Glen Merzer juggles multiple careers with a grace and impact that makes me a bit jealous. From standup comedy in 1980s San Francisco (now I'm a little jealous), to sitcom writing, to screenplays, to non-fiction collaborations with plant-based authors, to his very own novel (now I'm a lot jealous!), Glen is doing a lot of good in the world through his pen.
I first found Glen through his co-writing of Howard Lyman's Mad Cowboy, about his transformation from cattle rancher to vegan activist. (Howard was Oprah's co-defendent in the slander lawsuit brought by Big Beef.)
Glen has also helped three other friends and colleagues of mine birth their books: Chef AJ, Pam Popper, and Del Sroufe. He's also contributed to Benji Kurtz's new book, The Plant Advantage. (Benji is scheduled to be a podcast guest in the next month or so.)
In our conversation, we chatted about writing, about his journey to plant-based eating, and about his novel, Off the Reservation, which is about a vegan Congressperson who runs for president. This discussion led to an in-depth critique of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and a discussion of a way to reform the electoral college.
So this episode of the podcast goes further into politics and policy than I've ever gone. Hopefully there's something here to interest and challenge (as well as offend) everyone.
Glen and I covered:
- performing standup in San Francisco after graduating from a “hippy-dippy” school
- writing for “the stupidest sitcom in Hollywood”
- confronting his family's history of cardiovascular disease
- becoming vegetarian in 1973 (at 17) and bringing his mother with him (she's now 97)
- why Mad Cowboy started as a screenplay and become a book instead
- the impact of Dick Gregory's vegetarianism and anti-war fast
- “… a hamburger looks like a heart attack”
- Glen's changing views on animal rights, and why it hasn't changed the tenor of his advocacy
- how being proved right about mad cow disease led to a second book (No More Bull) with Howard
- writing Food Over Medicine with Pam Popper as a dialog
- the recent controversy over the phrase “Off the Reservation” and why Glen doesn't buy it in reference to his book
- what Bernie Sanders misses about the healthcare crisis in America
- the difference between health insurance and health
- how to save $100 billion and millions of lives per year (by repealing one bill)
- why pharmaceutical misbehavior is not the crux of our health problems
- the political feasibility of an actual candidate promoting a plant-based diet as the foundation of health policy
- why Glen thinks big money in politics isn't as important as it used to be (he makes a good case, but I'm not entirely convinced, but I'm a lousy debater, so he wins 😉
- Glen's solution to the electoral college problem
- and much more…
Oh, and we forgot to cover a plant-based health event that Glen is involved in in Southern California on Sunday, June 26, 2016. Read about it here.
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.
Off the Reservation, by Glen Merzer
Mad Cowboy, by Howard Lyman with Glen Merzer
No More Bull, by Howard Lyman with Glen Merzer and Joanna Samorow-Merzer
Unprocessed, by Chef AJ and Glen Merzer
Food Over Medicine, by Pam Popper, PhD, ND, and Glen Merzer
The Happy Cow Cookbook, edited by Eric Brent and Glen Merzer
Better Than Vegan, by Del Sroufe with Glen Merzer
The Plant Advantage, by Benji Kurtz with Glen Merzer
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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, WillRidenour.com.
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