dairy, fish, and eggs. It’s just a funny thing. And listen, when I’ve looked at the research of if you eat a diversity of plant foods, legumes, nut, seeds, you eat a diversity. Come to find out, on average, you’re about 10% to 15% protein. So you kind of don’t have to think about it. But I think the greatest argument should be less about where you’re getting your protein and more about where you’re getting your fiber because as we know, that expression of our microbiome are a fuel for the microbiome is turning out to be every week seems to be more and more important in terms of our overall health. And that’s where it’s really exciting science.
Ocean: Yeah, absolutely. It’s so true. Less than 5% of the US population gets the recommended amount of fiber, which itself is probably too low. We’re told we should be getting 35 grams a day, the average Americans getting like 15. Our Paleolithic ancestors may have gotten around 100. And fiber is essential to cleaning you out, but also to feeding your good bacteria in your gut which creates your serotonin which creates your neurotransmitters that govern how you feel. Your gut is critical to who you are and how you feel and how you experience life. And, you know, they say you are what you eat, well, you really are what you digest. And your digestion isn’t fundamentally just yours, it’s also up to the bacteria that are breaking down all those compounds in your gut chewing them up and spitting them out like little earthworms that chew up the compost and create poop that’s actually soil for the future. They’re taking the nutrients that come into your stomach and chewing it up and digesting it, pre-digesting it, and then creating it into a form that your body can absorb effectively. So you need those bacteria doing their work and working with you in harmony, and fiber is how you feed them. And guess what, there’s no fiber in any animal products, zero. There is no fiber in bottled oil and there’s virtually no fiber in white flour or sugar or high fructose corn syrup or chemicals, but there’s lots of fiber in whole plant foods. There are gobs of fiber in grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, fruits, and vegetables. So we need to be more of all those things if we want to get our fiber intake up and nourish the good guys to be happier and healthier.
Darin: Yeah, it’s so funny how it’s so bloody simple and yet, we’ve made it so complex with this kind of modern-day experiment of our food and convenience of our food. I use that term fatal convenience, it’s like, yeah, you can go to the fast food, and you can eat all this sugar, salt, fat manipulated toxic food, and of course, it’s gonna manipulate your senses, that’s why they get paid the big bucks for you. And that’s going to change your microbiome, and then your microbiome is gonna be starved out of the essential. So it’s this whole cascade, then you will be addicted, but largely, your bad bacteria will be addicted. And so it’s that ecosystem that you’re creating or not creating.
Ocean: Exactly. You know, it’s funny, if you feel hungry, it might be that that feeling you’re having in your gut is coming from your bacteria, not from you. And if you feed them sugar, guess who’s going to multiply, the ones that like sugar. So you feed them kale, guess what’s gonna multiply, the ones that like kale. So your whole sense of what you’re drawn to, what you crave is directly linked to what habits you develop. And that’s not just in your brain, it’s also in your gut.
Darin: And it’s so important, that’s such a good point because yes, to change a habit, especially the terrain that you just created, it takes a little bit of time. It may feel uncomfortable, and other foods may not taste that great in the beginning, but over a certain short period of time, your body changes and adapts. And then it starts craving the good stuff. And then you forget about all these other things. And that’s what people have to realize if you allow your instincts and your kind of inner knowledge and you’re lining up your values again and let that few days of uncomfortable be okay, the next thing you know, you’ll be happier, healthier, thriving and craving the good stuff. And that’s where people just need to go allow that space to happen, and then they’ll thrive on the other side of it. So shifting gears because I’m really excited about– I mean, you’re such a conduit for these summits and this great kind of bringing together people, knowledge, inspiration, aspirations, and research. And your Food Network Summit is coming in strong and hard and we need it more than ever because people have lost the connection to food. I mean, we’re suffering. People are suffering every day, and we don’t often make that connection. Some doctors still don’t even make that bloody connection, which is insane to me that what you’re putting in your mouth affects your health. So talk to us about this summit, what it’s about, what the genesis is for it and what you hope to achieve when people kind of come in on this thing because I’m excited about it.
Ocean: Absolutely. So every year for the last 9 years, we’ve convened the Food Revolution Summit. And my dad who has been on this work for decades who has been at the forefront of this movement. Some people call him the father of the modern health food movement. He personally interviews 24 of the top food experts on the planet, doctors, researchers, scientists, advocates at the cutting edge of the latest and the greatest insights and breakthroughs. So this is an opportunity to hear what we need to know now about the latest insights on food and health and our planet. And we broadcast that completely for free so people can listen in every day for a bit over a week. We have 3 broadcasts and I’m on between all of them to answer life questions, engage, participate, and share top takeaways from what we’ve been learning. So we have hundreds of thousands of people that join in this summit. And we’re expecting 350,000 this year. And they tune in and participate and just the feeling of connection is really powerful, I have to say. I get this visual image when we’re all gathered there and I think of a stadium, like a football stadium. I think of like 4 of them filled to the top, pre-Covid of course. And we’re all packed together and I think that’s how many people are here right now because they give a darn where that food comes from, and they want to learn how to get healthy. And the accumulative impact of that is incredible. And now we hear stories every day from people whose lives have been changed by what they’ve learned and what they applied. And it’s just such a privilege, Darin, to be able to share this and to bring this to the world. So our team spends 6 months building out the summit and creating the infrastructure so we can handle all those people, making it a seamless user experience. And my dad spends dozens of hours preparing for every single interview because he really wants to evoke the hard of each expert’s expertise. He reads all their books. He dives in super deep. So we take this really seriously because we want to deliver just the most premium experience out there for people who really want to learn what’s up and what they can do.
Darin: That’s incredible. I can’t help but to think of just all of this manipulation of media and the manipulation of message. And to be able to have these types of sitdowns even though it’s virtual, to be able to learn directly from people who have dedicated their lives to literally the most important thing we have and that is our health is such an important thing if not more than ever. We all know that no matter what disease, bacteria, or virus comes, the healthier you are, the better you’ll be. And to empower people to take these nuggets and these wisdoms to apply it themselves in a powerful way, and those multiple stadiums of people, for me, I can’t help but to think how that is just fueling on the soul level for you guys to put so much time and energy into this, to be able to get this message out there. What has been the most surprising– you’ve been in this for a while, you’re dad has been in this for a while, what’s the most surprising thing you’ve experienced maybe this year? I mean, it could be Covid-related, it could be not Covid-related, what’s the most surprising thing that’s kind of popped out for you?
Ocean: One thing that’s really inspired me since Covid hit, gardening has exploded. As we record this interview, seed companies are out of stock because so many people want to grow gardens in their backyards. And I think that we have some precedent for this actually. When the Spanish flu pandemic swept through 100 years ago, we had social distancing on a mass scale, and one of the efforts that started then was a victory garden campaign to get people growing backyard gardens. And that continued right through world war 2. And at one point, Americans were growing over half our fruits and vegetables in our backyards. We don’t anymore but we could grow a lot more and that we’d be healthier because of it. So I’m really heartened that gardening has taken off in such a big way. People are realizing that long food supply chains are unstable and food can cost a lot of money and you can grow the healthy stuff yourself. So I’d like to see a department of home grow and security in the White House honestly. And then number 2, I’m heartened by how many people are taking an interest in health. I suppose it’s no shock, but I’m still heartened by it. There is certainly in our work, we’re seeing more interest in it than ever. And I think people care. And then number 3, I’m heartened by how much people care about the planet. I mean, when I was younger, we talked a lot about climate change but nobody listened. It just felt like it wasn’t taken seriously. And now it is being taken seriously. And that gives me some hope and some heart. It’s a little too late, I’m afraid, but it’s not too late to do something. It’s too late to do all that we could have done if we had started earlier, but it’s not too late to do what we can now and it makes the world a difference for sure. So those are few things that are top of mind for me as well as the explosion in plant-based and vegan foods, honestly. I mean, the number of Americans who identify as vegan has quadrupled in the last decade. Who would have thought that would happen? It’s amazing and it’s continuing to pick up steam, it seems. Some people are motivated by planet, some people are motivated by their own health, but it’s happening and that gives me a lot of hope too.
Darin: Those are beautiful things. I also certainly concur on those levels. And the thing I’m thinking of when you’re saying that is sovereignty, personal sovereignty, and sovereignty of taking your power back of growing your own food, the sovereignty of having more control over your health, your vitality. These things, no person in the planet can argue that. Would you rather have sovereignty over these systems or give it over to someone that might not have your best interest. And so from that perspective, these are some of the beautiful things that occur as a result of being squeezed and being compromised by all of these things that have occurred in the last year. And I celebrate that with you as well, and I hope more and more people take that on and take the ownership of their selves, their life, their health, and also their impact directly with that of the environment. Man, I’m so stoked. I’m just getting to know you more and more. I’m just grateful for who you are whether your parents gave you the name kale or ocean, I love both of them. I so appreciate you, Ocean. And let’s stay connected, let’s stay in touch, and let’s keep the revolution happening because we need it as people and we need it as a planet.
Ocean: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Darin. Everybody listening right now, I just want to thank you for your time and your attention. It’s the most precious resource any of us have. And you’re giving it right now by tuning in and participating and learning and growing and that’s big. It’s really big. I think curiosity is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. So let’s keep being curious. Let’s keep learning and growing.
Darin: Hey, so how can people sign up for the summit and the network?
Ocean: Foodrevolutionsummit.org, check out and join us in the Food Revolution Summit. It’s coming right up, our 10th-anniversary summit. Again, that’s foodrevolutionsummit.org. And afterward, we’ll still have a way you can sign up so whenever you’re hearing this, you can always go there and join us and get the latest, foodrevolutionsummit.org. You can also go to foodrevolution.org. Check out our website, we have hundreds and hundreds of articles on cutting-edge topics about food and health and our planet so you can learn more and dive in completely for free. And I also wrote a book called 31-Day Food Revolution. Again, that’s 31-Day Food Revolution based on a notion that 31 steps to health can bring you more pleasure and more joy than 31 flavors of ice cream. It’s all about practical implementation, learning, and then doing, and the book kind of walks you through how to live the food revolution in your life. So those are few resources and there are lots more. Let’s do this.
Darin: That’s fantastic. Well, I’m in. I’m signing up. Everyone else, sign up. There’s no downside only upside
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.