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May 16, 2024 71 mins

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If you've ever wondered how to enrich your diet without falling prey to restrictive eating, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, the brain behind the Nutrivore philosophy, joins us to illuminate the path towards optimal nutrition. Through our engaging dialogue, Sarah shares her transformative journey from research scientist to a passionate advocate for nutrition and health communication. We navigate her personal health challenges and how they led to the birth of Nutrivore, a way of life that promotes a non-restrictive, nutrient-dense diet, empowering us to make informed choices about the food we eat.

We wrap up by tackling the accessibility of nutritious food, debunking the myth that healthful eating is an expensive endeavor. With a spotlight on resources like, we're reminded of the attainable nature of a healthy diet. The conversation also covers the communal effort behind Sarah's book publishing journey and the importance of effective communication in the wellness community. And, for a warm-hearted twist, you'll learn about the unexpected joy and love a furry companion can bring into your life. Join us on this episode for an enlightening exploration of how nutrient-dense eating can lead you to a happier, healthier life.

Check out Sarah's links below and pick up a copy of Nutrivore and other Nutrivore Resources for youself!

Buy Nutrivore!
Nutrivore Digital Resources


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Planthropology is written, hosted, and produced by Vikram Baliga. Our theme song is "If You Want to Love Me, Babe, by the talented and award-winning composer, Nick Scout.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
What is up?
Plant people it's time oncemore for the Plantthropology
Podcast, the show where we diveinto the lives and careers of
some very cool plant people tofigure out why they do what they
do and what keeps them comingback for more.
I'm Vikram Baliga, your hostand your humble guide in this
journey through the greensciences.
And, as always, my friends, Iam so excited to be with you
Y'all this is a good one andthey're all good ones.

I someone asked me recentlywhat my favorite episode was,
and I don't know.
I it's.
It's hard to choose, but Ithink this one is going to be
way up there.
So my guest today is Dr SarahBallantyne, an author, a
research scientist, a brilliantscience communicator, an author
of several books, including thebrand new book Nutri, which is
just a creative and exciting andnew way to look at food and
nutrition In a time and in asociety where there's so much

fear-based misinformation aboutfood out there.
Sarah is just a voice of reasonand science and hope when
you're trying to figure out whatto eat to live a healthier life
and to be better.
So Nutri-Vore really dives intothe nutrient density of food
and how we can plan our livesand our food and everything else
around that, and it's just sucha cool concept that I think a

lot of us should be reallypaying attention to.
I know it's already sort ofchanged the way that I think
about food for the better, notso that I'm scared of foods or
restrictive about foods, but sothat I really value what I'm
getting out of it.
Also, sarah is just a wonderfulperson.
We've gotten to be friends fora little while and it's just
been so cool getting to know herand watching her through this

process and really learning alot from the way she
communicates and the way sheteaches.
So I think you're really goingto enjoy this episode as much as
I enjoyed having thisconversation with Sarah.
So, without any further delay,my friends get ready for episode
108 of the Planthropologypodcast eating lettuce, starving
trolls and life as a Nutrivorwith Dr Sarah.

I am so excited to have youwith me today.
We've been talking about thisfor a little while and trying to
schedule a time and we've beenlike internet friends, for we
were talking about this off air,but we've been internet friends
for a little while now and it'sjust-.

Speaker 2 (02:28):
You were one of my first TikTok mutuals, like in my
first week or two of joiningthe app.
Yeah, you were one of my firstconnections.
So one of the first like as theFYP was like actually figuring
me out.
One of the first contentcreators that TikTok was like do
you like this?
And I was like, well, yeah, Ido Tell me more about Harry

Ball's milkweed.
And then, yeah, I feel like Imean, I feel like we've known
each other for so long.
We comment on each other'scontent like all the time.
I feel like I know you so wellbut actually officially first
time meeting.
So thank you for having me.
This is really fun.
I I'm so excited to just chatwith my, my friend that I've

never met before.

Speaker 1 (03:14):
No, and I I'm thrilled to have you on.
I love what you do.
I love the overall message thatyou send through your all of
the communication stuff you do,not just social media, but
through your writing and yourwork, and we'll get into that in
more detail a little bit later.
But I'd like for my listenersto get to meet you a little bit
as well.
So, if you don't mind, justgive us the pitch for Sarah.

Where did you grow up?
What did you study?
What were you into?
Those kinds of things Okay.

Speaker 2 (03:40):
So I grew up on the West Coast of Canada.
I am an immigrant to the UnitedStates of America and a dual
I grew up in a family where itwas totally cool to talk about
feces at the dinner table.
It actually came up frequently.
My grandfather was one of themost preeminent cancer
researchers in Canada, and sosome of my earliest memories are

of like helping out in his labmoving mice with tumors on their
backs from like the dirty cageto the clean cage.
So my upbringing is sort ofsteeped in medical research.
We were definitely a biophilicfamily, so camping, foraging,
growing a lot of our own foodpartially due to poverty was

also an experience of mychildhood, and from the time I
was four, if you asked me what Iwanted to do when I grew up, I
would say I want to do somethingimportant that helps people.
And then by the time I wasseven, you would ask me what do
you want to be when you grow up?
And I'd say I want to be aresearch scientist.
And so that is the path.

What field of research I want todo kind of changed through
middle school and high school.
I ended up doing myundergraduate degree in physics,
which is probably the biggestacademic detour that I took.
I meant to do biochemistry andthen accidentally did physics
instead and then did a PhD inmedical biophysics, which
actually brought me much moreinto medical research and I

ended up becoming more and morelike.
My second postdoctoral researchfellowship was cell biology.
So I ended up going from I wasgoing to do biochemistry to like
pretty much back to it by theend of my academic career, but I
stepped away from academia in2008.
So my first daughter was bornin 2007.

And I was really sick.
I had a dozen diagnosed healthconditions.
I think that the biggestchallenge was probably
undiagnosed Hashimoto'sthyroiditis so that is low
thyroid and that has a lot ofquality of life impacting
And I just we we had just movedto America, we didn't have any

family, we didn't have a lot offriends here, so we didn't have
much of a support structure andI had a colicky baby and my
husband's also in academia, andso I just couldn't like, I just
couldn't balance right, like youknow, the demands of of an
academic career I could not find, especially those like early
years of establishing your ownresearch program and you're

writing grants but you alsodon't have the money to pay
students and postdocs.
Yet I could not.
I couldn't do that with acolicky baby and no support.
So my initial intention was totake advantage of a program run
by the NIH called Reentry Grantsfor Women.
So this is a program for womento take time off for whatever
They're really not kind ofpicky.

It's just like hey, yeah, womenoften get pulled in multiple
different directions.
It's one of the barriers toachieving the same type of level
of academic success as men, andwe can take up to eight years
off and then when we come backinto academia, they pay like
three years of it's like threeyears of funding to help ease
you back in.
So I'm like, cool, I'm going todo this program.
I'm going to be a stay at home.

Mom had had a second child,moved to another state following
my husband's career and thensomewhere in there, I found
nutrition and it made a reallyprofound impact on my life and I
started my first blog and ittook off and I got the
opportunity to write a bookwhich turned into now writing my

fifth book and getting a hugeaudience.
Back in the days when, like,the word influencer didn't exist
it's like 2011.
And when I was faced with that,that decision point of okay, my
eight years are almost up, do Igo back into the lab or do I do
this like science,communication in nutrition and
health topics thing for for mycareer, and this felt more

It felt more like what I wasmeant to do, like the sum of all
my experiences, all of theexperience of like I was big
into, like speech contests inhigh school, you know, like just
you know all of my experiencespublic speaking and volunteering
in high schools.

My experience is just being sickand experiencing the profound
impact that diet and lifestylecan have, but also my medical
research knowledge that allowsme to put that in the context of
it can't fix everything.
Sometimes medicine is actuallymedicine and food is food.
So it kind of felt like it wasthe best use of the totality of

me, and so I have continued tofollow that passion, while
rebranding and moving into anon-restrictive approach to
dietary recommendations.
It was certainly dietaryrestrictions that was my first
foray into the wellnesscommunity at large, and now I'm
building a whole new thingcalled NutriVore.

Speaker 1 (08:52):
That is super cool and I really appreciate and
really enjoy how you talk abouthealth, fitness, wellness just
in general, I mean in yourintroduction, but just in a
grander scale.
My granddad was a doctor and Ithink it's interesting to hear
you say that you wanted to belike a research scientist at
I think I wanted to be a ninjaturtle when I was seven but

getting into like high schooland college, I always wanted to
be a doctor and started off inbiomedical engineering that for
a year and that was not my thing, it turns out I don't love
calculus and they want you toknow calculus.

Speaker 2 (09:27):
This is a fundamental difference between us.

Speaker 1 (09:30):
Oh really, You're a calculus person.

Speaker 2 (09:32):
I miss it.
So when I switched from myundergraduate in physics, my PhD
was like a physiology lab in amedical biophysics department.

Speaker 1 (09:41):

Speaker 2 (09:46):
So my PhD really didn't involve like we were
using biophysics-y technology,but we weren't really doing
biophysics research and I, forlike the first few years until
grad school got really real, Iwould like come home from the
lab and like pull out myadvanced calculus textbooks,
like solve systems ofdifferential equations for fun.
So I probably can't anymore,like it's been enough decades.
That's probably not a skillthat my brain has cared to to

Now you got to make room forall the new stuff.
Right, you got to get rid ofthe old stuff to make room for
new skills.
But, yeah, yeah, if you told meI I had I had to do something
different now, it would probablybe math.

Speaker 1 (10:26):
Oh, that's, that's fascinating.
Yeah, I don't know, it's notthat I I don't think it wasn't
that I like wasn't good at it,like I did fine, but I just my
my brain hurt, like all that.
I was like I don't, I can't.

Speaker 2 (10:34):
Yeah, that's what I liked about it.

Speaker 1 (10:38):
Well, I was trying to figure out at that point, am I
It's this weird feeling, beinglike 19, 20 years old and being
like I have made a huge mistake,I don't know what I'm doing
with my life.
And I had a really good advisorat one point.
That was like, what do you liketo do?
And I was like, well, I grew upgardening with my granddad and
he always made food and beingoutside and just being active
and all of that a big part ofwhat he did medically being

active and all of that a bigpart of like what he did
Like he would I posted aboutthis actually on social media a
little while ago, but he would.
He practiced at a time in sortof the lower income part of our
town where the insurancecompanies were not quite as like
powerful as they are today, andhe would accept like baskets of

veggies or eggs or likewhatever people could pay for
medical care.
It's like I always grew upthinking about like this is part
of health, because he's adoctor and he thinks this is
valuable, and that was likealways.
And then, you know, gettinginto grad school, I pretty sure
I spent like 10 years stresseating and like not taking care
of my diet, which is not greatfor like mentally, physically,

anything else, also theubiquitous graduate student
Oh, my goodness, yeah, yousurvive it right, you get
through it.
And I think you know, as I wasstarting to be more conscious
about that, like all of themessaging on social media is
very much like it's veryone-sided.
It's very like if you eat this,it's bad, if you do this.

Very much like it's veryone-sided.
It's very like if you eat this,it's bad, if you do this, it's
You should look this way andfeel this way and be this way or
it's bad.
And I love the way that youapproach it.
That like one, life iscomplicated, but two, there's so
much to health and wellnessthat isn't just captured in like
an Instagram influencer, likelifting in the gym or something.

Speaker 2 (12:22):
I think that my approach now,which I think of as permissive
rather than restrictive I think,if I were to distill what I'm
doing right now, it is sciencecommunication on nutrition that
helps people understand some ofthat base knowledge that we

don't really get in our currenteducational system, right, if
you think about how much we knowabout algebra or grammar when
we graduate high school, wedon't have that same kind of
base knowledge about nutrition.
So providing that kind of baseknowledge really accessible,
So thinking I respect people'sability to learn science I think

that's what us sciencecommunicators do is we want to
teach you the real science, butwe're going to use accessible
language and we're going to takethe time to build that
So helping people understandthat, in order to help them make
just a couple small tweaksright, one or two really
accessible, affordable changesthat the science shows is going

to improve long-term health.
That is focused on addition andnot subtraction, and getting us
out of the diet culture mindset, which I feel like.
I've been thoroughly brainwashedby diet culture over the years
and had to unlearn a lot ofthings that I had learned in

order to get to this place ofwhere I am as a creator and so
helping other people kind ofalso make that transition of
trying to move beyond fear offood.
I think that is the thing wherecontent on like healthy eating
right now is mostly it's likewhy this thing is poisonous or

toxic and why this thing is isthe worst thing that you could
possibly eat, and the bar keepsgetting raised.
So it used to be don't eatthese preservatives, and then it
became like don't eat oats anddon't eat spinach, right.
And now it's every food right.
Like, depending on who youlisten to, every single food is
toxic, it's demonized by someone, it's going to cause cancer and

all these other things.
Those claims are not rooted inany kind of facts or evidence,
and even when there is somethingthere, I want to talk about the
I want to talk about like inthe context of an overall
healthy diet.
What does this look like in thecontext of living an active
lifestyle, getting enough sleep,like other things that impact
health or our genetics or oursocial determinants of health?

So I'm as much about sort ofcutting through that fear and
helping people get off that likediet roller coaster that, oh, I
have to eat this way and I'mlike white knuckling it to try
to hang on, and then I can'thang on anymore and now, like,
all my health behaviors unraveland then I okay, I'm going to
get back on the wagon, I'm goingto, I'm going to do the thing

and get us, you know, away fromthat, like I'm, I'm good, I'm
bad sort of swinging back andforth and just work on like
lifelong eating patterns,because that's what actually

Speaker 1 (15:27):
Yeah, that's so cool and that's, I mean, that's a
spring to Nutravor, which isyour, your project that you're
working through now, and I thinkyou've, you know, kind of
covered a lot of the roots ofwhat got you interested in this
and how you came to this.
But can you give us just anoverview of like what Nutravor
is, how you came to sort of comeup with this and work through
this and like how it works?

Speaker 2 (15:48):
Yes, yes, I'd love to .
So Nutrivor is a incrediblyclever play on words, as I'm
sure you are aware I was.

Speaker 1 (15:59):
It's very good.

Speaker 2 (15:59):
It's so good, right?
A carnivore eats meat, aherbivore eats plants and a
Nutrivor eats nutrients.
So a just genius level play onwords.
As far as I'm concerned, anutrivore is the very simple
goal of getting all of thenutrients our bodies need from
the foods we eat.
That's it.
That's the underlying principle.
That's all that nutrivore is.
Unfortunately, most of us don'tknow how to do that.

We're not taught what nutrientsdo in the body, what foods
contain them.
Sometimes I'll I'll make avideo about you know, like
vitamin K and some like coolthing that it does, right?
Like vitamin K is really coolbecause it controls where
calcium ends up in the body andhow calcium is used, and so it
has all this like really coolimportant functions, right?
So like it can both stopcalcification of our arteries,

but also like help calcificationof our bones.
So vitamin K is super cool.
I'll do a video about vitamin Kand someone will say wait,
there's a vitamin K.
Like our base knowledge aboutnutrition is almost non-existent
, right?
Most people basically onlyunderstand food as calories and
Right, that is the ubiquitousknowledge in terms of

understanding food, in terms ofvitamins and minerals.
We don't really collectivelyhave that knowledge base.
So achieving this NutriVoregoal requires a broad
nutritional sciences education.
So to me NutriVore is not justthis, I mean incredibly logical
goal Like I dare you to refutethe logic of meeting your

nutritional needs from the foodsyou ate.
But it then also sort ofnecessarily has to be the
underpinning information andknowledge base to help inform
the food choices, form the foodchoices.
But the really empowering thingis once you start getting into
what foods have what nutrientsand what amounts and how can I
combine different foods to getthe full range of nutrients my
body needs, you see that there'sno, there's no like obvious.

You have to eat this and youcan't eat that.
You see really quickly thatthere's millions or billions of
different ways to combine foodsto achieve that goal.
So by having that as ouroverarching philosophy, it
actually informs, taking thatstep away from moralizing foods

and getting away from yes foodlists and no food lists and all
of these really I think harmfuldiet culture approaches to how
we craft a diet and it alsogives people the flexibility to
apply the Nutrafor philosophy tolike.
Let's say, you do have a dietthat you really love.
It works really great for you.
You can still use this Nutraforeducation to make sure that

you're getting all of thenutrients you need, upping your
nutrient intake.
It's not only sort of ananti-diet philosophy, but it
also helps us get away from themoralization of foods, and what
I'm seeing like the dominantcomment that people leave on my
content is this helped me expandmy diet.
This helped me feel comfortableadding this food back in that I

was afraid of, that I had beenavoiding for so long.
So Nutravor I think it isreally the idea is setting us up
for these, like long-termhealthy eating patterns that
reduce risk of just abouteverything that can go wrong

Speaker 1 (19:19):
And what a cool like a bit of feedback to get that
like this thing you've createdis like giving people courage
about the food they eat when youknow I don't know I think you
were talking about this earlier,but like we're in very much in
a climate on, maybe just ingeneral, where fear sells so
well and so so for people tokind of pick up on that and like

really get meaning out of that,that's such a cool thing.

Speaker 2 (19:44):
Uh, there's nothing more heartwarming than that.
Like I like the comments where,oh, I've been eating more like
high neutral score foods and mywhatever symptom or health goal,
whatever thing, has improved,those are also rewarding
comments to receive.
But when people talk abouttheir relationship with food and

their ability to to sustain ahealthy eating pattern because
they're not feeling deprived,because that was my own journey
through the wellness community,that is, that is the most
rewarding, because that that'sthe hard work that I've had to
do emotionally like separatefrom, from working on you know

what, what foods you know to eatday to day that work best for
Kind of separate from that,separate from figuring out how
to be active and get enoughsleep and all of that jazz.
The hardest thing for me hasbeen working on my emotional
response, my emotionalconnection with food, especially
coming as someone who used tobe morbidly obese and have binge
eating disorder sort of to comethrough that.

That was really hard, that wasmany years.
That was a lot of therapy andso to see that just this
resource of understanding foodand appreciating food because of
the nutrients that foodcontains, and thinking of food
in this way, that's so sensibleand yet also really novel that
that is helping other people toalso improve their relationship
with food, that that that isokay.

Like this is.
This is the right thing.
This is what I'm I'm meant to,meant to do.

Speaker 1 (21:15):
That's so cool.
I love that, and it's so muchmore than just the like food is
fuel mentality, which has alsobecome very prevalent.
You know, you see so manyvideos of like this like
terrible piece of boiled whitechicken that someone is like
chewing on and it looks likeit's shoe leather and they're
like this is great.
I'm like it's not, like you canuse the seasoning right, like

that's not a crime.
So as part of this, it goespast like again the calories and
proteins and the basic likemacronutrients we talked about
into this NutriVor score, whichis, I think, a different way to
think, a very different way tothink about like food.
How do you arrive at that?

Speaker 2 (21:57):
How is that sort of formulated and built?
So the NutriVor score is ameasurement of nutrient density
which is defined, not by me butby the powers that be in the
science and nutrition, asnutrients per calorie.
So it is, by definition, ameasurement of the quality of
the calories of a food, right?
So how much nutrients do youget for the energy contribution
this food is making to youroverall diet?
When I first started buildingNutriVore as a brand but as a

resource, as a website, as thebook, I knew that if I was going
to center a dietary philosophyaround nutrients and nutrient
density, I needed a way toquantify that.
I needed a way to say this is anutrient dense food and this is
In the wellness community therehave been some really important
sort of thought leaders talkingabout nutrient density for a

long time, like Dr Terry Walls,who has talked about nutrients
for mitochondrial health sincelike 2011,.
I think has been her TEDx IowaCity talk went viral.
So the concept of nutrientdensity in the wellness
community is pretty.
It's been around.
It's been around for a while,but we haven't had a way to say
this food is nutrient dense andthis food isn't for that whole

So basically the way we saythat food's nutrient dense is.
We look at a list of all thenutrients it contains and we
were like, oh yeah, that feelslike a lot.
Aha, that must be a nutrientdense food.
It's literally been just like agut check and that has been it.
That has been the only thinginforming all of the content
centered on nutrient dense foodsfor the last decade, plus that

people have been talking aboutthis online.
So my first stop was the fieldof science called nutrient
It's literally the science ofcategorizing foods based on the
nutrients they contain.
I was like, cool, I'm sure somevery, very, very smart, smarter
than me scientist has alreadyfigured this out.
Some very, very, very smart,smarter than me scientist has
already figured this out.
So a couple of years ago, Ispent three months reading just

about every paper I could get myhands on in this entire field,
and there's a couple dozendifferent nutrient density
scores that have been developedby different scientists and I
kept going oh yeah, sounds good.
Wait, wait, what are you?
Why are you doing it that way?
Oh, okay, I'm going to go.
I'm going to go read about thisother one.
Yeah, okay, that makes sense.
That makes sense.
Wait, what are you?
What are you doing?
This field has a a logicproblem that I think is related

to the incentive.
So what's happening in thisfield of science right now is
there's government dietaryguidelines and, all you know,
most countries have their ownset of national dietary
guidelines, and then there's theidea of, like, identifying
quality foods, right.
So nutrient density is sort ofone way to look at that.

We can look at other things,like the NOVA classification
system, which talks about howprocessed a food is, but
nutrient density is one of thosewe would think a really
important way to think aboutfood.
So what the scientists aredoing is they are doing things
like trying to figure outexactly which nutrients to
include in their calculation sothat the number at the end

matches the healthy eating index, which is the measurement of
how well someone's diet fits theUS dietary guidelines.
And it turns out that the fewernutrients you use in the
calculation, like nine, isoptimal, that that matches
better, which to me is like wellthat that doesn't make any
Why is fewer nutrients better inthis?

Why does fewer nutrients betteralign with the dietary
To me, it makes vastly moresense to figure out how to
objectively quantify thenutrient density of food and use
that understanding, use thatlens to then see what, what we
need to fix.
What do we need to change inthe dietary guidelines, which
change every five years?

As it is already, that's notactually like that big of a lift
So right now, this field as awhole is either very like
plant-based diet bias beingadded directly into the math, so
they're doing like correctionsfor whether or not that comes
from a plant food or an animalfood.

Speaker 1 (25:58):
Oh, interesting.

Speaker 2 (26:00):
Not, not, not, I don't.
I would just want to again.
I just want to understand thefood.
I just like.
I just want to understand thefood, or it's really finagling
right which nutrients go intothe calculation to be able to
like retrofit a score forpreexisting dietary guidelines.
So I, with a great amount offrustration, left those three

months going.
I'm going to have to make myown.
It was not my initial intention, although Nutri-Four score
rhymes, so it was.
It was right there for me.
So I guess it was.
It was always meant to be.
But I remember the phone callwith my team and I was like I
don't think there's a singlescore we can use here.
I think we're going to have tomake our own.
Algorithmically, it's based onthe Nutrient-Rich Food Index,

which has already been aroundfor 20 years.
33 nutrients go into thecalculation, though, instead of
9 or 15.
And there's no penalty forthings like added sugars or
sodium or saturated fats,because the the amount of those
things in one food doesn'tmatter, it's just their
overabundance in the whole diet.

So again, I don't think that's afair way to look at a, at an
individual food.
So it's it is, it's math.
It's a pretty straightforwardcalculation.
Actually, the hardest part ofthe calculation is how much
incomplete data there is, howmany foods we don't actually
know all the nutrients in thatfood, and so I have a wonderful
So this hasn't just been meShout out to my team, but we've

spent gosh.
I think we spent probably ayear me helping and then two of
my team members working on goingthrough papers and finding,
okay, let's, let's add, buy itinto this database.
So we've worked on trying tofill as many gaps as we can in
that like amount of data thatgoes into the calculation.
And then, yeah, and then justdo the math and figure out what,

what, the what the number is,and I think it's fascinating.
My favorite part of it is theredemption arcs for foods that
people think are likenutritionally pointless.
So my favorite is iceberglettuce has a higher Nutri-Vore
score, so that means morenutrients per calorie than

celery, than cucumber, thanartichoke.
I mean it actually has morenutrients per calorie than
sockeye salmon, but that's notreally a fair comparison.
They're quite different types offoods and I think iceberg
lettuce right, we call itcrunchy water, we call it the
nutritional equivalent ofcardboard.
It has this reputation of beingpointless, but there's this

huge group of people that that'sthe only vegetable they like,
or that's the only leafyanything that they like, and
they feel like there's no pointin having a salad with iceberg
because it doesn't have anynutrients.
But it does.
It's got lots of nutrients andso that, to me, is my favorite
part of this calculation is likethe redemption arc for foods
that have been like unfairlymaligned by like wellness

influencers as being empty,nutritionally void, but
meanwhile actually no, they'relike super nutritionally

Speaker 1 (28:59):
Well, and that's important too in a, I think, a
grander context of of like foodsecurity and food availability
and food equity, and in fact,actually the next episode that
comes out after yours is, we hada conversation very much about
like food access with Dr SarahDoonan and from the AnthroDish
podcast, and sometimes thatlettuce is the only thing people

can get, the only fresh thingpeople can get, or they may get
a red.
Okay, I'm going to put a pinright here and say that I am
generally anti-red.
Delicious apple.

Speaker 2 (29:33):
It sounds like they used to be good, and then
there's just been enough geneticdrift that they've turned into
not the nutritional equivalentof cardboard, but certainly the
taste equivalent of cardboard.

Speaker 1 (29:42):
The taste of cardboard.
Yeah, it says Red, delicious,and only one of those words is
true, but for some folks that isall that's available.
And I think a lot of times andI'm guilty of this, and I do it
mostly jokingly like this is abad apple and it's not.
It's fine Eat what you can get,and then you're still getting
benefit of it.
And I think that's an importantmessage that, like, we need to

sort of de-stigmatize foods,because that has been happening
so much.

Speaker 2 (30:09):
Well, I think you know you mentioned earlier that
we're in this like time wherefear sells, and I think this is
very prevalent in nutrition, in,you know, the health conscious
community at large, but I thinkwe see this across the board,
right In the across the economy,frankly, yeah.
But I think that the other thingthat's happening in the

wellness community and we'reseeing this in the types of
supplements that are beingpromoted.
We're seeing this in the ohdon't eat this food, it has this
thing, get this food insteadtype you know marketing we're
seeing the bar just get raisedmore and more and more and it's
doing a couple of things.
So it's it's increasing the,the barrier to entry for people

who want to make some changes toimprove their health and feel
like there's no point if I can'tdo all of these things and
these are way too expensive, orI don't have access, or I don't
have the time to be making myown, whatever it is.
So it's making it seem like theonly way to be healthy is to do
all of these different things,be perfect or it doesn't count.

And so we've got this hugegroup of people who feel like,
well, there's no point, I can'tdo all these things, so I'll
just continue doing what.
What is easy for me right nowbut it also is is very
needlessly increasing theexpense for people who do feel
like they can, they can makethese steps and do feel like,

okay, I'm going to, I'm going tofollow all of the advice of my
favorite wellness influencer andI'm going to, I'm going to buy
all these things and it isblowing up food budgets, which
then means there's not money forsomething else that might be
really important, or there's.
It's taking away people's time,and taking time away from
something like getting enoughsleep or getting some activity

or just like having quality timewith important people in your
life, and so I think it's it'salmost, it's elitist, right Like
It is trying to make healthfeel like something that only
certain people deserve and can'tafford, and that's not it.

That's not where we should be.
We should be lowering thebarrier of entry to the ground.
We should be digging a trenchand lowering the barrier of
entry bar into that trench sothat healthy eating is
accessible for everyone.
Healthy eating is accessiblefor everyone and and it's why I
love like creators, like DollarTree Dinners.

Speaker 1 (32:37):
Who will show you like?

Speaker 2 (32:38):
frozen vegetables that you can get at a Dollar
Tree for not a dollar but $1.25or whatever it is.

Speaker 1 (32:45):

Speaker 2 (32:45):
And and that's where, like that's where I would like,
if you know, if I, if I cantake my content in any direction
, it would be in what is themost affordable and like
ubiquitously accessible food.
That is also something that'sreally important for us to all
eat more of, like vegetables.

Speaker 1 (33:05):
Yeah, well, and, and so I'm glad you brought some of
that up because, speaking aboutaccessibility as part of this,
by the way, your book just cameout as of the release of this
podcast episode, like I think,two days ago, if I'm doing my,
if I have my dates right in myhead, so that's super exciting.
But your website Nutravorcomthat there is so much accessible

information on here, like forfree, that's not paywalled.
Yeah, you can learn so much onthis website and it's written
very accessibly.
It's written veryunderstandably, and I was so
when, when I was kind of goingthrough this prior to our
I am blown away, like I'm a I'ma research scientist too, right

, like I've done research.
There is so much here and it ismind blowing how much y'all
have accomplished with thiswebsite.
It's incredible.

Speaker 2 (33:57):
Um, as my little bragging point, I think we're
about 5% done the website, sothe plans for this website are
extraordinarily extensive, um,and we've already accomplished
so much that I was actuallysurprised nothing like this
existed on the internet yet.
I'm always kind of shocked.
I feel honored to be the personto create this, but why is it

Why hasn't anyone done thisbefore?
But so what's on there now isreally detailed articles about
what a nutrient does and all thedifferent health conditions
that getting enough of thatnutrient can help to typically
reduce risk of sometimes it'salleviate symptoms of or reduce,
like reverse diseaseprogression.
But typically we're looking atrisk reduction and then best

food sources of that nutrient.
And then you can go learn aboutthe food, learn about the
history of the food, learn aboutthe history of the food, learn
about what nutrients it contains, learn about like the the the
most valuable things that thatfood has nutritionally to offer,
and like why those things arethe most valuable.
And then you can learn aboutfood groups.

You can learn about like howmuch a serving is, there's
recipes, there's there's a wholesection on just like the
recommended dietary intakes ofof nutrients.
I cannot tell you how long thatwas to put together, because
that information was not likeput together anywhere.
Yet how is recommended dietaryintakes for different like age

groups and like biological, sexand life stage?
How was that so hard to trackdown?
I don't understand why that wasso hard to track down.
But that's all like easilythere for you and very easy to
navigate, and the website iskind of.
We always sort of think of itas like how can we make this the

bingeable nutrition content everRight.
How can we make this a websitethat you get lost in?
So there's a lot of like crossright.
You can go from the nutrientsto the food, to a different
nutrient to a food group to therecipe that contains that food.
And, again, like the, the plansthat I have for the content on
this website, we, we have justscratched the surface, and it's
already you know hundreds andhundreds of articles, very in

depth and, and again, not likeanything else that exists on the
I don't, I don't know why, Idon't know why, no one beat me
to it, but I'm very honored to,I'm very honored that that it
has landed, landed on me.

Speaker 1 (36:26):
Well, and I'm glad you're doing it, and I was gonna
make actually that commentabout the UI, just the user
experience, the user interface.
It's so easy to navigate andthat may sound like to people
listening like that is such abig deal on the internet of like
actually being able to find theinformation you want and it's

well organized.
I like that there's a link toeverything on every page, like
that's kind of cool so you canjust get back to things.
And no, I probably spent likean hour and a half over the
weekend just like poking aroundon this website and as someone
who likes to cook and likes toeat and I have found a lot of
value in this already justthinking about like oh, I can

add like two or three things tothis dish and make and make it
so much more nutrient dense andI can do it in a way that my
eight-year-old will eat it.
Like I can hide, we madespaghetti a couple of weeks ago.
Right, he loves spaghetti, highpercentage food.
I can put it in front of himand like 90% of the time he
won't throw it back.
You know he'll eat it.
But I managed to bury some likecolorful peppers in it and some

spinach and some other thingsin the sauce and I'm like, oh,
if I put this in front of you,you are not eating it.
But if I bury it and hide it, inthis like you just add two or
three ingredients and you'veadded so much nutritional
density to things you alreadylike, and that is so important,
I think.

Speaker 2 (37:47):
That is my favorite way to use the NutriBurr score.
So like that to me is.
So one of the challenges that Ihave in creating a nutrient
density score is the like dietculturification of this number
that I trying to create a lot ofcontent around like okay, but
we don't want to just thinkabout the NutriBurr score.

It's fascinating.
I love it.
It's a great way to think aboutfoods, but it should not be the
only thing that's going intoour decision making when it
comes to foods.
So I think the best way to useit is to think of either swaps
or additions, right?
So what can I?
White flour pasta noodle.
We can go with whole wheat orwe can go with an option made

My favorite is the ones madewith lentils.
The Barilla brand is veryaffordable.
This is me once again beggingBarilla for sponsorship.
I just want Barilla to sponsorme.
The Barilla blend is really,really affordable.
Their lentil red lentil noodlesare delicious.
They're great texture and thenthey've got tons of like.

I mean, they've got all thenutrients of lentils in them.
So they're high protein,they're high fiber, but they're
also like high folate, right,like they, they're packed full
of B vitamins and minerals andthere's probably a little bit of
loss in the processing.
We don't know like exactly,it's mystery.
Uh, red lentils go into theBarilla factory and these
amazing pasta noodles come out.

Um, presumably there's a littlebit of loss of nutrients, but
you're still talking aboutsomething that's like three ish
times more nutrient dense,probably, than regular pasta
So there's your swap mentality,right, like what is the thing
that I can swap out and we cantalk about, like zucchini
noodles or spaghetti squash, butthat's not the same experience.
So we're not going to go there,right.

Right, we're going to stickwith actual pasta noodles.
And what taste, what will likefeed the same comfort food part
of our inner child that thatnoodles feed, cause, I would
argue, zucchini noodles do not,they don't, it's not it.
And then you can take thataddition approach.
So adding garlic or fresh herbsor mushrooms, like adding

mushrooms to things, like you'regoing to up the nutrient
density every time.
Mushrooms are so crazy nutrientdense.
Spinach peppers, right, likevegetables and herbs are kind of
like the the top contenders forfiguring out how to like sneak
that in somewhere and up itsnutrient density.
And that's where, like, themath is super fun, cause I, so I
, if I can remember the numberscorrectly.
I have this on like one of mylike presentation slides and

like one of my like myPowerPoint slide deck.
But I did the math on, if youtook a jar of store-bought
marinara sauce and I think theNutrafor score was like 590.
So it was like take that entirejar and add a tablespoon of
garlic, so that's like threecloves and a half cup of fresh
That's it, it's all you'regoing to add, and you take the
Nutrafor score from 590 to 707,if I remember the numbers

But that's a big difference andthose flavors work deliciously,
it's going to be a super tastynow garlic, basil, marinara
sauce, and that's not evengetting into adding something
like mushrooms.
So that is, I think, the mostbalanced mindset, but also

practical way to use theNutri-Pro score.

Speaker 1 (41:14):
Yeah, love that, love that.
And again, it's such a cool anduseful thing that I, like you,
said it is kind of wild thatnothing like this existed, but
I'm glad it does now.
Thank you, this seems like agood time for a quick break, so
we'll go to mid roll real quickand when we come back, more with
Dr Sarah Ballantyne.
Well, hey there, welcome to themid-roll.

I hope you're enjoying thisepisode.
So far I know I have been and Ihope that you will tell your
houseplants I said hi.
Thanks so much to the Tech2TechDepartment of Plant and Soil
Science for letting me do thisshow and just giving me free
reign over who to talk to andhow I want to approach it, and
it's just meant the world for meto get to do this.
Thanks to the PodFix Networkfor letting me be a part of it,

but most of all y'all thanks toyou, the listener, for just your
feedback, for your love andjust for being a part of
everything that we do here.
If you want to support the show, you can leave me a rating and
review anywhere.
You can do that.
I hear five star reviews are inseason, but you know, I don't
We'll have to consult theauthorities on that.

If you want to financiallysupport the show, you can do so
by going toplanthropologypodcastcom and
checking out the merch store.
There's some cool stuff andmore new stuff going up this
You can also go tobuymeacoffeecom slash
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You can also go tobuymeacoffeecom slash
planthropology, and for theprice of a cup of coffee, you'll
buy me, probably, a cup ofcoffee.
The best thing you can do,though, if you want to help

planthropology grow, is to tella friend about it.
Share us on social media.
Just bring it up inconversation.
However, you want to tell yourfriends about planthropology, I
would love it if you would do so.
So if you'd like to connect,there's a lot of ways to do that
We are on Instagram, facebook,twitter I guess whatever that is
now YouTube and all of theother places as plant

anthropology or plantanthropology pod.
I personally am the plant profall over the internet, so you
can get me there too.
You can also send me an emailat planthropologypod at gmailcom
What else do I have?
Is there more?
Oh, I wrote a book calledPlants to the Rescue, and you
should check that out.
But more than that, sarah'sbook, nutrivor, is out now If

you're listening to this episodethe day it came out.
Her book just launched two daysago and I'm already quite a
ways into it and it's so good.
If you think about a nutritionbook, that's funny and engaging
and approachable.
It has everything you need.
Also, go to her website,nutravorcom, and there is a wide

variety, limitless just so muchinformation that you can get
for free.
If you want links to all ofthose things that are in the
show notes, there's a link whereyou can buy the book.
There's a link where you canbuy additional resources from
her website, or just go to thewebsite and, like I said, get
mountains of nutritioninformation for free.
So good, so great.
Let's get back to the episode infive, four, three, two, what?

What comes after One?
So I want to switch gears justa little bit in general and talk
about communication a littlebit.
So first let's talk about morelike traditional media kind of
stuff in terms of like you wrotea book.
You've written five books atthis point.
What was the process?
I'm always curious when I talkto other authors, just because

it's such an interesting thingwriting a book or writing in
What was that experience likefor you?

Speaker 2 (44:46):
So Nutriver was my first book working with a big
publishing house, so it'spublished by Simon Element which
is an imprint of Simon Schuster, imprint of Simon and Schuster,
and that was I.
I wanted that like forged byfire type experience for this
book because the entire futureof the dietary concept that is
Nutrafor is kind of resting onthe success of this book right

now and that feels like a lotlike it's it's it's it's scary.
And so I knew that for Nutraforto have the like best
opportunity to really reach thepeople who can use this, a this
needs to be like the bestwritten diet book ever.
It needs to be interesting, itneeds to be something that you

want to like you just can't putdown, like writing a nutrition
book that you can't put down,was the goal and I I think I
think I achieved it.
But also reason why I achievedit was because a book is never
just one person, it's a, it's acollaboration.
It's actually quite sad that myname is the name listed on the
author as the author on thefront and that we can't other

than the acknowledgements likehonor the work of the huge team,
both my team as well as theteam at Simon Element their work
that went into this.
I actually started with workingwith my agent on crafting the
proposal and like what is thisbook going to mean?
So like, not just like how Iwant to frame this book and how

I want to write it, not just asample of the writing and an
outline, but like what?
What is this book going to?
What to bring to the health andwellness community?
What is this going to bring tothe average person?
Just like walking through likelet's hope airport bookstores,
right, like walking through theairport and picking up this book
, like what is what is this book, what's the impact it's going

to have?
And then crafting that, andthen meeting with you know
different publishing houses andhaving the conversation with
those different editorial teamsand their vision for the book.
And then where, where do ourvisions add to something even
better than what I was thinkingor what they were thinking?
And that's why I chose to workwith Simon element, because I

think my editor had the the themost different from the
direction that I initiallywanted to go in vision, but the
one that I thought was like, ooh, this is going to be a
But if my goal is a fascinatingread that you can't put down
and it's a, it's a nutritionbook, this is, this is the path.

So very much focused onstorytelling and making it not
just like academicallyfascinating but like personally
fascinating, right, like itmakes it feel relevant to every
reader, and that was what myeditor brought to the table.
And then it's, it's writing,it's many rounds of editing,
then more editors get involved,right?
You get the copy editingprocess, you get the design

process, you get a lot ofdifferent people in it.
I got to record or I got tonarrate the, the audio book
edition of it.
So I got to have like aproducer from Simon Schuster
audio like come into a recordingstudio and like produce it with
me, which was it was just, Imean, such a exhausting.
I will admit I have so muchrespect for professional

The amount of focus it takes todo that job and do it well is
is just beyond it's it's.
I don't think that would be agreat fit for me for a regular
job, but I love doing it forthis book and I will definitely
do it for any future books.
But I think the the two yearslong ish, you know process of

crafting this book and beingchallenged and having to fight
for things to stay in the book,like when I think I've really
passionately no, this part needsto be in this book and that the
process of not arguing over it,but like having that, like does
this serve the purpose of thebook, yes or no?

And I have to say no, yes, ithas to be in here because of
this, this, this, this, this.
Okay, well then, we need toexplain this, this, this, this,
this, oh, now I understand whatwe're talking about.
This section, every singleconversation like that, made
this book better and and I'mjust like don't, don't, don't

buy any of my old books, just bythis one this is the only good
one, and it's.
It's good because of theintensity and the ferocity, but
in a good way, of the editorialprocess that went into this book
, because of the number ofdifferent brains and hands and
hearts right, and people whojust really care about this
message and all of theirdifferent contributions to this

book, and also fascinatingstories about Lord Byron.

Speaker 1 (49:31):
Awesome, that's great .
I can't you know, and obviouslyit just came out, I haven't had
a chance to read it yet and Iam so excited to dive into it
because if it's, you know, justbased on knowing you and and
seeing what you do and youcreate and knowing this website,
like I, I'm very excited aboutit and that leads you, I think
you know, as part of all of thismessaging like you do a lot on

social media as it feels likeand please correct me if I'm
wrong but it feels like in someways its own thing and in some
ways a companion piece to thebook, into everything else.
Like the messaging is the same,but the whole as someone who
has done social media a longtime like the whole vibe is
different, and I know thatdoesn't sound like anything

specific, but like I think I, Ifeel it, I know what I mean by
that, at least.

Speaker 2 (50:18):
Um, so I think of it as like the Nutriver educational
ecosystem, and so the the bookand the website and social media
, and like the digital resourcesthat I sell on my site and the
newsletter, like the emailnewsletter, all serve different
purposes and and they're allimportant.

So the book is it's, it's likeit's the comprehensive resource,
right, it's everything that youneed to know, it's all the
practical resources all wrappedup in a compelling narrative.
I think, as of the website, asthe more academic resource, is
still written to be accessiblefor the average person, but the
the website is the place wherethe information is very complete

, but you don't get that likenarrative experience.
You don't get the pullingtogether, like all of these
different threads into onereally actionable step.
That's something that I can doin a book.
That's really hard to do in theformat on a website.
Sure, and then social media.
I feel like it's.
It's taking all of these bigpieces and grabbing this little

bite-sized bit.
And this little bite-sized bit,this little interesting tidbit,
it's, it's the, it's thedoorway, it's the entry point,
it's the.
Here's this really fascinatingthing.
Don't you want to come into myNutriVore expanded universe?

Speaker 1 (51:38):
and learn more.

Speaker 2 (51:39):
It is.
You know, it's a greatopportunity to to teach, and you
know, if somebody just watchesone video or reads one you know
Instagram post or or thread andwalks away from that with like
an important piece ofinformation to do something good
in their lives, that's great,like my job here is done.
But my real hope with socialmedia is to get the buy in.

Right Is to get oh, I see whatyou're doing.
Oh, I like this philosophy, oh,I like I also want this thing
is that we're talking about andit's, it's the, it's the
opportunity to always providevalue with, with teaching
something, with givinginformation, but really try to.

I'm just trying to getsomeone's attention.
That's what.
That's what social media is.
It's like hey, look at me overhere, I'm doing something really
Come, come into my world.
And then the book is there aslike the next level right,
because the book is also goingto get your buy-in, because it's
a fascinating read with lots oflike cool historical anecdotes
interwoven throughout funstories from different

scientific studies, like wherethey tested the role of vitamin
C on the stress response bymaking the study participants do
public speaking and mentalarithmetic.

Speaker 1 (52:58):
Oh my gosh.

Speaker 2 (53:00):
Think about the people who volunteered for that
study, and you're just likeheroes in science, so getting to
, like you know, weave some ofthat storytelling into the
And then you have this likeokay, and then here's the full
knowledge base on the website.
Right, here's like the academiclike I need deeper on this or
this or this, and then thewebsite is there to provide that
depth of resource, but I don'tthink the website is where you

get the buy-in.
I think that's like socialmedia and the book, sort of at a
higher level.
So, yeah, no, and social mediais also my opportunity to also
comment on what else is going onin the wellness community and
that's not something that youcan easily do again, like on a
more academic website or in abook, because, it's right, it's

such a constantly changing, yetnever changing uh landscape for
sure, for sure.

Speaker 1 (53:50):
Well, and so, speaking of landscapes, you're
giving me like the best seguestoday.
By the way, you're very good atthis.
One of my favorite like typesof videos you do is when you're
out walking, yeah, and you'reanswering a question or talking
about like a concept from thebook or whatever.
How did you start doing that?
Was that just like, oh, I'm outwalking and I have time to do
this right now?

Or was that more of a?
This is like.
This fits with my overallmessage, like how'd you come up
with that idea?

Speaker 2 (54:17):
So it started quite by accident, it did become.
This is a time of my day.
I'm really struggling to findtime for content because I I'm
not just a content creator, I'malso building.
I was also writing a book, Iwas also building a website.
You know I also have a team tomanage.
So like there's a lot ofdifferent demands on my time.
I have two teenage daughters.
They are very demanding of mytime.

Husband as well, but he's he'she's more time respectful.
But like I'm pulled in so manydirections all the time that to
create the amount of contentthat a professional content
creator creates is reallychallenging and I need to find
efficiency in this.
So after the first few I did,it became an opportunity.

I'm already out in the woods.
I promise I won't record forthe entire time I'm out here.
I promise I'll also spend sometime appreciating nature and
being in my own head, and I'vestarted having to just do like
days where I record and dayswhere I don't.
That's actually been a betterworkflow for me.
So then it became okay, well,I'm out here, I can, I can.
This is all stuff that'srattling around in my brain.
Anyways, I don't need notes forthis topic.

If I need notes.
I do those videos in my home.
If I don't need notes, I can dothose videos in the woods.
But it started with me beingvery irate at a conversation
that I was seeing on TikTokabout calories in versus
calories out versus hormones,and I was just like.
I know a lot of science on this, I have a lot of personal

experience on this, I have a lotof thoughts on this, and so I
couldn't hold onto it.
I couldn't wait until I gothome and did my hair and makeup
and was in front of my coolscience wall and could film a
more formal video.
I was like I can't, it has tocome out now.
I can't, it has to come out now.

And even at the time, like Iwasn't comfortable posting
myself without makeup, like Ifelt like I was trying to put
out a very professional vibe andI was just so riled up about
People were just so wrong aboutit.
Like it's both.
That was the point of thatvideo.
Right, it's both.

And you cannot negate theimpact of hormones on appetite
and cravings, but you also haveto acknowledge that it's an
energy deficit that leads toweight loss.
It's not just hormones.
Right, like it's both.
These are both really importantthings to understand, and so it
was that video.
That was my very first one lastsummer.

How long have I been doing thisfor Last summer, I think.

Speaker 1 (56:49):
Probably, yeah, probably, last summer.

Speaker 2 (56:50):
Yeah, that was certainly that style of video.
I've been on TikTok for comingup on two years and it went
really well and I was like, okay, well, why don't I do another
So I think, like the next weekI did another one and then it
became very quickly over, youknow, certainly by last fall it
was like, okay, I got to makeseven videos a week in the woods
because I got to have a videoevery day.

That's a woods video.
And then I realized there werepeople who had no idea it was
the same person.
So they and and oh, even better, they really like wood Sarah.

Speaker 1 (57:27):
They can't stand science wall, sarah.
The internet's so weird, sarah,like I, I swear.

Speaker 2 (57:31):
So then.
So then I had to figure outwhat is it about my videos in
front of my science wall thatgrates people the wrong way.
But if I say the exact same,give the exact same message
while I'm walking in the woods,that that that captures them.
And I really had to change.
I actually really worked tochange my performance.
So I think it's veryconversational when I'm in the

woods because I'm trying to notto talk too loudly, because
sometimes there's other peoplewalking there and I get like
caught tick talking, which isvery embarrassing, so
One time this happened just acouple weeks ago I was like
walking along and like waving myhand such a hand talker like
trying to hold my phone steady.
While I'm like talking away atmy phone, I and there was a

person in a canoe like 15 feetoffshore, like, and I was
keeping an eye on the trail.
There's no one on the trail.
So I'm like safe, safe.
And I walked by and I'm like hiand like.
Then I'm like I immediatelywent into pretending it was a
FaceTime call.
So I was like so I'll talk toyou later about this thing.

That is really great.
That was so embarrassing.
I wish I had the confidencethat so many other TikTokers
have to TikTok in public.

Speaker 1 (58:50):
I do not.
It's really something yeah.

Speaker 2 (58:52):
But yeah, it's become .
I sort of think of it as anopportunity to talk about more
philosophical aspects ofnutrition, more of the emotional
aspects, like, sometimes I'lldo a deep dive into a scientific
paper if it's something thatI've read relatively recently
and I know I can quote it offthe top of my head.
But usually if there'sstatistics or the need to like

have different references, I'lldo those videos at home or in my
But I've really tried to likebring the more conversational
vibe of the woods to all of myvideos and since doing that
weird, it turns out people don'thate Science, sarah, as much.

Speaker 1 (59:34):
Huh, huh Again.
Internet is so weird.
Internet is so weird, but it'ssuch good content.
And a question that I like toask other creators and other
people, just communicators ingeneral, is like, and I think
it's just, I think it's you, Ithink it's your personality, I
think it's who you are, butyou're so kind and gentle in the

way you explain things.

Speaker 2 (59:58):
Thank you.

Speaker 1 (01:00:00):
And that is sort of a rare gift, if we're being
honest, because even things thatyou're clearly upset about,
even things that you're clearlylike, I have to respond to this,
I have to do this, andobviously there's always trolls,
and obviously that's just partof being on the internet, but I
feel like you carry yourself andyou explain things so well and

so kindly, like I don't evenknow how to ask this question
right, because there's so muchto it.
But, like, what do you keep inmind as you're doing that?
How do you approach the way youcommunicate so that you're not
because, like there's days, Ijust want to scream into my
phone at people, you know?

Speaker 2 (01:00:39):

Speaker 1 (01:00:39):
I mean and like, how do you approach that, that you
carry the vibe and the like, theoverall attitude you want?

Speaker 2 (01:00:45):
That's a.
That's a really good question.
So I do think part of it isinnate.
I just really do care this muchabout people and I have been
around enough decades.
I'm a lot older than a lot ofmy content creator peers, shall
we just say a lot older than alot of my content creator peers,

shall we just say so.
I think part of it is just lifeexperience and having been
beaten down by life and had tonavigate that and get through to
the other side, and so I knowwhat it's like to be going
through a really tough time.
I would never be the kind ofperson to take that out on the
people around me, but I've also,like I also understand that
sometimes you just need anoutlet and sometimes that

anonymous stranger on theinternet is your outlet, and so
I would.
I always give people a chance,right?
So I always always say okay, Ithink you've had a bad day.
Here's a, here's a virtual hug,and I'm going to see through
the rudeness and the insults inthis question and answer the
heart of it, right.

Answer like there's.
There's something reallyupsetting to you underlying this
and I can I can ignore how Ican or what it sounded like.
Also, maybe, maybe Englishisn't your first language, right
, there's all kinds of reasonswhy that might've sounded that
way to me reading it.
That maybe was not intended ormaybe was, but we're going to

just shove that to the side andI'm going to answer this thing.
That is hard, hard to accept,hard to understand, hard to feel
, and sometimes it doesn't have.
It just feeds the troll and andit doesn't go the way I was

hoping, and that's what theblock button is then for.
So I always give people thatfirst, that first, that first
But then also, if you're goingto double down like sorry bye,
that's, this is my home, and andlike, you can have a bad day in
my home, but you, you can't bea troll in my home, right and so
, and so I, yeah, I think of itas I try to.

I try to see the, the humanityin the person and then hope that
by seeing their humanity theywill see mine.
The internet can be a reallymiserable place, so so the other
thing I do is I check out, andthat is if I feel like really
riled up and I want to.
Here's this thing I'm going todo.

That's my time to just turn offmy phone, put it in a different
room, go somewhere else, dosomething that you know that.
Go spend time in my vegetablegarden, go right Like, go do
something else and if I have thetime, sleep on it.
If I have the time, wait tilltomorrow.
I always have the time.
Hang on, there's always thetime Wait till tomorrow.
Tomorrow, it will seem different, and so then, I also hope that

by approaching my interactionswith people that way, then I'm
also leading by example andhelping people to not view
information that contradictswhat they've held to be true as
a conspiracy, as somehow tryingto hurt them.
That's the hardest thing, rightbeing out there saying here's
where the science says, andhere's this thing that you
thought was true, that you'vebeen doing, that you learned
from this person that you love,that you respect, that you think

so highly of.
Here's the science showingthat's wrong.
Like, I think, also as sciencecommunicators, when we want to
challenge people's confirmationbias, that has to be done with
It has to be done withunderstanding.
It is really hard to be open tonew information, and so the way
I help someone be open to newinformation is by understanding

how hard that is and wherethey're coming from.
So so, yeah, I think it's a.
It's a, it's a.
It's a combination of like thisis who I am and this is how my
life experiences have shaped howI approach the internet.
And some that's like strategyright.
Like some that's just like yeah, this is how, this is how I'm
going to approach thisstrategically, so that I help

people who are engaging with mycontent.
Have a more open mind.

Speaker 1 (01:04:57):
That's awesome and you do a great job.
I I really admire the work youdo um in general but in
communication, and it's cool tosee and it's cool to watch and
it's been cool getting to beyour friend the past year or so
or however long, on social mediaand I realize that we're
already like over an hour, likeI've taken a lot of your
afternoon already and Iappreciate your time.

But just as we wrap up,something I ask every guest is
if you had a piece of advice andit can be about nutrition, it
can be about life in general andit can be about I don't know
the best way to cook.
I don't care what it is.
Whatever life piece of adviceyou would like our listeners to
take with them, what would thatbe?

Speaker 2 (01:05:46):
So I will phrase this not interms of advice, but I will
phrase this in terms of my life.
Over the last decade or so.
What has been the thing thathas made the most profound
difference for me in terms of myphysical and mental health?
And that was getting a dog.
I very intentionally sought outa high energy dog, so my dog's
a Portuguese water dog.
She is why I'm in the woodsevery morning.

It's to have her be tired,because she's a delightful dog
If she's had her walk in themorning.
So she gets me out in natureevery day.
I walk three or four milesevery morning with her in the
So she's what keeps me active.
She's a clown.
She is a 55 pound lap dog.
So she what keeps me active.
She's a clown, she is a 55pound lap dog.
So she and actually thismorning the brat rolled in the

stinkiest thing.
It's the worst smell I've eversmelled Worst smell.
I grew up in skunk country.
This was way worse than skunk.
I don't know what it was.
I think a male fox had justmarked territory.

Speaker 1 (01:06:45):
Oh no.

Speaker 2 (01:06:45):
So I think that's the only thing I could think of.
She was so proud of herself andI literally was.
If she got within like a 20foot radius of me for the rest
of the hike, it would liketrigger the gag reflex.
We had to drive home with thewindows down, she went straight
into the bath for a double wash,which was not not in my
schedule for the day.
But even that do you know whatI mean?

Like, even that experience islife enriching.
Just because the way she was,like, so proud of herself, she
just thought she'd found perfumein the woods.
I mean, she just thought it wasthe greatest thing ever.
She was living her best lifeuntil until the bathtub happened
And then she was less pleasedwith me.
So I realized, like a dog isnot a very accessible, like it's

not an option for a lot ofpeople, right, sure, not live in
a place where you can have adog you not might not be able to
afford, one might haveallergies, right?
There's all kinds of reasonswhy a dog is not ubiquitous life

Speaker 1 (01:07:41):

Speaker 2 (01:07:42):
But in my personal life nothing has made the
difference, nothing has held metogether through, you know, a
really rough four years.
I mean it's been a rough fouryears for a lot of people.
I brought her home right at thebeginning of the pandemic, like
I was just luck because she was, she was in the, she was

already picked out before thepandemic came and then we just
happened to like her, gotcha daywas like right, as things were
shutting down.
But the, how much I laugh, howhow much I mean she just she has
She's one of those dogs whojust has to be in the middle of
So I can be standing in thekitchen talking with my husband
and she has her head betweensomeone's legs with a squeaky

toy in her mouth, squeaking it,just with her head between
someone's legs, just becausethat's, that's what conversation
is right.
She's making the noises too.
The way she insinuates herselfin every moment of life is is
wonderful and so, yeah, notrelated to nutrition or content
creation or sciencecommunication at all, other than
the reason why I was out in thewoods to film those videos in

the first place was because Iwas walking my dog, and she does
photobomb my videos fairlyfrequently, but yeah, I know
it's not the most practical ofadvice, but there's something
about dogs.
Even when they reek, there'ssomething about them that is so
life enriching.

Speaker 1 (01:09:05):
Yeah, that's awesome.
I'm gonna have to go home andhug my dog now.
So, as we wrap up here at theend and I can get you on to your
next thing today, where canpeople find you, Like?
Where where should we pointeveryone?

Speaker 2 (01:09:16):
So come find me at NutriVorecom.
If you click on the join tab inthe top menu, that will link
you to all of my social medias.
That's where you can find myPatreon, that's where you can
sign up for my newsletter, andthat will also get you to the
site where you can start pokingyour heads around.
And YouTube for the book isavailable wherever you find

Obviously, I highly endorselocal independent bookstores,
but you can also find it fromall the major online booksellers
as well, and I'm at Dr SarahBallantyne on TikTok Threads,
instagram, facebook, pinterestand YouTube.

Speaker 1 (01:09:52):
All the places.
Well, sarah, it has genuinelybeen an absolute pleasure to get
to talk to you, and thanks foryour time and your experience
and your wisdom.
I really appreciate it.

Speaker 2 (01:10:02):
Thank you again for having me.

Speaker 1 (01:10:04):
Is Sarah not just the absolutebest, the absolute best.
I hope that you will go checkout Nutrafor.
I hope you'll look at thewebsite and pick up a copy of
the book.
I think it has the ability andthe potential to be
life-changing for a lot ofpeople.
Our relationship with food isvery important and I think that
Sarah approaches it in such agood way.
And also, like she said, if youcan get a dog or a cat or a

fish or a bird or whatever, orjust something that you can pour
some of your life into and thatwill give you so much back in
Thanks again to Sarah for beingon, Thanks to you for listening
, Thanks to the Texas Departmentof Plant and Soil Science and
the PodFix Network.
Plant Anthropology is written,hosted, directed, edited,
produced all those other thingsby yours truly Vikram Baliga.
The music is by the wonderfuland award-winning composer,

Nicholas Scout, and the mostimportant person in this
situation is you.
You know I love you.
You know I do this for you.
I hope you are kind to oneanother and you keep doing so.
If you've not been kind to oneanother for however long, if you
haven't ever tried it, maybegive it a shot.
It's a good way to be Keepbeing kind, keep being safe and
keep being very cool.
Plant people.
Thank you.
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