Humans have a tendency to obsess over perfection. We all want to be perfect, whether it’s in daily conversation or something else. We worry over misunderstandings and inefficient communications so much that we have resorted to abbreviations and shorthand to get our points across. Yet what if this same obsession is causing us to lose touch with ourselves, with our spirits? Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen discuss our dependence on emojis and memetics (memes) while looking into what we lose when we don’t take the time to communicate properly. This provocative discussion will stoke inquisitive minds.
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You Don’t Have To Be Perfect, You Just Have To Mean It
Has Communication Become Too Efficient?
First of all because I don’t listen to most of our episodes, I’m curious what the editor leaves in versus take out. I want to make a mental note to myself to come back and listen to see if they cut out my mess up at the beginning or left it in. I’m okay sometimes with leaving the messy parts. It feels more conversational. Hi, editor. Thanks for editing our show. I trust your creative choices however you decide to edit and what to leave in versus what to leave out. I would like to know. We don’t have a one-to-one relationship with our editor, by the way because we work with a podcast company called Podetize and they assign our show to someone. I don’t even know if it’s the same person doing it each time. I suppose I could easily ask them.
I wanted to start this episode by talking about how we’re going to try some new things. I want to try one new thing in this episode. We’re going to try something by going down from 3 episodes a week to 2 episodes a week for a few reasons. One, I’m going to be traveling a ton. We went through our schedule to coordinate and recording a bunch of episodes in advance and it was a lot. As we were trying to adjust our schedules, we both thought, “What if we paused the show for a little bit and took a hiatus?” I found out that’s not beneficial to you, the reader but also the algorithm. It was recommended to us by Podetize, the company we work with on the show, to do at least one episode a week.
I proposed to Jason that we do two episodes a week, down from two solos, meaning the two of us, to one with the two of us and one with a guest. We’re going to try that out and see how that goes. We would love your feedback. Note it for yourself or you can let us know ahead of time how you feel about fewer episodes. Would you prefer it? Are you going to miss them? We will take some feedback, look at the numbers, the analytics and we’ll decide if we go back to three episodes or if we stick to two episodes, which would certainly save us time and energy. I am open to either case, either scenario.
The other thing I want to try out and something I am surprised that we’ve never done it. It didn’t occur to me, Jason. Since we are doing two episodes of the two of us, what if one of those episodes is us truly having a conversation as friends and talking tangentially? I know a lot of people enjoy our conversations. We get a lot of feedback about how we go deep into vulnerable subject matters. I don’t want to make it all over the place. What if we have a general theme and a jumping-off point and then we share without doing too much research?
For any of our regular readers, you’ve probably noticed that I like to do research. We don’t prep too much. We don’t even have an outline. One of us comes up with a concept. We usually pull up an article, a book, notes or something like that and we share our thoughts. Part of that is because we’re interested in it. The other element is that we want to give you information. We don’t want it to be super biased and opinionated and all of that.
Speaking of books, one of the books I was reading and I don’t recall which one is how we learn a lot through processing out loud. I’m almost 100% sure this was one of Sherry Turkel’s books. There are two books that I’ve been reading and one is called Alone Together, which we have talked about on the show before. The other is called Reclaiming Conversation. Her work came up in another book I’ve finished called Bored and Brilliant. It got me thinking about how much things are shifting digitally, which is a topic we’ve addressed a ton on this show.
One element of it that I’ve been reflecting a lot on specifically is how we are at this time where a lot of us yearn to do things right. We know a lot of people struggle with perfectionism. It’s that weird balance of being drawn to authenticity and making mistakes versus polishing things up, making things quick, putting things in sound bites and making them short to reach people’s attention spans. One thing that came up in Sherry Turkel’s work is how a lot of people prefer to send text messages and emails over phone calls because they have the opportunity to reflect a lot, adjust and edit versus the fear that some people have of speaking on the phone, which is making a mistake. On this show, that’s something that I tried to embrace.
I’ve had some trauma responses in my head all the years on platforms like YouTube where certainly I tried to be polished and edited but there will be times where I would make a mistake and people would come for me in the comments. You see this happen so much on social media. It feels like no matter what you say and how well you try to craft it, somebody gets upset with you. One of the reasons that we tend to lean towards research-based information on this show is because I have this fear of not being able to back up what I’m saying.
In Sherry Turkle’s work, she was explaining how it’s important for us to process things out loud verbally and auditorially because that’s part of the way that we process and I fully agree. I’m a long-winded person. I have trouble making things bite-size because through speaking for a while, I started to have realizations and clarity. I wonder how much of our mental abilities are short-changed because we’re constantly trying to refine our thoughts and make things perfect. There’s so much editing that goes into it.
There are pros and cons. The pro is that you might be clear if you can edit something and you have time to think about it, get your point across, be less misunderstood, or be more understood. The downside is I wonder how much of us is left unexplored when we don’t have open conversations. Jason, I’m curious how you feel about that information because I see you resonating behind the scenes. I also want to urge us on the show to do more of the conversation. Maybe we can experiment with some of our episodes being more loose and free-flowing and us reflecting on how we’re feeling that day more like we would behind the scenes and off-air. That then allows us to tap into that but perhaps it shows our readers more who we are and what we talk about as friends.
I love that approach. We’ve had an anti-formula formula on the show so far. We’re feeling passionate, interested or curious about a topic or something in the news or a personal experience and we’ll use that as a jump-off point for ourselves and our guests. I do like the idea of someone eavesdropping on you and me at a cafe in LA kicking it and talking about life. That approach is wonderful and amplifying that more. It’s not like that element hasn’t been present in our show but to your point, we’re here talking. Pay no mind to the fact that there’s a camera on us. We’re just here.
In terms of communication, as a human species with our communication and not only our devices but the ways and the mediums through which we communicate, we are sacrificing depth and substance for efficiency. When you were talking, I smiled because I remember years ago, I was talking to a young lady through Instagram DMs and things got interesting romantically potentially. I remember, she DM’d me, “ILSYM.” I was like, “ILYSM, what the hell is this?” She’s Millennial. I’m Gen X. I’m like, “I don’t know what all this shorthand crap is.” I had that moment where I’m like, “Google what ILYSM means. I love you so much.”
How my brain, heart and body receive ILYSM versus someone taking the extra 5 to 6 seconds of their life to type out, “I love you so much.” As a human being, when I read the words, “I love you so much. I appreciate you.” In this case, there’s a shorthand for it now. We’re sacrificing meaning, depth and resonance of the way that we communicate as humans for efficiency. I love you so much takes so long to type. It doesn’t take long to type. We’ve distilled things into memetics. That’s the long word for memes. We’ve distilled things to acronyms, memes and emojis.
What’s wrong with that? The trouble that I see is we’re removing the depth of the emotional exchange with a lot of these things instead of, “I found out your dog passed away, emoji heart.” It would be way more meaningful if you were to type it out to me or call me, “I’m sorry. I know what this is like. My heart breaks for you. I’m thinking of you and your family. I know it’s going to take a while. Let me know if I can be there for you.” That’s way more meaningful than a heart and cry emoji.
My fear in communication is that human beings are trading and being trained to think about efficiency and quickness all the time because that’s the world we’re in. Everything has got to be quick, fast and hustle. I only have time to send an emoji. You do have time to properly communicate with depth and meaning if you were to take the time to do so. That’s my two cents on it. I’m scared and afraid that we’re going to be losing a lot of the depth and the nuance of all of this as we go on because people are trained to do the shorthand and abbreviate. When I get those messages, it doesn’t have much meaning to me because I know the person didn’t put in that much effort. I’m not judging them but we are being collectively conditioned to do this thing.
It’s interesting that you bring out the generational things. I had to stop for a second to think, “What does that stand for? I got it.” I pick up a lot of these things. Another one that was interesting for me is the word white, especially in referencing a white person. It’s now abbreviated to YT. That’s something I learned on TikTok. Because TikTok tends to skew younger with Gen Z, you’ll learn what a lot of these abbreviations mean and what different emojis mean. There’s a whole new language that people can speak in emojis. You and I abbreviate things, Jason. We have LHF, that’s one of our key abbreviations for Let’s Have Fun. We talk a lot. YY means Yes, Yes. It’s an exaggerated agreement with each other. You and I have a lot. What is the other one that you’re thinking of?How much of us is left unexplored when we don't have open conversations? Click To Tweet
YGDF. We need to tell people what it means. YGDF means, You Goddamn Fool. It’s a term of endearment Whitney and I have for each other. It’s not meant to be besmirching on each other. It’s almost like when we want to emphasize something like, “You need to get that pistachio milk you goddamn fool,” so we’ll put YGDF.
Why did you say pistachio milk? Did you have a craving for pistachio milk?
I do. I mentioned it twice. I must have pistachio milk on the brain.
That’s Three Trees pistachio milk.
That is the one.
That sounds good.
To your point, Whitney, it’s also context. If we’re doing you know, “Yes, yes. Let’s have fun. Get this thing, you goddamn fool.” I’m talking more about the context, which is important here. You are right, we do that. When something of depth and real emotional weight wants to be communicated, that’s a time to write it out and pick up the phone, for me at least. The context varies here. Wouldn’t you agree?
For sure. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder, the fingers of the beholder. What do they mean when they write those things? Maybe for them, it does mean something. It also reminds me of how LOL became so popular. Now I don’t know if it’s as cool to write LOL. I don’t think it is. Most people will use the emoji, which is either the crying emoji. Apparently, that’s gotten old. Now they use the dead emoji, which is the skull. You’re laughing hard that you’re dead. That’s I think the cooler one. The emoji language changes a lot. It’s interesting because I enjoy emojis. I use them a ton. They show another form of expression. Lol or even haha, I write those. I’ve noticed some people writing them at times where it feels inappropriate if this makes sense.
My brain went to this one guy I casually dated years ago who would write it so much. First of all, LOL starts to lose its meaning because you’re probably not laughing out loud. It doesn’t even mean what it originally was supposed to mean. Some people write it to convey that they’re feeling insecure. They’ll write a statement and then they’ll write lol so it takes away any potential awkwardness. I wonder writing something like, “I love you so much,” makes it more casual because what if she wrote that sentence to you, Jason?
I’m not exactly sure which girl you mean. I have two guesses in my head, which we don’t have to share. I know enough about Jason’s dating history to have two people that I could imagine him exchanging these messages with. I was like, “I don’t think either of them got to the love stage.” Maybe it wasn’t like, “I love you.” It’s like, “You’re great. I love you so much.” It’s casual. To make sure that it came across as casual, she used the abbreviation. That’s part of how we protect ourselves. That’s a huge part of this conversation. We protect ourselves emotionally whether it’s the fear of being rejected, misunderstood, putting out a lot of energy or using a lot of time.
Another big reason that Sherry Turkle found people were using text is that it saves them so much time. A lot of people have this fear that if they get on a phone call, it’s going to take more time than they want, they’re going to be exhausted, it’s going to be awkward to get off the phone or there might be awkward silences. It’s protecting ourselves from potential emotional hardships. If we make it casual through emojis, abbreviations, texts that we can edit and sometimes even unsend certain texts that depend on the platform, we are protecting ourselves from the possibility of being rejected. Does that make sense?
100% it does. I was dating a young lady in high school who did this. We had been dating for a while and we were getting serious.
Was she in high school or were you both in high school?
We were both in high school. I’m not doing that big of an age gap. I haven’t thought about this in years. I would tell her I loved her and she would not say it back. Instead, she would say, “Je t’aime,” which is “I love you” in French. It didn’t carry the same weight for me. We never had the conversation because I was not emotionally evolved enough to have the conversation at 16, 17. She did it because it didn’t have the same weight. “I love you,” had a weight to her and she would not say it so she would only say, “Je t’aime,” and it drove me crazy. I was like, “Say it.” To your point, people are afraid to put themselves on the line. They’re deathly afraid of being rejected and afraid of not having their love returned to them in the way that they want so they play it safe so they do it through ILYSM, Je t’aime or whatever their version. As human beings, many of us are terrified of having our hearts broken or not having the love we want to be returned to us. It makes sense.
Even in professional exchanges, a lot of people prefer to send emails and get terrified as well whenever their boss or manager wants to have a meeting with them. It’s like, “We have to have a face-to-face, Zoom, in-person meeting or phone call. It’s scary. What are they going to say? Am I going to be prepared? Are they going to tell me that I’m uncomfortable, upset or whatever else?” Also, people fear getting emails too because it’s easy to misinterpret.
There’s a big joke that Millennials in general especially Millennial women are terrified of emails that don’t have the right punctuation. It’s like, “I didn’t write an exclamation point. What if they interpret me as being rude or bitchy? My boss or my manager didn’t write this word. They said thanks with a period so they must be mad at me.” It’s all these misinterpretations we have through text messages. That still feels safer or less energetically exhausting than having a phone call.It feels like no matter what you say and how well you try to craft it, somebody gets upset with you. Click To Tweet
Jason, you know the classic examples in my life where I’ve avoided phone calls. There’s one person, in particular, who would always call me to discuss business stuff and I didn’t like it. It irritated me a ton. It was a time and energy thing for me. I need a simple piece of information and I feel like it can be conveyed through text so I would much prefer someone to send it to me. I think sometimes it’s the way our brains process.
For me, when I see things written down, I remember them better than when I hear them. When I hear them, I have to sit down, process and type it all out. Sometimes, someone is talking too fast and I can’t or I misunderstand them and have to clarify. It feels too hard. I don’t think that text-based communication is that bad. I wonder, maybe it is bad for us to have so much text-based conversation. For someone like me, it feels easier to process. I then wonder, is that a trauma response or a way of being conditioned through society to prefer it for all these reasons we are discussing? My brain would thrive more if I could hear someone’s voice and see someone’s face. That also goes back to that same person who I casually dated. One weird thing is that at the beginning of dating, we had a phone call and that might have been the only time we had a phone call conversation.
At one point, we evolved into sending voice messages, which was nice. I remember thinking about this and I was like, “There’s one time in particular where we spent an hour spending voice memos back and forth taking turns.” In hindsight, I’m like, “Why didn’t we get on the phone?” I started reflecting on it more. One, it feels easier to blow someone off, stop the conversation abruptly in other words, when it’s voice memo because then you could be like, “I fell asleep,” or, “I ended up doing something else.” You almost don’t have to explain yourself. It’s more casual versus if you’re on the phone, you have to end it. One of you has to end the conversation at the risk of offending or disappointing someone.
The other thing that voice memos give you that live phone conversations don’t is your ability to re-record it. You could record something. Unless you’re using a platform like Voxer, which is more like a walkie-talkie, you can’t take back what you said but you could pause for a couple of minutes before you respond with your voice. This is how I’ve started to communicate with a lot of people. We rarely talk live on the phone, my friends included. We send a lot of voice memos and sometimes those voice memos end up taking a lot more time than a live phone conversation but they still feel energetically easier and more efficient for us. That’s fascinating to me too. It’s better than text but it still gives us a barrier, emotionally and I wonder how that is for us in the long-term.
The danger is the level of nuance and subtlety with facial expressions, micro-movements of the eyes, micro-movements of the face, people’s excitement, curiosity, disdain and happiness. We’re losing so much when we’re doing text-based communication. You said there was this study about anxiety in Millennial women about email conversations and punctuation. Sometimes a person will get a text, look at it and go, “I don’t know this person’s tone. How am I supposed to interpret this tone?” Our default mechanism then takes over and does the storytelling of what we think their tone is. Through text and a lot of these things, we don’t get proper tone, body language and subtle eye movements. We certainly don’t get eye contact.
Whether or not it’s a better or worse form of communication, I’m not here to judge it even though it sounds like maybe I have been this episode. I don’t think the complex layers of person-to-person or even FaceTime-to-FaceTime human conversation, text and other forms of communication don’t cut the mustard the same way those do. What the hell does that even mean anyway? Mustard, in and of itself, in an acquiesce state, why would you cut it? You spoon it. Spoon the mustard, not cut the mustard. I need to look up the origin of that phrase. Who the hell ever cuts mustard? I’ve never cut mustard in my life.
Are you 100% sure that’s the phrase?
Yes. I’m going to look it up.
I looked it up. This is a long article. “What does cut the mustard mean? To cut the mustard is to reach or surpass the desired standard or performance or more generally to succeed or have the ability to do something extraordinarily. For instance, ‘Beyoncé cut the mustard in her new song.’ Often, the phrase is used in negative constructions when something doesn’t live up to expectations or can’t do the job e.g., ‘Tom Brady couldn’t cut the mustard in the playoffs.’” Rare for him. “Cut the mustard seems to be an American original phrase. Evidence for this phrase can be traced to a Galveston Texas newspaper in 1891.”
“The author, O Henry, who spent many years in Texas where he may have picked up this expression used cut the mustard in his 1907 collection of short stories, the Heart of the West. ‘I looked around and found a proposition that exactly cut the mustard.’ What does mustard have to do with excellence? Clues can be found in earlier mustard expressions. Mustard adds spice, zest, piquancy. This may not be obvious in your everyday yellow mustard but slather on some English mustard like Colman’s on your frankfurter and you’ll be feeling the heat. That’s why as early as the 1600s, hot/strong/keen as mustard was a figure of speech for someone extremely powerful, passionate or enthusiastic. These qualities are admirable or desirable so perhaps it’s no surprise that mustard took the jump to the connotation of genuine, superior or excellent.” There you go. The more you know.
That brought up a few emotions. One, I felt a little uncomfortable. I was like, “I don’t like this term.” It makes me feel weird. It feels like something an old man would say and I’d be like, “I’m not into this.” It reminds me of cut the cheese so I’m thinking of farts and then it also made me crave mustard on a Beyond Sausage. That sounds good.
I had the same feeling.
You had all those same feelings, Jason, or the latter?
The latter. Maybe because I grew up in a family where cut the mustard was a phrase that was used.
Is that a Polish thing?We're sacrificing meaning and depth and resonance in the way that we communicate for efficiency. Click To Tweet
We did eat a lot of broths, frankfurters and kielbasa growing up with nice spicy mustard. Pretzel bun? Give it to me.
That sounds good. Have you ever seen that Leonardo DiCaprio meme where he’s biting his fist?
Yeah, from Wolf of Wall Street.
For you the reader, we have another show and it’s private for our newsletter subscribers and patrons called This Hits The Spot. We talk about products, a lot of food and other things. We did one on body care. This reminds me too as a complete tangent since we started talking about Beyond Meat, that one thing I thought we would touch upon on our show is the Beyond Chicken. That didn’t come up on the show. Why not talk about it since we’re talking about Beyond Meat? We’re having a loose conversation on this episode.
I was on a road trip and I have a Tesla. I have to plot my whole road trips based on the Tesla Superchargers. You can get in the car and plug in where you’re going and it will tell you where you have to stop and for how long. A lot of times, I don’t know where I’m going aside from the destination. Somewhere outside of San Francisco, not near San Francisco but a little further East, I ended up at the Supercharger at this huge outdoor mall. I’m looking around and it was about lunchtime. I was curious about what was there. I found this place called Next Level Burger. It was inside Whole Foods and I’m casually scrolling through the menu. I wasn’t even intending to go. I saw that they had the Beyond Chicken Tenders there. Not only that but they had this incredible sandwich.
I sent a screenshot to Jason and he was like, “You have to get it and you have to bring me home some.” I’m like, “What? I’m six hours away from Los Angeles and you want me to bring you back a sandwich?” He’s like, “Hell yeah. The Beyond Tenders is hard to find.” Jason and I are fans of Beyond Meat and I’m an investor in Beyond Meat. Side note but not influencing my opinion on them. You and I like trying new things.
I went in there and I got a sandwich and I liked it. I’m not quite sure exactly how to verbalize how I feel so I’m curious how you felt about it, Jason. I was impressed with Next Level Burger. Had I not been limiting the amount of sugar I’m eating, I would have loved to have one of their milkshakes. If you had been with me, what I would have asked is for you to get a milkshake and I would have had a few sips or scoops of it depending on how thick it was. It looks so good. Their burger is impressive. If you’re reading, even if you don’t live near a Next Level Burger, which they’re all North of Los Angeles, look up their menu. It’s fun. Look up their Instagram because it’s drool-worthy if you can handle it. If you live near there, you got to go and try it.
The burger had tempeh chicken tenders and French fries. You could choose different buns. I got mine in a bowl because that’s what I prefer over bread. There was a bunch of crazy sauces there so it was a little hard to give a full opinion about the tenders, Jason. I don’t know if you felt that way. You also ate yours 48 hours later. It was a few days but it was wrapped up in tin foil in the fridge and you reheated it. I’m having trouble describing how I felt. Since I tried the Beyond Chicken at KFC when they tested that out, I already knew what their chicken tasted like and it was good. I wouldn’t say that either time left me feeling quite as excited as I am about their other products. Their burgers and sausages are some of the best plant-based foods I’ve ever had. I haven’t had that reaction to the chicken. What’s your feeling about it, Jason?
The caveat, I did have it 48 hours after you got it so it was not optimally fresh but I did heat it and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I do want to try the tenders independent of being in a burger, dunk them in barbecue sauce and spicy mustard since we’re on the subject of food. Chipotle mayo, barbecue sauce, spicy mayo, take the tenders there and have them fresh too, not 2 to 3 days old. Overall, I thought they were good. The texture is good and the flavor can stand to be improved. It’s not bland but it’s not quite like chicken. It’s not quite there. Whereas the sausages and the Beyond Burger patties, I’ve served them to people who are not anywhere near vegetarian and vegan and they’re like, “This is good.”
The chicken is almost there but I don’t think it’s quite ready for primetime in the mainstream. That’s my opinion on it. It needs to be improved flavor-wise if the mainstream is going to take off with it. It’s an improvement over their strips from back in the day. I love you, Beyond Meat. I got love for Ethan and that whole team but those strips back in the day did not taste like chicken. I’m sorry. I would make old-school Polish recipes, chicken paprikash and things like that and it was like, “Okay, kind of.”
That was way ahead of its time. Didn’t you and I go to their launch party for the crumbles and they were serving all their products? That was the early days.
That was 2014. I’m not saying this to be a critic. I’m saying if the goal is to reach the mainstream, which the burgers and the sausages are primetime-ready, the flavor of the chicken needs to be saltier, gamier and meatier. It was a little bit bland to me. If I took the breading away, it needs to be a little more flavorful. That was my opinion. Overall, it was great. I want to go on record to say that I don’t eat a ton of plant-based meat substitutes or analogs depending on what you call them because some of them hurt my stomach. I have given Impossible many tries over the years and every time I eat it, I feel like the grim reaper is digging his scythe into my gut.
It might be the genetically modified heme iron that’s in the Impossible meat. When I eat Impossible meat, I feel not great. I like Beyond because my body feels good when I eat it. This is an important conversation, we come to food. We see people eating all this stuff. Sometimes I’ll look at the junk food vegans or however they classify themselves and I’m like, “I wish I could eat that.” I know a lot of that stuff, Whitney, I will pay for it because my body will say to me, “Why did you put this in me?” Beyond, thankfully is one of those holy grails for me that I can eat and still feel good in my body and my digestion is not affected by it.
This is turning into an episode of This Hits The Spot but let’s consider this a preview for those of you who have not checked it out because we have a small listenership there. If you ever have trouble finding something, shoot us a DM on Instagram or anywhere else. Email works too.
FYI, I did a cursory Google search for the phrase This Hits The Spot podcast and we are the number one ranking. There you go.
We’re doing a good job. This is search engine optimization at its finest. This is a little a preview of the type of conversations we have on that show. I do want to shout out two things, Jason, on this subject before we move on or away from this. One is that I told Jason privately about something new I tried called OmniPork. I’ve been thinking about doing a mini TikTok-style video on that. It’s at a Chinese restaurant that I go to from time to time and they seem to understand vegan. It’s one of those places where I’m always clear, like, “There’s no meat or fish and no broth.” You have to be clear.We're losing so much when we're just doing text-based communication. Click To Tweet
Even though it’s a very LA restaurant, which they probably know, it’s also authentic if it’s run by Asian people. It’s got that vibe. It doesn’t feel too Americanized, even though Chinese food, in general, has become Americanized. It’s not run by a bunch of white people is what I’m trying to say as far as I know. I went on their website to order my basic dish. I love Kung Pao vegetables if you’re curious. I saw they had a new plant-based menu at the top. I was rubbing my eyes in disbelief. I went and checked and I was like, “This must be a mistake. Why does this place have a plant-based section all of a sudden?”
The plant-based section is because they’re using this new product called OmniPork. I didn’t even know this existed. This is how cool plant-based foods are. There are too many things to keep up with versus back in the day, the Beyond Chicken 1.0 days, you knew every product on the market because there weren’t that many. Now you can’t keep up and there’s an alternative to any product out there. There’s not a ton of vegan pork. This company is like the Beyond Meat of pork. They have their products in all these cool restaurants in Southern California. It does contain soy and wheat so it is a gut bomb for someone like me who has trouble digesting soy and wheat.
It’s not gluten-free and soy-free. I have to eat those things sparingly but I’ll take a bunch of enzymes or a grip of enzymes. I’m using enzymes from BiOptimizers who’s been a sponsor of the show. I like their products. I packed those up with me and bring them to restaurants or have them ready when I’m getting food at home. They now have all these products that were designed around OmniPork. If you go on OmniPork’s website, OmniFoods.co, you can go and see if any nearby restaurants have it and you can request it, too. In Southern California, a ton of places. I’m not quite sure outside of this area but I imagine they’re testing it out. It’s cool. It’s worth having.
It’s similar to the Beyond Chicken Tenders where the taste isn’t fully there. It’s got a neat texture. I never ate a ton of pork before I went plant-based and I don’t know how different it is from chicken if that makes sense. I feel like it’s chewier or something. It’s cool to see that as an option. They had it in their dumplings and potstickers. They had mapo tofu with the pork in it. They turned all these Americanized Chinese foods into fully plant-based options and it brought me joy.
The other company I want to shout out on the opposite end of the spectrum is Dr. Praeger’s. If you’re someone like me and Jason and you’re laughing because they’re old school, Dr. Praeger’s has a special place in my heart. I tried a product of theirs that blew my mind because of my food sensitivities and because I tend to eat lower carb. They have soy-free and gluten-free products. Most if not all of their products are both soy-free and gluten-free.
They have all these different chicken tenders, which are great in the air fryer and they have an alternative to Beyond Meat and Impossible, which to me, the taste of it tastes like the two combined. It’s got a good texture and it’s got some of the flavors but a lot of people don’t like Beyond Meat since it’s so flavorful. Impossible has a little bit duller taste. Dr. Praeger’s meat like a ground meat alternative is legit and no stomach issues and has solid ingredients. It’s surprisingly fantastic. I had to shout them out too. Should we move away from the food products, Jason? Where do we go from here?
I have a comment that I wanted to say going back to the beginning of this, which was you talking about our editor removing some of the “imperfections,” the flubs, the mess-ups or whatever we want to call them. It reminds me of a conversation I was having with my vocal coach, Claire, pre-pandemic of course, about the nature of vocal recording and how it’s changed so much over the years. In a previous episode, we talked a little bit about auto-tune and how digital technology has affected music recording. In this context of perfectionism, we were discussing some of the classic vocal recordings over history.
She was playing me isolated vocal tracks from people like Freddie Mercury. We were listening to Jim Morrison and Roy Orbison. It’s interesting because in the context of song, sometimes someone can be either pitchy, which means you’re either sharp or you’re flat. There’s a note and you’re either on pitch, which is right on the note or you’re sharp or you’re flat, which means you’re either above or below the note on the scale. Her point was like, “If you listen to Robert Plant, Freddie Mercury, Steven Tyler or Roy Orbison, they didn’t have a perfect vocal pitch on a lot of their recordings. Some of them did but not all.”
Roy Orbison has a song called Crying. It’s one of his big hits. The last note of the song he hits, he’s pitchy. He’s slightly flat. If you listen to it and pay attention to that note, you’re like, “He is flat.” Why did they keep it in there? That was the whole thing we were talking about because the producer of the record could have said, “Roy, another take. You were flat.” He kept it in because of the emotion and Roy Orbison meant it.
It reminds me of a quote by another one of my favorite musicians, Amos Lee, who has been doing a lot of great Instagram Lives over the course of the pandemic. I was watching one of his lives and he said, “You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to mean it.” He messed up in one of his lives. His voice cracked or he was pitchy. What I want to do, Whitney, with everything we’re creating and things that I’m trying to do is not trying to have it be so polished and perfect. What if we say something wrong? What if our voices crack? What if I have to clear my throat because I’m sick in the middle of a podcast? That’s real.
With music, the big thing that a lot of people are bitching about is that it’s too polished and it’s too perfect. When you do hear someone who’s slightly flat or slightly sharp, it’s like, “That’s what the human voice does. We’re not robots.” I wanted to say that going back to this idea of our collective cultural obsession with perfectionism. In some cases, we lose a lot of the soul and meaning, which goes back to our point about communication we were talking about, Whitney. I don’t want to lose soul and meaning in music or any form of communication to try and make things too perfect. Music is a form of communication. If we lose the meaning, emotion and soul then what’s the point? Robots can do it.
A lot of human beings have this fear of robots taking over. Are we becoming more robotic to the point that we won’t even be able to tell the difference between ourselves and robots if we’re always trying to do things perfectly and not make mistakes? That’s part of our big fascination and the reason that we evolve technology in that sense because technology helps us save time, money and all that efficiency but also reduces human error. We start to associate human error as something negative but that truly is where our humanity and our soul are. We have to practice recognizing that.
It makes me wonder how relationships will evolve over this time because we’ve talked about dating in general starting to feel robotic. People lose their souls and humanity when it comes to that. They’re on an app swiping and they forget that there’s a real person on the other side of all these judgments we make. You can present yourself through your bio, communication and social media as being perfect.
Maybe on your first date, everything’s perfect and polished but then the reality sinks in over time that the person that you were introduced to is not who you’re dating. It’s almost a subtle catfish. That’s disturbing because it concerns me when people end up in relationships and something changes and they’re feeling stuck or sad. They have to go through divorce and the trauma of leaving the relationship or the breakups. All of that is hard to watch. It’s especially sad if somebody got into something thinking it was one way but then didn’t get to see the real person until later.
We see this so much on social media, podcasts and other platforms where people can draw them in through all of this polish then they lose the trust. Ultimately, trust, soul and connection are important. I value them. I don’t want those to be wrung out of me. I spent a lot of time trying to achieve that and both of us have, Jason. We’ve talked about this openly throughout the show. We’ve experienced what it’s like to polish, present, shape and mold ourselves but we also experienced that they never were worth it. They didn’t lead to any of the things that we thought they were going to lead to so we might as well just be ourselves.
The same thing with relationships, do you want to be in a friendship or romantic relationship or a family relationship with somebody who’s not who they say they are in the beginning? Do you want to feel deceived? Wouldn’t you rather be relaxed and truly be yourself? It’s tough. It’s not an easy answer. It’s not that black and white. I found the more that I tried to embrace authenticity, I’m also recognizing how hard it is sometimes because there is so much rejection and I too want people to accept me. I don’t want to be seen as unattractive when I don’t wear makeup. We’ve talked a lot about the aging stuff.You don't have to be perfect. You just have to mean it. Click To Tweet
On TikTok, I saw a lot of videos about Sarah Jessica Parker. They might be filming a new Sex and the City movie or something. There’s all this footage of her and people commenting, “She’s so old.” There was a photo of her where I don’t think she was wearing makeup and people were like, “Look how bad she looks.” That’s such a common reaction that is messed up. It’s like, “People age. Not everybody wears makeup.” Meanwhile, I’ve seen all these posts about Jennifer Lopez showing off her body and people are like, “Look how great her body looks for 52.” People are like, “It’s because you turn 50, it doesn’t mean that you’re old and decrepit.”
Remember that Jennifer Lopez spends a lot of time on her appearance. It’s great that she’s celebrating herself but she’s also somebody that’s constantly polishing herself for all that I know. I don’t know enough about JLo. I assume that she’s regularly working out, thinking about her diet, working with professionals and maybe doing special things to her hair. Who knows? I don’t know what her regiment is but my point is that she is a polished person so she looks great. How much polishing do you want to do? It’s my big question.
I imagine she’s dyeing her hair and doing all of these things that I don’t necessarily want to do. I can look at her and celebrate her but also recognize, “She’s polished and that’s not what she would look like if she didn’t do all that polishing.” Deep down, I would rather look at Sarah Jessica Parker when she’s not wearing makeup because that feels real to me. That feels like a human being versus a polished person feels more like a robot to me.
I’m trying to find a connection between everything we’ve talked about, the desire to tie it up in a bow. I feel like the closest I can get is when you were sharing all of that about the vocal coach. I don’t know if you notice but I had a little laugh attack. I couldn’t stop laughing and I was trying not to laugh. It was one of those moments where the more I tried not to laugh, the harder I was laughing then suddenly, everything felt funny to me. It’s silly where it began. I looked up Dr. Praeger’s website and I saw their sweet tagline. I heard your classic Jason voice because their tagline is Purely Sensible Foods. I thought it’s like a cut the mustard type of phrase like, “Purely Sensible Foods.” You’ve got the Midwestern man voice that you put on for phrases like that.
Like Midwestern Dad. It’s like, “I went to Trader Joe’s. I’m calling a TJ’s, shorthand. I’m learning those colloquial phrases from the kiddos. I picked up a package of Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers. Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a sale, it’s always low prices. Dr. Praeger’s make always sensible foods so I would like us to eat with more sense. This is a great way for us to start.”
That was good.
You’re welcome, Dr. Praeger’s. You can use that however you want royalty-free.
You’re going to give away your usage. I don’t know about that. Maybe they’ll want to sponsor the show. Now they’re like, “We don’t need to sponsor the show because they gave us lots of free press.” I’m happy to do it because when you look at their website, I picture all these kind human beings working for them and they’re pleasant. There’s something that makes me feel good about them. Go check out their website to feel good. They’re from New Jersey so not quite Midwestern. I have family in New Jersey. Although it also says something about California here. I’m a little confused about where this company is based but that’s alright. We all got work to do. They have delicious foods. Give them a try.
Jason, my homework to you is to go try some pure sensible foods. We’re talking about authenticity here. We’re talking about the soul. Go give it a try. They’ve got puffs. It’s an impressive line. I bought these at Lassens. Their sale is over but they were half off. They sell them at Sprouts and they have quite the selection. It’s perfectly plant-based ground. That’s what it’s called. It’s one pound of plant-based ground meat. It’s making me drool. It’s soy-free, gluten-free and non-GMO. It’s made with sunflower oil and contains four veggies. Part of their thing is you can sneak in the veggies. It’s pea protein-based and somehow, it’s also low carb even though it has sweet potato and butternut squash. It’s impressive. I promise to the reader, this is not an ad. This is me recommending something.
I want to try it now the way you described it.
Go give it a try. For the reader, we will talk about it on This Hits The Spot. Jason will give his review of Dr. Praeger’s Purely Sensible Foods, perfect plant-based ground, pure plant protein. There are a lot of P’s in there. Maybe they did that on purpose. Maybe that’s part of their thing.
“Perfectly pedantic plant-based protein patties.” Why the complexity?
It’s fun to say.
“Praeger is perfectly pedantic plant-based protein patties.” We’re going to cram all the P’s into your vegan ass.
Literal peas because it’s made with pea protein.
We are going to cram all of the P’s in that ass, Dr. Praeger.If we lose the meaning and we lose the emotion and we lose the soul, then what's the point? Click To Tweet
I wonder who Dr. Praeger is. I need to go look.
He’s not even a real person. He’s made up.
What do you think? What do you want to bet?
It’s a manufactured identity. That’s what I bet.
Let’s see if they have it. It was founded in 1994 so not super old but you could say 1994 called. You love to say those phrases. Here we go, Jason. “It’s not every day that two heart surgeons get into the food business.” I feel like I should send this link to you and you should read this in your Midwestern voice. This will be the greatest ad if they were sponsoring us. I feel like we should send this as an example to future sponsors, Jason, like, “Here’s what we can do to authentically talk about your brand.”
Also, insult a lot of people from the Midwest. Sorry.
How is that insulting?
Because I’m going to be imitating the Midwestern accent and some people might get mad but I’m from the Midwest. Here we go. “It’s not every day that two heart surgeons get into the food business but that’s exactly what our dads did. Motivated by what they saw in their practice, they set out on a mission to encourage sensible eating. The new ingredients had to be nutritious and simple, everything had to be delicious and their products needed to be simple to prepare. While the world has changed since our little family business first got started, our focus remains true to our dad’s vision and we work every day to make them proud.”
“Here’s our story. Our history dates back to 1994 when our dad’s medical partners and cardiothoracic surgeons conducted emergency surgery to save a man’s life. They also wound up saving a business. After the successful operation, the group became friends. Later, the patient introduced our dads to the owner of Ungar’s Heimeshe Gefilte Fish Company. The heart specialists were hooked. After acquiring the company while keeping their busy medical practice, the pair launched Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods to provide delicious, nutritious and convenient frozen foods.”
It’s not that long but it did not answer our question. I enjoyed hearing you share the story and also your amazing pronunciation of that Gefilte Fish Company, which you’ve called my dog gefilte fish when she has bad breath.
She smells like a gefilte fish. When Evie’s breath is bad, she smells like a traditional Jewish dish.
Luckily, she no longer has that issue. That’s a sweet story. I fell more in love with Dr. Praeger’s talking about them and reading about them but the mystery has not been solved. They should at least add this to the FAQ, which I’m going to check. Is there a real Dr. Praeger? It’s not even answered. I feel like that’s a huge issue on their website. They should tell you who that is. If it’s not a real person, where did that name come from? Did you find the answer?
I found the answer. The Google Search I put in was, “Is Dr. Praeger real?” I found an obituary from the New York Times. “Dr. Peter Praeger, a heart surgeon who saved a man’s life and as a result wound up owning a gefilte fish company, who, as a result of that, wound up starting a successful natural foods company, died September 22, 2012, in Hackensack, New Jersey at the age of 65.”
Hackensack ties into one of our favorite songs, Jason, by Billy Joel.
The Krakatoa song.
“Who needs a house out in Hackensack.”
She doesn’t say Hackensack. It’s something about moving to Hackensack.
“Is that all you get for your money?” That’s a great one of my favorite Billy Joel songs. Anyway, RIP Peter Praeger.
I didn’t even know who he was and now that I know that he’s no longer with us, I feel sad.
He was a real human being and was the co-chief of cardiothoracic surgery at the Hackensack University Medical Center. He had a great surgical career and a great food business.
That’s where the New Jersey stuff comes from. We didn’t expect to do a huge piece on Dr. Praeger’s. We were going to have a free-flowing episode. Now is where we would like to hear from you, the reader. How did you feel about this? Do you prefer the tangential, all over the place, loose? Do you prefer our more organized, article base? We did pull up some articles. We did a little bit of research but we value your opinion privately, publicly especially when it’s nice. We got a nice review. We sometimes get these reviews from people that are kind and then we get new supporters.
We had this surprise larger amount of money on Patreon, which was awesome. We get blown away. We had a sweet private message from one of our Patreon supporters about how much she loves our show. That stuff goes a long way. Please send us a message and tell us how you feel. We hear you, we read it and we appreciate you so much. If you want to tell us A) Did you like this show and this episode? If not, do you like another episode? Is there something entirely different that you would like to see us do? We’re open to that. B) How much Dr. Praeger’s did you go and buy after reading this? We can report back to the company and say, “If you saw a spike in sales, it’s because of us.” We would like to be acknowledged. If not Dr. Praeger’s, did you go buy or try any of the other foods that we discussed? Have you followed This Hits The Spot?
If I could do a survey after every episode, I would because I love knowing feedback. You guys matter to us. You, the reader, matter a ton more than you probably know so thank you for reading. I’ll leave it to Jason to do the official wrap because I feel like you do it so well. Also, Jason, I feel like it may be an auditory cue to your animals because, at the end of every episode, you usually say, “With all that said.” That’s the phrase that you say when you’re ending. You’re going to have to do what you’ve done one other time, which is, say your signature ending phrase and then go open the door and see if your animals come running in. They have learned that you say that at the end of episodes and now they’re like, “Dad’s done with the podcast. We’re free.”
With all that said.
I don’t know if it’s going to work that maybe if it’s not authentic, it doesn’t work. He’s opening the door. You say, “With that being said,” Jason.
With that being said. We defeated your theory, alas.
Either that or it does not work. It’s maybe a specific, authentic vibe that they get. Maybe they can tell that you’re baiting them. Your animals are quite smart. Also, it’s a warm day. Maybe it’s too hot for them to move. That’s been the case before, too.
They’ve been lazy little turds. They lay around all day. With that being said, follow us on our website, Wellevatr.com. We release new blog posts every week. If you haven’t joined our newsletter list, we send them out every Friday with resources for your wellness, mind, heart and being. We love to share resources on our blog and our newsletter if you want to take advantage of those free resources. If you are into this, you’re loving what we’re doing and want to support us energetically and financially, Patreon.com/Wellevatr, you can join us and support us for as little as $2 per month. Easily doable. That’s it for now. We love you. We appreciate you. Goodbye from me. Goodbye from Whitney. Thanks for getting uncomfortable with us. We will catch you with another episode soon!
*We use affiliate links in our show notes. This means we receive a small sales commission if you purchase an item based on our recommendation.
- Alone Together
- Reclaiming Conversation
- Bored and Brilliant
- Three Trees Pistachio Nutmilk
- Where Does The Phrase “Cut The Mustard” Come From?
- Heart of the West
- This Hits The Spot podcast
- Beyond Chicken
- Next Level Burger
- Instagram – @NextLevelBurger
- Impossible Foods
- Instagram – @Wellevatr
- Dr. Praeger’s
- How Astral Projection Connects Science, Spirituality, and Religion Together – Previous episode
- Amos Lee – Instagram
- Dr. Peter Praeger Obituary
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