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Transcript of the No-Bullsh!t Vegan podcast, episode 136

Vegan octogenarian authors and coaches Bob & Fran German on healthy, active aging

Karina Inkster: You're listening to the No-Bullsh!t Vegan Podcast, episode 136. Authors, healthy aging advocates, and coaches Bob and Fran German are on the show to prove that getting older doesn't have to mean getting sicker. And to share with us how we can all be our own health advocates.


Hey, welcome to the show. I'm Karina, your go-to no BS vegan fitness and nutrition coach. If you've been thinking about levelling up your fitness and plant-based nutrition, now is a great time to check out our coaching programs at karinainkster.com/coaching before we start filling up in January.


Coach Zoe and I would love to have you on the team and we create a custom workout program for you based on your goals, available time, equipment, things you might be training for, as well as a custom nutrition resources package. And then we hold you accountable. We get an automatic summary of every workout you do. We keep tabs on your food logs, if you choose to track food, because that's optional. And we have unlimited ongoing communication. To learn more, head to karinainster.com/coaching.


Today's guests are Bob and Fran German. They're healthy aging advocates, authors, and coaches. They're both in their eighties and say that they're feeling better than ever. They have three children and four grandchildren, enjoyed successful careers, and traveled to more than 75 countries. Along the way, they became human rights activists, martial artists, mediators and negotiators, students and teachers in the Buddhist tradition, public speakers, international volunteers, and still serve as advisors to a number of non-profit organizations, businesses and individuals globally.


Bob and Fran strongly believe that all of us need to be our own health advocates and that getting older does not have to mean getting sicker. Their favourite vegan meal is drunken noodles, and we will talk about some of their cooking exploits in our discussion. Hope you enjoy our conversation.


Hi, Bob and Fran, thank you so much for joining me on the show today. Happy to have you here.


Bob German: Thank you. Thanks for having us.


Karina Inkster: Let's jump right into it. You have an amazing story and an amazing transformation that happened. You are living the active, healthy, older vegan lifestyle right now. You're basically poster children for 80 plus vegans. It's awesome.


So can you just give our listeners a quick intro, who you are, what you do, and then we'll kind of work backwards and we'll go back to where you were and how you got to where you are now. But super quick intro would be great.


Bob German: I can start. Well, we're Bob and Fran German. We're a married couple. We're both octogenarians, meaning that we've been on this planet for-


Fran German: We're in our 9th decade.


Bob German: So we're in our eighties, and actually we feel better than ever. When COVID came into being, we had been retired for many years and we spent most of our days volunteering in our local community. But with COVID, we couldn't have that interaction. So we said, "how can we help people by not going out of our house?"


And so we became, what we understand, that we're among the oldest, newest YouTube influencers ever.


Karina Inkster: That's great.


Bob German: So that's sort of our recent hobby. And we have helped a lot of people with our stories and with some of our lifestyle strategies. So we feel good and lucky that in our eighties we're living better than ever.


Karina Inkster: Amazing. Can I ask how old you are?


Bob German: Sure.


Fran German: Of course.


Bob German: You can ask.


Fran German: Yeah, we're 82.


Bob German: Yeah, we're both 82.


Fran German: But we had a really nice experience this afternoon. We were hiking over at the Carl Sandberg historical site, and we ran into a couple from Greenville, South Carolina. And we were talking for a few minutes, and when we told them we were in our eighties, they were like shocked. They said they thought we were in our sixties.


Karina Inkster: Well, I'm not surprised.


Fran German: We didn't even have to pay them to say that.


Karina Inkster: You probably get that a lot. You're like 82 going on 52, basically.


Fran German: Something like that. That would make our kids older than us.


Karina Inkster: Yeah, good point.


Bob German: We've had many people say, "We want to adopt you as our grandparents." We go along with that. So we have a lot of grandchildren, besides our real ones.


Karina Inkster: Very cool. Well, okay, so let's go back a little bit. So right now you're fully plant-based, have been for a long time. Health is off the charts, but that wasn't always the case. So where did this whole journey start? And I know that there were some health scares involved. I think a lot of our audience members could probably relate to that.


Fran German: Yes.


Karina Inkster: Sometimes that's what it takes for folks to have a wake up call and then they make changes. So what's your story? Where did you start? And how did you get here to being vegan influencer coaches?


Fran German: Okay. We were living in South Florida, just near Fort Lauderdale, for 25 years. One day I woke up and I couldn't open one eye, so called our doctor. He had us come over. He took one look at me and he said, "I think you have Bell's palsy."


Karina Inkster: Ah-ha.


Fran German: And this is weird, I know, but I looked back at him and I said, "No, I think I have myasthenia gravis."


Karina Inkster: Which I've never heard of.


Fran German: Now don't even ask how or where that came from. Came out of the ether. Anyway, he sent me across the street to a neurologist. The neurologist gave me a what's called a tensilon test. He put a substance in my arm. My eye popped open, and he confirmed that my diagnosis was right.


Karina Inkster: Wow.


Fran German: So then I went back to my doctor, I'll never forget this. He said to me, "Your life expectancy will be shortened. You will be on medication for the rest of your life. And myasthenia gravis is incurable." We call this a nocebo, not a placebo, but a nocebo. In other words, he gave me no hope that I could ever get better. And then he proceeded to put me on prednisone and mestinon, which was a common drug. Both are common drugs for myasthenics.


That was the beginning. Terrible, terrible journey. I mean, there were times when I was so sick, so weak, I couldn't even pick my head up off a pillow. While we were both working together in real estate for many years, I couldn't work anymore. I couldn't drive. I had double vision so bad that they couldn't even put a prism in my glasses.


Myasthenia gravis means severe muscle weakness and it affects everybody differently. So it isn't like, well, it's this and this. So it's really hard to diagnose. And over a period of 12 years, or 14 years that I was sick, I think I saw, altogether, 11 different doctors and it was all a matter of, "What drug can I put you on now?"


Diet was not an issue. I thought I was eating healthy, by the way, because I was never overweight. I tried to keep myself as active as possible. We'd walk in the mornings when I was stronger, but as the day went on, I got weaker. And also, the heat in South Florida was devastating, because myasthenia is affected adversely by heat because it makes you weaker.


Bob German: I should say, basically, it's an autoimmune disease, that it's a neuromuscular autoimmune disease. So we traveled around. We had the wherewithal to travel to different doctors and we were told the same thing. "Well, you got to take these pills.” But never once was the idea of changing what you put in your mouth a factor in their diagnosis.


Fran German: Ironically, here we were in South Florida in the three county area, millions of people, and I never met another myasthenic. Then in 2004 we moved to a small town in western North Carolina. And the first week we were here, Bob noticed in the local newspaper that there was a myasthenia gravis support group.


Bob German: I couldn't believe it.


Fran German: At the local hospital.


Karina Inkster: Wow.


Fran German: Really weird, huh? So we started going these meetings, and let me tell you, Karina, I saw some really sick people. People who were going to the hospital every week for different treatments. I mean, I was taking good care of myself. I was doing everything I could to feel better, but of course, I couldn't get 100% better, but I was trying real hard. Whereas most people just kept taking more drugs and they ate so unhealthy. I mean, even at the meetings, they were serving cookies and chips and soft drinks, garbage.


So I go to the meetings just because I felt that this was the right thing to do, but I didn't really learn anything, until one month, at the meeting, they had a clinical nutritionist come from Asheville. And with a slide presentation, he showed that even something as healthy as white meat chicken compromised the immune system.


And he recommended that anybody with myasthenia gravis, or any autoimmune disease, eliminate all animal products, okay?


Karina Inkster: Mm-hmm.


Fran German: And he recommended reading A Diet for a New America by John Robbins, and the China study by T. Colin Campbell. I immediately went out, got both books, read them cover to cover, and changed my diet.


Now fast forward a year or two, I had made friends in this group. I was the only one, at that meeting, who took this to heart, changed my diet, and my friends in the group, over in the period of next two years all died. But not from myasthenia. They died from heart disease. They died from cancer. They died from diabetes. Because when something goes wrong with your body, it doesn't necessarily happen just one thing. Everything breaks down. The immune system plays havoc. So that's how I was able to change my health by changing my diet. And then about this time, Bob developed a problem.


Bob German: So my story isn't that interesting, but I kept myself as fit as possible. I actually met a group of young women in their twenties, who were training for the Olympic Games in race walking. It's an exaggerated power walking kind of thing. These kids were fantastic, and zero body fat, and really into health and fitness.


So I sort of took that on as a hobby, and I would walk maybe six to 10 miles a day doing this power walking, this race walking. And I actually did that for quite a while and then I changed the surface that I was walking on. I just wanted a different path. And then after a few weeks I developed discomfort in my groin area. So I got a little nervous because I wasn't used to being sick. And I went to a local urologist and he said, "I can't really find anything that's wrong with you, but let's do a CAT scan and let's investigate this." So he did a CAT scan and he said, "I think you pulled a muscle in your groin, you're going to be fine down there, but take a look at this."


And he showed me on his x-ray screen that I had a growth on my left kidney. And he said, "I don't want to run the riot act, but you need to have that removed pretty quick. And I am not capable of doing it. It takes a special skilled urologist surgeon.” And I wound up going to a internationally known clinic in the middle of our state of North Carolina. It was about a four hour drive. And I wound up having what's called a cryoablation surgery to remove this growth, which means they actually froze it off, and at that point they could biopsy at the same time. And I'll never forget how nervous I was to get the results of this test. And he said, "Unfortunately, you do have renal cell carcinoma."


Fran German: Did have.


Bob German: Did have, yeah, because he said, "You had it, but I froze it off, so you don't have it anymore." But renal cell carcinoma is kidney cancer.


Fran German: Well, one thing he did say was, "I got it all." Famous line, I got it all. He said, "But this type of cancer has been known to return." But he didn't give him any direction on how to prevent it from returning.


Bob German: Yeah. So we drove home, and we made a pact on that four hour ride home, that we are going to not just cave into this and just go on with our lives, but-


Fran German: And hope that it doesn't come back.


Bob German: We're going to make some lifestyle strategy changes. And at that point, we committed to eating a healthy diet of plants and whole grains and whole foods, eliminate all meat products and dairy products.


Fran German: And that was 16 years ago.


Bob German: So now it's 16 years later.


Karina Inkster: Wow.


Bob German: I actually had some feedback, I don't know if it's true or not, but I was told even that doctor wound up, who-


Fran German: Changed his diet a couple years later.


Bob German: He wound up going plant-based.


Karina Inkster: Oh good.


Bob German: And now we're living as healthy as we have throughout our entire lives. And we're in our eighties and feeling just fantastic. So I think a message that we got out of this, that I'd like to share with you, Coach K and your audience, is that getting older does not have to mean getting sicker. A lot of people we have found feel that, "well as soon as I hit my fifties, I'm going to start breaking down. Gee, when I get into my sixties, it's going to be really bad. Seventies, I'm going to be hoping to be alive." Well, it's not true. If you take care of yourself and you stay fit and you eat right, you can enjoy a long life of happiness and great health. And there's just nothing better than that. So that's our stories and we're sticking to them.


Fran German: And I get a kick out of people who say, "I can't afford to eat that way. It's too expensive." Well, first of all, even with what's been going on with food prices, I'm hardly spending any more money now than I was before COVID. My food bills really haven't gone up, number one. Number two, we're not spending any money on doctors.


Karina Inkster: Don't get me started on the healthcare system, because that could be a whole podcast episode in itself.


Fran German: I know, I know.


Bob German: We're with you.


Karina Inkster: But yes, I hear you. I'd like to think that in the last 16 years things have changed in the prevention department, and maybe they have a little bit. I've had conversations here on the podcast with medical students, for example, who are vegan and who are bringing that into their practices. We had a doctor on just recently, internal medicine specialist, who is vegan and talks about the plant-based diet with her patients, so I like to think that things are changing. But there's still a lot of work that has to be done in this area. There's still a lot of education even in, or maybe especially in, the medical field when it comes to preventative, essentially preventative medicine, but preventative nutrition, especially.


Fran German: Yes.


Karina Inkster: So that's a really powerful story you have and a fantastic example of how, first of all, you can make a huge change later in life. It's never too late. And second, getting older doesn't have to mean slowing down, getting health issues. It doesn't have to mean those things. Yeah, that's pretty amazing.


Bob German: Exactly.


Fran German: I mean, we have friends whose whole social life is visiting doctors.


Karina Inkster: Right.


Fran German: They go from one doctor's appointment to another. We have people in our family like that. But one thing we have learned is you can't change anybody else. You can only change yourself.


Karina Inkster: Right.


Fran German: And so we just hope to set a good example and that others will choose to change themselves.


Bob German: Yeah.


Karina Inkster: Absolutely. I always use my grandma as an example. I've mentioned her on the show a couple times. She's 96, she lives on her own. In the summer, she swims every day in her pool. She strength trains three days a week. Believe she spent her 90th birthday on the beach in Mexico. I mean, just amazing.


Bob German: Just crazy!


Fran German: That's great!


Karina Inkster: And it's just another example of how she's been active for her entire life. She eats well. It's just another example of how, first of all, our decisions throughout our lives add up.


Bob German: Yeah.


Karina Inkster: And there's a lot of differences later in life. When you're 20 years old, you can get away with more things.


Fran German: You're invincible.


Karina Inkster: And you're not going to have long term health issues. You're basically invincible at that point. So if you were talking to someone who, maybe, let's say they're around the same age you were when you kind of started making changes, which I assume was sixties, somewhere in there, about sixty or so?


Bob German: Yeah.


Fran German: No, I was 52 when I got sick.


Karina Inkster: Right.


Fran German: It wasn't until I was 64, until we changed.


Bob German: Yeah.


Karina Inkster: Right.


Bob German: Mid sixties.


Karina Inkster: So we do have a decent number of our listeners who are older and who are thinking about long-term health. Lots of other listeners are younger, and also thinking about long-term health. So what kind of advice do you give to folks who are just coming into this plant-based eating for the first time? A lot of our listeners are already on the spectrum somewhere, but not everyone.


Fran German: Right.


Karina Inkster: So what would you tell someone who has this long term health motivation? Maybe they already have a chronic illness, maybe not, and they want to make a change and they want to go plant-based.


Bob German: I think I would start by saying that every bite of food that we take, either fights disease or fosters disease. And so I think it starts with what you eat. You can take control of your health. I wish that we would've been more like that -


Fran German: We didn't know.


Bob German: - years ago.


Fran German: Yeah. We didn't know. There was hardly any information about this back then.


Bob German: I think that when we were younger, we sort of worshiped doctors. It was like, oh, my parents would say, "oh, the doctor." The doctor is like the king.


Fran German: You would never question a doctor.


Bob German: But I think that you should think... I'm not saying don't go to the doctor, but I'm saying you should take more control over your health. That's what we did. We decided to make some strategies and put them in place and take care of our ourselves. Not waiting for a doctor to say, "Do this or that," because that may never happen.


Fran German: We actually go to a whole food plant-based doctor now. It's becoming more common. And lifestyle medicine is being taught in a lot of medical schools now.


Karina Inkster: Absolutely.


Bob German: But I think if you just change from some of the bad habits to good habits and do this as young in your life is possible, it opens up just the idea of this freedom from medical tests, from pills, from going to doctors, from having all these examinations. And the stress that goes with illness, you don't have to go through that. And it does start at any age. Even on our YouTube channel, we call it Young at Any Age is the name of the channel. And we thought we'd be getting a bunch of old fogies like us as our audience, but surprisingly, we get a lot of people, even in their twenties, they want to be like us at when they age. And I really respect that, the earlier, the better. But on the other hand, it's never too late. We've done a lot of talks in our local community, talking about our health success stories.


Fran German: Transformation.


Bob German: And a lot of people who are in their sixties, seventies have decided to do what we did and they never look back. It's been a godsend to them.


Fran German: See, what people don't realize is our food system, it has changed dramatically over the years. They say as much as 80% of what's in a supermarket now, didn't exist when our grandparents were our age. The food additives, the chemicals, all the things that they put into our food, are there to make things taste better and make us sicker. So I mean, the lines of fast food restaurants as we pass by is practically around the block. And that food is cheaper to attract people. I mean, we saw some kind of a sandwich today on a commercial that had-


Bob German: Triple.


Fran German: Four? Oh, three burgers on it.


Bob German: With bacon.


Fran German: With bacon.


Bob German: And cheese.


Fran German: And cheese. And 16% of the population is overweight now.


Karina Inkster: Absolutely.


Fran German: And they wonder why.


Karina Inkster: It's really kind of depressing that the folks who are, quote-unquote, “normal” in our society, are the ones who are not active, are the ones who are eating very processed foods at many meals every day. It's also a systemic issue, I think. A lot of places that have really long life expectancies have completely different lifestyles, where activity is built to what you do every day.


Fran German: Yep.


Karina Inkster: And that's not how it is in North America. You're the outlier, if you're active every day. You're the outlier, if you eat vegan. Still, I mean it's better now than it was.


Fran German: Exactly.


Bob German: Yeah, we know that.


Fran German: Yeah. We don't get invited to too many people's homes for dinner.


Bob German: They don't know what to do with us.


Fran German: I got to tell you one quick story. Years ago when we first had switched our diet, we were invited to somebody's house for dinner. They lived in an apartment, we sat in the living room, and then we had hummus and crackers. Then we moved to the dining room and we had salad. And then I looked in the kitchen and there was nothing else. This was the whole meal.


Karina Inkster: Well, they don't know what to do with vegans. And that's still the case in a lot of restaurants nowadays. I mean...


Fran German: Yeah. Oh yeah.


Karina Inkster: Depending on where you are in the world, unfortunately. You can just bring your own food and just wow everyone with this amazing vegan spread, and say, "hey, it's all plant based."


Bob German: Yeah. I like that.


Karina Inkster: It's usually my tactic. It's usually desserts though. My thing is vegan desserts, just reel them in with the vegan desserts.


Fran German: Yeah.


Karina Inkster: So what about other lifestyle tactics? Other lifestyle habits? So nutrition is clearly the cornerstone of what you've done with your own transformations, but there's a lot of other things you also place focus on, like mindfulness and being active. So where do those pieces fit in?


Bob German: One thing that is an automatic to combine with healthy eating, would be to get off your butts and move every day.


Karina Inkster: Yes.


Bob German: I don't care if you just walk to the mailbox to start with, but you've got to get out. We like walking outdoors, at least to 20 to 30 minutes. And if you can't, start at five minutes, but get outdoors if you can, and start walking. We advise you to try to walk pumping your arms at the same time, bringing your fists up to your heart, so you're really working your entire body. And if you can, increase that walk a little bit every day, or every week, a minute or two or so, and work up, maybe double the original time, keep moving.


But I think that sitting has become the new smoking in America today. People sit on that couch and they binge watch TV. And I'm not saying, don't do that, but don't do that every day. You've got to move. And there's something about connecting with nature that we think is just good for your psyche and your physical wellbeing. So we say make that a habit, a daily habit.


Another thing that we learned that was very valuable to us was that we adopted an ancient Chinese wellness system called Qigong. That's spelled Q-I-G-O-N-G. So we have a lot of Qigong lessons, they're all free on our YouTube site, so there's no excuse for not at least giving it a try. But Qigong is like Tai chi, which you might have seen in TV commercials or somewhere, but it doesn't necessitate memorizing a sequential set of movements and postures. So it's just you follow the teacher. But what it does, and it's a very slow, gentle moving, no sweating kind of exercise program, that lowers your stress levels and increases your energy levels. It has this magic duality. And we have taught Qigong in over 40 countries worldwide. It's very healthful for you and it's fun to do. So I would suggest you try to look into that.


Fran German: By the way, that was one of the things that I took up as 

soon as I was diagnosed. We started taking Thai Chi lessons and then learning Qigong. And I think it helped a great deal with my energy level, and just my overall wellbeing.


Bob German: Another thing that we do personally, that we strongly recommend you to do, is to develop a mindfulness practice, a period of sitting quietly. You could be in prayer, you could be in meditation, you could just be sitting quietly with no electronics, no cell phones, just in a quiet place. And start with just five or 10 minutes a day and focus on a single thing. So it's not the monkey mind, you don't want to start thinking about what you're going to be doing later, but you're going to be focused on being present. I suggest you start by just mentally watching your breath, because the breath is with you everywhere. So if you are sitting quietly, just focusing on your breath, your whole body starts relaxing with each inhale and exhalation.


And if you make that a habit, you really get good at this. And why you do it is that it reflects in your everyday life. So if you are a person that worries a lot, that means you are not present. That means you are worrying about something in the future. Maybe what you're going to fix for dinner that night, or what's going to happen to you 10 years from now.


But it takes you out of the present and it puts you into the future. We think that that affects your stress levels, when you leave the present moment. The same if you're holding a grudge, or if you're angry at somebody, or something that might have happened yesterday or years ago. You're not in the present, you're in the past.


So the idea of meditation, or sitting quietly, is sort of a training for keeping you present. That has been a life changer for us. So even when we're peeling potatoes, or taking a shower, we are with those potatoes, or we're really focused on that shower, and enjoying that minute without planning our day, we're there. So that's our little advice on mindfulness.


Karina Inkster: That's brilliant. I feel like mindfulness and veganism goes together. One thing I wanted to ask you, actually, was it sounds like the health aspect was what got you into the whole food plant-based eating.


But since then, what happens with a lot of folks, is it then expands to other reasoning, like the ethics behind it, and the environmental reasons. And some folks have also mentioned that on a mental level, they feel more connected to their food. They kind of understand more about what went into producing it. And so there might be some mindfulness around that, as well. But is that something that happened for you two? Has it kind of expanded to other motivations or other interests within veganism?


Fran German: It's interesting that you bring that up because we have found that many young people, who are vegans, go in strictly for the animals. Possibly for the environment. We went into it strictly for health. But, then, over time, you can't help but look at somebody who's eating an animal, and realizing how cruel that is, or what it's doing to our environment. And over the years, we've traveled a great deal. We've been to the Amazon and we saw where they cut down rainforest to make grazing fields for the cows, so they could kill cows and eat more animals.


It's ruining our environment. It's a whole picture. You can't separate one from the other. It's how you start with it. Ours was starting just for food, for health. And like I said, many young people start just for the animals, but then it improves their health.


Karina Inkster: Absolutely. Yeah. That's really interesting. I want to go back to what Bob was mentioning, too, about just starting with five minutes. Starting, whether that's a mindfulness practice, or a walking or intentional movement practice. I think a lot of folks, maybe especially ones who are considering the whole food plant-based diet, because it seems really restrictive to a lot of folks, and we all know it's not, but a lot of folks think, "oh, you got to do crazy workouts. You have to kill yourself every time you're in the gym. You can't workout at home, because you're not going to get a good workout." It's kind of this all or nothing thinking that a lot of folks have.


And it usually means nothing. It's never all, it's always nothing. So our advice to our clients always is always something, instead of occasionally being full on “perfect,” quote-unquote, on your plan. That only happens about 10% of the time anyways. But always something, whether that is walking to the mailbox, if it's down a long drive, instead of just taking your car. And maybe it's taking the stairs. Maybe it's doing two minutes of mindfulness, because five minutes seems like it's too much. I mean, it all kind of seems like it's not a lot, but if you're doing it consistently, and you weren't doing anything before, it makes a big difference, doesn't it?


Bob German: Yeah.


Fran German: Yeah, absolutely.


Bob German: I also think, if one is off the wagon from being a vegan, or maybe just thinking about becoming a vegan and trying it out, if you could get a, what we call, an accountability partner, someone else that will try this with you. Maybe start a walking group, start with one friend and maybe expand it. Get other people involved with you to help. It's sort of a support system that we find to be very important to a lot of people. If you can get a couple other people, or just one person to support each other going vegan, going shopping together for vegan foods, having some meals together, I think that might be something for you to consider, as well. And there's a good socialization interaction with doing that kind of thing.


Karina Inkster: That's a great idea. I have the same thing. I have four different workout buddies, like training partners. We keep each other accountable.


Bob German: Exactly.


Karina Inkster: Takes care of all my workouts throughout the week. Some are at the pool for swim training, some are strength training. So it can be an accountability buddy for anything. It doesn't have to be working out. It could be your diet, it could be your shopping buddy. That's a great idea.


Bob German: Yeah, I like just to say that for those of you who follow Coach K regularly, it might be a good idea for you to go to her website, and just read her philosophy again, because it is really, really good.


Karina Inkster: Oh, thanks.


Bob German: And no, I mean that. I think your attitude is great. If you're thinking about going vegan, but you're just not quite ready yet, well, give it a try. Even if you try it for a month, just give it a try. And if you have a coach, right, you're already watching this person, you might want to give her a try, as well. But it just opens the door to just new horizons. It just makes you feel lighter. And once you get on the vegan path, and you see someone as you walk through a park, holding a dog on a leash with one hand, and eating a hamburger with the other hand, you'll realize, "What is wrong with that person?” So give it a try even if it's for a test period.


Karina Inkster: Love that. Love that. I do want to, well, thank you for the shout out first of all. But I also want to go over the book that you have: 101 Ways to be Young at Any Age. What is the deal?


Fran German: You mean this book?


Karina Inkster: Oh, you have it right there. Yes. Brilliant. So how did that come about? And can you tell our listeners about it?


Bob German: Well, I think our children, especially, our oldest daughter, wanted us to put things down into a book form. This is really a compilation of articles that we have written over time. The chapters are like one page chapters. But it is jam packed with ideas that we do and that we've-


Fran German: We've benefited from.


Bob German: And that are actionable for you. They're very easy, and no cost things that you can do. It covers a lot of what we've talked about over this interview. We talk about mindfulness, we talk about food, we talk about just making the right choices and decisions in life. It's been a very important part of our legacy, so to speak.


So as elders, we felt, see if we could write a book, or make some videos that would go on in, what is the word?


Fran German: It's hard to say it.


Bob German: In perpetuity, we thought that would be good. And so we feel fortunate that we did write this book, and you can get this book by the way, on Amazon. And I did want to mention the book I think is 14.95. But all the money that we collect, all the money, 100%, goes to what we call Bob and Fran's ACT Project, which is an anti-child trafficking project, that we have been with for several years now.


So all the money is funnelled to help prevent, young girls especially, from a life of living in a brothel and being trafficked into the sex trade. So keep that in mind. And if you could buy a copy of the book, and they make nice gifts at holiday season, if you don't know what to give someone, for 15 bucks, I think it's a really worthwhile present, and it would benefit your friends, whoever you give it to.


Karina Inkster: Wow, that's excellent. I didn't know about the 100% proceeds being donated. That's amazing. Good for you.


Bob German: Yeah, we actually spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia and Thailand and Burma and Cambodia and so on. And the human trafficking, especially in northern Thailand and Burma, is just horrific. So we've decided to act on that. And this project really has helped prevent vulnerable or extremely poor communities from allowing their young girls-


Fran German: They actually sell their daughters into slavery, because they can't afford to feed the rest of their family.


Bob German: Yeah.


Fran German: It's very sad.


Karina Inkster: Yeah, it's brutal.


Bob German: The money, by the way, the money goes to building schools and providing healthcare for people that don't have any other way to do things. So once again, it's 101 Ways to be Young at Any Age.


But sort of our motto is, and our goal, I guess in life, something to think about out there, is to die young as late as possible. And we're doing that.


Karina Inkster: That's brilliant.


Bob German: And we're enjoying our late years in life. It's not like we're suffering through these years.


Fran German: Are we in our late years?


Bob German: I don't think so.


Fran German: I don't think we're there yet.


Karina Inkster: Not quite yet. Not quite yet.


Fran German: Not quite yet.


Karina Inkster: That's amazing. Well, one more thing I wanted to ask you about is the coaching that you do. So folks who feel like they need some extra help, maybe they want to kind of consider the mindfulness and the whole food, plant-based eating aspects.

What sort of options do you have for folks? What sort of coaching do you have for people?


Bob German: Sure. We have one-on-one coaching, just face to face 

with the two of us. It's a Zoom call. And the other is we do some small group coaching. So if you wanted to get some friends together, we would be happy to coach you as a group. And you can get detailed information on our coaching at our website, bobnfran, that's B-O-B-N, as in Nancy, F-R-A-N.com. That's our website. You can get all the details there.


But I think as life goes on, it's good to have mentors; whether it's a fitness trainer like Karina, and she goes beyond fitness in her organization with food, as well. But it's good to have mentors. We have been lucky to travel to 75 countries, over 75 countries, and we have sought out wisdom teachers from every part of the world. And they have benefited our lives very much.


None of us know it all, and we're always looking for help. So it's just like if you want to learn to play tennis, you hire yourself a coach. If you want to learn how to keep in shape, you can hire Coach K. If you want to learn how to eat better, there's coaches like us, and we're always happy to help you. So I appreciate allowing us to mention that on your show, Coach K.


Karina Inkster: Of course. Of course. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show, Bob and Fran. Fantastic to meet you and have a conversation. Is there anything that you would like to leave our listeners with?


Bob German: I want to know what you're having at dinner tonight.


Karina Inkster: Good question. I am having some-


Bob German: I got her.


Karina Inkster: Some homemade minestrone, that we call “mine strone,” just for fun. But my husband is the chef of the household, for the most part. And so he made a-


Fran German: Oh, lucky you.


Karina Inkster: I know. Totally. Giant pot of homemade minestrone, fresh herbs, tomato sauce, delicious. Kidney beans are in there. I always throw some greens on top, so they're not like in the soup. That's my plan. It's my exciting Friday night dinner. How about you?


Fran German: Well, one thing I wanted to say is whenever I make soup, I make a double recipe.


Karina Inkster: Yep.


Fran German: And then I immediately freeze half.


Karina Inkster: Brilliant.


Fran German: So in my freezer is another meal. Like Sunday, we're having some friends who are plant-based - yes, we do have a couple - who are coming. They live down in South Carolina, but they have a home up in Asheville. They're coming to visit. And they're coming here for lunch on Sunday. And I've got soup in the freezer-


Bob German: What’s that soup?


Fran German: It's called tortilla soup.


Karina Inkster: Ooh. I've never tried making it, but I hear great things.


Fran German: It’s really good. And I'll make some cornbread to go with that.


Bob German: But I have to tell you, to answer your question, what are we having tonight?


Fran German: Tonight we're something that you've probably never had.


Karina Inkster: Which is?


Bob German: It's a Thai dish. Fran is an excellent Thai food cook.


Fran German: We spent nine winters in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


Karina Inkster: Oh, wow.


Fran German: Which by the way, is vegan paradise.


Karina Inkster: I can imagine.


Fran German: We could easily walk to 30, they call them vegetarian restaurants, because they don't use dairy products. And any recipe that has an egg in it, they can leave out. So famous soup of Northern Thailand is called Khao Soi.


Bob German: It's not cow as we know the word.


Fran German: K-O-I. And it is spicy and delicious, and I put in potatoes, mushrooms, and tofu.


Bob German: Rice noodles.


Fran German: Rice noodles, and it's delicious and it's wonderful on a cold night.


Karina Inkster: That sounds amazing.


Fran German: So that's what we're having tonight.


Bob German: We're going to send you the recipe.


Karina Inkster: I would love to try it out. See, we don't have a lot of options in my tiny little town.


Fran German: Yeah.


Karina Inkster: There's a lot of vegans here, actually. But it's just population wise, not enough to support an establishment or anything.


Fran German: Yeah. The only problem with Khao Soi, there's a special curry paste that we could only get in Thailand, so we have it from there.


Karina Inkster: Very nice.


Bob German: You could get it.


Fran German: I don't know if you can. Maybe on the west coast.


Karina Inkster: I could probably get it ordered in somehow. Possibly.


Fran German: Maybe.


Karina Inkster: I will look for it. I would love the recipe, if you're willing to share.


Fran German: Absolutely.


Bob German: I tell you what we do have on our website, the same website that I just mentioned, we have a lot of Thai international recipes, but a lot of Thai recipes. So you can take a look, bobnfran.com.


Karina Inkster: Excellent. Well, Bob and Fran, thank you so much for being on the show. We will have show notes by the way, so we'll have links to your book and your website and your YouTube channel. And thank you so much. It was great to speak with you.


Bob German: Same here.


Fran German: Yes.


Bob German: Namaste.


Karina Inkster: Bob and Fran, thank you again for joining me on the show. Wonderful to speak with you. Check out our show notes nobullshitvegan.com/136 to connect with the Germans. Thanks for tuning in.



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