Welcome back to The David Madow Lifestyle Show. I’m Dr. Dave and it’s great to have you here. Of course, as you know, this is the show where we help you live stronger, thinner, healthier, and happier. And a lot more than that but that’s enough to keep you going for a while 😉
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I am actually take a walk now with our guest that will be on today’s show. But before I introduce him, I just wanted to remind you about the beads that I wear everyday. I get these beads from my friend Desmond at www.beadsbydes.com. They give me so much energy. I can’t really explain it. I never really take them off except when I am in the shower or running. But they give me a sense of peace and energy. And Des has made a special offer to you for anybody that listens or is my friend. If you go to his website and enter the offer code ‘DAVE’ he will give you free shipping. I’m not sure how long he is going to keep that up, but take advantage of it. See the photo of my bracelets below.
So I am taking a walk with my good friend Don Robertson today. It’s a beautiful day out here. Don Robertson is the Founder of EarthSave Baltimore. It’s a great organization that creates awareness for living peacefully and not harming animals. They do a lot of great things like sponsoring dinners, and events, and speakers. I will let Don tell you a little bit more about it. But that’s not the only reason I’ve got Don. Don is a great guy. I’m going to ask him some questions and he’s going to share some of his experiences with you. We are going to change some lives today. There’s no question. I always say if I change one life by this show then I’ve done my job. And I have a feeling today that we will be changing more than one life.
Dr. Dave: “Don, how’s it going? Welcome! This walk is beautiful today. What’s going on?”
Don: “Hey Dave! Really glad to be here, thanks for inviting me! What we’re doing with EarthSave Baltimore group is that we’ve been doing this since 1997. I founded our local Baltimore chapter and ever since then we have been having a vegan dinner with a different speaker each month and it’s been going really well. The interest has grown so much it’s just amazing. It’s really exciting to see the way things are developing now.
I just came back from the Vegan SoulFest in Downtown Baltimore. And my goodness! This is only the third one and there must have been 5,000 people there. It was like woah something is changing, something is in the air. I find it really exciting.
I remember way way back when my mom first told me that we kill animals for food. I was like ahhh really? C’mon now?! It really hurt my heart. Like most kids, I loved animals so I was like, wow that is what’s on my plate!! So way way back then the first time I heard about vegetarians, I thought vegetarians are cool because they do something every day to help animals. And I thought maybe one day I could be a vegetarian.
A whole bunch of years went by without me thinking too much more about it because like most us I just kind of fell into the pattern. We are told that these 4 basic food groups are what we need. And of course that’s all scientifically vetted, right?! So all these years went by. It wasn’t until I started working with the Humane Society that I started seeing this literature come in showing the kind of living conditions the animals are subjected to and I said whoa what third world country is this in? Where is this? Where are they treating animals this way?
So I started learning about it and realized oh it’s right here. So that didn’t sit well with me. It was like ok, I am part of the problem. I had to do something about it so I started studying up on it because I thought you had to be a nutrition expert to learn how to eat a plant based diet right?! And I started learning about it. I thought wow! It’s not really as hard as I thought. The nutrition thing is really more of a problem for those who don’t eat a lot of plants, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. So that touched me. I thought this is probably doable.
The other thing I learned when I started reading up that really impacted me deeply is how wasteful our current agricultural system is. We are growing all these mountains of grains and soybeans to feed cows. We are feeding cows about 12 pounds of grains just to produce 1 pound of meat. How are we going to feed a hungry world like that?
So I said ok I’ve gotta do this. I’ve learned more than I need to know to know what I’ve gotta do. And I thought, but I’m such a habit driven person, how can I do this? I realized that I’ve got to give myself some time. I’ve got to allow myself to take this a little bit at a time. So I thought I am going to give myself some time to make this change but I am not going to go beyond one year before I go vegetarian. And at the end of the year, I was still eating one thing, McDonald’s chicken filet sandwiches. And I was like ohhh do I want to give those up? I really didn’t want to but I had learned too much about the way chickens are raised. They are probably the most mistreated animal on the planet.
So I went vegetarian and stayed vegetarian for a year. Then I started hearing about sinus infections being linked to dairy products. It reminded me that way back when I started singing at the age of 17, another singer told me to never drink milk before going on stage because it will cause a mucus buildup in your throat. And I thought well look, if it’s such a healthy food as it’s supposed to be, why am I getting a mucus build up in my throat? So I said oh I am going to try this. It’s worth an experiment. I’m going to go ahead and drop all dairy products overnight. It was the most health affirming and life affirming thing in my life. I was more energetic almost overnight. I understood what people were saying about sinus infections and dairy products. They were on to something there! So I’ve been vegan now for 26 years. Plus the additional vegetarian year. And I’ve had 1 sinus infection in the last 26 years. I used to get 2 or 3 bad ones every year. So pretty cool changes! Pretty cool!
I also dropped a lot of weight as well. I didn’t even think about dropping weight. But I had gotten up to 209 and I was really about 30 or 40 pounds too heavy for me. I am 6′. Over the next two years, after making that change, I got down to 170. And I thought wow, I am a lot lighter than I was. That’s a surprise!
Another cool benefit was that my lower back pain went away. I used to get lower back pain. Even at a young age. Even in my pre-40s. And it didn’t really make much sense to me that back pain could have anything to do with diet until I read Dr. Neal Barnard’s book, Foods That Fight Pain. It talks about lower back pain having a possible connection to cardiovascular disease. I said ohhh that could be it because I never get lower back pain anymore. So really really good stuff.
But you know it’s a wonderful thing to look better, feel better, be at a healthier weight, and will probably live longer. A few years later I thought what’s the big thing that I got out of this? And I thought really the big big thing I got is that now I can look an animal in the eye without feeling guilty. I know I am here with you and I am doing something to protect you. I made the commitment to step up every day and to make the effort to do what I can to educate people and encourage them to make some of these same changes. So exciting stuff!”
Dr. Dave: “If that’s not a great advertisement for becoming vegan/vegetarian I don’t know what is. And you said it was how many years?”
Don: “It’s 26 years plus 1 year as a vegetarian.”
Dr. Dave: “26 years! That’s amazing Don! Congratulations on your message and what you’re doing.”
Don: “Thank you!”
Dr. Dave: “I want to switch gears a little bit because there’s something else I want to know about you. But I want some help on this and I know my listeners want some help on this as well. I don’t know if this happened the same time you went vegan or if you were always like this. But I gotta tell you, you are a kind peaceful individual. I don’t know you intimately but we’ve been friends long enough. I’ve seen you interact with a lot of people in real life and online. And I’ve never seen you say something unkind even if someone’s attacking you for being vegan or doing this. I’ve never seen you say an unkind word. So speak to us on kindness and on peace? How do you do it? I’m getting there. But I think my listeners want to be kinder people all around.”
Don: “Yeah thank you David. That’s a good question. The whole kindness thing, that is so impactful. I came to an insight It was a life changing insight about how connected we all are. I don’t want to point any fingers at anybody, we’re all still evolving right?! It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been vegan. We’ve all got steps to take. I don’t want to tell anybody that they should be here when they want to be where they are. It’s like everybody is where they need to be in the present moment of their evolution. That’s something that it might take something special to arrive at that understanding. That’s a challenge.To just accept that, ok there’s a lot of cruelty in the world and a lot of suffering in the world. But if the way I try to make a difference is to point a finger at somebody and say, ‘you should be’ or ‘you ought to be’. It just doesn’t work. None of us like being blamed. We like to accept the possiblities within us. And accept the encouragement of others to take some of those steps. And know that people have confidence in us. That’s what they really need to hear.”
Dr. Dave: “Let’s even extend it beyond being vegan. Let’s talk about our lives in general. I’ve never been in this situation with you but you’re driving down the highway and somebody cuts you off or somebody flips you the finger or somebody says something really nasty to you. I’m just going to take a guess because like I said I ‘ve never seen you in that situation. But I am going to guess you don’t do something bad back to them. You’re a really really peaceful person. How do you handle them trying to get aggressive with you in your life? Let’s fact it, we all have that. How do you handle that?”
Don: “It’s really about understanding where others are coming from. And it’s usually coming from fear or coming from anger. Anger comes from fear. People who are flipping you the bird, they’re thinking that you ought to be some other way than you are. They feel that you shouldn’t be cutting them off, you should be thinking about them and not yourself. That’s where they’re coming from. So I understand that. I have to understand that where he is at right now is a tough place for him. It’s like ok he’s gonna vent. What can I do? I can try not to get caught up in his anger. It takes practice. It does! Especially when we are dealing with some aspect of our lives where we’re used to doing things. And most of us do have some areas like that where we know someone can really push our buttons. And it’s like so what can I do? Well maybe the best I can do right now is to suck it in.”
Dr. Dave: “Don talk to me a little bit about spirituality. If I may ask you that. If I’m getting too personal I understand but it seems to me that you must be a very spiritual person so talk to me and my listeners about that.”
Don: “Thanks Dave! Yeah, thanks for that affirmation. Spirituality was something that for many years I wasn’t sure about this God “thing”. I called myself agnostic for many years. It wasn’t until some revelations I had about forgiveness of my father. That was a big one. It was like It dawned on me at one point that if I was going to be angry at my father then I am going to be angry with myself too. So I started coming to a process of forgiveness. And releasing anger, and releasing blame releasing the need to control life. That was huge. The other big big piece for me was the whole veg/vegan movement and the animals rights movement. All of that. The more I contributed to that and the more I stepped into that advocated role the better I felt. And it was like wow! I am really starting to get what mystics mean when they talk about oneness. I am feeling connected to all life, to all living beings. Everything comes back to animals and it comes back to me. And it’s like woah ok, what Jesus talked about is right! Treat your enemies with kindness. Turn the other cheek. There’s wisdom in that. You don’t have to be manager of the world. We can slow down, be ourselves, and do what we can to inspire and educate others. When we are doing that, we are doing our job. It’s like ok there’s not a whole lot more we can do.”
Dr. Dave: “I love that answer. You are inspiring so many people at least in the Baltimore area for sure. But in the couple minutes that we have left, if you could make any change or changes in your life, what would you change if anything at all?”
Don: “Oh yeah U always have things to work on. People will ask me how to do food preparation and it’s like ohhh I’m a philosopher, I’m not a cook. I get bored with the food that I make for myself so I want to have joy when I eat. And I am not getting that joy anymore so it’s time for me to step up to the plate. Come up with some recipes and give some new recipes a try. I want to do some things that could enthusiastically encourage others to do at the checkout. I saw a cool recipe today. Somebody was a real lover of hot dogs but they’re vegan now. And so they came up with a way of using a marinated carrot in place of the meat hot dog. It looked really good. They were putting various toppings on them. They were showing ones with mustard on them and ones with onions on them and ones with relish on them. I think I’m going to try that. Probably not the most healthy thing we can do but it’s kinda neat. Kind of a cool idea.”
Dr. Dave: “The marinated carrot actually sounds pretty good. I am ready to get some lunch and maybe we’ll get ourselves a couple of marinated carrot hot dogs. The point is though that people think that we have to remove things from our diet. There are options that are so healthy and so delicious and they are actually made from plants. That’s a great example right there. The marinated carrot hot dog that sounds delicious and it’s probably not all that unhealthy if it’s made of carrots.”
Don: “Especially if you have healthy bread with it!” 🙂
Dr. Dave: “Exactly, exactly! Help us out if anybody is interested in finding out more about you, your website, or your upcoming events. A lot of my listeners are really all over the planet, they’re not necessarily Maryland based but I’ve got a lot that are Maryland based. And maybe some people travel to some of these events, you never know. So share with people how they can find out more about your events.”
Don: “I am really active on Facebook. That is the easiest way to find me. I love posting daily acronyms that are also educational. Things like – Vibrant Empathic Global Action
Network (Vegan) or People Everywhere Answering the Call the Evolve (Peace).
Dr. Dave: “That’s beautiful!”
Don: “Thank you Dave. They’re a lot of fun. Somebody suggested that I do a daily guide with a different acronym for each day. And I thought well, that would be fun but I can’t come up with 365 peace acronyms. And at this point I have nearly 600 so I’m getting there!”
Dr. Dave: “Well I think a book might be in your future of all the different acronyms you’ve put up over the years.”
Don: “I think so too. I’ve been thinking about that. It hasn’t become my priority yet but I want to do that.”
Dr. Dave: “That sounds really cool! Anyway Don, listen we are out of time but I really really appreciate you taking your time and walking with me on this beautiful day. I have a really nice studio in my house with microphones and mixers but there’s nothing like being outdoors on a beautiful day like this. So Don, I appreciate you being here and being my guest and being my friend. Keep up the good work brother because you are doing some great stuff for people, animals, and basically every living being.”
Don: “Thanks so much David! I really appreciate your show!”
Dr. Dave: “We will see you next Monday. Remember a brand new show comes out every Monday. Thanks so much for listening. I’m Dr. Dave and we’ll see ya!”
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