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PYP 107: Annie Oliverio on the Dance of Cravings, Denial, and Pleasure

annie-oliverioAnnie Oliverio‘s mind works differently from most people's. When she sat down to write a cookbook, she didn't come up with chapter headings like Breakfasts, Lunches, Snacks, Soups, Desserts, and so on.


Those categories, ubiquitous and useful as they are, represent food from the cook's perspective. What would it look like, she wondered, if a cookbook advocated for the eater?

When I think about planning meals, my basic question goes something like this: “What do I feel like eating?” And that's how Crave, Eat, Heal is organized.

With chapters like Carbs, Chocolate, Comfort, Cool, Creamy, and Crunchy (and yes, the chapters are in alphabetical order!), it's a whole new way of searching for recipes and meal inspiration. And Annie's gift is allowing us to indulge those cravings in ways that heal, rather than undermine, our bodies.

In our conversation, we discuss:

  • Annie's three phases of plant-based motivation: vanity, health, and ethics
  • why she intuitively avoided mainstream diet solutions when she began putting on pouds
  • the genesis of a cravings-based cookbook
  • her taxonomy of cravings (and the one she left out of Crave Eat Heal)
  • dealing with the emotional components of cravings
  • why not “tough it out” rather than indulge a craving
  • bucking the “quick and easy” trend with elaborate recipes
  • the value in sitting down for a meal
  • and much more…

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.


eat-crave-heal-Tempeh BaconBuilding Block: Tempeh Bacon (Gluten-free, Oil-free, Easy)

Makes 16 pieces

“I’ve made this so many times I can practically do it in my sleep – but I never get tired of the salty-smoky flavor. It’s lovely on salads, alongside tofu scramble, or tucked in between thick slices of tomato, avocado, and arugula.” – Annie


  • 1 8-ounce (227g) package tempeh, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup tamari, soy sauce, or liquid aminos
  • 3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp. dried onion flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 425-degrees.
  2. In a 9 x 9-inch glass baking pan, whisk together everything but the tempeh slices. Add the tempeh slices and turn to coat evenly with the marinade. Let the tempeh rest for about 15 minutes.
  3. Bake the tempeh for 30-45 minutes, turning once. If the marinade evaporates, add a splash of vegetable broth and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Tempeh should be a deep brown and beginning to crisp at the edges. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes


If you like your “bacon” thinner, cut the tempeh into 32 slices. Keep in mind that it will cook faster, so watch closely when baking – and you’ll need a bigger baking pan.

Recipe used with permission of Annie Oliverio and Front Table Books.

eat-crave-heal-chocolate-cookiesChocolate Craving: Double Chocolate Berry Good Cookies (Gluten-free, Oil-free)
Makes ~18


  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal whisked into 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. stevia powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash cardamom powder
  • 3/4 cup vegan stevia-sweetened semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/4 cup dried goji berries


  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees and line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed meal and the water and set aside.
  3. Put the blueberries and goji berries in a small bowl and cover with warm water for about 15 minutes to rehydrate. Drain and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the coconut butter, maple syrup, banana, vanilla extract, salt and flaxseed meal mixture. Process until very smooth.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the oat flour, cocoa or cacao powder, arrowroot powder, stevia, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and cardamom.
  6. Carefully pour into the bowl with the coconut butter mixture and process at medium-low speed to incorporate the dry ingredients fully into the wet ingredients.
  7. Add the chocolate chips, blueberries, and goji berries and pulse to blend into the cookie dough. The dough will be very sticky.
  8. Drop dough by the heaped tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten and shape slightly.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, switching pans halfway through for even baking.
  10. Let cookies cool on the pan for about 10 minutes before removing them and placing them on cooling racks.

Total time: 30-40 minutes


Make your own oat flour by pulsing rolled oats in a food processor or mini prep until finely pulverized. For one cup oat flour you’ll need about 1 1/4 cups rolled oats.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Ann Oliverio and Front Table Books.


Annie's website:

Crave, Eat, Heal: Plant-Based, Whole-Food Recipes to Satisfy Every Craving

Annie's other book: A Terminal Illness Primer for Caregivers: Lessons from My Brother's End-of-Life Journey

Fast Food Nation – the movie

The China Study


The music for today’s show was 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,

Intro/outro track: Dance of Peace (Sabali Don)

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Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.

What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.

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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 comments on “PYP 107: Annie Oliverio on the Dance of Cravings, Denial, and Pleasure

  1. Jeannie Greutert says:

    Love the podcast but the music while you are doing the program introduction is annoying.
    Maybe if the volume of the music were lower it would be ok.

    1. Howard says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Jeannie! I’ve been playing with lowering the volume of the music – check out the most recent shows (113 and 114) and see if I’m getting closer to a pleasing balance.

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