If you’ve ever considered the many benefits of going vegan, you’re in the right place. Not only is eating a whole food, plant-based diet healthier for you, but it also doesn’t require your participation in the exploitation of the vulnerable. Someone who understands this and values not just human life, but ALL life, is our guest today.
In 2001, Kathy Stevens co-founded Catskill Animal Sanctuary, where her love of teaching and her love of animals merged. One of the world’s leading sanctuaries for farmed animals, Catskill has saved more than 5,000 non-human individuals through the direct rescue — and exponentially more through programming that encourages humans to adopt veganism. Kathy shares how:
- A vegan saves around 30 animal lives every month (Veestro)
- Veganism could save almost eight million human lives by 2050 (Oxford Martin School)
- Following a vegan lifestyle cuts 100% of bad cholesterol from a person’s diet (The Vegan Review)
- A plant-based diet reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 23% (Harvard)
- What an “animal sanctuary” is and how is it different from an “animal shelter”
- What makes Catskill Animal Sanctuary unique among sanctuaries for farmed animals
- What vegan living means
- How veganism is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact
- What Catskill’s New Leaf program is and how you can participate
Learn more about Catskill Animal Sanctuary and its New Leaf Program. You can donate to support their ongoing efforts to bring awareness to end animal suffering and aid in the welfare of the beautiful rescued animals. All of the links will be in the show notes at RonandLisa.com/Podcast.
This episode of Healthy Home Hacks is brought to you by Boiron, world leader in homeopathic medicines. Is stress overload causing you some sleepless nights? Do you want to rest easier by supporting your body with a better way to feel better? For 90 years, Boiron has been dedicated to providing your family with the purest medicines made from the earth’s best resources. Boiron’s SleepCalm for adults and kids are melatonin-free sleep aids with no next-day grogginess. The meltaway tablets for adults and individual liquid doses for kids are non-habit forming and have no known drug interactions. From stress to sleep, pain relief, allergies, and more, Boiron has got you and your family covered with affordable homeopathic remedies that are easy to find online and in natural product stores nationwide. Help your body the natural way with gentle, worry-free formulas for even the littlest ones in your family! Visit BoironUSA.com to find the nearest retailer or buy direct using code RL20OFF to save 20% off your entire purchase.
Listen to all episodes of Healthy Home Hacks on your favorite podcast app
Rate, Review, & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts
“I love Ron & Lisa and Healthy Home Hacks.” <– If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing our new show! This helps us support more people — just like you — to regain their health, protect their loved ones, and enjoy more energy. Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let us know what you loved most about this episode or the entire show.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the podcast. Subscribe now!
Shop our Healthy Home Hacks Store
Visit the Healthy Home Hacks store to shop everything from notebooks and tees to hoodies, mugs & more! Your purchases help our show continue to thrive and reach more healthy living enthusiasts.
- Catskill Animal Sanctuary
- The New Leaf Program
- Compassionate Cuisine: 125 Plant-Based Recipes from Our Vegan Kitchen
Disclaimer: *This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. You still pay the same price but we might earn a small commission. Thank you for supporting the brands we love and trust.
How would you like to improve your health and keep your family safe? You're listening to the Healthy Home Hacks podcast where we firmly believe in joining optimal health shouldn't be a luxury. Healthy Home authorities and husband and wife team Ron and Lisa will help you create a home environment that will level up your health. It's time to hear from the experts. Listen in on honest conversations and gain the best tips and advice. If you're ready to dive in and improve your well-being and increase your energy, you're in the right place. All right, here are your hosts, building biologists, authors, media darlings, vicarious vegans and avocado aficionados, Ron and Lisa Beres.
Lisa Beres 00:50
This episode of healthy home Hacks is brought to you by Boiron - world leader in homeopathic medicines. Is stress overload causing you some sleepless nights do you want to rest easier by supporting your body with a better way to feel better? For 90 years Boiron has been dedicated to providing your family with the purest medicines made from the Earth's best resources. Boiron SleepCalm for adults and kids are melatonin-free sleep aids with no next-day grogginess. The meltaway. tablets for adults and individual liquid doses for kids are non-habit forming and have no drug interactions, from stress to sleep, pain relief, allergies, and more. Boiron gets you and your family covered with affordable homeopathic remedies that are easy to find online and unnatural product stores nationwide. Help your body the natural way with gentle worry-free formulas for even the littlest ones in your family. Visit boiron.com That's boiron.com to find the nearest retailer or buy direct. Use code RL20OFF that's RL20Off to save 20% off your entire purchase.
Ron Beres 02:00
Hey friends, and welcome to The Healthy Home hacks podcast. If you love animals as much as we do, you're in the right place. And you'll definitely want to stay until the end. Imagine this. If a group of beings from another planet were to land on earth being to consider themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals when you can see them the rights over you that you assume over other animals. - George Bernard Shaw
Lisa Beres 02:30
That is an interesting question to ponder and one that I've often asked myself on my own journey from being raised a meat eater to becoming a vegetarian at age 17. And now as a full vegan for over six years, we consider animals essential to our survival as food. But we know today that isn't true. Not only is eating a whole food, plant-based diet healthier for you, but it doesn't require your participation in the exploitation of the vulnerable. So, ask yourself if aliens were to invade our planet and view us as a good source of protein, even if it wasn't required for their survival, but they farmed us like food. How would you feel?
Ron Beres 03:13
Someone who understands this and values not just human life, but all life is our guest today. In 2001, Kathy Stevens co-founded Catskill Animal Sanctuary, where her love of teaching her belief that education has the power to transform and her love of animals came together one of the world's leading sanctuaries for farmed animals. Catskill has saved more than 5000 non-human individuals through direct rescue and exponentially more through programming that encourages humans to adopt veganism.
Lisa Beres 03:48
Kathy is the author of Where the Blind Horse Sings and Animal Camp. Two critically and popularly acclaimed books about the work of Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Kathy takes her message of kindness to all beings to conferences and colleges across the US and Canada. On weekends, you'll often find her on the ground, either tagging along on tours or kissing pigs. Ah, a woman after our own heart.
Ron Beres 04:15
Welcome to the show, Cathy.
Kathy Stevens 04:18
Never had an intro make a smile from ear to ear. That was so fun and heartwarming. You two have such an amazing energy.
Ron Beres 04:28
Well, Kathy, we appreciate that because we've been huge fans of yours, you know, much longer prior to this interview we're having right now we followed Catskill Animal Sanctuary for many years, initially, because we were in love with your baby goats.
Lisa Beres 04:41
Yes. And their little sweaters.
Kathy Stevens 04:43
Lisa Beres 04:46
Violet, I wasn't sure if I should bring her up because I did read that update. And you know, sometimes I know you lose beloved animals and that's so sad. But I would show Ron. Ron look at this little goat this little goat in this sweater. Oh, my we happen to love goats, we are goat people. So, we fell in love with Violet, and then all your animals big and small,
Ron Beres 05:07
what a wife you gave to violet and others to you must feel so good about yourself, Kathy.
Kathy Stevens 05:11
That's so interesting. Do I feel good about myself? I've never been asked that question I will tell you to take in a being, who's never known a moment, it's kindness and to say to that being with all that you have, like, you're safe, you're loved. You matter. Like, Heck, yeah, that's good for the heart. But on the other hand, you know, you compare, you could open 1000 sanctuaries tomorrow, and not make a dent in the suffering. And the only way out of this suffering, and really, one of the best ways to save the planet is to make a massive societal shift to veganism. And so, I don't spend a lot of time Ron, thinking about whether I feel good about what I do it is I am driven and passionate about it. And I wake up enthusiastic every day, even though I've been doing it for 21 years. But once you know, once you like, look behind that curtain, and you know what animals endure in the process of becoming our food, it's hard, maybe I feel good about what I do. But I don't feel satisfied. I don't feel satisfied, because the need is so great. So, anybody who runs a nonprofit for farm animals that exists to usher in the vegan world is always asking that question, how do I do? How do we do more?
Lisa Beres 06:36
Wow. I mean, I guess you have to have that level of drive to continue to do the work that you do. Because you're right. It's like, we can watch the videos on Instagram and go, Oh, how cute animals are so cute. But you know, just the thinking of where some of them came from. And where I guess they all came from is got to be so heartbreaking. But just knowing what a difference you're making; I can't even imagine how good that must feel. And even though you might think it's not enough, like what an impact and you inspire people and you don't even know it, right? You know, the people that you're inspiring, but you don't know about all the people who watch your videos, go to your site, come visit your sanctuary, you don't always even know about how many people you're affecting.
Kathy Stevens 07:17
You don't and I think that's true for anybody who's working in anything having remotely to do with social justice, right? But because when social media came along, which you know, didn't really exist 20 years ago, you can post a video of a little goat in a sweater and have it seen by 50 million people. So of course, you don't know that one was crazy. That one was a crazy one.
Lisa Beres 07:43
Was that 50 million? Kathy?
Kathy Stevens 07:45
I think it was 48 million.
Ron Beres 07:47
Oh, wow. That's a lot of views.
Kathy Stevens 07:50
But she was a one-pound goat. Round the size of a potato. And she wasn't really a potato when she was born. You could hold her in one hand. Oh my god and her mother rejected her. Is that what happened? Yes, she was one of three. And goats. Interestingly, can conceive. How do I explain this? They can conceive with different ovulation. So, a goat a pregnant goat can have a fetus in her that's three weeks old. ovulate again, and have another pregnancy. So why did you not know we do not know if she was just the little one out of three because there was no more room in there. Right? Or if she was three or six weeks younger than her sisters. But for whatever reason. Her mom who was a devoted mother probably thought she wasn't going to survive.
Lisa Beres 08:56
Yeah, it's weird how animals will reject their young if they you know, find them to be, you know, numerable not super healthy, vulnerable. Yeah. Yeah, it seems cruel, but you know, and then you have people like you who actually save them and give them an incredible life. You know, it's so incredible. Ron and I, we are vegan for six years and we don't have children. And we literally care for a lot of wild animals. And we consider them our children really like we take care of a lot of wildlife and it brings us so much joy and hey for anyone listening if you don't have kids, you know you can go this route.
Kathy Stevens 09:35
Lisa Beres 09:36
Animals love you unconditionally. They don't talk back. Well, so do dogs maybe. But anyway, we are over the vegan moon to have you with us today. And love like I said, watching all of your inspiring videos on Instagram. But I want to get into Catskill Animal Sanctuary first. So, can you explain to our listeners what an animal sanctuary is and how it's different from an Animal Shelter. And number two, what makes Catskill Animal Sanctuary unique among sanctuaries for farmed animals?
Kathy Stevens 10:07
Sure. Okay. So, a sanctuary is typically a place that offers a lifelong home to animals who come in the door. And more often than not, when people think of a shelter, they think of a dog and cat place a dog and cat nonprofit where they can go to adopt a dog or a cat or sometimes a rabbit, another, an animal who lives in a home with you. Whereas sanctuaries tend to be open for wildlife or for farmed animals or for horses, you don't hear about dog sanctuaries, or about cat's sanctuary. So, one, its terminology really, but one is for domesticated dogs and cats, primarily the other animals I just mentioned, but sanctuaries taken animals from a whole variety of situations. And one of the things people never consider people say. People ask us, how do you get your animals people think we have to go look them. Whereas you could open 1000 sanctuaries tomorrow and not make a dent in the need. Because they come from animal hoarders, they come from industry, when a chicken farm is going to downsize, they are going to gas, whole warehouses filled with animals or raise the temperature and cook them to death, or put them in a dumpster and crush them. Or in the meat grinder. And so, sanctuaries intervene in those kinds of situations. So, another thing that distinguishes sanctuaries from shelters is that you don't typically have requests at shelters to take in dozens or hundreds or hundreds. But that's always a pressure at sanctuaries that have any kind of size and acreage and capacity. What makes us unique, perhaps, is that my background was in teaching. I was a high school English teacher for a decade and wanted to after I was invited to be a principal of a new high school. That was a median technology school. And that's just not my thing. That's just not my thing. It had it been a social justice school or a school for the arts. I'd probably be there today. But it wasn't. And so, I realized when I turn this job down, it's like, oh, I think you're done with this chapter of your life.
Lisa Beres 12:36
Yeah. Anyhow, the universal, the universal sort of led you to your next, you know, yeah,
Kathy Stevens 12:43
It did. And I looked for a way to combine my love for teaching and learning with my love for animals because I had grown up on a horse farm, where we always had all kinds of animals. And that's what led me to form Catskill Animal Sanctuary. And so, the teaching, we are truly a teaching sanctuary. And when we first started, from the get go, I realized this was 2001. And there were sanctuaries around but nobody was doing the educational piece the way I felt like it needed to be done. No, we are not you guys know this. You've been vegan six years. You are serious animal lovers. You weren't before you were in your previous days. You weren't waking up and saying, I can't wait to torture animals at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Lisa Beres 13:36
Kathy Stevens 13:37
Yeah, nobody is intending to harm. We just live in a culture that has us believe that we're going to drop dead from protein deficiency. Or that, you know, our family is going to disown us if we come in the door, talking about ways of thinking about animals differently or eating differently. So from that first day, we've had a really active teaching program that helps people who come down our driveway and have their hearts ripped open because a turkey has fallen asleep in their laps, or a pig has run to them, when they call her name or a cow walks up with those big beautiful eyes and stares at them and just licks their face over and over. Because cows are so affectionate.
Lisa Beres 14:25
Cows are Yeah, I mean, I've watched that I haven't actually, you know, had countered.
Kathy Stevens 14:31
Cows. Still waters run deep. That is the expression that best describes a cow. Anyway, people visit sanctuaries and they come unglued. Like animal lovers come down the driveway, and they don't expect what I just described. Then they're raw and emotional and they then they have been, we've shared what they're participating in and its impact on the animals its impact on their health, its impact on the environment and they want Uh, that's a moment of opportunity. They want to make a change in that moment. So, you have to say, yep, say okay here. And so, we have not only do we have lots of different educational programs, we also have a vegan cooking program. We have a very active vegan cooking program that offers Linda is a gifted chef and we piloted a wonderful coaching program.
Ron Beres 15:22
Okay, Kathy put it in the putting on the spot your favorite vegan recipe? Don't think about it today. What's your favorite go to from her menu?
Kathy Stevens 15:29
Oh, it sounds very simple, but I'm thinking about winter because it's getting cold stuff. Chipotle black beans, sweet potato stew. Oh, that is awesome.
Ron Beres 15:40
Oh, yeah. Nice.
Lisa Beres 15:42
Oh, you know, what? Can we put a link to that in the show notes?
Kathy Stevens 15:44
You can put a link to her cookbook.
Lisa Beres 15:47
Okay, we'll do that. Do that. Yeah, that sounds delicious. Wow. Have you ever seen that movie Temple Grandin?
Kathy Stevens 15:54
No. Oh, because I know about that movie. And I have very conflicting feelings about that.
Lisa Beres 16:02
Okay. Yeah. Right, because it still is factory farming, right? I mean, she improved factory farming, but and made it a little. I mean, can you make it more humane? It's so inhumane. But she did try to make it more humane at least that's what I grabbed from watching the movie.
Kathy Stevens 16:18
She did. If you know if you can keep an animal calm till their moment of death, I suppose that's better than the alternative. But if you say to me, look, take a cow. It takes about two years, which is the system she designed, right? She designed a system that mimics cows how cow cows meander in nature. So, if you say to me, cows are killed at two years old beef cows. If you say to me, Kathy, I'm going to kill you. Two years from now. Do you want to be killed? In a way that is kind of catches you off guard? Or do you want to be killed in a way where you know what's facing you? Because you can see it and you could smell it and you can hear it? I'm going to say I choose door number three. I want not to be killed. Yeah. I want not to be killed. Yeah.
Lisa Beres 17:10
Well, what's the movie? Cowspiracy. That was a really beautiful movie. That movie really was eye opening. And then also what's the other one?
Ron Beres 17:19
Vegan spoons or forks or what?
Kathy Stevens 17:21
No, Forks Over Knives.
Ron Beres 17:25
Okay, I use my utensils. Thank you.
Lisa Beres 17:30
I love it. That was great.
Ron Beres 17:32
Unintended, but there you go.
Lisa Beres 17:34
It's the sequel to is it Cowspiracy that the ad has the hamburger now? That's not what the one. Why so many.
Kathy Stevens 17:40
Yeah, What the Health?
Lisa Beres 17:41
Yeah, that one turned your mom and dad vegan for a while Ron. And they're very big meat eaters. And, you know, I originally thought, you know, for I was harming their son. When we went vegetarian together and vegan. They were like, you're starting.
Ron Beres 17:55
My defense. So, I wanted to be vegetarian a long time. But then I was I was like, no.
Lisa Beres 17:58
But like, then later, they were worried you were going to die, you know, of the protein mess, you know, not getting enough protein.
Kathy Stevens 18:05
Well, and where are you from?
Ron Beres 18:06
Well, I grew up on the East Coast. Born in the Midwest, I grew up in the Washington, DC Virginia area. But like many people that had been brainwashed from that media phrase, you know, about protein and all those things, too. I mean, I think you know, this culture in general has been falsely led to think that we need high levels of protein that needs to be animal protein. And that's just not the case. Because I don't want to flex for you, Kathy, but these are some guns.
Kathy Stevens 18:38
Ron, I believe you.
Ron Beres 18:39
Oh, thank you. Thanks, Kathy. My wife's laughing but that made me feel good. There you go. Yeah,
Lisa Beres 18:43
Obviously, we're healthier now vegan. You know, we were healthier vegetarian than when we've raised meat eaters, and we're healthier vegan than we were vegetarian, and, you know, clean bill of health and no medication. And we both weigh less than we used to even like I weigh less than I did in high school, you know, and that's not from dieting or, you know, vigorous, crazy amount of exercising. That's literally just from making healthy food choices and being aware, because this is a two faceted approach of you know, because when you tell people you're vegan, they go are you doing it for health reasons or animal? Like it can't be both? Well, it's actually both but for me, it started health and for Ron, it was animal and now it's become both for us, right? I wasn't even thinking about like you said, I didn't even think about the animals. I didn't think that they had feelings and families and I mean, you kind of know but you don't realize the horrors that go on because you know, oh, MacDonald had a farm and you think all the animals are just getting along and having a great time on the farm?
Kathy Stevens 19:35
Well, there's been those marketing arms of those huge industries which are multibillion-dollar corporations have a damn good marketing arm. And they they're very they've got lobbyists who are very influential with politicians. It's just a tough system to break through with people. But thankfully, it.
Lisa Beres 19:55
Even tried to sue Oprah right when she said eat less meat or something.
Kathy Stevens 20:00
They did sue her, but they lost. Yeah, yeah, they lost. Yeah. What was that?
Lisa Beres 20:06
It was something about she made a comment on her show to eat less meat. Yeah, she didn't say don't eat meat. She just said eat less. And then that's how Dr. Phil got involved because he was her on her legal team.
Kathy Stevens 20:17
Oh, interesting. I don't know that. That's, I think she's tried veganism a few times. I don't think it sticks with her.
Ron Beres 20:26
There's a lot of discipline.
Lisa Beres 20:27
Yeah, it's a major life change. I tell people to do it in stages, because it's certainly hard to go full blown. Like maybe you start with dairy. Or maybe you just start with red meat, and then you move to chicken and then maybe you move to dairy, you know, because I think it's really hard to go cold turkey, no pun intended, like from A to Z.
Kathy Stevens 20:43
All I would say it is that I did it over 15 years, probably. But most people who visit here have such an intense emotional reaction and they feel so helpless. They cannot believe what they have been participating in that people who come to animal sanctuaries tend to do it really quickly. Because they not yet. urgency.
Lisa Beres 21:12
Yeah, they really do. They connect with animals, and they understand, right?
Kathy Stevens 21:16
My favorite story, quick story to exemplify what I just said is that a young man, I come down to the parking lot went down to the sanctuary, pulled into the parking lot. He was just finishing up a tour. And he saw me from a distance, and we locked eyes, and he sprinted toward me, he's probably 30. And he came up and he grabbed my forearms, and he burst into tears. And he said, I get it now. Tell me what to do.
Lisa Beres 21:47
Oh wow. That is beautiful.
Ron Beres 21:50
There's been a lot of brainwashing you know.
Lisa Beres 21:52
It's too bad. There's not a sanctuary in every city that people could go and visit and have that connection with because it's not like, Oh, you're bad, you're not vegan, we're going to get you into eating better. You know, the way that you're transforming people's coming from such a beautiful place of like, they're wanting to do it. They're not feeling pressured, or guilted or anything like that.
Kathy Stevens 22:11
Yeah, I believe you have to do it like that. Yeah, I don't believe in the angry vegan approach.
Lisa Beres 22:18
The grumpy vegan.
Kathy Stevens 22:19
The grumpy vegan, the angry vegan, like, although here's the thing, this is the biggest social change movement in the history of mankind, humankind, right, we are not asking men to change their attitudes toward women, we are not asking white people to open up their minds about and realize that skin color doesn't make you any better or entitle you to anything, right? We're not asking a segment of a population; we are asking every single person alive to change his or her relationship with and behavior toward animals. So in that way, I think, you know, if you look at the civil rights movement, or you look at any other social change movement in history, every what appeals to you as an approach, Lisa, or you as Ron is not necessarily going to be what appeals to me, everybody responds to different inputs. So, I don't oppose those more confrontational approaches, and I have friends who've changed because of them. But to me, they had the opposite effect on me. And I think most of us, I always say that if I had been part of the civil rights movement, I would and I would have been if I had been a little bit older, I would have been on the MLK side of things, as opposed to the Black Panther side of things, although now I totally get the Black Panther side of things. Yeah,
Ron Beres 23:45
But both, you know, achieving the same end. It's interesting to know we talked about this brainwashing in general, and McDonald's alone feeds 68 million people a day, which begs the question of the sheer number of animals that are slaughtered daily, to keep up with that demand. So how would you answer the question? What does vegan living mean?
Kathy Stevens 24:07
Hmm, thank you for that question. It means living with the intention of inflicting the least amount of harm, the intention of inflicting the least amount of harm on other living beings specifically on animals. To me, veganism is a philosophy and you apply it's just the philosophy of non-harming period, the Do unto Others philosophy. It's not about perfection. You know, I don't go if I'm in a hurry. I don't eat a lot of snacky foods. I eat mostly Whole Foods, but sometimes I want cheese and crackers. And if I don't see my brand of crackers, and I'm in a hurry, I will make an assumption. Oh, that I think that box is vegan, and I'll get that box of crackers if I'm in a hurry. So, I don't Thinking about I didn't throw out my leather belts, I didn't throw out my leather shoes, I didn't throw out my wool rugs, you can go that path. Or you can be a little forgiving of yourself and say, look, there are animal products in everything, its cosmetics and everything. And so, you can just launch this new chapter in which you are trying to live by the values that we all aspire to. We all I choose to believe that most of us are good, and that values like mercy and kindness and compassion are central to our lives. So, veganism is just about being more conscious of what that looks like in every aspect of your life, starting with food, because, again, in the course of the year, you're sparing the lives of 100 animals if you stop eating them. So that's where to have the biggest impact.
Lisa Beres 26:01
Is it one year being that that kind of average?
Kathy Stevens 26:04
It's that's a number. You see, the numbers are all over the place, but you often see about 100 Yeah.
Lisa Beres 26:10
Wow. Talk about making an impact. Jeez, yeah. Well,
Kathy Stevens 26:14
I mean, if you eat seafood, you could eat 100 And you eat shrimp and oysters you eat underdone a couple of weeks.
Lisa Beres 26:21
Yeah. Wow. That's crazy. That puts in perspective as sometimes you need the stats to understand how powerful that movement is. I think too, there's a spiritual aspect of going vegan around and I felt this when we went vegan, we just felt like, I don't know, it was like, as we were developing our spirituality deeper, it became like part of that. And there's just no way that you can harm and we don't have bugs. We save every bug. If there's any bugs in our house. We save it. We take it outside. I just saved two crickets this week. Literally.
Kathy Stevens 26:53
Let me ask you something. I have one exception. And I have two exceptions.
Lisa Beres 26:58
Ants and cockroaches.
Kathy Stevens 26:59
Nope. Oh, mosquitoes and ticks.
Ron Beres 27:01
I was going to say something bites me. I can hit.
Lisa Beres 27:05
You can tell we live in different seasons.
Ron Beres 27:10
For sure. Yeah,
Lisa Beres 27:13
Yeah, yeah, we don't have a lot of mosquitoes here. And we don't have well, I guess they're everywhere. But we generally don't have a tick issue or mosquito issue. So yeah, I'm with you on that, Kathy. And for us ants, because we'll get ants. Sometimes in the summer when it's really hot. They'd like to come in. And yeah, there was a Buddhist guy, right and right that we met that said, ask them to leave. And if they don't leave, you have the right to kill? Well, they don't leave when you ask them.
Kathy Stevens 27:38
That's hilarious. Well, so again, but it's the same principle. It's not about perfection. It's about your intention. Yeah.
Lisa Beres 27:46
I love that Kathy.
Kathy Stevens 27:47
And the least possible harm.
Lisa Beres 27:49
Yeah. Because I've been bringing shamed and, you know, people same. People all in the right side will shame each other that you're not doing good enough, you know, and that's like, very counterproductive. Oh, you have, you know, leather seats in your car? Well, yeah. Okay. You know, there's things that you're going to, like you said, kind of feel like, that's maybe a compromise, you're not perfect. And you know, on your path to improving yourself on your path to growth, you get better and better and better. You know, you might not get rid of the leather stuff you have, but you're not going to buy anymore moving forward and things like that.
Kathy Stevens 28:18
Ron Beres 28:19
Kathy, what do you say to the people that say like, I'm not Kathy Stevens, I can't be vegan? I can't start a sanctuary. I mean, did you start off this way? Did you start off with this vision? Or you just liked them? And you made this transition?
Kathy Stevens 28:30
I don't know that I understand the question.
Lisa Beres 28:33
Well, I think you meant like, were you raised this way? Were you raised to always care for animals? Or did you just kind of evolve into this?
Kathy Stevens 28:39
Is that what you meant?
Ron Beres 28:40
Yeah. You always take the wife to help out which is great, right?
Lisa Beres 28:42
20 years married Kathy, I got to speak for him. It's neat.
Ron Beres 28:49
It's really nice. Right? And it's nice for me to hear myself repeated. It's great. So now just starting off from the beginning, some people you know, probably wonder like, oh, Kathy's probably always been that way. She was born in the sanctuary, and she created a sanctuary. But I bet that wasn't the case. There probably was a time where maybe you weren't vegan, and you're just like, damn, and you made that choice.
Kathy Stevens 29:11
I came from a hugely conservative, arch conservative, conservative family, conservative in every way. And I grew up on a horse farm, and we had cows and we ate them. And it was very meat and potatoes family. And in fact, my dad who died prematurely of heart disease, used to call me routinely and say, you know, after I went vegan, which was 20 some years ago, what are you having for dinner tonight? Nuts and grass or sticks and leaves?
Ron Beres 29:48
So that's funny.
Lisa Beres 29:57
That's great. My dad was probably thinking the same. He never said it to me.
Ron Beres 30:01
But that's her dad was a hunter.
Lisa Beres 30:02
Kathy Stevens 30:04
Yeah. So, I was not raised at all like this and it has pained me that not more of my family have become vegan in the process of watching this me on my own journey. Some have my sister, my sister and her kids are somewhere from vegan to vegetarian to almost vegetarian, all she and her husband or four kids are doing pretty darn well. But no, I grew up in a racist, homophobic, sexist, world.
Ron Beres 30:38
I guess that's a different show Kathy.
Kathy Stevens 30:43
With a very traditional diet. Yeah,
Ron Beres 30:46
yeah, we said Dr. Phil earlier and you were just going on Kathy, and you thought that was no. That's your next show.
Kathy Stevens 30:52
All right, I'll zip it.
Lisa Beres 30:54
It's the SAD diet. All of us here on this show grew up with the SAD diet, the Standard American Diet, a lot of white food, potatoes, bread, cereal, bagels, meat, we eat the meat at every night food and brown food, white food and brown food. That's funny. I used to say to Ron, our plate was always beige. Like, if you just look to, we didn't have a lot of color. And if there was some broccoli, and some carrots, you know, that would be great. Maybe a salad here and that like iceberg lettuce salad.
Kathy Stevens 31:21
Like iceberg lettuce salads with Kraft French dressing. Yes, yes,
Lisa Beres 31:25
Yeah, talk about like, empty, it's very empty, and you feel very empty after you eat like that, because it drains you. It's very hard for our system to digest that kind of food. And it's also like, we're not getting all those nutrients and enzymes that give us energy. We even did it raw food, a couple of weeks of raw food and I was like bouncing off the walls with energy. Because the enzymes in the uncooked food really give you a lot of energy. They were they save your energy, basically. Yeah. And so that's in the bloating and the fatigue and all of those things that come along with the Standard American Diet. You know, if you're listening and you're on the fence, try it. I mean, what have you got to lose? Try it, I'll put a link.
Kathy Stevens 32:05
And not only that, not only those day to day things, but the link between dairy and everything from lactose intolerance to acne and asthma and the link between meat and prostate cancer, breast cancer and heart attack stroke, gout, I mean, if you just people are so defended about what they eat, but if you eat, anybody who wants to do any level of research can will easily see this is not working for me from a health perspective.
Lisa Beres 32:40
Even if it is right now it won't long term. And there's a famous quote that I'm sure you've heard this. You're not lactose intolerant. You're just not a baby cow. Yeah.
Kathy Stevens 32:53
Yeah, that is great. That is great. It reminds me of this one clip from one of those movies that you were talking about out there so many out there. And a doctor is being interviewed of vegan doctor about this protein myth. And he says to the interviewer asked me how I get enough protein. So, the interviewer says, Dr. so how do you get enough protein? And he said, I eat? No such thing is protein deficiency. Food has protein if you eat if you get enough to eat, you're getting ample protein.
Lisa Beres 33:26
Ron Beres 33:26
That's a great point. Kathy, because food is a form of healthcare. Right? It's a form of healthcare. In fact, can you tell us about Catskills New Leaf program?
Kathy Stevens 33:35
Yes, Chef Linda is a professional chef, and also has a certificate in nutrition and came to our program 11 years ago, and we were originally doing cooking classes, but sound that it's like this urgency knocking at the door. Like it wasn't enough to hand out food samples, after tours on weekends, and offer cooking classes for a maximum of 12 people at our bed and breakfast, which is what we were doing. So, when COVID happened and the world went online, you know, and everybody discovered zoom, we started doing the cooking classes virtually. And then within the last year, we've asked ourselves, how we might scale even from there because we are still finding that the classes were nothing more than that. They were classes that people enjoyed, but a single one-off class was not what people like we want to do know that we're doing our best to usher in a plant-based world and doing the one off was too limiting. So, Linda went kind of back to the drawing board and created a month-long pilot program that she might be finishing it literally tonight. uh Wow. Timely. Yeah, yeah. We were going to do the pilot for 50 people but Round up the 60s for seven, something signed up really quickly. So, we just thought, Okay, well, we'll do it for that number of people, it's a month-long program. This is a pilot, so it will be refined. But what's unique about it because there are several mentoring programs out there for people who want to go bigger. This one combines cooking classes, online cooking classes, with group support a Facebook group lectures, you know, I did a series of very short videos, sitting with the animals with a cow drooling on my head, talking about what the animals endure in the process of becoming beef, or chicken or what have you. Wow, that's a really holistic approach to, and I think it literally is ending tonight. So, we're going to gather all that data and use it to inform what New Leaf looks like in the new year. So, it will be some sort of very, very, very robust online support program for anybody who's at any stage in this journey.
Ron Beres 36:09
Well, let us know when it's rolled out. Certainly, want to share that.
Lisa Beres 36:12
I'll put the link to that. And what is the price point? Or do you not know yet?
Kathy Stevens 36:16
We don't know. We don't know any of that. We've got to survey participants and just get all that data. Wow. Well,
Lisa Beres 36:24
I think it's fair to say that folks who work at animal sanctuaries have a unique insight into the ethics of the vegan lifestyle. Before we go, is there anything you'd like to share about animals that might inspire listeners who are considering veganism? You know, we don't know all of the stuff that you know, you're on a farm, you're with the animals every day. What would you say? Like, are some of the animals that maybe have it the worst in these factories are you know.
Kathy Stevens 36:50
Oh, they're all miserable. They're all its torture, from birth to death. They're taken from their mothers, it's just torture from their birth to death. You know, their beaks are cut off. If they're birds. They're different body parts, if they're the mammals, extreme confinement, breathing in their own fumes from their own urine and feces, living in crates, barely bigger than their bodies, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Here's what I've learned from the animals. And what's interesting, is it. It's things I always knew about dogs and cats. But we live in a world that doesn't want us to know these things about the animals we eat. They want their lives as much as we want ours. They are as individual as we are. 10 Chickens are as individual as 10 children. Absolutely. They have every emotion we do. We know that about our dogs, we know our dogs can get be excited or grumpy or greedy. or afraid or excited. Like why don't we know that about pigs? Right? Because it's true about pigs.
Lisa Beres 37:56
It's true about chicken because they are smarter than dogs. Is that true?
Kathy Stevens 37:59
Pigs are when you take you take on a force of nature strong willful smart, and food obsessed
Lisa Beres 38:11
Isn't is about most animals, Ron and I in our wildlife feeding of these animals we found they're so food obsessed, every single one. That doesn't matter.
Kathy Stevens 38:21
Interesting. Well, I mean, there's a special gusto with which a pig eat that is so like, fun to watch. Like they climb the fences and they growl like bears at dinnertime. So anyway, and then the last thing that we've learned from them, is it pain and suffering feel the same to a chicken or pig or cow, as they do to any of us? And so, if I don't need to eat them, in order to be healthy, and in fact, if not eating them is healthier for me. I'm trying to live a compassionate life. And the four things I've said are just true. And why on earth would I continue to eat animal.
Lisa Beres 39:06
Right? As Maya Angelou says, when you know better you do better?
Kathy Stevens 39:11
Lisa Beres 39:13
Yeah, that was beautiful. Would you say every animal likes human affection? All the animals?
Kathy Stevens 39:19
Lisa Beres 39:20
Oh, which ones don't.
Kathy Stevens 39:22
Oh, no, it's not by species. Oh, I see. No, it's not by species. It's by individual animal like take the chickens. You've got your in your face chicken. Like you've got the shy chicken, you've got the aloof chicken. You've got the not the sharpest knife in the drawer chicken like so. No, it's not that a species is unfriendly. It's that sum of every species crave human attention and some are more aloof. Okay. I mean, I can tell you the friendly are turkeys. Turkeys need people rally turkeys crave human attention. Turkey will not wait to sit in a lap and put their heads their long necks over your shoulder and give you a hug. Oh my god I sang and they sing. Turkeys crave human attention. Cows if they've been around people crave human attention.
Lisa Beres 40:25
Kathy Stevens 40:26
Lisa Beres 40:28
Oh goats. Yeah, we know we've done yoga with goats. We've Oh, yeah. Oh, it's we've hung out extensively with goats. We've loved rad and I they crack me up people and I'll just be on the floor laughing their personalities are so Oh, yeah, they're like little kids, right?
Kathy Stevens 40:43
They never grow out of their terrible twos. Never.
Lisa Beres 40:48
They make me laugh. They'll be mean to each other. They'll, you know, bully each other. But then they're nice to you. And would you say that to Kathy, like, I've found you know, and I'm not on a sanctuary. But animals are so forgiving. There's so forgiving, and they're so loving. And its humans that are actually cruel to them for no reason. But they aren't that way.
Kathy Stevens 41:08
I love their resilience, and their capacity to forgive. And their capacity to come down our driveway and look around and say, Hmm, this place seems pretty different from where I came from. I'm going to give these people a shot is so deeply touching. We just rescued 40 sheep from a neighbor, who by the time we got law enforcement to intervene, 34 had died from starvation. That's horrible from starvation. And these animals had life threatening hoof rot. We had to give them blood transfusions, three died within the first few days of being here. And they've now been here for a few weeks of girls are hopefully going to carry their little babies to term because they're all pregnant. And they are like you watch them and they're starting to some of them are starting to come up. Some of them are starting lean into us. They love connecting. So yeah, they are. Again, you cannot generalize. It's generalizing about any species is no different than saying people are stupid. Okay, right. So, again, it's animal to animal but the vast majority are resilient, and extremely forgiving and eager to start again. Because they want to be happy. They want to be happy.
Lisa Beres 42:36
Do you think they know? Do you think they haven't knowing that they've been rescued?
Kathy Stevens 42:40
I have so many stories. Do you really want to ask me that question? Yes. 3,000,000%
Lisa Beres 42:45
I bet I bet you Yes.
Kathy Stevens 42:47
3,000,000%. Want to do it.
Lisa Beres 42:49
Let's have you back on. I'd love to hear some of those stories. Oh,
Kathy Stevens 42:52
So, I'll tell you about the sheep who changed my life. Okay.
Lisa Beres 42:55
Okay. Now, now?
Kathy Stevens 42:58
Oh, no, I thought you said what? Uh, no, no, it's a long story.
Lisa Beres 43:02
Okay, we'll do it next time. We'll do it on the follow up. I can't wait to hear it. The sheep that changed your life. I'm going to remember that. Oh, my God, I bet you have so many stories. Oh, yeah. That's beautiful. Can't be I have to tell you. I was very excited about this interview because I'm very passionate about this topic as is Ron and I can't thank you enough for the work you do. Are you funded by donations? Is there a place people can go to donate?
Kathy Stevens 43:26
Yeah, they can go to the website. Okay. And that is everything. I mean, there you know, we're on all the social media channels, but it's easiest just to go right online right to the website, which is C for Catskill A for animal sanctuary.org So casanctuary.org.
Lisa Beres 43:44
And I'm guessing you can never have enough donations, right? It's probably a constant with the medical bills and the food and all of that.
Kathy Stevens 43:52
Lisa Beres 43:53
Or are you independently a billionaire?
Kathy Stevens 43:56
Or what about millionaires?
Lisa Beres 43:57
Or are you independently a billionaire?
Kathy Stevens 43:59
Not independently a billionaire. Next life next time? Yeah. No winners a tough time of year. Hey, prices have gone up by 40%. It's tough time. So, we really appreciate any gifts that people feel inspired to make.
Lisa Beres 44:16
Okay, awesome. Thank you. Thank you, Kathy, thank you for the work that you do. For all of the beautiful beings that need our help. Remember, friends, veganism, is human decency. You can learn more about Catskill Animal Sanctuary at casanctuary.org. And to learn more about their new leaf program, visit casanctuary.org/new-leaf.
Ron Beres 44:40
We'll have all the links in the show notes at Ronandlisa.com/podcast. Stay tuned for the next episode. Get ready to up level your health and protect the vulnerable. See you then. Bye. Bye, Cathy.
Kathy Stevens 44:55
Bye, guys. Thanks, Lisa. It's
Ron Beres 44:56
Kathy Bravo. Thank you, Kathy. Pleasure.
This episode of the Healthy Home hacks podcast has ended. But be sure to subscribe for more healthy living strategies and tactics to help you create the healthy home you always dreamed of. And don't forget to rate and review so we can continue to bring you the best content. See you on the next episode.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.