Today I interviewed Matthew Prescott, author of Food is The Solution: What to Eat to Save the World. Matthew is a leader in the global movement to make farming and eating more sustainable. He’s an advisor to the Good Food Institute, senior director of food and agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States and a leading figure in a global movement to reform how we farm and eat. In this conversation, I talked with Matthew about many things including crickets and cockroaches, which don’t worry, he doesn’t advocate we eat. We talk about the link between what we eat and whether or not it matters, the impact it has on the planet sustainability, and the way we treat and live with animals. So if you’re not already thinking about the connection between what you put in your body, what you put on your plate, and what you eat and how that impacts communities and ecosystems around the world, I highly recommend you listen to this podcast.
00:03:30 – What’s life about?
00:06:26 – Who does Matthew Prescott say Matthew Prescott is?
00:09:38 – How to get incredible contributors to your book.
00:20:41 – How to get people to care about the environment.
00:33:53 – Learning how to compile this type of book.
00:36:30 – Lightning round.
00:46:57 – Protein from insects.
00:57:16 – The very personal nature of food.
01:04:42 – The best money Matthew spent on creating his book.
01:10:36 – Advice on someone starting their book.
01:15:53 – Organizing all of the components of a cookbook.
Food Is the Solution: What to Eat to Save the World by Matthew Prescott
TEDx – It Begins With Every Bite
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
The Wicked Healthy Cookbook: Free. From. Animals by Chad Sarno
Happy Cow APP
The Strain tv series
Vegan Goodness by Jessica Prescott
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
BRYAN: 00:00:53 Today I interviewed Matthew Prescott, author of food is the solution, what to eat to save the world. Matthew is a leader in the global movement to make farming and eating more sustainable. He’s a food advocate which, come on, who isn’t really. He’s an advisor to the good food institute, senior director of Food and agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States and a leading figure in a global movement to reform how we farm and eat. Matthew has spent over a decade and a half sharing his ideas with Ivy League universities, fortune 500 companies, consumers and more. In this conversation, I talked with Matthew about many things including crickets and cockroaches, which don’t worry, he doesn’t advocate we eat. I was just curious to ask him about that. We talk about the link between what we eat and whether or not it matters. The impact it has on the planet sustainability, the way we treat and live with animals. So if you’re not already thinking about the connection between what you put in your body, what you put on your plate, and what you eat and how that impacts communities and ecosystems around the world. Uh, I highly recommend you listen to this podcast. Give it a try. If nothing else, Matthew is a very smart, likable guy who’s written a cookbook for heaven sake. It’s got more than 80 delicious recipes. I’ve tried a few of them with my family. I really enjoyed them. I think that you will enjoy this interview and Matthew also give some great insight on getting a writing project done. So, have a listen. Enjoy for a healthier planet and a healthier you.
BRYAN: 00:02:31 Matthew, welcome to the School for Good Living Podcast.
MATTHEW: 00:02:34 Thanks so much for having me on. It’s great to be here.
BRYAN: 00:02:36 Yeah, I’m, I’m really glad that, uh, that you accepted this. And uh, when I reached out to you, I told you that I saw an advertisement for your book. Food Is The Solution in, the Nature Conservancy’s magazine. And I was so intrigued a first because it’s so visual and that I want to congratulate you on making just a really beautiful book.
MATTHEW: 00:02:58 Oh, thank you. So, you know, I’m a visual guy. I’m a visual learner. I like the visual arts. I’m just drawn to all things visual. And so when I set out to make the book, I really wanted something that was visually appealing that somebody could hold in their hand that had nice feel to it, a nice look to it. And that was more than just a kind of typical cookbook or, or, um, you know, typical kind of manifesto on environmental issues.
BRYAN: 00:03:21 Yeah. I was in Jackson Hole last month and I went into a little bookstore, just an independent store and I saw it on the shelf. I was like, yes.
MATTHEW: 00:03:29 I’m so glad to hear it.
BRYAN: 00:03:30 Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. Let me ask you the question that I, and I’m going to come back to, uh, to the book and into your writing. But I want to start with a question that I usually open with for all my guests. And it’s my favorite question for Uber drivers, by the way, but the question is this, what’s life about?
MATTHEW: 00:03:50 You know, I think life is about trying to, and it sounds Cliche, but I really do believe it’s just about trying to leave the world better than you found it and, and you know, hopefully make good connections in the process, good connections to other people, to your community. And um, I don’t think there’s really any big secret to life. I think it’s just about I’m trying to be a good person, do good in the world and have good relationships here on earth.
BRYAN: 00:04:14 Yeah. Awesome. That, that parallels very closely what I believe life is about as well. I watched your Ted talk and I’d love to know what, what was your experience like? I know there’s a lot of people listening to this who, who, uh, pro they probably watch a lot of Ted talks. They think about delivering their own and uh, I myself have not yet done one, but I’m curious to know from your experience, what was it like both preparing for it and delivering it and what has the response been like?
MATTHEW: 00:04:45 It’s a heck of a process. The preparation is pretty rigorous, the standards are very high for a Ted talk and there was a lot of coaching that’s involved, the folks from the Ted Organization and in my case, TedxUCLA were, you know, work with you very closely on preparing your talk and preparing your presentation and coaching you through it. Um, and then there’s the kind of mental preparation that comes along with presenting to a room, in my case with over 2000 people in it, in a, in a forum that you know, is going to be seen by potentially a lot more people than that online and, but it was a great experience and, you know, taught me a lot about, um, just kind of the art of conciseness, the art of presentation and I’m really fortunate to have had that opportunity.
BRYAN: 00:05:32 Most had talks about 18 minutes. You had more time if you had to do over, what would you have done differently maybe?
MATTHEW: 00:05:40 You know, that’s a good question. I, um, I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it. If I do another one, I’ll have to take a look at the, uh, at the first one again and think what would I do differently this time.
BRYAN: 00:05:50 Yeah, I do think you did a great job delivering a powerful message in a short amount of time. And again, the visuals, like having water on the stage and everything like you did and for people to know what we’re talking, they’ll just have to go Google it and watch it.
MATTHEW: 00:06:03 That’s right. Yeah. That’s a great plug for the Ted Talk. You can just go to Youtube and type in Matthew Prescott, Tedx talk and you’ll probably find it.
BRYAN: 00:06:10 Tell me when you meet someone new. And I realized the answer to this question will depend on a lot of things like who it is or where you are or maybe what mood you’re in or whatever, but when you meet somebody new and you and they ask who you are and what you do, how do you usually respond?
MATTHEW: 00:06:26 Yeah, it’s a great question. Um, I my kind of like my elevator pitch of who I am if I’m like literally in an elevator. I only have a few seconds talking to somebody as I usually say, I’m an author and an activist and um, you know, just boil it down to two words if I have a little bit longer I say, well, you know, I’m a food systems advocate. I’ve spent the last 20 years engaging consumers and corporations and other stakeholders in our food and agriculture system to try and bring about a better way of farming and eating here in America and across the world. So that’s a little bit longer than an elevator pitch. I guess if I was going like one floor and an elevator, that might work but…
BRYAN: 00:07:04 Did you ever find yourself. I actually have done this by the way, like only a couple of times in my life, but you find yourself giving your elevator pitch actually in an elevator and you’re like?
MATTHEW: 00:07:11 Oh yeah, a few times I’ve figured that out.
BRYAN: 00:07:16 And the more time I think you spend on the east coast, the more that happens. But like I just delivered an elevator pitch in an elevator. That’s funny. Um, so Austin is home for you now, is that right?
MATTHEW: 00:07:27 Austin is home for me. I grew up in the northeast in New England, but I’ve been kind of making my way south and west ever since I’ve moved, moved around quite a bit. I lived in Philadelphia and the Washington DC area, Maryland, moved to New Orleans now, Texas and so have just been like inching my way south ever since I left home about 20 years ago.
BRYAN: 00:07:49 Wow. How do you like Austin?
MATTHEW: 00:07:51 I Love Austin. It’s a great town. The food is great. There have got a lot of good friends here. The weather’s fantastic. It’s been raining all week, but normally it’s bright and sunny and lovely out. If you don’t mind the heat and humidity, it’s a great place.
BRYAN: 00:08:04 I want to ask you a few questions now again about your book, Food is the solution: What to Eat to Save the World. Tell me, who did you write this book for and what did you want it to do for them?
MATTHEW: 00:08:15 Yeah. I wrote the book for anybody who is concerned about the future of the planet and doesn’t quite know where to start in their own lives, when it comes to making a difference and all of the best research now available, it says very clearly that one of the top factors when it comes to climate change, one of the top factors when it comes to virtually every major environmental problem we have today comes from the food we eat and specifically comes from the fact that we eat so much products from livestock, so much meat and dairy and eggs. And so I wanted to present a simple solution that could appeal to, you know, everybody. Or virtually everybody, which is we don’t all need to go vegetarian and Vegan. I, I certainly am. I’ve been Vegan for almost 20 years now. Um, and you know, a lot of people are doing that, but that’s not gonna work for everybody. And I want solutions that work for everybody. And so in the, in my book, I really centered it around the message of simply eating more plant based foods. Again, we don’t have to all go vegetarian. We don’t have to all go vegan. We don’t have to do it overnight. We don’t have to do anything overnight, but we can all agree that eating more plant based foods is a, is a really, really good step in terms of combating climate change and other environmental problems. And so yeah, I just wrote it for kind of the average Joe that wants to do a little bit of good in the world.
BRYAN: 00:09:38 I read every word before. I’ll be honest, I didn’t read every recipe… more than 80 recipes, but I did read you got about 75 pages of words and images in the first about the first quarter of the book that are really awesome, including a lot of other people that like James Cameron wrote your forward and you’ve got a number of other people who’ve contributed short essays. How did you, how did you go about basically enrolling so many other people in your project? How did you get so many awesome contributors?
MATTHEW: 00:10:08 Well, you know, as much as I would like to think that the, the world really just cares what Matthew Prescott has to say, that these issues, um, I think that incorporating other people’s voices, I thought originally including other people’s voices would just make it more broadly appealing and would lend more credibility to it and would just bring other voices into the fold and help people realize that there really are a lot of different types of folks all coalescing around this idea about eating more plants. And so yeah, it was very fortunate to have, like you mentioned James Cameron film director wrote the foreword, the actor Jesse Eisenberg has an essay in there, you know the chef Jose Andres, celebrity chef, has an essay in there and these are people who kind of span the spectrum of, you know, you’ve got vegans like James Cameron. You’ve got vegetarians like Jesse Eisenberg and you’ve got meat eaters like Jose Andres and so many others in there all saying the same message, which is no matter what, no matter what we eat, no matter how we eat, let’s all just try to eat more plant based foods. And so, to answer your question, the way I went about getting those folks was, um, just by asking. I’ve been, I’ve been really fortunate in my career over the last couple of decades to, um, you know, encounter various folks from, uh, from the entertainment sector and from the, from the food sector, and was able to just kind of tap into that network to um, to garner some of that content.
BRYAN: 00:11:33 It was cool to me how, you know, they were in some way saying the same thing, but they all have a different perspective. Like in Jessie Eisenberg’s thing, by the way, I love what he said about his family, know when his family stopped celebrating Thanksgiving and started celebrating ThanksLiving.
MATTHEW: 00:11:48 And I love Jessie Eisenberg’s piece in the book because it brings a little bit of levity and humor to it. And yet when we talk about environmental issues, that can be a lot of doom and gloom. It can be pretty heavy stuff and it doesn’t necessarily need to be. And um, Jesse did a really great job of just bringing a little bit of humor into it.
BRYAN: 00:12:08 Yeah, for sure. Do you know any, you know, any good jokes related to like being a vegetarian and being Vegan or anything like that?
MATTHEW: 00:12:16 Oh my God, I, you know what I do, but because you’ve asked me off the top of my head, I’m totally blanking off to get back.
BRYAN: 00:12:22 If they come up at any point, please me know. But I think about this one that a friend of mine said because by the way, I’m, I’m vegetarian, I’ve been vegetarian for a couple years. And I stopped eating beef about about four years ago and a variety of reasons. One, the one environmentalism is one, the sustainability aspect. Health is one and then for me also, spirituality is one, but anyway, you know, now that I have more of these conversations with people about it, one of the things that I, I have a friend who told me this who said that? Yeah. An atheist, a crossfitter and a Vegan all walk into a bar and uh, I only know because they told everyone within the first two minutes.
MATTHEW: 00:13:07 I’ve heard that. And you know what, that does remind me of another good one. I heard, which is, how do you know when there’s a Vegan at your dinner party?
BRYAN: 00:13:15 How?
MATTHEW: 00:13:15 Don’t worry. They’ll tell you.
BRYAN: 00:13:18 Which, um, you know, and I, I can see that. I mean, the thing that I see now being vegetarian is I have become more more aware of other people’s food sensitivities and allergies and preferences, including, and this is one of the thing I wanted, I want to get your perspective about his, you know, like what the hell’s going on with our food, right?
BRYAN: 00:13:38 I mean, like my wife that, this was a couple of years ago now she, she came down, I have a little, I have a little nook in my basement where I like to write sometimes and I’ll go sequester myself and close the door and I turn off all the exterior lights and I’m just focused. And so when I’m in there, people don’t bother me because it’s like, oh, Bryan’s in this little cubby hole, you know? But my wife comes in and she’s in tears. She was like devastated. Right. And I’m, I mean, she’s sobbing so hard she can’t breathe. And I’m like, I honestly went through my mind was that she just backed over our two year old. Like I’m like, like what happened? I’m like, what happened? Tell me what’s wrong, you know, and she, she’s got this report in her hand, this one page piece of paper and it’s this alcat test, her blood test that’s come back from a lab about all these foods that she has these sensitivities to and shouldn’t eat anymore.
BRYAN: 00:14:28 And it’s like this red, yellow, green column thing, you know, and like all these foods she loves, berries and different fruits and stuff like this and you know, eggs and soy and like all this. And she’s like, I can’t eat any, there’s hardly anything I can eat and be healthy, you know? And I’m like, I have no idea why that happens or how it happens. But what. I mean, what’s your take on? I mean, what’s the short version of like why there are so many people who are having these intolerances and allergies and whatever. Whatever else is happening with our food right now?
MATTHEW: 00:15:01 Well, you know, I’ll be honest, it’s not my field of expertise when it comes to food, you know, food sensitivities and food allergies. Um, but what I do think is happening in part is we pump our food so full of foreign substances now that I don’t find it surprising that people are having increasing sensitivity, you know, take chicken, for example, like chicken, chicken, mass produced, chicken produced under normal conditions in the US is so filthy by the time, you know, the chicken has done with being slaughtered, that chicken processors pump it full of chlorine. Um, you have to handle it like a biohazard in your kitchen and you’ve got animals being pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive through conditions that are so dirty, they would otherwise die. And that’s causing antibiotic resistance in humans. You’ve got the overuse and misuse of pesticides that are killing off all kinds of, um, you know, really good healthy things that should be in our soil and should be on our produce, but they’re not.
MATTHEW: 00:16:01 And um, so it doesn’t surprise me that we have this kind of weird relationship with our food now where, there are, you know, things that should be normal and natural and healthy forest to eat that just aren’t anymore. Um, or for some people aren’t anymore. And um, you know, I think one, one of the things that I like about the idea of plant based eating or eating more plant based foods is that it avoids a lot of that stuff entirely. It avoids, you know, all of the antibiotic issues that go into livestock production. It avoids all of the kind of biohazard issues that come with e coli and salmonella and campylobacter and all kinds of other nasty things that are found on, on meat products. And you know, it’s not a, you know, it’s not a catchall if you’re sensitive to gluten or the berries, it’s not going to solve those problems by any means. But it can do a world of good.
BRYAN: 00:16:53 That two year old I mentioned is now, four years old. And she, she knows all her own intolerances and she’ll go tell him to our teachers. It’s like I can’t eat nuts or dairy or citrus or gluten. And it’s like, it breaks my heart that there’s this soon to be five year old child that knows all these foods and you know, what if she eats them, we see it. And you know, even as I hear myself articulate this, if I’m listening to this podcast five years ago, if me five years ago, here’s this, I turned it off. I’m like, man, that’s those whatever hippies or those weird people that care about the I’ll just eat whatever and not worry about it. And I do kind of have an iron gullet. So I am fortunate to enjoy just about anything. And maybe I’m just not sensitive. But that’s one thing I wanted to ask you about too. And I hope that people listening, um, you know, if that might be their tendency to be like, look, I don’t want to hear it. That doesn’t apply to me, that they don’t turn this off. Instead they, they keep listening for something or they listen with new ears.
BRYAN: 00:17:48 Because one of the things that I think happens is that these conversations are often just preaching to the choir, right? It’s like, oh, it’s those. There goes those environmentalists again or there go those whatever, Weirdos again, and one of the things I would love to get your thought about is how, how does this, I mean, when it gets to a certain point, right? Like when the sea levels rise or the water or the air pollution is so bad or the whatever the, the trees are gone, like the lorax scenario comes true, then it’s undeniable. But my hope for us as a species is we don’t have to wait till that point, right? So how do we, how can we go beyond just preaching to the choir when we have these conversations about sustainability?
MATTHEW: 00:18:30 Yeah, it’s tough for sure. Um, there are a lot of, you know, it’s easy for some people I think to hear about environmental issues and kind of have a little bit of a disconnect because the environment is this like kind of weird, big, impersonal thing. Um, you know, I work at a, you know, aside from my publishing of the book, I work for the humane society of the United States on food and agriculture reform. Basically trying to make our food supply more humane when it comes to the treatment of animals and people have a much easier time connecting to that issue because you can see a picture of, of chickens in the egg industry locked in tiny, tiny cages and people can connect with those animals. You can see a picture of a pig locked in a cage for pork production, you know, just in total misery and you can connect with that animal.
MATTHEW: 00:19:16 But it’s harder to connect with environmental sustainability or climate change. It’s not personal. You can’t look climate change in the eyes. And so, you know, one thing I tried to do in the book was tell it through the lens of people who are actually being impacted by it. Tell it through the lens of people who are dealing with drought and flooding. Tell it through the lens of people who were dealing with the impact of mega chicken farms having popped up in their backyard. But I think that, um, you know, I think that more and more people are starting to realize that we don’t… It’s not that we need to protect the environment necessarily just because of the planet has some kind of innate value. We need to protect it because it’s the place where we live. It’s our backyard, it’s the water we drink and the air we breathe.
MATTHEW: 00:20:04 Um, you know, I read one study that all the world’s fisheries are going to collapse by 2048 at the rate that we’re pulling fish out of the ocean. And whether you care about the environment, whether you care about the lives of fish is, is um, you know, one thing, but if you like eating fish, then you should care about the fact that by 20, 48 we’re not going to have any left to eat. And so there is a really, you know, kind of self interested bent. I think that, that a lot of people are starting to realize when it comes to protecting the environment.
BRYAN: 00:20:32 Yeah. You know, I heard this term recently from, from one of my other guests, Raj Sisodia, he talked about something called enlightened self interest.
MATTHEW: 00:20:40 Yeah, exactly.
BRYAN: 00:20:41 Maybe that’s the thing, but you know, what? 2048 man, I might be dead by then, you know, I could be the victim, a school shooting or a car crash or you know, it’s like do people think a decade and a half or two decades now?
MATTHEW: 00:20:53 Yeah it’s hard to fathom. I saw a report from the UN recently that the effects of climate change are coming faster than previously thought. They now say 2040 is when the world is essentially going to be in, in global turmoil as a result in 2040. Really not that far away. Like will be will be alive. And I hope relatively well by that, but it’s still pretty far away to like actually actually kind of think about. But um, you know, there’s, there are a lot of other than saving the environment when it knda… and this is the point that I tried to make in the book and it’s like other than saving the environment, there are a lot of really good benefits to eating more plant based foods and one of the best ones is just trying more delicious food that exists.
MATTHEW: 00:21:37 And I write a little bit about how like before I became vegetarian and then vegan, I just was like meat and potatoes man, all day I didn’t. I just stuck to like the norm, like the most basic foods. I’d never tried Thai food. I’d never tried Ethiopian food. I never tried to Vietnamese food or Indian food. I didn’t even like I just would you get a hamburger or chicken sandwich? Call it a day every day. And when I finally adopted a plant based diet, I realized like, wow, there’s this whole world of flavor out there of texture and flavor. Tofu. I used to. My sister was vegetarian before I was. I used to make fun of her day in and day out for eating Tofu. And I craved this stuff now, I love it. I mean depending on how it’s prepared, but I love it and I never would have tried it had I not started moving down that path. So if you, even if you don’t care about the environment, you don’t care about animals, even if you don’t care about your own health, I say just do it because there’s a lot of darn good food out there that you might find.
BRYAN: 00:22:32 Yeah. And I tried… our family tried a couple of the recipes in your book, the Pittsburgh probies.
MATTHEW: 00:22:37 Nice.
BRYAN: 00:22:38 Those were, those were yummy and creamy basil chicken people, Lettuce Cups. Awesome. I am totally talking about recipes right now, which I love. I love that I have a cookbook author on my show. That’s awesome.
MATTHEW: 00:22:50 Yeah. And you know, I tried to make the book, um, you know, part of the reason why it is a cookbook. Well, one my, I mean my own with my own personal passions and experience kind of led me in that direction where I’ve, I’ve always loved cooking. I’ve always loved being in the kitchen. I’ve always felt comfortable in the kitchen, but I also wanted to make not just like a textbook about environmental issues. I wanted to make something that people could actually use that they could hold in their hand that had a lot of nice photography in it and so you know, if people look at the book, they’ll see the whole first kind of half of it or a quarter of it is, are all these essays and photography all about the environmental issues, infographics and things like that, but then the whole second half our recipes. So you know, you hear a little bit about the problems, but then you get to literally eat the solutions.
BRYAN: 00:23:36 Yeah, that’s a I love. That’s part of what I love about books by the way, is just all the creative in all the creative considerations and seeing how you did it and maybe saving the best for last with the desserts toward the end.
MATTHEW: 00:23:47 Yeah. Yeah, that’s right.
BRYAN: 00:23:49 Pretty cool. How much of how much of people’s behavior do you think is your personal opinion that they don’t see the bigger picture? Like our. I think our habits, our behaviors would change if we could see the impact to the planet or the people, but my guess is that because we don’t see it as immediately or in our own experience that we, we continue doing what we’re doing. What’s your, what’s your take on that about like people maybe not seeing how their food choices are actually impacting communities or ecosystems contributing to the way they’re doing, you know, they’re living in eating?
MATTHEW: 00:24:29 Yeah. I think that that’s true, especially in the developed world. Um, you know, it’s very convenient for us here in America or you know, in, in most of Europe and you know, lots of parts of Asia. It’s very convenient for us to go and get anything we want to eat anytime of day 24/7. We can get it delivered to our door anytime we want. We go to a grocery store, we have, you know, 50,000 different food products to choose from. And in our experience they never really run out of those of us who live in urban environments aren’t dealing directly with the impacts of climate change. For the most part. We’re not, you know, if there’s a drought, it doesn’t really impact us all that much. It’s not like our, you know, our fields and our crops are drying up because we’re not farmers, so we don’t, we don’t really see it, but in other parts of the world, they’re feeling it all the time. I write in the book about, you know, some small island nations, for example, where they’re basically sinkin they’re going under water even in parts of southern Louisiana and the rural parts of southern Louisiana. Like the land is literally just becoming water and people are being displaced and losing their homes. And I definitely think that if, um, you know, if everybody who lives in an urban environment like myself, you know, we’re, we’re able to kind of get out into other parts of the country and other parts of the world where people are directly being impacted already by these things. They would definitely change their diets. And, well, you know, I see that now people who live near factory farms who I talked to in the course of writing the book, um, you know, I talked to one woman in Maryland who lives in the midst of these giant chicken factories now and she stopped eating chicken because she said she was like, I just see it, I get it. I can’t even go outside because the flies are so bad from these places. I don’t want to support this anymore. And um, you know, she’s, no, she’s not like an activist by nature, but she just sees it and she doesn’t want anything to do with it.
BRYAN: 00:26:18 Well, hopefully it won’t take that for all of us with that kind of personal impact. Before we, before we make a change. One thing that I was really was really interested to learn in your book was that Meatless Mondays it’s not a new thing, right? I was like, oh my gosh, to learn the history that. Will you share a little bit about that? And by the way, before we do, the reason I’m going here is saying, okay, so what can we. Right, what are the, because I think it’s easy to think like I’m just one person. What I do doesn’t make a difference. I’m insignificant. Right? But at some level that’s total crap because we know that if everyone did something then it would collectively make a difference. But as we talk about the things we can do, and I’m, I’m kind of pointing to Meatless Mondays as one of those, and I’d love to hear some others from you, but will you talk just a little bit about what, um, what you discovered about the history of meatless Mondays?
MATTHEW: 00:27:11 Yeah, a lot of people think it’s a new thing, but it’s really a hundred years old. Back during World War One, the US food administration, which is now the USDA, created Meatless Mondays and Wheatless Wednesdays as food conservation efforts to conserve resources because we had so many troops over in Europe and uh, they brought it back during World War Two. They revived the Meatless Monday program as an official government program during World War Two. Then it kind of disappeared for awhile and in 2003, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, a kind of reimagined it and relaunched it, but this time as a public health initiative saying, you know, if you want to improve sustainability, you want to improve your own personal health, try eating meat free one day a week. And I think it’s just such a great way for people to get their foot in the door when it comes to eating a healthier, more sustainable, more humane diet. Um, you know, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
MATTHEW: 00:28:10 I think the idea of for a lot of people have going vegetarian or going vegan, it’s really daunting, but one day a week we can all do that super easy. And so in my book I advocate, you know, you want to do meatless Mondays, you want to do tofo Tuesdays, you want to do something that people are doing now called Vegan before six were, you know, before 6:00 PM Vegan food. And then after 6:00 PM all bets are off. You have steak, chicken whenever you want, after 6:00 PM, whatever, whatever people want to do, whatever resonates with them, whatever works for them I think is a step in the right direction. And so, um, yeah, the more the merrier.
BRYAN: 00:28:44 Yeah. And even also the thing you talk about, you know, like consciously moving meat from the center of the plate to the side of the plate.
MATTHEW: 00:28:52 Yeah, there’s um, you know, a lot of people are doing that now. A lot of people are just eating smaller portions of meat or they’re not making meat the centerpiece of every single meal and the, it didn’t used to be that way. Like even our, you know, our parents generation and certainly their parents generation, they didn’t have meat at every meal and they didn’t have these giant chunks of meat at the center of every plate. Meat was a little bit more of a luxury item or it was, you know, it was a, a protein on the plate among other products and we just started eating so much of this stuff. And so even just by eating smaller portions of it or you know, making the centerpiece of your plate, you know, delicious items that use produce and other proteins and grains and then having meat on the side as a side dish does a world of good both for your own health and for the planet.
BRYAN: 00:29:41 So again, I mean these seemingly small things that collectively especially and have a massive impact, you know, it makes me think about something I saw. I don’t, I don’t follow him much, but I saw a video on Youtube a while back of Robert Reich, you know, that that guy and he was talking about something that his theory of social change that I thought was really profound where he said three conditions have to be met before social change happens. But if they are, it will happen like 100 percent. The number one, the disparity between the ideal and the real must be significant, which I think we’re there with environmentalism or animal welfare, two, is that it must be broadly known. That’s happened, but maybe not totally accepted as broadly known. But the third he said, and this is where I think the breakdown is for us with the social changes that people must feel they can do something about it and I think right now, and that’s part of why I feel called to do this work by the way of being a coach and a teacher, is to help people recognize their inherent power and to go beyond this sense of like, my life doesn’t matter.
BRYAN: 00:30:49 The things that I do aren’t important. I can’t possibly make a difference. So if you’re listening to this, if you’re this far into the podcast, um, I at and you’re not already, you know, converted, so to speak, to this idea of eating sustainably or being aware of the impact of your actions. I hope that, I hope that you really do get the difference that you make or that you can make because you already do make a difference. The question is what’s the difference you’re making?
MATTHEW: 00:31:18 Yeah, and you know, I think the biggest way that people make a difference when they changed their individual actions goes beyond just the impact that that change in action has. So for example, if you, you know, you decide you want to change all your light bulbs in your house to energy efficient light bulbs, that’s great. It’s going to save a little bit of money, it’s going to help the environment. But the bigger impact from that action is, look, your friends and family start coming over, you know, they, they see that you’ve made this change or maybe you tell him he made the change and maybe they start thinking about and they make the change and then their friends and family come over and they see it, they start making the change. It’s a ripple effect. And the same is true with diet. You know, you start doing Meatless Mondays and you know, have you happened to go out to dinner with friends on a Monday? And you say, Oh yeah, I’m ordering vegetarian today because I’m doing this Meatless Monday thing. They asked why? You tell them why. Maybe it plants a seed. They start thinking about it, they start doing it. Then the same thing happens to them and it just spreads like wildfire. And so when we think about the impact that we can each have, I just think it goes so much deeper than what the change immediately generates for the world. And you know, when we think about the ripple effect, it can just become so much greater.
BRYAN: 00:32:27 Yeah, for sure. And if you also understand, because I think what you’re saying is absolutely true and when you understand that none of us in this lifetime weill ever and maybe never will ever fully understand the impact of our actions on others, on the planet, on existence itself. So just kind of getting that, um, you know, we’re all part of a bigger system and we don’t necessarily fully comprehend, you know, our place in it or the impact we have on it, but we do. But we do have one.
MATTHEW: 00:33:00 People feel good when they do, when they do things that are good for the world, are good for other people, are good for animals. Um, you know, makes, makes people feel good. All the social studies that exist out there about happiness and what makes what makes people happy, you know, it’s not money or fame or prestige. I mean, those things can certainly make people happy in a certain sense, but the thing that all the science says really make people happy is connecting with others and doing good for others and you know, again, it’s enlightened self interest in a little bit, but I think people will find when they start changing their daily habits, whether it’s, you know, how they eat or um, you know, the kind of car they drive or whatever it is, when they start changing your daily habits to purposely to try to bring about a better world, I think people will find a little bit of increased happiness and peace with their own selves.
BRYAN: 00:33:53 Yeah, I think you’re right. Matthew, what was the most surprising thing that you learned during the course of researching and writing this book?
MATTHEW: 00:34:03 The most surprising thing? The most surprising thing that I learned. Wow, that’s a good question. Well, I would say logistically speaking, the most surprising thing I learned was that it is not easy to compile a book full of, you know, other people’s essays and photography and other kinds of assets like that because there are just, publishing is a weird world. There’s a lot of logistical things that needed to be put into place, um, you know, contracts and know permission forms and all of that. But I would say um, aside from that personally, the thing that I found most surprising was I guess as I was writing the book, like I would sit down to kind of write it each day. And there’s a lot of days I didn’t have any ideas and I was kinda drawn.. I would kind of draw a blank. And one thing that I found that was surprising was if I just kind of sat with it for 10, 20, 30 minutes.
MATTHEW: 00:35:05 Even if I wasn’t writing, I was just looking at my computer screen for 20 minutes and it was blank. I would start writing eventually.
BRYAN: 00:35:12 Not The internet,
MATTHEW: 00:35:13 Not the Internet, looking at a blank screen.
BRYAN: 00:35:16 Key distinction for writers out there.
MATTHEW: 00:35:18 Yeah, not looking at twitter, not looking at facebook, but just like literally a blank word document or wherever I had left off in an existing piece that I was writing. It might just sat with it. Even if I felt like, God, you know, nothing’s coming today, it’s not going to happen and I’m not gonna get anywhere. If I just sat with it, it would. It would start coming and that was a surprise to me and now I’m working on other writing projects now and we’re going to create on a creative writing project fiction project and I. I think that was a valuable lesson to have learned.
BRYAN: 00:35:47 Yeah. How is, how is your life different as a result of having done this book?
MATTHEW: 00:35:53 Well, I did the Ted talk. That was, that was different.
BRYAN: 00:35:56 That was a result of the book? I know a lot of authors will do a Ted talk and then later write a book.
MATTHEW: 00:36:00 Yeah. That was a result of the book. In seriousness though, not a whole lot has changed. I think that my friends want me to cook for them a little bit more now than not now that they published cookbook author, which is, which is fun, but um, yeah, you know, not a lot practically has changed.
BRYAN: 00:36:20 Okay. So let me transition now to asking you the lightning round questions.
MATTHEW: 00:36:26 Oh, okay. Ready? Okay. I think.
BRYAN: 00:36:30 So. Yeah. These I’ve designed, you can take as long as you want to answer. I’ve written them a and I consciously endeavored to stay out of your answers on this part. So, number one using something other than the words of box of chocolates. Please complete the following sentence. Life is like a blank…
MATTHEW: 00:36:54 Carton of cocoa based treats.
BRYAN: 00:36:59 That’s almost cheating. Number two…
MATTHEW: 00:37:01 You got to change the rules, man.
BRYAN: 00:37:05 You played by the rules. You’ve got it. All right. Number two, what do you wish you were better at?
MATTHEW: 00:37:12 I wish I was better at podcast interviews. No. I wish that I was a guy. I wish I was better at sports. Man. It’s a throw away answer, but I, I’m, I’m, I’m like not a, you know, I’m not a big sporty guy but I like playing them and I like exercise and I just wish I had better hand eye coordination to actually make it a reality.
BRYAN: 00:37:40 What sports do you like to play?
MATTHEW: 00:37:42 Oh, I like to play any kind of sport. I like to play basketball. I’m like five seven so I can, you know, I’m not going to be dumping anytime soon. I like to play tennis a lot, although I’m not very good at it. But um, but I like, I like exercise. I like getting outside and doing physical things and just wish I was better at.
BRYAN: 00:38:00 Alright. Number three, if you were required every day for the rest of your life to wear a tee shirt with a slogan on it or a phrase or saying or quote or equip, what would the truth say?
MATTHEW: 00:38:11 Oh Man. If I was required every day to where one tee shirt with the same saying on it… buy my book. I’ll have to think about that when it’s a good question. Uh, I don’t know, you know, the one message that I would want to put into the world. Um, I guess I don’t, I can’t think like a quip right now, but I guess like the one message that I would want to put into the world for people is just to, um, just to live your best life and to, be true to yourself, and it sounds Cliche, but just whatever is inside you, whatever you feel politically, socially, it can be the exact opposite of how I feel politically and socially, but whatever it is, however you feel just live according to your values. There it is. There’s the quip live according to your values.
BRYAN: 00:39:02 Okay. Number four, what book other than your own, have you gifted or recommended? Most often?
MATTHEW: 00:39:10 There’s a really great book called Sapiens by Yuval Harari. That is a really, really great book. Really interesting read. I don’t know if it’s a book I recommend the most often, but certainly really good one. There are a lot of great cookbooks out there. A book that I’ve been recommending lately is a book called the Wicked Healthy Cookbook by my friends Derek and Chad Sarno. That’s an all plant based cookbook, but the food in there is like meaty, sloppy, delicious vegetarian food for people who love meat I think. And uh, I, I highly recommend that one.
BRYAN: 00:39:49 You probably travel a fair amount in your work, what’s one travel hack? Maybe something you do when you travel or something you take with you that makes you travel less painful or more enjoyable?
MATTHEW: 00:40:02 Well, one thing that I do when I travel is I always try to stay within close proximity to where I need to be. So if I have a meeting I try to stay, you know, very close to it at a hotel or something very nearby. And you know, sometimes that means not staying in the nicest places or the most glamorous places. Um, but I value that kind of ease of proximity above pretty much anything else. Um also use Apps, man. Traveling. Travel apps are fantastic. There are so many. Every airline has one. I mean, obviously there was like Uber and Lyft, but every airline has their own app. There’s just all kinds of handy things that make traveling really easy for people who do eat a plant based diet or vegetarian diet. There’s a great app called Happy Cow where you can, wherever you are in the world. And I’ve used this in Russia. I was in Paris recently. I used it. I’ve used it all over the place. Um, you can open it up and it geo locates you and it shows you all the restaurants around you that are vegetarian or vegan or even just have vegetarian options and it’s really incredible
BRYAN: 00:41:05 Now. I’m totally curious to use that right here in my hometown.
MATTHEW: 00:41:08 I was in Moscow and St Petersburg about two years ago and I remember I thought it was gonna be tough to eat vegetarian over there. And I opened up Happy Cow just on like a random street corner in Moscow and there were like four all vegetarian restaurants within walking distance.
BRYAN: 00:41:23 Wow. That’s awesome. Well, thanks for that. Um, what’s one thing you’ve started or stopped doing in order to live or age well?
MATTHEW: 00:41:32 One thing I’ve or stopped doing in order to live or age, well, well one thing I’ve stopped doing is drinking 20 cups of coffee a day. I’m down to maybe like four or five, but I was, I never really drink 20 cups a day, but a lot. I used to drink like 10 or more cups of coffee a day and I’ve cut that back because I think it’s in the long run, probably not great for me.
BRYAN: 00:41:57 What kind of coffee do you like?
MATTHEW: 00:41:59 Um, unfortunately since I’m, since I drink so much of it, I like espresso, just dark black espresso.
BRYAN: 00:42:07 You have a machine, you make it at home?
MATTHEW: 00:42:09 Yeah, well I’ve got a, I used to have this little manual espresso press. It just broke. I need to get a new one, but you put boiling water in the top and then you just use pressure. You pull these levers. It’s not some plugin or anything. You use these levers to um, through pressure, push the espresso out and it’s really great and a sustainable because it doesn’t use any electricity whatsoever. Um, but now I just use a drip coffee machine.
BRYAN: 00:42:32 And you said just straight espresso. That’s hardcore man.
MATTHEW: 00:42:36 Yeah, that’s why I can’t drink like 10 or 20 of them. It’s too much.
BRYAN: 00:42:41 All right. Um, what’s one thing you wish every American knew?
MATTHEW: 00:42:46 One thing I wish every American knew. I don’t know right now. I feel like America is so divided. I feel like there are like 10 different Americas throughout the country. And I guess one thing I wish every American knew was that, um, you know, I think I feel like we are good people at heart and we have different political views and we have different social views. And I guess the one thing I wish people knew is that’s okay. Um, we, we don’t have to be angry at each other and we don’t have to be so divisive and divided just because we have different views and that, you know, often a lot of the best things in the world come from a divergence of views and that’s when people kind of come together and create new things out of, uh, out of two differing opinions. And we can use it for our betterment not are, you know, not, not to make things worse, which is how I feel things have been going.
BRYAN: 00:43:46 Yeah. And it’s right there on the dollar bill. E pluribus unum, right?
MATTHEW: 00:43:50 Yeah, that’s right. Yep.
BRYAN: 00:43:52 So what advice did your parents give you that has impacted you or stayed with you?
MATTHEW: 00:43:59 Well, you know, one thing that my well pieces of advice that my mom always used to give, he or she, I don’t know if she gave it to me, she just needs to say it was to just surround yourself with good people. And I take that to heart as an adult. Um, uh, you know, I think uh, you know, like I said, I think everybody is kind of good at heart, but they don’t always act that way. And so I just try to surround myself, my life with people who are, I think good people and, and act accordingly and you know, again, whatever their views might be politically or socially, um, you know, if somebody is a good person, I want to be around him.
BRYAN: 00:44:33 If people want to learn more from you or connect with you, what should they do? First of all, they should go to Amazon and buy your book. Right? Food is the solution. What to eat to save the world by Matthew Prescott is a beautiful book. So that’s, that’s probably one thing.
MATTHEW: 00:44:49 My website is just my name. It’s MatthewPrescott.com and I’ve got all kinds of recipes on there. I’ve got a mailing list you can sign up for my contact information is on there. More information about the book and videos and all kinds of other content. Um, and I, yeah, people should go to MatthewPrescott.com if they want to learn more or like you said, just like my name and Amazon and check the book. Check out the book.
BRYAN: 00:45:09 Awesome. And then are you active on any social media platforms? Is that a good place for people to follow him along?
MATTHEW: 00:45:15 Yeah, I try to stay away from social media as much as I can, but I’ve got an instagram profile. It’s Matt Prescott. I don’t use it that much of got a Facebook page. Matthew Prescott, um, that people can check out, I’m on twitter, but I’m not super active on social media. I think that, um, a piece of advice that somebody gave me who, somebody who is a writer who gave me was that when people are on social media all day posting content, even just tweets or whatever it might be, it’s kind of, um, you’re kind of like giving your creativity to the world in these little microbursts and for certainly for the writing process or any kind of creative process, it might be more effective to keep that stuff in, let it ruminate in your brain a little bit more rather than kind of putting everything out on twitter as it comes to you. Just keep it in your brain and then see how it comes out in a longer form on the page. And so I, I take that to heart and I try to post minimally.
BRYAN: 00:46:11 And I’m gonna say this at this point. Um, that as a way of saying thank you for making time to talk with me today and share your experience and your insight with me and with, uh, with our listeners, I’ve made $100 loan through Kiva.org on your behalf to an entrepreneur in a developing country. This is in Indonesia, actually chosen it in Indonesia because of the deforestation I read about in your book.
MATTHEW: 00:46:36 Right on, man.
BRYAN: 00:46:37 Yeah. And there’s a lady named Ceete Marlina who will actually use this money to build a satellite pump for clean water for her, for herself and her family.
MATTHEW: 00:46:46 Amazing. That’s fantastic. Thank you so much. That’s great.
BRYAN: 00:46:50 Well, thank you. Yeah, it’s the, I hope it’s the virtuous cycle, the good that just gets paid forward.
MATTHEW: 00:46:56 That’s right.
BRYAN: 00:46:57 Okay. So I want to switch. I want to turn our conversation in just a moment to a discussion about your, about writing, about the writing process. I woke up this morning and I had a few more questions. I realized I won’t want to ask you one thing. I feel like this conversation might be incomplete without is a discussion about crickets. I want to talk about insects and crickets in particular. What’s your, what’s your take on.. I know that’s a broad question, but I did read something, I don’t know if it was the UN or somebody. I saw something online that talked about this could be the world’s next protein source and blah, blah blah, but what’s your view on insect protein?
MATTHEW: 00:47:40 Um, I think it could be… it could be a sustainable way to feed more people. I don’t know that a lot of people are going to want to eat like cockroach candy bars or cricket candy bars. Um, I dunno if I would, but um, yeah, I think it has a lot of promise. I think that, um, it seems hard for me to imagine a world in which people want to eat cockroaches instead of carrots and we’ve already got all this great plant based food available. You can get veggie burgers and chicken nuggets that are made from plant based products and barbecue ribs that are entirely vegetarian. Not to mention just a whole whole foods grains and produce. And that stuff is nutritions. It’s sustainable. It’s packed with protein. And um, yeah, so I think it’s got promise, but I just don’t see a lot of people wanting to eat cockroaches, instead of carrots.
BRYAN: 00:48:32 I’m with you there, although I do think the protein content of cockroaches is probably much higher than carrots.
MATTHEW: 00:48:37 Yeah, the carrots have a lot of protein. Peas, I have a lot of protein. In fact, some of the, um, some of the vegetarian meat products that are, that are out now like, um, a brand called Guardian that makes really great products and beyond meat, they use carrot protein and pea protein in their products. In fact it’s like mostly carrot protein and pea protein.
BRYAN: 00:48:54 I didn’t, I had no idea about her. I thought they were just a bunch of carbohydrates.
MATTHEW: 00:48:57 No, I know.
BRYAN: 00:48:58 Yeah. So, um, yeah, I do want to ask you about this, this clean meat thing too. That was another thing that I wanted to ask you about because one thing that I learned by reading your book that I wasn’t aware of, but it makes so much sense is um, this. First of all, the thing about, I knew this, but I saw in some of the pictures in your book about the contribution to climate change that livestock farming represents between all the ways you measure it, methane and the deforestation and the grain that we grow for the cows and the point that you make, I’d never seen this before about all this food we grow to feed the animals that we then eat. If we had just eaten what we grew to feed them. Basically we could have cut out that middle ham, I love, you called that thing, you know, but that, that surprised me. And so to see now that these companies are producing or they’re working on and some have made it to market about this beyond meat and other products, what’s your view? Because there’s these two aspects, right? And I forget what they’re called, but there’s the stuff that’s lab grown and then there’s the, I don’t know, what’s the clean meat and what’s the… will you talk about that a little bit?
MATTHEW: 00:50:05 Yeah. So there’s, um, there’s two types of meat or so called me that doesn’t come from animals. Now one is plant based meat, so you know where you’ve got, you know, products like beyond meat or the impossible burger for example. Those are, meat like, but meat free foods that come from plants and so rather than growing grain and plants to feed the animals and then eating the meat that comes out of the animals, they’re just turning those plants directly into food that that has the same tastes and texture as meat. And so in the case of the Beyond Burger for example, there’s like a lot of pea protein in there. We could grow peas and beans and grains to feed the cows to raise beef or we you just turn that stuff into a burger directly. Then there’s clean meat which has other people call it lab meat and that is not commercially available yet, but it’s getting close and basically what that is is you could take a biopsy like the size of a poppy seed or sesame seed from a chicken feather and from that one biopsy you could make enough chicken nuggets to feed an army or a village in perpetuity.
MATTHEW: 00:51:09 You could just keep producing it. And this is not plant based meat, it’s not vegetarian meat, it is actual meat, biologically identical flesh tissue, muscle you maybe even blood that is biologically identical to meat. It is meat, but it just doesn’t come from, from animals. And that is, yeah, like I said, not commercially available, but it’s getting close. I’ve tried it before. I’ve tried little samples of it that have been made by some of the companies working on it and I think it’s going to change the world. And this is not a new idea. Back in 1946, Winston Churchill was, uh, asked to basically describe what the world would look like, um, you know, after his lifetime. And he said, you know, one of the things that he said was that we’ll escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or the wing by growing those parts separately under a suitable medium. And that’s exactly what clean meat is doing now.
BRYAN: 00:52:07 Yeah. I read an article about Memphis Meats working on that and others and the ethics of that are just, uh, just dizzying.
MATTHEW: 00:52:16 Well, you know, I think know people have, I think it’s a little early, it’s early days to know kind of what the ethical implications of it are going to be, but I, I, I, I think that I, I haven’t found anything unethical about it yet that, you know, that may be different in the future, but I think that when we’re faced with the very clearly unethical practices involved in industrial meat production today, the factory farming of animals and locking them in cages and crates and just doing all manner of nasty things to them, not to mention the environmental sustainability problems that come with that. I think right now it’s an ethical no brainer that clean meat should win out.
BRYAN: 00:52:55 I think you’re, I think you’re right. And I think the market, I mean we’re seeing it in the growth of almond milk and these alternative plant based proteins.
MATTHEW: 00:53:02 Oh yeah. People will. People want this stuff, man. Dairy. The dairy industry is dropped by like $250 million dollars over the last few years while sales of plant based milk is skyrocketing. Um, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, cashew milk. Anything, any kind of plant you could milk people with milks now and you can, you can buy it at any grocery store.
BRYAN: 00:53:25 Yeah, it’s pretty remarkable. And um, another thing that surprised me in, in what I read and what you wrote was this, that is it pronounced cafo, the CAFO, the concentrated…
MATTHEW: 00:53:36 Yeah. Concentrated Animal Factory Farms basically.
BRYAN: 00:53:42 I didn’t. I didn’t know about those. I mean I guess I kind of had some awareness, but I didn’t really know that. In fact, my wife and I watched, we don’t watch very many series on tv at all, but I’m, I’m, I’m hesitant to admit this publicly, but we found this one series that for some reason we watched called the Strain if you ever seen this. So it’s this story about basically about zombies, but at one point the zombies start factory farming humans. And so when I read your book and I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s what that. I think that must’ve been like the social commentary, that series.
MATTHEW: 00:54:20 You know the way that we farm today isn’t the way that our grandparents farmed back in 1950. In the US, we had only about 500 million farm animals across the entire country. Now we have 10 billion. That’s almost a 10,000 percent increase in the number of of animals being farmed. Meanwhile, the number of farmers has dropped by 60 percent, so you’ve got 10,000 more animals being farmed by fewer farmers. That’s factory farming and the way that we’ve done that is by, you know, you take 200,000 chickens and you cram them into basically an empty warehouse warehouse or an airplane hangar. You take ’em, you know, 500,000 egg laying hens and you put them into tiny little cages so small they can even spread their wings and just make them pump out eggs. It’s a really terrible system and it’s unsustainable. It’s certainly inhumane and if it creates products that are are unhealthy and that’s why we see so many antibiotics for example, because these conditions are so bad. If the animals weren’t being pumped full of antibiotics, they would just die.
BRYAN: 00:55:19 Yeah. Well then you make a, you make a statement, something to the effect that if, if we treated our pets the way some of these animals are treated in this factory farming operation, it would be illegal. Right? But there’s some kind of special dispensation that’s granted because it’s a certain type of animal or it’s part of a food system or something.
MATTHEW: 00:55:40 Yeah. The way that we, you know, if you were, if somebody were to do to a dog or a cat, what is routinely by matter of standard practice done to a chicken or a pig, they would, they would be in jail for it, for extreme animal cruelty. I mean at the lightest end of that spectrum. You know, you think if you’ve ever had a dog or a cat spayed or neutered, you take them to the vet. Um, you know, they put anesthesia in so they can’t feel the surgery and they spay or neuter them. If the vet did that without anesthesia, that, that vet would be, you know, have their license stripped and they’d go to jail for animal cruelty. But we castrate baby pigs day in and day out in this country without anesthesia at all, just, you know, just with a, with a knife on the farm.
MATTHEW: 00:56:20 And that’s the least of it. That’s like the, that’s like the best moment of their life, probably the things we do to them or just really horrendous. And for me that was one of the big reasons why I decided to adopt a plant based diet and I figured, you know, I wouldn’t do these things myself to an animal. I don’t really want to pay somebody else to do it to them. And that’s why a lot of people now are, are eating less and less meat or eating smaller portions because it just is, you know, it’s not great.
BRYAN: 00:56:45 Yeah. And I think again, when people become aware, right, that, and this is, this is where, for me it’s easy to get, maybe get on a soapbox, but I don’t want to make anybody wrong about the way they choose to live. You know? I mean that’s, that’s my basic philosophy, but at… but at the same time, I, I have this sense that once, you know, right, like ignorance is reasonable excuse for only so long, but when you have an awareness, then perhaps there’s a responsibility for your behavior to also change.
MATTHEW: 00:57:16 Yeah, definitely. And I think that people get that. And I’m, I’m, I’m in the same boat. You know, I don’t, I don’t want to be in the position of telling anybody what they should or shouldn’t need or have to eat or making people feel bad for what they choose to eat. And look, I mean, food is a highly personal thing. It’s wrapped up in family and tradition and religion sometimes. And it’s hard for people to change their eating habits. It really is. It’s not an easy thing. It’s, it’s, um, you know, by the time we become adults, we’ve been, you know, a lot of us have been eating kind of the same things day in and day out. And again, you know, often with a lot of implications on our family life or social life, religious life. Um, but I do think that as more and more people start to realize that there are great tasting foods out there that are healthy, are going to help them live longer, be more sustainable for the planet and avoid animal suffering. They have more and more people are making that choice.
BRYAN: 00:58:07 Yeah. And then again, and I know you don’t necessarily talk much about this in your book, which I think I understand, but there’s also the spiritual dimension to um, if people choose to explore that. But I remember a few years ago when I began meditating every day that some of the teachers I learned from who were from India, you know, talk about and they do. This is an area I haven’t, I haven’t fully figured out how, you know, I’m not comfortable talking about myself, but these ideas of, you know, fruit is because it so efficiently processes sunlight that there’s, is one aspect of, it’s the closest thing you get to eating light, you know, and this kind of thing. And then similar like these denser materials, these meats, if they’re in you, it’s longer to process. It’s your lower your body is maybe not as sensitive to different, I don’t know, energies or, uh, you know, just awarenesses if it literally, it doesn’t pass through your system as quickly. So it’s kind of dense matter. And then this last idea that know something Sadhguru talks about, about how there’s this term, the Anomia Koshi the food body literally meaning, you know, what we eat, our body is the closest piece of earth to us because it’s from the earth. It’s literally the, and what we eat becomes a. So absolutely the food is, it’s a very, very personal thing with, um, with a lot of implications.
MATTHEW: 00:59:30 And you know, there are so many world religions have roots in, in or have regulations around what we eat or have a doctrines are and what we eat or philosophies around what we eat. You know, you look at, for example, in, in Judaism, there are um, you know, going from time immemorial regulations on how animals ought to be processed to avoid pain and suffering. You know, that’s kosher slaughter. Unfortunately it isn’t really practiced today. The way that it is meant to be in kosher slaughter is, is kind of a nightmare nowadays, but the point being that for a long, long time Jews have held disbelief. And, and I grew up in a Jewish household that, that animals ought to be treated well at slaughter. There’s a big movement right now in Christianity. A lot of people becoming vegetarian or eating plant based diets for Christian religious reasons.
MATTHEW: 01:00:22 Um, you know, in the Bible, God talks about a time when even the lion would lay down with the lamb and even the carnivorous animals weren’t carnivorous anymore and he gave us, you know, all the green things on the planet to eat all the, all the fruits and vegetables to eat. It wasn’t only until the time of crisis that he permitted, um, the eating of meat in the Bible. And so you’ve got all these Christians now who are kind of tapping into that and adopting a plant based diet. Obviously, um, you know, Buddhists are in large part or supposed to eat a vegetarian diet and um, you know this, there’s a lot in the Koran about, about food. Obviously, and there’s just such a spiritual aspect to eating in general and especially plant based eating.
BRYAN: 01:01:08 Yeah. Have you heard the Jim Gaffigan bit about organic being a term that really means three times as expensive?
MATTHEW: 01:01:15 No, but I like it. I should check it out.
BRYAN: 01:01:17 Something like that. Yeah. All right. Now the writing, the writing questions, tell me about the moment that you knew you were going to write this book.
MATTHEW: 01:01:27 Um, you know, what I, my ideas come to me in weird places and I mean physically in weird places like in the shower or while I’m at the sink, washing dishes or out on a run and I was just out on a run one day and I first, I don’t know why, but it just popped into my head that there is no, there’s no environmental themed cookbook out on the market and that we’ve got a lot of people who are, are, are now clued into the fact that what we eat has an impact on the environment, but there’s nothing out there for those people to, to actually use as a cookbook. And it just right then and there while I was out on that run, I just decided I’m going to write this book right now. And I think probably about eight or 10 months later I had a publishing deal for it.
BRYAN: 01:02:15 Wow. How long ago was it that you had that run where you decided you write it?
MATTHEW: 01:02:20 That would have been, I guess in 2016. So that was just about two years ago or maybe, maybe it was like late 2015.
BRYAN: 01:02:27 So that’s a pretty short timeline for getting a book like this and working with a New York publisher and getting it done.
MATTHEW: 01:02:34 Yeah. And you know, when you asked about my writing process and you know, part of the reason why that timeline is pretty short for me is um, I, I tend to like have ADD or ADHD or something. I can’t sit still. I can’t focus on any one thing and that makes it difficult to do something like a big writing project or put together big book. But I think part of that is like there’s the ADD and then there’s the ADHD and H that like hyperactivity. It’s like when I get into a project and I’m just like firing on all cylinders, cylinders for it. And so I was able to sit down and write the book pretty quickly because I just kinda like went into a black, a black hole tunnel of nothing but writing for, you know, good like six or eight months.
BRYAN: 01:03:14 Wow. Tell me about the physical spaces in which you actually did the work of writing your book.
MATTHEW: 01:03:22 Mostly coffee shops. Um, I, I liked the kind of visual stimulation while I’m working while I’m writing and so I’d go to a lot of coffee shops here in Austin where I live, put on a pair of headphones and sit and write and I can do that all day. Aside from coffee shops, my office at home in early in the morning, I wake up really early, typically 5:30, 6 AM and I like to get my day started. And so I kind of work from my office at home while it’s quiet. My wife is still sleeping, the sun’s not even up yet sometimes. Um, once the sun comes up and the day starts, then I had to do a coffee shop and I worked from there.
BRYAN: 01:03:57 Well, what was the soundtrack for your work?
MATTHEW: 01:04:02 Um, well, the soundtrack for my work. I’m trying to remember. You know, I listened to a lot of classical music when I write just because I have a hard time listening to, not because I love classical music per se, but because I have a hard time listening to music with lyrics when I’m trying to write because I find that my brain just automatically starts singing along with the lyrics are getting distracted by him, so I try to find music that is all instrumental.
BRYAN: 01:04:29 What classical did you find an affinity for? Art?
MATTHEW: 01:04:32 I wish I had a better answer for this, but honestly I would just put it on like the classical mix on Spotify.
BRYAN: 01:04:36 Right on. What was the best money you spent as a writer?
MATTHEW: 01:04:42 Photography. The best money that I spent in, in producing the book was in hiring a really great photographer who is also a great plant based chef in her own right and has two cookbooks out now named Jessica Prescott. Same last name as me. No relation whatsoever. But um, she is really skilled food photographer and just did a great job with the photography for the book and she’s got a couple of books out. Vegan. Goodness is one, and then Feasts of Goodness is a new one that she has out that are just beautiful, beautiful little little cook books.
BRYAN: 01:05:13 How did you get connected with her?
MATTHEW: 01:05:15 Um, I saw her book in a store and I loved it. I loved the photography and I thought this is what I want for my book. And she happened to have the same last name as me, so it caught my eye like doubly and I just reached out to her. I just found her email address online, sent her an email and said, hey, you know, I saw your book. I love it. Here’s what I’m working on. I don’t know if you’d be interested in collaborating. And to my surprise and delight, she was.
BRYAN: 01:05:43 That’s awesome. That’s great. Tell me about if you had one, and I imagine you probably did the book proposal for this book.
MATTHEW: 01:05:52 Yeah, I had about a 60 page book proposal that I put together. Um, I’ve had a few friends who had published nonfiction books and they sent me their proposals so I kind of had something to model it after, just in terms of the basic nuts and bolts of what needed to be there. And um, you know, first I wrote most of the book, not the recipes, but I wrote most of the essays in the narrative content and then I got some of my friends proposals and put together a 60 page proposal that included all that sample content I’ve written. I’d written a few sample recipes. I included in there, you know, my bio and a little bit of the photography that the environmental photography in the first part of the book that I envisioned being in there. And through that proposal shopped it out to a few literary agents, was able to somehow rope an agent into representing me. And um, she, she went out and pitched it to publishers and the next thing I knew I had a book on the shelves.
BRYAN: 01:06:49 Wow. It sounds so easy when you describe it that way.
MATTHEW: 01:06:51 Yeah, I, I guess I make it sound a little easier than it actually was, but the one interesting thing about my, uh, about the process for me was that the publisher said, yeah, we want to publish this book but we want you to spearhead the design of it and the layout and the production and they paid for that, but I was kind of the project manager, which is highly unusual. Usually if you write a book or a cookbook, um, you know, the publisher, you give them your manuscript and then the publisher has their own designers put it all together. In this case, I, you know, I went out and hired a designer on my own and then worked with her over a long period of time to put the design together and um, that was very time consuming, but also very rewarding because I am such a visual guy. I really liked the project management process and the process of picking apart every little nitty gritty thing in the design. And um, yeah, just had a great time with it.
BRYAN: 01:07:45 How did you find that designer? How did you choose the one that you went with?
MATTHEW: 01:07:49 I asked around to various friends of mine in the creative, in creative fields, in book publishing and in other creative fields if they knew of anybody you know, who was a good skill designer. And two different friends of mine recommended the same person, two friends of mine from totally different parts of my life. Recommended the same person in both had a personal connection to her and it turned out that she was a full time practicing cookbook designer.
BRYAN: 01:08:16 Oh my gosh.
MATTHEW: 01:08:17 Not just a designer, but a cookbook design. Her name is amy sly and um, she teaches design in Oregon and designs cookbooks and she just did a really great job. She, she took what I had had in my brain for, you know, the, you know, a year or two and just was actually just able to nail it on the page.
BRYAN: 01:08:36 That’s great. That’s really great. If you had it to do again, what would you be sure to do the same and what would you do differently?
MATTHEW: 01:08:46 Well, if I had to do it again, you know, one thing that I would love to be able to do the same as to is to coordinate the design aspect of the book. Again, I when I, when the publisher first pitched this idea to me that I would, that I would coordinate the design. I thought I have no idea how to do this. I don’t know how to coordinate the design of a book. So it was really daunting, but it ended up just so rewarding. And I and I also loved having control over the design of the book. Most authors never get that. They don’t have control over how the book looks in the end or they might have input, but they don’t get to actually direct it. So I love that. I would do that the same again if I ever got another offer for a book. I would say yes, but I want to coordinate the design. What I would probably do differently is you know, we just, logistically we ended up making a lot of edits to the text after the design had been laid out already and that posed some problems in and it just caused some delays and so probably what I would do differently in that is just 100,000 percent make sure not a single word was going to change before the design got started.
BRYAN: 01:09:57 That also is probably easier to say than to do.
MATTHEW: 01:10:01 Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think it’s probably, you know, probably it was inevitable and there was nothing I could’ve done to avoid it, but I would try to take measures to avoid it in the future.
BRYAN: 01:10:11 Yeah. Because I see that in my own work when I see something laid out, then it starts to occur for me differently and it’s like, oh, I want to say this this way or rearrange that, or that’s not important after all, you know.
MATTHEW: 01:10:22 Some of it was an unavoidable, like you see that there’s, you know, you’ve got a paragraph or a page, you know, texts that fits almost perfectly on one page, but there’s like two lines over and you just think I got to edit that. You don’t want that to happen, so.
BRYAN: 01:10:36 What advice, what advice would you give somebody who’s where you were when you were saying there on their run, there is an equivalent of that, you know, and they have this, oh, or, or maybe it’s been bouncing around. I know that’s true for a lot of people that they’ve got this one idea they’ve been telling themselves for a long time. They’re going to get it done, but for whatever reason they just don’t, they don’t get started or they do get started and they don’t preserve the momentum to carry them all the way through to completion. What advice do you have for somebody who is either thinking about starting or in process but can’t quite reach the finish line with their own book project?
MATTHEW: 01:11:08 So for anybody who’s thinking about starting, um, my wife is also a writer, a fiction writer, a novelist. She’s actually got her, her debut novel is coming out in August of next year, and a piece of advice that was given to her early on in her path to becoming a writer was that every book you see on the bookshelf is not necessarily written by the world’s best writer. It’s just written by somebody who was able to persevere and show up every day and put words on the page and push through all the self doubt and, um, you know, all the other difficulties that come with writing and it’s really like the last man standing and if you can just show up everyday and put the time in. Doesn’t have to be the best words. He doesn’t, you know, don’t worry about your grammar, your spelling, anything like that. Just show up every day, start writing, write and just keep doing it. By the end you, you know, you hopefully we’ll have something moldable that you can go back and edit and that will actually become a book. Um, and you know, there’s a lot of self doubt and, and, uh, you know, other things like that that come with the writing process. If you can just push that aside and just keep moving forward all the time.
BRYAN: 01:12:21 I think that’s great. That’s great advice.
MATTHEW: 01:12:24 People get. People get hung up on words and sentences and I do too when I’m writing and it’s easy to think, oh, this stinks. This is gonna. This is no good. I’ll never. I will never. This was never going to get published or I don’t even know if I can reach the end of this project. And for me when that starts happening, I go back and I start editing things I’ve already written because it’s easier than moving forward through the difficulty and I will. I’ll go back and edit the same page like 10 times, but I think in my mind it’s just kind of a um, it’s like a delay tactic. And so now I try to, I try to save the editing for the very end and I just keep moving forward with the story at all costs.
BRYAN: 01:13:03 No, that’s so smart. Tell me about the, kind of what I would call the project architecture when you. So you have the idea, you decide you’re going to do it and then you know the subject and all this and then you’re like, how did you, how did you outline it? How did you chunk it down into doable steps and like what was the blueprint you followed basically to get the project done?
MATTHEW: 01:13:27 Yeah. So I, uh, early on when I had conceived of the project for an environmental themed cookbook, I had, I, I, you know, I talked to a few friends of mine who are you, I think just smart creative people who also know about those issues or have published books themselves. And a buddy of mine, I was having lunch with one day and he said, Oh, you know, be really cool for this book and I didn’t have a structure in mind or anything at this point. And he said, you know, it’d be really cool for this book, is to focus the narrative parts of it on, on, on the elements, earth, water, air and fire, and to keep with the environmental theme and to carry that theme over into the actual structure of the book. And I just thought that was really smart advice and I with that and so now you know, the first… the first part of the book where it’s all narrative is broken down that way, earth, water, air and fire. And having that structure really helped me really helped me imagine what the book would look like and what elements I needed, what components I needed to, to make it a complete book.
BRYAN: 01:14:31 I love. That’s what I love about the creative process. Like you have a conversation with somebody, they suggest something, you can either accept it or reject it or refine it in your own. And you did. And it was a part of your thing.
MATTHEW: 01:14:40 Yeah. And in fact, you know, in fact, in that same conversation, there were a couple other ideas he had that I, that I left on the table that I didn’t end up incorporating. But I think it’s creative projects and writing projects. It’s like it takes a village sometimes. I would love to be the kind of writer, the kind of creative that can sit down and from my brain just make anything I want, but I’m not. And so I tapped into my friends and other creatives around me to get ideas or inspiration or to bounce ideas off of. And I just find that it helps a lot.
BRYAN: 01:15:10 Yeah, I think so. I think it’s easy to have the image of the lonely writer, you know, working solo at the keyboard and, you know, maybe up late at night or first thing in the morning. And, and although there’s some truth in that, no book is written alone, for sure.
MATTHEW: 01:15:22 Yeah, definitely. I was in, I was in Paris last week and my wife and I visited a cafe where, um, you know, Hemingway would go to write and all these other famous famous authors would go right to hang out. And, you know, you’re right, when you think of a writer, you think of somebody like Hemingway. You think of this like person toiling away in their quarter, in their basement like you do. But in reality they were social animals that were going out and going to cafes and hanging out with other writers and probably talking about their ideas and getting inspiration. And um, I think that’s where a lot of great art comes from.
BRYAN: 01:15:53 Yeah, I think so. Okay. I’m, I’m curious as a practical matter how you, how you tracked the different components, right? Like what software you used, what kind of techniques you use when it came to file structure, folders, like this kinda thing. Because again, you had third party contributors writing essays, you had photographs, you had your own writing, you had recipes, you know, you have all these disparate things that it could be easy to get lost in the overwhelm or just people who have these stories like, oh, I’m, I’m not an organized person, you know, and they could lose the ability to complete a project, right, in the story they’re telling themselves. But obviously you not only overcame that, you did it brilliantly. How did you, how did you tackle that? Just staying organized with all this different stuff.
MATTHEW: 01:16:39 Yeah, I am an organized person, if nothing else. Um, I love file folders, man. I love Google drive. I love, you know, reengineering my folder system all the time, you know, depending on and evolving it, depending on what my needs are for a certain project. And so I started, I started just with one word document and I was just writing, um, you know, all the different content in one word document. And then when I, when I got to the structure of the earth water, air, and fire structure, I made different folders for each of those. And I decided early on that I wanted each of those sections to have a narrative essay. Um, you know, to have some photographs of environmental photography and to have a, you know, maybe an essay from an external contributor like, uh, Jesse Eisenberg or James Cameron and to have an, an infographic or two in there.
MATTHEW: 01:17:31 And so in each of those folders, earth, water, air and fire. I then I had my word document for my essay. I had a sub folder for photographs. Um, and then, uh, you know, I had a sub folder for external contributions, you know, third party contributions and so on. And then within those subfolders. So take the photography subfolder in Earth, um, you know, the Earth section has photo contributions from a number of different organizations and individual photographers and I would, I just started putting in any, I just looked around online and at libraries or any photo that I like that I thought might fit. I just started putting into that folder. Then I would track down the photographer, reach out to that if I could get the rights. I sent him a rights form and we’ll put that into the folder. And so I, I, um, I kept everything at the beginning, segmented out by, by chapter and then by the type of content at the very end I kind of combined it all when I was done, I was done the project.
MATTHEW: 01:18:32 So then I ended up with one photos folder and one photo rights folder and one manuscript folder that had everything I’d written and one recipes folder, et cetera. But at the beginning of the separated out by type of content. That makes sense?
BRYAN: 01:18:45 Yeah, totally. And what I love, again, hearing you articulate it, it’s like, oh, that was easy. I don’t feel that way, but…
MATTHEW: 01:18:53 It was an evolution. It was an evolution. It was like a mess for awhile and it went through like 10 different forms, you know, 10, 10 different methodologies of organization. But, you know, if I ever do it again, now I’ll know a little bit more. And I think, right. I think honestly like writing in any kind of creative endeavors is that in a nutshell, which is, as you do more of it, you learn more, whether it’s about file organization or your process or whatever it might be. And you get a little bit better each time.
BRYAN: 01:19:20 What kept you going through this whole thing? I mean, it’s a long project, right? Like what kept you at this everyday?
MATTHEW: 01:19:25 Um, you know, I am, I’m mission driven and mission oriented. And so, um, you know, the thing that kept me going was just knowing that there are a lot of people in the world who care about the planet, care about their health, want to do a little bit better, but don’t necessarily have the resources to do it. And also knowing that there was nothing like the book that I wanted to produce for them, which was something that not just a cookbook and not just an info book, but both and also highly visual and nice to hold and I just thought, you know, I think this can do a lot of good in the world. Then, you know, once I got a publishing contract, uh, that kept me going as I was contractually bound to keep going.
BRYAN: 01:20:08 Yeah. That’s awesome. Um, okay. So just a couple more questions. I’m curious to know if you have any rituals. It sounds like coffee and espresso might’ve been a ritual, but were there other, were there other things like, I know some people have a certain robe that they were, were they light a candle or whatever, some kind of thing, but did you have any kind of writing rituals or writing processes, habits that you observed?
MATTHEW: 01:20:33 Um, well, coffee was a big one. I love the idea. I love the act of sitting down with a hot cup of coffee to start my writing project. And so I think almost every time I sit down to write, I, it comes with a cup of coffee, um, which is probably why I drink so much of this stuff. But, um, but I really love that. I find it soothing and comforting. And, and, um, also, I mean coffee is, you know, coffee does help you concentrate biologically, physiologically. It’s good for concentration to a point. And um, so that was one ritual. Another ritual is, and I didn’t always do this, but I, I found some value in it. So I tried to do it more and more as I would wake up early in the morning and exercise, do some kind of exercise first thing right off the bat. Drink, a glass of water, a cup of coffee, go for a run, do some kind of workout at home, take a shower and then start writing. And I’ve found that exercising first really helped clear my brain out a little bit and that it was easier for me to sit down and write if I had just exercised and if I just slept as well. Right? Writing in the morning for me, it’s like gold my best, most productive time of the day.
BRYAN: 01:21:46 Yeah. I experienced that too. I love, I love what you’re saying about getting exercise. I mean that whole thing being rested
MATTHEW: 01:21:53 And you know, I didn’t, I didn’t. Um, two books that I recommend to people, um, are, one is a book called Daily Rituals, which is just really interesting little kind of pocket book about daily rituals and habits that you can form especially good for creatives. And then another is a book called the Artist’s Way.
BRYAN: 01:22:11 Yeah. I love both of these. Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way.
MATTHEW: 01:22:15 Yeah. Julia Cameron’s Artists Way, I mean it’s like a perennial best seller. Millions of copies. I didn’t do it when I, I had never read it. I hadn’t done the program when I, when I made my book, I wish I had, I think it would have gone smoother. But, um, I’ve, I’ve since read it and it’s a, you know, it can be a little bit corny at times, but it is really, really helpful in terms of creating daily practices and daily rituals.
BRYAN: 01:22:40 Yeah, absolutely. A friend asked me to do that with him six years ago and I ended up writing three pages long hand every day over for over four and a half years.
MATTHEW: 01:22:51 Yeah. It’s got the daily, the daily pages, three pages long hand and um, it’s difficult to do. It’s easier said than done.
BRYAN: 01:23:00 Yeah. Those are both great. And Daily Rituals. How artists work by Mason Currey. I’ll put both of those in the show notes, but that’s such a great one in what you’re saying, what I’m hearing in your routine and what’s in that book. I was really amazed when I read that to see that a lot of these people, they didn’t work that many hours per se, but they were doing what they were passionate about. They were using their talents and then they were consistent. So they did have a routine, did it over many years for most of them.
MATTHEW: 01:23:27 Yeah. And, you know, another, um, this isn’t really a ritual per se, but another, another tool that helped me, that I employed when writing the book and that I, that I employ now and I’m working on, you know, all kinds of different projects is um, and uh, an app on my computer called Self Control where you can block out for a set amount of time, you know, a kind of web website you want. So you could, you could plug in facebook, twitter, Youtube, Hulu, Netflix, whatever it is that’s distracting you during the day, you could plug in there and then you set a timer. And no matter what you do for that amount of time, your computer will not let you access that site. You could shut your computer down and restart it 10 times. It is not letting you in until that time is up. And it’s really, really helpful. I, I don’t, um, I don’t get too easily distracted by Internet things when I’m working, but like just enough to find that useful.
BRYAN: 01:24:18 Self Control.
MATTHEW: 01:24:18 Yes. It’s called.
BRYAN: 01:24:21 There’s an APP for that. That’s who knew.
MATTHEW: 01:24:25 It’s a real statement on our, on our state of distraction now, but it is what it is and it’s helpful.
BRYAN: 01:24:32 Oh, that’s great. What are your aspirations for this book?
MATTHEW: 01:24:40 I have one aspiration. Really. I would love people to read it. Whether you buy it on Amazon, whether you go to the library and read it, whether you borrow a friend’s copy and read it. It’s all good. And um, you know, I, I hope that people will, will pick it up through any of those avenues and just check it out. Um, you know, the more, the merrier. I was, I wrote it for, for it to be read and I hope it is.
BRYAN: 01:25:02 No, that’s awesome. Well, and on that theme right there, by the way, I have a little library here in Salt Lake that is private library, but I let close friends borrow books from it and if I don’t know where this podcast is going to go, and this might be a, I might later regret this, but I’m going to go ahead and say that if, uh, if you’re a personal friend of mine or if you’ve come to any of my events, like my mindfulness mornings or any of my book clubs or writers groups or whatever, and you want to borrow this book from my personal library, you’re welcome to and Matthew, I will buy as many copies for my library as it takes to get these loaned out to anyone who’s here and wants to borrow it. It’s a, it’s an awesome book.
MATTHEW: 01:25:40 Excellent. Salt Lake City folks. I hope you go and check out that book.
BRYAN: 01:25:44 Yes. Okay. And then the last thing is that I want to ask you is what question do you wish somebody would ask you about this book but hasn’t yet?
MATTHEW: 01:25:54 Oh my gosh. You know what? I’ve been, I’ve been so fortunate to do so many podcasts and media interviews that I feel like every question has been asked so far. Um, a question that I would love to be asked that I haven’t been asked?
BRYAN: 01:26:08 What’s your favorite recipe? People have to ask that, right?
MATTHEW: 01:26:11 Oh, that’s the. Yeah, I get that. That’s usually the first question that gets asked. I think I appreciate that. Um, and, and the answer is they’re all my favorite, obviously acute. It’s like saying who’s your favorite kid, but pick one. Um, I would say, you know, one question that doesn’t come up all that much is what it was like to meet, um, the different folks who I write about in the book who are being impacted by these environmental problems in their own communities. And um, you know, because that’s such a big part of the book.
MATTHEW: 01:26:44 I wish that that topic came up more and I tried to bring it up more when I can. But if for example, I took a trip out to rural Maryland and I met with this woman named Lisa and her husband Joe, and they live in the shadow of these chicken factory farms now, totally normal, like suburban neighborhood in most ways, split level homes and basketball hoops in the driveways, but then like every fourth or fifth house you’re driving through this neighborhood and there’s just as chicken warehouse and it’s got buzzards flying overhead and it’s got dead chickens along the side of the road and flies so thick you can barely go outside and the air stinks. And when we think about environmental problems can seem like far away, it can seem impersonal. But I got a lot out of actually visiting these places and meeting with these people and seeing what the impact on their life has been because it just really made it so much more personal for me. And, and frankly, it gave me more drive to complete the project to the best of my ability because I thought, you know, there are a lot of people kind of counting on this information getting out there.
BRYAN: 01:27:44 Yeah. I think this book is going to do a lot of good for a lot of people and like I said, my family and I have certainly enjoyed it. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you today. I’m privileged to to get to know you and to to learn from your experience and thank you for putting so much of your time and your energy and your love into into this book. It’s Food is the Solution, What to Eat to Save the World by Matthew Prescott.
MATTHEW: 01:28:08 Thanks so much for having me on. This was great.