Transcript of the No-Bullsh!t Vegan podcast, episode 126
Healthy aging, lasting legacies, and more: a discussion with vegan legend Victoria Moran
Karina Inkster: You're listening to the No Bullshit Vegan podcast, episode 126. Vegan legend Victoria Moran is back on the show to talk about the Main Street Vegan Certification Program, healthy aging, leaving a lasting legacy, and much more.
Hey, welcome to the show. I'm Karina, your go-to, no BS, vegan fitness and nutrition coach. Thank you so much for tuning in. An absolute institution in the vegan world is on the show today, so I'm super excited to share our conversation with you. But first, if you haven't yet checked out our collection of nine free vegan resources, get your hands on those at Karinainkster.com/resources. You'll see a vegan-specific protein calculator, a couple of comprehensive guides for things like how to get plant protein without a crap ton of sodium, and the 15 extra important micronutrients for vegans, a vegan-specific portion guide to use instead of calorie counting, and a whole bunch more. So you can get all of those for free, and no email sign-up is required by the way, at Karinainkster.com/resources.
And now our esteemed guest for today, Victoria Moran. She was on episode 46 of this show, so if you haven't yet checked out that earlier episode, do put that on your radar. Listed by Veggie News among the top 10 living vegetarian authors, Victoria Moran has written 13 books, including “Main Street Vegan,” and “Creating a Charmed Life,” and was featured twice on Oprah. She is the founder and director of Main Street Vegan Academy, training and certifying vegan lifestyle coaches and educators for the past 10 years, and she was the lead producer of the 2019 documentary, “A Prayer for Compassion," about food choices and spirituality. Victoria is one of the co-founders of the Compassion Consortium, an interfaith, interspecies spiritual centre for people who care about animals. After 475 episodes of the Main Street Vegan podcast, she's about to launch the Victoria Moran podcast, an exploration of vitality, spirituality, and compassion. Her favourite vegan meal is a giant salad with cashew ranch and lots of dulse and cilantro. Here's our conversation. Hi Victoria.
Victoria Moran: Hello. Nice to see you again.
Karina Inkster: Hello. Nice to see you. How you been doing lately?
Victoria Moran: I'm good thank you.
Karina Inkster: I'm excited to see you. I'm glad you're back on the show. So for our listeners who are tuning in, our first episode with Victoria was episode 46 of this show. I think that was in the first year, actually, of the podcast, which started four years ago. So it's been a while. So if you haven't heard that episode, check that out for sure, because I'd like to speak to you Victoria today about what you've been up to since then, what's new in the world of Victoria Moran, and also Main Street Vegan, and just kind of see what happens if you're on board with that.
Victoria Moran: Why thank you. Sure.
Karina Inkster: Well, thanks for coming back to the show. We're happy to have you here and I'd love to just jump in. We're talking about your podcast, episode one having been recorded today. Congrats. Super excited.
Victoria Moran: Yeah, I did a turnaround. Yeah, I've kind of had an interesting history with, well, I started to say radio cuz that's my generation, but I had first a show on Sirius XM on the Martha Stewart Channel.
Karina Inkster: Oh wow.
Victoria Moran: This was back in 2005 and 2006. And then there were a lot of changes at the Martha Stewart Channel and they didn't want to have non-homemaking shows. So my two shows, which were called A Charmed Life and A Charmed Life 2, cuz my biggest selling book was, “Creating a Charmed Life," so that's kind of an identity that I have. And even with that emphasis, I got a lot of vegan and plant-based people on there and it was fun cuz I got to go to a studio high up in a building in Midtown Manhattan. It was all very cool. And every once in a while I'd see Howard stern. And then when that ended, I started on Unity Online Radio with the Main Street Vegan show and that was weekly for two months shy of 10 years.
Karina Inkster: Wow.
Victoria Moran: So we had 475 episodes and then Unity Online Radio was a hybrid radio-podcast broadcaster, and it just didn't work long-term for the hybrid model. So they decided to close in April and I'm now with MindBodySpirit.FM. And like you said, I just taped the first show today. And it's very exciting because I've changed the name. So it's no longer the Main Street Vegan Show. It is the Victoria Moran podcast with the tagline, “Vitality, Spirituality, Compassion.”
Now to me being vegan is about all those things, but I intend to have guests who talk about all kinds of things, including being vegan with the idea that some of these other people, like people who have read earlier books of mine that were more about spirituality and wellbeing, will also come back or maybe they haven't left, and they'll be there for some of those vegan shows too. Because, and I'd be interested in asking you this, it seems like it's always the challenge. How do we get this message to the people who aren't already singing in the choir? You seem to do it beautifully and you have for a long time. And I just think when we all can kind of learn where our niche is in that way, we'll do a lot more to create a kinder world.
Karina Inkster: Oh, that's brilliant. Well, thank you for your words. I mean, I think a lot of our audience is already on the spectrum somewhere. Even if they're not fully vegan, they're at least on the path or they're interested, or they're curious. They're not pure carnivores who are a hundred percent against eating only plants, right? But I think using something like fitness, which is universal and has nothing to do with veganism really, on the outside anyways, using something like that as a jumping-off point or like what you're doing now, which is conversations with folks, compassion, spirituality. I mean, that's not necessarily just talking about veganism, but it includes veganism and that's kind of the same with fitness I think. It can include veganism as fuel for your feats of strength, as you know, increasing your athletic performance, but then also for ethical reasons and also for environmental reasons. So I feel like if we have a jumping-off point, and that could be a lot of different things, maybe that's what gets people interested.
Victoria Moran: Well, I think that's perfect. I love what you do with fitness. And I really do think that spirituality is the jumping-off point for me. That was actually how I started doing vegan books. My very first book was my college thesis and it was published in 1985, called, “Compassion, the Ultimate Ethic: An Exploration of Veganism.” And as far as I know, it was the first book on vegan philosophy and practice to come from an actual publishing house. I got a fellowship from my little United Methodist college in Naperville Illinois, that I could study anything I wanted, as long as I left North America to do it. So I went to the UK to study vegans because back in the early eighties, there were more of them there and they were closer together and it was looking at veganism through a spiritual lens, cuz my degree was in comparative religions. And so I think that's always been my jumping-off point. I wonder if everybody has a jumping-off point. Isn't that interesting?
Karina Inkster: That is interesting. And I'm pretty sure they do. Maybe some folks don't know what it is yet, but I'm pretty sure it's there. Yeah.
Victoria Moran: Yeah. Well, it's always good to find out what I call - I wrote another book called, “Creating a Charmed Life,” and one of my chapters there is, “find your free square,” or “play your free square.” So if you have ever played bingo, you know that in the middle of the bingo card, there is this free square and it is absolutely as valuable for winning that game as O 52 or B 17, or whatever, except everybody gets one. So nobody is excited that they have a free square, but in life, we have one too. And if you can find out what this thing is, maybe it's a gift or a talent, but maybe it's just a little knack.
So mine has always been meeting people. Just connecting with people, helpful people, interesting people, sometimes famous people in places where I should not have been running into famous people. I just did, because that's my free square. And if you're listening to this and you don't know what yours is, then ask somebody close to you cuz they'll know. And what's interesting about this free square is you can use it just like that free square in bingo to help you towards something more. If you've kind of got to get four steps to get somewhere, your free square can get you one or two, and then it won't be so hard to get the rest of the way.
Karina Inkster: What a brilliant analogy. I've never considered that before. That's genius. I love it.
Victoria Moran: Well, you know, you grow up Catholic, you know a lot about bingo.
Karina Inkster: Haha! That's a fair point. Well, let’s talk about a couple of the things that we had on the radar for potential topics. And one thing I'm super interested in, most of our listeners maybe know that I did my master's in gerontology and health and aging, and so one of the topics we had was aging. I mean, that's huge, broad! I mean, we could have like a whole series of podcast episodes on that, but you were saying, you know what, it's not necessarily a slam dunk, you know? I mean yeah, sure, health and fitness are important, but there's something that might be even more important. So let's dive into that.
Victoria Moran: Well, when I first wrote something about aging, I was way too young to be writing it, but I think I got something right. I wrote a little chapter in that same book, “Creating a Charmed Life,” that I called ‘age exquisitely.’ And the main point there was to identify more with the eternal part of yourself that doesn't really change than with the outer part that changes all the time. And when people say, but you know, that's all woo-woo and I’m not into a soul or whatever, that's okay. But think about yourself when you were 10 and when you were 15 and when you were 31; that's still you. All those memories belong to you regardless of what your chronological age is now. And I think there's really something to that. I have had some mentors about aging as I have gone through my life.
One of the first ones was a lovely woman named Iris. So I was working in the Library of the Theosophical Society outside Chicago. And when we had extra work, if there'd been a meeting or something and people had left their drinks out, and they had un-shelved all the books, then we would call Iris, who lived locally, and she would come in and help us out. And Iris lit up a room, even though she was probably 80 when I met her. She had this wonderful silver hair that she had in braids around her head. And she would always say these wonderful philosophical things. And whenever I would get very upset with some detail that wasn't working properly, I was 20, she would say, “oh, the darling physical plane.” And if you're not like a theosophist or a yogi or something, that might sound odd, but you know the idea that there are planes of existence that maybe that may be more subtle than this one, but here we have to put up with, you know, all the stuff that we put up with.
And so she was one, and I've had so many others and started to plant the seed in my mind that I'm gonna get old that way, instead of the other way. Now, of course, you never know what's gonna happen with health, with accidents, all that kind of thing. The longer you live, you know, the odds just get kind of stacked against you that something that isn't wonderful might happen.
And yet part of the process is to be able, certainly to take care of yourself, to take care of your health. That's so important, But to also be able to kind of roll with the punches and the women that I know now, and I'm focusing mostly on women, I do so know some amazing men who are in their later years as well, but I have two role models right now who are in their nineties. And one is my very first yoga teacher, Stella. She still teaches two yoga classes a week. She lives in Covet Garden in London, in a fourth-floor walkup.
Karina Inkster: Wow.
Victoria Moran: And is just absolutely stunning. And she said to me the last time I spoke to her in a very matter of fact, she said, “my children are all pensioners now, you know.” And you know, it's just this thought, I mean, when my daughter turned 30, I thought something was wrong with the world. How could this possibly be? Well, you know, it happens. And so just to be able to be kind of cool and easy with it means a lot.
Karina Inkster: That's a good point. You sound like you're describing my omi, my grandma who's 96, lives on her own. She missed my call yesterday because she was at her exercise class and then went swimming. So like -
Victoria Moran: Wow!
Karina Inkster: She is a powerhouse. I basically wanna be her when I grow up.
Victoria Moran: And I think you will be! You've got the genes.
Karina Inkster: Oh well, yes. And the role model!
Victoria Moran: We need that so much. And I think there's something about people who are older than we are, regardless of what age we are. It's just like talking to somebody from another culture. You're speaking the same language, you might be in the same room, but there's a reference point gap. And I think we need practice in speaking with people of different ages.
Karina Inkster: That's a good point.
Victoria Moran: And sometimes when I talk to 20-something people, now that I'm 72, it's like, wow, she's 24! I mean, what's that like? And then I think back to when I was 24 and what I was dealing with and what I was struggling with, and I'm very lucky being in this vegan world because there are a lot of young people. And so I get to hang out with them and we get to talk in ways where a lot of people my age are kind of in these almost like ghettos of age, you know, where people maybe are living in a 50 plus community, which has a lot to recommend it.
You know, every time I'm in my lobby and some child is screaming so that the lobby will echo, which it tends to do, I think, oh, they have those over 50 communities, but I'm glad I'm not in one because it's good to be able to connect with everybody of all ages. And then when you really get used to talking to people who are older, then as you get older, you've seen someone that you relate to live in that culture, live in the fifties, live in the sixties. And then when you're there, it's kind of like, okay, this is not so alien.
Karina Inkster: Mm that's such a good point. I have a lot of friends who are older than me. And I think that's probably one of the reasons. Even if I haven't really internalized it, it just kind of happened. Or I gravitate toward people who are older than me for probably similar reasons. It makes sense.
Victoria Moran: I think old souls tend to gravitate to older people sometimes too.
Karina Inkster: Could be. So what you're saying about this kind of extra level, you know, whether it's meaning rolling with the punches, this kind of additional layer to health and fitness, I mean, look, you're the poster child of health, fitness, veganism. I mean really! But how has this extra layer presented itself in your life? Is that something you think about a lot? Is it something that you really work on? Like how does that look in addition to the basics like nutrition, fitness, mental health?
Victoria Moran: Well, I've always tried to work on my holistic self, physical and spiritual, and I didn't really think that much about it until I was faced with a challenge. So a few months ago I started having god-awful ringing in my ear. Now I've had ringing in the ear for a really long time because I flew with an ear infection and a clogged ear back in the nineties and developed this. And I have a little thing called a masker. It looks like a hearing aid, but it plays white noise. And I was largely habituated. I would go through my life and I knew I had it, but mostly I didn't notice it. And if it was bad, I would put the masker in.
And then after a few weeks, I wouldn't need it anymore. And it was fine. If somebody said, list your top 10 problems, that would not have been one of them. But for whatever reason, that is completely inexplicable at this point and maybe forever, on April 1st, it went crazy. And it's the kind of thing that is very, very hard for many people who get it at this level. My understanding is 50 million people have it. And 1% of them have it at this level.
Karina Inkster: Oh, you're the lucky 1%.
Victoria Moran: Yeah, really. I'd rather be that other 1%, the ones with the money! Haha.
Karina Inkster: Haha!
Victoria Moran: But it's been very challenging to have to accept it today while working toward some sort of change tomorrow. It's not curable and yet people live with it. And some people habituate, which I guess I did before. And that's what I'm looking to do now. So I've had an interesting few months of shopping around the alternative therapies world and trying a lot of things, none of which has done very much, but you know, it's interesting to see what's out there.
I've had some very relaxing experiences. And so what I've basically come to now is something very practical and very much having to do with acceptance, and this is life and you take it and you run with it. And that is cognitive behavioural therapy, which I can't start for three weeks because the man that I found who also specializes in tinnitus and has it himself is so good that he was booked up for a month. So that appointment is made. And what I understand about cognitive behavioural therapy is that it's very much about just growing up and accepting life as it is and dealing with what you've got and for tinnitus, evidently that can help turn it off. And then the other thing I'm doing is just as far from practical down-to-earth, as, you know, some people would say you can get, and that is that I'm doing the medical medium protocols. Are you familiar with the medical medium?
Karina Inkster: Yeah. So I have to be honest and say, he's on my list of not evidence-based practitioners, but hey if it works, then I'm cool with it.
Victoria Moran: Yeah, no, I completely get that. And his belief or his teaching is that cases of tinnitus ringing in the ear when they're not caused by a loud noise are often the Epstein Bar virus, which I'm positive for. So I know I have it. And his suggestions are all dietary, herbs, a few supplements, most of which I was already taking, and I figured, okay, this is out there. And they say it could take six months to 18 months, even two years. So two years from now, if I didn't do it and everything is still the way it is, I would think why didn't I do that? And so I'm doing it. And if two years from now, the ear is still the way it is, I think I will feel a lot healthier because I'm much more hydrated than I was before because I get up in the morning and have 16 ounces of lemon water, and then I have 16 ounces of celery juice, and I don't have any of what he calls ‘radical fats,’ nuts or seeds or anything like that before noon.
It's an interesting kind of health journey. And I have no idea if the benefit is gonna be what I hope it will be. And yet just the learning experience, the people I've already met, and just the kind of interest factor. Plus, you know, this is I think really important: whenever you're dealing with something difficult, sometimes you need something else to focus on. And when I am putting celery through my new slow, cold-pressed masticating juicer, and it really is slow, I'm not thinking about the ringing in my ear. I'm thinking about isn't that interesting how this machine gets juice out of celery? So I think that's another thing - when you get older, you don't feel so much that you have to justify everything. And it's like, yes, I am doing this procedure recommended by a man who hears a voice. And some people would say that's loony. Well, you know, if he was telling me to do things that weren't health-promoting, I would think so too. But since it's all healthy anyway, we'll see.
Karina Inkster: Hmm. You know, if I were gonna do a protocol like that, I think your outlook is probably the best one to have. You know, like, hey, this thing is gonna be a long-term thing probably. I mean, we don't know for sure. Who knows - it could turn itself off tomorrow for no reason. My husband has it too. I have an ear issue right now that's probably from allergies, but it sounds like my right ear is a blown speaker. So like, it sounds distorted, probably because of seasonal allergies that I have really badly.
But it's a whole process, you know, have to do the hearing test and waiting for results from my doctor, the whole thing. So I can definitely relate to like this long process. And it affects you every day, you know? I mean, practicing accordion, listening to music.
I was in a concert performance yesterday where I was on stage and there were two trumpet players to my right. And that's like the worst for the situation right now. It was just like the blown speaker on level 11 for, you know, 20 minutes. So I can totally understand that. But I think if I did something where I wasn't quite sure what the outcome was gonna be, your outlook of like, hey, well, it's all health-promoting things anyways. Look, I'm more hydrated than I was before. I'm eating super well. You know, it's nothing out of the ordinary, really, of what you would do anyway. I think that's a pretty good outlook to have.
Victoria Moran: Well, I'm glad you think so. You know, it's very interesting. I'm not opposed to Western medicine at all. I mean, I told you, my husband was recently in the hospital. Western medicine saved his life. He had a bone infection, which is not something anybody would want to have. And yet this is one of those cases where they really have no clue, probably because the causes are so varied and it presents differently in different people. And what's really confusing is that many of the drug therapies that are used to treat it are also on the list of the drugs that cause it, and that make it worse. So it's very confusing. So I just figure I'm going to stay with the psychology, that's Western and that's accepted, and I'm gonna go with the medical medium because you know, that's the kind of person I am.
Karina Inkster: Fair enough. It's almost like your own experiment.
Victoria Moran: Well, I think that's part of what this whole thing is. We were talking about aging and it is an experiment because I've never been in my seventies before. Good heavens! I was just thinking the other day, someone was talking to me about an experience that I had in my twenties. I met a man on a bus named William Sapphire, and he was a political reporter and columnist for the New York Times, Washington bureau, very conservative. I had never heard of him. I'd never met a conservative, but he didn't have proper change to use on the bus. So I gave him the right change and he was grateful and he was looking for an antiquarian bookstore, cuz he was looking for a particular ancient Chinese manuscript. Well, I took him to the bookstore and got him the manuscript. It happened to be there and he'd been looking for it for a couple of years.
So he was so grateful that he took me to lunch. And when we were talking and I told him at the time I was writing for a magazine and doing a lot of freelancing and he said to me -I was 26 - he said, “Well, I expect a book out of you. You're not getting any younger.” And at that time it was like, well wait a minute. Of course, I am because I've always been young. That's just who I am. That's what I am.
And it was the first time it ever occurred to me, oh wait a minute. Time goes forward. And just because other people are in age groups doesn't mean that you're not gonna cycle through them as well.
Yeah. It's all an experiment. It's all, let me try this and see how it goes. And the other thing that's so cool is if something doesn't work, you can always try something else. You know, there's like a baseline. For me the baseline is vegan. I'm an ethical vegan. I do not want to harm other beings for my own nourishment or pleasure or anything. And so when I'm looking for modalities or whatever, I wanna look in lifestyle medicine and plant-based eating in, like you said, beautiful, generic fitness that just doesn't hurt anybody and helps everybody. All those things are so helpful, but which things an individual picks and chooses are that experiment of creating our own future self.
Karina Inkster: Ooh, I like that. I like that a lot. We tell our clients all the time that their fitness journey is one giant experiment. So if they're coming in with the mindset that there's gonna be one answer, one correct way of doing things, one way that's gonna work best for them, that's setting them up for failure. And I think it's the same in life. That can relate to life in general. But if you're coming in with an experimental mindset, like you just said, hey, if it doesn't work, there's always something else you can try. That's what's gonna keep the 96-year-olds, you know, like vital and healthy. And my grandma's sister made it to 101 and a half, so…
Victoria Moran: You'll be 105 or more!
Karina Inkster: I hope so! I hope so. My mom is 70 and she is the model of my new book that just came out last week on 50 exercises to do with resistance bands. So she modeled all of them over a nine-hour photo shoot and the photographer, who's a friend of mine, and myself, were basically just like helping out and like setting up shots and stuff. At the end of this photo shoot, she's done basically 300 exercises cuz she's doing them multiple times and she's like, hey, wanna go for lunch? Wanna grab dinner somewhere? Like, and we're just exhausted. She had the energy and we didn't. So I think mindset has something to do with that. But also all the background, health and fitness, mental health work that somebody has done over their lifetime, it adds up.
Victoria Moran: Mm. It's like money in the bank. If you put it in over time, then you have it to draw out when you need it.
Karina Inkster: Right. Yeah. That's a good way of looking at it.
Victoria Moran: I was just gonna ask if you grew up in fitness. Were you raised with a fit lifestyle?
Karina Inkster: Well, yes and no. It's kind of an interesting question because we grew up in a very healthy household. My sister and I, a younger sister, she and I always played outside. You know, we had like a creek and a small forest in the complex that we grew up in. So we're always outside doing active things, but my parents aren't like fitness people, you know, people who work out. Sure, we were active, we did active things. We traveled, but I didn't really get into fitness till I was 16 or 17, just kind of on my own thinking, interestingly enough, about healthy aging. Even at that point, I was like, well, you know, gotta work on my bones. One day I'm gonna be 90. So yeah, I mean, a great influence for sure. Super healthy diet, but it was kind of my sister and me who became the fitness nuts, interestingly.
Victoria Moran: That is so interesting that you were thinking about that later time of life at that time. Because I mean, obviously from the story I just told you I wasn’t. But my daughter, when she was, I guess about 14, we hadn't yet moved to New York City, but we were here to do some things for her acting career and we'd gone to pick up headshots back when you got your headshots on paper. And there was this very, very elderly woman who had been in a movie in I guess the nineties, called, “The Wedding Singer.” So everybody knew who she was, but she was probably in her late eighties and she seemed to have some osteoporosis and that. And they handed her 500 headshots and I was just worried that she wouldn't be able to carry them, but she did.
And she went out and it was cool cuz she knew that everybody knew who she was. And my daughter said, you see that lady? I said, yes. She said that's gonna be me because I'm not going to give up.
Karina Inkster: Oh wow.
Victoria Moran: And Yeah. That was such an interesting concept to me coming from a 14-year-old that she could relate so clearly with somebody so much older and it's true. So she has remained a vegan and she is a professional aerialist and stunt performer.
Karina Inkster: Amazing.
Victoria Moran: And she just auditioned in Chinese for something in Beijing. So fingers crossed, maybe she'll be doing some acting on the other side of the world.
Karina Inkster: That's incredible. Good for her. Hey, you were saying like having all of these graduates from your program, but no grandchildren is an interesting concept. So I'm gonna be in the same boat. I'm not gonna have any grandchildren for sure. Cause I don't have any kids even and don't want kids. But what does that mean to you? Like not having grandchildren, but also having this very different type of effect on the world?
Victoria Moran: Yeah. Well I feel that Main Street Vegan Academy, which trains vegan lifestyle coaches and educators and started in 2012, is such a gift in my life and to the world, because people take the course - it's seven very intense days on Zoom - and then they go out into the world and do all these amazing things. So we've got authors and coaches and entrepreneurs, all kinds of different businesses and influencers online and to be able to give someone a jumping-off place is just the most amazing feeling, especially at this time of life when you're thinking about legacy and where most people throughout history have had children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren going on into the future. So I have almost 600 graduates at this point.
Karina Inkster: Wow.
Victoria Moran: In 33 countries on six continents. It’s very cool and you know, some of them are my age, or nearly, and some of them are, you know, very, very young. Actually, our youngest graduate is vegan - Evan, who is a wonderful young activist. He was nine, I think when he took the course. And so they're all out doing amazing things and not everybody is trying to set the world on fire. Some people take the course for personal enrichment, but even people who aren't doing vegan or plant-based or whatever in a professional way are influencing people around them.
Every time we go out to dinner and order what we order and our friend sees what we order, there's just something happening there. It's like changing normal. Every time somebody does something in a healthier way, healthier starts to look normal. So I feel that all my graduates, those who are making names for themselves and those who have successful businesses and those that are just feeling more at peace in their own skin, and like they can speak more effectively with those in their circle, they're my legacy. And I love it that they're all out there and making more.
Karina Inkster: Yeah, of course. Well, it's also part of more legacy pieces for you I think. I mean, you've written how many books? 13? That's pretty amazing!
Victoria Moran: 13 books so far, one more in the works and it's called, “Age Like a Yogi.” And we're waiting for a new website because for the past 10 years, my only website was Mainstreetvegan.net. I used to have Victoriamoran.com, but the person who built the website did something wrong, and when she put up Main Street Vegan, it knocked off Victoria Moran.
Karina Inkster: Oh no!
Victoria Moran: Never to be seen or heard from again. But at that time, my focus was so intensely on the vegan work to the exclusion for a time of everything else. I thought, well, that's fine. You know, who needs two websites to take care of? But now that I wanna do, “Age Like a Yogi,” we need an author website just for me. So that should be coming soon, Victoriamiranda.com, and then, you know, the rebranded podcast as well. So I am Victoria and I am Main Street Vegan and I can carry both.
Karina Inkster: Absolutely. And more if you wanted to! You're an institution seriously, in the vegan world. I mean your career span, the amount of work you've done, the legacy you just described of these 600 graduates who are going out into the world, doing amazing things. That's pretty incredible.
Victoria Moran: Well, thank you. And I am standing on the shoulders of those who came before, some of whom are still here. So speaking of role models, one of those for me is Freya Dinshah, who was the co-founder of the American Vegan Society in 1960.
Karina Inkster: Wow.
Victoria Moran: And sometimes I just pause when I think about that because 1960 was almost the fifties! Most of 1960 was prior to John Kennedy. I mean, it was a time when the way that people saw the world was just very, very different. But Freya and her late husband Jay believed that the US was ready for a vegan society. And that was where all the information about veganism and plant-based living along with something called the Natural Hygiene Society, which was on the health side, it's now called the National Health Association. But those two were really out there before PETA, before Dean Ornish, before the book, “Animal Liberation,” from Peter Singer that coined the term animal rights, long before any of that, they were going, and I found them and they believed in me.
And this to me is just so important. When anybody is trying to change their diet or get fitter or whatever, and they're just not doing great at it, and you know, they'll fall off the wagon or they'll skip workouts or whatever, I find the most important thing is just to hold them up as someone who is succeeding. And that's exactly what Freya and Jay did for me. I would fall off the vegan wagon and they would just treat me like a vegan. They never doubted that I would eventually make it. And I did. And you know, sometimes it's like, oh, I so regret I didn't do it the first day. Well, you know what? I didn't do it the first day, but I feel like I've done my best to make up for it since.
Karina Inkster: I would think so. I would agree for sure. Where can folks go to learn more about the Vegan Academy? So as some of our listeners might know our podcast head honcho Izzy is a graduate of this program, which is super cool. So can you tell us a little bit about the program itself and where people can find out more info?
Victoria Moran: Oh sure! I would be honoured. Mainstreetvegan.net, .com - we've got both of them. You can go to either one and just click on Academy. We're actually revamping that website too. So it should be a little different in a couple of weeks, but Main Street Vegan Academy is a place where people become family. So the connections and the networking are absolutely splendid. So first you get to know your classmates and your instructors and me. I'm so proud of my instructors because they're really the cream of the crop of the vegan and plant-based world. So we have people like Maryanne Sullivan, who's an animal rights attorney, a professor at Columbia and NYU Law School, and Jasmine Singer who with Maryanne founded Our Henhouse. It's like animal rights royalty. We have Joshua Catcher who's a wonderful fashion designer and his clothes have been in Vogue and GQ. They’ve been worn by Benedict Cumberbatch, and he comes every time. The only time he ever missed Main Street Vegan Academy was the day he got married.
Karina Inkster: Oh wow.
Victoria Moran: We were in person then and so he wasn't able to do it that week. And we have physicians and registered dieticians, Chef Fran Costigan, a classically trained French chef. She's the author of, “Vegan Chocolate,” and she teaches how to do a food demo. We're not a culinary program, but if you wanna get out there into the world of VegFests and that sort of thing, it's good to know how to do a food demo.
Karina Inkster: For sure.
Victoria Moran: And then we have, in addition to our vegan principles, which are everything, health, nutrition, history of the movement, environment, animal rights, that sort of thing. And then we have communication principles. So you've got all this information from the six books you had to read before you took the course and from everything you've learned before, and everything you're learning in the course, but how do you translate that into something that is gonna help another person?
So we have classes in public speaking and working with mixed and transitional families, working with people with food and weight issues, and then we have business principles. So digital marketing, getting your point across online. We're gonna have Chef AJ in the course coming in October, who's gonna teach us all how to really make a difference with online video.
Karina Inkster: Oh wow.
Victoria Moran: Because a lot of people feel like, well, I can talk, but I don't know where to put the camera, or the light, or whatever.
Karina Inkster: That’s so cool.
Victoria Moran: So and then we have mini-classes on just little things that are of interest, maybe not to everybody, but everybody who is going out as an expert probably needs to know a little bit about it. So we have, for example, Keith Acres, who, wrote the book, “Disciples and the Lost Religion of Jesus,” talking about was Jesus a vegetarian? Because people in certain parts of the world and people who maybe are Christians themselves are gonna get that question all the time.
So we try to kind of run interference for the students and having done this class 33 times, and then we've done four master classes, we know what people want and what people need. And then afterward there's all of this opportunity to connect. So we have reunions, we have classes just for graduates, and you know, I couldn't even tell you how much time I spend every week doing graduate school recommendations and job recommendations and connecting people. You know, I feel like I'm kind of like the HR department and the matchmaking firm all kind of tied into one. But my graduates are really important to me. And so there's just not a thing I wouldn't do for any of them.
Karina Inkster: That's brilliant. And the connection piece is your free square. So you're using it.
Victoria Moran: It is, isn’t it?
Karina Inkster: Super! Well, I love that. That's amazing. Well Victoria, is there anything you'd like to leave our listeners with as we finish up here?
Victoria Moran: Well, you have found yourself such a wonderful podcast to be inspired by, and actually, you know, get to the gym and get out in the fresh air and really live fully. Cuz I think the greatest regret is, oh gosh I missed something! And when you're healthy and when you're fit and when you're striving for more good things, you don't miss anything. So good for you.
Karina Inkster: That's brilliant. Thank you, Victoria so much for coming back on the show. Fantastic, as always to speak with you. We're gonna have show notes where our folks can connect with you and also learn more about your Main Street Vegan Academy. But yeah, it was fantastic speaking with you, catching up. And I always take nuggets of like, oh, I haven't really considered that before in our conversation. So I really appreciate that. Thank you so much.
Victoria Moran: Well, thank you so much. And now I have to tell my husband, the accordion player, that I just spent an hour with another accordion player.
Karina Inkster: There you go. Isn't that brilliant! Thanks so much, Victoria.
Victoria Moran: Thank you.
Karina Inkster: Victoria, such an honour speaking with you again. Thank you so much for your return visit to the show. Check out our show notes at nobullshitvegan.com/126 to connect with Victoria and to learn more about the Main Street Vegan Academy. Thanks for tuning in.