Episode 1: Welcome to Cookedraw


Food for Thought: Episode 1 Transcript

You are listening to episode 1 of Food for Thought.

Hi everyone, I’m Ymonne and I’m coming to you from the offices of COOKEDRAW in Los Angeles, California --- in other words --- my bedroom closet. Excellent sound proofing in here! But I guess you have to use what you’ve got, right? I mean - if I were to be recording somewhere else in the house you’d probably hear my lovely neighbors blasting their mariachi music, police sirens, or my dog chewing on his squeaky toy. So... the closet will do for now!

First and foremost, I want to welcome you all to the inaugural episode of our new podcast, Food for Thought [vuvuzela noise] . Last year, when Matias and I started cookedraw, our idea was to find a way to more directly impact the lives of those around us in a positive way. Most of the people that we interact with on a daily basis - are always in a rush or busy, or both; they all have different lifestyles, different needs and wants... but the ONE thing they seem to have in common is that they ALL want to improve their eating habits… just like me! I felt the same way until just over a year ago - when I decided to go vegan and learn more about the direct and indirect benefits of this lifestyle. I learned about new ways to get healthier by cooking with primarily whole-food plant-based ingredients, preparing my meals ahead of time, being more intentional when eating food, and so much more. So really - the idea of cookedraw stemmed from feeling the positive change a plant-based lifestyle brought to my life and the desire to share these benefits with everyone I know.

Whether you are vegan or not - trying to become one or have no interest in becoming one at all - that’s totally fine! I hope I can provide information that will make it easier for all of you to incorporate better foods into your diet. I mean at the end of the day - if you can be healthier - and eat well - then why the heck not?!

So to provide a little background for those of you who might not be aware, I’m not a professional chef or dietician, or anything of that nature - I’m actually an engineer. Matias - the other half of cookedraw - studied aerospace engineering and I studied electrical engineering. Boring right?!... Well not for him, but that’s a different story. We met at our undergraduate university - Cal Poly Pomona - shoutout to all the Broncos, we fell in love, got together, became professionals, and now we’re making podcasts in our closet. SUPER CUTE! But how does that relate to food? Well, besides the fact that I love food - and I think that’s a good enough reason for anybody to spend time researching and talking about it - I guess you could say that the engineer in me really wanted to figure out a way to solve our problem with food... while simultaneously solving our problems with the environment, inequality, animal rights...you know, the small, insignificant issues that don’t really affect too many people on a daily basis. Basically, I want to share everything I have learned and continue to learn about plant-based food -- and food in general, with all of you so we can all make better decisions about what we eat.

With all of that in mind, cookedraw became an outlet for me to learn, share, and grow my passion for plant-based eating. I’ve only been vegan for a year (and I’m super happy about it) - but I feel like there has been so much that I had to learn and unlearn regarding my eating habits and the food culture that I grew up in. From recipes, to nutritional information - places to eat and places to avoid when I’m going out…going vegan was probably one of the more recent things I’ve done in my life that has really helped me step out of my comfort zone and discover a part of me that has been dormant for a long time. I never really loved cooking - but I always loved eating and trying new foods - albeit within my pre-existing dietary restrictions. I mean - full disclosure here - I have never had one piece of bacon in my entire life since I grew up as a Halal eater. Now - I love cooking as well as eating the food that I make. I mean, don’t get me wrong - I don’t love cooking all the time. I still tolerate meal-preparation because I see it as a chore; but when it comes to just trying out new recipes or veganizing an old favorite - I can’t get enough. The creative aspect of cooking is something that I truly enjoy. And trust me when I say that some of the best foods I have had - like macaroni and cheese - a.k.a. the holy grail of food in my book - were in their best form when cooked vegan. Yeah! I kid you not... And if you don’t believe me - and you happen to be in the LA area - then check out my top ten list on local vegan spots to eat because I was damn near borne again when I had my first bite of Vegan Mac  from the Mac & Cheese Rebel… and regardless of his convictions, the carnivore next to me loved it too!

But, why plant-based? Why now? What does this have to do with anything? Well I’m glad you asked.

On October 8, 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report warning policymakers around the world that we have only twelve years left to limit global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5 degrees celsius. Anything above that would be detrimental to the world as we know it. You heard it right! If the planet warms even another 2C, virtually all of the world’s coral reefs will die and sea levels will rise between two and seven feet by the end of the century. This would mean the complete flooding of coastal cities around the world and a surge in severe weather events like hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, storms…and let’s not forget about the climate refugees. Just think about that for a second. I don’t know about you all - but I sure as hell can’t swim for a long time and I have already lived through the worst part of the recent drought in California. I think I’ve learned my lesson, thank you very much! But I digress. Back to the report: the report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5C would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by around 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching “net zero” by 2050. And who are the top two culprits of our impending climate catastrophe, you ask? Big Oil and Big Agriculture. So what can you do about it? Or better yet, what can we do about it? Well, for starters, you could go vegan - and switch to a plant-based lifestyle. Or at the very least - you could eat more plants and less meat. And if you are thinking to yourself - why should I be held responsible for the crimes of large corporations and lobbyists? You are not alone, I feel the same way, and quite honestly, it sucks. But I will say this: we are nearly out of time and we need to radically shift our approach. We need to demand systemic change as well as do our utmost to deny capital to the same institutions that put us here in the first place.

But the impact of animal agriculture reaches far beyond the environment. Food culture in the U.S. and other meat-centric countries around the world has caused increasingly high rates of noncommunicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. According to a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease was the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Moreover, studies show that the consumption of red and processed meat, sugar, highly refined grains and processed carbohydrates led not only to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but to an increased risk of developing various cancers. Now, I’m not going to preach about how I went vegan overnight and never ate anything with sugar or anything considered “junk food” for the last year. I mean - I eat donuts every other week! That would be a complete and utter lie. And quite honestly, I find that that sort of dogmatic approach to anything in life unhealthy… but more on that later though. The point is this - we are all accustomed to living and eating a certain way because most of us simply do not have the time of day to spend hours preparing meals. Most of us don’t stop working after we leave work - we come home and continue working, whether it’s taking care of family members - running errands, school work, recording a podcast from your bedroom closet... or just trying to take a mental health break from it all. It’s no surprise that the majority of us have all become used to the convenience of fast food, food delivery, canned or frozen meals. But seriously, we are in the midst of a public health crisis and it’s one that I don’t see changing any time soon. And if you are like me, and you live in the U.S. - then you know that the cost of healthcare doesn’t come cheap either. Look… even if you don’t have any desire to go vegan - adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet and reducing the amount of processed, sugary foods, and animal products you eat is a great way to invest in your health.

Now, unless you have been living under a rock and have not participated in social media in the last - who knows how many years - I’m sure you have heard these arguments on countless occasions. Do it for the environment! Do it for “your” health! Veganism is the end-all-be-all cure! And I haven’t even mentioned animal rights activism. Of course that is a core tenet of veganism, that I strongly believe in. But something that I seldom hear or see on the internet and all of the social spheres is who our current system actually impacts. It’s obvious that animal agriculture impacts global warming and, in turn, public health - but those directly impacts communities that are already marginalized. Global warming and food scarcity - disproportionately affect marginalized people around the world. Access to healthy food is hard to come by when you live in a geographical food desert or one that’s been artificially created because most of the good food is exported out and the remaining is way too expensive for locals to buy. Being able to act on education about food and nutrition is a privilege for most. Myself included! And veganism does not live in a vacuum from other social, political, economic - or any other issues. So whether we’re talking about the science behind supplements, comparative diets, regional food traditions, labor practices and farming - and the complex historical context related to the food we eat and why we do it, I hope this podcast starts a dialogue about how veganism - or simply gaining agency over what you decide to buy the next time you go grocery shopping -  can be accessible in meaningful ways - not just for you, but for everyone.

So if you’re thinking about changing the way you eat - or you’re interested in learning more about where your food comes from and why - or you want to learn more about veganism specifically without diving into the rabbit hole of Instagram accounts of people that look nothing like you and are preaching a message that seems attainable only for them -- which, yes -- I am totally aware that vegan instagram can be pretty beige and unrelatable at times -- and no, I don’t mean to throw shade at any of the vegan influencers out there, but that’s just my own experience trying to navigate the arena. I want to help create a space for vegans and non-vegans alike to talk about food and facts and put it all into the context of the world we live in today. So, if any of that applies to you and if any of that sounds interesting to you - great! I hope you stick around for the weeks to come - because we have a lot of great episodes ahead of us. And If you’re interested about a topic in particular - feel free to send an email over to info@cookedraw.org... we just might talk about it on an upcoming episode. We’ll be back next week with another episode of Food for Thought. But if you’re looking for more content while you’re waiting - head on over to cookedraw.org and check out some of my latest plant-based recipes, blog posts, and more. And that does it for today’s episode of Food for Thought.  

Food for Thought is a production of cookedraw. This show has been edited and produced by yours truly and Matias. Content from this episode is available on our website at cookedraw.org. You can also find Food for Thought on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify - so make sure to subscribe to Food for Thought on the podcast listening platform of your choice - and if you liked the show, feel free to spread the word to vegan and non-vegan friends alike, and please leave a review! Share us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - MySpace - I won’t judge. Thanks so much for joining me today - I’m Ymonne - and this has been Food for Thought. See you next week.


Ymonne Tajzoy