Anna Vocino: Comedians, Cream Cheese & Cooking for Celiacs


Anna Vocino: Comedians, Cream Cheese & Cooking for Celiacs

What happens when a comedian writes a cookbook?

Anna Vocino is a voice-over talent and stand-up comedian who also happens to be a celiac and cookbook author. She co-hosts the hilarious Fitness Confidential podcast with Vinnie Tortorich, and has voiced hundreds of commercials, cartoons, movies, promos, radio stations and video games, which is a super cool day job to support her passion of food blogging and cookbook authoring.

Her new cookbook and Amazon best seller, with a lovely title, “Eat Happy,” features easy-to-make comfort food, free from added sugars and grains. Anna also cooks for a husband, a tiny dog, and by far the most terrifying, a teenage daughter.

On this show, you’ll learn:

  • The truth about the cream cheese and Swerve diet
  • What Hollywood really does to superstars
  • How you can be funny AND write celiac cookbooks
  • Why cooking is like showering
  • And more!

Anna Vocino: I Wrote a Cookbook & I’m Funny

Abel: Ladies and gentlemen, she is the best lady voice in broadcasting, Anna Vocino, finally, welcome to the show.

Hi. Thanks for having me, Abel.

Abel: Alyson and I have been busy trying treats from your new cookbook. And those cauliflower tots are out of hand. They are ridiculous. And the coconut flour blinis, we tried with smoked salmon as well…

Do you guys do dairy?

Abel: Yes. I do, but Alyson tends not to, so most of our stuff can have it with dairy and I like it better that way, but you can also do it the other way, which is totally cool.

Let’s face it, dairy makes everything taste better. However, some of us, me included, can’t handle it, so about half the recipes have dairy, half don’t, but then a lot of them you can do different substitutes.

Abel: I think that’s the best way to do it because if you look into genetic testing, a lot of people aren’t adapted to have the milk of another animal. Even my brother doesn’t do well with dairy, but I always did. It was fine growing up, but I was also the chubby brother. So, you have to look at how all of this stuff plays out.

But you’re not the chubby, fat brother anymore now, are you?

Abel: I’ve been turning the dials for a while.

When I first gave up sugars and grains, I relied very heavily on dairy for snacks and flavors. I was losing weight, but I was still so inflamed.

Being a celiac, my functional medicine doc had me take the Cyrex, I think it was the panel four for celiacs. It’s basically like cross-contamination, and looks at the top 18 foods that would cause the autoimmune response in a celiac.

There are five different dairy particles that would cause that, including casein, casomorphin, milk, butyrophilin. All these things and they were all in the red for me. It’s was like, “This is going to kill you.”

The Cream Cheese and Swerve Diet Plan?

Abel: You must get this all the time, because I get it, being Fat-Burning Man…

Are you getting all these people who are like, “Okay, keto. I’m just going to eat blocks of cream cheese all day long, with a bunch of Swerve and take keto supplements and I’m totally doing the best thing that’s going to improve my brain.”

Yes.

The truth about the cream cheese and Swerve diet... Click To Tweet

Abel: What do you say to stuff like that?

I feel like it’s kind of a stepping stone.

It reminds me of doing Atkins in the ’90s. I remember sitting in the Publix parking lot in Atlanta and eating a sugar-free Jell-O in the car when I was having a sugar craving on day six of Atkins. You know what I mean?

Abel: One of the most miserable images ever…

It was so sad. I was in a two-tone blue Buick Century, 1985, eating sugar-free Jell-O.

I feel like it’s really tough to wrap your brain around eating real food when you just haven’t your entire life.

And we have a tendency to just eat on the run and we’re not teaching our kids how to cook and prep vegetables.

You know, watching a cooking show or buying Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything.” It’s a great book if you really want to get in the kitchen.

People ask me all the time, “What do I do with this artichoke? How do I prep this asparagus?”

If you don’t know then you’re just like, “Screw it, I’m just going to have a brick of cream cheese, smash some Swerve in there, and some 95% cacao chocolate and then just eat that for every meal.”

I get it. I get why they do it.

Abel: I get it too, but it’s the same thing as doing the Paleo diet and just going to McDonald’s and getting three patties without the buns.

You’re skipping a step, and it’s the most important step that you’re skipping.

If you’re going to make a change to your diet, and I think it’s something like 98% of people who actually lose weight and keep it off, that’s what they do. They make a lifestyle change.

Exactly. It’s not a dietary change.

Abel: Which is what a diet change really is. You can’t change your diet without changing your lifestyle.

You can’t change your diet without changing your lifestyle. Click To Tweet

For years, I would workout and be like, “Okay. If I just work out like 12 more times over the next three weeks, then I can stop working out.”

Like, I’d be done, and I’d be in my permanent, final form. So, good for me.

Abel: And that’s exactly how it works, by the way…

Right, exactly. And I’ll never have to workout again. Won’t that be grand?

Abel: And your teeth make a sound effect every time you smile from that point on.

Ting!

Cooking is Easy (Once You Get This Concept)

Abel: One of the things I wanted to point out from your book and your approach is that it’s very informed by gourmet cooking, I would say, but it’s super easy to make with just a few ingredients.

That’s one of the things that we always try to do, too, because we don’t want it to be out of reach. Most people just don’t have more than 20 minutes at a time, ourselves included, right?

No. Yes.

Abel: So, how do you do that? How do you manage both at the same time?

I get tweeted and messaged all the time about how a 20-minute recipe takes people an hour their first time in the kitchen. But I keep saying, “Just keep doing it.”

First of all, you’re going to memorize the recipe, and then you’re going to make changes and substitutes on the fly, which I encourage everybody to do.

A lot of my recipes are French and Italian-based, and a lot are Mexican-based because I live in Southern California and there’s a huge Mexican influence.

It’s really easy to eat Paleo, low-carb Mexican food.

But a lot of it is just taking these basic principles and then repeating them, so whether you’re going to oven bake a piece of meat, grill it, fry it, braise it, put it in a slow cooker, it’s the same concept and you layer on different flavors.

Abel: Yes. I like that.

It’s almost like when you start to think of it that way, you can decode it and make anything.

Abel: That’s what so few people have actually done, even cookbook authors. It’s a myopic way of looking at cooking.

It’s like, you’ve got a vegetable, and the way you make it taste good (or the way that we usually recommend to make it taste good), is you take a high-quality oil like olive oil or even better, use the fat or the grease that comes from a high-quality piece of meat that’s flavoured well.

That oil combined with the spices that you use or the sauces that you used on that meat makes the veggies taste good, and then you have it with maybe a bit of starter fruit or whatever you need to kind of round it out.

That’s not that hard once you learn a few things and put in into practice.

I talked to someone recently who had a funny analogy.

He said, “Learning to cook is kind of like learning how to shower the first time.” It seems easy to everyone else, but there’s a lot of stuff that you’ve got to do in there that makes the challenge worth it.

Why cooking is like showering... Click To Tweet

It’s a time management skill.

Abel: That’s where most people fall off. They may be pushed too hard, try too hard at the beginning, get burned out, and they’re just like, “I can’t do it.”

How do you help people connect?

Everyone has different schedules, everyone has different work requirements, everyone has different budgets and I get that.

I tried to fill my book with various recipes that address each of those… There’s a recipe for mustard and leek-encrusted tenderloin, that is something I only make on Christmas Eve. It’s not something I’m going to buy on an everyday basis because to buy a tenderloin is freaking expensive.

But there’s also a lot of slow cooker recipes that are less expensive. You can start them in the morning and then come home and they’re done.

Or my new favorite thing is the instant pot. Have you tried this thing yet?

Abel: We’ve got one, yeah.

I’m obsessed with it. I make chicken broth three days a week in this thing.

I’m now converting all of my slow cooker recipes into instant pot recipes because it’s just so fabulous.

I personally do a more European approach. Ilike think, “What am I in the mood for in the next couple of days?” Then I go to the store and just buy a couple of days’ worth, but that’s me, that’s what I prefer to do.

If you have to, buy in bulk and go to Costco and buy everything for weeks in one day. I don’t have the storage space for it. I always get asked the question, “Can I freeze this? Can I freeze that?” I’m always like, “Sure.” I don’t actually know. Literally nothing makes it to the freezer because we eat it. You know what I mean?

Maybe that’s just being in a household with 3 creative people. We’re very much at the whim of like, “What are we in the mood for?” We can’t commit to anything.

But yeah, I think that you start off with, what would I like to eat? Go through and dog-ear your pages or put Post-its on what you’d like to eat.

I have a pantry list and a grocery shopping list (perishable list) in the book, so you can see the things that you’re going to buy on repeat. And I made sure there was nothing in the book that wasn’t repeated at least once.

Even the Garam Masala for the Chicken Tikka Masala—the various components in the Garam Masala are repeated in one other recipe at least, because you don’t want to buy $25 worth of spices and then make that dish once a year.

I don’t believe in that.

Abel: Well, it’s a huge obstacle for a lot of people because if you don’t know what to do with all these spices that you can’t even pronounce, then you’re probably not going to buy them and it’s probably not going to end up in your recipe.

But if you’ve got salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, you can do a lot.

You can start small and then go from there.

It’s one of the things that definitely stood out about your book because… trust me, I’m sure you get a lot of unsolicited cookbooks sent to you as well.

Yeah.

Abel: We see a lot of them.

And the thing that makes it good is how intelligently the recipes are laid out, and how well they use the ingredients and make it easy on you to not just assume that you have an entire pro cooks spice cabinet from the get-go.

Right. And that drives me crazy.

I love cookbooks. I have been obsessed with cookbooks ever since I was a little girl.

So, it was important to me to write the instructions so clearly that if it’s your first time in the kitchen, you can follow them. But also so that somebody who’s a pro in the kitchen won’t be like, “She’s stupid. This is stupid.” You know what I mean?

I want it to be written so that everyone can understand it and get in there.

How Comedy Helps Write Cookbooks

Abel: Do you think being a comedy writer helped?

I think that when I sent it to my editor, she had to come back at me several times and say, “This is not appropriate.”

Like, I said something about asparagus. The trick with asparagus is, you can either just cut the ends off, or you just kind of bend them to where they naturally snap on the end because they’re very fibrous and they’re tough to eat.

So, you can just feel it and go, “Kkk!” and it’ll pop right off.

I had said something in there like, “Those little suckers are tricky.”

And she’s like, “Don’t use that word.”

And I was like, “All right.” But I see what she’s saying. In the book you’ve got to keep it, you know…

On my blog, however… I think being a comedy writer helps, because when I write a joke, that premise has to get to the very essence of the thing.

And you have to economize words in a cookbook.

It was funny because I remember a celebrity came out with a cookbook several years ago. And I saw her at an audition and she was like, “Ugh, I just came out with a cookbook and it’s just so exhausting.”

And I was thinking to myself, “That’s a cookbook. There’s not a lot of words on the page.” You know what I mean?

And now I totally ate my words, because it was so hard to distill it down to its essence, yet make it clear enough, and informative enough.

Abel: And repeatable, and having people who are new to it coming and… When you write instructions for anything, because nobody reads instructions and recipes are just fancy instructions, really.

It’s hard to sell an instruction manual these days, and it’s even harder to write one.

I’m bad about it myself, because I’m like, “Yeah, I got it.” Then I’m like, “Wait, I skipped something really important. What was it?”

Abel: Since Alyson and I have been cooking in a similar way with real food, clean ingredients for a while, we see something like this and I think, even though we made some of your recipes, it’s more like, this gave us an idea for how to do something that we already know how to do…

Which I love.

Abel: And we riffed on it, played with it a little bit. And that’s what you’ve got to do.

Because you don’t always have those ingredients, and maybe you can’t even find them, but it’s important to give it a shot.

Like cauliflower tater tots. I loved tater tots as a kid. Who didn’t love those?

Right? So good.

Abel: The idea of making it out of cauliflower is just like, why didn’t we ever do it?

That’s just such a food blogger thing to do.

That’s what we tried to do, too. Make things that are comforting to people, and make it easy so it’s something that can be part of their lives.

Have you found that those are some of your most popular recipes?

Abel: Absolutely.

The pizza, the cauliflower tots… They’re all the foods that are replacement foods.

The way I cook almost every night, I made my almond-crusted baked cod, I made a salad, and they had corn on the cob, and that was it.

It’s a special night if I’m making the cauliflower tots, because as you know they get more labor-intensive when you have to get all that water out of the cauliflower.

Abel: Right, yeah.

It’s interesting. I try to put a lot of those substitute things, like the almond meal onion rings, or even like fried okra which, someone like me who grew up in the South, I love fried okra. You know what I mean?

Some people are like “Ew, okra.” But trust me, it’s so good.

But then also just things like the lemon dijon basil salmon, things like that that you would think are kind of snooty food, but actually they’re very easy, approachable recipes to make. But they’re not always the first ones.

Abel: Mustard fancies stuff up in a hurry, doesn’t it?

Yeah. You know what? It’s the horseradish in it, but it’s also the vinegar. The vinegar cuts through any richness that you have in there and brightens it up.

Abel: Yeah. And very balanced.

Like you said, there aren’t many words in here, but one thing you make sure to say that’s so important is that if you’re starting with great ingredients, or even good ingredients, then you don’t have to do much to any of them to make it taste good.

It’s more of a slight alchemy, putting a couple of little things together. Almost like making a salad.

And if you nail one way of cooking a meat, then you don’t even have to worry about it, really. And that’s what guys usually do. They just cook on the grill and that’s about it.

I live with a man who grills, and it’s wonderful. It saves me from having to make every single thing.

Abel: Yeah. And it’s not like grilled tastes worse than filleting, or flambeing, or sauteing, or any of the other things that you may know.

There’s a lot of nuance to all of this, but I love how you focus on the simplicity. But there are so many different things that we can talk about.

Let’s talk about more things.

Talking About More Things…

Abel: Well, you have shared the stage and screen with one of my heroes, Guillermo from Jimmy Kimmel Live.

He’s amazing. He’s buddies with my husband. And my husband used to write for Kimmel for years.

But a friend of mine, he brought me in there many years ago, and they just keep calling me for stuff, which is really nice.

But Guillermo’s story is incredible. He was literally the security guard at the parking lot. And they kept going to him. And he’s such a character and he’s so funny that now he’s Jimmy’s sidekick. And they’re under contract and shoot sketches.

Abel: Love that.

Yeah. He’s sweet.

Abel: But being a woman in showbiz especially, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in that business for so long, what you’re up against.

Before we started recording this call, we talked about how when you go on a TV show, usually you’re being dressed.

Yeah. They’re supposed to. Union rules, they have to dress you.

If you provide your own wardrobe, they have to pay you for the use of it. Actually, not the use, for the cleaning fees.

How to be Your Own Kind of Beautiful

Abel: Right. There are a lot of hoops like that, too. But it seems like you’ve really found a good place, a good balance of how to approach it.

So, for people who are getting behind the camera or a web camera, what would you say to stand your ground and be your own kind of beautiful, if that makes sense?

Well, first of all, the number one thing that no one in their 20s will do, is just make peace with who you are, what you look like, what you’re bringing to the table.

You look back in your 20s, and even in your early 30s, you’re still not quite sure… And then, something changes the older you get, you just get, first of all, more experience and you get more confidence.

But I think, “Boy, am I lucky” because I work a lot in voice-over. And so for me, doing voice-over means that I’m just working and doing a thing without anybody looking at me or judging me. I can just do that.

And then, when you go in for an audition or go to work on camera, you just have to do it a lot.

If you’ve noticed, a lot of the people now who are getting TV shows, are people who have created their own content. I know that’s been happening for a while, but it’s really speeding up.

Like that show Fleabag I just watched, it’s so fabulous, and it turns out she did that as a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. And then, they’re like, “Let’s make this into a six-episode series on the BBC.”

People are creating their own stuff.

So, get in there. If you want to get in there, now’s the time.

Abel: How does that make you feel? Because you have been working in showbiz before the Internet was even really that relevant, right?

Yeah. Listen, back in the day, when I first moved to LA in 2001, 2002, a friend of mine already lived here and he was having some TV success.

And he said, “You have to have tape on yourself here.” Which now, is really easy because we have iPhones, Diva ring lights, and lav mics that we can order. And I should have plugged mine in.

But back then, we didn’t have it. And my friend knew how to edit, and he had a mini DV cam. And so, he said, “We need to film sketches.” So, we wrote sketches and we filmed them.

My friend, named Lance, wouldn’t really gravitate to editing the sketches unless he was in them. And so, everyone’s sketches had Lance in them and then, we joked like, “We could put that all together and it could be The Lance Krall Show.”

And then, one day, he was pitching another idea to Spike TV, this was about 2004. He was pitching another idea to Spike TV and they were like, “What else do you have?” And he’s like, “The Lance Krall Show,” and he joked.

But he showed them the tape of all the sketches, and it became a series that we did together.

So, it’s things like that, where you keep making stuff. Now, I can’t remember what you even asked.

But there’s that story. You’re welcome, audience.

Abel: Media is changing so quickly.

Now, at least having worked with some of the big companies who are involved in media, it seems like a lot of them are starting to look to the indie producers who have been struggling to get by this whole time. But while doing so, found their own voice and message.

And I think you and Vinnie are… Obviously, you’ve been successful and working for a long time. But there’s something that happened in the past 3 to 5 years, it seems.

Where the indie producers who have maintained creative control are now starting to get to this point of volume or inflection, where now the big networks are looking to them to lead, which hopefully is a good thing.

Well, the network television and the cable television companies are still the brass ring that everyone’s after, but it’s interesting that you had this experience too.

When you go do it, you have a lot of bosses. You have a lot of cooks in the kitchen, and stuff can get watered down.

That’s why somebody like Louis makes sure that FX has zero say in anything. He’s able to do that, not everybody’s able to do that. But it is a very interesting landscape out there.

There are more opportunities than ever before, and it’s also more difficult than ever before in its own way.

That’s my husband’s job. He goes out and sells concepts and treatments, and gets things optioned, and writes jokes for other people or tweaks their pilots.

And so, he’s privy to a lot of meetings where he’s like, “This package is perfect. It’s got this director. It’s got an amazing story. It’s got these two show runners.” And they still don’t want to make it.

But then, something crazy will happen and they’ll be like, “Let’s make that show with that guy that we’ve never heard of or that lady we’ve never heard of, who’s got people on YouTube or whatever.” So, it’s a crazy opportunity.

Look at Adam Carolla who’s broken away from the mainstream. He’s not going to go back. Every now and then, he’ll do a show that interests him, usually about cars.

Abel: It might be worth doing mainstream for something that’s topical like that.

Yeah, something you love.

Abel: Yeah, that’s the beauty in all of this. Now it’s getting so economical to have such pro-level gear that people can, at the very least, practice for free.

Be bad for a while for free. Try to make it work.

But what would you say to people who want to be doing what you’re doing when they grow up, or when they become successful? What do you think is the thing that allowed you to do that?

Because a lot of people have fallen off the map. And we’ve both watched that happen.

What has allowed you to evolve and do better?

I bet your podcast, like ours, launched a thousand podcasts and there’s maybe three of them that are still going.

Abel: Yeah.

Well, it depends. It depends on if you want to be a podcaster versus wanting to be a voice actor.

Voice acting, you can pretty much do from anywhere. You eventually do need to get agency representation, but you can make money tomorrow if you’re good.

Working on camera, you’re going to have to work wherever your market is. On camera stuff, you definitely have to get an agent, but you could be shooting your own sketches. Or you could be shooting your own web series.

I remember when I was little, kids had Super 8 cameras and I was baffled, like, “How do you even do that?” And I wish I had the insight back then to pick one up… Because I’m still like, “iMovie. I don’t know why.” I can edit my own reel and that’s it.

Abel: But you can do audio.

I can do audio.

Abel: Yeah. And that matters. You can do audio so well that you just take it for granted.

Yes, that’s true.

Abel: That’s another super powerful skill.

So, I think it’s important that people find that. But this might sound like it’s not totally related to health, but the reason that I wanted to talk about it, is because it strikes me as you’re a DIY kind of gal, right?

That’s why you have a cookbook and a blog, and you’ve been able to get out there and not only heal your own body, but then you get that twinkle in your eye. You want to do something more.

You want to pay it forward and you create. You put it out there. And then hopefully, you’re able to, if not make a living from it, then help make a living from doing something that you really believe in, where you’re giving back.

Absolutely.

Abel: So, I just want to tip the hat to you for doing that, but also share that with other people where it’s like, no one probably is going to come to your house and teach you how to cook the perfect meal.

You have to take that small step of, “All right, I’m going to try this myself. I’m going to do a little bit.”

At this point, you can probably record a lot from your home studio and cook a lot of meals from your home kitchen?

Yes.

Abel: We talked about this when I was on your show, about how it seems like my background is full of all of these things that don’t make sense and wouldn’t go together. Like, you’re a stand-up comedian, blogger, cook, podcaster, producer. That doesn’t make any sense. Tell us how that makes sense.

It doesn’t make any sense.

Well, you know what? I remember reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s book “Crush It” years ago. I had a hard time reconciling doing this food blogging thing, because I have celiac, and at the time, it wasn’t no sugars, no grains, it was just gluten-free.

I had a hard time reconciling being that person with being somebody who wants to be in a movie or a cartoon. And he was the first one I heard say somet like, “the future is people who are hybridizations of everything they love, and are able to be authentic in all of those things that they love.”

There are other things that I love that I’m not going to put out there, because it’s just not my area of expertise. But there are just things that I love.

Some folks are experts at teaching how to do voice-over to other people. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be a voice-over teacher. That’s not a thing I’m into. But it’s certainly an area where I have expertise.

I love performing. I love entertaining, and I love food.

I love performing. I love entertaining, and I love food. Click To Tweet

But also, I was going to say, your time of figuring out the health angle of all this, is there’s a mindset issue that’s happening, that we’re all having to peel back the layers of the onion with this former way of eating versus this new way of eating.

And it bleeds into everything because I do a process every morning, where I look at the day before and I say, “Where did you feel angry or sad or whatever, and why? What triggered you?”

Usually, if something triggered you with a negative emotion, it’s because it triggered a belief that you’re believing that’s not necessarily true.

Abel: That’s a deep thought, let’s all think about that for a second.

Let’s all think about it while I drink from this plastic Steelers cup that we hope is BPA-free.

Abel: Let’s hope.

We can’t be sure.

Abel: It probably has BPS in it though, the other one.

Oh, the other BPA. BPS. There we go. By the way, you have a steel glass and a glass glass. What are in those…

Abel: I’m not great at juggling, especially hot liquids… But yeah, I got my bone broth here, which Alyson brought in, because she’s so sweet.

That’s so nice.

Abel: I already had coffee going, and I’ve got some water too.

Good Lord.

Abel: You know what it’s like to do this all day, you’ve got to stay lubricated.

All day.

Abel: These vocal cords work hard.

I’m trying to think of a good example, because I don’t want to get too personal.

Okay, let’s say something didn’t work out that you wanted to work out, and it made you feel sad or disappointed. Or it made me feel sad or disappointed. Let’s talk about me.

I would think, okay, that thing stung, I felt rejected, I felt sad, and then I would think, why though? What are you believing to feel that? That I feel invisible when I’m rejected like that. That hits a very core, like ugh. That hits me in my gut. I go, “Okay. Do you want to feel invisible?”

No, I don’t. I want to feel visible, and I want to feel valid, and I want to feel good about myself. And I want to feel like I’m making a difference, and I feel like I’m making an impact. I literally write all this stuff out.

Then what it does, is it helps me, first of all, forgive what ever happened with another person, but more importantly, forgive myself. Because you know we all do that thing.

I see it all the time, especially in our Facebook groups… “I gave up the sugars and grains, but then they brought donuts to the office, and then I ate the donuts, and I’m such a terrible person for doing that.”

I’m going, “No, no. You just triggered something, that’s all.”

You could get right back on the train, but I feel like we just kind of have these knee-jerk belief reactions, and a lot of it surrounding food.

I always joke that if I wrote a diet book called Hate Yourself Thin, I would make a billion dollars, because that’s what dieting is.

If I wrote a diet book called Hate Yourself Thin, I would make billions because that’s what dieting is.

You’re depriving yourself, you’re going against the impulses of your body, and then you’re telling yourself you were good for doing that.

Abel: Right. “I’ve been so good,” or “I’ve been so bad.”

I was good today.

Abel: Sometimes I feel like Santa Claus, because people come up to me in the grocery store and they’re like, “I’ve been so bad,” or “I’ve been so good.”

But then they say, “I’m a terrible person,” or “I’m a bad person,” and that’s the thing where it’s just like, alright, all bets are off. If you believe that, then you’re never going to think food is as important.

That’s why the belief work is important.

I dealt with anorexia when I was a teenager. I danced for 14 years, and I understand what it’s like to deprive myself, and to tell myself, “You’re too fat,” even though I was too thin. I know that crazy world.

Then you could also say, “Well, that’s not fair, because I actually am too fat. It’s true, I am too fat.”

I’m like, “Okay. Well, how does that make you feel?” Makes me feel worthless, it makes me feel invalid.

I’m like, “Okay. You don’t want to feel those things, so you need to heal those beliefs along with changing the way that you eat, so that everything is sustainable. That’s where the change is sustainable.”

Abel: Right. And you can be an actual person, but being in Hollywood, you see how the reality that has been broadcast to the world doesn’t quite line up.

Can you explain the difference between seeing someone who is very pretty on TV, and what they look like in person, not through the lens?

It’s crazy how different people look in real life. First of all, the camera adds 10 pounds is a true statement. It’s not because it’s two dimensional, but there’s something about it… I don’t know what it is.

Abel: It’s like an inefficient compression of three dimensional down to two, where it’s just not right.

I don’t know the science behind it, but it definitely adds 10 pounds because when you see every single famous person, they’re all shorter and thinner than you possibly could have imagined.

Some of them are little tiny baby people, you know what I mean? You’re like, “Where are you? You’re so little!”

There’s a ton of actresses who were like, “I’m just going to be myself and do it,” and it’s tough.

Boy, I remember I clicked on some article about Christina Hendricks, who is inarguably one of the most beautiful women on television. And I clicked on it because it’s showing a bunch of dresses she was wearing, and I just wanted to see her dresses.

And then I scrolled down to the comments and I was like, “Whoa. Slow your roll, people.” They were so mad that she wasn’t real thin.

I was like, “Why? Why do you care?” I know that there’s trolls and everything, but that really stood out to me.

And then people were saying like, “She’s just unhealthy. It’s sad.”

And I was just like, “If she’s unhealthy, then I want to be unhealthy Christina Hendricks when I grow up.” That’s all I’m saying.

Abel: Yeah. The amount of judgment is so ridiculous. Especially once you travel to different parts of the world.

One of the things that is hilarious is it becomes more and more reductive. If I’m in certain places, people assume “Oh, he looks like a gym-going CrossFit type or something,” which I’m not, by the way, but that’s what they assume. But if I’m in some other parts of the world and it’s just like, I’m the gringo.

Right. It depends.

Abel: It gets so reduced, and you realize that everyone has their own perspective that comes with a lot of baggage most of the time, and is oftentimes not true.

The thing that I, as a man, find attractive about women is when they own it.

Yeah. For sure.

Abel: They own who they are, which means owning your body. It means owning your personality and the way that you interact with the world. And hopefully, trying to bring a bit of yourself to it.

But it has nothing to do with the superficiality that you see presented in broadcast as something that’s real, that’s totally not and definitely not sustainable.

One of the things that you also see if you meet some of these people up close and personal, is you’re like, “Oh.” You can just see from their face, these people are struggling with alcoholism or drugs to stay thin or to deal with whatever.

The pressure.

Abel: And it’s just that the sheer amount of layers of makeup that have been put on their face before they’re broadcast to the world several times a week or every night or every once in awhile, that covers it up.

So, you’re seeing something that seems healthy, that is not at all.

Whereas you are, you’re kind of a DIY, you’re doing it yourself, doing the best you can, but you’re learning and evolving, and that’s what we all need to do.

Yeah. Dude, I couldn’t agree more, and it is crazy when you see some behind the scenes stuff.

I have this theory… When folks are younger, and especially when I was younger—I was 22 and I was like, “I just want to be famous. I want to be famous.”

And then I very quickly realized it, like, “No. That’s not what you want. You want to work in your field. You want to earn money, and you want to be respected by your peers so they keep hiring you. That’s what you want.”

Because with fame comes a whole lot of crazy stuff.

With fame comes a whole lot of crazy stuff. Click To Tweet

I have this theory with the famous people that I know. You kind of see an almost arrested development locked in at the age where they hit it big.

It’s tough to grow past that, mostly because there’s this sycophantic thing that’s happening in Hollywood where no one will tell you the truth or tell you to calm down or like, “You’re being an A-hole, you need to chill.”

But yeah, it’s a crazy culture where people are just like, “I’m dying to get on television.”

I’m like, “No. You should be dying to create cool content. You should be dying to write some excellent comedy. You should be dying to share the information and knowledge that you are an expert in, with the world.”

You know what I mean? That’s where the drive should come from.

And then the fame, if it comes, and the recognition comes because of that.

Abel: Yeah. Well, I just want to say for anyone who is listening: All those folks who you may think are the examples of success out there, that are broadcast by mainstream media, you may think that’s everybody’s hero, maybe it was yours when you were younger, growing up or something, but Anna is your hero. We need more Annas.

Abel: We need more people who are actually doing it, because now you can do it yourself.

You can. You can do it yourself.

Abel: And I’m not just flattering you, I mean that.

I’m like, “God help you guys.”

Abel: Because chances are you’re just going to keep on rolling and getting bigger, but this is what the world needs.

Because you know that’s not how TV works. You don’t just roll up and say whatever you want most of the time. Maybe Louie does, right?

Yeah, Louie’s allowed.

Abel: Certain people who stand their ground will, but that’s what we need. We don’t need people who just want to be on TV. We need people to say what they want to say.

That’s what I love about stand up. It’s a venue where you can say what you want to say. And as long as it’s funny, you can get away with a lot.

“As long as you make people laugh and recognize themselves in you, you can get away with a lot.”

Abel: I would love to see one of your shows live one of these days.

Yes.

Abel: We’re almost out of time, but obviously, we could talk all day and I hope that we do sometime soon.

Yes. One day, soon.

Abel: Come to Austin and visit us.

I know, I need to come to Austin. I’ve been wanting to come there. I heard it’s the coolest.

Abel: You and Vinnie need to come immediately, actually. And we’ll film it so everyone can see us doing silly things together. But before we go…

Content, baby.

Abel: This is the book, right here. Even if you don’t usually buy cookbooks, this one is worth it because it’ll give you ideas for how to make clean foods taste great relatively easily.

And there aren’t many people who have that approach, and you do.

I think it has something to do with being artsy-fartsy like us. Because we just get a few levels outside of the norm, and that’s what you need in order to… You know, this is a new way of doing it, right?

You’ve written recipes your own way, and that’s what we do, too.

There’s a certain amount of having to perfect things. It took me so long to write this because the learning curve was huge.

I didn’t hit the ground running, knowing how to write a cookbook. I wasn’t born like, “Oh, cookbook.”

It took time, and I think that there’s a bit of artistic perfectionism that went into it.

And even now, it’s in its third printing and I still revise. You know what I mean? But “Eat Happy 2” will be on the way maybe next year.

Abel: Killer. All right. Well, don’t lose your mind in the process.

I won’t, not this time.

Where to Find Anna Vocino

You can find Eat Happy on Amazon. You can find me at annavocino.com. You can find my Twitter, @AnnaVocino. My Instagram, I like to post yummy food pictures on the Insta.

Come play with me on the internet. Tweet me pictures when you make stuff. That’s my favorite. Especially because my East Coast people tweet me at about 4:00pm my time, and I get a whole bunch of dinner pictures, and I’m like, “Ugh. I’m hungry now.”

I love it, though. I love it.

Abel: Tweet at all of us. I am @fatburnman on Twitter. Anna, thank you so much for coming on Fat-Burning Man.

Before You Go…

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