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Erica Sodos is a motivational speaker, emcee, magician, psychic entertainer and one of the few female mentalists in the world. She also happens to be a vegan and a fierce animal rights activist. In this episode, Erica and I discuss vegan alternatives to your favorite foods, the difficulties of keeping a positive attitude while being an activist and the dark reality of eating animal products.

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Marjorie Alexander (00:00):
This is a sustainable mind episode 35.

Erica Sodos (00:04):
Every single one of us has the power with the choices that we make every day to create a healthier environment and kinder world and a powerful lifestyle choice that will be helpful to all species on this planet and to the environment and help create a kinder world and a healthier body is the Vegan lifestyle.

Marjorie Alexander (00:36):
welcome to a sustainable mind where we dove into the minds behind today's most impactful environmental campaigns, organizations and startups, inspiring the environmental change makers of tomorrow. On your host, Marjorie Alexander. Today, I am ecstatic to be interviewing Erica Sodas, a mentalist, magicians, and psychic entertainer that also happens to be a Vegan and fierce animal rights activists. We will be discussing veganism and animal cruelty in varying levels of detail. So this is your trigger warning. Please use discretion, but despite the uncomfortable parts, this is going to be a fun and high energy conversation because that's just the kind of person that Erica is and we'd become pretty fast friends. And one more thing, I kind of put Erica on the spot and asked her to do a magic trick with me on camera that I can share with you all. So if you want to check it out and go to the show notes page after this episode by going to a sustainable forward slash zero three five. So without further ado, Erika, welcome to the show.

New Speaker (01:41):
Thank you so much marjory. I'm so excited to be here. Awesome. So first I want to start off with learning a little bit about how nature the environment and sustainability played a role in your home life growing up.

Erica Sodos (01:54):
Well, I grew up in a fairly dysfunctional toxic family environment. So for me, nature was the place where I found calm and beauty and connection and love and, and not even talking about major awesome mountains. I mean I'm from Long Island in New York. It's just was my yard. And I remember I would go in the yard and we had a tree and I'd sit under the tree. And do you know what flocks are? Those little magical flowers that are ground covers. And they'd come and pink, purple, blue. I've heard of them, but I don't know exactly. I wouldn't know them if I saw them, I'll put it that. But I couldn't remember spending literally hours looking at these little flowers and I would also communicate with these kind of nature spirits. I guess they were called imaginary friends back then and I would spend time outside and then it would be dinner time and I would come in and I have like a seat, I'll go. We have to have a seat for this being that I met like under the tree because that was one way and I don't remember much about sustainability that wasn't in my vocabulary as a child. But I did live 15 minutes from the beach and that was the same thing my dad used to take me and we would walk on the boardwalk and when I was a teenager and I could drive, I remember just going and sitting and looking at the ocean. So it really was medicine growing up for me. Nature.

Marjorie Alexander (03:16):
So these little nature friends, I mean that must've been the beginning of your career, like tell people about what you do on a day to day basis.

Erica Sodos (03:26):
Yeah. You know, it's funny with the imaginary friends because I thought they were imaginary friends, but then when I became older and I was playing a ferry because I do all this magic and I'm thinking, Huh, they will probably fairies, you know. So I am a professional mentalist if you're familiar with that. And I'm also a professional magician and a speaker. And so I have a monthly show. This is now the fifth year to night club in Denver. The magic within psychic explorations with Erica Sodas and more. My Foundation is really acting. And I had that as a little kid too. I'd make up plays and I did all the school plays and my parents, I was lucky enough they put me a little acting school after school doing place. Sounds great. So it sort of morphed and I love what I do. If I wasn't doing a performer, I would be doing something with animals and the environment because that's like the two things I love performing and animals and nature.

Marjorie Alexander (04:18):
Well, that's a perfect segue into my next question. It's very obvious from your website and some of the clips that I've seen on your youtube page, you are an advocate for the environment and animals. It's very clear from your website and do you incorporate environmental issues and especially environmental education into your shows, but these are not obviously to parts that come together for most people. So how do you feel these two worlds coincide and do you think that it's been a unique approach and a benefit for you and your audience?

Erica Sodos (04:55):
It does. It has and I'm always looking for ways to do it more. I'm really excited because I'm doing a magic show at a huge Earth Day event this Earth Day and I told them, you know, I'm going to do all my routines, all my magic routines. Like I already have one about the coal industry and about pigs at factory farms and so, you know, there's that, but in some ways I haven't found a way. I mean I love that you see me integrated because I feel part of me is integrated, but I'm not, I, I'm always looking for ways to become more. I mean I got a call to do an event actually didn't get the events. I didn't sell it very hard, but it was women in the animal agriculture business. Right. So, you know, it's one thing I worked for oil and gas company, you know, it's like, it's like it's hard. So how to bridge that. I'm always discovering it more and more and more. And as you know, performers in our society, they have a voice so it's an opportunity for me, but it's still a work in progress.

Marjorie Alexander (05:53):
Veganism and vegetarianism. I feel like some of the easiest ways for anybody to have a positive impact on the environment because the meat that we eat requires so many resources in terms of, you know, land in terms of water. It's unbelievable the amount of resources that go into raising like a pound of beef or a thousand calories of beef. Exactly. Unfortunately, I think like we were talking about kind of off the call is um, people are very, very removed from where their food comes from. So I'd love to hear a little bit about, um, because everybody's got to eat right? So, so that's the kind of the main reason why it is the easiest way everybody has to eat and if everybody has to eat then if we cut our meat consumption by half or by 75 percent for someone that eats meat on a daily basis. And I know a lot of people like that. It's not me, but I know a lot of people like that. That in and of itself is really moving in the right direction. It's a good first step. So talk a bit about your journey to veganism and how that plays a role in your life right now.

Erica Sodos (07:04):
I was 19 years old and somebody showed me an animal rights magazine, I believe it was Peter and it showed the cruelty of animals. There were pictures of the pigs and the gestation and farrowing crates, if you know what that is and where the where the pig can't, can't move. Her head can turn around and the cows and the conditions and I instantly became vegetarian. It wasn't a logical, I didn't. I didn't think about it. It was just pure feeling. There was no way that I could support an industry that was promoting that much cruelty. And so I 48, so this is. I was 19 years old, so that's a long time ago and I was and that's also when I found activism, anti-war. Then I moved to San Francisco and we started a group called act first in honor of earth burst where we did a lot of street theater, but we did some environmental, but we did different kinds of actions and truth be told, I had no idea about the cruelty of the dairy industry and the egg industry.

Erica Sodos (08:02):
And so as we get older, sometimes this happens. I got really caught up in my career and pursuing my dreams and my goals that I sort of lost some of my activism, but then about five years ago or so, something in me clicked and I started a woke up to how conditions are getting worse and worse on the environment. The sixth mass extinction, and then I learned a year or so later I became an activist again and then I learned about the dairy and the egg industry and I love Kale, Kale, Kale, but it's. But it's taken several years for breakfast. Like all the time I'd have Kale put a piece of toast and I wanted to order this shirt from the pita catalog, which is so cool. Calea. I'm Vegan and I'm not fully Vegan, so about three and a half years ago I ordered a shirt and then the day I got the shirt I became Vegan, like it so easy and I've never once went back and I will never ever go back.

Erica Sodos (08:59):
And so now you talk about how does it influence my life now? Will you realize when you're making such conscious choices that you're not contributing to a system which, which is perpetuating so much cruelty, the animals being raised for food, you know, most of them have never get to experience an ounce of what it's like to be a normal animal. They don't. They don't get to forage. They don't hang and play with their friends. They don't get to raise their young. They don't get to go outside and they, they never see compassion. They only see cruelty. So when you realize you're making choices and then it's the best thing for the environment because the number one leading cause that not everyone who should be talking about is, is animal agribusiness, raising animals for food. As you know, it's the number one cause of climate change, deforestation, habitat destruction, ocean dead zones and species extinction.

Erica Sodos (09:55):
I mean, it's, it's driving this planet to the brink because of humans on insatiable need to eat animals and dairy and eggs. So a couple of years ago I started volunteering at an animal sanctuary, which I love. And you know, hanging with the animals is the best. You start realizing everything is connected and then you realize that the food chain that the government makes up, its like funded by agribusiness and the pharmaceutical companies that treat the illness is that you get from eating those foods and suddenly you realize that everything is connected and if the healthiest diet and so and so the. So the dairy and egg industry, do you want to hear a little bit about what happens in those industries?

Marjorie Alexander (10:37):
Yes, please. I brought you on specifically for this reason. This is a messy topic. It's important for us to know that this is a messy topic and you know, um, just to take a little detour here, I, I really chose you because I feel like number one, you're super relatable. You're super friendly, but you're going to hit those hard facts and that's what I want to hear. But also from someone that is relatable, just going to smack us over the head with scientific crap that you can't really explain in terms that, that the rest of us can understand. So yes, please do go into excruciating detail. Maybe not excruciating, but like, but like deep detail on, on animal cruelty.

Erica Sodos (11:16):
Thank you. And when you, when you learned about animal cruelty, you realize it's a slippery slope and you have no idea what's it's everywhere. I mean you have

Erica Sodos (11:24):
all your decisions, then you have to become Vegan and all your selections and your choices and cruelty-free and fake leather. But we'll talk about the dairy industry because I like to say that I think this is the world's best kept secret. Everybody says, most people say, ah, well not everyone are. There wouldn't be a demand, but a lot of people say, I could never eat veal. I could never eat a baby cat. I know so many people like that. But then they eat cheese from cows, from cow milk. If you're consuming a dairy product, you were basically supporting an industry that is the only reason that we have baby calves. And the reason is the only way cows can milk is to have a baby. So they take the female cow and they put her on what is called in the industry. I'm not making this term up in the industry is called a rape rack.

Erica Sodos (12:15):
R A P e r a p e. right, right. When she's essentially being raped against her will, because I'm sure she's been opt to be tied to this place with a horrible silver metal thing going up here. Right. So she can get impregnated and so as soon as she is, you know, she's pregnant and she has her baby and then the baby is taken away from her. Now cows have like most animals are, have emotion right there. . They have feelings. Cows particularly have been to exhibit really complex emotions and the grief, they cry when their babies are taken away or someone they love dies. Mother cows will babysit. I mean this is. If they're not in a factory farm, they would babysit their baby, their friend's baby. But no, the baby's taken away immediately and put either. I've seen videos and pictures where they're just huge piles of baby calves killed or they're put in little tiny hutches where they can't move at all because the flash is more tender.

Erica Sodos (13:17):
If they don't move and then they're slaughtered at a couple of weeks to a couple of months, and that's veal. Now back to the mother, so the mother is now pregnant. Her baby's taken away. I mean she's not pregnant. She is giving milk so they they attach like a machine to her other and she's like forced to give an enormous amount of milk that are so uncomfortable and she gets swollen and she can get mastitis and it's super uncomfortable and then as soon as she gives enough milk a year, a year and a half in, she's impregnated again, put on the right rack. Baby's taken away, sold as veal, and then she's usually spent because how much can her body take it at three or three or four years old. And then she sent a slaughter. Usually for flesh, it's called a spend cow. Usually they can't get out of the truck.

Erica Sodos (14:03):
And then I'm sure a lot of your listeners know, they send these animals thousands of miles across the country with no water, no food and sweltering heat and cold. So it is from start to finish, a life of torture. And that is the dairy industry and dairy is not even healthy for us dairy, that we are the only species in the gazillion species and the planet that basically sucks on another species under from milk. We are meant to have our mother's milk when we're babies and then we're not meant to have milk. And dairy also uses a lot of natural resources. I mean tough, right? Because the cows drink a lot of water, eat a lot of food. The manure we haven't gotten there yet. And there's so much dairy replacements, you know, I do a lot of Vegan outreach and people I could never give up ice cream if we can.

Erica Sodos (14:53):
We can talk about this at the end, but I can tell you my best ice creams, coconut, hemp, cashew almond. So I mean it's, there's so much dairy in beef raising a cow for flesh. The cow was slaughtered, right? But the mother cow has to. It's like a life of absolute misery. So since I found that out was like how can I be an animal rights activist? So I stopped eating dairy and then eggs. So the egg industry is extremely cruel. The egg layers, there's the broilers, that's what they call the beautiful birds that aren't slaughtered for flash. And then the egg layers who were raised here for eggs there, Jimmy's, you know, horrific conditions. These cages, they lights are on. So they'll, they'll give as many eggs. Their beaks are cut-off so they won't because they go crazy so that they won't peck at each other.

Erica Sodos (15:48):
And so what happens is eventually that bird will be spent because again, it's a life of misery. So what they have is they do this thing called sexting and if you want to look this up online, there's tons of resources. So you know about this. So they have these conveyor belts and the people are looking and if it's a female it goes back into the factory to lay more eggs. And if it's a male it goes into this incinerator and it's basically ground up alive. Thousands and thousands and thousands of these adorable, cute little chicks on day one of their life or grounds up alive or they're just put in big bags to suffocate. That's the egg for eggs. And again, eggs, the cholesterol in a yoke, it's not really a natural food for human babies not eating any way. So when I found all this out, I became Vegan and now it feels good knowing that my choices contributed this cruelty, the system.

Marjorie Alexander (16:44):
Unbelievable. So I spent new years with a couple of friends from college who, um, they just had a baby so they wound up getting rid of their chickens. The chickens went off to chicken retirement and it really is like retirement. I mean they're just grazing. They're not even there for, for laying eggs anymore. But, but they had chickens and those chickens would lay eggs and so they had fresh eggs there for, for a few months. What are your personal feelings? And this is probably gonna make some people angry. And honestly, I really don't give a hoot because I'm interviewing you and I, I, I want to hear your personal thoughts on this, but how do you feel about people that have animals for pets that also happened to give them food? Like, you know, goat's milk or chickens that lay eggs or um, heck even, you know, bees beekeepers. How do you feel about those, those situations for the animals, terms of animal cruelty in, uh, in terms of resource usage because it's a, it's a slightly different situation, you know, they're grazing or they have a more humane life, but not necessarily totally humane because at the end of the day some of these animals are killed for, for meat purposes. So anyway, talk about that a little.

Erica Sodos (18:09):
I think that's a great question. Thanks for asking it. And while I obviously can see and recognize that the life of a goat in someone's yard, they have acreage and they have a goat or someone, tens. I, I see that they're, they're contributing to a lot less guilty. And I genuinely believe that a lot of these people love and care for their animals. My neighbors have hens and I know that they, you know, for eggs and I know that they care for the hands so I can recognize that the cruelty is significantly less. I mean those animals essentially are having a much better life. The problem comes that where did they get the animals and they're contributing to a system which has perpetuated this amount of cruelty. For example, our society has no use for roosters. The only thing that we do with roosters is that disgusting thing called cockfighting and we have some roosters from rescued rooster where I volunteer.

Erica Sodos (19:08):
And so what happens is when they buy their hands, say from the hardware store or the feed store, first of all those birds are shifts in these boxes. And I've spoken to people at these, at these stores and half of them come out debt because they're little babies and they're like mailed basically. And so half of them are dead and then they're buying their hand and they're taking her home to make eggs. But it came from a system which probably to get that hen thousands of little baby males were ground up or live, right? So. So you're contributing to the system when we don't really need X. So. So that's, that's the problem with that. And then with the goat, the only way that she, the female can have give milk is if she has a baby. So first of all, you have to get a male goat to impregnate her, or you have to artificially inseminate heart, which is common practice even in what they call, which I don't subscribe to the quote unquote you Maine.

Erica Sodos (20:06):
They pretty much all are impregnating, right? In these, a smaller scale farms, but if you have a yard, so you impregnate your goat and then she's going to have a baby or babies and then and then what we'll do. So the bigger the animal, the more expensive they are to keep walking or food. So it's really unsustainable because now you have a baby and she's only going to give milk for like a year, a year and a half, and then you're going to have to get pregnant again. So, so it's, it's not really a sustainable practice because in the end you're contributing to a system that just doesn't. It's a logical, her world of compassion and helping the environment. Oh boy. Here I go. Getting up

Marjorie Alexander (20:48):
on my soapbox on stepping up. Right. Do you think that we're a world of, of humane humans? I find that, I find, I find that claim

Erica Sodos (21:00):
questionable. First of all, I cannot use the word you mean in the context that people use it. So if you were heard what I said, I said quote unquote, you mean? I think that word makes no sense. Nobody. Nobody is capable of such cruelty as human. The word you mean makes no sense. So how, how can the word you mean? Which means kind and compassionate. I mean, I don't know if the dictionary in front of them, but it means something like that. So how can a species act? Would that word be named after humans? No, I, I understand. I read, uh, have you read books by Jane Goodall? Like I recently read one of her books and she did say humans are capable of the most cruelty. Yes. But they're also capable of the most compassion now I that probably can be awful.

Marjorie Alexander (21:51):
Capable is one thing and it's like, I mean I won't even keep capable is totally different from like the reality of, of the actions that we commit towards each other

Erica Sodos (22:03):
on a day to day basis. But anyway, so I liked it so I went there and we're like a year I was using elephants for U Maine and now I'm using pig again. We have a bunch of pigs. We just got this little piglet. She's so cute. And so I think pigging because you know, they've even done studies, people have mice in their house, they just instantly glue traps who made up glue traps that is is so, so mice and rats have been proven where they put like a chocolate bar or something for a rat in a cage, but the, another rat in the cage with suffering and the rat went to save and help the other rat before the chocolate bar. Right. So animals are capable of compassion, all species. And to s you mean? I mean, that is a brilliant question. I can, I only use that word. You know, the main myth is a light. You mean that word doesn't even make any sense.

Marjorie Alexander (22:54):
Yeah. Oh, well, I am so jaded. I am soon. I'm actually in recovery. I was so jaded. I, yeah. I don't even want to get into it, but I mean I'm, I'm learning to see more compassion where it exists because I'm jaded to the point where I just, almost, not that I didn't believe that it was out there anymore that compassionate existed anymore, but it was something that I really had a hard time seeing. I'm at this point now where I forced myself to look for it and you know, if there are five instances out there, I choose to look at the one or two instances of somebody being compassionate and feeling the joy from witnessing that occurrence. Choosing to see that as opposed to seeing the negativity in the world because it's really all about focus and all about perspective

Erica Sodos (23:46):
and that's just a way that I'm choosing not to poison my own thoughts because I've been that person for so many years and I'm at this point, I'm really choosing not to be. I have a girlfriend, I a friend. I haven't seen her in a couple years, but she said, I went into this for love and all I do is hate. So you become an activist and you try to change the world and then you realize that the systems are so damn strong and most people don't care. Paul Mccartney has that CD. If you've seen it, if slaughterhouses in factory farms had invisible walls, the whole world would be vegetarian. I disagree. Many people know and they don't care. I'm mostly, I became being ethically. So that's like my number one thing, but I think the environment is next and I think a lot of the listeners of your show are really into the environment.

Erica Sodos (24:32):
So yeah. Yeah. No, I, you know, in addition to the animal cruelty part, there is the environmental impact that eating meat has. So go ahead, please tell us a little bit about that. The natural resources, as you mentioned earlier, that raising animals for food is that we use is massive. First of all, half of the land in the United States is used by their cattle or raising the food to feed the cattle. We have enough food to feed everybody. The problem is we're raising all this food and we're giving it to the cattle and then of course there's water usage. It doesn't really matter how long your shower is, it has nothing. The home usage of water is only like, I don't know, something to the effect of five percent of the usage water usage in the United States. Most of the water usage, a lot of our water use it.

Erica Sodos (25:24):
A lot of it is for animal agriculture. It's something. I mean there's different numbers ranging anywhere from 1500 to 9,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. I like to say 2000 or 2,500 pound of beef that showering every day for about four or five minutes for six months. OK. That's how much water it uses. So it is a lot of water and it is a lot of land space. And then of course there's the manure. This statistic is actually mind boggling. It's something to the effect of, um, the amount of manure cattle's produce a hundred and 30 times more. There's more, there's a hundred 30 times more animal waste than human waste in us. Thirty Times more. So where does this waste to go? Right. So where do we put it? We put it in these lagoons, we put it in different places. It leaches into waterways, it pollutes, and then sometimes they use it as fertilizer, right?

Erica Sodos (26:22):
So there's so much manure. And then of course there's climate change, which it doesn't even matter if everybody stopped driving and taking airplanes and trains in order to really help with the greenhouse gases. We cannot keep raising animals for food. Cows release nitrous oxide and methane. So nitrous oxide is 300 times worse than carbon dioxide and nothing is 30 times worse. And so what we're doing to the environment with the cows, the cows are producing so much more greenhouse gasses and these are facts that are everywhere, but nobody's really talking about it in the mainstream as much. And so the raising animals for food is causing that. There's the pollution and then of course there's the deforestation in the Amazon rain forest. Ninety percent of the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest is either cattle grazing or raising food for the cattle to eat something like one acre of the Amazon rain forest is destroyed.

Erica Sodos (27:34):
Not to mention what a diverse ecosystem, you know, eco bio system that is over there, and then it also end. People are funny. They're like, OK, I'll eat fish, fish, horrible. Most of the Osha dead zones or over fishing, and you probably know this Marjorie, but for each pound of fish, commercial fishing, there's five pounds of bike hill, right? Turtles, other sea creatures, sharks, so it is completely unsustainable. They say that in 30 or 40 years we could off fishless oceans. So the environmental devastation and impact of eating animals. It's. Oh, and this, this just makes you want to throw a ball through a window, but you know the wildlife services. Have you heard of this? Government organization? Wildlife Services is a wildlife services as they should be? Absolutely. No, I haven't heard that actually kill millions of native animals in the United States a year. So what they do is, what happens is because agribusiness and hunting are really powerful lobbies, what they do is so say cattle are grazing and a coyote hurt a cow or there's just a fight for space.

Erica Sodos (28:54):
So they kill all kinds of predators to protect their cattle. And then they also kill a little land animals like Oh, a squirrel or something could make. We have a lot of prairie dogs here, I'm sure in other areas they're not, but they may whole. So they kill all these species. So it's the number one cause of species extinction from, from deforestation to killing all these animals. And this is a phenomenal statistic that I really have a hard time getting my head around and I find it mind blowing. Do you know what the population of the United States is for humans? I think like a 320,000,000 somewhere in there that I read 3:25 recently 325,000,000. So just take a guess at how many animals are raised, raised and slaughtered for food. And this doesn't include fish, Fisher in the trillions. We take trillions and trillions. And trillions of fish.

Marjorie Alexander (29:43):
The ocean. We're talking individual animal lives.

Erica Sodos (29:47):

Marjorie Alexander (29:48):
Oh my gosh. Well, I don't eat hamburgers, but there's a lot more hamburgers that can come out on cow. But uh, um, you know, I know a lot of pescatarians. I'm currently a pescatarian. So chickens, gosh, I don't know, maybe five, 5,000,000,000. All. Did I get it right? 9,000,000,000, 9,000,000,000. Almost double what I said. Five billion is what I said

Erica Sodos (30:13):
when you think there's 325,000,000 people and there's 9,000,000,000 animals and this is just the United States. And again, it's not including all animals killed for food. And so it's a completely unsustainable practice. And with every day over, what is it like [inaudible]? It's like 200,000 something, something more high, higher than that. More people every day of born into the United States, like with overpopulation, eating animals. Besides the, the ethical horrific implications. It's completely unsustainable and it's, it's causing environmental destruction in all, in many, many ways.

Marjorie Alexander (30:53):
Who got that? That's a lot to think about. And I, you know, uh, well, one thing. So the first show, the first episode of 2018 for a sustainable mind was, you know, the, the, the three easiest and most efficient ways to kind of go green for the new end. People who listen to this show know that I hate that term, go green, but anyway, be more sustainable and be more conscious. And for me, my personal goal or my personal target is to take all of the meat that I eat and I don't cook meat often and since I don't go out I just by nature don't eat, don't, don't consume a lot of animals because they don't like to cook meat, but you know, like Turkey back in every once in awhile or Sushi recouple couple months. Like I want to find alternatives to that, that tastes good.

Marjorie Alexander (31:47):
And so that's kind of my goal for the year is to take all of the meat that I eat and find a good alternative. Yeah. I went in the second year, the second week of January, so we'll see how it goes. That's um, this, this conversation with you. I, yeah, it might not take me 12 months. I might get there a little bit faster because, you know, you can't unring that bell, you can't learn these things and I really, I'm not one of those people that they know all this stuff and they just don't care. Like I care. It's mostly an issue of finding the alternative and the few times that I do have a craving for that specific thing, making the correct choice or the more humane choice or the more I'm actually picking, picking, picking, picking choice just and just and just eat a, have a completely vegetarian version or a version of that product.

Marjorie Alexander (32:40):
So, um, it's definitely something that I'm working in the new year I invite a lot of listeners are all listeners to, to at least explore these other options in [inaudible], like Erika said, for us to even start moving the needle on global warming or climate change, which is, which is how I prefer people to say it because especially now it's so cold on the east coast. This is like just fuel for, for climate deniers to say, oh, global warming is like totally ignore thing. Like, oh my God, you're such a freaking to it. Anyway, so I like to say climate change.

Erica Sodos (33:17):
I'm with you. I'm going to say that's what they say. Oh, warming, warming. It's cold and I and I would just love to respond to what you said about finding your thing. So I'm a huge cook and a baker, like I love baking and I will intentionally bake every single thing that people would say. You can't make the again, cream pie. I just made shortbread cookies and morale Aquafaba. It's this magic food. For any of your listeners out there, do you ever use chickpeas? Do you ever eat canned? Chickpeas? Don't eat canned chickpeas, but like hummus, so I'm halfway there. So canned chickpeas. You take the water. I mean it's amazing. You take water from the [inaudible] piece and you beat it and it's egg whites and you add, you add a little cream of tartar, sugar and vanilla and it's marshmallow fluff and you can use it as whip cream.

Erica Sodos (34:06):
It is so delicious. I mean there's every single thing you could eat and then as alternatives they make, everything was a kazillion faith. Chickens and fixed sausage and fake begin and end. The cheeses that they make now that melt for grilled cheeses and the beacon pizzas. They even this one company makes these cheese cheesecakes. I've tried all five flavors because I have a major sweet tooth and they're delicious and you're in la or in the Vegan how much money you have to go out to eat. But you're like, well yeah, and that's the thing is, is is the financial part of it? It's not more expensive. It's not a more expensive diet that's a fit. People think it's more expensive and it's not because

Marjorie Alexander (34:44):
more expensive if you cook at home. But what did it? Well, I don't even know if it's more expensive. If you, if you're eating at a restaurant is I really want to go and try these and there are few Sushi places that do it, but the Vegan Sushi, like that's what I. because seafood is like my one thing where I'm like, I don't know. I don't. I don't know if I'm going to be able to give that up. Like forever, like chicken. I honestly, I don't even like the taste and texture of chicken. It's mostly just a filler, you know, when. Well let's be honest, when you don't want to spend a lot of money on food, it's, it's really, it's, it's, it's something that's bulky, you

Erica Sodos (35:24):
know, so I know you do see food used to Sushi, but there are two fake fish products that are delicious. Guardian makes a fish fillet that literally smells and tastes exactly like this. And they made crab cakes which are so delicious. Guardian, it's in the frozen section. I love crap cause I went to high school in Maryland and so crab cakes. Yeah, that's really good. Tartar sauce. There was a couple of companies that make it so this. Yeah, I'm going to happen.

Marjorie Alexander (35:53):
Maybe you and I can work on some um, some light, a vegan resources.

Erica Sodos (35:58):
It was something to that. There's like an endless, endless list of all this stuff. So maybe in the notes with the. Yeah, that's a great idea.

Marjorie Alexander (36:09):
This is a really big topic and I, I w I think it's really important for listeners to keep in mind, be kind with yourself in making any change. You're not going to be perfect. It's going to take time. It takes practice. And even when you get to that point, it's like, OK, I'm good. I found all of these alternatives. You're going to slip up. So be kind with yourself in terms of making these changes in your own lives. Also, I was, I made a post on instagram recently and there's a company, I won't say who they are, but they responded sort of by saying that there are, well, again, more humane, quote-unquote humane ways of consuming me and here is this service that you can use. And so I know that there are environmentalists out there that have very different views from Erica and I want you all to know that I will give airtime.

Marjorie Alexander (37:09):
So these companies. But I do want to ask everyone the hard questions. I do not want to, um, sugarcoat anything and I don't want to pretend like, you know, everyone out there is going to consider this to be an option for them. That's not the reality, even though that is definitely the direction that we need to in, um, so I do plan to have a couple of these companies on. I don't know what forum this is going to take because I haven't decided who I'm going to interview, but I am going to interview a few and I am going to ask them the hard questions as to, as to why they believe that consuming animals in any way really is, is more humane and perhaps for the people out there who honestly don't give a flying crap about animal cruelty, maybe for them, I'm never going to give up meat. They might say that possibly these are better options for them if they do choose to make that decision. So anyway, I wanted to, to put that out there. OK. So can I respond to that? Yes, please. Please respond.

Erica Sodos (38:14):
I mean, yeah, I mean obviously there's less cruelty involved. I mean, if I had a, you know, I mean obviously there's, there's less, but there really is no sustainable. It is not sustainable to resign and use for food. So I would be curious as to what they were saying because as you know, they use a lot of resources and no animals, you know, want to die. I was recently reading, you know, ellen degenerate, who's a be again said, you know, know hunter's fell into generous as a Vegan. Oh yeah. I could give you the list. Oh yeah. Corey, he just became Vegan, you know, cory booker, there's Orange Jersey. Do you know, progressive begin. So Ellen, I love this. I heard her say in a comedy. She said, you know, hunter say, Oh, I just love animals. Like I just love animals. That's why I hot, you know, look at this wreck and now and said something to the effect of, you know, in this, I may not be an exact quote, but.

Erica Sodos (39:08):
Well, I love my mother and I have uh, photographs of her. No animals want to die. I mean, everyone wants to live and and another thing, all of the animals are slaughtered as babies. Pretty much fight, you know, those water a cow, I'd say 18 months. The lifespan of a cow is 20 years or a pig under a year, right? The lifespan is, you know, much more than that. Chickens because of all the, what they do to their bodies, they're, they're slaughtered at just as they look, they look like full adults and they're just multiple, you know, a couple month old babies. I mean, and even these, these places, they probably have to slaughter them is young because it would be too expensive to let the animal live out its life. They'd have to water and you know, give him a, her water. So it'll be interesting to just have these questions.

Marjorie Alexander (39:57):
There is a lot of, I wouldn't say disagreement, but people as humans, we have a lot of comforts or, or I should say people in Western society have a lot of comforts that we don't want to give up

Marjorie Alexander (40:10):
or a lot of ways in which we cling so hard to our creature comforts that we will defend that at any cost. And so there are a lot of people who, um, feel that their way is the right way to be a good steward of the earth. And I won't say that anyone is right or wrong. I will say that the way that any of us choose to live has, and it's a fact and you can measure it has a certain impact on the environment. And from that knowledge you make whatever decisions and changing your lifestyle moving forward. But we all should be educated about the impact that we all have as individuals. That I see you're preparing something,

Erica Sodos (41:00):
although I love the statistic, is something like a Vegan uses, you know, a quarter of an acre of land vegetarian three times that much in a meat eater. 18 Times 50 percent less co2 than a mediator and like the most minuscule fraction of the amount of water. Right? So, so yes, I hear you. And I, I think that that wiser words were never spoken when you said humans cling to their comforts, you know, overpopulation and animal ag are, are about people's personal. They don't want to like they'll put in the led bulbs and maybe get a hybrid, but

Marjorie Alexander (41:42):
people just liked that they have a tesla, they have legs and that's like the extent of it. That's it.

Erica Sodos (41:49):
But our personal choices or you know, the overpopulation, we need to really that neat. That's a big concern. And I agree. It's like that's it, but you said is don't have the core I think of how do you.

Marjorie Alexander (42:00):
But I don't. Well, I mean going back to, you know, being, being a little jaded, honestly, I don't know if they will

Erica Sodos (42:10):
and I'm not going to count on it. I'll put it that way. So there is changing the world and what, you said, people's comfort zone. How can we do that every day? Hundreds of species, you know, this thing has extension out of all extinctions, the only one that's created by, you know, humans created. How does one not have a deep grief about that and want to make great changes, but many millions of people don't.

Marjorie Alexander (42:37):
This is, I was going to say this is heavy stuff, but it's, but it's not heavy. It's, it's eye opening and it's important to, um, hear these things and then, you know, kind of cover your eyes and walk the other direction and distract yourself with all the things to help you forget that. So that next week when you go and buy a two hamburgers at your favorite fast food joint that you're not like, you know, going insane.

Erica Sodos (43:03):
That's why you're, that's why you're so awesome and brilliant. If everyone was like, you would say that, that'd be great. Thank you for calling me. Brilliant.

Marjorie Alexander (43:11):
My goodness. Well, we're just going to have to end on that note because it just can't get better than that. No, I'm kidding. Well, as we're winding down here, but I do want, I do want, uh, to give our listeners a, the answers to our seven sustainable questions. That's how we end every episode. Can you share with us one long-standing habit that you believe has significantly improved your life?

Erica Sodos (43:35):
Oh yeah. I'll share a couple first years ago. You'll never use like a one use, like as much as I might want the coffee if I'm on the go and with my coffee cup. But the best thing is always to keep in your car. Like whenever I go out to eat I just always have a tupperware and um, so I always take any leftovers in my tupperware. And a friend went out with a friend number of years ago and he did that and I've done it ever since. And you know, we were saying about people how funny they were. Maybe not funny it the word we're using. I've literally had a waitress argue with me. You don't have to use your tupperware. I have a box

Marjorie Alexander (44:12):

Erica Sodos (44:12):
same language. So the tupperware and then another thing is being outside every day, you know, people say off having a dog, dogs are rescue of course, that you, that you have to walk and you have to get outside no matter how you feel, no matter how tired or the weather you got to get outside, there's nothing more magical to connect one a person to what? Spectacular and beautiful in the world and being outside even in a neighborhood, not. I mean hiking is the best, but just the tree, the, whether the light, the sun. Yeah. And it puts you in a better mood. I mean like I haven't been outside today. It's raining, which is my favorite and whether uh, and it kills me because I've been in inside doing interviews all day. So you're, but you're my last one. So I'm gonna go take a walk in the rain after you use an umbrella when you're in the rain.

Erica Sodos (45:03):
I'm. It depends. It depends on how hard it's raining. If it's a gentle sprinkle, then no, no umbrella. Because I just love it. If it's pouring, then yeah, I, you know, my, my hair can't handle this. We umbrella just in case. What is one new habit that you're cultivating in your life right now? Here to again, a fun is I'm meditating so when I was younger in my twenties I went to India searching for enlightenment, which is you can feed. Didn't happen. I don't believe in. I know I was really into meditation and again I got older. I just forgot about it. So the last couple months I've been meditating only five minutes a day. I plan on going out to 10 and it soon, but I think meditation is so, so, so valuable. And the other thing is I kind of want to do an experiment to see if I could go home not buy anything made in China, which you know, we buy squatch made in China like it's unbelievable.

Erica Sodos (46:03):
So I'm going to try that. So kind of a detour here are there, and man, I don't know if you know the answer to this, but I would imagine that there are some things that are made in places where where it was made something, you know, there's a lot of made in Mexico, there are tags, it'll, it's printed on the bottom, but what about the things that you buy that don't see where they were made? What do you do or you just find something that say to us. I don't know. That's a really good point. Luckily I don't really like shopping, so tend to buy a lot of things, but you're right, that's going to be tricky. I guess you have to do research right? To always see. So I just added something onto your plate on necessarily. I'm sorry I kept buying anything. Yeah, no, that's a great question because you're right.

Erica Sodos (46:45):
I mean so much of it's made you don't know exactly what is one item you've purchased or acquired in the last year that has to live a more earth conscious lifestyle. So this is more like a couple years, but I'm so in love with it. I, I have to share it, so I never actually composted before I've moved a lot. I lived in cities or, and I've rented until I'd never had accomplished, but a couple years ago we got the big black men and I am completely in love with composting. I mean obsessed. I, it's pure magic. I mean I'm a magician and I really literally think it's the most magical thing. It's alchemy. And so you put in and you know, as a Vegan House, almost everything that we, that I eat here, they eat in here, you know, and I ate almost all the leftovers. We have a small thing of what's not compostable, but most, all the food stuff is compostable. I put it in the leaves and I watched it and I move it and it turns to this. We'll just rich soil compost. Love it. I can't believe. I don't know what I've been waiting for.

Marjorie Alexander (47:45):
Oh my gosh. I know. I, I, yeah. Being, being at my community garden a couple of years ago, uh, they had a compost pile and it wasn't the best compost pile, but it was always so interesting. And I still bring scraps from home due to the garden, um, although I don't have a plot there anymore. But yeah, composting is so interesting and you're right. It totally is. Alchemy to definitely, definitely in your wheelhouse. What is one misstep you've had in your journey so far has taught you an invaluable lesson?

Erica Sodos (48:14):
I think I make, I make a lot of mistakes and in my magic, not necessarily in my shows, but I'm always trying to understand this concept of mistakes because I think that that question is so awesome because we are so hard on ourselves and we make mistakes and that really is essentially how we learn only by. I mean we can learn by not making mistakes, but we really only make mistakes or were you just repeat them? Within the last year I've explored a lot of different kinds of activism and I think I've learned for me that I really want to do activism that's so much full of compassion and empathy and that is, you know, and I have such strong passionate feelings. So working on that and I just feel like I think it takes a while to desirable, authentic to you and what's natural, you know, and where you feel the most juice and where are the most effective. They all come together and that you have to make a lot of mistakes I think to get there.

Marjorie Alexander (49:21):
Absolutely. Yeah. Do you have an internet resource and actually we're, you've mentioned a lot of resources and I want to do a full, probably was going to do a blog post with you later, but just one or two or three Internet resources that you find helpful on a regular basis that you think would be beneficial to share with our listeners.

Erica Sodos (49:41):
So yeah. So once you were three, I'll give you three and since we're talking about the food and you said looking for, you know, replacements, I'm going to give you some of my favorite food blogs if that's OK. Awesome. Please. Vegan reached [inaudible] Vegan, the IGA rich R I c h a [inaudible]. So she's Indian and she's got lots and lots of amazing Indian food, but she also has banana bread and very just her recipes are incredible. So if you can reach [inaudible], oci glows and minimalist And so I mean people either my vegan banana bread and eat the banana bread with butter and eggs and everyone likes to being better and I'm sure it's from one of those and there's so many. There's a gazillion, but those are some of my favorites.

Marjorie Alexander (50:28):
Awesome. Yes, yes, yes. OK, perfect. I'm going to go to all of those tonight because another goal of mine for the year is to double the amount of food that I cook at home. I am very big on the excuse of I hate to cook and I don't have enough time and I'm saying yes, that is the excuse that I use, but the reality of the situation is I just don't make, make time for it and I'm not patient enough with these sites can give me some ideas for things that I can cook that will actually taste good and are relevant.

Erica Sodos (51:01):
Great idea. Because it does take time and what are you doing when you don't know if you listened to music, but my new thing is you just find really inspiring podcasts, whether they're environmental or creativity or neuroscience or whatever. A book on tape. So it's kind of like you're being productive

Marjorie Alexander (51:14):
as well as making healthy food for yourself. That is the cool thing about podcast. So you can, you can multi-task. I love it. Thank you. So, so speaking of books on tape, what book would you recommend to sustainable minds out there that are whole shifted their mindset specifically to become the change that they want to see in the world?

Erica Sodos (51:33):
So this looks really old. I mean when I became vegetarian it make. This came out in the eighties and so, but I'm going to suggest it because it's such a classic, there's so many more books. Diet for new America by John Robbins. So John Robbins, what? Baskin Robbins. And he would've parroted the whole empire and I believe he had polio and then he got off dairy and then he became really healthy. So the book is really encompassing a. He has, you know, he talks about the environment and factory farming and how so it's Diet for new America. John Robbins and back when I was younger I also had this cookbook may all be fed, which was great. It's a great coder, Yummy, but there's so many resources now have amazing boss. I am here on my table, animal liberation by Peter Singer. He has a lot of books about animals and as far as the environment since I know a lot of your listeners are so patchy environment is cowspiracy the movie. You've seen it. So again, you can, there's, there's a lot of documentaries on Netflix and a lot expose the food industry. This is purely about the environment and animal ag and it's brilliant and it's Netflix, it's streaming or DVD.

Marjorie Alexander (52:49):
Very cool. And just so folks know, uh, both animal liberation and Diet for new America are available on audible and a sustainable mine has a deal going on with audible where you get your first audio book free. So anyone that's interested in that can go to a sustainable Click on. We have a book link at the top, but we also have the link at the bottom of the show notes page for this episode so you can go check that out when you're done here and our final question is, it's been a long journey for you being becoming a vegetarian now vegan and working, doing your magic, your also a mentalist, all of this stuff. If you could recreate your current level of, I don't want to call it success because we're all. We're always in flux and we're always learning new things, but what are kind of the fundamentals or tools or resources or connections or really just the way in which you do things in place right away to ensure that you came to the same spot but a little bit faster?

Erica Sodos (53:51):
Yeah, that's a great question. I would have better follow through with people. I tend to technology and that's something that I think I would've learned to embrace quicker. I got my first website so many years ago. The web designer, you're the first person I made a website or who doesn't have a computer. I'm like, I go to the library. You know, I'd rather sit in a tree and talk to the tree and smell the tree, then the, um, the, the, the smartphone, but I think, and again, I'm still learning that I would have better follow through and I would, I don't know that I burned bridges, but I don't know that I had a system in place to stay connected to people and I think that's really important. I think I would have had that and I think I would've just, again, we're always working on this, not care what people think about me, right? Because what the world needs is for us to be alive and when we're alive and we're creative the right people. Very cool.

Marjorie Alexander (54:47):
Well, Erika, thank you so much for visiting us, uh, to, on a sustainable mind. Before we close out here, I do want to plug your website. So first of all, if, if people forgot a, you're a magician, you're a mentalist, psychic entertainer. You do everything. You do, public events, private events, corporate speaking, and you travel. You're not just in Connecticut. So that's totally awesome. If people want to book you or just learn a little bit more about what you do, you can visit Erika, Erica, Sodas, [inaudible] e r I c a, s o, d o, and of course, as always, these are all linked up in the show notes page for this episode. Just go to a sustainable and search Erica as episode will pop up. Erica, do you have any words or parting pieces of guidance that you can give sustainable minds out there?

Erica Sodos (55:37):
Every single one of us has the power with this is that we make every day to create a healthier environment and kinder world and a powerful lifestyle choice that will be helpful to all species on this planet and to the environment and help create a kind of world in a healthier body. Is the vehicle, again, lifestyle, plant based, whole foods, and it's so fun. Your listeners could look at it like an adventure, doing something new, changing, getting out of our comfort zone. I mean it couldn't be fun. It can be a game really

Marjorie Alexander (56:16):
Hey there sustainable minds. Did you know that this podcast has a phone number? I know crazy. You can call us and leave a voice mail or even text us at three to three to zero, and I personally respond to every single message. So if you've got something to say, you have a guest suggestion or you just want to give us general Kudos again, you can call or text at three to 30 5:36 zero. We would love to hear from you. Thanks again for listening and we'll catch you next time on a sustainable mind.