Nivi Jaswal

Aug 16, 2022


Why We Need to Bring More Spirituality and Plant-based Wisdom Back Into Our Food System with Nivi Jaswal


women, intersectionality, world, stories, veganism, masculine, ritual, females, storytelling, point, systems, research, eating, agricultural workers, important, offered, people, voice, paradigm, post


Nivi Jaswal, Megan Swan


Megan Swan 00:00

Welcome back to energetically you the podcast where we talk all things integrated wellness, abundant mindset and well partnership. I am your host, Megan Swan and integrated wellness and business coach specializing in helping high performance women optimize their wellness so that they can have magnetic energy confidence from within to make more empowered decisions. Today I have a very special guest I'm honestly so excited, a little bit nervous, but absolutely thrilled and honored that maybe Josh wall has agreed to come on the show. She is a powerhouse of knowledge, diverse personal global experience and perspectives. And she's here to enlighten us today we're gonna be talking about intersectionality veganism and the divine feminine. And let me tell you, it was kind of hard to narrow down our topic, because she is a just an absolute wealth of knowledge on so many really interesting topics that I love to chat about. But that is what we came down to. I'll briefly read her bio Nivi Jaswal is an intersectional vegan advocate and social entrepreneur in Boston, Massachusetts. She founded the Versa Foundation, a non for profit and the Divinity research program after healing herself on a whole food plant based lifestyle. In addition to holding a BA in psychology and sociology and an MBA in consumer behavior, marketing and an extensive international corporate experience in her in the consumer packaged goods, medical devices and media and research sectors. Nivi is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach trained at the Mayo Clinic. She is passionate about developing creative, multidisciplinary, intersectional content and designing unique research collaborations aimed at communities of color in the US and South Asia and elsewhere. So as you can see, she is a very amazing woman, I can't wait to pick her brain. So as in a few moments, we're gonna dive right in. Welcome, navy. I'm just so honored that you accepted the invitation to be on the show. And I'm so excited for this conversation. I while I was sharing with the audience that it was a little bit difficult to narrow down exactly what we're going to limit the conversation to, partly because I'm just a person that loves to speak intelligence and I can get really all over the place quite quickly. But yeah, so So let's dive in first with how are you and I really wanted to know your as much as you wanted to share with us your personal journey to really becoming very passionate about being whole food plant based.

Nivi Jaswal 03:04

Thank you so much, Megan. And I really appreciate you having me here for this conversation. To start with, I have a corporate background and I started in the consumer packaged goods industry, in marketing and brand management. I moved to the medical devices industry after that and you know, media and research. And all this time I was you know, a protein A Holic, workaholic, meter hole like all of those holics all combined. And I believe that animal protein was really important for our health, and especially for women's health because we needed to protect her bones and you know, animal protein derived from dairy was an important component of that nutrition for me. And I was following keto. And it was under a clinically supervised protocol, no less. And it actually drove me towards chronic illnesses that I in the first place was seeking to prevent and which ran in my family and I initially felt they were part of my genetic destiny. So in 2015, I had a series of diagnosis, and it prompted me to take a break from the corporate world. And I assumed it was stress because I was flying around and 50% of the month it was quite a busy time from a business travel standpoint. Slowly it took me about three years to unlearn what I had learned my entire life, about the need for animal derived products in our nutrition. And I chanced upon and nobody should have to stumble upon this wisdom honestly, but a chance to bond. Various books including The China Study written by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. I watched the documentaries that have since become really popular Forks Over Knives Game Changer came out in 2019, and so on. And I was really motivated to give it a shot. You know, I was like, okay, it seems like the science is behind it as much as I believe that science was behind ketogenic and paleo and all of that. And I had nothing to lose, given the diagnosis except to just fulfill my genetic destiny and, you know, become a full time diabetic and identify myself as a patient or label that I didn't identify with. And so in April 2018, I went whole food plant based oil free. So I chose to follow the therapeutic protocols suggested by Dr. Calvin Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. and he developed this protocol when he was still at the Cleveland Clinic. And yes, six to eight months later, by this by spring of 2019, I had a clean chit from the doctors. So that's my story of going from a carnist stick, meat loving, keto, corporate, you know, business travel sort of person and that identity and my transition to eating more mindfully and naturally.

Megan Swan 06:18

Well, I want to ask you about intersectionality and what it has to do with veganism. But before we go there, can you touch a little bit more on sort of like the personal reflections on you know, where was it hard to make that shift? And then what did you notice on a physical, energetic and maybe spiritual level when you did make those changes?

Nivi Jaswal 06:40

Right? And that's a very important question, you know, about transition. There is no one answer, and there isn't a simple answer, because we're talking about transitions, not just from one nutritional paradigm to the other, or one way of looking at the world to the other and, and redefining literally our value system from ground up. And I mean, that both metaphorically and literally, because, you know, when we're, when we're eating and consuming violence that has been perpetrated upon animals, birds, and other living beings, we're not living on the ground, we're not really grounded in our root chakra, you know, it's the first chakra problem to be a carnist ik person and to survive in the world. My transition nutritionally, was dependent on the prerequisite of what does the science have to say about this? You know, and I have been very evidence based in the first half of my life in terms of what is the science tell us? What do the numbers tell us? Do we have the statistics for this? Do we have the data for this, which again, is a very divine, masculine, structured, organized sort of a way of, you know, leading life and making certain choices. And the world seems to reward that, you know, whether you're a man or a woman and or identify with a different gender. So the nutritional switch was overnight, when I felt that, hey, all of these lifestyle medicine professionals are talking about it. There are before after transformations, and I wanted for myself because I was in pain and I was suffering. The spiritual transition took a while. And that didn't occur actually, until two years later, more than two years later. So in April of 2018, I went home food plant based oil free in August of 2020. I was sort of swimming very close to what I considered were dangerous militant waters of veganism. I didn't want to touch them, you know, it was almost like it had a Laura there's a magnetism to being this activist persona. And once you enter the plant based world, nutritionally even for health reasons, you can't but not be touched by these, you know, this, this vibrating, vibrant women led movement that veganism is. And I had an encounter with Victoria Moran, who runs Main Street vegan Academy out of New York City, and she's, she's just amazing. You know, she is the grandmother and divine feminine personification of compassion as an ethic and of veganism. And she's been vegan for like, over 50 years. So it's been awesome. You know, she's in her mid 70s At this point in time, and I was at a speaking engagement. She was there and she and I got talking. And she said, hey, you've got to attend the Main Street vegan Academy and you know, I continue with their education because you, you know, you've entered this plant based world and I was like, you know, okay. We Reaganism you know, let's see. So August 2020, I was, it was during one of the sessions that she had curated. And very prominent vegan activist who is somebody who I really admire. Her name is Jasmine singer, and she happened to be talking about storytelling, and carnism and recounting episodes and interactions and encounters, we and the class may have had as individuals with the animal world. And I don't know, you know, this is the power of storytelling and, you know, tapping into the the power and the, the realm of the myth, you know, we carry so many myths and memories inside of us. And when somebody just nudges and pokes at them, it can create some very profound, you know, transformational moments. And that's exactly what happened on that, you know, summer of 2020. And I ended up recounting a specific episode of where I had witnessed the slaughtering of a cow. In Indonesia, I was in Jakarta, and I was at work, I was being driven to work. And, and I looked at it and it was, you know, obviously, the animal was in distress. It had a huge crowd surrounding the entire situation. And it was a spectacle, because the crowd was cheering as the knife was put to the animal's neck. The car was moving very slowly. And every single time I recall this incident, as I'm doing right now, you know, our memories are fundamentally flawed. Because when we reconstitute all of those frames and bring them back, they, they always appear in a very different color, and hue. You know, and, and as I recall, that during Jasmine's session, in the summer of 2020, I had goosebumps, and all of a sudden, I was like, Oh, my goodness, you know, what did I do after witnessing this, like, I'm trying to jog my memory. And I realized, we sneaked in and out of that traffic, I reached work quickly filed it away in my memory, forgetting it for the next, you know, 15 years. And later that night, I remember going to very expensive steak house. And, you know, with my team, this is how dissociated and how disconnected, I was, respectively, with my carnism. And in that one moment, Megan, from being a whole food plant based person who had come in purely with the selfish motive of reversing my or addressing my own illness. I was sort of anointed and appointed into the cause of veganism.

Megan Swan 13:13

Do you want to go to talk about I mean, was this essentially the seed for your organization, this whole experience or what was that sort of like already on your your radar to start something like that?

Nivi Jaswal 13:26

So the seeds for the various the foundation, you know, which is the nonprofit, you know, based out of the Boston area that I run, we're actually ship sown in 2016. And in September 2016, I started, you know, a an executive education program at Stanford, it was hybrid, so I didn't necessarily have to be in Palo Alto. And I was participating, and not that I think of it in an elective on storytelling, led by Professor Jennifer Aaker, who might have huge respect for she's very well known in marketing and in the industry, and she's written about the power of levity and humor, humor, in storytelling and in leadership, you know, and inclusive leadership and how women can bring that, you know, tap into the power of levity and humor, and, and so on. So, part of that course, was a call to action about how do you create, you know, an idea and take it to the community. And back then, I wasn't vegan, and I wasn't even plant based. So and I was in a sabbatical and I knew what I knew at the time, which was business and the world of, you know, economic empowerment and microcredit facilities, going to rural, you know, areas. So I chose to go back to my own community. I'm a Punjabi from the northwestern part of India. And I thought that it would be great if I could go back and help the rural women artisans over there. I love color. I love fashion. Meridian textures and all the bells and whistles and mirrors, you know, that are part of, you know, my culture and the fabrics and adornments and accessories that women wear. And it's just incredibly beautiful. So I was interested to bring this, you know, idea of digital marketplace to these women. It wasn't until 2018 That I incorporated that into a formal, you know, organization. And as my own journey began, I started exploring, and I started wondering, and being very curious about what was the baseline health status of these women, you know, and how they say that, you know, you you set her set about trying to do something where you feel like you can rescue other people, but exactly who you set out to rescue sometimes rescues you right back. So I credit a lot of my journey into wellness, and veganism, and whole food plant based and the whole healing journey to those women. And by the time it was, you know, 2018, early 2019, as I was experimenting with plant based eating and finding benefit, I wanted to bring that part of the story more and more to them and really not being this you know, doing this Savior act of here I am para trooping into your rural life. And I'm going to take your wares, and sell them for, you know, 10 times over and I'll share the profit, which is a tried and tested International Development, revenue model, you know, which has been used by small entities to some really large, globally renowned brands. And but it's very difficult to sort of migrate to saying, I'm just going to empower you to be able to get more for what you're doing. And how do you do that one of the ways to do that is to ensure that people feel healthy, and that their metabolic rate of aging isn't completely blown out of proportion for you know, their actual chronological age. And what I mean by that, Megan is, women, some of these remote, you know, rural artisans, even in their late 20s, or early 30s, or like, early 40s, they looked outwardly as though they were in their like early 60s, I kid you not. That's the impact of a low quality of life, the malnutrition of a totally different level, and stress and the situation of being indebted. And also surrounded by the patriarchy and you know, not having your own voice and fertility issues, but they're, it's taboo for them to talk about it, and so on. So, the minute I kind of touched those waters of, let's bring wellness to these women, it seemed as though and my mother was on this journey with me, too. She's an anthropologist, so mom and I, we felt like we'd open this Pandora's box, where all of a sudden, in the temple kitchen, where we were holding these whole food, plant based dairy free oil, free culinary demonstrations for these women, that, you know, there's frequently some of these women would kind of like huddled they'd have a little talk with each other, and one of them would dare to sort of approach us and start talking about, well, you know, what, I'm going through this, and I haven't had my period for like three months, and I know I'm not pregnant, what might be going on? And that's where, you know, I started thinking that, Oh, my goodness, is not just about nutrition, it is about systemically socio culturally built in disadvantages and inequity that women end up experiencing, that completely shuts off their voice and prevents them from, you know, voicing healthcare needs or even self esteem needs or other things. And obviously, we're getting into reproductive rights, which is, you know, a topic that's of a huge concern at this point in time, you know, even in the United States. I mean, the past weekend has been tumultuous, to say the least, and very tragic. And, and do you know, this long winded answer that I have to your question is that the nonprofit also had a journey that mirrored much of my own and that sense and starting with the women in Northwest India, to the behavioral research work that we do now, mostly focused in the United States, on women, women of color, low income women, regardless of their color, all of that, you know, mimics and mirrors the healing journey that I've been on.

Megan Swan 20:14

Yeah, well, I love how you keep bringing storytelling back into the conversation. I don't know if you know, I've heard of the poet's oshi. On Vaughn. I was listening to him on on Bing. And he was telling this beautiful story about his childhood and how he was raised by Buddhist women and his family. They were all illiterate. But you know, he was talking about how the rituals of Buddhism were sort of threaded into his life, and how important you know, like everything he learned as a writer, and as an artist is really from these women and the stories that they used to tell him and how I loved how he talked about you know, that we embody stories, and that there's this huge disconnection in the current sphere that, you know, we're increasingly disconnected from the words we use from the stories we tell and really like not valuing the, the more traditional or simple ways that these things are passed on as being like, somehow less important. And in fact, it's more important, you know, I don't know if that speaks to you.

Nivi Jaswal 21:22

Oh, absolutely. It does. You know, I'm a big fan of Vons work as well. And equally, that of Max Miller's when it comes to mythology, and also Carl Jung, who was considered the, you know, one of the fathers of analytical psychology, and all of these, you know, individuals and thinkers, including some of the more recent thinkers, like, you know, Carol, Jay Adams, so, you know, woman, vegan activist in her own right now, it's, you know, somebody who's written about eco feminism, and, and she's much more contemporary to the world that, you know, we're in because one of the good ways to sort of look at ritual and the power of ritual is that it offers, you know, coming of age, there's there are these coming of age rituals, since times immemorial, in ancient societies that have been used to pass on wisdom orally, or through weavings, or embroidered motifs, and, and fabrics. Because all of those, you know, accessories tell a story. And it's, it's very interesting that you bring it up, because the artisans that we started working with in Punjab, were phulkari artisans. And, and phulkari is a very specific embroider embroidery tradition, where it is specifically made for the daughter when she's born by the mother. And what I know historically, is that the phulkari for the girl, the daughter, will, will actually be initiated on the day that she's born. And by the time she's ready to be married off, you know, in a very traditional context, the mother has started to sort of weave in all the stories that the mother, the grandmothers, on both sides, the aunts on either sides, you know, are encountering in their life and some of those motifs, and, you know, those ideas are woven into an embroidered into the shawl, that would be part of her true soul. So that is really the beginning of that artisanal work. And I and I know that lots and lots of cultures that continue to invest in their heritage, you know, including the country where you're based in at this point, mega, you know, have so many amazing rites and rituals still intact, you know, and unfortunately, they're declining a lot. However, their, their, the way in which they're still intact, is it gives me some hope, you know, for our world that's caught in this dissociation, unrealistic virtual reality of the Shala. Same meta verse, you know, where, you know, our, you know, our children increasingly, you know, people the younger people, who are digital natives are encountering mental health issues, because they have trouble just associating with another human being. And, and, honestly, our technology has hijacked, the dopamine mechanisms and the serotonin mechanisms that are, you know, inherent in our body that are stimulated by the practice of ritual and bile listening to stories, you know, bedtime stories or ritualistic stories or fables, or folktales, all of that folklore. And typically, the burden of this sort of was heavily on the women in the tribe. It was up to the, the well, it was up to the, you know, the tribal amongst the tribal elders, for the woman to really be the custodian of that folklore, you know, of the songs that were sung, and of the poetry that was written, because the men were out doing what they were doing, you know, in a typical hunter gatherer gatherer hunters sort of a paradigm when we talk about, and let me know if you're okay, for me to sort of segue into the whole intersectionality veganism, eco feminism bit.

Megan Swan 25:55

Yeah, please. I just wanted to say like, I think another great source of story are recipes, right? Like the culinary magic of your culture, for example, it's just so deep, and, you know, spiritual, there's just so many layers to the, you know, lots of the dishes that anyone can, can taste outside of outside of India. But of course, there's many that don't, you know, arrive to Indian restaurants. Exactly. And I'm sure that that's part of the knowledge and, and the storytelling that you got from these women?

Nivi Jaswal 26:30

Oh, absolutely. You know, I am just so, you know, like, fascinated with plant based wisdom, in ancient foodways, and ancient colori traditions, which have been contaminated by this whole animalistic, carnist, ik sort of thinking, and, you know, just sort of this reductive, macro based thinking that I need my carbs, and I need my protein and I need my fats, because that doesn't have any juice to it, you know? So, yeah, any. So what are you eating again, like, here's a spoonful of carbs. And here's two spoonfuls of fat, human beings, and our sensory system doesn't work like this, you know, and once again, the, you know, asides from the biological honor and privilege of reproduction and bringing life to Earth, you know, and women being the custodians of that, or females being the custodians of that females have also been the custodians of how do you put together and aggregate all the plant based wisdom and the ingredients and the herbs and even flowers, you know, that might be available in your vicinity locally, seasonally, right medicine, the medicine of it, all right, it's an it's a medicine for not just your body, but also for your soul for your energy body. And a lot has been obviously written about it in both ancient you know, Eastern and Western cultures. Obviously, the South Asian culture has a very specific ethnic, you know, way of cooking our food. And I was dissociated from that too. During my Keto time, I was doing boiled chicken and I was using this very sensitive kitchen counter weighing scale to measure my net carbs. So I could add it to the app. And so I, you know, achieve my protein goal of the day and I don't do carb I was carb shunning. And I didn't realize that along with closing that door, I had also closed the door on this amazing diversified medicinal plant based wisdom that was part of my own roots. So if we were to sort of say that or paraphrase that in spiritual terms, by following this keto Karna stick, nutritional and health paradigm, I had cut off my grounding, and I had seriously compromised my own root chakra. And we know what happens when we do that as individuals when we do that as a collective. When we do that, at a large scale. Our systems do not then have the right foundation and they have an imbalanced Foundation. And the Root Chakra is nothing but the big, awesome door to receive that wisdom from the earth, the earth goddess, you know the divine feminine energy. It's the Kundalini as it's you know, spoken of and called in so many in yogic traditions, and in Celtic traditions. There are other names given to it. It is is that, you know, the place from which we derive our fertility and the fertility of our ideas. And then coming down, you know, from the top from our crown chakra is the cosmic energy, which one can, you know, speak of in terms of the masculine energy. But if all that our society is an including females of our kind, if we're just soaked in the masculine energy, and the only models and forms of leadership and ways of moving and being and dancing in the world, we know of our distinctly masculine or alpha male codes. And that's all that we lean on. Then no wonder we've got situations of extreme, you know, pandemics, not just that of COVID-19, but also public health and planetary health at this point in time, because we're cut off from a root chakra, if you're not dipping into that plant based wisdom, those attention foodways and ritual and storytelling that you refer to.

Megan Swan 31:10

Yeah, and of course, when we're off balance on that set, in that sense, you know, whether you want to take it spiritually, or literally, we're ungrounded it's so much easier for us to be influenced by status quo, right, like just to be less connected to the bigger picture of the daily decisions that we're we're making. So yeah, let's dive into where we wanted to hone in on this conversation. I think it's perfect time to get your, your your take on intersectionality in general, why it's so important to veganism, and eco feminism.

Nivi Jaswal 31:52

Yeah. Well, thank you for, you know, asking that question. Its intersectionality has just so many different definitions, depending on the podcast you listen to or the book you read. And depending on what Dr. Google throws up, and so on, the way I understand intersectionality is very literally, it's the interconnectedness of all these different social categories that we ourselves as individuals are immersed in, and these social categories are that race and class and gender, and intersectionality specifically, sort of regards the the overlaps of race, class, gender. And, and it focuses on some of the independent systems that arise from those overlaps. And mostly, when those when we look at those systems, they, they tell us a lot about the characteristics of inequity or disadvantage or discrimination that we experience, either as a function of our race or a function of our class or a function of our gender. So that to me, is what intersectionality really is. And when we look at Eco feminism, that's a branch of feminism. It's a sub branch of feminism, feministic thinking, and it's indeed a part of political ecology, and eco feminist thinkers, look at the human relationship with nature at large, through the lens of gender. So having established these two points, where there's ecofeminism, that is looking at what is our relationship with nature, and what is the relationship of nature when we look at it through the lens of the divine feminine, and when we look at intersectionality as to how disadvantaged, how discriminated against dress discriminated against is the divine feminine. When you combine both of those things together, you know, it becomes a complex and a heady mixture of eco feministic intersectionality that becomes very difficult, you know, to divorce it from the word or the concept of veganism because veganism is indeed about going back and looking at how our current relationship with nature is and retraining ourselves to be more connected with nature. So in my view, intersectionality eco feminism, veganism, they're almost like this Holy Trinity, you know, very powerful that is capable of allowing, not just women, but masculine allies of females and women out there who would want to come together and really elevate our collective consciousness. And if we don't do that on an urgent, you know, basis, we already know that we've reached planetary boundaries. So, we know climate change is a reality. We know there's completely eccentric never heard of climate disasters that are underway at this point in time. We need global warming to be curtailed below, you know, plus two degrees Celsius. And it's already wreaking havoc, you know, some places have wildfires, and some places have flash floods. And it's, it's incredible how much we've upset Mother Nature. And it is some scholars already argue it's a point of no return. You know, if you listen to the work at, you know, some of the foundations, there's one nonprofit that I particularly follow, they're called 50. By 40. They're out of Canada. And they've done a lot of pharma transition work and climate change, or climate reconstruction work, and so on. And they're vegan too. So and they believe in intersectionality. You know, once again, when you look at the farmers, when you look at agricultural workers, predominantly agricultural workers tend to be women, especially in the global south. So there you go, you're checking all the different boxes, you've got women, they're defined by their race, their class, you know, the country where they belong. And they've been incorporated into being agricultural workers in poultry farms, in dairy farms. In fact, the other day, we, you know, at our nonprofit, we put out a very pertinent, you know, article on how dairy farmers and you know, have been incorporated into thinking that they are bringing nourishment to children, and that they're helping moms out there with a critical component for their child's nutrition without which they wouldn't be good moms. And, you know, so it's the pitch that these modern day toxic food systems that we've created, the pitch that they make, to females of our species, is just incredibly sinister. Because effectively it's female on female violence. If you look at a female agricultural worker than having an artificially inseminate the female of another species, in this case, a cow, or to bind a mother hog, and a gestation crate that is so small, that she can barely move, or the pitch that we make to agricultural workers in the honey industry, where the queen bees wings are clipped, so she can't go anywhere. Or even in aquaculture, where female shrimps receive eyestalk ablation to spur them into greater reproductive abilities, which is completely unnatural for them. You're literally hijacking the Divine Feminine forces and energies present in the world, in some cases, using human females to participate in that supply chain of torture, all in the name of food and food that is supremely unnatural for our species in the first place.

Megan Swan 38:29

Can you paint like using this lens? Can we paint a little bit of the historical picture of how the masculine has dominated the stories we tell ourselves about, you know, global poverty, nutrition, like all of these things that we feel like it's somehow justified and necessary, essential even that these systems exist? Because if not, you know, we'd all be starving, or if not, to your point, you know, there wouldn't be enough of these essential ingredients for someone's child. Obviously, all of these these narratives are fundamentally flawed. And, you know, I loved in the talk that you made gathers over hunters, the archetypes that you develop there, and I don't, we don't really have time to go into all of them. But can you kind of paint the picture of because I'm sure most people, for example, have no idea that the military has anything to do with food research, or the Food Innovation, which has led us to the fast food industry.

Nivi Jaswal 39:38

Yeah, thank you for referring to those archetypes. There are 10 of them. And, you know, I'm preparing a separate sort of a position paper on that which I expect to have, you know, ready on our website soon for those of your you know, amongst your audience who might be interested to delve deeper. So let's picture this Picture that it's like 5000 10,015 50,000 years ago. And we're back in the primitive times, it's, you know, pre Neolithic times. And we have we see a tribe, we come upon this human tribe. And women are cooking or gathering, tubers and herbs and other nuts and seeds that they can find. But a small band of men, males of our species have come together, and they're in a team huddle, and they're setting out for the hunt. Hunting was a very, very difficult proposition back in the day, because we don't have claws and we don't have four and we don't have you know, all the necessary things physically to be able to fight have, you know, large livestock. Well, livestock is a word agrarian term or large bovine, you know, mammals or any other you know, deer or other thing that humans might be interested in hunting. And also what we're interesting interested in hunting, there are other carnivorous predators out in the jungle that are also interested in hunting exactly those prey. So there was a lot of ceremony and ritual, and chest thumping about dude, bro, we're gonna do this. And we have to succeed. And we have to make a song about this and do a song and dance about this, because you know, we're going to war, we might not be able to come back. And if we don't get back, all of these women and kids are going to start, actually, they weren't not going to be starving. If they die, they were they were more likely to die of infectious diseases than diabetes 10,000 years ago or longer before that. But all of that ritual and ceremony was really important for them to do because it was a high risk proposition. Which is why we find all of this scribbled in the form of cave paintings. We've never seen a cave painting, where a woman in primordial woman or women are shown gathering mangoes from Mango orchards or trees always show men fighting for that prize for the thing. So when we look at our history, and when we listen over and over through Hollywood, or our media, or through history books, or through our, you know, oral traditions, in our separate micro cultures, where we grew up, that it was the hunter that led to mankind, and know the vocabulary on that, then for mankind to reach all these advances, and it wouldn't have happened if man had not hunted and, you know, become the paragon of animals. And when I talk about paragon of animals, I will obviously refer to that whole Dominion mystic ideology as well that you know, some large fates in the world sort of ascribe to. And that hunter gatherer paradigm is, is a fallacy. When we actually look into archaeological records more and more, these technological advances offer us a way to look into the genetics and the DNA of what ancient men and women used to eat. When we look deep into evolutionary epidemiology, or evolutionary history, it really missionary paleo archeology, when we look into some of those, you know, some of that research that that seems to be coming out. It sounds as though human beings no matter where they lived on planet Earth, before the big migrations that happened to the global north and the upper latitudes, because those were largely uninhabitable. Were mostly a tropical species and a temperate species because we need warmth to survive. When we look at some of that history, we know it's actually the gatherer Hunter paradigm versus the hunter gatherer. Now, if we're all socialized into thinking, no primitive man lived in caves, ate meat hunted animals. We're going with that rallying cry, rah, rah, rah warring mentality and cut to Today, modern history. When we look at most recent geopolitics, we see that the World War One and World War Two have really critically shaped our food system in our food ways. And how do we do that information is out in the public domain. The US military to take one example and not to say that other militaries in other armed forces in the world haven't followed the same approach. But the US military to be specific, are actually the largest spenders of research into food and food technology and food preservation technology for some various things. You know, obvious reasons in the world at this point in time, their r&d budget for developing, you know, extra long shelf life on pizza, for troops that are deployed far and wide. I mean, just that r&d budget would put a lot of, you know, international development and, you know, hunger relief projects and their budgets to shame. And win wars and the technology that has been created, or the supply chain that has been created needs to find somewhere to go. And that's how we have chicken nuggets at this point in time. That's how we got spam. That's how a lot of those initial military related food innovations were socialized into consumers into the consumer realm, giving rise to TV dinners, initially, and also sort of appropriating the Women's Liberation Movement to say, Well, if you're a working mom, and if you have to step outside of your home, you still have to feed your family. And here you go, there's convenience food, and there's TV dinners for that, and so on. So when you look at history, and the role that these masculine systems have played, masculinity, military, this whole idea of, we got were warring and to create a sense of scarcity, and move away from the paradigm of abundance. So when you when you create that scarcity, and you create emotion around that scarcity, and you create a structure and a system that seems to offer a remedy for that scarcity, we all get socialized, and incorporated into thinking that this is the only way Oh, my God, this is the only way money is the only way if I don't have money, and capital markets, if capital markets collapse, we're gonna collapse. Even the word capital comes from head of cattle. That's how deep the ironing goes. When masculine forces out way, the feminine voice. And so the idea is not to shoot the masculine forces down or do the same boring vocabulary or approach, but really, is to bring it back into balance and say, Can we together come to the table and have a conversation and vote with our voices and with our money and with our resources, for things that actually matter? Because honestly, Mother Nature is going to survive, and Planet Earth is going to survive. As long as our, you know, sun, the star that feeds us is there, if we don't, you know, bring this balance into being the survival that's threatened the most is that of our own species. So it's selfish, not to want to bring that balance between the masculine forces and the feminine forces to come to bear. And that would really make us civilized, that would be the hallmark of civilization, versus, you know, getting embattled about whether I belong to this great civilization, therefore, I have a right to go and invade your country or not, which is, you know, still continuing in the current,

Megan Swan 48:26

the current paradigm, yeah. Well, I want to be respectful of your time. So let's shift to how we met, I saw a really incredible post that I just found so inspiring on LinkedIn, and I revisited it just yesterday and can't believe that massive traction impact, I'm sure you're receiving so much feedback. But it was just, you know, a picture of you in a beautiful sorry, and your explanation and storytelling, of a situation where I think most women can immediately connect with, where you are in a situation where you had to, you know, grin and bear it, essentially. And when these things happen to us, you know, sometimes we never really process it other times, it can take years or you know, and then so, what I love about the post is it's also the storytelling. It's the reality of the we don't share these stories. It's, we're all keeping each other quiet in this in a system that we were just discussing. So do what do you want to share with us about that post and maybe some interesting feedback that you've had? I'm sure it's been mostly positive, but let us know

Nivi Jaswal 50:00

Yeah, thank you. You know, first of all, I'm so grateful for the social media algorithm that actually brought us together. And so in that sense, this podcast, this conversation, getting to know you and about your work is a perfect example of the positive impact of how posts that receive this sort of, you know, attraction and scale can deliver to, and what voicing one's voice, albeit so many years later, can actually bring, you know, it's bringing the truth, it's brought the two of us together, it has brought so many other women closer to me to from, you know, my own home country, as well as two women here in the US who are whether they're South Asian or not, because it does strike a chord with them. So the post actually refers to three separate incidents that happened one closer, 10 years ago, another around well, another about five years ago, and another more recently, about five months ago. And so it goes to show that, you know, things change and things sometimes, you know, also don't, also don't and, and I'm like, seriously, are we still in the same paradigm. And it was pretty interesting, because when I posted it, I mean, I didn't set out to make my post viral. It's a phenomenon that, you know, you and I both know, it's completely out of our control. I was, I was in a moment of dis disbelief and disillusionment with what happened most recently, where a Climate Change Guru reached out to me on LinkedIn, and they offered to collaborate over a documentary. So I met with them through, you know, LinkedIn, and we, we had a Zoom meeting, and they opened with, I'd love to have your pretty face in the documentary. And, and I was, you know, shocked at sharks. You know, I was like, Okay, so is there anything more that you would want me to contribute towards the documentary, you know, is not, it's like, you're so pretty, we just want want to have you on it. And I'm like, you know, what, I've participated in the media advertising communications world, and there are talent ad agencies out there, and they're, you know, far prettier women, you know, for the right role, and the character and the right plot and so on for the right storyline, you could have so many different people to audition. And, but, you know, why? Why me, and, and this person sort of didn't have their logic just didn't have much legs to stand on. And so I was in a state of shock. And this happened, you know, some months ago. And then before that, it was all about, oh, you're going to India for a wedding. I know, people might force you or suggest that you wear henna on your hands. But listen, you're in an important client role with this huge organization, and it may not be construed as professional. And then the first, you know, anecdote was from one of my supervisors who blatantly had, you know, he became very upset upon looking at my nail paint, and he seemed to suggest it was completely inappropriate for the workplace.



Nivi Jaswal 53:39

you know, the importance of voicing all of these things, any of these things that we experience as women, whether we're working or whether we're not working, there's this ever present need, somehow that we all get socialized into a validation. And even if, and even when we're not looking for validation proactively, it seems that it's offered in the form of labels, and it's offered in the form of shoulds. And should not do's and do nots, and also these definitions of what makes a good girl what makes a good woman what makes a good wife, a good sister, a good daughter, a good daughter in law. And that's a lot of pressure. And I feel that in having just some of that pressure out on LinkedIn, that it resonated with so many women, and, and the kind of, you know, messages that I've received from women saying, you know, the other day there was this one, obviously, I'm going to share it anonymously, where she said, I was offered a job. And at the same time, they proceeded to tell me about the dress code, and I remembered your post and I I'm choosing to say no, I don't even want to go and work for such an employer. That example of a private message that was sent to me where one person says that, you know, they made a different decision than they probably would have. That says a lot. And and I, and I was so moved when I saw that message. And and then on the other side, there have been other messages where they range from blatant propositioning to saying things like, Oh, you look stunning. And sorry, please also change your profile picture to one. Were you wearing a sari? If you're a true Indian? And I'm like, precisely, thank you for mansplaining my, of my profile picture on a social media platform. Thanks, but no, thanks. So, you know, there's inspiration. And then there's also evidence of how things continue to be, you know, pretty much

Megan Swan 56:03

exactly the same. And, just for context, those three stories did not all happen in the US. I mean, they happened all over the world, it was, you know, this isn't, this isn't like a Western problem.

Nivi Jaswal 56:20

So, you know, yeah, and one of those stories happen in the US, one happened in Europe, and the other happened in Asia. So, you know, with the exception of the, the, you know, Latin America, I think we've covered this. So it goes to show how pervasive and just, you know, if I'm the only data point of, you know, t equals N equals one, how pervasive the issues are?

Megan Swan 56:45

Ah, well, I think we could talk for another hour, but I really want to wrap it up so that it is wrapped up beautifully with a nice little bow, if you will. I wanted to quickly just say that I've been diving into your podcast, connecting the dots. And I wanted to just briefly touch on the current organization that you are focusing on Jevon, do you have any program in terms of the advocacy and the content creation and the behavioral research that you're doing and anything else you want to mention to the audience in ways they can connect with you? Sure. So please

Nivi Jaswal 57:25

check us out on Instagram or and on LinkedIn, we're at Divinity and Divinity research on LinkedIn. divinity is a platform that exists you know, on my, the parent nonprofit, which is called the versal Foundation. And divinity is is just such a beautiful concept. Actually. It's a composite word made up of jeev, and Neeti. jeev is the Sanskrit root for life and aliveness, and then meet the is again, the Sanskrit word or root for method or, or way or path. So the past towards being alive, is what that platform is all about. We do three things, as you've mentioned already around a monthly podcast. It's broadcast on Jane and Jane News Network, which is also unchained TV. It is actually the world's first animal rights and environmentalism, and veganism focused TV channel, and it's available on Apple TV. And we also do consumer advocacy, we want to have it be anchored in evidence based science. So I conduct public health research, the latest project that we're working on is understanding the COVID-19 impact on Americans physical and mental health, and looking at it through their dietary patterns. So we're looking at both people who can eat animals and people who eat clean and choose plants, and how might their experience have differed? And if it's different, and hopefully it is, as I think, you know, you and I, we all know. Yeah, but it would be interesting to be able to find some science and numbers to back that up as well.

Megan Swan 59:11

Curious to see what your your research comes up with? Because it's a it's a deep punch.

Nivi Jaswal 59:17

Yeah, we're excited about it as well. And yeah, it was, it has been challenging to bring together the village that it has needed to, you know, produce this sort of research to collect the data. Because a lot of mainstream organizations are uncomfortable touching these questions. So we have some very courageous people who throughout the different phases of such research, who have come forward to help and I'm immensely grateful, because we can do this by ourselves. And you know, the work that you do, you can't just do it just entirely by yourself. It needs a community to come together on support you and to come together and support, you know, me and my work as well. So I thank you so much for, you know, having me here and giving me an opportunity to talk about my work and my ideas on what's happening in the world.

Megan Swan 1:00:15

Well, thank you so much Naevi. It's been a true honor. And yeah, I really enjoyed this conversation, and I look forward to following your work. Is there any one last little snippet of hope you want to leave us with?

Nivi Jaswal 1:00:31

Well, the only thing that I will say is, find your voice. It's incredibly important for women to continue to support not just others, because we do that anyway. We're socialized into doing that anyway, looking after others. But the minute we're, we donned the oxygen mask ourselves, and we express ourselves, no matter how it is, we express ourselves to work, you know, with healthcare, our own self care, healthcare, or towards you know, our hobbies and interests and other forms of creative expression like art and, and music and singing and dance. And you don't have to do it formally. Goes sang in the rain, the next time it rains, find your medium, because you never know it might be your medicine. That's

Megan Swan 1:01:25

beautiful. Well, we'll leave it right there. Thank you so much. Thank you