Achieving Behavior Change Through Pleasure and Positivity with Sid Garza-Hillman: PYP 215

Sid Garza-Hillman is one of the world's great bald plant-based podcasters of Jewish origin. He's also a remarkably savvy and sane health coach, and a funny and frank philosopher of what constitutes a good life.

We met in person in Marshall, TX, during Healthfest, and found ourselves agreeing on lots of things that almost nobody agrees with us on. So deciding we were kindred spirits, we planned a podcast conversation around the state of plant-based practice and advocacy in 2017.

Oh, and Sid gave me a copy of his book, Approaching the Natural, which is sized conveniently to fit in a back jeans pocket. So we talked about his general philosophy of health behavior change as well.

We covered:

  • “the movement” is becoming partitioned – health, or environment, or animals
  • an ethical approach to your life
  • how do we help people “care” about the lives they live?
  • holistic self-interest – we are selfish at our core, so let's be better at it
  • the ethic of true self-care
  • if we don't know how to truly self-care, our solutions to dealing with stress go off the rails
  • “my problem is Ben and Jerry's” – that's your solution
  • take a step back from VegFests
  • weighing ourselves down in the minutiae
  • looking at the big picture: is there something in my life that I want more of?
  • headlines vs studies
  • significant preparation before jumping into a diet
  • getting stressed when we can't get our “daily dozen” every day
  • the unfortunate push to purity
  • feeling good: the underlying context for all health information
  • the problem with framing information as “shoulds”
  • show up and remind people what we're selling: “this is a better way to live”
  • most people swerve to miss the squirrel
  • we all compartmentalize information (ie what happens in factory farms)
  • we need to advertise joy
  • devaluing what we do – just make it normal
  • redefining pleasure in The Pleasure Trap
  • The Big Mac eater is the same as the Big Salad eater
  • willpower is the same as pleasure – over a longer timeframe
  • different tracks for different stages of approach
  • the guru problem in the plant-based/vegan community
  • devoid of context, details will make us crazy
  • actual body communication vs cravings: the body communicates via inflammation and energy levels and joint soreness and fat around the midsection
  • dietary differences based on lifestyle differences
  • from “ignorance is bliss” to “awareness is bliss”
  • what I need to know is very little

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Approaching the Natural

Sid's website

Florence Williams' lecture on June 21 in Raleigh NC

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


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2 Responses to “Achieving Behavior Change Through Pleasure and Positivity with Sid Garza-Hillman: PYP 215”

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  1. Carrie Britten says:

    All I can say is WOW!! I listen to both your podcasts as often as I can, but to hear you talking together was truly amazing. What really sticks with me is Howard’s comment on self-loathing. I eat cleaner and healthier than anyone I know, but because I can’t always attain a level of perfection demanded by certain plant-based gurus, I’ve always felt “less than”, and unworthy. Thank you both, Howard and Sid, for your common sense, kind words. Both of you always make me feel uplifted when I listen, it was a treat to hear you together. Please do it again!

    • Howard says:

      Thanks, Carrie, for your kind feedback! I love talking with Sid – he helps me see my own blind spots and encourages my better nature to come out and play.

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