NEW: Plant Yourself merch designed by my daughter, Yael Zivan.

The Business of Compassion: Miyoko Schinner on PYP 481

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Miyoko Schinner is founder and CEO of Miyoko's, one of the most successful plant-based dairy alternative ventures of the past decade.

She's also a passionate advocate for animals, and long-time vegan educator and activist.

I've known Miyoko for many years, and in some ways I was surprised when she decided to build a large, capital-intensive business fueled by serious investors.

Don't get me wrong – I'm delighted by her success (having tasted her plant-based cheeses back in 2013, I was sure they could “fool” most palates and substitute for dairy in just about all situations). I own a dog-eared and cashew-milk stained copy of her 2012 book, Artisan Vegan Cheese (what she termed, “the book that launched a thousand vegan cheese businesses”), and have been making her buffalo mozzarella with varying degrees of success for almost a decade now.

And yet, I wondered what would happen when Miyoko met capitalism in a big way.

From her Facebook posts over the years, I know that she's taken a lot of criticism from vegan purists who object to her, say, partnering with a co-manufacturer that isn't 100% vegan. And from anticapitalists who find fault with some of her funding sources.

And as someone not enamored of capitalism myself (at least the current state of capitalism, which funnels resources from the earth and the world's neediest peoples into the coffers of the wealthiest investors in the world), I also wondered if Miyoko's missions of saving animals and spreading love and compassion wouldn't get swallowed up – if not totally subverted – in the daily urgencies of business.

In our conversation, we talked about Miyoko's journey to founding the company, and the choices and tradeoffs involved in “playing big.”

We discussed her evolution from someone who saw business as nothing more than a “profiteering enterprise” to a visionary who recognized that her ethics could be expressed in the marketplace.

And not only could they, but she had a moral imperative to create palatable alternatives to dairy if she were going to help the world transition away from animal agriculture.

We talked about the bumps along the way, from realizing that the small batch processes of cheesemaking broke down under conditions of scale, and having to divert time from craftsmanship to hiring and firing, to jettisoning the plan of slow, organic growth to seize an opportunity to get big fast.

Miyoko shares her success formula (spoiler: keep experimenting and stay humble), and offers advice to other social entrepreneurs who wish to follow in her footsteps.

Enjoy this inspiring conversation with a true leader in the plant-based movement.


Miyoko's Creamery

Artisan Vegan Cheese book

The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples

The Vegan Meat Cookbook

Looking for Transformational Change?

You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?

That's how I feel now about a psychological approach to transformational change called “Memory Reconsolidation.” Few psychologists have heard about it, and when they do hear the radical transformations it can bring about in a very short time, they're often skeptical to the point of disbelief.

But I've added Memory Reconsolidation work to my own coaching, and can attest to its amazing efficacy. So much so, my team and I are studying with the best clinicians and teachers in the world, with the goal of introducing it into our health coaching training.

If you're interested in experiencing the magic of memory reconsolidation coaching with me or a member of my team trained in the process, click the link below to open the form in a new browser tab. Someone will get back to you within 3 business days.

Yes, I'm interested in Memory Reconsolidation Coaching.

You CAN Change Other People!

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.

Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.

Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂

Tip Jar

This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by clicking the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.


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,


Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.


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