Meet The Team: Lydia

Lydia

Did you know that the ‘Plant Sumo Podcast’ has additional content you may not be aware of?

That’s right. In a, I’m sure, highly anticipated announcement I want to bring your attention to the episodes which are not an official part of the podcast. While they may only be available on the Plant Sumo youtube account, I have found these interviews just as enjoyable as those from the main series.

These interviews are of course those from the ‘Meet The Team’ series. Which gives you the opportunity to know who is behind the Plant Sumo brand, what they do, and what connection they have to plant-based food.

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Me when the lads ask how to create the most influential podcast of 2020 (Image Credit: Whas11.com)

Basically, you meet the experts, which are not me. I am an expert at many things. The little awkward thigh slap ritual English do before saying “right, I’m off”. My eyebrows. Justifying a lot of questionable choices.

But I’m not an expert on plant-based food, or food in general. So I’ve learnt a lot by interviewing members of the team, like our certified in-house nutritionist and our restauranter founder, whose daily lives revolve around food.

I can empathize….but probably not in a way that I can put on my CV.

You know what I can put on my CV? This podcast. Much love.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s get onto the recap. Or alternatively, if you want to listen to us natter on ( each to their own) head over to the podcast here.

Today’s podcast…..Lydia!!

Meet The Team: Lydia

Lydia

Lydia is the administrator for Plant Sumo! Meaning she in essence makes sure all our operations are running smoothly.

Now I know the title of ‘Administrator’ is vaguely terrifying and perhaps conjures up secondary school imagery of scowling exam invigilators who have the same energy as Aunt Lydia from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ but don’t be fooled.

Our Lydia has distinctly chilled vibes. And she isn’t even an aunt, she’s a mother! Who balances her role at Plant Sumo with family and education commitments.

If you believe multi-tasking is some kind of fable, prepare to feel extremely insecure.

In no particular order, here are my top highlights from my podcast with Lydia.

Lydia’s Plant Based Journey

plant based journey

Image Credit: Harvard Health- Harvard University

As Lydia is the team member of Plant Sumo who has lived a plant based lifestyle the longest, we discussed her journey to that point in depth.

Where Lydia lives in the US apparently going vegetarian is for many a middle school phase, but it wasn’t for her. She found learning about the dehumanising realities of factory farming deeply distressing, so aged 13 she became vegetarian and stuck to it.

It was only later on she became fully plant-based. Want to know why? Because like me she adored, you guessed it, cheese. At the time Lydia was also struggling with her weight, despite eating a healthy vegetarian diet, a fact which puzzled her.

What became apparent when she was diagnosed with a thyroid issue and insulin resistance among other complications. It was this and learning more about the dairy industry and the bonding hormones of cow’s milk designed for baby calfs that prompted Lydia to let go of dairy and go plant-based.

When I conducted this podcast Lydia was pregnant, and naturally had not been able to be strictly plant based with her diet.

But she was resolute in her determination to go back to being plant-based, and raise her children in that way, a decision which prompted another interesting discussion.

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Image Credit: Proliance Center

Online Vegan Feuding

“the Internet is beautiful for communication, but now everybody has a very loud voice.”

I found Lydia’s perspective on certain online forms of hostility towards veganism incredibly interesting, especially when it came to parenting.

As a 21 year old who finds the idea of having a tiny human literally chilling inside me terrifying, I haven’t been on Mumsnet much, so this was new territory for me.

She mentioned how in so many parenting forums online there is this vitriolic anger and hostility towards parents who choose to raise their children plant-based. We discussed how their refrain of ‘you’re imposing a specific lifestyle on your child’ is flawed, as there is no way to raise a child without imposing some kind of lifestyle on them.

Essentially, there is the argument of if the child is getting all the nutrients and proteins they need, how is it effectively any different from eating meat?

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Just be thankful your child isn’t doing this. Image Credit: Vanity Fair

Debates like this say so much about how society perceives parenting and the kind of culture that the internet, with its anonymity, cultivates.

It’s unlikely Susanne from the village book club would call you a terrible mother and a horrible cow if you told her you were raising your kids vegan. But you best bet your that- and more! If you let people know about it online.

Lydia then discussed the purity cultures some online vegan groups can have, where people become deeply hostile and defensive.

We’re not talking about your typical vegan group, but groups where anyone who deviates from living the ‘perfect’ plant based lifestyle gets flagged and banned. She pointed out how these same people will preach about how lovely they are to animals but turn around and be nasty to members of their own species.

To me, I just find it all exhausting. In the medieval era, if you had a problem with someone you’d just challenge them to a sword duel and be done with it. Or if it was a woman? You could just call her a witch.

Simpler times back then. I was going to say “well, at least we don’t have a plague” but…

Instant pot Recipe

Image Credits: Instant pot Recipe

Barbeque Lentils

“Instead of like, barbeque sandwiches, it’s just the lentils”

As prior mentioned, Lydia was pregnant when I interviewed her. And naturally I was curious about how she was finding things, and if she was having any cravings.

Spoiler alert: Not good. And many cravings.

She said her nausea had been so bad her breakfasts had been saltine crackers and orange juice.

On top of that, pregnancy cravings had driven her to just straight up eat barbeque lentils. They’re absolutely delicious, but with zero sides? No wedges like above?

And apparently her two year old loves it too! Rather than asking for candy and McDonalds, he is prowling for lentils.

Lydia’s Weightlifting

Image Credit: Intregris

Lydia’s Weightlifting

“I’m going to pick it up and put it down. And that’s my exercise.”

Lydia’s childhood was that of a very productive tomboy.

She grew up on a farm doing stuff like chopping wood, helping her dad work with cars and lifting heavy things. So moving into weightlifting and eventually getting involved with Olympic-style powerlifting was a natural progression for her athleticism.

I am someone who adores weightlifting, even though I am very amateur at it. My coordination is terrible and I’m extremely clumsy, so rather than doing cool athletic things I just play video games and fantasize about being in a realm where the laws of time and physics don’t really apply.

I like weightlifting because while getting your form right can be a struggle, it is in its essence very simple: lift heavy things up, put heavy things down.

Lydia agreed this is one of the many things that makes weightlifting great, on top of the fact feeling physically stronger and more toned is incredibly empowering.

Mystery Pocket Food

Shhh……Image Credit: Real Housemoms

Mystery Pocket Food

“ I had a potato on the go. I was that person.”

Something I found really funny was when we discussed how much vegan options in the US (Lydia is American) differ from state to state.

Lydia reminisced on moving from Michigan to Oregon, which are two thousand miles apart. Meaning the time of flying coupled with layovers adds up to over ELEVEN HOURS. Which I just found shocking.

To any non-Americans: Did you know, you can drive for over 24 hours in Texas, and still be in Texas? If you need a sleepless night, remember this fun fact.

So when traveling insane long haul distances, Lydia tends to prep snacks. A relatable reality for many. But due to not knowing if Vegan snacks will be available wherever she goes she tends to prep for every trip.

Meaning 90% of the time she has some kind of pocket snack, like loose nuts or granola on her. Which is fair enough, If I find a stray cashew nut in my pocket, that in my eyes is a great thing.

However, I discovered one time Lydia took this to a whole new level. She smuggled a whole ass baked potato covered in tinfoil into the airport in her pocket. I found this hysterical. Just the idea of hiding a potato like it’s scandalous or dangerous.

While not illegal, I do think if airport security checked someone’s pockets and found a baked potato they would put you on some kind of list.

I mean, Lydia is already on a list…of guests who have been on my podcast! Haha, banter. I can say I have never met anyone who has done this with a potato.

So I think Lydia should be added to a potato lovers list, if such a thing exists in the deep recesses of the internet.

Final Thoughts

Image Credit: Google Sites

Final Thoughts

Lydia is an incredibly lovely, intelligent and meticulous person. I admire her weightlifting, her dedication to living a plant based lifestyle, and her self confidence to smuggle a potato into the airport.

I was exhausted when I interviewed her and we both were in extremely dark rooms, yet we managed to have an engaging and entertaining conversation (I hope!)

In the process of doing so, I learnt more about her as an individual, the kind of complicated journeys people undergo when becoming vegan and how weird it is to be pregnant. I really want to try BBQ lentils now though.

Who knows? Maybe it is legitimately banging and her son has the right idea. If you want vegan snacks that are perhaps less quirky than BBQ lentils, you should try Plant Sumo. For delicious and nutritious plant based meals delivered directly to your door.

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