The above video is 2:52 minutes long.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: GMO foods (genetically modified organism) are certainly a debated topic within the food industry! We felt it was a great topic to cover with this weeks guest Ocean Robbins, co-founder of The Food Revolution Network with over 250,000 global members.
The above video is certainly worth a few minutes of your time, as Ocean gives a great explanation to whats going on with GMO foods within our food supply.
“As people give up their traditional ways of life, and their traditional ways of eating, their waistlines are expanding, their medical bills are going up and they’re getting more sick”
― Ocean Robbins, Food Revolution Network
About Ocean Robbins: Grandson to Irvine Robbins, the founder of Baskin-Robbins (31 flavours) ice cream company. His father John walked away from the Baskin-Robbins empire. He had money, prestige, and security, along with an ice cream shaped swimming pool in the back yard. He simply didn’t want to devote his life to selling ice cream after realizing it makes people unhealthy.
Inspired by his family events and his own upbringing, Ocean has spoken in person to more than 200,000 people in schools, conferences and events, and he has organized 100+ seminars and gatherings for leaders from 65+ nations. Ocean’s work has taken him all over the world, where he has seen first-hand the powerful impact of the food we eat – not just on our health, but on people and economies everywhere.
Ocean Robbins Full Interview: How Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Empire Became a Food Revolution!
- Please share how your families journey fuels your work today.
- Why do we need a food revolution?
- How necessary is organic food?
- What simple steps can we take to make a longterm difference with a global crisis
- What are your thoughts on GMO’s?
- And much much more…
Get More Of Ocean Robbins:
Guy:Hi this Guy at 180 Nutrition and welcome today’s health sessions where we are cutting through the confusion by connecting with leading global health and wellness experts to share the best of the latest science and thinking empowering people to turn their health and lives around. This week we’re doing it with Ocean Robbins. He was fantastic today and he is a ball of energy. Now, if you’re not familiar with who Ocean is, his grandfather was Irvine Robbins who was the founder of Baskin and Robbins ice cream company in America. Yes, a little ice cream company you might have heard of. His father ended up walking away from the whole empire in his 20’s and felt like he wanted to do more good in the world and ended up writing a best selling book called The Food Revolution. Now Ocean then, has come along and co-founded The Food Revolution Network which I think he said started in 2012. Where they’re looking at pretty much what the hell is going on in our food chain and food supply globally. Looking at the politics from the side view as well.
Amazing topic today, Ocean shares so much of his wisdom. We talk about obviously the food revolution. What is it? What’s going on? We discuss GMOs, organics. What’s happening to our food supply. Corporate interests. What I loved about Ocean today, he really broke it down and kept it onto a level that will relate to us all. I don’t know about you, but for me personally we can feel so disconnected from the bigger political things that are going on in the world. Ocean really gets it across fantastic today, so I have no doubt you’re going to get a lot out of this podcast.
Now, I always ask for a review every week, and I’m going to do so again. There’s been some fantastic reviews coming in on the show of lately on iTunes. If you could take two minutes to leave us a review. Let us know how these podcasts are helping you. Where you listen to them too? Obviously give us some honest feedback as well. We greatly appreciate every single one. We read them all. Yeah, it’s just going to help us get this word out there, and continue to empower people to make their own decisions with their lives moving forward and make better health choices. Awesome. Let’s go over Ocean Robbins. Enjoy. Okay cool. Hi this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cook as always. Hi Stuart.
Guy:Our awesome guest today is Ocean Robbins. Ocean, welcome to the show.
Ocean:Well thanks so much. My pleasure to be with you.
Guy:Yeah this is fantastic. What I thought Ocean, I’d start with a small detail first. If someone stopped you on the street, a complete stranger, and asked you, “What do you do?” what would you say?
Ocean:Oh my goodness. I would say that I have the best job in the world, which is, I get to help people be healthy. I get to help people say goodbye to some of their aches and pains, and excess pounds. To step into a healthier life. A life where our food choices become an expansion of our values and what really want for our lives and our future. I get to help people break free from suffering and a toxic food culture and step into the life that they want and deserve. I do that through running the Food Revolution Network, which is an online community of 250,000 members working globally for a real food revolution in our own personal lives and on our planet.
Guy:Yeah, amazing, amazing. That’s such a community Ocean. For our listeners, we always kick off the show about the discussing the journey, the background a little bit. I would love to hear a little bit about your own personal journey, your family story, and everything that’s kind of fueling this revolution that you’re doing today. Would you mind sort of taking us through it all?
Ocean:Absolutely. My grandfather founded an ice cream company. It was called Baskin-Robbins, 31 flavors. My dad grew up with an ice cream cone shaped swimming pool in the back yard, and 31 flavors of ice cream in the freezer. He was being groomed to one day join and running the family company, but when he was offered that chance in his early 20s he said, no. He walked away from huge amounts of fame and fortune, because he wanted to follow his own rocky road. He actually ended up becoming a best selling author on food and health issues. He ended up speaking out, the media called him the rebel without a cone. Low and behold, his books became best sellers.
My own grandfather, his dad, ended up kind of on death’s door being handed a copy of my dad’s books by his doctors. Told, “Mr. Robbins if you want to live, I recommend you read this.” He did, turned his life around, lost 30 pounds, got off all of 7his high blood pressure and diabetes medications, golf game improved seven strokes, added another 20 more healthy years to his life. We’ve seen in our own family the incredible power that food choices can have to harm and to heal. My dad continued as a best selling author, speaking, organizing for a food revolution for decades. I, when I was 16 inspired by his example, founded a non-profit organization and worked with young leaders all over the planet for peace and justice and human rights, and sustainability.
I work with leaders in over 65 countries. As I traveled the globe and work with people for 20 years directing the non profit, I saw that everybody eats, and that what we eat is having this huge impact. That the American sort of diet, the KFC’s and McDonald’s, and Coca Cola’s. The ways of growing food with all the pesticides and GMOs, all this is being exported around the world. As people give up their traditional ways of life, and their traditional ways of eating, their waistlines are expanding, their medical bills are going up, they’re getting more sick, they’re getting, quite frankly, more [inaudible 00:05:32]. I love being an American but an industry guard. I want to send out a warning to the world. Like we know where this path goes, right? We spend 19% of our gross domestic product on disease treatment in my country. A third of our kids expect to get diabetes and two-thirds of our population is overweight or obese.
Ocean:We know where this goes, right? I don’t want to see more people go up that path. As I traveled the world and saw what was going on, I realized I had some kind of responsibility as an American to set a different example, because I felt like I had some kind of karma, if you will, for what my country was exporting. Just like my grandfather had exported a way of eating ice cream all over the world, right? My dad felt a responsibility to try to shift something and stand up for a healthier way of living, so people didn’t suffer and die. I wanted to do the same, and I felt that as an American I have this responsibility. I decided to join forces with my dad, we launched a Food Revolution Network in 2012. We’ve grown into over 250,000 members, and you know, we’re just getting started, because we’re standing up for healthy people and a healthy planet. We’re standing up against a toxic food culture. Standing for the life, the health and the vitality that quite frankly, I think everyone deserves.
Guy:It’s an incredible story Ocean. I was reading up a little bit yesterday regarding your dad, it must have such a huge decision for him at the time. It’s just completely different opposite directions.
Guy:Is it true that he went and lived in a cabin in Canada for a while?
Ocean:Yes it is, yes, exactly. I was born in that cabin. My dad went into kind of a pendulum swing from a class perspective. He went from a family as where he would jokingly say, “Roughing it was when room service was late,” to really roughing it. Where he was living with my mom on less than $500 a year. They were growing most of their own food, they were practicing yoga and meditation for several hours a day, and they named their kid, Ocean. I grew up in a kind of unique environment with parents who in some ways had chosen values of their own conscience, their own connection with the earth, and their own health and well being over the almighty dollar. That was a real inspiration to me.
Guy:I can imagine, yeah such an amazing …
Ocean:Then I grew up, you know monetarily poor, but I felt rich because I had beautiful nature around me. I had time with my mom and dad. I was very grateful for that. Then as I got a little older, my dad became this best selling author, and ended up traveling the world and helping inspire people to make a difference with their lives and their food choices. I just feel so grateful, honestly, that I’ve had these kind of role models in my life. Honestly, grateful for my grandpa as well, both for all of the accomplishments he made in his business life, but much more so, I’m grateful for his willingness to make a change. To listen to the renegade son who walked away from his life’s work, and to decide to make some changes. He gave up ice cream in his later years, and he got the benefits that went with those changes. I think we can all see that what we eat matters, what you eat literally becomes you. We’re learning more and more today that food isn’t just an accessory to health, it’s the foundation of health.
Guy:Yeah, to have an upbringing like that, like when you think of the kids of today, what are we? We’re all dialed into Facebook, social media, completely distracted all the time. No one goes outdoors and plays anymore kind of thing, you know? It’s amazing, amazing.
Stu:I was going to ask you how much of a role you thought that food played in the prevention of chronic disease, but I think right now, we kind of know that it’s the catalyst or it’s one of the catalysts at least.
Stu:It’s the match that lights the stick of dynamite that blows our health apart.
Stu:Given the fact that we know that what we eat directly affects the way that we look and feel and think, where would we start, how do we fix this?
Ocean:Yeah, as an individual we start by looking at what you’re buying, where you’re shopping, how you’re preparing food, and how you’re consuming it. You look at what your values are, and whether you’re integrity with your values or not, right? It’s hard in a world where normal is toxic. Where fast food, convenience food are also junk food. It feels like an uphill battle sometimes to eat real food that’s actually good for you, right? We got to change that, but here’s what’s on the line, if you go with the status quo, if you continue on the path that has been cut out for us by the world around us, if you eat what’s actually normal, you’re on a fast track towards suffering and disease, and premature death.
It’s estimated that we could prevent 90% of cases of cancer with improvements in diet, lifestyle and environmental factors. Only 10% or less are caused by genetics. It’s estimated we can even eliminate 90% of cases of heart disease with improved diet. There’s a huge link with Alzheimer’s. It’s stunning how much better we can do with some simple changes. I’m talking about cutting down on processed junk, eating less added sugars, eating less chemicals, eating less pesticides. I’m talking about eating less factory farmed animal products. I’m talking about eating more real whole foods. Less food that came from plants and more food that was grown, that is plants, you know?
Ocean:Less [inaudible 00:11:24] right? As we make those shifts, we actually change our destiny, that’s the stunning thing. You can put the wrong kind of fuel in a car and potentially drive it for a while, but eventually you’re going to get some engine problems, right? Similarly with our bodies, when we’re eating sub- optimally, you’ll function for a while. Especially people in their 20s and 30s, sometimes 40s, they’re doing okay …
Stu:Yeah hormones fix things.
Ocean:… what happens when you’re in your 50s and 60s and 70s? That’s why half the people who reach the age of 85 in my country in the US, have Alzheimer’s Disease. Half the people, right? It’s like normal, dementia is like normal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We can look at the people’s in world that live the healthiest and longest like the Okinawans, the elder Okinawans from Japan, their life expectancy is more than 10 years what it is in the US or Canada, or Australia. It’s not because they have some heroic medical system, they spend way more less on medical treatment than we do in our countries, but what they have is, a foundation of a basic healthy diet. They’re eating a whole lot of plant foods, they’re eating a lot of vita-nutrients and antioxidants, and flavonoids that are coming from the plant food that they’re eating. They’re eating whole foods, and that has an affect. It has an amazing affect.
Stu:I had a little bit of a bugbear with a good friend of mine who was a nutritionist the other day. Guy I’m kind of going to steal one of your questions as well. My point was, it’s really clear that we have to nourish ourselves, so at a cellular level we have to give ourselves everything that we need to thrive, because when cells go wrong, organs go wrong, chronic disease sets in like it’s a recipe for disaster. In order to nourish those cells, we need to bombard it with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, the whole shebang. Plant food will play a huge role in that, but, and here’s the but, and this is my big bugbear, organic produce is very expensive, at least in this country. I know that I need to be eating huge amounts of organic produce, but if I don’t, and I eat huge amounts of conventional produce, I am consuming huge amounts of pesticides, probably. How do I get around that, because I want to eat as many plants foods. I want to tap into those nourishing and life giving nutrients, but I just don’t want a toxic load at the same time?
Ocean:Yeah, yeah. Here’s the thing. One of the myths is that healthy eating is too expensive.
Ocean:In the US we have a company called Whole Foods. Some people jokingly call it Whole Paycheck. That’s not entirely fair, but you know, there is something to it. That a lot of times when people want to go in a healthy direction, they’re looking at sticker shock, you know, high prices. There’s this myth that sets in that it’s some kind of an affluence, privilege to eat real healthy food. What I want to say first of all is, that I think that food is one of the most critical social injustice issues of our times. That it is a reality that we have what are called, Food Deserts or some people even call them Food Prisons, because you got to break out to get real food. We’ve got communities like West Oakland, California, where there are 37 liquor stores and not a single full service grocery store. Where Detroit, Michigan, where there are 800,000 people ans half the population does not have access to a full service grocery store. They’re stuck with the so called convenience foods or they’ve got to travel ridiculously far to get something else, right?
Ocean:That’s a basic reality. We’re not even talking about health food stores here, we’re talking about access to like, a Safeway, right?
Ocean:It is the reality that the lowest income populations tend to have the least access to healthy food, and hardest time affording it. No wonder the poorest populations have the worst health outcomes. They’re the most likely to suffer from diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and all the other degenerative diseases that are fundamentally caused by poor diet choices, right?
Ocean:One of the critical issues I think is, we’ve got to increase accessibility and affordability to low income communities. I’m talking here about a political and social commitment that I think our societies need to make. As individuals, if you want to eat healthy and you don’t have a lot of money sitting around, then some of the things you can do, you can actually choose to prepare more of the food yourself, rather than going to restaurants, that takes time okay, there’s no way around it. If you’re going to prepare more food it’s going to take time, but there are tricks like preparing in bulk, like shopping once a week instead of once a day, by planning ahead, by cooping with friends and family and community, so you make a big meal and share it, rather than cooking it all for yourself. It is more time efficient to cook in quantity right?
Ocean:You might as well share and build relationships and community in the process. Do food shares at work. Once a week each of five different people bring a meal for all five of you right?
Ocean:You only cook once a week for lunch, but then you all share. Those kinds of things can save time. Then as far as what you eat, you know, vegetables, things like cabbage, carrots, onions, button mushrooms, these are incredibly potent health super foods. They’re actually not all that expensive for the kind of nutrition that they offer. Even things like kale and collards, which by the way, are also quite easy to grow in many ecosystems in a little backyard garden. If you’ve got time, for people who are unemployed or under employed, I say gardening is one of the best things you can do. If you’re employed full time, and you’re crazy busy, then think ahead, plan ahead and share with people who are in the journey with you so you can get support. It’s all about creating new habits. Let’s face it, most of us have a few recipes that we make all the time, and we’re not very creative, or a few things we like. We have the same breakfast at least a few times a week many of us, right?
Ocean:If you get good habits, that serves your life, that help you thrive, and you put those into action, I think of those as the starting rotation, like in a baseball team or basketball team, there’s always the starters, that’s what you want to base your life around. Then you’ve got all the reserves that come in, you know, you have treats, you have special occasions, you have really stressful times when you have some backup options. Then the other thing is, clear your house out of junk food. Just don’t have it there, because if you’ve got potato chips and you’ve cookies, you’ve got, you know, junkie snacks sitting around, then when you’re tired and when you’re low, you’re probably going to reach for them.
Find some comfort foods that are comforting to your long term well being. You can have some things you can reach for at times that are actually good for you, and that are healthy. For example, have some hummus and some sliced up carrots sitting around in the fridge. Pull that out, get munching, you know. That’s a good step. Also use a freezer, so you can have stuff in the freezer that’s ready to go, so when you don’t have time, you pop something out, heat it up in the pan. You can steam it, or put it in the oven or whatever, and you’re ready to go with that kind of stuff. Always try to avoid a crisis moment where you make a bad decision under duress.
Stu:Is it critical for me to wash my veggies? Just thinking about, I’m part of a routine now, I’m preparing my veggies, I’m teaching my kids to do the right thing. Should I be washing my veggies if I’m going to boil them for instance?
Ocean:You know, it depends on the veggie. An environmental working group has done a nice overview of the top most pesticides and least pesticide contaminated foods, they call them the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. You can look at that and see. They’re talking about foods that are not grown organically, right?
Ocean:Generally, the quick rule of thumb is, if it’s got a peel and you peel it, then it’s probably a lot more okay, pesticide wise, if you’re not going organic. Organic doesn’t mean nearly as much like with avocados or even mangoes …
Guy:They got a skin.
Ocean:… as it does with things where you’re actually eating the outside. That’s a good factor.
Guy:I want to ask you the question then, because you could stop most people in the street, and they would know that there’s potentially pesticides in their vegetables, and they’re not organic, and they’d eat them. I’m interested to know, from your sort of journey and discoveries, what impact do pesticides alone are having on our food and vegetables, and how important it is, do you think we should be actually avoiding and eating organic?
Ocean:Yeah, I mean first of all I want to say that organic costs more, right?
Ocean:That’s not news to anybody, but it is the reality. Now one of the reasons it costs more is that we have organic certification, so because organic demands a premium price, farmers have to prove that they are growing organically. They have to pay quite a bit to be certified organic, which if you think about it is, a little bit like being fined to wear your seat belt. I mean, if pesticide grown food had to be certified that they were doing it safely, let’s say. Let’s suppose that they had to document which pesticides they use, and how much they’re using. Have people come out to check their fields to make sure that they were doing it properly, and organic certified foods actually got off without having to pay extra, you would see the price equal, right?
Ocean:A huge part of the discrepancy is because of a political system in which we have favored in the marketplace we have actually favored pesticide contaminated foods. Now as to how big a difference there is, let’s say that most of the pesticides that are in use today are actually neurotoxins. They are known to be linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease and many other ailments. Farm workers who work with them in the field are exposed to a lot more of them. Life expectancy among farmer workers it 49 years in the United States. That’s the average life expectancy.
Ocean:A lot of of them are dying of cancer. If it’s harmful to farm workers who are out in the fields touching the stuff, what is it doing to us to eat it? There are of course, regulations, at least in much of the world on how much of these can be used. Of course, the dose determines the poison, right? You eat too much of anything and you’re going to die, even kale, right?
Ocean:There’s no question that it’s not to say that because that some milliparticle of these things is necessarily lethal, but there is something that happens when it builds up over the course of a lifetime. When it concentrates in the food chain, and it concentrates in your fatty tissues. When you factor in that you may be getting a lot of different exposures from a lot of different angles, right?
Ocean:Collectively, what is the impact on something like cancer, right? It’s very hard to know, because there are very few people in the world who are eating a purely organic diet, but when I look at the data, I personally want to minimize my exposure to pesticides. I don’t do zero, I eat in restaurants sometimes and I know they’re not all organic. I eat avocados or mangoes, or some of the other clean 15, things that are going to be peeled, and I might choose to go with commercially grown, because it’s so much cheaper, right?
I also know the incredible antioxidant and vita-nutrient power of some of the foods like, berries for example. Quite frankly, blueberries are expensive enough, I use frozen blueberries, they’re expensive enough commercial and organic is kind of off the charts. I often will get from Trader Joe’s which is store we’ve got here in the US, where they’re kind of cheap. I’ll get frozen blueberries and I feel good about feeding that to my family, because I know that blueberries are directly linked to fighting Alzheimer’s and fighting cancer, and improving health outcomes in all kinds of ways, right? That’s a wonderful thing. You should never make the perfect into the enemy of the good. I think you are better off, in most cases, eating non-organic vegetables and berries than you are eating organic processed junk, by a long shot. That said, if you have the resources or the capacity to go organic, absolutely I think it’s a good idea. The more of us that do it, the more we shift the economy, the more economical it becomes.
Guy:Yeah, it’s a really good point, because the amount of products that I’ve seen that are organic, are full of sugar, full of vegetable oil, and they happen to be gluten free at the same time or something, you know, on the marketers …
Guy:… play along. It’s interesting, I think it comes back to what you said right at the beginning of the interview Ocean, and about having your values in line with health, and making health matter. Then you can sort of bring the power back into it yourself and start making choice, because it can feel overwhelming for so many once you start. The more you learn, the more you can … it’s jaw dropping, you know?
Guy:Yeah. Do you think, in your view, the bigger food corporate companies, because you always hear, “Big farmer’ and “Conspiracies,” and “Monsanto,” that are flying around in the internet. Do you think food corporate companies have any vested interest in our health at any level?
Ocean:I mean, they should.
Ocean:They should but the reality is that we’ve got a food industry that acts like health didn’t matter. Quite frankly, we’ve got a medical industry that often acts like food didn’t matter. We’ve got a political system in much of the world that is more accountable to donors than voters. A lot of times those donors are corporate interests who are benefiting from the status quo. Unfortunately, as long as billions of dollars are being made selling junk food, and marketing junk food, it’s profitable. Anything that’s profitable is very hard to stop. Occasionally society will go against something profitable like, slavery because it’s just wrong, and put an end to it, but most of the time, an awful lot of injustice takes place that’s profitable and legal. It sometimes is even subsidized.
The food industry, I think has got to take a serious look at … I mean these people know what’s going on, they’re not stupid. They might lie to us. They might tell us that sugar isn’t linked to obesity. You know, when Coca Cola tells us that Coca Cola can have a perfectly good part of a balanced diet, as long as you eat all sorts of other healthy things, and get a lot of exercise you’ll be fine. You know, in a way they’re right, they promote a lot of good things. Ronald McDonald is giving exercise classes to kids, right? Those are good things, but the company has got to look itself in the mirror at the end of the day. The people who work there have got to say, “What the heck am I doing with my life? I’m making people sick.” Right?
My belief is that a lot of these companies, that people who work there, hate that. I’ve spent enough time with them to know that they’re not evil people. They feel trapped in a system that is accountable to stockholders, that’s accountable to the bureaucracy of the corporation itself. They feel like cogs in a machine. Many of them are trying to do it a little bit better. They actually do care about people. They don’t want to be evil, but the impact of their products, is contributing to death and suffering and pain and illness, and families losing their loved ones.
I think that we as consumers need to hold these companies accountable by not buying from companies that are unethical in their behavior, and by choosing to support practices and ways of growing and producing food that are in keeping with our values. To me, the food revolution is very personal, it’s also very political. You take a stand, every time you shop you are voting for the product and the way it was produced. Personally, when I see this, I don’t want to vote with my dollars for slavery, for animals that are being tortured. I don’t want to vote for farm workers that are being exploited and living in abject poverty or farmers around the world who don’t have a living wage. I don’t want to be supporting a system of agriculture that’s polluting our environment, and that’s destabilizing our climate.
I want to be supporting companies and practices and values that are actually making the world a better place. We can do that, you can do that. I think that’s a beautiful thing. I think that even the big corporate food industry is starting to listen. They’re realizing that the same practices that made them giants in the 20th century, will make them dinosaurs in the 21st century if they don’t shift course. McDonald’s closed 700 restaurants last year. Sales of sugary breakfast cereals have gone down 20% in the US in the last 15 years. Meanwhile, sales of organic food have quintupled.
Meanwhile sales at farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture programs have quintupled. Meanwhile natural foods is now a $100 billion industry. We are seeing radical change very, very quickly in the US, and I think around the world because people are completely fed up with a toxic foods system. I think that the big corporate food giants have actually lost the trust of the consumer. We realize that to many of them healthy food is a marketing problem, it’s not in the DNA of the company. They’re going to have to rethink their DNA if they’re going to regain our trust.
Guy:Yeah, yeah, so true. I mean the next question I was going to ask, sorry I can see you asking a question was, it seems so overwhelming. You start looking at this and it’s easy to shut down, and you kind of touched on it really, but I wanted to reinforce it anyway is, somebody listening to this thinks, “Right I’m going to make a change. I’m going to start today or tomorrow.” What simple actions would you bring in to make them feel that they’re actually contributing to a bigger, global problem, because sometimes you can feel so disconnected from it all. You just carry on and do your little thing, you know?
Ocean:Yeah. I mean, recognizing that food is not just a commodity, it’s also a community. It’s a web of relationships. What you eat literally becomes you. It’s very, very personal. Actually, I sometimes think of food a little bit like an intimate relationship with a loved one, where it matters that you don’t date jerks, right? It’s going to affect your happiness and your health, who you hang out with and what you’re intimate with. When you’re eating, you know, do want to take jerks into your body or do you want to take something that you feel proud of into your body? It affects your self-esteem. It affects your conscious. It affects your sense of integrity.
The more you know, the more you can do. What I hope we’re conveying here today is kind of lighting a fire, because I think that our own sense of integrity has a lot to do with what we do, and what we become aware of. The reality is that there are a lot of forces in our societies today that are intent on keeping us asleep. That are very happy keeping us distracted, and eating the status quo, but when you become aware, when you set out on your learning journey, when you light that fire, when you ignite, then something changes. In your own being, you are drawn to and magnetized towards those foods that serve your health and serve your life.
What I want to pass on more than anything is a spark, a spark of your own passion to live, to thrive, to love life. To know that when you’re eating food that you know is good for you, you consume it in a different way. You salivate in a different way. Your digestive tract responds to it in a different way because you are taking something in that you love, that lights you up, that fuels who you are and what you’re on this planet for. Similarly, if you’re in a relationship with somebody that’s kind of a jerk, you’re probably not going to feel very in love. You’re probably not going to have very good sex. You’re probably not going to have a very joyous life, right?
I think that when you can really feel lit up, and connected, it’s going to change your cells, it’s going to change your makeup. That’s what I want to offer, is that vision and that possibility. Yes, it takes some new habits. Yes, it takes some work. Yes, it takes time to dump the bad guys and connect with the good guys, but when you do that, you’re whole life is different. When you let your healthy food be a partnership that serves who you are and what you love.
Guy:Yeah, great answer.
Stu:Give us a few keys on the perhaps three things that you simply will not eat, because with all the knowledge that you’ve accrued, if you’re out and about, sure we go to restaurants, and we don’t always have access to the best stuff, but what are your top three no no’s?
Ocean:Okay. My number one top no no would be factory farmed animal products.
Ocean:I mean, I think those are complicitous in the torture of animals and climate destabilization. They’re directly linked to cancer, heart disease, a whole host of health problems. Especially processed meats, by the way, they’re considered a carcinogen by the World Health Organization, but any factory farmed animal products …
Stu:Are you …
Stu:Are you touching on bacon when you say “Processed meat”?
Ocean:I actually am. I’m sorry, I’m sorry for all the bacon lovers out there. Processed animal products includes bacon, yes it does. You know, it’s a carcinogen, right?
Ocean:It’s directly linked to an increased mortality from cancer. Red meat, is a probable carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization. No, they didn’t separate out grass fed versus factory farmed, because there isn’t that much grass fed, and there haven’t been any studies done. We don’t know how that stacks up differently, but the data is broadly speaking, on red meat in general, it’s considered a probable carcinogen. Conversely getting more plant based nutrients, whole plant foods is actually a cancer fighting direction. Factory farmed products is number one.
I don’t consume high fructose corn syrup. Number one, it’s genetically engineered from genetically engineered corn that’s been sprayed with glyphosate, which is also a probable carcinogen, it’s a weedkiller. The genetic engineering of these crops has enabled them to be sprayed with weedkiller that’s now sprayed directly on the foods that we are eating. We take that into our bodies, I don’t want to take that into my body. Not to mention that any processed sugar is detrimental to health. I just draw the line with high fructose corn syrup as being, you know, not something I want to consume.
I don’t consume the fried foods, like I wouldn’t eat french fries, but anything that’s fried in a commercial oil that might include soy oil or cotton seed oil or corn oil which are some of the big ones that are used by the fast food restaurants. They are keeping this oil hot all day long. They dunking things in it over and over again. It’s getting full of oxidants, and free radicals that are directly linked a whole host of health problems. I just don’t want to take that into my body.
Stu:Yeah, it’s interesting. That’s my number one, vegetable oils, that’s it. I will go out of my way to avoid vegetable oils at every opportunity. We had a really interesting conversation a year ago with a metabolic scientist, also a geneticist, they were saying that this just causes internal rust on a global scale. It can take years to exit the body once consumed. That’s the big one. Shift those highly processed hydrogenated omega-6 vegetable oils for heart healthy supposedly, beautiful omega-3 oils. Olive oils, coconut oil and things like that. That’s the way I go.
Ocean:Yes, exactly. Yeah generally less processed. I mean, oil is a processed food, so you want to get more of your fats from whole foods and less from any kind of extractant . Those are my big three. Then there other things I avoid. I’m not into white I flour. I don’t have a like, I will never touch it, and I’m personally not gluten intolerant, so I consume some gluten, but I don’t overdo it. A lot of the gluten that’s out there today is coming from wheat that’s been sprayed with Roundup too actually, it’s not organic, as a desiccant to help dry out the harvest. It’s a new practice, it just came in in the last 15 or 20 years. It could be linked to the rapid explosion in gluten intolerance that we’re seeing. It’s possible.
Stu:You touched on GMOs in your top three as well.
Stu:I have mixed feelings about GMOs because I get that the spraying that goes on for pests and the like is causing global problems, but on the other end of the scale, GMOs when we’re talking about third world countries that are enabling rice crops to grow in flood zones, so hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people can eat, can be fed. Where is this line? Where is GMO good? Where is GMO bad? What should we be fearful of?
Ocean:That’s a nice story that we could feed hundreds of thousands of people in unmarginal soils in poor countries. If that was true, if that was really working, that would be one thing. The reality is, that’s a little bit a Trojan horse, because in reality, Monsanto and the biotech industry made some promises about GMOs 25 years ago when these came into the food supplies, they said it would lead to more drought resisting crops, and higher yield, lower pesticide use, and better flavor and nutritional value. So far, 25 years into the GMO experiment, we actually look at what’s being grown, and none of the crops that are in commercial cultivation have anything of those traits.
The Union of Concerned Scientists conducted an extensive study, and they ended up titling their report, Failure to Yield. They found that genetically engineered crops were leading to lower net output per acre of overall food value to humans, than their non-GM cousins. Other studies have found that GMOs have not led to more drought resisting crops or lower water use. They haven’t enabled crops to grow in more marginal soils. They haven’t got better nutritional value or better flavor. What they got is two traits, and this is what 99% of them are engineered for. One is to be resistant to herbicides, which happen conveniently to be manufactured by the very same companies that produce the seeds in the first place.
The other is to be living pesticide factories, they produce the insecticide Bt in every cell of the plant. This makes them, they call it, insect resistance, which is very lovely, but the plants are literally categorized with the EPA as pesticides. They’re registered that way. It may be that Bt is safe. It’s been used in organic agriculture for quite some time, but we’ve never consumed it in this kind of quantity before. It used to be something that was sprayed on the outside and you could wash it off. Now it’s in every cell of the plant. What is it doing to human beings to eat massive amounts of glyphosate, which a probable carcinogen, and Bt indirectly in the food crops that we consume, we don’t entirely know, right?
I don’t think there’s anybody that can say authoritatively that GMOs are absolutely causing a whole host of health problems, because they’re in a such widespread use that almost every human being on the planet has been exposed to some quantity. It’s very hard to have any kind of test. There’s been no long term testing done on humans or even on animals, but I personally think that we need to proceed with caution when it comes to creating a life form that what we produce in perpetuity that will outlive, in fact, nuclear waste. Consider that we’re placing the power to create life into the hands of companies who are fundamentally interested in their own profits. Nothing wrong with them being interested in their profits, but we as a society are giving them the power to create life, and to decide what gets grown all over the world. I think I have a problem with that.
I’m not against inherently the concept of using genetic engineering to further humanity’s well being, but I think we need to be very conscious and careful about it, and recognize that right now, the folks who are in charge of this operation are moneyed interests, who like any moneyed interests want their own profits to succeed. When we actually look at what they’re giving us, it’s not helping with any of things they promised.
Guy:What are the GMO labeling laws like in the US? Does everything have to labeled?
Stu:No. No, no, no. As of this moment in the US, we have 90% of the American public supports GMO labeling, but we don’t have it. We have voluntary labeling, which means a company can say that they don’t have GMOs or I suppose, theoretically, they can say that they do, but no one does, right? Although just recently five companies have stepped forward and volunteered to say that they will label GMOs on their products.
I’ve been in extensive conversations with a lot of the major food companies in the US, and they’ve been fighting GMO labeling because they were afraid that consumers would penalize them if they put that on their packages. They might have to change their product make up. Our basic message to them was, “So aren’t you in the business of responding to consumer demand? If consumers care about this, which they do. If they actually advocate for it. If you make this change and they want to buy something differently, then you ought to provide that to them. You can offer non-GMO products, would that be the end of the world?”
You know, companies like Coca Cola fought labeling of sugar calories on their cans for years. Eventually they did it, and then they came out with Diet Coke. Now, I’m not a big fan of Diet Coke, but I will say that from a marketing standpoint, they met consumer demand, and they did very well with that. We’ve been trying to say to these companies, “Look, you’re not in the business of marketing GMOs, you’re in the business of responding to consumer demand. Why don’t you listen to the consumer?”
Guy:Yeah, because the consumer’s got a right to know, yeah.
Ocean:Yeah, exactly, and stand on the right side of history. A lot of these companies believe in consumer empowerment, and they believe in transparency. They don’t like to have to look like they’re hiding something from the world, but they’ve been giving that impression. I think a bunch of companies have started to shift course. They realized this is a losing battle, they’re on the wrong side of history, and they’re shifting. Campbell’s, and General Mills, and Mars, and a number of other companies have declared that they’re going to label GMOs, and we’ve been a part of some of those conversations with them. I’m excited to see them stepping forward. I hope that we’re going to see a lot more.
As they shift course, they’re kind of shifting political winds, because there’s been a lot of noise. A lot of statements that having to label GMOs would be devastating to the price of food, because these companies would have to raise their prices. Every company so far that’s come out saying, they’re going to label, is saying that it won’t affect prices at all. That tells you that it doesn’t actually cost anything to change labels, right? If consumers actually demand non-GMO foods there might be some supply chain issues to try to meet that demand. That’s already happening, we have over 10 billion dollars in sales of certified non-GMO products in the US, and over 40 billion dollars of sales of organic foods in the last year. All of those are non-GMO.
There’s already a shifting wind in this regard. Farmers are struggling to keep up, but they will. That’s the way our market economy is supposed to work. When people want something, and there’s money to be made in it, then producers produce it. That’s just how it works, right? Why get in the way of that, if consumers care and if this affects their buying choices? I think there’s a lot of good reasons to value what consumers think. Yes, we don’t know with absolute certainty that GMOs are toxic to human health, but we know they’re toxic to our environment because of the insecticides and herbicides that are involved. We know that they’re linked to a consolidation of control of our seed supply. More than half the seeds in the world are now grown by five companies.
We know that there is a link between GMOs in India and farmer’s suicides. 300,000 farmer suicides in India in the last 25 years since Monsanto came in, primarily in the cotton regions where the cotton is all GMO now. We know this is linked to farmer debt. Farmers get into a massive amount of debt because they sign contracts and are committed to buying Monsanto seeds, year after year. They’re not allowed to save their seeds, then they realize that they have to buy Monsanto’s herbicides in order to make it all work. They’re stuck in the treadmill, and even though they think they’re going to save money, they end up spending more, they go into massive debt. They end up taking their own lives often by drinking pesticides, just to try to get out of it, and get their families out of debt. It’s a devastating and brutal cycle. This is the practices that we’re supporting when we consume GM products. Personally, I don’t want to buy Monsanto seeds and I don’t want to eat the crops that come from this kind of brutality.
Stu:Yeah, well given what you’ve just told me, and boy you are a hugely passionate guy, I’m going to gravitate to the non-GMO products. Interesting. I remember years ago, I watched, I think it was Food Inc. which is the movie that you’d be well aware of that focuses on GMO and Monsanto and Roundup, and everything under the sun. For anybody out there that wants to find out a little bit more, I would definitely recommend that particular movie, because it’s an eye opener, for sure.
Guy:Yeah that was great. That clears up a topic I think is crazy for a lot of people.
Stu:Absolutely. I wanted to shift gears a little bit now and talk about the Food Revolution Summit, because you guys are spearheading this. We really wanted to communicate this to our audience, so could you tell us a little bit about this please?
Ocean:I will. I’m so excited about this, thanks for asking. This year, my dad and I get to join forces and launch the Food Revolution Summit. We’re interviewed 24 of the top food experts on the planet, and we broadcast those interviews online to the whole world for free. You go to foodrevolution.org, you sign up. You get on our list. You join in and the summit is April, 30th to May, 8th 2016. If you end up coming in later, you can listen to some replays, but you really want to be there for the live broadcasts and catch it all. We’re interviewing some of the top food experts in the world, from doctors like, Joel Fuhrman and Mark Hyman, and Daniel Amen, and David Perlmutter, and Dean Ornish, to brilliant food leaders like, Vani Hari, Vandana Shiva, Jane Goodall, many other prominent voices.
We interview them all. My dad conducts the interviews. I host them. He’s completely brilliant. He’s been a leader in the food movement for 30 years. His books have sold 3,000,000 copies. He knows the questions he spins with all these people, and he know the questions to ask them to get right to the heart of their expertise. The interview is unlike anything you’ve ever heard, and probably anything that’s ever happened before, because it’s so provocative. Each one brings out something unique and potent and life changing. Participants join in, we expect more than 200,000 participants this year, and their lives are changed. We receive the letters, tens of thousands of people have lost weight, have improved their sleep, have improved their sex lives, improved their health and vitality, extended their life expectancy, reversed diseases, and feel better about themselves. Enjoying they’ve found their place in the food revolution. It’s where I go every year to learn the latest breaking insights, and fact that I get to share it with the whole world is just completely awesome.
Stu:That sounds fantastic. Could you just tell us those dates again?
Ocean:Yeah, April, 30th to May, 8th 2016 is our next Food Revolution Summit. Again you go to foodrevolutionsummit.org and [inaudible 00:47:59].
Stu:If anyone misses what you’ve got during that summit time, can they rewind and pop in and watch all this great stuff?
Ocean:Yeah, so if you go to foodrevolutionsummit.org and it happens to better after May, 8th of 2016, then that’s a great time to sign up still. First of all, you can get the entire summit instantly right when you opt in for a special price. You can own the mp3’s and transcripts for life. That’s available anytime someone joins in. Also, we always have some of the interviews on replay, so you can catch some of what you missed. Yeah, we’re really committed to getting this out there, that’s our first goal. Then by offering the empowerment package, both making it really affordable, but also by the resources from that help to fund our offering of the free summit, so that’s kind of our business model. We’re really happy about it, because we get to share a lot for free and we also get to make a living doing something good.
Guy:Yeah, that looks awesome. I mean, I was looking at the line up the other, that’s why we were super keen to get you the podcast before the summit starts, because we really want to get this across to our audience, so they can have the opportunity to check it all out, a 100%. Now, Ocean we have a couple of questions we ask everyone on the show all the time. The first one is, what did you eat today?
Ocean:All right. For breakfast, I actually had my favorite breakfast, so I prepare it the night before. I soaked half cup of chia seeds and two cups of homemade soy milk, with organic soy beans. I added about a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup, and a cup and a half or so of frozen blueberries, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Mixed that all up, soak it overnight, and it’s juts kind of porridge the next morning. That was my breakfast. I’m getting like 32 grams of protein. I’m getting like 20 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. I’m getting a ton of fiber, and a ton of vita-nutrients all before 8:00 in the morning. It’s pretty awesome, right.
Ocean:Then for lunch, today I had kind of a vegetable casserole with vegetables and actually in this case, there were some tempah all mixed together with some squash. My wife made this for me last night, I’m kind of busy right now preparing for our summit, so I’m not doing the cooking as usual, and I’m so grateful that she’s stepping up. Yeah, so she packs me up lunch the night before, and it’s pretty awesome. I love that. One of the great things about healthy eating is when you plan ahead, you don’t get fretted.
Guy:Yes, it’s huge isn’t it, yeah.
Stu:It’s so important.
Guy:A large part of it is just planning and creating the support systems to help yourself have what you need.
Guy:Yeah massively. The last question we ask everyone is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Ocean:The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given.
Stu:You got him boy, you got him.
Ocean:You know, I don’t now if I’m able to remember one specific moment, but I will say one of the things that has guided my life is that, integrity really matters. I think, I really, honestly picked it up from my dad’s example. Yes from walking away from the ice cream company, but kind of throughout my life I’ve seen that he has always valued, being it an integrity over being right and over being rich. You know, if you don’t have your integrity, then what the heck is it worth? If you sell out in order to move up, then what have you got left? You’ve got a nice seat in hell. You’ve got a nice deckchair on the Titanic, right? My own sense is that when we have our integrity, when we have a feeling that our lives are congruent with what we value and what we care about, and who we are, then everything else comes out of that. In every domain of life, I ask myself, what do I value? What do I care about? How can I be in alignment with those values?
Stu:Yeah, no that’s perfect. We live by that rule as well. It’s one of our go to phrases. It’s all about values, and if you’re in line with your values and you’ve got integrity as well, then generally your life’s path is going to be much easier I think. Especially from a stress perspective too. Everything just fits, the universe kind of makes it happen for you.
Guy:Yeah. Ocean that was amazing. Thank you so much for coming on. We’ll just tell everyone one more time, if they want to go to the summit, the URL is.
Ocean:Foodrevolutionsummit.org. Make sure to join us. Any time, day or night, it’s there for you.
Ocean:Yeah, all right.
Guy:Awesome. Thanks Ocean for your time, fantastic.
Stu:Thanks so much.