Transcript of the No-Bullsh!t Vegan podcast, episode 141
Chef, bakery owner & author Debbie Adler on food allergies, veganism, and her new cookbook
Karina Inkster: You're listening to the No Bullshit Vegan Podcast, episode 141. Debbie Adler speaks with me about her new book, the Mediterranean Plate: Food Allergies and Vegan Myth Busting.
Hey, welcome to the show. I'm Karina, your go-to vegan fitness and nutrition coach. I've had a lot of requests lately for sample workout programs. Like, I have three days a week available for strength training at the gym. What the hell should I do? Or hey, I want to spend four days a week at the gym, but don't know about training splits, like what muscles to train on which day. So I'm on the admin team of a large Facebook group called Vegan Body Building and Nutrition, which has around 35,000 members, and I put together some sample workout programs for either three or four days per week in response to some member requests. So there's major information overload out there, and it seems like a lot of folks just don't know where to start. So if you would find something like this helpful, get in touch with me anyway you want: Instagram @KarinaInkster, Facebook just search my name, email firstname.lastname@example.org, the contact tab on my website karinainkster.com, carrier pigeon, smoke signal, you name it, just get in touch with me and I will send you a PDF of whichever program you want.
It's super basic, nothing flashy, but I'm happy to help. It's free and it'll help you focus on the right things and ignore the rest. Keep in mind, you need to make sure that the foundational six strength training movement patterns are included in every training week, and these programs of course cover those. A lot of the programs I've been seeing lately, even professionally made ones, neglect one or more of these six movements. So get in touch with me if you would find a program like this useful, and I will send it over as soon as I can.
Today's guest is Debbie Adler. She's a plant-based chef, bakery owner, and the award-winning cookbook author of the critically acclaimed "Sweet, Savory, and Free: Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Without Any of the Top Eight Food Allergens" and "Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats: Allergy Free and Vegan Recipes From the Famous Los Angeles Bakery."
Debbie is a plant-based cooking and baking instructor and her popular online courses Plant Powerful Life GPS, Quintessential Health 360, and the Complete Plant Powerful Weight Loss System have been taken by hundreds of students worldwide. She's been interviewed on NBC's Nightly News, ABC7's Eyewitness News, CBS Los Angeles, and the National Super Station WGN. Debbie has been featured in the Los Angeles Times and on NPR'S radio show Here and Now. Her recipes have been published in national publications such as Pilate Style Magazine, Naked Food Magazine, Allergic Living, Simply Gluten-Free, Delight Gluten-Free, and Low Sugar Living, as well as on popular websites and blogs such as Cosmopolitan, One Green Planet, The Kitchen, and Self. Debbie's favourite meal is Vegan Sushi. Here's our discussion. Hey Debbie, thanks for coming on the show. Nice to meet you.
Debbie Adler: Nice to meet you too, Karina.
Karina Inkster: I'm looking forward to talking about actually something that is very near and dear to my heart, which is food allergies because I have a ton. So I'm looking forward to talking about that topic, and you have a new book out. We're going to talk about some vegan myths. I feel like there's a lot on the table, so I'm very excited. But let's start with your vegan backstory. So when and how did you come to the plant-based way of eating?
Debbie Adler: Well, I was pretty much always vegan. I never liked meat even growing up. My parents would have freezers full of meat and I just never liked it, but I became plant-based when I read the China Study and it went a little bit further, which was to not include the oil, the salt, and the sugar. So that was a very big awakening for me. I never knew about the oil part, especially. I knew salt and sugar, but I was very surprised that a little bit of oil when you're sautéing could be very detrimental to your health. So that was like, ooh, maybe 2000, I don't know, eight or seven, and I started to create recipes around that. Started to change the vegan to the plant-based, which was to eliminate the oil. I said, well, how do I sauté vegetables or how do you make a dressing?
So I just figured all that out, and then I started to post these recipes online and in a turn of karmic events, the publishers of the China Study ended up publishing my book, "Sweet, Savoury, and Free," which was my second cookbook. That was the first savoury plant-based cookbook that I wrote. The first one was, "Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats," which was my baked goods because I have a bakery in LA and that was all baked goods. It was vegan and it was allergy free, so no top eight food allergens. I know you have more than top eight.
Karina Inkster: I sure do.
Debbie Adler: So that was top eight free, the first one, and vegan. And now the second one was "Sweet, Savoury and Free," which was savoury and all whole-food plant-based and top eight allergy-free. And the new one "Mediterranean Plate" is plant-based as well.
Karina Inkster: Very cool. Well, for folks who don't know top eight, a lot of those are actually not vegan anyway, so being plant-based eliminates the dairy, the eggs, the fish, and the shellfish, but then also included are peanuts and tree nuts. A lot of folks don't know that peanuts are actually legumes, so those are separate categories. And then soy and wheat. Now, those could be kind of challenging. So your bakery is that free of all of those things? Wheat as well?
Debbie Adler: All my books are gluten-free.
Karina Inkster: Got it.
Debbie Adler: All my books are gluten-free. I don't necessarily need to be gluten-free, but I know that a lot of my customers and followers are, so I figured, let me just make it delicious and gluten-free so I don't have to worry about people who need gluten-free. Let's just figure it out, so everyone can eat it, even people who can have gluten can eat my things and they'll be perfectly happy.
Karina Inkster: Right. So was this because of your son? Is that kind of where the allergy thing started coming into play?
Debbie Adler: Yeah, the allergy thing started with my son who was born with severe food allergies. He almost died when he was one. I didn't know that he was allergic to dairy, so I gave him a little taste of frozen yogurt and he went into full-blown anaphylactic shock, and that was our first experience. He anaphylaxed again a year later to flax, which is a very weird allergy. That's not top eight; that's just a weird allergy. And we had to avoid all those things. We figured out that he was allergic to a lot of things. Those were the ones he anaphylaxed to, and so we had to avoid those things.
However, UCLA and Stanford came up with a protocol where they introduced the allergens to these kids. First they gave a shot of Xolair, which is an asthma medicine that they realize could reduce the effects of the allergens if they're introduced. I don't know how they figured that out, but so first get a shot of Xolair, and then they did a clinical trial where they introduced the allergens in very minute quantities. My son was enrolled in a clinical trial and he was able to become desensitized to his allergens. So now he's okay, he can eat them. There is not a big problem with that anymore.
Karina Inkster: Oh, that's great. I did something similar for seasonal allergies. So my food allergies are related to the pollen. It's all tree things like fruits and nuts and stuff, right? So for 11 years, I did allergy shots where they're basically just injecting you with tiny little bits of what you're allergic to and your immune system then learns how to deal with it on a tiny little small scale. So it helped hugely with the seasonal allergies. I still have them, but nowhere near where they were, but it didn't end up doing anything for my food allergies, unfortunately. So, I know how to live with them. I am actually also allergic to dairy, but that's a moot point because I’ve been vegan for 20 years, so not a big deal.
But yeah, so when there are businesses out there or cookbooks or offerings of any kind that have the allergy piece on the menu, that's positive for me because I feel like they get it. It's always a little bit anxiety-inducing going to a restaurant and asking for something off menu and then wondering like, ah, did they get it right? Because there's been mistakes in the past. So it's nice being able to go to a place and knowing for sure that they get it. That's huge. That's awesome.
Well, let's talk about some of these things. So the China Study, which you mentioned as part of the catalyst here in your journey, when that came out that was a huge kind of, I don't know what the right word is, bolster to me that I was doing the right thing with my diet. And casein was something that was huge in that book. So for our folks who are listening who don't know what casein is, can you give them a quick rundown of casein and maybe its relation to health analogies.
Debbie Adler: Casein is a protein found in dairy. So they found in the China Study that this protein, which is what they gave to the people who were in the study, is the cause of especially prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. It causes cancers in other areas as well. But especially those two things. And they came to the conclusion that a life without dairy or casein is you're probably better off, it probably prevents disease, it probably can reverse disease. And they just suggested at the end of the book a whole-food plant-based diet, which eliminates all animal protein as well as the casein.
Karina Inkster: Casein or casein. I've been saying it casein, but it might be casein, or maybe it's both.
Debbie Adler: I don't know. I always say casein, so maybe you're right. I don't know.
Karina Inkster: Anyway, so that's interesting. So that protein specifically was singled out for health reasons, being related to cancer, all those kind of things. I think I remember something in that book about a study that was done where they were able to turn off and on the incidence of cancer-based on intake of casein. It was pretty incredible. Now, unfortunately, this involves animal studies, which is a whole other topic. It's a lot of animal studies that were involved in that research, which is not cool from an ethical vegan perspective, but we could do a whole episode on that, I'm sure.
Debbie Adler: Right. Yes.
Karina Inkster: Anyway, so we were also going to talk about protein in general. So there's this specific type of dairy protein that's been linked to a lot of health issues and long-term disease. What about protein in general? We've talked about it on the show, off and on in the whole five years of is its existence, but what's your take on the myth about where protein comes from?
Debbie Adler: Well, it's actually not a myth anymore. I mean, unfortunately, people have been indoctrinated with the belief that you can only get protein from meat and dairy, and that is not true. As a matter of fact, meat does not even have protein. What you get the protein from is the grass that the animal eats. So the protein actually comes from the vegetables, from the produce you eat. And people don't understand that and they think, "Well, how am I going to get my protein?" Well, the way to get it without killing the animal, because the animal is just the middle man, is go straight to what's grown in the ground, and that's your vegetables, that's your fruit, and that's how you get protein. Everything has protein: lettuce, blueberries, everything. You name it, it has protein. So there is this myth about the animal having protein. It does not have protein.
And so that is such a very explosive new idea that people don't understand because they were brought up to think otherwise. And so it's very hard to change people's minds about it, but that is the truth. That's what they've learned, that this is a scientific fact that you do not get your protein from animals at all. And so, if people can just wrap their head around that and realize that, first of all, you'll be so much healthier just going straight to the plants. And second of all, you're not going to kill any animals, which is a very nice thing. And then the third thing is you're saving the planet. So there's three benefits.
So if you just want to get healthy or not worry about getting sick in the future, the whole-food, plant-based diet will automatically give you enough protein. If you eat enough calories in a day, you are automatically getting your protein. People start to count grams, and that's ridiculous because if you have to do that for every meal, you're really going to drive yourself crazy. I remember people used to, and they still do, count calories. If you just eat your basic whole-food, plant-based diet with grains and legumes and nuts and seeds and vegetables and fruits, just enough to keep you satiated, you are automatically getting enough calories, you're automatically getting enough protein, you're automatically getting enough vitamins and minerals, and you don't have to start counting. That is not what you want to be doing. It is so laborious. Who wants to do that?
Karina Inkster: You're absolutely right. I feel like the whole tracking thing, it kind of depends. Some people just love it because they have an engineer brain and they want to spreadsheet everything, and that's cool. But we're talking like 0.001% of the population. I think you know what, you have a really good point. If you're eating mostly whole foods, you're getting a wide variety of all the things you just mentioned, grains, fruits, vegetables, et cetera. You're eating until you're decently satiated. If you're not active, you will get enough protein.
For people who strength train, like our whole client base, a lot of them are new vegans and they're not getting enough calories. They are tired. They can't train properly. Their lift numbers are going down. They don't know why. It's just because plant foods and animal foods, they're just built differently and sometimes it takes a little while to figure out how it's going to work for each individual. So I do see in some cases, active folks, people who do endurance sports, strength trainees especially, people who want to build muscle and strength on some level, they might have to think about nutrition a bit differently, but in this case, we're thinking about the general population. If you're relatively active or sedentary, you're pretty much getting everything you need by default, assuming all of these other pieces are in place, obviously - variety and whole foods and all that, right?
Interesting. Okay, so what about your bakery? What's the situation there? I'd love to hear how that came about and how it's going. And it's in LA, right? Sweet Debbie's Organic Cupcakes?
Debbie Adler: Yes. Yes.
Karina Inkster: Very cool.
Debbie Adler: Yeah. In 2005, I was hungry, and I was hungry for a cupcake. And I knew at the time that sugar wasn't good for you, and I was looking around. Nobody had a sugar-free cupcake that didn't have Sucralose, and so I didn't want Sucralose. So even at the health food stores, at the time they weren't using these new fantastic sweeteners that they use now. And I couldn't believe it because I was not brought up to be a food scientist or a baker or anything in the food industry. I decided I would have to figure it out because it was very important to me to have really healthy treats. And so, I figured it out for myself. And then people, friends would come over, "Oh, you have to start a bakery. This is so good."
And so I said, okay, maybe that would be a fun thing to do. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I decided to open a bakery, and that's when I realized that I wasn't the only one who wanted sugar-free treats that were healthy, and so I opened in 2006. So ever since then I've had my bakery in 2009 when we realized my son had the food allergies, that's when I transformed it to an allergy-free bakery as well. So it's vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, and allergy free.
Karina Inkster: Wow. So what kind of sweeteners are you really into? I mean, I don't want to ask about your top-secret recipes or anything, but ingredient-wise?
Debbie Adler: Yeah, I use a lot of them. But the top ones are Medjool dates, a little bit of monk fruit, sometimes Stevia. I don't know. People have an issue with Stevia, so I try not to use Stevia, but I find that sometimes I combine it with coconut nectar. That's a nice combination. It sort of tastes like brown sugar together. The coconut nectar and a little bit of Stevia, it tastes like a caramel and is really good. But mostly the Medjool dates I use for the baked goods. That's a delicious sweetener and it's a whole food. So the main ones.
Karina Inkster: Delicious. That sounds really good. So how about your new cookbook coming out? So you've got some out already, but this new one is called, "The Mediterranean Plate."
Debbie Adler: So this book over here, well, this is radio so you can't see it. It's all Mediterranean foods that I've recreated to be whole-food plant-based. So if people aren't sure how to make Moussaka or some sort of a masala sauce or something that they think cannot at all be plant-based, I figured it out so that it's no sugar, no salt, no oil. It's all vegetables. I have meatballs in there that you wouldn't believe are animal-free, animal protein free.
Like eggs. I figured out how to make hard-boiled eggs with potatoes. So people see the picture, and they think that I'm using eggs. That's how close to an egg it looks. It's not. It's a potato with other ingredients. So like avocado toast with a hard-boiled egg on top. I figured out how to do that whole-food plant-based. Just a lot of nice spreads. And you can entertain and have beautiful spreads that are whole-food plant-based, like muhammara which is a red pepper spread that's delicious, lima bean hummus, all these different delicious things that you could just go through the book and have parties or just make it for yourself and your family. And it's really a fun book to have to refer to.
Karina Inkster: That sounds amazing. What's the inspiration behind the Mediterranean cuisine? Is that just something that you've always enjoyed, or was it a vegan challenge? What's the backstory there?
Debbie Adler: Yeah, no, it was just that I know that people enjoy Mediterranean. There's a big presence of people who I know for sure love Mediterranean food, and I thought that would be a nice challenge for me because I looked up some Mediterranean vegan cookbooks. None of them were whole-food plant-based. They all had the oil. Everyone uses olive oil. Even olive oil is not healthy. People think it is. It's not. It's just pure fat. There is no health benefit to it at all. That's another myth, that olive oil's healthy. It's not. So being that there was nothing out there on the market like this, and the fact that people love Mediterranean food, I said I'm going to make this whole-food plant-based Mediterranean, so people have a resource.
Karina Inkster: Wow, very cool. Well, I got to check it out obviously, because it sounds amazing. So if there's someone who is interested in veganism - so most of our listeners are somewhere on the spectrum, some are super long-term vegan pros other folks are veg-curious and they're not fully plant-based yet - so let's talk to the veg curious folks for a sec. If there's someone who, I mean, clearly they're on the interest spectrum somewhere if they're listening to our show. But if there's someone who doesn't really know how to approach going plant-based. They're feeling overwhelmed. They're currently eating what I would call a standard western diet. Where do you suggest people start?
Debbie Adler: I would start with some recipes. Do a search online, look at a picture of something vegan or whole-food, plant-based that looks amazing to you, and try to make that. And then once you see how to do it, look how other people do it. Then you'll see, first of all, how good it is and then that it's easy. There's nothing really hard about it. And then, start to incorporate slowly, substitute. Let's say you used to have a turkey sandwich for lunch, then substitute something else for that one meal. Do something vegan for that one meal, and then the next day try two meals. Or maybe the next week, if you do it really slowly. The next week, try a vegan breakfast and a vegan lunch.
And just keep looking for recipes that appeal to you. Just look at the pictures. There's so much nice photography. All these food bloggers have beautiful pictures online. They show what it looks like, and you just tell by that, oh, okay. And eventually, you're going to have an arsenal of recipes that you're going to say, oh, I'm going to make that again. That was delicious. And eventually, you are not going to miss the meat. You are not, because first of all, your taste buds will change, and you're going to start to crave this new way of eating.
Karina Inkster: That's actually a really good point that I think a lot of folks who are currently making the transition or who haven't yet made the transition really think about. They're just in the moment. They're like, oh, I miss cheese. Or, oh, I miss my burger, or whatever. They don't really think that things will change over time, and your taste buds and your cravings and all those things will actually adjust to completely different things, which is pretty amazing, actually.
Debbie Adler: Yes.
Karina Inkster: That's pretty awesome. Hey, let's go back to oil. So you've mentioned oil a couple of times about, it's not necessarily the health food that people think it is. If we're talking about olive oil specifically, what's the deal? So does the average person need to be completely 100% oil-free?
Debbie Adler: Yes. Yes, because you're hurting your heart. Your endothelial cells are hurt when you have something as fatty as refined oil, and eventually, it leads to heart disease, and it's an enormous amount of calories. One tablespoon is, I don't know, 200 calories with no nutrients. So it's a waste. You're eating something that's not benefiting your body. You might as well have something else that's going to be healthy, that will be less dangerous to your body. And why risk it? Maybe people get away with living until 90 when they're eating oil, but why risk it? Initially when I found out, oh my god, no oil. How am I going to sauté something?
So you do your research and you realize, oh, I can sauté in carrot juice. I can sauté in soy sauce or water even. Water sounds so boring, but people do that. They sauté in water. You can sauté in anything. In orange juice, it's just like the sky is the limit. In vegetable broth, low sodium vegetable broth. That's delicious actually, because you have flavour and you could caramelize your vegetables in that. It's infinite. So when you learn how to do that, you realize who needs the oil, who needs that extra fat? It's a waste.
Karina Inkster: Well, for folks like me who need a ton of calories every day, it's an easy way to get extra calories, but it's not giving me any additional nutritional benefit.
Debbie Adler: No.
Karina Inkster: Is the research, though... You probably noticed I'm a little skeptical here because I just did a quick search and I'm no expert, obviously. But there's a meta-analysis of 45 studies with something like I think like 17,000 participants. Oh, a total cohort of almost a million actually. It's 929,000 individuals. And they studied olive of oil specifically. So we're not talking about oils across the board, because if we're talking about canola oil, I think we can all figure out that that's not necessarily related to health benefits. But here the highest consumption of olive oil was associated with 31% lower risk of developing any type of cancer, which is interesting.
Now, anything in peer-reviewed research, as you know I'm sure, it depends on how things were measured, who's funding the research, how many participants they had, et cetera. I mean, there's so many different points, right? But I don't know, I feel like for people like me who need a lot of calories, who love olive oil with garlic in it especially, isn't it a little limiting, especially if we're talking about new vegans, people who are becoming plant-based and maybe not even for health reasons to be like, oh yeah, no oil 100% across the board?
Debbie Adler: It's really up to the individual. If you just want to go vegan and experiment that way, that's fine. And if you want to go deeper, which is what I wanted to do after learning about this, I didn't even know about the whole-food plant-based. I knew about veganism. I knew I didn't like meat, but this extra step was so exciting to me. It's just me. I was so excited that I wanted to do it, and I wanted my husband to do it, because it doesn't guarantee anything but it helps give you a sense of, okay, maybe we'll prevent heart disease because heart disease is most of the time a lifestyle disease.
Karina Inkster: Right.
Debbie Adler: There are exceptions to that, but that is a lifestyle disease for the most part. And I'm thinking if you don't want to have a stint in your heart when you're 60 or 70 or 80 and don't want to drop dead of a heart attack, or all those things that go along with heart disease, why not figure this out? I am that of that ilk where I would rather learn how to enjoy my food without the olive oil than risk having heart disease. I'm just that way, and I'm sure most people would agree they don't like being in the hospital.
Karina Inkster: Definitely.
Debbie Adler: So, I'm thinking try it. If you really can't do without the oil, fine, but I think you're going to figure it out and say, wow, this is delicious.
Karina Inkster: Oh, I'm sure it can be. I mean, I know for a fact that the recipes in your book are fricking delicious and they don't have oil in them.
Debbie Adler: Exactly.
Karina Inkster: I just found another study that was 28 years of follow up, and the people who had the highest olive oil consumption, who had cardiovascular disease at the beginning of this study, were less likely to die. That's insane. Where's all this research coming from?
Debbie Adler: Who funded this study?
Karina Inkster: This is crazy.
Debbie Adler: That doesn't sound right.
Karina Inkster: And it was published in 2022. This is a brand-new study on the Mediterranean, well, olive oil specifically. Blah, blah, blah. This is crazy. It was just published, 28 years of follow-up, and there was a 29% lower risk of neurodegenerative, like caused by degenerating nerves, mortality, 18% lower risk of respiratory mortality, and these people had cardiovascular disease or cancer when they started. That's nuts. But then, they also looked at margarine and that had the opposite effect. So that's not surprising at all. I mean, that's pretty obvious, right?
Debbie Adler: Yeah.
Karina Inkster: So yeah, I don't know. I feel like, of course, there are a lot of studies that have looked specifically at olive oil and have found associations of the exact opposite, right?
Debbie Adler: Sure. If you look hard enough, you're going to find people on both sides of the aisle. And so, I go by what Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who's a well-renowned doctor, who's a pioneer in this field.
Karina Inkster: We had Anne and Jane on just recently, so yeah, they were on the same page.
Debbie Adler: Yeah, I listened to that. Yeah, I did. I listened to that. And so, if you want the science, if you want the doctors who've been in this field for 50, 60 years, that's who I listen to, and I trust him. I trust his colleagues, and all of them are in agreement. They are all in agreement with this no-oil lifestyle. So I just listen to them. I'm not going to play Russian roulette. I don't need the olive oil. It makes me nauseous anyway. As a matter of fact, that's a good point, I just thought. Before I knew about it, I used to have it once in a while at a restaurant. You dip your bread in the oil. It's delicious.
And so what happened? I had something, I don't remember what it was, and it had some oil in it. It was probably from a restaurant. I didn't realize. It made me really nauseous because I normally would not get nauseous, but because I'm so used to not having oil, it just made me sick. And so, it's what you get used to. Sometimes you feel like you can't do without something, but you do it anyway, and then you realize, oh my god, now it makes me sick. I can't even have it anymore. So it's what you get used to, what you're committed to. If you're committed to a really healthy lifestyle, I don't think you can go wrong. But if you want to do it incrementally and maybe have it a little bit, whatever, that's fine too. Just don't kill animals, really. I'll be happy if you don't kill any animals and you can have some olive oil, that's fine.
Karina Inkster: Well, I'm in full agreement. I think some people aren't even in veganism for health anyways. I mean, I started completely for ethical reasons. Health was not even on the radar. So, there's a lot of folks who feel excluded almost when we all assume that every vegan cares about health on some level, which I'm not saying that these people won't eventually think about health options. A lot of people start for ethical reasons, and then later they're like, oh, actually there's also health benefits. But I don't want to exclude people who are purely ethical vegans.
Debbie Adler: That's true, yes. Yeah, I tend to forget about that because I'm so into health. But you're right, they do it for ethical reasons, and the health benefit is just a secondary that happens. You're right.
Karina Inkster: Do you teach classes? I think you have some online offerings. What's the story there?
Debbie Adler: I’ve put together many classes that I try to help people, because like you said, some people are curious and they don't know how to do it. So, my first class that I ever put together online is called Plant Powerful Life GPS, and it's a map to show you how to transition to a plant-based lifestyle deliciously, and it also tells you how to get... People are so worried about not getting enough vitamins and minerals. It's online. You just go at your own pace. It's yours for life, so you could take your time, you could refer back to it, and it has recipes, it has videos. Everything is on video. I show you everything, and it's just step-by-step if you want to transition. Or even if you're already doing it, it's very informative on what this lifestyle's about. I give you recipes and I show you how to do it, and it's very comprehensive.
So that was the first one I ever did, and then I did another one called Plant Power... Everything has plants in it. Oh no - the second one was Quintessential Health 360, which was finding health or achieving health in every aspect of your life, not just food, but spiritually and with what you do physically. And so I did that one as well. And then I have a weight loss one, which is a complete plant powerful weight loss system. I came up with a system, it's not counting calories, it's anything but, that helps people lose that little extra weight, or a lot of weight if they have to, by doing this system. And so, those are the three main big courses that I have.
Karina Inkster: Very cool. So are they self-paced, or are they live in groups?
Debbie Adler: Self-paced. It's all online. Everybody just goes at their own pace. Once you get it, you just look at it. You don't have to look at it for another month if you don't want to. You just go at your own pace and that's it. And you can always refer back to it. Yeah, it's nice. People enjoy them and they really like the classes.
Karina Inkster: Well, it's a great resource for folks who want something specific to where they are currently. So whether it's weight loss or going plant-based in the first place, having that support that's specific.
Debbie Adler: Yes.
Karina Inkster: I think that's super useful. That's awesome. I see your furry friend in the background.
Debbie Adler: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I love my puppy. I never had a dog growing up, so I didn't have an affinity to animals really growing up. And so my son was born. At two years old, he demanded we have a dog, and I was actually afraid of dogs, believe it or not. And I said, okay when you're eight years old, we'll have a dog. I figured he would forget about it. And sure enough, eight years old on the dot, he's telling me, all right, where's my dog? And I just figured I have to do it. Oh my gosh, I was petrified. I know it sounds silly, but to someone who's afraid of it, it doesn't seem silly. But he was so passionate about it and so demanding that I thought, I better get him this dog, and it was the best thing I ever did.
It was the best thing I ever did because first of all, I have fallen in love with all animals because of this. I can't even imagine my life without my dog. He's my constant companion, and it is so good for my son to have a dog growing up, and so it was the best thing I ever did. My son pushed me to my limits, and now there's no fear around dogs. There's nothing. It's just a beautiful transition from someone who's afraid and like, I had to cross the street because somebody has a dog on the other side, to wanting every animal in my life that I could possibly hold. That's the way I feel, and to save every animal on the planet because it hurts me so deeply that any animal would be hurt or killed. It's just such a big hurt that I feel now, and it's because of my dog. So that's a very big thing for me now, is saving animals. That's why you became vegan, for ethical reasons.
Karina Inkster: Wow. I'm very impressed with your son, by the way, because he literally quadrupled his lifespan from two to eight. Right? That's very impressive for him to be that persistent, but it obviously paid off.
Debbie Adler: Yeah. I would never have gone through the lengths that I went to get this dog had it not been for him, because it had to be a special kind of dog because of the allergies and the hypoallergenic, and family-friendly and all that stuff. So, to find the right dog was a pain in the ass, but it really paid off, and so it's the best thing I ever did, really.
Karina Inkster: That's amazing. I think that story of connecting with one animal and then generalizing to all the other ones, I think that's a very common catalyst for people to go vegan.
Debbie Adler: Yes.
Karina Inkster: Sometimes it takes that just to realize, "Hey, wait, what am I eating? How similar is it to this family member of mine?"
Debbie Adler: Yes, exactly.
Karina Inkster: That's pretty powerful. Well, Debbie, it was great to speak with you. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I'm very excited to check out your new book, and good luck with the bakery and all your projects, your classes. We'll have show notes, so our listeners can connect with you and check out all your various projects. But it was fantastic speaking with you. Thanks so much.
Debbie Adler: Same here. Thank you, Karina. I appreciate it.
Karina Inkster: Debbie, thanks again for our discussion. I appreciate you joining me on the show. Access our show notes at nobullshitvegan.com/141 to connect with Debbie. And don't forget, if you'd like a simple sample three or four day strength training program, get in touch with me and I will send it right over. Thanks so much for tuning in.