For the remainder of season six of the SHINE podcast, the interviews and focus will point light on how we optimize for our well being and how that is interconnected to the planet’s well-being. Today’s episode highlights my new friend Alejandra Schrader on combating climate change, one bite at a time. Alejandra and I both had our first books debut in 2021. Alejandra has focused and used her platform to educate and inspire folks with plant based meals, recipes and ways to eat in ways that are sustainable with environmentally friendly farming practices. Her first book, The Low Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan: Reduce Food Waste and Combat Climate Change with 140 Sustainable Plant–based Recipes is amazing. Alejandra and I talk about her mission to support people to be mindful of what they consume, how they consume, and how their cooking can support the health of our bodies and the planet.
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The Imperfect Shownotes
0:01 Carley Hauck
Hi, my name is Carley Hauck. I am your host of the SHINE podcast, welcome. This podcast focuses on the intersection of the application of how to be a conscious, inclusive leader, the recipe for high performing teams, and awareness practices, so that you can cultivate a strong inner game. To be the kind of leader our world needs. Now, I facilitate two to three episodes a month. And before I tell you about our wonderful topic today, please go over to your Apple podcasts and hit the subscribe button. This way you don’t miss any future interviews.
We are in season six of the SHINE podcast. And this season is all about how we optimize to live, work, play, so that we can bring our whole and best selves to our mission, to our life, to our relationships. This includes being mindful of our consumption or energy leaks. And really figuring out how we can have the best performance for our minds, bodies, hearts, how we can support the wellbeing of our communities and our planet.
For the remainder of the season, there will be a specific focus on the well being of our bodies and how that’s interconnected to the planet’s well being. And we will be kicking that off right now with today’s episode, Combating Climate Change One Bite at a Time with my new friend Alejandra Schrader. Alejandra and I both had our first books debut in 2021. And we each had a similar mission, and inspiration and writing our books. We were dedicated to awakening humanity, in service of people and planet, and my book Shine: Ignite Your Inner Game to Lead Consciously at Work and In the World, I focus on the body of work that I’ve successfully facilitated, and supported many leaders in business so that they can align with business as a force for good and social and environmental responsible actions. I also highlight in my book three trailblazing leaders and their journeys, and how to promote more vegan, plant based food options to mitigate climate change, and change the food system for good.
Alejandra has focused and used her platform for plant based meals that are cooked smart and packed with flavor, nutritional value. She advocates for sustainable diets and environmentally friendly farming practices. And her first book, The Low Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan: Reduce Food Waste and Combat Climate Change with 140 Sustainable Plant–based Recipes is amazing. Alejandra and I talk about what consciousness inclusive leadership means to her, what it looks like in her journey, her mission for really supporting people to be mindful of what they consume, how they consume, and how their cooking can be in the greatest support of the earth and all the resources that we all share. There are some special highlights in this episode, and I would love for you to listen. Thanks for tuning in.
Carley Hauck 3:55
Hello, SHINE podcasters. I am delighted to be here with my friend, Alejandra Schrader. And Alejandra, thank you so much for joining me today. I’m really looking forward to our conversation.
Alejandra Schrader 4:12
Yeah, it’s truly a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
Carley Hauck 4:15
Yeah, well, I I saw your book and I think I found it because there was a post that you had liked. Bruce Friedrich the president, I don’t know what I should call him Grand Puba, he was like
all plant based alternative proteins, you know, the Good Food Institute and I saw your book and I thought, look at her. She wrote a recipe book, focused completely on recipes that would lower our carbon footprint. I have got to get to know this woman. So thank you again for writing your new book, The Low Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan: Reduce Food Waste and Combat Climate Change with 140 Sustainable Plant–based Recipes.
Before I jump into the motivation for that, one of the first questions that I always ask folks on the SHINE podcast is the question. How do you view being a conscious, inclusive leader? Like what does that mean to you?
Alejandra Schrader 5:30
Well, first of all, it means a great sense of responsibility that is driven my by my purpose, by a sense of purpose to leave this planet a better place than I found it. As we will talk later, I have a baby, and I want to make sure that he is able to enjoy a planet in which he can thrive.
And by being a conscious leader, I also feel the responsibility to lead by example, to attract more than to promote, to lead the way that I carry myself, that I show up, that I work, and that I communicate in a way that other people feel encouraged and empowered to join me to follow my lead to find their own calling their own purpose, but ultimately to have as a common denominator, the greater good for people and the planet.
Carley Hauck 6:36
Lovely, great answer. So I heard, you know, a greater responsibility, and wanting to leave behind a better world really acting and service of the greatest good. Thank you. Well, based on that answer, tell me more about your motivation for writing your book.
Alejandra Schrader 7:01
Yes, I think that there are many layers to that. And I would say the first one definitely is my love for Mama Earth, for the planet. And my focus on the subject of sustainability, which I have, since I was a little girl, I would see how our actions impacted, at that time, the environment in which I was in, I grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and one of my favorite parks, it’s kind of because it’s a big city, kind of like New York City. And there’s not the same but we have something similar to what will be the Central Park and I remember walking by and seeing how some trees that were in front of a tall building that had many curtain wall, which is that reflective glass, they will be dying.
And I would ask my mom like what, you know, why are these three stances so well, you know, because we live in a tropical country and the sun once it hits the facade of the building reflects upon these trees and is too much heat and the trees can handle it and I remember that is you know, sort of blew my mind and I was like well then why why first of all right, they will build this building so close to the park and why would they choose that material that is reflect you know, and I had all these questions.
Funny enough, I went on to become an architect. And while I was in architecture school, I went to CyArk a very progressive, designer Oriented Architecture School and I pushed every envelope when it came to sustainability every one of my buildings tried to the design it really tried to use the environment in which was in like that concept that form follows function how can I maximize the intake of air or the exposure of the song and and that was a principle that I didn’t carry to everything else I’ve done in my life.
I went to graduate school to do work in urban planning and sustainability was again my like the foundation of my research and my projects. And after an unfortunate event when I lost my career in architecture and urban planning, I am really by a very lucky shot and working in the food world in the culinary world, it only made sense to bring that passion for sustainability. Little did I know really at the time it was only it was so many something like one of those gut feelings that innate like it’s just an intuitive thought I need to I need to continue to you know to work this path.
Little did I know at the time that genuinely food has this massive effect on on the planet how we produce it. how we shop, how we cook, what we eat, how we dispose of waste our food. You know, food is responsible for over a quarter of all greenhouse gasses. And so again, you know, I’m saying little did I know because I cannot take credit for the for that awareness at the time. But thank goodness, right that sometimes we hear a calling, and we have a sense of strong sense of intuition. And you know, some of us, well, actually, I should say that at that point in my life, I was willing to listen to that.
Carley Hauck 10:35
And what I hear is that you had a greater consciousness at a younger age, and you saw the inter-connection of everything from, you know, living spaces to the well being of the planet to the well being of ourselves, our own ecosystem, right?
And, yes, it reminds me of the consciousness that I had as a little girl too, because I did not grow up in Venezuela, but I grew up in Florida. And I would take these walks on the beach, St. Augustine, which is one of the oldest cities in the United States. And, you know, Florida has just, I’d say recently, maybe in the last 10 years has started a recycling program, they still do not have a lot of composting at all, which I know you and I are communicating to, we dug about food waste, but I was picking up plastic bottles of the sand whenever I did find any plastic because I knew that a sea turtle was going to see that plastic as a jellyfish and they were going to try to eat it.
And so in a similar to you, I just knew like this isn’t this isn’t right, this isn’t supposed to be and it’s gonna do more harm than positive. So that was your first layer. Tell me.
Alejandra Schrader 11:52
Yes. So the next layer comes after the work that I you know, I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. I believe in greater callings on God shots, you know, whatever people want us to define them as, but I sort of fell into this wonderful line of work. And in my work as a chef, and as a culinary professional, where I could help bridge that gap between what people what people eat, and, and where are cooked, where food is coming from how the farmers that are working the land properly, the work of scientists determining what is the best food for planet health and human health.
And by working on that I got exposed to a lot of information that at one point, I couldn’t unsee. I, you know, I got invited to the United Nations to present the EAT-Lancet report on planetary health. And here I am talking in the great chambers to people about, you know, that we have the power to change that with a shift in our diets to help combat the climate crisis, and I’m passing all these beautiful messages that I’ve learned. And at the same time I am aware of, especially in the United States, how the industrial industrialized animal production works and how that’s so bad for the production of greenhouse gasses, especially methane, it got to a point that I knew too much. And I felt here, here we go again, back to that concept that I couldn’t tell people don’t eat meat anymore. But I said, You know what, I’m going to stop eating meat, I’m going to transition slowly into a plant based diet for the sake of the planet, and because of all these, all these things that I know that I cannot no longer avoid or turn my back into.
And then the third layer, which is a simple one, but very impactful, was my own health. I’ve always had, since I was six years old, battled with issues of obesity of my body, you know, I tend to gain weight very quickly. There’s a lot of third world food insecurity embedded into me and you know, that’s a whole conversation, but at one point, I was dealing with really high levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. And this at the same time, right that, you know, again, I’m exposed to these vast amount of information. So I said, I’m gonna give it a try. I’m gonna go plant weeks and three months after I switch to a plant based diet, all of my blood work levels were perfect. Not even decent. They were perfect. And that was that’s, that’s ultimately what sold me I said, You know what, this again, these are layers. I’m doing it for the planet. I’m doing it for my integrity, but I’m also doing it for my health.
Carley Hauck 14:47
Fabulous, thank you. Well, you talk about in, you know, layer two this broken food system, which we’re gonna have to be solving and fixing for quite a long time, not just in the United States but all over the world. And then I loved hearing kind of that more personal investment, and the amazing results that you’ve seen in adopting a plant based, maybe vegan, would you would you say your diet is mostly vegan?
Alejandra Schrader 15:17
When I talk about plant based. And I think that there are many definitions out there. But the main difference for me is, as opposed to going to the supermarket and navigating the refrigerated aisles section finding vegan sausage, vegan pizza, vegan chicken, I stay on the perimeters of the store and I really use produce, and vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, algae, fungi, but I eat mushrooms to create beautiful and delicious dishes.
And I try to stay away from vegan products that are a little more processed and less healthy. So that’s why I like to focus more on the plant based nomenclature, because this is one that I identify more with.
Carley Hauck 16:09
And that’s helpful, I think, for our listeners, because I think a lot of people can get confused on, okay, what’s plant based? What’s whole foods? What’s vegan? And so that was very specific. I appreciate that.
Alejandra Schrader 16:26
Yes. And, and one more piece again, because sometimes people get too hung up, I will, if you will, on the terminology. You know, there’s times where I’ve traveled to the Northern Triangle and Central America to do some work on the field. And there’s genuinely nothing else to eat it true story than beans and cheese. And so, you know, if I spent a significant amount of time there, I can only eat so many beans, you know, to sad that there were more vegetables available in a land that is so frugal and fertile.
But so there’s been times in my plant based diet journey where I have had some dairy, soy mixed in and so on and I think that’s another big difference between plant based and vegan is that we avoid animal source products, and focus on a wider variety of plant based ingredients.
Carley Hauck 17:23
Wonderful. And I tend to eat very whole food based as well, I love fruits and vegetables. And I’m also not eating dairy products and really limiting my meat sources very much so I can eat in a much similar way.
I wanted to talk a little bit about food waste, because this is an area that you focus on a lot in the beginning of the book. And I’m going to actually just take this quote directly from your book, you said,
“About 1/3 of the global food supply never gets eaten. Food loss occurs during the post harvest and processing phases of food production, while food waste occurs on the consumption side of food systems. When edible food, when edible, good food goes unconsumed food waste and loss accounts for 6% of all carbon emissions, which is more than three times the global aviation. There are more than 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, co2 due to throwing food away in the garbage and not composting. And Americans throw away about 20% of food that they buy.”
And so you and I both live in California. Correct. And what was so encouraging to me was that the beginning of this year, California put a statewide mandate that everybody has to compost. Now I’ve been composting for a long time, and I imagine that you have to, but I just am so excited about that. Because my hope and desire is that other states are going to follow suit.
So let’s talk a little bit about food waste.
Alejandra Schrader 19:15
Yes. So from the, you know, I wrote, I wrote this book in the second half of 2020. And I just want to update because some of these figures have actually gone up. Some studies show that even up to 40% of the food that Americans are buying are ending up in the trash, which is pretty sad
Also the fact that as consumers we really cannot do much about the food that is being lost in the production phase of the food supply chain. Maybe we can do a little bit there are some companies like Imperfect Foods where they try to recuperate some of these, which actually
are being thrown away, because most consumers will go to the store and be like, well, this apple is not as big as this other one, or it has a tiny bruise or, you know, or the color has some discoloration.
And, you know, and so here’s where we as consumers can also become more, you know, more conscious about the food that we demand so that the suppliers don’t feel the need to, to let food go to waste. But what we can do, definitely as consumers is then, you know, buy in a conscious way so that we don’t have so much stuff at home that a lot of it is, you know, becoming spoiled and having to throw it away, that when we do dine out and we ask for that little bag, or that little box that we actually consume that instead of just tossing it in the trash, and that we do a better job at what I like to say, the utilizing the investment, maximizing the investment that we’ve made in food. And that’s where we get to use ingredients that are ingredients or parts of the plant that are traditionally thrown in the trash.
A lot of times I go to the market and my heart shrinks when I see people ripping the greens of carrots and leaving them on the shelves and just taking the carrots home. Or when we get home and we buy these beautiful radishes with radish greens. And usually they get caught off and thrown in the trash. There is a lot of nourishment, a lot of phytochemicals, and good for us stuff and all of these elements that are being thrown away that why I mean, it took a lot of resources for Mother Earth to help you know water, you name it, to help them grow. And so we should find creative ways to utilize them whether we make pesto sauce with the carrot greens, whether we make a chimichurri with the radish greens, whether we actually wash them really well and use them as a salad, make a salsa verde or use them instead of cilantro.
And like those two, there are so many, so many ingredients that are being thrown away. That’s why I talk about using the plant from root to leaf as much as the plant as we can. That way we honor those resources that went into, into growing them.
And there are some studies that talk about how much we can minimize our individual carbon footprints by just doing these small changes. And I think that to me that it just makes me feel like I have so much power, like a lot of people say, Oh, well, you know, I’ve tried to do something for the environment, I’m gonna start using paper straws. It’s not impactful, it’s not enough, you know, we can do a lot more. And if we take responsibility for the fact that our actions can make a big difference, I think people will be more likely to make some of these changes at home.
Carley Hauck 22:58
Thank you for that, you know, one of the other things that you mentioned is and, and this was something that happened in the midst of a pandemic, you know, a lot of people were getting to-go’s right. And so a lot of people were also cooking at home. But I think to add to your point, when you go and you’re, you know, buying food from a restaurant, you can actually bring your own container, you know, because the pandemic has definitely calmed down a bit, I think people didn’t feel like they can even bring their own container, but you can bring your own container so that we’re not continually adding more and more plastic to our soil to our air to our water.
And one of the other things that you were mentioning around you know, eating a more plant based diet and whole foods is the link to the carbon that’s coming when we’re eating more agriculture, or rather livestock. And one of the things that we also need to be mindful of is the water consumption. And so you know, we have an infinite amount of water. And as more and more people are living on this planet, and the more resources that we need to grow food, we need to find ways that are sustainable, to be able to feed everyone and again, you know, eating from root to leaf, and eating more of these plants is going to reduce our need for more and more water and it’s also going to lower our carbon footprint.
Alejandra Schrader 24:29
Exactly. Well said.
Carley Hauck 24:31
some things that I was thinking about. What are some of the favorite ways that you, you know, might reuse recipes? I know you have some ideas or not even reused recipes but reuse food so you know we tend to always have leftovers right? And I’m a big proponent of eating all my leftovers. I don’t want any food going to waste but how are you maximizing for that when you think about your kitchen right now at home?
Alejandra Schrader 24:58
Well so in my own kitchen, and granted, that is just my husband and I until recently, and even then my son is an infant. So he eats, he doesn’t eat yet the same food as we do, because I’ve tried to prevent him from eating salt and other ingredients. But even though we’re a small household, and actually I like to see that as an asset, then what that means is, one meal can last me for longer for many for more days than in other families where there are more people.
I always talk about, you know, finding a day like a meal prepping day in your week where you can allocate to four hours on a Sunday afternoon, and you can cook up onto stuff so that you can actually separate it into smaller containers. And some dishes are actually fabulous in the, you know, to freeze and reheat later, especially stews I love. Actually, I believe that it gets even more of enhanced flavor when you freeze and then reheat, I don’t know, lentils through this, or maybe some curry, or maybe after gene, there’s just, there’s just something about sitting there for a while and then being reheated. And then that way, we only eat what we can for the day or the next couple of days. And then we get to free something else. And then, you know, a month from now, a lot of these foods are good to freeze for even six months. So that would be sort of like one way to cook smart. And to avoid food waste by saving stuff for later.
I love to repurpose foods and I think that some cooks, when they’re less versed in the kitchen, may feel a little more intimidated by this. But I always I always think it’s a good idea to think like how can I turn this leftover pasta dish into a casserole, maybe I just add a little more sauce and sprinkle little cheese and put it in the oven it leaded grit, you know, create a beautiful grated internalization on the top and wa-la, you know, now you have a new dish.
But I think that the biggest impact is probably from the kind of food waste, where we again are utilizing parts of the vegetable, the fruit that we traditionally don’t like, if I’m gonna peel potatoes to make a match, I’m going to save those fields. And I’m going to toss them in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until they get crisp. And now I can scoop my hummus or my guacamole with it. And I use them as chips or crackers instead of throwing away and I know sort of like trust me on this one that I saved my banana peels, and I poached them I scraped the inner membrane, I shred them. And now I can make a delicious pulled fork type of ingredient.
And to sort of attest that this works. This is actually what I just served. Last month I went to Cali Colombia to help open like it was the inauguration of the newest seed bank a, gene bank by the CGIR. And there were 220 people in attendance. And I get up and the first thing I say is I love to cook with trash, and I am going to serve you. Instead of meat, I’m gonna make a shredded banana peel dish. And I think people you know tilted their heads a little bit. But everyone was so blown up that they could call me to their tables to tell me how much they had left.
So having an open mind that has a lot to do with the success of this event. And I just encourage people to try to be a little daring when it comes to food waste.
Carley Hauck 29:04
Thank you for sharing some of the recipes and the ways that you’re doing that at home right now. That’s inspiring. I wanted to pivot a little bit into travel. And you actually just spoke about how you are in Colombia. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about when we think about lowering our carbon footprint, you know, it’s not only in how we’re eating, but it’s how we’re traveling. And as the world is starting to open up again, and we’re getting on planes more and we’re traveling more. The way that we used to travel I don’t feel was very sustainable. You know, we go to Paris for a week from New York or from California and we come back.
And when you’re traveling as a tourist, you’re usually accumulating a lot of plastic, you’re eating out a lot and not to mention the carbon that is occurring from the plane, you know. And then the way that travel typically, you know is happening is that we’re given all this single use plastics. And so this has always been a problem. But we have more consciousness. Now we know that the way that we were traveling, the way that we were eating was not going to support a thriving world or planet. So I wanted to use some of our conversation today to bring a little more awareness to inspire more conscious action.
And so I was just in Austin last week for a conference and I had the opportunity to stay with a friend. But I also really wanted to stay with a friend because I knew that that would actually minimize some of the waste that I would have if I stayed in an Airbnb or in a hotel. And so we did a lot of cooking while we were there, and anything that we ate out, I brought home and I ate it, I had very, very little food waste, I was so happy about that.
Austin also is an area of Texas that composts. And what was interesting is the friend that I was staying with had a green compost bin in their backyard. But she wasn’t composting. Her family wasn’t composting, I thought what is going on, but they just weren’t thinking about it. They thought that that was only for yard waste. So I showed them how easy it was. As a going away gift, I got them a compost bin and you know, compost baggies. And in fact, I got a text from her this morning, she said that it was almost completely full yesterday. Yes, you kiddos. So the kids or now composting.
Now, not every state or city has a composting program. But we know that when we’re regenerating the soil, that we’re actually extracting carbon from the atmosphere, putting it in the soil instead of it going into the ocean, which is then creating more warming and acidification of all of our marine animals.
So I’m bringing all of this because I think it’s important that we start to think if we’re going to be traveling, how can it be more regenerative? How can we be finding ways to cook to eat less out to be more mindful of the plastics that we’re bringing, whenever I go travel, I always bring my own water bottles so that the flight attendants can pour water directly into my bottle, we need to minimize the single use plastics because only 7% actually gets recycled, the rest of its going into our soil and to our food into our water. And I’m going to pause there because I’d love to hear any of your thoughts.
Alejandra Schrader 32:41
Yes, I mean, you’ve touched upon so many interest in so subjects within this greater topic. First of all, you’re absolutely right about traveling period, right, like, not all of us and, and I’ll, I’ll use this to, to, to plug in something I’ve been sort of joking about but I really mean it, you know, like I am so grateful for, for the for the younger generations that are really really really fighting the good fight. And not all of us can be Greta Thunberg. So you know, when I go do these very meaningful events that I travel for, I couldn’t really, you know, get on a sailboat and go across the Atlantic each time. And so I make it a point that the purpose of the treat of the trip is valuable and meaningful enough to in a way offset the carbon generated by it, by the trip itself.
I actually when it comes to vacations, we much rather go on road trips as a family especially now that we have a little one but also on my day to day live and and again as a way to offset the carbon footprint that I’m generating by my sporadic business trips is we’ve you know, we walk and we use a lot of non motorized transportation methods like bike and I live in a very walkable communities so I am very fortunate to have access to goods and services within walking distance or bike rides.
And then again, yes, you’re absolutely right about that when we do have to travel and jump on a plane like you know, making small changes from bringing the water bottle to actually packing in our own food. We get to eat healthier than eating airport food if we bag our own. I don’t know roasted seeds and dry and dry fruits and so forth. I’m a big fan of silicone bags so that we don’t have to keep throwing away these little Ziploc baggies. They freeze great by the way.
And then you talked about compost, and it is true compost is something that we should all be practicing a little bit more. But I want to just sort of shed light on it. I have a little graphic in my book that it’s like an inverted pyramid. And while composting is great, there are other things that we get to do with our food waste that are not just more meaningful, but best utilized for the greater purpose of reducing our carbon footprint.
And, you know, a lot of times food that is perfectly good, gets to be thrown away because no one likes it or, or, you know, no one’s gonna eat it, we should be considering gifting that food, especially here in the state of California, we have a lot of homeless populations that we could help or even donate the food to shelters and things like that.
Yeah, and then there are other layers like we’ve been trying to repurpose it for your pet or things like that. And then you know, compos being the last one. So just trying to find creative ways. And I’ll give you one little example, when you are foot foot prepping, and you have like the shells of your audience, or the caps of your bell peppers, or, and I mean shells, like the little skins that you remove from garlic, or the base of your salary, or the tops of a carrot.You put all that in a silicone bag, you say you do purchase and invest in a big silicone bag like a pound to bow. And every time you have some of these scraps, you put it in this bag, and you keep it in your freezer. And whenever that bag is full, you put it in a big pot, add four to six quarts of water and you make a delicious vegetable broth.
Carley Hauck 37:00
I knew you were gonna say that. I would. That sounds amazing.
Speaking of plastic bags, as I was actually coming back from Austin, I was there for almost 10 days for some professional development and, and a culture summit. But I always bring my own food on the plane because it’s healthier and then I don’t, you know, inherit any more plastic. But I was sitting next to this Indian couple, they were older. And they brought out their bags of peas and rice. And it was and they were just eating it out of the bag. And then here I was with my little Tupperware of all vegetables and some nuts. And we were all eating it at the same time. And I said, Are you vegetarian? And they said yes. And I. And I said, I love vegetables too. And it was just so fun. We were all eating our, you know, brought food and I was like, Ooh, what do they have?
And so anyway, yeah, yeah, you can create a culture around it on the plane. So I know we only have a little bit longer. But I wanted to also ask you about your inner game, Alejandra, because it was clear to me that you had cultivated a strong inner game. And for those that have been listening to the podcast, the inner game is the internal operating system that really impacts how we show up in the world. And so what do you feel like you have really, maybe dive deeper on as your commitment to your self growth, let’s say in the last year, I know that you were birthing this book at about the same time you were birthing this brand new little boy into the world.
Alejandra Schrader 38:44
Yes. And that’s such a meaningful question for me, because especially when the pandemic hit, and I as a small business owner, took a big hit. And yet again, professionally, I found myself in despair. I had to really tap you know, until my inner self and remember the kind of resilience that I have built throughout my life. Trust that when I’ve thrown a curveball a lot of times is life just presented me the opportunity to take on a new challenge. It happened, you know, in 2009 when I lost in quotes my career in planning and development and I was quote, forced into the culinary world.
And, and especially because the way in which I was living is it was not sustainable working 60 to 70 hours a week, not dedicating enough time to self care to my husband, to the quality of my life. It was only normal and perfect that I had to lose my business when the pandemic hit so that the opportunities were created. So that, one, I finally after eight years of pursuing a book deal, got it. And that after decades of being married, I became pregnant, something that I actually wanted. And I didn’t have the means of just being fully transparent, the financial means to get myself or to put myself through, let’s just say fertilization methods, and to go on to grow two babies at the same time.
I also had to tap into something that is so important for me now, which is empathy for myself, as a way to be more empathetic towards others, to have a greater awareness of my purpose, of my assets of what I am, what am I able to bring to the table, and to finally, and this actually is getting me really emotional to show up authentically to no longer try to be a chameleon to adapt to, to pretend to be someone that I’m not just so that I am liked, just so that I am accepted.
And, you know, looking back, I’m like of course! Only when I allowed myself that opportunity to play my inner game skills, everything unfolded into what I now have, the opportunities that I’m given, just the great responsibility that I have for and this passion that is bursting. And I have the means to practice it, to share it and to empower others with.
Carley Hauck 42:11
Beautiful. Y’all, you can’t see Alejandra, but I can and she’s just shining, which is, as you know the title of this podcast.
So there are so many me too’s, that I can relate to and that and I, I don’t know if you felt this way, but when I was actually going through the journey of writing this book, which was four years, and then it actually came out last year, it was really a birthing of myself, you know, to have to continually talk and show up again and again and again, in service of this message, which is really in service of waking humanity up for the greatest good, you know, there are tests, there are challenges, you have to own it, you have to embody it, you have to show up, you have to walk it, and I am really grateful for what that has, what has evolved in me as a result of that, can you relate to that?
Alejandra Schrader 43:18
Oh, absolutely. And to trust, to trust that, in that part is so hard as a, you know, I was born in the States, but I grew up in South America and as a woman of color that felt like an immigrant that, you know, it’s it feeling the need to control it was so, you know, such a big part of who I was, and I and I felt like it had to be that way. And the moment that I let go, and I just allowed for things to happen. And I trusted that I was taking care of and that as long as I did that work, as long as I put the right energy into doing the work, everything was, you know, everything’s gonna work out.
Now, I don’t even question it. I know, I know. And, and to, you know, to be a sort of, like, I couldn’t have any any more tangible evidence that that is true than my book, my child and all of these beautiful, amazing opportunities to really be such an like, you know, I get to be a steward of the planet. Now I get to, you know, I often say that my book is the love letter to Mother Earth written from my kitchen.
And now I get to talk to decision makers and impactful people, high profile officials and cetera about this message and I hope to make a big difference. And now I have the platform to do it.
Carley Hauck 44:55
You do, and it’s so amazing. I love hearing about your journey. So as we’re wrapping up, tell us about these two events you have coming out in May and June. Were you get to do this?
Alejandra Schrader 45:07
Yes. So, in May, I am invited to speak at the 75th World Health Assembly, which is the decision making body of the World Health Organization in Geneva. And I am part of a side event where the launch of the periodic table of food initiative is taking place, it’s May 22. And I get to come and talk about my favorite subject: food waste and sustainability, eating within planetary boundaries.
And then in June, I was invited to speak at the Women in Food and Agriculture Summit, the WFP summit in Frankfort. And, and again, I’m going to have the platform to talk about, you know, sustainable food systems, and hopefully, hopefully, you know, like, light up that spark, and yet another or a couple few or 100 individuals so that we can all start working towards a more sustainable future.
Carley Hauck 46:12
Thank you, well, I know you’re gonna send me those show links. And we will provide them for our listeners to tune into. You also have a really fun Instagram account with beautiful recipes, I actually have picked out one of your recipes from your book, it’s the zucchini noodle and portobello steak, which in the show notes so folks can go and you know, cook that up.
And I hope people will go and find your book and find some really fun inspiration for the spring and summer. Wherever you are listening in from. And is there. Is there anything else that you want to leave our listeners with?
Alejandra Schrader 46:51
I just say, I would just say like, you know, you don’t have to say yes, but you can stop saying no. And, and I say that in regards to trying to make meaningful shifts to the way that you eat, and that you think about food. And, if that’s saying yes means trying one new vegetable every week, maybe not having an animal source product one meal a day, maybe even practicing meatless Mondays, there’s not too small of a change, every small action can make big wonderful effects as part of a collective action.
Carley Hauck 47:36
Well, Alejandra, thank you so much for your wisdom, for your service. I look forward to staying connected and just seeing how this light continues to spread and inspire so many others. And if there’s a way that I can support you, please feel free to reach out.
Alejandra Schrader 47:55
Thank you so much. It means so much to us what a wonderful conversation. I’m very grateful.
Carley Hauck 48:04
Thank you so much, Alexandra for your voice, your passion, sharing your story.
I’ll link to all the wonderful resources Alejandra mentioned in the show notes. As you heard, we can mitigate climate change, protect our resources by eating mostly whole foods plants, being mindful of how we cook, how we even use our food scraps, and how we can reduce the consumption of meat so that there is more for everyone, and we’re taking good care of the planet.
While there are many plant based and alternative protein products coming into the market.
What is also part of these new products is plastic and packaging. And what I’d like to invite as you start to move towards a more vegan plant based diet is that you focus on buying more fruits and vegetables. Buy foods in bulk. Bring your own bags, use your own utensils when you’re traveling or when you’re just out and about keep them in your car. Use water bottles, instead of buying plastic bottles.
And even keep a to-go plastic container or maybe a metal container in your car so that when you do go out to eat when you have leftovers, you don’t have to take another plastic container. All of this plastic is going into our soil or water, our oceans. Only 7% of plastic is actually recyclable. So in our efforts to focus and optimize our wellbeing, the planet’s wellbeing our families or communities, we have to get rid of this plastic consumption. So my invitation: How can you minimize your plastic this week? This year?
And as a way to support you to reduce your meat consumption, I want to tell you about this fabulous conference that I’ll be attending from May 12 through 14th. That’s right outside of the Bay Area, I believe there will be a virtual opportunity as well. The tickets are really affordable. And I believe they’re not turning anyone away. And this is the fourth annual summit, they had to push pause because of a pandemic. I will be attending, the organizer Brian invited me. I am so delighted. And Bruce Friedrich, who was our first interview of the season, who is the co-founder of The Good Food Institute, Brian actually worked for Bruce years ago. So if you missed that interview, which is Standing For a Good Food System, you definitely want to listen to that one.
But going back to the Reducetarian Summit May 12 through 14th, definitely check that out. The link is in the show notes. And if you can’t attend, there is also a cookbook that Brian has written and his documentary Meat Me Halfway, yes, m-e-a-t me halfway, came out last summer, and I highly recommend it. All of these links will be in the show notes.
The SHINE podcast has been self sponsored since May 2019. It is freely offered from my heartfelt desire to be in service and support of a workplace and world that works for everyone and is living in greater harmony with the Earth from conscious inclusive leadership and socially responsible business practices. I would love and appreciate your support so that I can continue to have these wonderful interviews with inspiring leaders bringing science tips and evidence to your ears. And you can donate and support me by going to my Patreon page www.patreon.com/carleyhauck, the link is in the show notes. Your generosity helps so much.
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Until we meet again, and that’s going to be really soon my friend because I have another fabulous episode coming out on Earth Day. Oh, I can’t wait to share it with you. But until we meet again, be the light and shine your light.