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An adult conversation between a meat-eater and a vegan?!

Plant-based thought leader, Jeremy Evans, and Mark do the impossible in our new Wolf’s Den episode. 

Since the release of the Netflix documentary, The Game Changers, the uproar on giving up meat has returned with a vengeance. These documentaries create nothing but hysteria and confusion, so we took it upon ourselves to set the record straight and present a balanced view for both plant based and omnivores.

The problem. Science is the new religion.

Science is supposedly objective, with researchers searching for better answers, continuously growing and developing our knowledge; even if it means scrapping formerly proven evidence. 

Research leaders and spokespeople in the media and social media form their opinions based on specific (and quite often their own) research. They roll with it, market it, advertise their name and brand behind it, gain a following, and soon enough they’ve started a belief system. 

Then they use ‘research’ as a tool to divide audiences. They don’t actually care what’s best for people. 

Whether intentional or unintentional, hatred between the two camps form. Rather than working together to find more information and evidence to develop our knowledge, it just turns into a mass angry debate.

Sound familiar?

Extremists on both the plant-based and the meat eater fronts are most often exposed, which means these extreme opposing views become the representation of something which really wasn’t that extreme in the first place. In the name of ‘science’, two opposing researchers should naturally work together to develop a better understanding, but unfortunately in today’s internet ridden society, that’s just not the case anymore.

With this in mind, my good friend Jeremy Evans and I are determined to meet both vegan and carnivore camps in the middle. We want our audience to watch an ADULT discussion about scrapping meat from your diet; the pros and cons of going plant-based, and what it takes to live a healthily following a vegan lifestyle.

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Transcript From An Adult Conversation About Going Vegan & Eating Meat

(This transcription may contain errors)

Mark Ottobre: Welcome to the Wolf’s Den, the show that punches you in the face with information. Today’s show is live on the back of a fundraiser that we’re running here at Enterprise Fitness. We have raised already over $2,000 for the bush fires that has devastated this country in Australia. I think this deserves a round of applause, folks. Don’t you think this deserves a round of applause?

Mark Ottobre: This is my friend, Jeremy Evans, who I’ve known for the best part of four years. We are going to get into the world of plant-based nutrition, the veganism cult and everything in between. This is going to be a fascinating podcast. I think this one will probably be a fan favourite for many. Welcome to the show, Jeremy. Folks, let’s make him feel welcome.

Jeremy Evans: Thank you. 

Mark Ottobre: It’s my pleasure. I know we spoke before. Is it okay if I just monologue for a moment?

Jeremy Evans: Absolutely.

Mark Ottobre: I know you’re into the arts and stuff as I am.

Jeremy Evans: I love a good monologue.

Mark Ottobre: What I wanted to begin and open up this discussion with and open up the podcast with is because you and I have been observers, I’m obviously a carnivore. I’m an omnivore, a variety diet. You’re plant-based, vegetarian, fair to say?

Jeremy Evans: Plant-based.

Mark Ottobre: Plant-based. You don’t like that term so much?

Jeremy Evans: Plant-based. It covers everything.

Mark Ottobre: It covers everything. We have I suppose a different point of view, but you’ve seen The Game Changers, obviously the documentary that’s come out, and it’s really has taken the nutrition world by storm, the mainstream media really by storm. It’s really as a personal trainer, I’m sure yourself, people are coming now more and more saying, “What about this plant-based diet? You can get everything you need, all this stuff.” It’s really put people into two camps, and it’s divided people almost into the left and to the right. It’s almost become political and almost religious at this point.

Mark Ottobre: What I wanted to start with was the thought and idea in the 18th century, we had this idea of … well, not the idea. We actually had the crown, the king, the queen, the royal family and the church, and the king was chosen by God. In that sense, the church gave the crown power and the crown gave back to the power of the church. I’m selected by God, great. The church gives the king the power. The king will say, “You should go to church. You should listen to them.” Together, the church and the crown were able to control the way people thought and everything that went before.

Mark Ottobre: Today or more recent times, we now have the state, the government and the media. For decades, it’s been a case of what will the media do for the politician power. It’s been really control of the narrative in mainstream. If a politician wants to push a certain agenda, they make the right deals with the right TV stations, and that’s what then becomes on the Herald Sun, that’s what you hear about. You don’t hear about the war in Syria or Rwanda or anything like this. This is the narrative in that country, in that culture.

Mark Ottobre: Today I think we’re in a dangerous place because it’s not the crown, it’s not the church, even though that was a dangerous place. What we have today is social media and influences and science. I really do believe that science has become the new religion that people follow. You have the influencer, which is the king or queen that’s been chosen. What that king or queen is doing is putting up science as their religion and people fundamentally, whether they’re vegan or whether they’re eating meat, and you see this with Mikhaila Peterson, who is all about carnivorous diet and promotes that. You have on the opposing end the Banana Girl, and I’m giving two probably extreme examples, who says anything … That’s just completely unacceptable.

Mark Ottobre: What it does is it segregates, and this isn’t just exclusive to plant-based and meat eating, but it segregates people into camps. It creates a tribalism. When you go to tribalism, the only thing left really is violence. In our opinion, this is how this came to be, that’s a really sad state of affairs because why can’t someone who eats meat, why can’t someone who is plant-based come together and actually talk about the similarities that actually benefit people? That’s my monologue that I wanted to preface the show with. Do you have any opening ideas to that?

Jeremy Evans: Well, I agree with what you said. Basically the fact that we can come together today and we can share our views and share our experience, I think that is probably the thing that’s really lacking today a lot. I feel like there is a lot of this dogmatic approach on both sides. I feel like in order to free ourselves of the burden of these single truths in nutrition, we need to be able to have conversations like this. We need to be able to broaden our understanding of these things. I think removing that dogmatic approach. Hopefully we’re evidence of that today.

Mark Ottobre: Yes, absolutely.

Jeremy Evans: Maybe the beginning of a new discussion.

Mark Ottobre: I really was thinking about this, about the black and white in this day and age, in this landscape. I think it’s bullshit. You can go on the internet and you can find supporting arguments for it and then you end up in this debate about whose research, whose science is better? People say my science is better, but that doesn’t really serve people at the end of the day. Research is great and research shows you points to answers, but evidence and all this stuff, people get lost. Research ultimately, as we’ve spoken about before, doesn’t necessarily always change people’s behaviors. There’s so much research that smoking kills. Everyone agree, in this room, everyone agrees smoking kills. It gives you lung cancer. People still smoke. There’s research to prove that.

Mark Ottobre: If we’re really going to be as coaches, and that’s where we look at this, both of us, if we’re going to help actual people who are going to modify their behaviors, then it needs to be more than just about research. My question to you, Jeremy, is tell me your background, your growing up, your experience in life is obviously very different than mine. What guided you to the vegan diet, the vegetarian diet? Let’s start with I know you call it plant-based, let’s even go before that. What brought you to this diet?

Jeremy Evans: Sure. Initially, I was influenced by my two sisters, older sisters who were vegetarian. This is pre-2004 so I’ve been plant-based for over 16 years now. Back then, I was the typical omnivore. I was eating every kind of meat that you could think of, processed meat, chicken, beef, whatever. I was doing that, and I had no intention of ever becoming plant-based. I actually said that to my sister. I said, “Don’t even ever try to talk me out of eating meat because I will never do it.” One day, she invited me to a screening of a movie that came out in 2004. It’s called Peaceable Kingdom. Basically it was looking into factory farming, and it gave an example of a couple that live in America who basically took animals who were abused in factory farming situations and gave them a second life.

Jeremy Evans: It started there. It started at that point. I had this, I guess you could say I had an awakening. My compassion was awoken to this experience of other living creatures, and I wanted to make a choice, and I wanted to do something that was maybe more than myself and bigger than myself. That night, I decided to become vegetarian, and it was literally overnight that I did that.

Jeremy Evans: Six months after I made that decision, I actually got quite sick. I became on the verge … It wasn’t diagnosed, but I was on the verge of anemia. I was working with a naturopath at the time, and she was working with me and pointed out and said, “You’re very close to being anemic, so you need to be very careful. If you are going to do this diet, you need to do it smart and you need to start being proactive.” That was another turning point for me because I realized that in becoming vegetarian overnight, all I had done was simply removed animal protein from my plate and I had just replaced it with refined carbohydrates and lettuce literally.

Jeremy Evans: I was naive. I was not well informed, and that turning point essentially led me to where I am today sitting here. It spurred hours and hours and hours of research. It meant that I would eventually become a personal trainer and start coaching people in their health and fitness. Where I am today I guess is essentially having had all of that experience of understanding my own health, it’s brought me to also knowing that each individual has their own experience of health, and that’s very important as we discuss these things.

Mark Ottobre: 16 years, it’s long enough to do the diet where you’re going to come into challenges. You hit those challenges in six months. You can see it’s long enough to know the pros and the cons pretty well. I’d probably say if we can start at what are the things that … You saw the documentary. What were the reasons for people doing say going plant-based that you believe that you see are the most common?

Jeremy Evans: Obviously, I think the biggest overarching reason for becoming plant-based, and I feel like it always needs to link back to this, is compassion. At the end of the day, we can argue the nutrition aspects and we can discuss the nutrition aspects, but at the end of the day, it does come back to a compassionate choice. You’re doing this for compassionate reasons. That’s ultimately what it boils down to for most people. I chose it initially for that as well, so that was my fundamental initial reason for choosing it. Over the years, through those experiences that I had where I felt like I was making a lot of mistakes with my nutrition, it became more about my health.

Jeremy Evans: I can’t speak for everyone that’s had this experience, but I feel like a lot of people are drawn to it initially for the compassionate reasons. I feel like that’s left and that’s the only reason they choose to continue to do it. Therein lies the problem of not doing research on how to make the diet work for you. If you’re only choosing it for compassionate reasons, you’re actually leaving the most compassionate thing that you can do, which is look after your own health. You’re leaving that on the table. Absolutely do it for compassionate reasons, but you also have to do the research on the nutrition and make sure you succeed in that. Otherwise, it’s not compassionate to anyone.

Mark Ottobre: This is an interesting question, a very open question too because one of those things in the bodybuilding, the strength world, the supplement world that drive me absolutely nuts. I know we’ve had sometimes conversations around some of the stuff that you see in Instagram or Facebook feed about Banana Girl whenever and then you get these people who represent veganism or they represent plant-based. In actual fact, they’re not really that great a representation because they’re the extremes. What are some things that I suppose drive you nuts inside the community?

Jeremy Evans: Well, that is one thing. I think it’s the extremes. I think it’s this, when you choose a plant-based diet, it’s not restrictive in that sense but you’re starting to refine your nutrition, if that makes sense. I think you can push any end of the spectrum further to an extreme. You can have as we know in the end of the spectrum, you’ve got carnivorism, and then on this other end, you’ve got veganism. When you’re choosing a plant-based diet, it’s important to be open-minded and mindful of these things.

Jeremy Evans: The things that really irritate me I guess is that being a fruitarian, being real vegan, there’s a time and a place and there’s context for these things, but it gets back to that dogmatic approach. When we were approaching nutrition, there shouldn’t be dogma because that is dangerous. That’s dangerous for people’s health. Yes, you do get these social media influencers and YouTube personalities who they’re showing certain aspects of their life where they’re potentially thriving with these diets, but we don’t see the other side. We don’t see potentially what health concerns they’re actually coming up against. We start to get this warped perception of nutrition and we start to think, well, because it worked for them with what I’ve been told and what I’ve been shown that it can work for me. Again, it goes back to that argument of nutrition, it’s an individual thing.

Mark Ottobre: Yes. I think some of the things with the YouTube folks, I honestly think, and this is completely unrelated to plant-based and vegan diets, but I saw the other day, I won’t mention his name, on Instagram, he put up a horrendous post. This guy is quite influential in the nutrition space. What it was, was slagging the opposing. This guy was all about … He’s very much in the calories, If It Fits Your Macros camp. He put up a post slamming a guy who is about hormones and functional medicine. If you read the comments, it was very divisive. It was very dividing. He’s in the cult I would say, the king of If It Fits Your Macros, and what he really wants to do is send an FU to the people who are looking at hormones and looking at things like stress as a way to lose weight and all these lifestyle factors and wanted to simplify it. What it did, it divided the camp.

Mark Ottobre: I think when you look at these YouTube personalities or even this guy, I really do think with this guy, he’s smart enough to know that’s not the whole story, but I see the other side of it where hang on, he’s doing this because this is his brand now. He’s been doing this for five, 10 years and he actually wants to be divisive. He wants to. When I look at Banana Girl or these extreme people in these camps, I think one of the messages I want to get across in this podcast is that people … You got to understand the marketing. They’re held up and if they change their position, and you’ve seen this with the guy you mentioned to me before about the YouTuber who was plant-based and now he’s gone and eat meat, he got slammed by his people basically for doing that. Their fame, their king status, their queen status ultimately gets very, very hurt. They’re motivated not to change. They’re motivated actually not to present the full story because they are the poster boy/girl for that stance.

Mark Ottobre: One thing that we touched on very briefly, which I’m curious to go into at the start, was when I said vegan, vegetarian and you don’t like referring yourself to either. Why is that?

Jeremy Evans: The reason I say plant-based is it more refers to the nutrition aspect of things. I certainly support all of the aspects of what a vegan lifestyle is, but again, I feel like it gets into that dogmatic perspective of things. I feel like when we start to narrow our experience, it limits our experiences. We’ve spoken about things in the past. We view the world through our values. If we continue to just only look for the things that reinforce our bias or our beliefs, we start to lose a full perspective. I just feel like I’ve always been someone who doesn’t like labels. I don’t like labeling things because people will … and people want to label people because it makes them easy to identify and easy to relate to. I understand that aspect of things.

Jeremy Evans: Again, if you label me, you’re only going to know me as that thing, and I’m more complex than that. We’re all more complex than that. I just think that this … I feel like those terms I feel like are more limiting, for me personally. I say plant-based because it refers to what I eat as opposed to potentially all the other aspects which are-

Mark Ottobre: It’s who I am. You say I’m a vegan, I’m an omnivore. Hi. My name is Mark. I’m a nutritionist.

Jeremy Evans: Exactly.

Mark Ottobre: It’s like, well, I didn’t ask you for … Have you ever met a nutritionist or dietician on a side note? Every nutritionist, dietician, it’s the same as CrossFitter, you know that they’re a CrossFitter and nutritionist and dietician within five minutes because they tell you. Do that test. They tell you.

Mark Ottobre: That’s very interesting, labeling. I had the same thing with bodybuilding. I used to label myself as a bodybuilder, and then I realized protein shakes actually upset my digestive system. I can’t eat six times every day and whatever. The bodybuilding lifestyle actually didn’t suit me, but the more I labeled myself as a bodybuilder, the more I got trapped into that identity. Maybe I’m not a bodybuilder, and I’m not. I’m more than that. I’m a guy who likes to lift weights. That doesn’t necessarily make me that. Have you seen The Game Changers?

Jeremy Evans: Yes, I have.

Mark Ottobre: What did you think of it?

Jeremy Evans: Look. In terms of how it actually starts a conversation like this, fantastic. I think we haven’t had something like that probably since maybe Forks Over Knives, but maybe in a way that presented being an athlete on a plant-based diet. In terms of that, in terms of starting a conversation and potentially sparking people’s interests in an alternative or another approach, fantastic.

Jeremy Evans: I think some of the examples that they gave were obviously from a biased perspective, but I think at the end of the day, it succeeded in demonstrating that you can succeed on a plant-based diet as an athlete. That was essentially, I think, what its purpose was. I think it demonstrated that.

Jeremy Evans: There was one scene in particular that really irritated me, and it was when all of those NFL players at the end sat down to have their vegan food and it was all like mac and cheese and burgers and all that stuff. I’m like, that’s great because it shows people that they’re not going to miss out on that comfort food and all that stuff, but it also doesn’t necessarily … It doesn’t truly reflect that you can eat that stuff and be an athlete because I can guarantee, they’re not eating that stuff and performing well. They’re not eating mac and cheese for dinner and eating burgers and all that stuff. That I think it was a romanticized approach. Fine, whatever, but I just don’t think that it was maybe representative of what you are really going to need to eat as an athlete on a plant-based diet.

Mark Ottobre: [crosstalk 00:18:24] Usain Bolt. He ate a hundred chicken nuggets before he broke the world record. Unless you’re a genetic freak where it really has no impact in terms of what you eat, it’s his bones are extra bouncy and that’s why he’s able to … because they’re long, because it’s very unusual for someone that fast to be as tall as he is but on a side note.

Mark Ottobre: Probably for me, the most annoying part or my pet peeve with the film, and this is such a mute point but it really irritated me, was when they had that guy like, “I’m the doctor,” and he said, “Everyone thinks that protein is what you need for energy. You need protein for energy.” It’s like no one thinks that. No one thinks that you need protein for energy. Everyone knows that it’s carbohydrate. More to the point, when James Wilks went on, Chris … Joe Rogan show and defended that point. He’s like, “In the university of blah, blah, blah, that’s what they think. They’re the experts.” It’s like, well, hang on, you’re looking at the wrong experts because actual experts do not think … There is no one really in the nutrition community or should be no one who thinks that you’re going to get … Protein is going to be an energy source.

Mark Ottobre: I thought some of the things there was … I feel like that we’re doing such a good job, and then some of the points that we’re just trying to get across over the line, if they just didn’t try and cross over the line, it actually would’ve been a stronger piece. That was one of them where I really felt like they could’ve just taken that out and it would actually stood stronger by not trying to dilute any of that.

Jeremy Evans: Yeah, I agree. I think as we know, protein isn’t a fuel source. For them to actually state that, I guess it’s an instance where you’re like, “Oh, hang on a second. Let’s just take a step back.”

Mark Ottobre: One of the things that I did like about the film that they presented it as the athletes, and the thing I really like about vegans, vegetarians, plant-based, whatever you want to call yourself, the thing that I really like is that they do make it a political and environmental issue. I think there is a lot more common ground with someone like myself and plant-based folks in the sense that it needs to be an environmental issue. I don’t really feel the film really covered that or did that as much justice as it could. What about you?

Jeremy Evans: Yeah, I agree. I think the main narrative that it was demonstrating was performance as an athlete on a plant-based diet. There are other films out there that talk more about the environmental reasons and arguments. I think if you’re going … Like we said before, facts don’t necessarily change people’s minds, but I think if you’re going to want to educate people, and you can’t do this in a documentary on Netflix alone. It’s a snapshot of the big picture. I do feel like there needs to be more of that threaded through the conversation as well. I don’t feel like it should just be one aspect. You need to broaden people’s understanding of the impacts of their choices definitely. They could have definitely been more of that.

Mark Ottobre: One thing I want to switch to now is I know you did see the … There were lots of rebuttals to the movie by numerous people. The first, the big one was the Chris Kresser one when he went on the Joe Rogan and really just went through each point and went three hours and said this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong. The follow up to that was the debate with James Wilks, who was the producer, MMA fighter, and Chris Kresser. That went for four hours. That was like watching a train wreck. That was like watching puppies die slowly. Who wants to watch a puppy die slowly? No one.

Mark Ottobre: It was very painful to watch. My takeaway from that is, yes, James absolutely won that debate. He went in, MMA fighter, physically intimidating. I think Chris probably was. I would be scared speaking … James, legitimate dude, he could kill you, right? That’s what he trains people to do. He’s a legitimate dude. When he gets angry, you probably don’t want to piss him off. Essentially, Chris was the protagonist in that and Chris is like a scrawny guy so he can’t really defend himself against the guy who’s a trained killer. I think that for me was the get-go. Man, you’re going to lose because he’s physically intimidating as well.

Mark Ottobre: On top of that, in that four hours, they really covered only what I felt four points. The four points were, which is so redundant, one was about calcium … not calcium, dairy. 50% of studies and this. The numbers that they were using, okay, like-

Jeremy Evans: I spent half an hour just trying to get the numbers right.

Mark Ottobre: Yes. At the end of it, okay, so you can choose to have dairy. Do you want to have dairy? No, you don’t. Okay, it’s not a big deal because most people have some form of intolerance to dairy. What I felt wasn’t addressed, and this is the thing that really pissed me off, was they never stopped and said, “You know what? We should actually define what we mean by dairy.”

Mark Ottobre: I want to go into that because when we talk about milk and dairy, often people, and this is the thing with plant-based nutrition, carnivore, whatever, I think the definition of actually what we eat and where you’re getting your dairy from, because there’s a huge difference. As we know, if you’re getting that dollar of liter of milk from Kohl’s versus if you’re getting it from a farm that’s been fermented dairy, so for example it’s raw that’s been processed and it’s high quality because it comes from a grass-fed animal treated well. Huge difference in terms of nutritional content.

Mark Ottobre: Obviously, people will argue a calorie is a calorie, but there’s going to be a huge difference in the outcome of that too in terms of someone’s health. That dairy potentially that’s been homogenized, pasteurized, comes from sick animal, not just that, but that dairy is coming from hundreds of tens of thousands of different cows. It’s not like the farmer milks that one cow and that goes off and that’s the dairy that you drink. No. All of the cows’ milk gets funneled into the truck and gets pasteurized and processed at the same time. You are potentially getting sick animals. That’s why it has to be processed so heavily.

Mark Ottobre: I was disappointed that there was no, hey, let’s just define because let’s classify food. What is food? My friend owns a farm, and we talk about this all the time about the quality of fruit that comes from his farm. He gives me … He brought in some peaches the other day. Oh my, God, it’s delicious. I’ve never tasted a peach like that from the supermarket. I think in terms of the food quality, we really have to stop and go, right, let’s define what we actually mean by milk. Let’s define what we actually mean by dairy rather than just assume that in this epidemiology study and this research where everyone is having shit dairy to begin with. Really, is that what we’re looking at? Because that’s accepting the status quo of food shit or let’s just accept what the supermarket that they’re giving us. Again, that’s where the political aspect of what vegetarianism, veganism brings in that I really, really appreciate.

Jeremy Evans: I think to layer on top of that, it says a lot about where a lot of these studies are being done and where we’re getting the information from. We’re getting information from an unhealthy population. We’re getting data from people who are eating or consuming the standard American diet or even the standard Australian diet, which not that long ago was recommending cornflakes for breakfast.

Jeremy Evans: We don’t have this more relative comparison. When we look at these … It’s fine. You can listen to that debate and hear them argue their points back and forth, but you are right. We don’t have this information that’s relative to a healthy population. That’s where I think a lot of that is very problematic. I think that’s where we all need to take a bit of a step back and go, where are we getting our data from? Where are we getting our information from? We’re getting it from a sick population or an obesity epidemic, pandemic.

Mark Ottobre: I think the other thing that people need to stop and realize is that … because one of the points that has always been made about a vegan diet or a vegetarian diet, it’s a better diet. Research has shown that it’s a great diet, it’s healthier, it’s who they’re comparing it to, and they’re always comparing it to the standard Australian diet. The point that’s always made is, well, anything is better than the standard Australian diet. My point on that, well, if I have a choice of someone doing standard Australian diet or a vegetarian or plant-based diet, well, 100%, I’m going to pick the plant-based diet because it’s better.

Mark Ottobre: For some people, that’s maybe all they can afford. They can’t afford meat. You know what? That is actually a better option. Their perspective is actually it’s easy for me to stay healthy doing plant-based. In some ways, some people in their perspective, it’s easier for them to count calories than it is to cut out sugar. For some people, it’s easier for them to go keto than it is to count calories. What happens in nutrition so many times to say, why do these things work in mechanisms? Instead it’s like, well, you know what? This would actually suit you because of your perception and your personality, and that’s what’s not being done because it’s so much of the mechanism of how it’s been … The actual person of how you’re constructed on an intellectual and personality level of preference and choices that you know what? You really have …

Mark Ottobre: For me, I don’t like counting calories at all, so doing an If It Fits Your Macros plan is not going to work for me because I’m not going to bring out my scales everywhere I go. Like Reece Adams, one of our great trainers here at Enterprise. In a former life, David Coyne is a good friend of ours. Those guys were Excel spreadsheets. They got no [crosstalk 00:27:44] doing that. They’ve got their numbers. That’s what they do in their free time, David Coyne particularly. You and I-

Jeremy Evans: If you need an Excel spreadsheet, go to David Coyne.

Mark Ottobre: That’s David Coyne. I think to your point, sometimes that’s the choices, and not everyone is necessarily in the world looking for optimal. Not everyone is looking to be an athlete. Some people are looking for a diet and a lifestyle that actually matches their personality and their needs rather than saying, well, this is the best, this is deficiencies or whatever. That’s the best they can do. There may be a different way of looking at it, but I really do. What are your thoughts on that?

Jeremy Evans: I think as coaches, our priority as coaches when we’re working with people is to work through all of their limiting beliefs and their values and understand them on a psychological level and help them to move towards better health. I think as coaches, that’s what we’re always trying to do. We’re always trying to educate people and move them away from food phobias.

Jeremy Evans: I think that’s a really big part of this discussion, and that’s why I think it’s so important for us to just talk like this because there is so much fear around food. The more we can have a discussion like this where we’re not getting emotional and we’re not trying to prove each other wrong, I think that is going to help people start to relax a little bit more and think about what’s more important for them on a personal level and also on a global scale as well so they can start thinking outside of their own experience.

Jeremy Evans: We need a more nuanced approach to nutrition, and that’s why I think these discussions and these documentaries are important to help start that conversation, but we do need a nuanced approach to nutrition. It can’t just be because I do it and I’ve done well on it, you should do it and you will do well. Okay, you probably could do well on it, but you’re going to have to work on it as I have, but just painting it black and white, it doesn’t serve anyone on a nutritional and a health level. It just creates more confusion and it creates more fear.

Mark Ottobre: Let’s get into the mechanics of that. Say for the people watching, I want to do a vegan diet. Maybe I want to do two days a week plant-based. What are some pieces of advice? What are some pitfalls potentially that I’m looking at?

Jeremy Evans: The most important thing, and this is top of line, when you start eating plant-based, you need to look at your total caloric intake because on a plant-based diet, you’re going to be eating more volume, but in order to get the daily caloric requirements and your daily protein, you’re going to need to eat more volume of food. Sometimes that can be intimidating for people because the sheer amount of whether it’s chickpeas or beans or whatever, it can be quite intimidating. You’re like, oh my, gosh, I didn’t realize that I need to eat this massive bowl of this stuff to get what I need. That’s a very important point to make, is because if you are transitioning to a plant-based diet, you can’t just cut out meat and then just replace it with vegetables. You need to make sure that you’re eating enough to fulfill your energy requirements for the day. That’s the first thing that people need to do.

Mark Ottobre: This is also why so many people lose so much weight on a vegan diet. It’s great for weight loss because the calories are so low because they have to eat so much food.

Jeremy Evans: On average, I think on a plant-based diet, most people that have been, for the statistics, it’s about 600 calories less on a plant-based diet on average that people eat. Yeah, you get this confirmation bias of if I go plant-based, I’m going to lose weight. Well, eating in a calorie deficit, you’re going to lose weight. It’s not necessarily the plant-based diet. It’s the fact that you were probably eating a lot less than what you were.

Jeremy Evans: Maybe you just started to increase your uptake of micronutrients and vitamins and minerals and all this stuff. Maybe that was helping to shift inflammation from your body. That could have been part of it. Was it the plant-based diet specifically or was it the fact that you started to include more micronutrients and these things that help with inflammation? Again, don’t look at it through this limiting lens. You need to look at it broadly and understand it broadly as well.

Mark Ottobre: You know what’s great about that, is you can say exactly the same thing for those who just go carnivorous diet.

Jeremy Evans: 100%.

Mark Ottobre: You’re just going to meat. Well, if you’re just going to eat meat, you’ve lowered your calories, and that’s not necessarily sensible. There’s not very much research and good research done on a carnivore diet other than he say this was my experience, as like fruit girl, banana girl or Eritrean or whatever saying it’s the next thing. What are the benefits I suppose that people experience? What other pieces of advice, things they need to watch out for? That’s one, total volume of food.

Jeremy Evans: Yeah. Benefits? For me, personally, I … It’s very subjective and it’s very anecdotal so everyone’s experience is very different and unique. When I first became plant-based, I started noticing that I had more energy, and it was probably because maybe my body wasn’t putting as much time and energy into digesting meat potentially. Again, that’s very anecdotal, but that’s what I experienced. I think that’s true for a lot of people who switch to a plant-based diet because they’re getting more micronutrients and their inflammation is reducing so their body is not having to work as hard to constantly deal with this inflammation. Certainly not to say that the meat is causing the inflammation, but it’s saying that maybe their previous diet, which was full of processed food and then suddenly made this switch to a really clean diet, maybe that was the reason.

Jeremy Evans: You’re definitely going to experience that. You’ll feel potentially lighter and clearer and more energy. I personally noticed that my recovery was a lot quicker. I’ve been a professional Irish dancer for 21 years.

Mark Ottobre: 21 years.

Jeremy Evans: 21 years.

Mark Ottobre: That’s a lot of time Irish dancing.

Jeremy Evans: Longer than half my life. Throughout the last I guess 16 years of being a professional dancer and all of that and looking at my recovery as a dancer and looking at the other dancers alongside me, I noticed that … and they were a lot younger than me too. I might point out I was the oldest dancer in the troop, and I was recovering quicker than them. They were all complaining of having stiffness and soreness and all this stuff. Whereas, I was bouncing back a lot quicker because I was making sure that I was eating a healthful diet, and I was making sure that I was getting enough nutrients for my energy needs that day.

Mark Ottobre: You could say it’s also made you though more conscious than when you were before, say, eating a mixed diet.

Jeremy Evans: Yeah, absolutely. For sure.

Mark Ottobre: Being conscious, there’s also the element of, well, I’m actually focusing on what I eat, and I’m actually making effort to make sure anything I don’t get, either supplementing with or putting my calories together in a very sensible way. It’s actually a better diet than what I was doing previously.

Jeremy Evans: Yeah, absolutely. I think-

Mark Ottobre: That’s how you have to do it.

Jeremy Evans: That’s right. You have to be proactive when you choose this. As I said before, you can’t just choose a plant-based diet and expect it to miraculously work. It doesn’t work like that. You have to work at it. There was a point I was going to make about that and I’ve lost a bit.

Mark Ottobre: What I wanted to add to that, it’s the same thing with eating meat I feel that people go, I don’t worry about that, whatever. My take on it with the environment is we all live in this world obviously. I read a good quote today about children never think what’s the purpose of life or what’s the purpose of … What do I need to do? Because they’re so entrenched in their life. They live and they live part of the world. Whereas, as we get older, we distance ourselves and instead of we come out of this world, we come into this world and the world is separate from us. I think really as everyone, we really need to be conscious of our environment and where our food is actually coming from.

Mark Ottobre: My point I wanted to make is with meat, and you do see this in research and this is where the carnivores get their back up against the wall against the vegans and becomes quiet, but there really isn’t … You really need to define what you mean by meat because I want to point out as well that a lot of the research that shows that meat causes colon cancer. Like in Germany, for example, if you look at the German research, it shows that it causes colon cancer, but what they define as meat is bacon and sausages and hamburgers. America, same thing. It’s processed meat.

Mark Ottobre: Meat gets this really bad rap because there’s a huge difference between eating game meat like kangaroo or goat or grass-fed beef to eating a sausage or the chicken mince. Mince, for example, or most like chicken nuggets and stuff is the off cut. Now what they do also in butchers is … Not all butchers because there are some really, really great butchers that get things really well done. They’ve got a thing called meat glue and they glue the off cuts of meat together. This is the thing. You’re not comparing apples with apples. I think the research that’s done is done very poorly because it looks at meat that is, well, I wouldn’t eat it. I eat meat, but I’m not eating that because to me, that’s not quality.

Mark Ottobre: I think if you are going to choose to include meat and eat meat like I do, you need to make the conscious choice to actually go that one step further. Buy grass fed. Know where it comes from. For me, buying caged eggs is a big no-no. That to me is very bad. You don’t buy caged eggs. Why? Because you’re putting a chicken in a cage and just laying eggs, and you look at the quality of the eggs from a chicken … from the caged eggs versus the quality of the eggs from a free range, had a great life chicken. The yolks, the yellows, the size of the eggs, it’s completely different. It’s not apples with apples, the amount of nutrition in that. Yes, that does mean that you are going to have to spend more money.

Mark Ottobre: Interesting fact, what is it, the organic market only needs about 16% to have more penetration of the market to actually lowering the costs wide. I think globally we’re at about 4%. There’s a lot of supply and demand. The more people that demand good food, the more the big corporations are going to say, well, we’re not going to give you factory farmed meat.

Mark Ottobre: The other thing on meat that I always like to bring up, which is like in America, they literally traded in 120 buffalo free range for 50 million tortured cows. Any way you cut that, you want the buffalo. Why? Because they thought, well, we are going to control our environment. We’re going to produce meat on demand. We’re going to ransack the environment and just create this meat on demand whenever big corporations want it. Really, if we can go back to living with the land, and this is the point that I think vegetarians, plant-based vegans, meat eaters really come together with people who are health conscious is it’s far more important where you get your food from rather than just saying, I’m a vegan, I’m a vegetarian. I’m a carnivore diet. Because where you get your food from, it actually determines what it does for the environment.

Mark Ottobre: Because if you’re buying factory farmed meat or if you’re buying soy, you’re still giving money to the people who are raping the planet for its resources in terms of the fossil fuels. They’re really using it … is a sensible. The only way sensible out of this is to go buy your food from farms that are the ecosystems that are carbon neutral, for example. That’s where if you’ve got vegetation on the land and you’ve got the animals, it’s actually shown in those ones that the carbon that’s emitted, it’s actually neutral. You can have animals, and animals are needed but it’s how you farm, not a matter of this choice, my label is going to make me more superior and better than you.

Jeremy Evans: I think it’s all on a scale at the end of the day in terms of our choice. We do all have a choice to make, and we all have this responsibility to make the best choice with the knowledge that we have and the resources that we have. The more we understand about things, the better choices we can make. I think that’s probably really where we are in the state of the world, in the state of the environment and health. It’s that for far too long, we’ve made choices that were very driven by the ego, and we’re in this … It’s cause and effect and every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The state of factory farming I believe has given rise to veganism because it’s a response to that.

Jeremy Evans: I agree. We need to go back to we’re so out of touch with where our food comes from. We’re so removed from the whole process, and you walk into a supermarket and you’ve got, what, 12 or 14 aisles that are food like products that haven’t been seen by humans ever [crosstalk 00:40:43]. Exactly. On to one side, you’ve got your fresh food, which is predominantly what we’ve survived on, but no one understands what’s involved in doing that.

Mark Ottobre: Doing that. Even in that, Australia wastes, what is it, 30% of its water that basically on … The reason being it’s like saying … Let me say that again. It’s like two billion liters of water that Australia wastes every year because, this is a big because, because we throw out approximately 30% of the food we grow. The question he’s asked me, why? Everyone know why. One person, great. I feel really supported now. The reason why for that is because for the supermarket to have like an apple, they want an apple circle. They want the avocado to be round. They want the banana to be a certain shape. You have fruit like humans that don’t look all the same and that’s completely normal. There should be dirt on your apple. You’re going to have different shapes.

Mark Ottobre: There’s 30% of food that we grow in this country. I’m not talking about America. I’m talking about Australia that we throw out that is perfectly good food. In places like Sweden, for example, they’ve got the aisle of … and they’ve promoted it as all bodies are different. Why shouldn’t our food be? People buy it. It’s a little bit cheaper but it’s a great resource. We talk about feeding the homeless or making use of our resources and just being more conscious. That is such an easy fix at the supermarkets, the conglomerates.

Mark Ottobre: This is why I’m quite passionate about I get my … I have a lady. Her name is Julia. From a farm. Some cards at the front. Happy to pass them around. Free shout out to Julia. She’s local to me, and I get all my food once a week from her farm. She delivers, like 12 bucks delivery. Great. Fantastic. I don’t shop. If I have to shop at Kohl’s, I really don’t like it … Safeway, because of that reason, because there’s so much waste. This choice of what we’re talking about now, you can be plant-based, you can be vegan, you can be vegetarian, but if you don’t do that, that’s a fundamental.

Mark Ottobre: If it really is about the environment, which I think for me, that’s really where I’m cling at, you need to understand so many things that go into this. It’s just so much more about exactly what you said about the label. Oh, I’m plant-based. I’m better than you because you kill animals. Well, hang on. The trade off for that if you eat soy, for example, in farming soy, which is a mono crop, you’re using glyphosate. That’s terrible for the environment. You’re killing the land. That’s not a better process any way you cut it. It’s a different process. It’s akin to the factory farm for what it does to the land.

Mark Ottobre: Really the only way off and to be sensible with it is to really go back to nature and put the money back into the pocket of, for us, the Australian farmer who’s growing and doing the right things, but they’re constantly in the red. How many Australian farmers are packing up and going out of business? It’s a real problem, and it’s because of this stuff with the dollar liter of milk. When the vegetarians and vegans, the activists are getting out the front going this is … I’m with them 100% because that’s what the problem is. It’s not so much about your choice with meat, but if it is, if you are going to eat meat, the same, you’ve got to apply those same rules that I’m talking about. Vegetables, you’ve got to apply those same rules when it comes to meat and go buy proper meat. If that means that you can’t afford to eat as much meat, well, hey, you’re going to go plant-based. You can maybe eat one meat.

Mark Ottobre: The reality is that if you’re on a farm, you might have one beast and that one beast might last you for the whole winter or whatever it is. You’re on rations. I think this way of thinking is much better. At least spend money on your food because that’s … Even though now it’s always at the point of early adapters, that chart which shows that the ones who buy, who line up out the front, who buy the iPhone the day it comes out, the early adapters to anything like with Tesla, for example, they’re the ones that bring the price down. You need the early adapters.

Mark Ottobre: I think for a lot of the folks who are in this room watching this podcast, you folks are the early adapters. Spend money because that’s the only way that this is going to get mass market where you get to that 16% of organic food and then people … That’s going to be the norm because then they’re going to start to realize that Australia wants proper food. I want proper food.

Jeremy Evans: Yeah. I want it.

Mark Ottobre: Thoughts?

Jeremy Evans: I think when we talk about choice, we all have a choice to make. With what you’ve said, understanding where your food comes from and being proactive in that whole experience, we do have a choice. Like you said, laying on top of that, personal choice I think needs to be put aside in so much that because if you’re only going to choose what is right for you personally, I’m going to keep eating this thing. It’s like, well, you need to be aware of the impact of your choices. Does that make sense? It’s like, well, personal choice, sure, but in the grand scheme of things, your personal choice may be contributing to something that’s actually causing other people or other things in the environment to be in a worse off state.

Jeremy Evans: We all have choice, absolutely, but I think we need to remove the personal choice and bring it back to more having that responsibility. It’s personal responsibility to understand where our food is coming from. Take that accountability of doing the research, being educated, being aware. When you have all of those, I guess when you have that more, as I’ve said before, that more nuanced understanding, you’re going to be able to make better choices. I think that’s ultimately what education comes back to, is we need to educate people on how we got to where we are today. How did we get in this mess of nutrition? Well, it’s because we all made choices. We all made choices, and that caused corporations to go, oh, okay, I’m going to make the TV dinner for them. That will make their life easier. From that-

Mark Ottobre: I don’t want my life easier. That’s what you have to say.

Jeremy Evans: That’s right.

Mark Ottobre: I don’t want my wife easier, which is really hard.

Jeremy Evans: We’re being sold convenience or we’re being sold health under the guise of convenience or-

Mark Ottobre: Protein bars, shakes, the fat loss pills.

Jeremy Evans: Yeah, and just processed food in general.

Mark Ottobre: All of it.

Jeremy Evans: That’s the problem. Convenience is, yeah, sure, there’s definitely, it’s always context. Of course, there are times when you’re going to need to have something that’s convenient, but if that is the only way that you choose your food, if it’s only ever convenient choice, it’s eventually going to come back and bite you in the bum and that’s where we are today. It’s like we’ve made too many convenient choices for our food to be the way it is today.

Mark Ottobre: On that, there’s a book that I recommend. It’s called Food Shock by Diana. I don’t remember her last name, but the picture on the front is … She’s an Australian author, which is great. It’s a glass apple. I think it’s great. It’s such a good picture to symbolize the food shock. One of the points she makes is with tomatoes. Tomatoes are picked green. They go on a truck for six months. On transit, they’re sprayed with a chemical. I can’t remember the chemical. It starts with O, that slows down the aging process. When it makes it to the supermarket, essentially it’s ripe on the outside but still not ripe on the inside. It’s green on the inside essentially because it’s grown so slowly.

Mark Ottobre: Again, when I say this, this is even more point because you want tomatoes that taste nice. I want tomatoes that taste nice. Go to your local farmer. They are the only folks that have tomatoes that taste nice with everything else.

Jeremy Evans: That’s right. As you do, know who your food is coming from. Go to the farmer’s market or contact someone who grows seasonal vegetables or whatever it is. Make sure that you’re actually in contact with them. Make sure you have a relationship with these people because if you’re going to have a good relationship with your food, you need to know who grew it for you. We’re literally relying on second and third and fourth hand instances of people preparing our food. That comes back to personal responsibility again. We don’t even cook our own food anymore. Predominantly that’s the trend. I think it’s important to have that awareness.

Mark Ottobre: What was it? In 1950s, we spent approximately two hours cooking. Today’s day and age, we spend 30 seconds on average if you average it out. Some people don’t cook at all.

Jeremy Evans: Just order Uber Eats.

Mark Ottobre: Uber Eats. How easy is that? Get some Uber Eats. That really should be an on occasion thing once every while, not a daily practice. You map this out. As you said, it really is that matter of convenience. People are trading in convenience, but you can only make that trade in your health so many times.

Jeremy Evans: That’s right.

Mark Ottobre: [crosstalk 00:49:30] until it bites you in the ass. We’re doing that with our environment. That’s why some people would get with the live export, I don’t know if you’ve seen that, but it’s horrendous. Why should Australia send out its animals to all these other countries? It really is quite horrific when the animals are on the ships, the heat in the … The ship goes up. A lot of the exports-

Jeremy Evans: One capsized recently so that was-

Mark Ottobre: So many animals die. Which goes back to the point of this is far more about than just plant-based versus eating meat. If you’re going to get out of the wheel, you need to actually look at what’s creating that wheel. I think meat eaters as well, you can start today by making better choices, and those better choices can be very simple. Reach out to your local farmer. Find out their name. Whether you’re eating meat or you’re plant-based.

Mark Ottobre: One of the things in the plant-based diet that we see a lot is the comparison of this peanut butter sandwich is the same as … Do you want to speak to that?

Jeremy Evans: Yeah, I see a lot of stuff on Instagram and Facebook. I’m sure you’ve all seen it too. There’s the comparison of 100 grams of beef versus 100 grams of beans or whatever. I understand why we make these comparisons because it’s to show people, well, look, you can get the same amount of protein from this amount of calories or the same serving size. I understand why the comparison is made.

Jeremy Evans: What I take issue with is that when we only look … Well, first and foremost, most of these comparisons are just comparing protein. Food is far more complex than just protein at the end of the day. There’s the fiber. There’s the micronutrient value. There’s the karmic quality of food as well. When we only view food through this like, well, how much protein does it have? It’s very reductive. Beyond that, when we make these comparisons, like I said, there’s so much more that goes into the individual components of food. It’s not a fair comparison because the energy, the way that food is grown, we need to separate these things. Rather being like, well, if you compare, look, you get the same amount of this as you will get from that. Well, I understand that, but at the end of the day, let’s just talk about what that thing is good for. If we’re going to do this comparison, let’s just talk about what beans is good for. Let’s talk about what lentils are good for. Rather than …

Jeremy Evans: I honestly don’t like it purely just from I think a psychological approach. When I’m making these comparisons, it’s amusing to me that people will put up pictures of meat when that’s the thing they’re actually trying to direct people away from. Do you know what I mean? Here I am trying to-

Mark Ottobre: [crosstalk 00:52:16] pink elephant.

Jeremy Evans: Yeah, exactly, pink elephant. You know what I mean? Let’s just talk about the benefits of the plant food as opposed to always … I understand it. I know it’s very complex, and I know we’re doing that to draw people’s attention to the two things, but I’m very much like-

Mark Ottobre: That’s also very divisive. It’s me versus you, which that’s what fundamentally brings it back down to it’s a mechanism and a weapon to put people into camps. There, those people eat meat, but look, our camp can eat this and we can get exactly what that camp is getting. There you go. You’ve got nothing on us.

Jeremy Evans: Yes, that’s true. I think it’s just very reductive at the end of the day. I like to think of myself as being someone who is solutions focused. We’ve talked about all the different aspects today, but I think one thing is often not that … I think you see it in these rebuttals that have happened on YouTube from The Game Changers. Everyone wants to talk about the problem, and everyone has got their own problem with it, and they’re so focused on the problem as opposed to actually talking about the solution or solutions because there’s always going to be more than one solution. That’s what I really take issue with. When I have conversations like this, I don’t want to get bogged down in like, and we haven’t, but get bogged down in the problems. Let’s talk about the solutions.

Mark Ottobre: It’s like in the Chris Kresser, James Wilks interview where they got to the B12 and they did an hour on going back and forth about B12. It’s like, yeah, so would you agree that if you just took B12 as a vegan, you could get enough B12? Yes. Wow. That took an hour. Wow. It just took us 10 seconds to go, yeah, well you can supplement with that. Just make sure you buy the right supplements. You get practitioner brand. You get the [Medica Belamine 00:54:03]. You don’t get the crappy whatever it is that isn’t going to be absorbed where it creates other problems. Really, that’s the solution, isn’t it?

Jeremy Evans: That’s right. We like to think … and this is another I guess you should come with all of this. More and more, we want complicated solutions to our very simple problems. We actually thrive on that. We want this drama and this dialogue that’s separating and we want to confuse things. At the end of the day, the solutions are quite simple.

Mark Ottobre: It’s like what Albert Einstein said, which we paraphrase, any intellectual moron can take the simple and make it more complex, but it takes genius to take the complex and make it simple.

Jeremy Evans: I like that.

Mark Ottobre: It’s just those actionable steps.

Jeremy Evans: That’s it.

Mark Ottobre: What else is on your mind? Have we covered-

Jeremy Evans: Yeah, I think we’ve dug into it. I can’t think what else there was.

Mark Ottobre: We’ve covered it. We’ve done a good job. What we’ll do is we’ll take a quick break. I want to take this time. Let’s give Jeremy a round of applause, folks. We’re going to take a quick break and come back. Just before we do go to that break, I do want to thank Localized for donating a great hamper. They’re on Swan Street. They donated a great hamper. They have organic food, so if you want, check out Localized. They’re on Swan Street. They donated to us for the bush fire appeal. Also, First Press Coffee, they gave us eight bottles. They make great cold drip coffee. Berties Butchers where they get all their meat from Victoria and it is all grass fed.

Mark Ottobre: Check out our sponsors for today. We’ve already raised over $2,000 for the bush fire appeal. I hope you’re enjoying this interview. We’ll be back with a Q&A from the audience. Stay tuned.

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Mark Ottobre: Welcome back to the Wolf’s Den. Now we are going to get into audience questions. Our first to kick it off-

Speaker 3: Just from what you brought up before about the water wastage, I was just wondering if there was anything in the movement law-wise to reduce that because it was pretty astounding to hear how much is actually being wasted.

Mark Ottobre: Just to clarify what I was saying. The numbers that I was giving like that, whatever that absurd number, I don’t know the exact number so don’t quote me on it. It’s over a billion liters of water that is wasted. What I was directly attributing that to was agriculture in Australia. Because 30% of our food that’s grown for supermarkets doesn’t look a certain way, that water that’s used to growing that food, it’s over a billion liters. We are wasting that much because we’re essentially throwing out that food so that water is really going nowhere. It’s not personal use. It’s because we’re throwing out food that simply doesn’t meet that criteria. That downstream effect isn’t just that we’re throwing out 30% of our food that doesn’t look quite right. We’re also wasting over a billion liters of water every year because of that practice.

Mark Ottobre: In terms of laws and all this stuff, I think really it’s just consumer awareness. If you look at the European Union, in eight weeks, they introduced the bill to put genetically modified food. In eight weeks, it was rejected. Why? Not because of politicians. It was because Europe has a food culture. Think about genetically modified food. It offers no consumer benefit. If you look at low fat products, if you look at any of the artificial sugars, it’s low fat, it’s low sugar, it’s high in protein. These are fortified foods. People can market them as something. To the lay public who doesn’t watch the Wolf’s Den, they’re like, oh my, God, it’s low in sugar, but it’s super high in fat. Oh my, God, there’s no fat in this, but it’s super high in whatever, chemicals. People are like whatever.

Mark Ottobre: Genetically modified food offers no consumer benefit. There’s not a benefit to you eating genetically modified food. The benefit is to the grower. In Europe, it was rejected. Now they have a law where you cannot import any US genetically modified grain into the European Union, which is case in point to say when people, for example, a celiac and have a real problem with weight and they go over to Europe and they stuff their face with pizza and pasta and like, oh, it was fine when I was in Europe. I’m probably not a celiac or whatever. They come back here to Australia or America and then they have all these flare ups. Yeah, the grain is different. That rises the argument of, well, is it the gluten? Is it the glyphosate? Is it the genetically modified process? Is it probably a chemical cocktail of all these things? Yeah, probably. Thoughts?

Jeremy Evans: Yeah. I think when we’re looking at big numbers like that, it can be quite … I guess it really does raise your awareness of all of these things. I guess if you want some other big numbers too, which might raise your awareness, over 60 billion land animals are killed every year for food, 60 billion every year. That doesn’t count for fish or ocean life. Again, like what we were saying earlier, it’s like there’s this huge disparity of over consumption, and this is what I believe is why the rise of plant-based diets has come about. Because people have been like, well, hang on a second. This is not sustainable. We are not living sustainably on this planet, and we need to start being way more mindful and start making better choices.

Mark Ottobre: Thank you for the question. Let’s give him a round of applause.

Speaker 5: Hello. I just wanted to ask just in terms of plant-based proteins. What’s the best ones that you can recommend for performance or just in general?

Jeremy Evans: When we look at protein, all plants will comprise the amino acids, the essential amino acids. It’s more about, what I want you to think about more to make it easier, is just total caloric intake. Obviously, you’re not going to get 100% of your calories from fat, of course, but if you’re eating a diverse and whole foods diet, you’re going to get enough protein, so you don’t need to worry about that. When it comes to the performance side of things, you might need to consider including maybe more chickpeas which are really quite high in protein and also quite high in carbohydrates too. Beans are of course very good. Buckwheat is another good example. Some seeds like pumpkin seed is very high in protein.

Jeremy Evans: Don’t be so worried about am I going to get enough protein for recovery and performance. Be more concerned with am I eating enough for my daily energy requirements? It’s a much easier way to approach the problem. Does that make sense or do you want more specific foods that you can eat?

Speaker 5: More probably specific. If you were to, say, have one actual animal meat a day and you wanted to cut back on that and have the rest plant-based.

Jeremy Evans: I would go lentils and beans.

Mark Ottobre: What’s the lumen flakes?

Jeremy Evans: Lupin flakes. I totally forgot about that. How can I forget about that? Lupin flakes are a relatively unknown legume that have about 45% protein, and they’re relatively low carbohydrate in comparison to a lot of the other plant-based proteins. There’s a store called The Source. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. They do bulk foods. There’s one on Smith Street actually. They sell it. I would say lupin flakes are the next big hemp seed type thing.

Mark Ottobre: You heard it first, folks, lupin flakes.

Jeremy Evans: You’ve got to prepare them similar to you would like oats. You cook them like oats essentially. Really high in protein. Again, to get the amount of protein, you’re going to have to eat a lot of lupin flakes, so just be aware of that too. The volume of food is going to increase, but as long as you’re hitting your calories, you’re going to be fine. In terms of a comparison to switching from meat, I would go lentils and beans because you’re going to get a broad amino acid profile and it will cover off all of your needs.

Mark Ottobre: Yeah, lupin flakes was embedded in my brain when you said protein. Jeremy actually presented at Wolfpack for us in August. He did a great presentation for personal trainers who are looking to learn more. It was great. Thank you for your question. Next.

Speaker 6: Thanks for the information that you shared today. I really appreciate both accounts and that it’s coming from a sustainable lens. I just wanted to know your thoughts about people who follow an ancestral diet because it seems interesting that most of the other species know inherently what to eat and humans are so confused about what they need to eat. I’m just interested about your thoughts about that.

Mark Ottobre: That’s a great question. Do you want to go, start?

Jeremy Evans: It is a great question. I agree. There’s unnecessary confusion, and we do need to go back to a more simple approach to our food. You’re right, the lion doesn’t get confused about killing the antelope. It just does what it needs to do, and it certainly doesn’t worry about the ethics of its choice. I guess fortunately in that sense, with our brains, we do have the ability to have that awareness with those things. I think it always comes back to what we’ve said, always go back to a whole foods diet minimally. Honestly, I can’t really think of an example where I would say, hey, have some processed food. I think I would be disingenuous if I was-

Mark Ottobre: In the army, you’re starving, out on a big trek. That’s all you could bring with you.

Jeremy Evans: Yeah, sure.

Mark Ottobre: In the army when they have the massive treks. I was speaking to an officer the other day actually and he was like they’ve formulated these packs. I forget what they called them.

Jeremy Evans: The ration packs.

Mark Ottobre: Yeah. The ration packs. It’s got a bunch of protein, a bunch of carbs, bunch of fat, and when they go out on their big troops and whatever, it’s just like bang. Obviously, in that situation, that’s where I think the processed food and the formulas really probably come in super handy because they are carrying 22 kilos on their back. They’re not going to whip out a steak, Tupperware, my six pack, put the ice bag in it.

Jeremy Evans: People who are on a plant-based diet, who maybe as they learn how to get the right balance of nutrients for performance and recovery in their health, sometimes you might want to include a plant-based protein shake or something like that as an easy way to get your protein up for the day. Certainly not to say relying on that, but yeah, there’s going to be little instances where you can go, all right, well, maybe I can make an exception for that in this instance.

Jeremy Evans: When we’re talking about ancestral diets, you’re probably going to be able to speak a bit more in depth about this. I think it always does come back to it has to be whole foods. It really is that simple. I don’t think we can make it any more complicated.

Mark Ottobre: I love the question because before I answer it, I just want to say this. In over 200 studies that are done on genetically modified food, they’ve looked at over 200 animals or essentially 200 studies of 200 animals. I forget the exact details, but essentially they analyzed 200 animals. They presented the option of genetically modified food versus the un-genetically modified food, the non-GMO food. In every case, the animal would pick the non-GMO food. Then they went one step further. They only presented the option of the genetically modified food. The animal, nine times out of 10 picked to starve than to eat that food. The animal did not recognize genetically modified food as food, which blows my mind. Wow, that is quite incredible. The smell, the texture, they’re able to see the difference. Whereas, humans obviously, allied to with marketing and whatever are into the facts and figures.

Mark Ottobre: When we look at the ancestral diet, there’s a few ways to I suppose dissect this. Way one is to look at the blue zones. The blue zones were essentially regions of the world where people lived to over a hundred, and they analyzed what they ate. The thing about the blue zones, everyone is eating a different thing so it’s not one diet. It’s depending on where they live. It goes back to what we were saying earlier, which is living off the land.

Mark Ottobre: Another way to analyze this is with Weston A. Price’s work. He wrote a book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, which I’d highly recommend. In truth, Weston A. Price when he went out and did his research, he wanted to know what makes people healthy. He was a dentist and a researcher, and basically he believed in the chiropractic philosophy of healthy spines equal perfect health. Because he was a dentist, he understood that at the time of birth, your cells that make up your spine also make up to your teeth. If you have healthy teeth, it’s actually a primary to indicate whether you were healthy.

Mark Ottobre: He went out into the 1930s and analyzed essentially 14 different cultures, native cultures, and looked at what they ate. In truth, he thought he was going to find a vegan society. He didn’t. That really surprised him. The closest he found was lacto-vegan, so the Swiss, for example. What he did find is the aboriginals or any of these native cultures, their diets varied upon where they were.

Mark Ottobre: What we’re also learning about the microbiome is that … People in today’s day and age want to be really politically correct on things. What we’re learning about the microbiome is it’s racist as fuck. If you’re African-American, if you’re white Anglo, if you’re a female from England, wherever you lived, it has a great impact on your microbiome, and there isn’t actually just one microbiome that’s going to be one size fit all. It’s racist in a sense because it’s so different in our foods.

Mark Ottobre: What that basically speaks to is your ancestral food point is we know pretty emphatically through work … Well, I know emphatically with working with clients, and this isn’t going to be politically correct, but Samoans and Torres Strait Islanders do very, very poorly with carbohydrates, very poorly. Why is that? Because if you look genetically, there wasn’t a lot of processed foods in their diet. They were actually more on the side of high fat keto diet. What were they eating? They were eating high fat. If you give say Torres Strait Islander or an Islander Samoan, some of that marry backgrounds, if you give them a diet that’s high in carbohydrate, they’re going to do poorly. They’re going to get fatter. If you give them a high fat diet and high protein diet, they’ll do really, really well because there are those genetic differences.

Mark Ottobre: It’s the same thing with dairy. Asians, it’s like 95% of Asians are lactose intolerant. It’s like, okay, so does that say that if you’re of Swiss extraction, well, if you’re Swiss, that’s what you grew up on, was dairy, but it’s not the dairy, the shit that we buy in the supermarket. It was the fermented dairy, the cows, and they had their own processes.

Mark Ottobre: Absolutely, to your point, Maasai, wandering tribe, they existed on white blood, which they referred was milk. Milk was referred to as white blood and blood. They would bring animals along with them and stab them in the neck and drink some of their blood. We’re talking about some of the tribes that resisted slavery. These guys were fricking animals. The Maasai, all they ate was meat … not the Maasai. Rather the Lakota Indian tribe. All they ate was meat, and they called them red teeth because they had so much blood. If you look at the Inuit, the Eskimos, what we’d call Eskimos, they ate no vegetables. Essentially the vegetables didn’t grow in those cold regions of the world. It was really only fish and fat.

Mark Ottobre: I think there is a lot of legitimacy to what you would call an ancestral diet based on … I think the more science evolves, the more we realize the more we don’t know and just how much this actually plays a part and differences there are. Even Italians genetically are poor at absorbing iron. I think that was referred to back … I can’t remember. I don’t remember everything that I’ve ever read, but it was something about iron absorption and malaria thing and whatever. Again, poor at absorbing iron. That’s a case to have a bit more red meat in their diet, for example.

Mark Ottobre: I think there is a lot of legitimacy and just about you live in Australia so going back to Jonny Bowden’s four famous food groups, which are hunt, fish, gather and pluck. The way you make that up I think is going to be actually highly individual. Like Jeremy, he’s not doing the hunting or the fishing, but it’s the gather and the pluck. Where for me, it’s the the hunting, the fishing, the gather and pluck, it’s a mix. You’ve got to find that balance that works for you as well. Does that answer your question? Cool. Let’s give a round of applause.

Speaker 7: Good day, Mark and Jeremy. My question was in regards to a plant-based diet versus the omnivorous or carnivorous diet. (a) the quality of the protein. Do you find that … What I had read to the effect that animal protein is of a higher quality in terms of your performance and whatnot. Whereas, going on a plant-based diet, some of the benefits that you can get are longevity in terms of the health benefits on that.

Jeremy Evans: Thanks for your question. The quality of protein in meat versus plant food. At the end of the day, it’s a non-argument because if you’re getting enough protein from a plant-based diet, you’re covering off your protein needs. It’s more quantity thing than a quality thing because protein is protein at the end of the day. The amino acids are the amino acids at the end of the day. Whether they come from meat or whether they come from plants, the amino acids are the same. It’s just whether or not you’re actually getting enough of the essential amino acids to ensure you’re getting enough protein. That is the short answer. It’s quantity as opposed to quality.

Jeremy Evans: I think there’s this maybe misnomer where we view animal protein as being the superior protein and, sure, per serving, you may get more protein in that one particular thing, but if you eat enough of the beans and lentils and chickpeas and lupin flakes and whatever else, you’re going to get enough protein. It comes back to quantity more so than the actual quality.

Mark Ottobre: My answer is going to piss people off on the internet. First, I want to address the health thing. The health thing is there is a lot of research that shows that a vegetarian or vegan diet shows healthier outcomes. Again, you need to look at who’s it comparing it to and they’re in a calorie restricted phase. What that says to me is that people who don’t eat shit and don’t overeat and aren’t in a calorie surplus live longer. Duh. Is it the fact that they’re vegan or is it the fact that they’re eating less calories? I would argue and say, well, there’s no reason you couldn’t do that if you wanted to eat meat as well. Not saying you have to, but if you wanted to eat meat and not be vegan, you’d still be able to do that so long as you don’t eat like a fat pig.

Mark Ottobre: The other answer I would say to that to what Jeremy was saying with the protein quality, yes, absolutely what Jeremy said. You need to make sure you hit your protein. The only thing I would say is with a vegan or vegetarian diet, you do just want to pay a little bit more attention to what type of amino acids you’re getting and you may need to fortify. This is where we’ve worked with a lot of vegan competitors and we’ve had quite good success. The way we do it is they have to supplement. There’s really no way around that. We’re using things like the Thorne amino complex, which just brings up the BCAAs and EAAs, which they’re branched-chain amino acids and essential amino acids.

Mark Ottobre: Just paying attention to that. If you are making that choice to be plant-based for ethical reasons and it feels right for you, then just making sure if you are wanting to perform, you probably are going to need to put those amino acids in. Thanks for your question. Did that answer it?

Speaker 7: Yeah.

Speaker 8: Thanks for the talk today, both of you. I’m really interested in how either of you view plant-based products that are marketed as meat because I find in the polarizing debate, I’m a meat eater and a vegetable eater, that it’s something that has come up to light quite recently, and I find it quite annoying. I have no opposition to plant-based diets, but yeah, I’m really interested in your thoughts.

Mark Ottobre: We were literally just talking about this off camera.

Jeremy Evans: Well, let’s-

Mark Ottobre: Wine, vegan wine.

Jeremy Evans: Yes, that’s right. I work at Fitness First and literally yesterday, I saw-

Mark Ottobre: Melbourne Central Fitness First. Let’s give it the right plug.

Jeremy Evans: Melbourne Central Fitness First. I saw an advert on the big LED screens for vegan wine. That just really stood out to me because I was thinking to myself, why on earth are they advertising wine in a gym? I know why, because it’s vegan, and vegan does not equate to health, but that’s what they’re trying to go with. That’s why it’s advertised in a gym, because they’re like, well, if we advertise it in a gym, people will think it’s healthy and I can have it after my workout. It’s vegan.

Mark Ottobre: [crosstalk 01:17:27] instead of protein shakes, wine shakes. That will take off.

Jeremy Evans: Yeah, unfortunately, it probably would. That I guess just highlights where we are in terms of our understanding of, well, it’s just because it’s vegan, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It can be just as processed and it can be full of fillers and all this stuff, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy. The other day, I got asked if I’d tried the new Hungry Jack’s … What’s the name of the burger that they’re doing?

Mark Ottobre: I have no idea. I don’t follow.

Jeremy Evans: Does anyone know the name? The rebel burger. My immediate response to that was no, why would I? Just because it’s vegan, it doesn’t mean I should rush out to Hungry Jack’s who have been a long-term junk food corporation. Also, responsible for the deaths of billions of animals. Why would I suddenly go out and support them just because they’ve decided to cash in on a market? That’s my stance and position on these things. There are a lot of meat replacements, and for some people, transitioning maybe if they’re missing the taste and the texture of meat, I understand that might fill that gap and it might … As they start to move across to eating other foods, it might help with that. I understand that. It’s like putting the nicotine patch on while you wean yourself off being addicted to cigarettes.

Jeremy Evans: At the end of the day, if you are going to eat mock meats or meat like products, it should be a short term thing because it’s still not a whole foods product. I understand too that some people might use it just on occasion to fill a gap or just to ground themselves in some sense of reality. Fine. I understand that as well, but again, long term, I honestly think that, no, that’s my short answer. I just think it’s, to me, again, moving away from what it means to eat whole foods. It’s moving away from what is nutritionally sound for our bodies, and it’s moving towards something that is grown in a lab or heavily processed that looks like food.

Jeremy Evans: It’s the same stuff that you’ve seen in aisles one through 14 in the supermarket. It’s not food. It looks like food. It might smell like food. It might have the same texture. For some people, fine, but for me personally, and I think in the broader context of what it means to have a nutritional approach to food, I think no. That’s going to upset a lot of people too. Sorry about that.

Mark Ottobre: What a great answer. I don’t have any followups to that. You don’t need it. Great answer. Alrighty, folks. Let’s give another actually round of applause for our guest today, Jeremy Evans. Outstanding. To all of you, thank you for coming.

Mark Ottobre: Folks, you’re watching the Wolf’s Den. Stay tuned for more great episodes just like this one. If you’re new to our show, go back and check some of our other great episodes. We’ve interviewed the greats like Ed Coan, Ben Pakulski, Sebastian Oreb, Eugene Teo. It’s all there. If you’re a personal trainer, do check out If you want to get in the best shape, check out some PT, if you want to get into the best shape possible and pick up your PT, check out Enterprise Fitness.

Mark Ottobre: Obviously, Jeremy, you’re at Melbourne Central Fitness First so people can check you out. Where is your Instagram? Tell the folks your-

Jeremy Evans: It’s Peak Plant Performance.

Mark Ottobre: Your website?

Jeremy Evans: coming soon.

Mark Ottobre: We’ll put all the notes in … We’ll have episode notes that will all go there. Thank you for watching. Until next time, folks, train hard, eat well and supplement smart.

ABout the author

My name is Mark Ottobre and I’ve been a personal trainer for almost 20 years.

Over that time, I’ve built my own PT studio, Enterprise Fitness using my in-the-trenches knowledge and experience. I’ve authored a book on training and nutrition. I’ve competed in Strongman and bodybuilding and helped 10,000 clients transform their bodies. When I’m not congratulating my team on transforming another client’s life, I’m teaching our methods to trainers and clients alike on my YouTube channel and podcast.

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