Is there such a thing as a perfect vegan or a perfectly ethical consumer? How far would you go down the rabbit hole in researching the food that you eat for you to deserve the food-specific label you’re putting yourself in? When you start finding out that your coconut comes from monkey labor in Thailand or your wine is laced with fish parts, you might think about questioning your integrity as a vegan and an ethical consumer. How far do we need to go in untangling these difficult questions of food ethics and food transparency? How can we ensure that our food choices are aligned with our values without beating ourselves up for every tidbit of imperfection? Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen share their thoughts on these in this conversation. As a bonus, learn which wines are truly vegan and find out how happiness feels like physically.
Listen to the podcast here:
Veganism And Ethical Food Production: How Much Do You Really Want To Know?
I don’t know how much the episode will devote to this but as a kicking off point, I received an email. It was a press release. I thought this was fascinating. I’m curious if you’ve heard of this, Jason. I felt like it was worth bringing to other people’s attention because I didn’t know about this. Apparently, there are some concerns about the inhumane use of monkeys to harvest coconuts in Thailand. Have you ever heard about this?
I have. It was an offshoot of the palm oil conversation about the destruction of habitat for orangutans. I remember when I first heard about this, I didn’t see any concrete evidence or research. I remember some talk about why not to buy specific varietals of coconut. I haven’t dug deeper into it. I’m curious about what they were sharing with you in this press release.
In full transparency, this is a promotional piece for Edward & Sons, which is a company that I love and you do too, Jason. They make wonderful plant-based products. They might be a family-owned business because we’ve met the people behind the company a few times. This press release went out to highlight the fact that this is happening, and that Edward & Sons is not working with any coconut farms that use monkeys for harvesting. That’s great to know and then it makes me wonder what brands are working with farms like this.
I honestly had never heard or don’t recall hearing about this before. It brings up a big issue of understanding where your food comes from and what the realities are. It’s weird the things that happen in the food industry. There was an exposé in 2015 of several coconut farmers in Thailand who capture and train monkeys to assist with their coconut harvest, which is subjecting the animals to cruel conditions. I’m surprised this came out a few years ago and I don’t recall learning about it. It seems strange.
To me, it’s a challenge because I do so much diligent research on what is in the food in terms of organic, non-GMO, all the things that we discussed with our friend, Max Goldberg, in the past episode of going into labeling and certifications. Now we’re talking about a deeper layer of ethics beyond the soil conditions or whether or not pesticides, herbicides or fungicides are used. We’re talking about the ethics of not just humanizing the work conditions. We talk about the importance of fair trade. We hear a lot about paying a living wage, not just the farmers. We hear this a lot now as we’re re-imagining the old paradigm of toxic capitalism, which a lot of people are calling it slave labor in the sense that you have CEOs or shareholders of companies that are millionaires or billionaires.
The everyday workers that are creating and generating wealth for that small percentage of people are begging for $15 an hour. Even if it’s not, some places outside the US, $15 an hour or an equivalent wage would be massive for them. In some places, they’re still trying to fight for basic subsistence. This begs the question of how deep down the rabbit hole can we go with researching our food? Part of our mission as individuals and certainly with Wellevatr and this show is to be as aware as we can be, make sure that we are voting with our dollars and putting our money and energetic financial resources towards things that we believe in ethically.
It makes me question, what other coconut-based products have I been consuming and been completely ignorant of this? I think about brands like So Delicious coconut milk. I buy coconut shreds from other companies to bake and cook with. It’s that other level of, how can I accurately research the living conditions of the workers? What are they being paid? Is it fair trade? Is it a living wage? It’s enslaving animals to do the dirty work. On the one hand, it’s a little bit exasperating. There are many levels to this awareness conversation, but then it also disheartens me because it’s like, “Fucking humans.” That’s where my mind goes is, fucking humans.
It is interesting. It’s important to have these conversations and raise this awareness because it gets overwhelming to a certain point when you look at all the horrific things happening in the world. It’s easy to turn away from it and say, “I can’t handle any more information.” That’s why a lot of these things continue to happen because they’re either covered up or not enough people know about it or not enough people care. It’s an inconvenience. There are times where you think, “I’m going to pretend that I don’t know that’s happening. Maybe I won’t learn about these things so that I can go on with my life in ignorant bliss.”
This is part of getting uncomfortable is acknowledging what’s happening. The part that makes it easier for me is that once I learn information like this if I can simply support a company that isn’t involved, and that isn’t too hard. You can go and do some research. Since this is a press release for Edward & Sons, it’s another reason to buy their products, then maybe you go in and look it up. When I think about Edward & Sons’ coconut products, I think about their canned coconut milk and usually next to them, there’s the Thai Kitchen.
I’m curious maybe they do it. They’re a huge brand. They do have organic canned coconut milk and sometimes I’ll buy that. Usually, I buy coconut milk based on the price. I bought it from store brands. It’s probably not something they talk about on their website. It does require you to send some emails and get active. Maybe partner with other activists out there or maybe PETA has a list. I’ll look it up and see if it’s been updated since 2015. It’d be interesting to see if they called out any brands. Maybe some have changed over time. It reminds me also of being more intentional in general.
We’ve mentioned this a little bit on the show how sometimes I can be a little lazy with my veganism. One thing that I’ve been mindful of has been wine. For the audience, if you didn’t know this, not all wine is vegan. Some alcohol goes through a filtration process where animal products are used. It’s generally fish products. Sometimes they’ll filter through or filter with. I’m still a little confused about this. Jason, do you remember if they filter through fish or they add fish during the filtration process? It’s almost like a byproduct of it. Is it called isinglass?
It’s isinglass. From what I understand, it’s a part of the filtration process, not a byproduct. I don’t know why on a mechanistic level why they choose to use that animal product for that filtration process. I don’t know if it’s changed since then, but years ago when I was first choosing a vegan lifestyle in the ‘90s, I remember going out and someone was like, “You want to go out for a Guinness.” I’m not sure if their processing has changed, but at that time, I wouldn’t do a Guinness because I knew they were using isinglass to filter the Guinness.
I’m going to double-check this so that we can be accurate, but I’m almost 100% sure that Guinness is now vegan, which is great. I bring this up because I started drinking wine a little bit more often. I think it’s a quarantine thing. I don’t recall. It’s natural plus I’ve been a lot more lenient. I used to be for a few years pretty strict about eating low carb, then overtime after my book came out, I was like, “I’m going to indulge a little bit more in higher carb food.” I’m not against carbs at all. There are benefits to a low carb diet, to a high carb diet. Also having struggled with disordered eating, it’s important for me to not be too strict about the way I eat and tune into my body more. It’s an ongoing thing. I wasn’t drinking alcohol often because of the keto diet, although things like vodka can be or are keto.
I also have never been a huge alcohol drinker. It was a combination of the stress of quarantine, but also having some wine around that I was gifted or something. It got me on a pattern of enjoying it more often. Maybe once a month or so I’ll buy some wine. I have been using the wonderful website called Barnivore, which helps you quickly determine whether or not the alcohol you’re drinking is vegan. It has been eye-opening, especially because previous to now, I hadn’t bought that much alcohol over my lifetime. There were a few brands. I’ll shout out Bonterra, which I love. They have organic wine that’s also vegan. There are a few other brands like Frey Vineyards and Our Daily Red. Does John Salley’s wine company still exist? It was The Vegan Vine. Is that still around?
I don’t know. From the last conversation I had with him, which was two Expo West ago, he’s focused on the cannabis business and he opened a vegan restaurant here in Southern California. John is still in the vegan biz, but he’s a co-owner of a restaurant. He’s focused on his philosophy around cannabis and CBD and marijuana from a medicinal side of things. I don’t know if he’s doing the wine anymore.
I am looking it up and it’s a little hard to tell. I haven’t seen it around. The Vegan Vine was very visible, but now you go to their website, it doesn’t seem to be operating as well, but who knows? It’s hard to tell. They haven’t even posted anything on their Twitter accounts in 2016, which is sad because that was a cool company. You can use a website like Barnivore to look up your wines. I looked up Bonterra to double-check. They’re white wines, which is what I prefer suitable for vegan, but their red wines I find have organic egg whites. That’s another thing that can end up in your alcohol. A lot of people don’t know this. Some brands will label their wines as vegan but most don’t.
I was at the grocery store the other day using the Barnivore website. I was annoyed because 90% of the wines that I typed in were not vegan. It was one after another and it’s a slow process. They might have a mobile app, which maybe I should download. I was using their website on my phone and it was taking forever. Everything I typed in was not vegan. It felt interesting because there was a moment where I thought like this is annoying and frustrating. I want to buy something and not even think about whether it’s vegan or not. This happens with a lot of things. There are certainly strict vegans who would never make that decision.
I do my best not to do that but also be honest. You go to a party or something and somebody’s serving wine. What are you going to do? Pull out your app and type it in right in front of them and then turn them down. Those can be uncomfortable situations. Some people are comfortable doing those things and some people aren’t. A lot of times I find myself saying no to things because of the discomfort of that. It’s part of a bigger conversation around how complex the food and beverage industry is in general. There are many things that go on that we’re ignorant about. You can go down this rabbit hole and learn much, but it can be exhausting.
The other side of it too is financial. Part of my frustration is because I don’t drink wine that much, sometimes I want to go get cheap wine. I don’t want to spend a ton of money on wine because I’m not passionate about it. Every inexpensive wine I looked up at this one particular store wasn’t vegan. I was also annoyed that I have to pay for all this extra money to get a vegan wine. I did end up going with Bonterra and I justified it. It was a few dollars more expensive than I wanted to spend. The great news about Bonterra is not only is their white wine vegan, but it’s also organic. At least my money is going a long way with them.
It’s tough because on the financial side, a lot of people are being super conscientious about their spending for a variety of reasons with the instability, uncertainty of the stock market, unemployment benefits, and the upcoming election. People’s mindfulness, anxiety and attention to their finances, at least I can speak for myself and the people close to me, there’s a different mindset on how we want to spend. Beyond that, we always have to think about voting with our dollars. To me, it’s not just about voting in an election cycle or trying to shift public policy. There are a supply and demand situation with capitalism where if we support organic products, conscientiously made products, fair trade products, living wages, vegan products, plant-based or whatever is in alignment with our personal ethics. That energy that is embodied in the money or the financial system, which at the core is an exchange of energy, was allowing those brands to continue to grow.
There was one brand that went under a few years ago. Maybe 2016 is the last time I saw it around. My favorite wine brand went out of business. It was a brand called Organic Vintners. They were based out of Boulder, Colorado. They had vineyards in Mendocino and to this day, it’s one of my top wines of all time that I still reminisce about. They had a Mendocino Pinot. It was organic grapes, fully certified vegan and delicious. It was so rich, buttery, deep and low acidity. I felt good when I drank this wine. All of their varietals. In particular, their Pinot was sublime. It was spectacular. They went out of business and I have no idea why. If you think about how we are helping companies to grow by giving us the energy of our finances and our dollars, companies that are dedicated to organic or even beyond that biodynamic farming
There’s one brand called Yellow Barn. Their pasta sauce is ridiculously delicious. It’s fully organic and beyond that, it’s biodynamic and plant-based. For a small jar of pasta sauce, it is on the price of your side. You don’t get as much product. You don’t get as high of a volume of sauce when you buy this pasta sauce. When you taste it, you’re like “Holy shit, this is amazing.” You also know that I’m supporting a company that supports organic farming or biodynamic farming. They’re regenerating the soil and they’re being kind to the earth. I’m going to pay more for that brand when it’s available because I know where my money’s going.
Maybe it’s tempting to turn a blind eye because of things like money or access to it. During a time like this where life feels stressful, we might feel a desire to turn a blind eye simply because it feels too much work and we want to prioritize our self-care. This is part of mental health in general. It’s like this is too overwhelming for me and I can’t handle it. The problem is there’s a slippery slope there. I do encourage people to take the best care of themselves and prioritize themselves and their mental state. How often do you do that and at what cost? It’s a big question. Talking about alcohol too can be a slippery slope because I don’t have addictive tendencies when it comes to your common addictions.
There are certain things that I feel addicted to but I wouldn’t ever call myself an addict. I haven’t had that experience. It’s not in my family. I could have a very balanced relationship with alcohol, for instance. I can take it or leave it. I’m in a phase where I am enjoying it more often. It’s pleasurable and I also love beverages in general. I love the experience of drinking something delicious and noticing the subtleties in it. That’s fun about wine like with coffee, tea, kombucha, sparkling waters and all these other things that I enjoy. Some people abstain entirely from alcohol for specific reasons. Either they don’t like it or it’s not something that they have even any desire for. Some people are addicted or prone to addiction. They can’t have it because it is something that they’ll get out of control with.How deep down the rabbit hole can we go with researching our food? Click To Tweet
There are many different reasons that somebody makes a decision with alcohol. There are people who consume a lot of alcohol without even being aware of how it’s affecting them and how they might be using it to self-soothe. Items like alcohol can be tricky because there are many different relationships we can have with it. People make decisions about it for many personal reasons. There isn’t always a ton of awareness and we live in a society that is accepting of alcohol for the most part. It’s acceptable to go to somebody’s house and have a glass of wine, have a beer together or go to a bar. Socializing often involves alcohol.
I’ve had conversations with people during the quarantine. It seems like they’re always drinking and they’re getting drunk. It’s such a common thing to be doing. Since it’s socially acceptable, they might not even be aware of how much they’re doing it as a way to numb out themselves. That’s where that slippery slope comes in here. Being conscious about why you’re making that decision and is it for the best reasons. How this ties into the whole conversation is you could easily say, “I know this wine isn’t vegan. I don’t even know if it’s vegan or not. I’m not even going to bother to check. I’m going to buy it.” You then justify it at that moment as it’s a one-time thing.
You can also find yourself getting into that “one-time” decision making for many more times. You continuously say that is a temporary decision but after a while, if you’re not paying attention, a temporary decision can turn into a long-term decision. That can happen when you’re purchasing anything like food for examples. All of these items can be very addictive and as human beings, we’re not always good about reining our addictions. It’s okay maybe for the first time. We’ll give someone a break, but if you’re not conscious about it for the 2nd time or the 3rd time, when are you going to prioritize being conscious and aware of your purchasing decisions?
Before I move on, I want to jump back because you casually mentioned at the beginning of that chunk. You’re like, “I have some things that I have some addictions toward.” You don’t think they’re full-blown addictions but some addictive tendencies. What are those things that you identify in your life?
I’ve been trying to examine my relationship with coffee. I like coffee and that’s also relatively new for me. I don’t remember exactly when I got into coffee but it’s only been a few years. I remember growing up not being into it at all. People around me were so into coffee and I didn’t get it. At this moment, I’m like, “When did that start? Was there an inciting incident?” I had to reflect on that.
I may be off on this timing but I’m pretty good in terms of timelines. I remember when I first got into Bulletproof Coffee, not with the butter and stuff like that, but Bulletproof as buying it is when I was finishing Eaternity, my book. There were long nights editing, writing and working on that book. I remember that was right about 2015, 2016. I don’t know if my memory serves me right but around maybe 2016, 2017 is when I remember you getting interested in it. We would go to the trade shows and the conferences, and you would start getting stoked about trying new coffees.
I’m trying to think was there one moment or was there one coffee that I had that I enjoyed. You might be right. It was around that timeline because I remember going to coffee shops more often. I love the experience of going to coffee shops. Although it’s hard for me to justify the cost involved with going to coffee shops because I’ve learned a lot of techniques for creating my own coffee at home. I have a number of them now. I rotate through different ways of making my own coffee, but it certainly is a lot less expensive. Even coffee at home is expensive, especially if you’re buying organic and fair-trade coffee. I also always drink coffee with plant-based milk. The two combined can get pricey.
Although, it’s probably $1 to $1.50 a cup when I make a good cup of organic vegan coffee. That’s not like that much money but most days, I drink a minimum of 2 cups, a maximum of 3. It’s either 2 or 3 cups a day. I’m spending on average $3 to $4.50 a day and that adds up over time. I’m factoring in the cost of the coffee, plus the milk that I’m using, plus the sweetener. I haven’t done the exact math but that’s my approximation on the higher end of things. It can add up but think about it. If you go to a coffee shop for a good organic vegan coffee, that’s probably $5-plus, maybe more depending on where you go.
It’s a minimum of $5.
Coffee is interesting not from a financial standpoint, but there’s a lot of conflicting data about coffee out there. I’ve read a lot and I try to pay a lot of attention to it. I try to notice my body as we’ve mentioned in other episodes. I’m not somebody who seems to have an extreme reaction to caffeine. I’ve tested that too. I did a full week without coffee or caffeine and I didn’t notice any difference at all. I don’t know if that was enough time, but I also do my cutoff time. I will start drinking coffee and try to have a big glass of water, but I am excited. This is where I’m trying to notice the addictive tendencies. In the morning when I wake up, one of the first thoughts in my head is, “I can’t wait to have coffee.”
Is that an addiction or is it just a habit? I think this brings me a lot of joy and I don’t think it’s harming my body. I don’t think it’s harming anybody else, so what’s the problem? I try to pace myself throughout the day. I have a cutoff point, which is usually between 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM where I won’t have any more coffee. That way I allow it to get out of my system as much as possible so I can get restful sleep. That’s what I mean about having the conscious awareness about what coffee I’m buying, how much money I’m spending on it, when do I have it, noticing my thoughts and feelings, how I feel emotionally and physically around it. That feels like a balanced relationship. I still have moments where I questioned it.
You could say the same thing about alcohol. You can be conscious of the alcohol you’re purchasing and where it comes from. Part of this episode is we’re trying to encourage people to be more mindful. If you can buy organic, vegan or biodynamic wine, go for it. Look for sales that are happening. That’s helpful. I also use that as a reason to prevent me from buying alcohol too. If I can’t at that moment justify the expense or find this certain type of wine, then I won’t buy it at all. That makes me not get out of control with it. I’m grateful that those wines are a little bit more expensive because it makes me hesitate a little before buying it. If it was super cheap, maybe I would drink a lot more often.
There are lots of conflicting studies about alcohol and its effect on our bodies too. I encourage the audience to do that research for yourself because you’ll go down that rabbit hole. You’ll find a lot of different information about alcohol. You also have to look at the sources. Coming back to the beginning of this conversation with this information about coconuts in Thailand, we’ve got to be transparent. That was a press release for Edward & Sons. It’s in their interest to convince you not to buy and to question your purchases from other brands. If you read something about coffee, is it in the interest of somebody else or is this a scientific study that you’re reading? Who’s backing that study? This is part of where it gets complex when it comes to making any purchase decision. This goes beyond the food and beverage industry. There are many decisions that we can make and it’s complex.
The thing that I ruminate on, there are three thoughts. One, how there are legal drugs and legal ways to alter your state of reality and then there are illegal ways. This is something I think about a lot because a lot of the plant medicines that I’ve found beneficial on my journey of mental health and spiritual expansion, coming into myself more, healing a lot of trauma and dealing with a lot of wounds. Those substances are technically illegal by the DEA here in this country. Things like ayahuasca, psilocybin, ketamine, and iboga. Many plant medicines in many other cultures are used to heal trauma, expand consciousness, do a lot of different healing beyond the physical. Here, the DEA has put those into a class of drugs that are illegal, but things like tobacco, alcohol and now cannabis in many states, “That’s fine. Those are legal.”
In my political viewpoint, everything should be legalized because there seems to be this mentality of confusion of “We can profit on tobacco and alcohol. There’s a lot of money to be made in those industries. These other things, we can’t profit from them. They might also start waking people up and we don’t want that.” Not getting into a conspiracy, but I do believe that there’s a reason why a lot of these trauma-healing, health-promoting, consciousness-expanding substances are illegal. There are reasons for it. I don’t think profit is the only one. Whoever they are, they don’t want people waking up. That’s like a side diatribe. The other thing too is in terms of alcohol. Do you know what the origin of the word alcohol is or the historical relevance of alcohol? Have you looked into that at all?
No, but I imagine you have.
This is super interesting. The word alcohol is a derivative of a Middle Eastern word. I’m not sure if it’s Persian exactly, but back in the Middle East, they called it Alkuhl. The reason you hear as a euphemism the word spirits if you see wine and spirits. They believed that drinking alcohol was inviting malevolent or demonic spirits into your field. When they would see people drink alcohol and go crazy and get in fights or kill themselves. Let’s be honest, humanity has a long history of doing stupid shit while they’re drunk. That’s a pretty common thing. Their philosophy was that your energetic field would be opened to allow not so nice non-physical entities to enter your chamber. In their philosophy, Alkhul was a demonic spirit that entered your body when you drank alcohol. That’s the origin of the word alcohol.
It’s interesting though because you think about it on a level of why something like alcohol was created in the first place. Unless we’re talking about something like wine, which there’s been a lot of conflicting studies with everything. In terms of wine, a lot of health experts look to study like The Blue Zones. We’ve referenced that here on the show. Dan Buettner’s groundbreaking work, which influenced a lot of my philosophy in terms of my book, Eaternity, and the work I’ve done on longevity. Some of these centenarians or the people living healthfully to 100 and beyond on the island of Sardinia have wine in their diet. These people are living healthfully to 100 and beyond that. One glass a day.
Why is wine healthy? It has an antioxidant called Resveratrol, which is good for your cardiac health and helps to scavenge free radicals. One glass is maybe good because you’re getting Resveratrol, but in terms of liquor like beer, for instance, I’m not aware of any actual health benefits to drinking hard liquor or a beer. It comes to my mind, what were people thinking about the origin of discovering alcoholic beverages? Did they want to get fucked up? Did they want to alter their state of consciousness? Was it an accident?
Did someone leave out a bunch of grapes and then it accidentally fermented. When they drank the grape juice, they’re like, “Holy shit. I feel amazing.” I often think about the origin of certain things in our human society and how they started. It is interesting that for the most part, the majority of alcoholic beverages don’t have health benefits to them. It’s just for changing your state, changing your mood and that’s about it. It’s interesting how humanity for eons has consumed products that intentionally alter our state of consciousness. It fascinates me that we want to do that.
It’s also is interesting how prevalent these things are. For instance, I’m going to a tiny group gathering outside. It’s like a social distance thing. The whole gathering is about wine and cheese. That is such a common thing. I have anxiety about going because I don’t know some of the people that are going to be there. As an introvert or maybe it’s not an introvert thing, but it’s common for introverts to not look forward to these types of experiences. The wine and the cheese element of it have certainly made it more complex because I bought a bottle of wine. I had a glass or so of it.
I don’t want to buy another bottle of wine for this party because they said, “Don’t bring anything.” I’m thinking their wine probably isn’t going to be vegan. I don’t want to be that person checking the Barnivore app at this gathering. As I’m talking through it, I’m like, “Maybe I could.” Let’s assume that none of the wine is going to be vegan. There’s probably going to be 1 or 2 bottles, then I have to say no to it. I thought, “Should I bring my own bottle?” I’ve already opened it and that’s weird to bring your own. It started to give me anxiety thinking about this because I felt like I could go in and not even look up if the wine is vegan and be ignorant bliss. After this conversation, that does not sound in line with my ethics.
I don’t feel right knowing that there could be egg whites, isinglass or whatever. Who knows all this different random shit that ends up in wine that’s not vegan? That doesn’t feel in alignment with me. I also don’t feel like going and buying another bottle of wine when I got some and I don’t need to drink that much anyway. My point is it’s a huge part of socializing, then I thought it certainly would help me feel more relaxed around interacting with new people. That’s a huge reason that people drink and why alcohol is a big part of socializing. It’s because it lowers your inhibitions. You’re feeling much more comfortable or confident in being with people that you might feel uncomfortable or awkward or anxious with normally without alcohol.
That’s a huge part of this too. You then add in the cheese part of it and I’m thinking, “Do I need to go and bring my own cheese?” I often feel uncomfortable if I’m the only vegan in a gathering. I’m the one bringing the vegan cheese to the party, which I certainly don’t feel embarrassed about. It is still an element of feeling like you’re singling yourself out in a way in a non-vegan environment. It depends on how invested I am. If I care, then cool, I’m totally fine bringing it. Honestly, I’m not going to this gathering to eat or drink. I’m going to meet some new people. The foods and drinks are afterthoughts.There is no perfect vegan or perfect anything because there will always be ethical compromises that have to be made no matter what we do. Click To Tweet
There is also this side of me that’s like, “That’s the societal pressure of drinking when somebody offers you a glass of wine.” What if they pour it in front of you and hand it to you? You’re that asshole that’s like, “Sorry, it’s not vegan.” Do I have to make up a story about why I’m not drinking? This is the rabbit hole that I go through in my head sometimes. If anybody can relate to this, there are either two reactions to this. You’re over-thinking it or I can totally relate to this. I’m a planner and I feel comfortable when I can plan a situation and anticipate it. That is also a common introverted thing. When you’re making decisions about socializing, especially these days during quarantine, you do need to plan ahead.
You need to think about, who you’re going to be with? What the situation is? What are your boundaries? How are you protecting your health? There are a lot of factors that go into that. When it comes to being on a specific way of eating like the vegan plant-based diet, you also need to anticipate, are you bringing your own food? Are you going to be hungry? Are you going to turn down things? Are you going to snack? Will there be carrots there? I thought I could alert these people that I’m vegan ahead of time. I also have a lot of dietary preferences. What if they buy me vegan crackers that aren’t gluten-free? I’m stuck being the asshole that’s like, “Sorry, I don’t need those either.”
These situations are very complex to me. It’s a long-winded scenario to share how the alcohol can help with a lot of these anxious tendencies. If I can get to this event and drink as soon as I get there, I’ll be able to numb myself and I will feel more relaxed. I won’t worry about all these little things. A lot of people use alcohol for that reason. It’s their safety net. I have friends that verbalize this very much. As long as I can have alcohol as soon as I get there, I’m good. I’m not one of those people. I don’t go directly for the alcohol but I can see why that’s so tempting and such a crutch that people use or who knows what else. Maybe they have some form of drugs before they go to a party so they feel more relaxed. That’s a huge part of our socializing, which makes me sad in a way. We have to do something to try to make ourselves feel more comfortable around each other. That’s how we get through these situations.
It comes down to me to the intention of why we’re using these substances. I have found that my experience consistently mirrors my intention and my state of being before I consume it over and over, whether it’s alcohol, cannabis, psychedelic drugs, entheogens, whatever it is. As an example, I have taken psilocybin mushrooms in a variety of different circumstances and situations with different intents. I know we’re talking about alcohol but as an example, I feel like this fit. In a more acute way too when it comes to entheogens and psychedelics. If I’m doing it as a very real example, at Burning Man as a party drug, I’m going to take psilocybin mushrooms as a party drug. A horrific and awful experience like hardcore and a lot of painful shit came up.
It was almost as if the energy or the consciousness of the mushroom was like, “Don’t do this as a party drug.” Doing it and going into nature or the woods, there’s a cabin that I rent sometimes in the mountains outside of LA and go up there and do some journeying and spend some time to myself. My experience of a substance with an intention to heal, expand my awareness or deal with trauma. The experience is very different than I want to escape. I want to numb myself. I don’t want to deal with the pain. I don’t want to go to a party and feel uncomfortable around other people. My life experience is that if I’m using substances to alter my consciousness, to escape, avoid, subvert or try and escape pain, it’s a very different experience as opposed to, I’m going to use this for expansion, healing, trauma release, consciousness or just to genuinely enjoy myself. I find that energy and the intention I’m putting off the why behind consuming it changes my experience dramatically.
That’s why being aware of your decisions in general. One thing that helps is to gain that clarity about, why are you buying something? How does it help your life? You’re talking about how a lot of alcohol doesn’t have any health benefits. Maybe you’re not buying it for health benefits. Maybe you’re buying it because you like the taste of it or you like the experience of it. There are many different reasons. I also feel like taking the shame out of it is important too. Another example is when I went and tried the KFC Beyond Meat offering. I definitely felt a little weird. I felt conflicted about it because it doesn’t fit in my ethics to support a company like KFC, to pay money to this brand.
Not entirely, but it’s a partnership with Beyond Meat that for the most part, I do support Beyond Meat. I own a share of Beyond Meat stock. I enjoy their products for the most part. I’m happy to purchase them. It was more about Beyond Meat than it was about KFC. I also want to experience this. Is it fully within my values? No, but it was enough within my values and enough within my interest to make that decision. Going back to something I said, it can be exhausting to try to weigh out the pros and cons of everything. Sometimes it feels good to just do something and follow your gut desire around it. This also comes back to my relationship with food, having done the vegan keto diet for an extended amount of time and writing a book about that.
I got to a point where I thought I miss eating certain foods. It got frustrating at times to eat fully vegan keto. There were some things I felt like I was missing out on. It felt better for me on an emotional level to make the decision to have certain foods that weren’t vegan keto. That’s a huge part of our experience as human beings. It’s not always about trying to do the right thing, the perfect thing, and everything being in full alignment because that can cause a lot of tension and stress too. It’s that feeling of sadness, when I think about missing out on something or restricting myself. That brings up for me a feeling of sadness. There’s a sense of accomplishment that can come with those things, but it also reminds me of fitness.
I had been on this regimented fitness schedule and regimented schedule in general, where I would plan out my days and I had everything in there. It was all about how much can I accomplish? Adding in all of the things into my schedule and my routine that got me closer to goals or helped me feel good at the end of the day. Those things are wonderful, but I also have days where I want to break that rhythm. Now, I don’t know if I’m going to work out. I went for a walk to the Farmer’s Market like that counts. It’s different from me turning on a fitness class, which I made the decision to do every single day.
I got to a point where I thought, “Why am I doing this every single day? Do I need to or is that stress physically and mentally of doing something every single day, even in those days where I don’t feel like doing it? That is where it can get tricky with any of our decisions. What happens when your gut feeling is not to do something? Not even your gut necessarily but sometimes you don’t want to do something. You come at that crossroads where you have to make the decision to do it anyways versus allow yourself to not do it.
It’s complicated because there’s no such thing that I’ve been able to observe as absolutism and perfection in this reality. That absolutism and perfection are like a mind virus that I’ve seen not just in the vegan community. I’ve seen it in paleo and keto. Certainly, growing up in the Roman Catholic religion, that zealousness, no matter where that zealotry is directed, whether it’s an eating style, a lifestyle, an ethical viewpoint, a religious standpoint. There’s an idea in people’s minds. We see this all the time by virtue of the fact that we both live a vegan lifestyle. We’ve been in health and wellness for many years. It’s amplified by the cancel culture. If people see a chink in the armor, or you’re doing something imperfectly, or it doesn’t fit with their most absolute viewpoint of the ethical system that you’ve claimed you align to, they’re like, “You’re a horrible person. We’re going to cancel you. You’re a disgrace. You’ve betrayed us.”
There are a million examples of this, but going down the specific rabbit hole of wanting to live as ethical of a lifestyle as possible wherein I want to do the least amount of harm. Taking the vegan word out of it for a second, with my purchasing decisions or the way that I live, I want to do the least amount of harm even if it’s going to sometimes inconvenience me. An example of this could say that if I’m going to buy a vehicle or buy a bicycle, I don’t want there to be any leather because leather is a byproduct of the factory farm industry. There’s a massive amount of cruelty and violence, not just toward animals but toward people that work at slaughterhouses and factory farms. Also, the massive amount of toxicity that’s generated in the leather industry with all of the ways that they tan and cure the hides, and all the chemicals that these workers are breathing in.
It’s looking at the amount of cruelty toward animals and humans in that product life cycle of leather and going, “I don’t want to support that.” Let’s say I go and I make an effort to research what vehicles are out there that don’t have any leather in them because I don’t want to support that cruelty. You get down to the level of there’s not a lot of animal products in the seats. There’s no leather here but the great majority of tire companies use animal fat and animal byproducts to galvanize the rubber for the tires in your car, bicycle and motorcycle. I remember researching this years ago. There are only a few of them and I’m not even sure where their processes are now.
Even if you go through all of these levels of research to think about how I can be a more ethical consumer, there’s generally in many cases, some compromise along the way. There’s no leather, there are no animal products, I’m driving an electric car, but the tires. There are animal products in the tires that are a byproduct of factory farming. My point in all this and there are many more examples I can bring up, is an offshoot of this research segment that is somehow tied into this most absolute perfectionist mentality that people are willing to use as a sword to cut other people down. You’re not a good enough vegan. You’re not a good enough Christian. You’re not a good enough Muslim. You’re not a good enough paleo.
Whatever the fuck it is, there are many people that are throwing stones in glass houses that are making similar decisions. It’s like, “Do you own a car? Do you own a bicycle? Do you have a rubber prop?” There’s nobody on this planet who’s a perfect Christian, a perfect Muslim, a perfect vegan or a perfect anything. It doesn’t exist because unfortunately, the nature of this reality is we have it set up in modern human society as there are ethical compromises that have to be made no matter what we do. That’s what I found and it sucks. You want to do the least amount of harm possible, but the further you go down the research rabbit hole at a certain point, you’re like, “Fuck it. I’m going to do the best I can.” That’s where I’m at. At the moment, I’m going to do the best I can with the awareness that I have.
Let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t feel like doing the best that we can.
What do you mean?
This example that’s coming up in my day of going to this gathering. I’m already thinking, “What if at that moment somebody hands me a glass of wine and I decide to take it even though I don’t know if it’s vegan or not? What if the bottle isn’t available? What if it’s inside? What am I going to do, ask them to bring the bottle out so I can scan it and see if it’s on Barnivore, and then hand them back the glass if it’s not? My best would be doing that. My best would say, “I’m going to go and check off all these boxes to make my decision.” That technically would be my best and my best would be turning it down.
I’m saying, “What if I?” I don’t think I’m going to do this, but I’m also not in that situation at this moment, as we’re talking about it. It could absolutely change. No one’s going to know aside from those people at the gathering, unless I post about it on social media, “It’s so you know, I’m having this glass of wine.” It’s something I could easily do without anybody knowing. I would know but I’m saying there are many decisions like that where we may not be doing the best that we can, but we do it anyway. Maybe we do it because we can hide it. Maybe we can pretend it didn’t happen. Maybe it’s easier to brush it under the rug. I would be curious how many vegans or all of these lists of categories you can put yourself into. How many people do those things? Because nobody’s going to know what they did, they never have to admit it publicly.
This is an interesting thing because it comes down to the weight that we give around our perception of self and how do we perceive ourselves versus how other people perceive us. As an example, if you were to go and consume something that’s not vegan and no one publicly knows about it, my question is, at the end of the day, how are you going to feel about yourself? To me, what it comes down to is independent of the opinions of others. What is ultimately your relationship with self? What do you feel in your heart and mind about the decisions you’re making in your life? We can go back to many examples of people who align with a specific doctrine, but then do the opposite of what they say they’re going to do.
This wraps into forgiveness and compassion for ourselves and for others because no one is making perfectly-aligned decisions all the time. This is up to a lot of interpretation if we bring in religious connotations and spirituality, but Jesus Christ as a religious figure teaching compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and unconditional love. I’m going to say this growing up Catholic, there’s a whole lot of people in the Roman Catholic religion who aren’t practicing compassion, tolerance, unconditional love and forgiveness. There are people who ascribe to that philosophy and are filled with a lot of deep hatred.
That’s a random example but my point here is when we’re alone with ourselves, we’re not posting things on social media, and we’re not under public scrutiny, we’re not even with our partners or significant others, we ultimately can’t run away from ourselves. It’s almost like I try and think about sometimes the awareness that I have when I’m making decisions of how am I going to feel about reflecting on this decision later. Am I going to feel good about myself? Am I going to use this decision as a way to be punitive and beat myself up? My framework is not so much on how other people are going to perceive me as much as how am I going to perceive myself.
This is where sometimes I think about a grander scheme like a bird’s eye view of life for instance. We can get caught up in the short-term versus the long-term. It’s important for us when we’re examining our decisions. What is the long-term effect of this too? For example, if I decide if I’m going to work out or not, does skipping a day affect my ability to be consistent and stick with my workout schedule? It’s not usually. I can skip a day, allow myself a rest day as many people doing with fitness anyways, and still get back on track. Does missing a day affect my body greatly? I don’t think so. In most cases, no. Certainly, if you work out every day for a long period of time, you probably would get great effects, but are those necessary and important to me?
The same thing goes with all your purchasing decisions. If you’re deciding to buy a certain product, maybe there’s a minimal long-term impact on you, but there might be a great impact on others. That’s where this comes down to as well. It depends on the certain specific scenario that you’re in. For this hypothetical scenario where I’m offered a glass of wine and I don’t know if it’s vegan or not. Is the wine already opened? Is it going to be tossed out if I don’t drink it or somebody else going to drink it? Is that wine going to exist regardless of if I have it or not? That’s a very different thing or how important is it for me to keep my body fully vegan, pure and all those little choices? Do they have ripple effects? If I say yes to this glass of wine, does that encourage me to say yes and make exceptions on a more regular basis? That can happen with us as human beings too.When you decide to buy a certain product, it may only have a minimal impact on you, but it might also greatly impact others. Click To Tweet
Coming back to the original discussion about the coconut products, it’s hard. I tried looking up what brands get their coconuts from these farmers that are using monkeys. I could only find two and I’ve never even heard of these brands. There are petitions going around. There have been some changes happening about the coconut farmers and brands choosing to not have some of these brands that are getting their coconuts. There are stores that are refusing to carry those products anymore, which is cool. That seems to be a thing that happened. For the consumer, it’s hard to find a list of companies that are using these cruel practices. To me, that’s where the frustration comes in.
Thank goodness for Barnivore, where I can quickly look up most wines, but they don’t have every single wine on there. There’s going to be a time where I look up something and I don’t know the answer. Maybe I go the extra step. I email that company or I called them to try to find out. That involves a lot of effort. What if you go to the store after reading this episode and you think about where you’re buying your products from? We know that Edward & Sons doesn’t get their coconuts. Does that mean you only buy Edward & Sons from now on because it’s the only sure thing? This is what I mean. It becomes a complex thing to make these decisions. That’s part of the reason that a lot of people either give up or get lenient. It’s because the amount of mental effort it takes to make these decisions is tough.
This is an interesting offshoot of something that I’ve been wrestling with in terms of my research. We go back to the financial system. I want to invest more money into an IRA and start to put more money aside for retirement. If I look at a basic foundation of an IRA, whether it’s a Roth or traditional, a lot of recommendations that I’ve been reading from multiple, I don’t want to call them financial gurus but whatever. Warren Buffet is one example, who said as a base, “Keep it boring.” Have something like an index or an EFT fund into the S&P 500, which is that’s our major US stock market. There’s the Nasdaq and the S&P 500.
His idea is that the US economy is going to subsist and persist in some form. By having the foundation of your investment in an index fund, which invests a little bit into the major companies in the US, you’re going to have a good basis of return. If you want to get a little riskier, you can try different equities, securities, bonds and things like that. My point is if you look at the companies that are comprising the S&P 500, these index funds, many of them have business practices that I find to be radically unethical. If I’m going to have my money in this thing and I want as high of a return as possible, then all of these financial experts are saying, “No, do the index fund and the S&P 500. It’s the most stable thing. It’s a good foundation for you to build your house of investments on.” From an ethical standpoint, I can agree with knowing that my money is going toward oil companies, fracking companies or defense contractors, people building weapons that destroy other people.
There are a million other examples of this that are comprised of those index funds. I look at the rise of ethical index funds or ethical investing that has taken hold in the last few years. There are a couple of index funds that I’ve looked up for my retirement that doesn’t invest in companies that do child trafficking, child labor, defense contractors, weapon makers, petroleum companies, etc. Their returns are generally not as high if you look at the long tail as something like the S&P 500. It’s this thing of I’ve got my money invested in something, but I know that my rate of return over 10, 20, 30 years is likely not going to be as high.
My money is not going to be compounding and working as hard for me if I choose an ethical fund over something traditional that’s less ethical. It’s this conundrum of I do want to retire with a good nest egg and have some semblance of hopeful security with no guarantees, but I want to be ethical. Do I put my money towards something that’s more ethical but less of a return or something that’s less ethical but a higher return? As an offshoot of this conversation, these are somewhat difficult considerations that we need to make.
I’m frankly exhausted even talking about it. I don’t blame you. It’s doing the best you can with what you know and what you have access to and not beating yourself up when you don’t do what you feel like is the best that you can. It depends on your definition of that. If it feels good to think ahead about these things like I do and do your research, great. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. Ultimately, life is about our personal decisions and they do have a ripple effect on others. It’s interesting because everybody’s making their decisions for different reasons. Sometimes we conflict with one another. Sometimes what we view as okay is different than somebody else and their viewpoint of what’s okay and what’s ethical.
We’re all trying to function together as a world and it’s not easy. Sometimes that can lead to us feeling burnt out, hopeless or overwhelmed. That’s an important thing to examine too. As a takeaway for this, it’s taking the time to look at your relationship with your purchases, your decision making, your lifestyle and why you do it. Is there something that you can shift? There’s always room for improvement. What are you going to do in these different situations? What do you do when you’re presented with something that’s challenging? After the fact, it’s interesting to evaluate it too. It’s interesting to look at why you made those decisions? What can you do in the future if it didn’t feel quite right or in alignment with you?
If you enjoy doing that research, great. If not, you can find other resources that will do the research for you and you can reach out to them. Not knowing what brands support these farmers in Thailand that aren’t ethical, I could probably send a message to PETA and ask them, “Do you have a list of brands?” Start there and see what they say if they respond to me. Write to them on social media. I can reach out to some of the companies that I buy from. I can ask them and see if they’ll be transparent about it. I can choose to support brands that are transparent like Edward & Sons. Knowing that makes me on a personal level feel more trusting of them and want to be more supportive of them.
Overall, they’ve given me a lot of great reasons to support their work. I’m sure when I go to the market next and decide to buy some canned coconut milk, I’ll probably choose them for that reason. In a way that’s great marketing but that helps you make those decisions. If you know that your money is going towards a brand that feels good for you, then that is also helping them in a lot of great ways. Speaking of brands that we support, at the end of most of our episodes, we love to shout out brands that we love.
We brought them out before but I want to give them another shout out for transparency and that’s Gaia Herbs. They are one of the brands that I’ve consistently felt a lot of trust for. They make wonderful supplements that are based on incredible plant medicine. They’ve sent me their elderberry products. I’ve been trying out elderberry gummies that are vegan and all organic. They’re made with high-quality ingredients. I had some of their elderberry syrup. Elderberry is wonderful for your immune system. Jason could probably share some facts about it off the top of his head.
Elderberry, in general, is a good immune-boosting supplement. I like to take it at the first sign of maybe a little tickle in my throat or a little bit of congestion. It’s one of those ingredients, that Gaia. They have liquid elderberry. As soon as I start to feel I’m a little bit off, I run to the store and grab a bottle. It tastes amazing, super effective and one of the best things you can take, other than a high dose of vitamin C in someone’s immune-boosting regimen.
The Gaia Herbs, I looked up on their website. Those gummies I’m talking about are brand new and they have three available. They have extra strength. They have everyday elderberry. Those are the ones I’ve been taking. I’ve been saving the extra strength for when I feel like I need extra strength, which I don’t recently. They also have some formulated for kids specifically and they are organic. They’re made from their wonderful elderberries. I’m not positive but I mentioned in a previous episode that I visited their farm in North Carolina and it was magical. It was such a cool place to visit, but they don’t grow everything there. They might have a farm in Costa Rica or something.
What I do love about Gaia and this is why I’m bringing them up in terms of transparency is that you can go and learn more about where everything has grown easily. For a while, I’m not 100% sure if they’re still doing this, but you could scan the bottle and it would tell you exactly where that specific product came from, and the whole story behind it. They are incredibly committed to high quality and sustainability. Having gone firsthand to see what they’re doing there, I became a big advocate for their work. They felt like the perfect brand to shout out for this. Jason, for you, what is a brand that comes to mind when you think about transparency and ethics?
We’ve mentioned them here before. The immediate company that comes to mind for me is One Degree Organics. Their commitment to not only super clean sourcing but the transparency with their labeling and the fact that they have QR codes where you can track the story of the ingredients in your food. We first met Danny and Sandra years ago at Expo East. They’ve expanded to many different cereal and base flowers, flowers that you can use for baking is what I mean by that, oats, different cereal and breakfast products. Not only do they taste incredible, but the quality of the product is also there. You look at how upfront and how open they are to the point where you can see the story and track exactly what farms the ingredients came from.
They were one of the first companies I remember doing that. We mentioned this in our episode with Max Goldberg. They were also one of the first companies that had a certified glyphosate-free label. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup. It’s one of the most toxic pesticides out there. They were one of the first companies putting that label on their products. I thought these guys are in it to win it. They are walking their talk and trying to be as ethical and transparent as possible. Big shout out. We’ve mentioned them before, but Danny and Sandra at One Degree and their entire family. They’re amazing people. We always love seeing them, but their products also reflect their personal values. They’re wonderful. I want to go out and get a box of cereal. Their Raisin Bran is good.
Their cereal does sound good for sure. Another thing that we do at the end of our solo episodes, meaning the episodes where we don’t have a guest with us, is to share some of the things that people have been searching online. In full transparency and pun intended, because we’ve been talking about transparency. I didn’t look any up in the past few days. I don’t have any super up-to-date queries to bring up here, but I still have my list of the old ones. They don’t seem as fresh to me. Some of these, I want to delete from the list because they no longer seem funny.
This one was interesting and funny because of how odd it is. I don’t know what to make of this. For those of you who haven’t read the episodes where we’ve talked about this, we use Google Analytics and it shows us the things that people search that can lead them to our website. Sometimes people are led to our website through bizarre search results. One of them was this long phrase that somebody typed in which was, “Different dogs will learn things that may be very funny and sad at the same time.”
Would this be teaching them to do specific tricks that are somehow embarrassing or shaming for the dog but we find them using? I’m trying to think of what that would be. What tricks would come to your mind, Whitney, that would be degrading or demeaning to a dog? I’m trying to think of what that might be.
I don’t know.
That’s one of the more bizarre queries we’ve had. To be honest, we like to put your dog, Evie, through her paces. We do the bang thing where she plays dead. Whenever we give Evie treats, I’m sure there’s a part of her that’s like, “I got to go through this whole rigmarole to get a fucking treat, just give me the treat.” She does it anyway.
I rarely make her go through that routine, to be honest. Am I going to make her do a trick every time she gets a treat? Sitting down feels like good behavior.
It feels like when she was younger though, you did that a lot more. It’s like, “Evie, do the whole routine.” The only thing I can think of with that query is something one would teach a dog that brings us amusement but somehow demeans them. Do they even feel demeaned or disrespected? We’re projecting our own emotional aptitudes onto a dog. They may not feel that way anyway. They can’t tell us.
It’s not necessarily something we’re training them to do. It could be like when you see your dog and you’re like, “That’s so sad,” but because it’s cute and endearing, I’m also going to laugh. Do you know how sometimes we laugh about things that are sad? I’m wondering if this is what it means. That experience of how you can have those dual emotions at the same time.Don’t beat yourself for not always making the best ethical decisions. Click To Tweet
I feel sometimes that I wish we could find the source of who typed in these queries so we could bring them on as guests and be like, “What did you mean by that?” “Jim from Nantucket, we got your message about dog tricks. What the hell were you talking about?”
This one falls into the interesting category. I felt it was something worth bringing up which is, “What does happiness feel like physically?”
Happiness feels like sparks and electricity shooting through the body. It feels buoyant. It feels like there’s an inner radiance. It’s almost like there’s an inner sun inside of you that is radiating its warmth and its vibrant outward into the world. It reminds me of that song by The Police. It’s not one of their hits but it’s called Invisible Sun. It feels like there’s an invisible sun inside of my chest that is radiating goodness, light, fun and joyfulness. Happiness feels alive. It feels like a level of liveliness and radiance. How about for you, Whitney? What does happiness feel like in your body?
I don’t have quite the same poetic response as you do, Jason. It’s interesting because maybe we can use this as a thought-provoking question for the readers to think about what happiness feels like to you and paying attention to that. To me, it’s like a tingling sensation a lot of times or like a buzzing feeling. It’s interesting to reflect on that. At this moment, I feel tired. I wouldn’t say that I’m sad. It’s interesting because when I checked in with myself, I wouldn’t describe how I feel at this exact moment as happy, but I wouldn’t describe it as sad. The only thing that comes to mind is I’m tired and antsy. When I’m not in that moment of feeling happiness, it’s a little hard to pinpoint because I’m trying to imagine what happiness feels like. I also think happiness is interesting because I feel happy generally. I probably would describe myself as feeling happy at this moment because I feel content.
There’s a difference between contentment and happiness. Those are two different things.
There are different levels of happiness and it feels different depending on a lot of different circumstances. It’s hard to describe it as an overarching thing. It’s like the Eskimos have different words for snow. Isn’t that true that there are all these different words for snow because snow is a huge part of their lives? There are different ways to describe something that most of the world has one word for.
I’m looking it up and it says that there are 50 words for snow in the Inuit language.
You’ve heard that before, Jason, haven’t you?
Many myths have a grain of truth. However, the latest studies show that a researcher was correct. Apparently, there’s an element of polysynthesis they call it in their words for snow. I’m not even going to attempt to pronounce these words. There are many multiple words for different types of snow in the Inuit language.
That’s part of my point. I feel like there are different types of happiness. To describe it depends on the type of happiness that you’re feeling in that moment and thus it’s hard to say off the top of your head. If I was feeling extreme happiness at this moment, I could probably describe it, but because I wouldn’t say happiness is at the forefront of how I feel at this exact moment, then I don’t know if I can do it justice.
I have a philosophy on this as we wrap up. I want to comment on it quickly. I feel like happiness is something that I stopped pursuing. I feel like happiness has become something that is almost like a surprise guest that I am delighted when it shows up. What my aim now in my life and it could change but for now and probably in foreseeable future, it’s contentment. That’s why I said there’s a difference between contentment and happiness in the sense that contentment to me is a feeling of relaxed, peacefulness, and knowing all is well. That to me is what contentment is. I look at my surroundings. I have an inner sense of peace, relaxation and gratitude. To me, that’s contentment.
Happiness is a different emotion for me that I’m not chasing it anymore. I feel like I was chasing it for a long time. As we wrap up this conversation and do a callback to addiction, I feel like there was a part of me that was engaging in an addictive cycle of I need to do all of these things, be all these things, earn these things, and create these things because then I’ll be happy. We talked a lot about that in our episode with Taylor Proctor. In conclusion, I’m aiming for contentment. If happiness shows up, “Come on and have a glass of wine, happiness. We’re ha we’re glad you’re here.” I’m not chasing happiness anymore in my life.
It’s fair enough. It’s time that we start to wrap up. Before we do, I want to place some emphasis on you, the readers. We would love to hear from you through our survey that we have out, which is specifically for those of you who read the blog post. If you have not completed it yet, we would love for you to. It’s simple. It should only take a few minutes of your time. It would give us a lot of insight into who you are, how you listen, what we can do to make this podcast even better or keep it this aim as opposed to feeling a desire to change it, especially after we’ve crossed the 100th episode mark. We’re checking in with you to make sure that this is something that you are getting a lot of value, whether it’s joy, insights, learning or all the different elements that you can get from this show.
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