April 15, 2020

A Nutritional Wasteland with Ocean Robbins

Why are so many of us sick when we value health? The American way of processing and marketing food is spreading. All over the world waistlines are expanding, hospitals are filling up, and people are getting sick with chronic illnesses. In the time of COVID-19, our health is becoming more important than ever before. Today, we talk about the relationships between immunity and a healthy diet, regenerative agriculture, localization, and how Ocean’s unique family history shaped his life’s work.


Jeff Krasno: Welcome to Commune, a global wellness community and online course platform featuring some of the world's greatest teachers. We are on a mission to inspire, heal, pass down wisdom and bring the world closer together.

Jeff Krasno: This is the Commune podcast, where each week we explore the ideas and practices that help us live this healthy, connected and purpose-filled life. So if you're hunkered down at home right now, this may be a good time to check out our course program, where you'll find programs from Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Russell Brand, William Hoff, Brendan Bershard, Adrianne [Micheller 00:08:27], and many other brilliant personal development and wellness luminaries, including my wife, Skyler Grant. I get in trouble if I don't mention Skyler.

Jeff Krasno: Our courses span yoga, meditation, spiritual development, functional medicine, recovery and social impact. Essentially everything you need to be wholistically well. Just go to onecommune.com.

Jeff Krasno: If you are one of the superheroes on the frontline, a healthcare worker, a food provider, a scientist, a government worker, you will be stressed to your limits psychologically and physically and even 30 seconds of deep breathing and grounding can help you stay centered and focused. We need you and we support you.

Jeff Krasno: So if you are someone on the front lines and can benefit from a meditation course on your phone in your pocket, please email me at [email protected], and I will be happy to set you up with access. Thank you for your service.

Jeff Krasno: My guest on the show today is on a mission to transform the industrialized food culture into one that supports healthy people and a healthy planet. His name is Ocean Robbins. Ocean is the author of numerous books, including Choices For Our Future, A Generation Rising for Life on Earth, The Power of Partnership, the co-author of Voices of the Food Revolution, and most recently, the 31 Day Food Revolution.

Jeff Krasno: In 2012, Ocean founded the Food Revolution Network, which now has more than 500,000 members working for healthy, sustainable, humane and delicious food. On today's show, we talk about the relationship between immunity and a healthy diet, regenerative agriculture, localization, actionable solutions to address factory farming and monoculture and we hear about Ocean's unique family history and it's relationship with food and how that shaped his life's work.

Jeff Krasno: My name is Jeff Krasno and welcome to Commune. (silence)

Ocean Robbins: My name is Ocean Robbins and I am passionate about food, about health, ethical and sustainable food. I think that we all have tremendous power with our knives and forks to vote, three times a day, for the health we want and the world we want. I think that in these times, when so many of us feel overwhelmed by forces beyond our control, it is more important than ever that we do the best we can with what we have.

Ocean Robbins: I want to help all of us to move from feeling like apathetic victims of what's going on in the world, to active participants, to leaders to claim the power we have to make the best choices we can. And it turns out, that every bite we take is a vote for the health and the world we want and I want to help make that vote a conscious one, so that we can sustain greater health and vitality and wellness in our body, and also participate in building a healthier world for future generations.

Jeff Krasno: Beautifully said. I love your message of empowerment. I was talking to Paul Hawkin, who is a legendary environmentalist and penned a playbook for draw down, particularly targeted towards global warming. And he said that, "This is not something, our human condition's not something that's happening to us, that we are active participants in it. And that we can often be paralyzed in the face of the enormity of the problems."

Jeff Krasno: We'll get into what the problems are in our food industry, because they're substantial and I don't know anyone that knows anything more about that than you do. But as a means for background, you have a legacy in food and I wonder if you could talk a little bit about you and your family and how you grew up and how you came to this point in your life?

Ocean Robbins: Sure, absolutely. So my grandpa founded an ice cream company, Baskin-Robbins. My dad, John, grew up with an ice-cream cone shaped swimming pool in the backyard and 31 flavors of ice cream in the freezer. He was groomed to one day join in running the family company, but when he was in his early twenties he was offered that chance, and he said no. And he walked away from a path that was practically paved with gold and ice cream to, as we jokingly say in our family, follow his own rocky road.

Ocean Robbins: He ended up moving with my mom to a little island off the coast of Canada, after walking away from the family fortune and building a one-room log cabin, where he and my mom grew most of their own food, practiced yoga and meditation for several hours a day and named their kid, Ocean. That would be me, of course.

Ocean Robbins: They almost named me Kale. This was before kale was cool. I have to say for the sake of my social life, I'm grateful they took the more conservative route when they named their son, but we did eat a lot of kale, and cabbage and carrots and onions and other veggies from the garden. And as I got a little older, my dad ended up researching the food industry in which he had grown up and coming out with a series of best-selling books, like Diet For A New America, which inspired millions of people to look at their food choices, as a chance to make a difference in the world.

Ocean Robbins: As fate would have it, one of his readers ended up being my grandpa Irv, who read Diet For A New America around the age of 70, his doctor gave it to him and told him he should read it if he wanted to live, because my grandpa had serious diabetes, heart issues, weight issues, other health problems. And my grandpa read it, he followed its advice and he got tremendous results.

Ocean Robbins: He ended up giving up sugar, giving up most processed junk, giving up most animals products and eating a lot more whole foods and fruits and vegetables. He reversed his diabetes, he reversed his heart disease, he lost 30 pounds he needed to lose his golf game improved seven strokes. So we've really seen in our family that when we follow the standard American diet, we get the standard American diseases.

Ocean Robbins: We've also seen what can happen when we make a change. In my own journey, inspired by my grandpa's legacy of leadership and making big things happen and my dad's legacy of leadership and standing for integrity and showing what's possible with healthy food, I founded a non-profit when I was 16 and worked with young leaders all over the planet in 65 countries, mobilizing youth to become part of making the world a better place through activism and food issues.

Ocean Robbins: Then ended up decided after 20 years running the non-profit, to focus directly on food because as I traveled the globe, I saw that everybody eats. And that what we're eating is having this enormous impact all over the planet. All over the world, the American way of processing food and marketing food and growing food, with pesticide and GMOs and MacDonald's and KFC and Baskin-Robbins and all over the world waistlines are expanding, hospitals are filling up and people are getting sick with chronic illness.

Ocean Robbins: By the way, in the time of COVID-19, your health has become more important than ever before, because what we now see is that heart disease and diabetes and obesity and other chronic illness are all significant risk factors for getting COVID-19 and for mortality, hospitalization and other negative outcomes if you get it.

Ocean Robbins: So it becomes more important than ever to shore up your health, to reverse chronic illness now and for the long term. So I've been directing Food Revolution Network since 2012 and we've reached millions of people with our message and we're just getting started, because you know what? We still have a toxic food culture and, I believe, that this is a place where we can make a real difference for our health and for our world.

Jeff Krasno: Yeah, absolutely. First, before we get into the food industry, and I'm really interested in picking your brain a little bit about how the American food industry and global food industry works. I will say I also have three bordering on teenage daughters and the fact that you started this prolific non-profit at age 16, I'm not exactly sure how that occurs, but it is incredibly impressive what you were able to do at a very, very young age. I guess I would attribute that somewhat to your own freewill and it sounds like your parents were highly influential on you, as well.

Ocean Robbins: Well, I was a homeschooler starting at the age of 10. I used to quote Mark Twain, "That you can't let school interfere with your education." I started a bakery when I was 10 as part of my homeschooling project, so I sold natural baked goods, door-to-door around the neighborhood and actually ended up on the front page of The Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper. The headline was, "Boy Isn't Very Rich, But He's Got Dough".

Ocean Robbins: I was selling baked goods, natural, wholesome stuff and I learned about marketing and entrepreneurship and budgeting and all sorts of wonderful things starting at a very young age. I think that built a kind of confidence in me that stayed with me. So eventually I moved on from the baker business, but never lost my passion for following my passion.

Ocean Robbins: When I was 16, I joined with a friend to found this non-profit and we thought really big. We actually wanted to see if we could save the world within 10 years, I'll admit at this point, I've gotten a little more sober. I think it's going to take at least 10 more years. But I've never stopped asking the big questions like, "How can we make the biggest difference possible? Why is there so much pain and suffering on this planet? Why are so many of us sick when we value health? When are so many nations at war when we value peace? Why are we living so unsustainably on this planet when we care about life? Why do we torture animals in factory farms when we are human beings who have consciences and feelings and caring?

Ocean Robbins: In so many ways, I feel that we make choices consistently that are out of step with our own best interests. I'm interested in eliminating those gaps and helping people bridge them with their lives, so that we start acting in accord with our values, our integrity, our conscience and our own desires.

Jeff Krasno: Yeah.

Ocean Robbins: [crosstalk 00:13:02] really want.

Jeff Krasno: That's a very insightful thought and point. I've started to believe that the life of integrity is aligning your works and actions with your highest principles, regardless of external circumstances. Of course, we're going to be tested right now like perhaps we haven't been tested in multiple generations to be able to live in alignment with our highest principles.

Jeff Krasno: You said something that I saw on the internet that I think speaks to that point, is that we seem to make these trade-offs in our lives that don't serve us. Not only are they not in alignment with our highest principles, but in the end, they create a lot of misery. I think the quote and I'll let you take it from there, because I'll probably butcher it, but you say something to the effect that we trade the pleasure of food, this kind of momentary pleasantness of biting into a potato chip or a cookie, for this longterm extended discomfort sickness and misery. It is such a devil's bargain why we do that.

Ocean Robbins: Well, we were wired from long ago in our ancestry to... we weren't really wired to think 50 years downstream. And if you could get sweet fruit or high calorie food, then that would be more likely you would survive. Sweet things were sweet because they were healthy, because they were ripe, because they were ready. We didn't have processed junk and sugar back in the time of our ancestors.

Ocean Robbins: So our taste buds evolved to like sweet things. Our taste buds evolved to like high calorie things because the more calorically dense a food was, then the more nutrition we would get that would help us survive. And the trouble is that the processed food industry has hi-jacked our taste buds and our biology for profits.

Ocean Robbins: A lot of us associate junk foods with pleasure.

Ocean Robbins: No doubt about it, ice cream tastes pretty good. No doubt about it, so do potato chips to a lot of us. But last time I checked, cancer didn't feel so good, carrying an extra 50 pounds didn't feel so good. Being lethargic and miserable, being caught in brain fog, having digestive pain, feeling miserable doesn't feel any good at all.

Ocean Robbins: In fact, the average senior has lost 50% of their taste buds. So when you eat the standard American diet, in the long run you actually have less pleasure even in your mouth because your cardiovascular function is compromised because your cellular regeneration is compromised and so, over time, your world gets smaller and smaller and smaller.

Ocean Robbins: Some people call it the pleasure trap. I personally don't care for that term, because I'm all about pleasure. I just want healthy pleasures that help me have more pleasure, more aliveness, more joy in life. I'm not interested in taking away anybody's pleasure, I want to add to it. My question is, "How do we really add to it so we can have the most pleasure possible in this existence of life?" I say that healthy pleasures that come from healthy food are the way to go.

Jeff Krasno: Yeah. It's an interesting point that you make that I suppose our culturaL evolution has outpaced our biological evolution in the sense that as you point out, when we were hunter gatherers, foraging about on the Serengeti and we come across a fig tree, we are wired to essentially devour and binge as many figs as we possibly could in that moment before some larger beast would come along and kick our ass, and we would flee off across the plains.

Jeff Krasno: In a way, that biological wiring as you say, has been hi-jacked by the food industry. So I'd love for you to maybe take some time to talk about how the American food industry functions.

Ocean Robbins: We have a food industry where most of our food is grown with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, synthetic junk, artificial fertilizers. Our animal products are coming from factory farms where the animals are essentially tortured. They're living in abject misery.

Ocean Robbins: And we have a found industry that is hyper-processing our food. Stripping it of its vitamins, its minerals, its fiber, adding additives, flavorings, preservatives, colorings, sugars to it and then putting it in plastic, shipping it all over the world. And we wind up with the most nutritionally inferior food supply in the history of humanity.

Ocean Robbins: The average American right now is eating a diet that is profoundly deficient in a host of critical nutrients. Less than five percent of us get the recommended daily amount of fiber. Fiber is critical, not just to keeping you regular, but also to nourishing your microbiome. It's what the good bacteria depend on. So you wonder why so many people have leaky guy, have digestive problems, are not getting the proper nutrition from their foods, well a lot of it comes back to our guts and that comes back to not feeding the good guys in your gut with the fiber that they need.

Ocean Robbins: We have a nutritional wasteland when it comes to getting a lot of the other vitamins and minerals that we need to day, because we're eating so many of our calories that are coming from processed junk, bottled oils, white flours, factory farmed animal products, instead of real, wholesome, natural food.

Ocean Robbins: So we're eating a lot of calories, more calories than ever. The average American gets about 500 to 1,000 too many calories per day, but we are starving to death for some of the nutrients that we most need in order to thrive. So some people wonder why they're always hungry. Well, maybe they're actually are some nutrients they're straight up missing.

Ocean Robbins: When you based your diet around whole, organic, real, natural foods. When you eat lots and lots of vegetables and wholesome plants, you can fill up your plate with all the kale and broccoli and veggies you want. 

Ocean Robbins: And, unfortunately, it isn't just toxic for humans, it's also destroying our planet. We are depleting our top soil at a terrifying rate. According to U.N. researchers, we have 60 years left of farmable soil on planet earth. A lot of our top soil at the end of the day is carbon that is going into our atmosphere.

Ocean Robbins: In fact, a great deal of the climate change impact is coming from agriculture and it should be the other way around. We should be sequestering our carbon in the soil, pulling it out of the atmosphere.

Ocean Robbins: With ever growing numbers of people, ever more depleted resource ecosystem bases and climate change, we're on a fast track towards mass starvation. I don't think it's a matter of if, but when, unless we change our course and change it dramatically. But the good news is, we can turn all of that around. We can create an agricultural system that is nourishing to our bodies, where the soils are rich and nourished, where we sequester carbon out of the atmosphere. Where we conserve more water because healthy soil doesn't need as much water. It holds the water better, which means it's less prone to floods.

Ocean Robbins: We can create a more ethical food system where we stop torturing animals in factory farms. We can eat less meat and that can save resources. It takes about 12 pounds of grain or soy to make one pound of feedlot beef in the United States today. It takes about two and a half thousand gallons of water to make one pound of beef in the United States today. When we eat lower on the food chain, we can save an enormous amount of water. We can save top soil, we can save land.

Ocean Robbins: 85% of agricultural land on planet earth is being used for animal agriculture, right now. Just theoretically, if humanity went vegan tomorrow, we would save enough land to equal the amount of land area of all of the United States, China, India, the European Union and Australia combined. That's how much land we would free up if we just went vegan.

Ocean Robbins: Now, I'm not saying everyone's going to go vegan tomorrow, but my point is we can save a lot of land when we eat lower on the food chain. And that can free up precious resources, it can make more space for forests, it can help change the world for the better in profound ways.

Jeff Krasno: In order to instantiate some of these changes that you articulately outline, who is ultimately holding the ball?

Ocean Robbins: So I was in a conversation a few years back with leadership from a lot of the major food companies in America and one chat I had with a senior vice president of Nestle has really stayed with me. They're actually the largest food company on earth and she was telling me, she said, "I'll be honest with you. When it comes to health, we haven't really made it a priority in our products, our goal has been to make it accessible and affordable for as many people as people to have access to tasty food for their families, ideally as convenient as possible. And we have chosen to put health on the back burner."

Ocean Robbins: Then she said, "But the other thing is, we have come out sometimes with lower sodium, lower fat, less process options and they haven't sold well."

Jeff Krasno: Yeah.

Ocean Robbins: It struck me that it doesn't do you or me any good if a major food company does the right thing and then goes out of business for it, right? What's that going to do for our world? So we have to create the market to drive the change that inspires food companies to do the right thing. And that's not the whole picture, but it is an important part of the picture.

Jeff Krasno: When I think of how you describe the life of a cookie, for example, which is grown in Iowa, in some kind of industrial corn that gets harvested and processed into some form of corn syrup that then gets bought by some food manufacturer that then processes a cookie product and packages it up and puts it in a bunch of plastic and puts it on a truck into a DC and then from a DC to a grocery store. The amount of waste that is created along that life of a cookie, just so you can eat it and give yourself a momentary burst of pleasure, but as we discussed before, feel the longterm aftereffects.

Jeff Krasno: I wonder if there isn't just the possibility of a new story, where maybe we question some of our assumptions around globalism and return to a more local, decentralized form of living. I wonder as you survey the current landscape of the pandemic, I wonder what you see in it?

Ocean Robbins: It is interesting that we're all having to localize in a profound way right now. So many people are staying home and for good reason. It's really, I think, illustrating how dependent we are on long supply chains. We see products that are shipped all over the world, and we see suddenly when we know a store is out of stock of certain things, we realize, "Wow, we just took it for granted that those things would always be there." When they're not, we realize, "Oh my gosh, we're so dependent on them for our survival."

Ocean Robbins: So one maybe possible silver lining that could come of this would be more self-reliance, more local self-sufficiency, and frankly, more focus on health, because I think in the COVID-19, your health is more important than it's ever been before. So I'm looking for silver linings, obviously because the landscape is all so bleak. And it's a painful time we're in.

Ocean Robbins: But I'm interested in how we can make something good of it, because a tragedy is a terrible thing to waste.

Jeff Krasno: Well put.

Ocean Robbins: If one of the blessings is that we recognize our mortality and take our lives a little less for granted, maybe that would be a blessing, too.

Ocean Robbins: Because none of us know how many days we have on this earth. None of us knows how many days our loved ones have on this earth, so let's use our mortality and the reminder of our mortality to bring more love, more consciousness, more integrity to clean up our relationships and our communications, to more fully author the lives we want.

Jeff Krasno: Yeah, that's beautiful, Ocean. Beautifully put. As I hunker down with my family right now up in the Santa Monica mountains in Topanga, with the cleanest and clearest air that's been in L.A. for 30 or 40 years because nobody's driving, I can't help but feel insanely fortunate and lucky.

Jeff Krasno: I wonder if our current situation doesn't put the microscope on income inequality like never before. And I deeply worry about that, especially over the coming month. And you can obviously see it in a less acute, but still incredibly serious instantiation in food.

Jeff Krasno: I've told this story but my kids play soccer and they practice down in South Central in a part of L.A. that's not particularly affluent and I always forget to bring snack, just because dad forgets. And so I drop them off, and then I've got to run around and find an appropriate snack for the kids on the soccer team. And you know what I'm finding there. It's a food desert. So it's all cookies and chips and Doritos and Nutter Butters and you can go on and on, candy bars and what not and fast food.

Jeff Krasno: So just the access is so highly limited and I worry about that, too with COVID-19 whether it's gong to disproportionately impact people that are less well off. 

Ocean Robbins: The poorer you are and the browner you are, the more likely you are to eat a diet that is getting the majority of its calories from processed junk and factory farmed meat and sugar and the less likely you are to get enough fruits and vegetables and fiber. Statistically, those same people are the most likely to suffer and die from chronic illness.

Ocean Robbins: So rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer, Type II Diabetes, even Alzheimer's are significantly higher in communities of color and in communities of lower income in the United States. There is a direct correlation therefore along race and class lines with some of, what I consider to be, the greatest injustice of our times. Because for the kids growing up in communities with food deserts, for the kids growing up not having access to the basic nutrition they need to thrive, this impacts their mental function. It impacts how they do in school. It impacts their sense of security in life.

Ocean Robbins: We have tens of millions of kids growing up without food security. They literally, not just living pay cheque to pay cheque, they're living meal to meal. We have 30 million kids that are dependent on the school meal program for their basic caloric nutrition, so to me, this does highlight wealth inequality, as does the fact that half of all Americans are living pay cheque to pay cheque, so literally in the time of COVID-19, absent sudden support, they literally have no options for survival, like paying rent, like buying food becomes untenable within a few weeks of lost work.

Ocean Robbins: That's how on the edge we are for a large portion of our population. And then we've got other folks for whom maybe they're worried about their stock portfolio or retirement, which is real. But it's a different place to live from. And when your house is on fire, is not the time you tend to think about putting in a water tank. Or, clearing the trees so that you're not susceptible to forest fire. You're in survival mode. And a lot of people right now, are in survival mode and when you're in survival mode, when your brain is in survival mode, you're going to be more drawn to the so-called comfort foods.

Ocean Robbins: To the foods that provide a quick burst of calories that hit your bloodstream fast. So, it becomes harder in that space to make the wise choices and we know that toxic food is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's a negative feedback loop where it gets harder and harder to break free. So cycles of food addiction and cycles of economic stress tend to go together.

Ocean Robbins: But the good news is, we can do something about that. We can create positive feedback loops that turn that around. Some of the top things we could do to turn this around include: serving healthier lunches in schools, our kids should be fed health foods. Schools are preparing them for the future, shouldn't they be also helping not give them a lifelong foundation of addiction to junk food and clogged arteries?

Ocean Robbins: We could plant more school gardens and community gardens. In fact, we could even have government support for gardens of all shapes and sizes and kinds. If the lawns of America were converted to gardens, we could grow more than six times the amount of fruits and vegetables currently consumed in this country.

Ocean Robbins: So we could start turning lawns over, we could start growing more food for humans instead of grass to look at. And other things we could do would include shifting government subsidies. Right now in the United States, we provide tens of billions of dollars every year in subsidies for commodities crops. Essentially, we're subsidizing high fructose corn syrup, we're subsidizing white bread, we're subsidizing Twinkies. There are 14 subsidized ingredients in Twinkies. We're subsidizing factory farmed meat and we are not subsidizing fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds or legumes, which are the foods that science tells us we should be eating more of.

Ocean Robbins: We could double the value of the SNAP program, so-called food stamps for fruits and vegetables. This would instantly help tens of millions of people to afford more fruits and vegetables and give them an economic incentive to eat them.

Ocean Robbins: Right now, 500,000 do have double SNAP value for fruits and vegetables through a program called Wholesome Wave. It's a test product and what we're seeing, is when people get double the value for fruits and vegetables, they buy more fruits and vegetables, they eat more fruits and vegetables, they're healthier because of it and their communities stock more fruits and vegetables. Talk about food deserts, well guess what? Joe liquor store owner, Joe 7-11 owner is not going to have any incentive to stock a bunch of broccoli and cabbage and mushrooms, if it's just going to go rotten in the fridge.

Ocean Robbins: So we need to create the incentive and the buying power to drive that healthy food into those communities where it's needed. And part of how we do that is with policy shifts that incentivize doing the right thing. We could also make sure that doctors learn about nutrition in medical school. Right now the average physician gets less than 19 hours of nutritional education in all their years of medical training. Most of that focuses only on specific nutrients and what happens when you don't have enough of them. It doesn't look at actually how to help patients eat well.

Ocean Robbins: I say that a doctor not learning about food is kind of like a firefighter not learning about water. But unfortunately, that's the norm today. We could change it. We want to change it. We could make sure that hospitals can only serve healthy food. We could do so much if we wanted to. We could incentivized economically farmers, creating metrics for them to track carbon sequestration. So that when they take carbon out of the atmosphere, they get a bonus.

Ocean Robbins: And they then have an incentive to measure their carbon and their soil and to deepen their top soil and to sequester that carbon. There are practices that could do it if we create the economic incentive, we can help fight climate change. So when we start to put some of these practices into action, and perhaps we could also ban some of the worst practices of factory farms, we could ban the routine use of antibiotics in our factory farms.

Ocean Robbins: When we make these changes we can start to save water and sequester carbon and boost the health of humanity. We can start to take slash out of our medical spending which is now 19% of gross domestic product in America. We can create a healthier population so that even when pandemics come along, we have stronger immune systems and we're better able to cope and respond effectively.

Ocean Robbins: We can create a more robust economy where less of us are living chronically sick or hospitals can actually have less strain on them because there are less sick people. These are steps we can take that could make a profound difference for all of us. We know how. Now, we've just got to do it.

Jeff Krasno: That is inspiring. I love it and it's so clear that the solutions are at hand. 

Jeff Krasno: In a lot of these areas we've discussed and a lot of these food deserts, even if SNAP has this two for one with fruits and vegetables, sometimes you can't even find them.

Jeff Krasno: But if you can redeem food stamps online then there can be a local distribution center that can get you organic, healthy fresh fruits and vegetables to your house. But as you say, most of the time, where people can essentially redeem their SNAP benefits, is the local bodega or liquor store. But there are these solutions and you're such an incredibly articulate and powerful messenger for these solutions.

Jeff Krasno: Thank you for that.

Ocean Robbins: Well, thank you. There is a lot we can do and that's what I love about food. There are so many problems in the world that can feel uncontrollable and overwhelming to us, what can one person do? Sometimes we can feel not so much like a drop in the bucket, but a drop in the ocean.

Ocean Robbins: But when it comes to food, you and I really do have immense power. Obviously, we can't change the entire food system all by ourselves, but we can be on the right side of history. It can be an expression of our conscience and our integrity and our values and in that process, we can at least true ourselves with who we are.

Jeff Krasno: I wondered in closing, if you wouldn't mind telling us a little bit about your own diet. Because one thing that I've noticed about you now getting to know you today on this call, but in all of your video content, which is prolific online, is that you have a tremendous amount of vitality. You speak with a lot of energy and that must reflect an energetic body and an energetic state of being.

Jeff Krasno: So I wonder what do you put in there to get so much vitality and vigor and vim out into the world?

Ocean Robbins: Goodness, well food plays a big part. I eat a predominantly whole foods, plant-centered diet. I eat lots and lots of vegetables, I try to make every calorie count. I indulge a little bit in the occasional bit of something extra, a little chips or something. Potato chips are kind of my weak spot. But I'm talking about once every couple of weeks. I'm not talking about every day.

Ocean Robbins: I eat often, I'll be honest with you, my breakfast is leftovers from the night before. I just sometimes dinner was good, so why the heck should we have to have something different for breakfast. So we eat in our household, a lot of lentils and legumes and vegetables and spices. Spices are kind of what makes food come to life and gives it a variety and so learning how to use spices effectively is good for your pallette. It's also really good for your health.

Ocean Robbins: Spices are so nutritious. They're so full of antioxidants and amazing nutrients. And then I eat a lot of fruit actually. According to some research, we are more deficient in fruit than vegetables. Now, I'm not talking about apple juice or orange juice, I'm talking about real fruits. The actual fruit that you chew. Berries, I eat a lot of frozen berries. Just love to snack on them or add them to things. Smoothies, sometimes.

Ocean Robbins: I eat lots of humus with vegetables using humus as a dip. Sometimes we sprout our own garbanzo beans and make humus that way. Sometimes we actually buy it. We have a community supported agriculture program so we get a weekly huge delivery of vegetables from that and our family game is, we have to eat them all before the next one comes.

Ocean Robbins: So there's a little extra soup making going on late in the week. [inaudible 00:58:04] we eat and freeze some soups. But that's paying it forward. I eat whole grains. I love quinoa. I'm concerned about the arsenic in rice, so I eat some rice, for sure, but I lean more into quinoa, millet, buckwheat or grains.

Ocean Robbins: Potato, sweet potatoes, love those sweet potatoes. Sometimes, I'll have sweet potatoes with some flax oil and [ommibochi 01:10:29] vinegar, maybe some turmeric or chile on top or cumin. Interesting to put spices on there. Sometimes we make our own humus's or things to put on there as well. Lots of options, but bottom line is when you make friends with a healthy kitchen, it gets easier and easier to do the right thing and the key is healthy habits.

Ocean Robbins: At this point, for me my healthy habits are deeply ingrained enough that it's not effort, it's not labor, it's the path of least resistance. I'm grateful for that because I grew up this way. But if you didn't grow up this way, if you don't have those healthy habits, don't despair. You can do it. And the good news is, your taste buds change.

Ocean Robbins: Literally you secrete different saliva as you get used to vegetables and they start to taste sweeter, they start to taste better. So stick with it and build those healthy habits, and it'll get easier and easier.

Jeff Krasno: Awesome. Well, I think on that hopeful note, we'll conclude for today. Thank you so much for all of the information and just really for the energy that you're bringing to this food revolution, which is so central to our human story and touches really every single piece of our existence.

Jeff Krasno: We're so grateful for you to obviously be on the show, but just to have you as a functioning member of global society, spreading this message, so thanks, Ocean Robbins.

Ocean Robbins: Thank you, Jeff. If anyone wants to follow-up with me, check out my book, 31 Day Food Revolution; Heal Your Body, Feel Great and Transform Your World. You can also join in the Food Revolution Summit at foodrevolutionsummit.org. My dad and colleague, John Robbins and I interview 24 of the top food experts on the planet and we share those interviews completely for free. Again, go to foodrevolutionsummit.org to sign up and join in.

Ocean Robbins: In the time of COVID-19 and in all time, your health needs to be a priority and we're help you to make the healthiest possible choices you can. Thanks again, Jeff.

Jeff Krasno: Great. Thank you and I will be joining that Summit personally and for everyone listening, that'll also be in the show notes with all of the information because this is a Summit that is incredibly timely and nobody should miss out on it. So thanks, and thanks again, Ocean.

Ocean Robbins: All righty.

Jeff Krasno: All right. That was great.

Ocean Robbins: Are you setup as an affiliate so you can help spread the word about the Summit?

Jeff Krasno: Yeah, we could definitely... we do affiliate some stuff and I'd be happy to do that. Obviously, we have a ton of our own programs so we've got to just fit it in to the right notch.

Ocean Robbins: Sure.

Jeff Krasno: But it's right down the middle center of our audience and I think we have a million people in the email list.

Ocean Robbins: Oh you do?

Jeff Krasno: Yeah.

Ocean Robbins: Wow.

Jeff Krasno: It's a weird, this model that Oprah kind of spoon-fed me a couple of years ago, which is kind of this sign up for free, for X period of time and then everyone takes our courses together at the same time and then eventually they lock up and we give a lot away, to be honest. But it's been an incredible lead acquisition model and then over the last year and a half since we've been going between Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson and Russell Brand and William Hoff and Brian Kady and all these programs that we've done. We just generate a lot of leads.

Jeff Krasno: Yeah, so hopefully we can help drive some folks. And maybe there's an opportunity to talk about doing something together at some point just on an online course or program perspective. I'm sure you guys have a great platform yourself but maybe there's some opportunity for [crosstalk 01:03:24].

Ocean Robbins: We do but you reach different people so I'm always open to that conversation. Sure.

Jeff Krasno: Our list is I suppose, there's a good size yoga component of it and then there's the spiritual personal development component of it, but obviously that's highly correlated with healthy food. And we haven't done a tremendous amount on food, so that's actually why I'm thinking that there could really be something interesting there. We did something around food and its relationship to cognitive health but that was very particular. That was towards the beginning and we really haven't done anything since then.

Jeff Krasno: So yeah I think there could be something cool there.

Ocean Robbins: Great. Feel free to tell us more about how the model would work and what you're thinking and we can chat about that more and then make sure, are you already signed up as an affiliate yet? You can go to affilaitres.foodrevolution.org if you want to do so.

Jeff Krasno: Cool.

Ocean Robbins: We're actually just updating our affiliate center today and tomorrow so it will have a whole new look and focus on our new Summit and also COVID-19 relevance which is part of how we're tweaking our Summit right now. It's kind of a timeless message but we want to make sure that people get that your health is more important than ever right now and it's time to start acting like it and we're here to help.

Jeff Krasno: And we're doing similar things, not on our food programs, but it's important not to be tone deaf either of we had a plastic free course launching, going into Earth Day and while I think it's actually honestly more relevant than ever for a whole host of reasons, but [crosstalk 01:05:20] some of it is like, "This is how you shop when you go to the store." And that experience has changed.

Jeff Krasno: At least right now. So it's important just to reframe some of these things. We have a meditation course launching today with Michael Beck with and meditation for me is a huge part of my life and as you talked about, I think, the best time to fix the roof is on a sunny day. I would also say that about meditation. Crisis meditation doesn't as one of my friends, David G., who's a meditation teacher said, "You can't brush your teeth for three hours the day before you see the dentist and expect results. You've got to do it five minutes a day or whatever."

Ocean Robbins: So true. Yeah.

Jeff Krasno: So we've been modifying our tone [inaudible 01:06:21] a little bit, too. But anyways, really fun.

Ocean Robbins: I've been known to try things like that, I must admit. I definitely brush my teeth better the day before those visits, no doubt.

Jeff Krasno: Yeah, certainly the week before going to the doctor, I tend to eat super healthy. Maybe I should schedule a doctor's appointment every two weeks. And obviously, once social isolation ends, it would be fun to meet in person and we do hold these retreats here. So if there was ever, it's not huge, it's like 30 people, but for leadership oriented retreats, they're great. So anyways.

Ocean Robbins: Yeah.

Jeff Krasno: Well, a true pleasure.

Ocean Robbins: Likewise, great talking with you.

Jeff Krasno: Tell Mark that we spoke and I'm sure we'll connect over that, too.

Ocean Robbins: Great. All right, thank you. Our appointment window for the Summit is April 13 to 25. So that's a great time to send out the emails and yeah, I don't know how much you've done the whole affiliate thing, but we've paid over a million dollars in commissions the last couple of years, so it's a good, our goal is conscious entrepreneurship that changes the world for the better but also can support good work so we can keep growing. So we do a lot. We invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in building the funnels and the split tests and the upsells and the segmentation and all sorts of different components to this to make it convert well in the marketplace as well as really feel ethical and clean and useful to people.

Ocean Robbins: So people literally apologize for not being able to afford the empowerment package because they want to help. Which is a wonderful place to be and rather than selling at people at the same time, we're obviously getting a lot of success with it. Historically, who knows how it's going to go this year, but high hopes.

Ocean Robbins: So yeah, if you can spread the word, hopefully that would be a good win/win all around.

Jeff Krasno: Yeah, we've done some very successful, I did one, Marie [Forlio 01:08:27] is a really [inaudible 01:08:28] initiative.

Ocean Robbins: [crosstalk 01:08:29]. Yeah.

Jeff Krasno: And that one, that was very successful for us. But like I said, just because we also don't have nay conflicting product right now or anything around food, I think that that feels really good and we're pretty versed in the cadence and the sequences and stuff like that. So all talk to Devin who helped set this up and she runs all the affiliate stuff so I'll talk to her about that, for sure.

Jeff Krasno: And it may make sense to hold the podcast maybe a little bit if we want to kind of nudge it up closer to that window. So-

Ocean Robbins: Potentially thought, it also might seed it.

Jeff Krasno: True.

Ocean Robbins: We actually do have registrations opening starting, well technically tomorrow actually our site's going to go live.

Jeff Krasno: Got it.

Ocean Robbins: And we're going to start promotion on Wednesday to our email list. That's sort of for testing purposes.

Jeff Krasno: Got it.

Ocean Robbins: So affiliates could promote early is what I'm saying, but we also have a leader board. We're giving out $60,000 in prizes and so forth and that is for leads that come in starting April 13th.

Jeff Krasno: Okay cool. All right, sounds good. We'll definitely work something out. I like it.

Ocean Robbins: Wonderful. All righty. Thank you, Jeff.

Jeff Krasno: Cool, buddy. Yup, take care.

Ocean Robbins: [crosstalk 01:09:48], you too.

Jeff Krasno: Bye. Thank you for listening to today's show. To learn more about Ocean and to join the Ninth Annual Food Revolution Summit, go to foodrevolution.org. If you have any comments or questions on today's show, shoot me an email at [email protected] I really appreciate hearing directly from you and I will respond. That's all from the Commune for this week. I'm Jeff Krasno and I'm here for you.

Review us on Apple Podcasts

Other episodes you might like:

Compassionate Resilience

with Sharon Salzberg
Daily practices for inner strength, peace, and connection. Free from August 17 to 21.
SIGN UP FOR FREE

Let's Connect

Contact  | Help | Privacy | Terms
© 2020 Commune Media, Inc. All rights reserved.